Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Field Notes from the Past #18

Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
April 29 [=30, 1962], Monday

April is supposed to be the month of showers, but this had been a very dry month; this until today. Today was a bright, sunny day until about 2:00 [PM] when the sky started to get black in the west and north-west. It began raining at about 3:00 at [sic] didn't stop until about 4:30. At about 3:15 it got nearly pitch black and the wind began blowing hard.

By 6:00 the sun was shining again and I saw the first Chimney Swifts of the year flying high overhead.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Field Notes from the Past #17

Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.

April 29 [1962], Sunday
The leaves on nearly all the trees are out by now and the rest at least have buds on them. There are several species of flowers out also and it truly looks like spring again.

Many Myrtle [=Yellow-rumped] Warblers were seen in woodland swamp, mixed woodlands, and fence rows. They were probably the most abundant bird seentoday.

In the morning I heard the “Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody” song of the White-throated Sparrow for the first time. In the evening many were seen feeding on the ground in a woodland swamp. They scratched at the leaves and other debris in typical towhee fashion. In relation to their size they made more noise than the towhee.

I saw the [i.e., my] first migrating Scarlet Tanager and Yellow Warbler this evening.

I saw my first [American] Woodcock this morning when two were flushed from a feld of wheat stubble. [In retrospect, it seems more likely that these were dowitchers.]

In the evening I saw my first Marsh Hawk flying around in circles over the same field. The bird was a female and the white rump patch was seen clearly.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Horsetails of Berrien County, Michigan

The horsetails of the Class Equisetopsida are the oldest living members of the plant kingdom, dating back some 300-350 million years to the Carboniferous period. According to the Online Atlas of Michigan Plants, 5 species of horsetails are found in Berrien County, representing a single order, a single family, and a single genus:

ORDER EQUISETALES (Horsetails)
Family Equisetaceae (Horsetails):
  • Equisetum arvense, Field Horsetail
  • Equisetum fluviatile, Water Horesetail
  • Equisetum hyemale, Scouring-rush Horsetail
  • Equisetum palustre, Marsh Horsetail
  • Equisetum variegatum, Variegated Horsetail
  • Field Notes from the Past #16

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.

    April 25 [1962], Wednesday

    This morning I started taking detailed observations on the [Eastern] Bluebirds nesting in house #2. I hope to make a report on the nesting of this pair.

    I saw my first Orange-croned Warbler this morning, bringing my life list total to 75 [species].

    About 5:00 [o'clock] in the afternoon a grassfire started on the northern side of the [New York Central] railroad tracks just east of here. Before the fire was extinguished it had burned an area about 1/2 mile long. In most places only the grass was burned, ut in one instance a small cattail marsh was completely destroyed and a telephone pole was burned half-way thru at the base. The poles on which [bluebird] houses #4 and #5 are on had been completely surrounded by fire, but no damage was done to the houses.

    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Fishes of Berrien County, Michigan

    Historically known as Pisces, the ray-finned fishes are now grouped together in the Class Actinopterygii. Based on specimen records and distribution maps, 101 species representing 17 orders, 24 families, and 58 genera of ray-finned fishes are known from the lakes, rivers, and streams Berrien County or immediately adjacent waters of Lake Michigan. In the list below, an asterisk (*) denotes existence of a voucher specimen (Michigan DNR nd), a plus sign (+) denotes an accepted field identification not supported by voucher specimen (ibid.), a hat (^) denotes reported presence in Berrien County portion of the St. Joseph River and its tributaries based on distribution maps (MDNR 1999a, 1999b, and 1999c [all .pdf]), an [I] denotes a species established through direct or indirect intervention of humans, and an {SF} denotes a species for which annual sportfish regulations are established:

    ORDER ACIPENSIFORMES (Sturgeons and Paddlefish)
    Family Acipenseridae (Sturgeons):
  • Acipenser fulvescens, Lake Sturgeon+^ {SF}

    Family Polyodontidae (Paddlefishes):
  • Polyodon spathula, Paddlefish+
  • ORDER SEMIONOTIFORMES (Gars)
    Family Lepisosteidae (Gars):
  • Lepisosteus oculeatus, Spotted Gar+^
  • Lepisosteus osseus, Longnose Gar+^
  • ORDER AMIIFORMES (Bowfins)
    Family Amiidae (Bowfins):
  • Amia calva, Bowfin*^
  • ORDER ANGUILLIDAE (Freshwater Eels)
    Family Anguillidae (Freshwater Eels):
  • Anguilla rostrata, American Eel^ [I]
  • ORDER CLUPEIFORMES (Herrings)
    Family Clupeidae (Herrings):
  • Alosa pseudoharengus, Alewife+^ [I]
  • Dorosoma cepedianum, Gizzard Shad*^
  • ORDER CYPRINIFORMES (Carps and Minnows)
    Family Cyprinidae (Carps and Minnows):
  • Camposotoma anomalum, Central Stoneroller*^
  • Carassius auratus, Goldfish+^ [I]
  • Couesius plumbeus, Lake Chub*
  • Cyprinella spiloptera, Spotfin Shiner*^
  • Cyprinus carpio, Common Carp+^ [I]
  • Hybognathus hankinsoni, Brassy Minnow^
  • Luxilus chrysocephalus, Striped Shiner*
  • Luxilus cornutus, Common Shiner*^
  • Nocomis biguttatus, Hornyhead Chub*^
  • Nocomis micropogon, River Chub^
  • Notemigonus crysoleucos, Golden Shiner*^
  • Notropis atherinoides, Emerald Shiner*^
  • Notropis heterodon, Blackchin Shiner+^
  • Notropis heterolepis, Blacknose Shiner*^
  • Notropis hudsonius, Spottail Shiner+^
  • Notropis rubellus, Rosyface Shiner*^
  • Notropis stramineus, Sand Shiner*^
  • Notropis volucellus, Mimic Shiner*^
  • Pimephales notatus, Bluntnose Minnow*^
  • Pimephales promelas, Fathead Minnow+
  • Rhinichthys cataractae, Longnose Dace+^
  • Rhinichthys obtusus, Western Blacknose Dace*
  • Semotilus atromaculatus, Creek Chub*^
  • ORDER CYPRINIFORMES (Suckers)
    Family Catostomidae (Suckers):
  • Carpiodes cyprinus, Quillback*^
  • Catostomus catostomus, Longnose Sucker*^
  • Catostomus commersonii, White Sucker*^
  • Erimyzon sucetta, Lake Chubsucker^
  • Nypentelium nigricans, Northern Hog Sucker*^
  • Ictiobus niger, Black Buffalo^ [I]
  • Minytrema melanops, Spotted Sucker+^
  • Moxostoma anisurum, Silver Redhorse*^
  • Moxostoma carinatum, River Redhorse+^
  • Moxostoma duquesnei, Black Redhorse+^
  • Moxostoma erythrurum, Golden Redhorse*
  • Mosostoma macrolepidotum, Shorthead Redhorse*^
  • Moxostoma valenciennesi, Greater Redhorse+
  • ORDER SILURIFORMES (Catfishes)
    Family Ictaluridae (Bullhead Catfishes):
  • Ameiurus melus, Black Bullhead*^
  • Ameiurus natalis, Yellow Bullhead*^
  • Ameiurus nebulosus, Brown Bullhead^
  • Ictalurus punctatus, Channel Catfish+^ {SF}
  • Noturus flavus, Stonecat+^
  • Noturus gyrinus, Tadpole Madtom+^
  • Pylodictis olivaris, Flathead Catfish+^ {SF}
  • ORDER ESOCIFORMES (Mudminnows and Pikes)
    Family Esocidae (Pickerels and Pikes):
  • Esox americanus, Grass Pickerel*^
  • Esox lucius, Northern Pike+^ {SF}

    Family Umbridae (Mudminnows):
  • Umbra limi, Central Mudminnow*^
  • ORDER OSMERIFORMES (Smelts)
    Family Osmeridae (Smelts):
  • Osmerus mordax, Rainbow Smelt* [I]
  • ORDER SALMONIFORMES (Salmons)
    Family Salmonidae (Trouts and Salmons):
  • Corregonus artedi, Lake Herring+ {SF}
  • Corregonus clupeaformis, Lake Whitefish+^ {SF}
  • Corregonus hoyi, Bloater+
  • Corregonus reighardi, Shortnose Cisco+
  • Corregonus zenithicus, Shortjaw Cisco+
  • Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, Pink Salmon^ [I] {SF}
  • Oncorhynchus kisutch, Coho Salmon+^ [I] {SF}
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss, Rainbow Trout*^ [I] {SF}
  • Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, Chinook Salmon+^ [I] {SF}
  • Prosopium cylindraceum, Round Whitefish+^
  • Salmo salar, Atlantic Salmon^ [I] {SF}
  • Salmo trutta, Brown Trout*^ [I] {SF}
  • Salvelinus fontinalis, Brook Trout*^ {SF}
  • Salvelinus namaycush, Lake Trout+^ {SF}
  • ORDER PERCOPSIFORMES (Trout-Perches)
    Family Aphredoderidae (Pirate Perches):
  • Aphredoderus sayanus, Pirate Perch+^
  • ORDER GADIFORMES (Cods)
    Family Gadidae (Cods):
  • Lota lota, Burbot*^
  • ORDER CYPRINODONTIFORMES (Killifishes)
    Family Fundulidae (Topminnows):
  • Fundulus dispar, Starhead Topminnow*
  • Fundulus notatus, Blackstripe Topminnow*^
  • ORDER ATHERINIFORMES (Silversides)
    Family Atherinidae (Silversides):
    Labidesthes sicculus, Brook Silverside*^
    ORDER GASTEROSTEIFORMES (Sticklebacks)
    Family Gasterosteidae (Sticklebacks):
  • Cluaea inconstans, Brook Stickleback^
  • Gasterosteus aculeatus, Threespine Stickleback+ [I]
  • Pungitius pungitius, Ninespine Stickleback+
  • ORDER SCORPAENIFORMES (Sculpins)
    Family Cottidae (Sculpins):
  • Cottus bairdii, Mottled Sculpin*^
  • Cottus cognatus, Slimy Sculpin+^
  • ORDER PERCIFORMES (Perch-like Fishes)
    Family Moronidae (Striped Basses):
  • Morone americana, White Perch+ [I]
  • Morone chrysops, White Bass+ {SF}

    Family Centrarchidae (Sunfishes):
  • Ambloplites rupestris, Rock Bass*^ {SF}
  • Lepomis cyanellus, Green Sunfish*^ {SF}
  • Lepomis gibbosus, Pumpkinseed*^ {SF}
  • Lepomis gulosus, Warmouth+^ {SF}
  • Lepomis macrochirus, Bluegill*^ {SF}
  • Lepomis microlophus, Redear Sunfish+ {SF}
  • Lepomis peltastes, Northern Longear Sunfish+^ {SF}
  • Micropterus dolomieu, Smallmouth Bass+^ {SF}
  • Micropterus salmoides, Largemouth Bass*^ {SF}
  • Pomoxis annularis, White Crappie+^ {SF}
  • Pomoxis nigromaculatus, Black Crappie*^ {SF}

    Family Percidae (True Perches):
  • Etheostoma blennioides, Greenside Darter^
  • Etheostoma caeruleum, Rainbow Darter*^
  • Ehteostoma nigrum, Johnny Darter*^
  • Perca flavescens, Yellow Perch+^ {SF}
  • Percina caprodes, Logperch*^
  • Percina maculata, Blackside Darter*^
  • Sander vitreus, Walleye+^ [I] {SF}

    Family Sciaenidae (Drums):
  • Aplodinotus grunniens, Freshwater Drum+^

    Family Gobiidae (Gobies):
  • Neogobius melanostomus, Round Goby+ [I]
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Five Years Ago in Birds Etcetera - 4/23/03

    A "gem" from April 23, 2003:
  • Invasive Species in West Virginia
  • Field Notes from the Past #15

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 23 [1962], Monday

    I saw my first Solitary Sandpiper today in what seemed to me as the most unlikely habitat to find a sandpiper in. I flushed the bird from a field of wheat stubble. The area from where the bird was flushed was the lowest part of the field and is always under several inches of water in the spring.

    Migratory [Slate-colored (=Dark-eyed)] Juncos were seen again today, but in greater numbers.

    I saw the male [Eastern] Bluebird perched on the wires above house #2. This is the first bluebird seen since April 8 (15 days). I didn't look in the house for fear I would scar[e] the birds away.

    Lampreys of Berrien County, Michigan

    Although closely related to fish, taxonomists place lampreys (along with hagfishes) in the Agnatha, a superclass of jawless fish of ancient ancestry. Lampreys belong to the Class Cephalaspidomorphi. Based on specimen records and distribution maps, 5 species representing 1 order, 1 family, and 2 genera of lampreys are known from the lakes, rivers, and streams Berrien County or immediately adjacent waters of Lake Michigan. In the list below, an asterisk (*) denotes existence of a voucher specimen (Michigan DNR nd), a plus sign (+) denotes an accepted field identification not supported by voucher specimen (ibid.), a hat (^) denotes reported presence in Berrien County portion of the St. Joseph River and its tributaries based on distribution maps (MDNR 1999a, 1999b, and 1999c [all .pdf]), and an [I] denotes a species established through direct or indirect intervention of humans:

    ORDER PETROMYZONTIFORMES (Lampreys)
    Family Petromyzontidae (Lampreys):
  • Ichthyomyzon castaneus, Chestnut Lamprey*^
  • Ichthyomyzon fossor, Northern Brook Lamprey*^
  • Ichthyomyzon unicuspis, Silver Lamprey*
  • Lampetra appendix, American Brook Lamprey*^
  • Petromyzon marinus, Sea Lamprey+^ [I]
  • Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Field Notes from the Past #14

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 22 [1962], Easter Sunday

    When I opened the lid of [Eastern Bluebird] house #2 this morning, but to my surprise I found two small light blue eggs in the bottom of the nest. I had been sure the bluebirds had deserted the nest but now it looks as if they might raise a family after all. I didn't see the bluebirds again today but they must be around somewhere.

    Many juncos were seen gathering in flocks getting ready to migrate and my first Brown Thrasher of the year was seen today.

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    Reptiles of Berrien County, Michigan

    Based on specimen records in the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology, 15 species representing 2 orders, 5 families, and 13 genera within the Class Reptilia (snakes, lizards, and turtles) are known from Berrien County:

    ORDER SQUAMATA (Snakes and Lizards)
    Family Colubridae (Colubrid Snakes):
  • Coluber constrictor, Blue Racer
  • Clonophis kirtlandii, Kirtland’s Snake
  • Elaphe obsolete, Black Rat Snake
  • Heterodon platyrhinos, Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
  • Lampropeltis triangulum, Eastern Milk Snake
  • Nerodia sipedon, Northern Water Snake
  • Thamnophis sauritus, Northern Ribbon Snake
  • Thamnophis sirtalis, Common Garter Snake

    Family Viperidae (Pit Vipers):
  • Sistrurus catenatus, Massasauga

    Family Scincidae (Skinks):
  • Eumeces fasciatus, Five-lined Skink
  • ORDER TESTUDINES (Turtles)
    Family Chelydridae (Snapping Turtles)
  • Chelydra serpentina, Snapping Turtle

    Family Emydidae (Pond Turtles and Terrapins):
  • Chrysemys picta, Painted Turtle
  • Clemmys guttata, Spotted Turtle
  • Emydoidea blandingii, Blanding’s Turtle
  • Terrapene carolina, Box Turtle
  • One Year Ago in Birds Etcetera – 4/18/07

    A couple of “gems” from April 18, 2007:
  • Something Different
  • Random Gleanings from the BirdSphere #16
  • Five Years Ago in Birds Etcetera – 4/18/03

    A couple of “gems” from April 18, 2003:
  • Forster’s Tern on Shenandoah River—Again!
  • Belated Bird Notes from the Shenandoah River
  • Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Amphibians of Berrien County, Michigan

    Based on specimen records in the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology, 18 species representing 2 orders, 6 families, and 8 genera within the Class Amphibia (frogs, toads, and salamanders) are known from Berrien County:

    ORDER ANURA (Frogs and Toads)
    Family Hylidae (Treefrogs):
  • Acris crepitans, Northern Cricket Frog
  • Hyla chrysoscelis, Cope’s Gray Treefrog
  • Hyla versicolor, Gray Treefrog
  • Pseudacris crucifer, Spring Peeper
  • Pseudacris triseriata, Chorus Frog

    Family Ranidae (True Frogs):
  • Rana catesbeiana, Bullfrog
  • Rana clamitans, Green Frog
  • Rana palustris, Pickerel Frog
  • Rana pipiens, Northern Leopard Frog
  • Rana sylvatica, Wood Frog

    Family Bufonidae (Toads):
  • Bufo americanus, American Toad, Bufo americanus
  • Bufo woodhousii, Woodhouse’s [=Fowler’s] Toad
  • ORDER CAUDATA (Salamanders)
    Family Ambystomatidae (Mole Salamanders):
  • Ambystoma maculatum, Spotted Salamander
  • Ambystoma opacum, Marbled Salamander (last observed in 1950)
  • Ambystoma platineum, Silvery Salamander
  • Ambystoma tigrinum, Eastern Tiger Salamander

    Family Plethodontidae (Lungless Salamanders):
  • Plethodon cinereus, Red-backed Salamander

    Family Proteidae (Mudpuppies):
  • Necturus maculosus, Common Mudpuppy
  • Field Notes from the Past #13

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 17 [1962], Tuesday

    For the second day, no [Eastern] Bluebirds were seen near house #2, although I searched carefully in the immediate area of the house. A Song Sparrow was seen singing from a perch on the wires almost directly above the house. It may be that the bluebirds have been driven of[f] by the Song Sparrow because they were on his territory. I searched in the area of the house again in th eevening, but again found no bluebirds.

    I saw my first Red Fox in a woodland swamp early in the morning. The fox was seen carefully for several seconds so that I could see the white tip on the tail and the black feet.

    Another flock of [Canada] Geese were seen flying overhead again today. There were 23 of them, flying in a long, trailing line.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    A little more blogging on Oliver M. Johnston, Jr.

    Of course with the passing of a now-legendary artist like Ollie Johnston the blogosphere as expected is filling up with tributes and ponderings of all kinds. If you read this blog you're bound to visit Cartoon Brew on a regular basis; they've just posted a lovely essay by Brad Bird that must be read.

    Jaime Weinman writes a blog dealing with pop culture-entertainment that's one of the very best and most knowledgeable anywhere. I can't remember how I first found his site, but he writes often about animation and seems to have an archive of info at his fingertips(and I don't just mean Google).

    To mark the loss of Ollie Johnston he's reproduced something I suspect Ollie would really love people to read: an article from the LA times about Ollie's backyard scale train--from 1956! Interestingly--although one would think it would be a great little tidbit of information--the fact that Ollie was a Disney animator isn't mentioned though Walt himself is, due to his purchase of trains for then-new Disneyland. One wonders if Walt himself was present at the "clambake" get-together the paper describes. Probably not, but you never know--if he was, he might well have asked not to be mentioned, as he'd have been enjoying his own off-hours personal hobby. But that's just wild speculation.

    Read it here.

    I also recommend a visit to Michael Barrier's reminiscence of Ollie(you might have to scroll down a bit). The photos taken with Frank and Ollie at Barrier's home in 1977 are priceless as time machines(if you've lived long enough to remember 1977).

    One Year Ago in Birds Etcetera – 4/16/07

    A “gem from April 16, 2007:
  • One Problem with Wikipedia—People on the Fringe
  • Field Notes from the Past #12

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 16 [1963], Tuesday

    [Galien] Played Bridgman [Michigan] there in a baseball game. Lost 6 to 1. I didn't play. During the game a Horned Lark was seen walking around in left field 2 or 3 times. It seemed not even to notice the large number of people within a few feet of it. Others were seen flying over the area.

    Field Notes from the Past #11

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 15 [1963], Monday

    No school today because of Easter. I watched a pair of [American] Robins building a nest in the yard for an hour this morning. I hope to make a special study of this pair. I raked the backyard, took the dog for a walk[,] and tightened the fence.

    Field Notes from the Past #10

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 16 [1962], Monday

    I heard my first Chipping Sparrow of the year singing tonight just before dark. The song, the dull, unmusical "ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti" common to the bird, was heard coming from a clump of small trees.

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    One Year Ago in Birds Etcetera – 4/15/07

    Some “gems” from April 15, 2007:
  • Ruddy Ducks and Dark-eyed Junco
  • Your Feathered Jewel Might be a Hawk’s Next Meal
  • Field Notes from the Past #9

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 15 [1962], Sunday

    When I started on my bird hike this morning it was snowing like mad. It snowed all the while I was gone until I came home, when the sun broke thru the clods [sic]. The sun was out only a minute[,] however, before it whent [sic] under the clouds and it started snowing again. It was overcast all day and the temperature never got above freezing.

    The [Eastern] Bluebirds have completed a nest in house #2. The nest is made of weed stems and a few down feathers. The other houses were checked, but nothing was found in them. The bluebirds were not seen near house #2.

    A Red-tailed Hawk was seen being chased by two [American] Crows.

    Several Mallards were seen flying across the sky overhead.

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    Ollie Johnston 1912-2008


    The last surviving member of the Disney animation review board during its golden age-the group of hand-picked artists Walt Disney called his own "nine old men"--and more importantly a beloved artist, mentor, patriarch and husband--passed into history today. Ollie Johnston was 95 years old.

    This sad news just came over the transom. Later on I'll try to collect some thoughts, but I'm sure in the meantime many more eloquent tributes than anything I might compose will be posted.

    10:45 pm:
    I've had an awful lot of visitors to the blog today due to the news of Ollie's death. It makes me wish that I were better qualified to really write something of substance about him-he surely deserves it. But my take would have to be that of the admiring fan more than anything else. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there are so many people out there, in the business and just in love with animation who had real, personal ties with and experiences involving him. I'm sure many of them will express themselves in print or elsewhere in days to come, as they have already, for years, in lectures and at schools, in interviews and at tributes and screenings. Those will be the ones to look for. There are bound to be some fantastic and moving memories.
    Let's just say that if you ask anyone who's anyone in our business, they'll have a story about Ollie Johnston: his work, his advice, guidance, criticism, inspiration...encompassing all of it the sheer delight of watching his animation performances. That at least I can say I share with them. We all share in it-whether fan, pro, child or adult. He was one of a handful of geniuses of the art who made millions laugh, cry and dream, and most of all believe in his drawings, believe them to be alive. I don't know if he and Frank coined the term "Illusion of Life" but with their book they became the preeminent representatives of that mysterious, wonderful effect. It was all done with drawings. And talent, heart and sincerity. And a heck of a lot of backbreaking work over a disc, work that from his pencil seemed effortless--which was a big part of the trick.
    The same goes for his former colleagues. here they are:


    Johnny Lounsbery
    Les Clark
    Wooilie Reitherman
    Milt Kahl
    Eric Larson
    Marc Davis
    Ward Kimball
    Frank Thomas
    and
    Ollie Johnston
    Requisiat in pace

    One Year Ago in Birds Etcetera - 4/14/07

    A "gem" from April 14, 2007:
  • Rampalicious
  • Field Notes from the Past #8

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 14 [1963], Easter Sunday

    Went bird-watching early in the morning and set out one bluebird house along the railroad tracks [east of Galien]. I collected some minute organizms [sic] from a small pond on the floor of the woods. In the evening I examined them under a microscope. I saw organisms which resembled a small clam, a transparent ball, and one which I swear was a spider. It was round in shape and bright red with four pairs of legs. I also observed "wigglers", the larvae of the mosquitoe [sic]. I saw the first migrant Brown Creeper and added the Hermit Thrush to my [life] list, number 111.

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    One Year Ago in Birds Etcetera

    Some "gems" from April 13, 2007:
  • Birder Indicted for Killing Cat
  • The Way Things Used to Be: Passenger Pigeons
  • Bird Watching With Children
  • T-rex in the Hen House?
  • Some Really Fine Blogs Out There!
  • Field Notes from the Past #7

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 13 [1963], Saturday

    Worked all day in the [IGA Grocery] store. Walking home at 8:00 PM I thought I heard in the distance what sounded like the barking of a chorus of dogs. Upon listening closer, I recognized it as the "honking" of [Canada] Geese. It was almost pitch dark but I could make out a large flock of geese as [it] flew almost directly overhead on it's way north. I had always thought of geese as migrating only during the day. This is the first time I had ever heard the honking of geese at such close range and it's a sound I shall never forget. It is certainly a call of the wild and must [be] unforgetable [sic] when heard in the wilderness.

    Field Notes from the Past #6

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 13 [1962], Friday

    When I woke up this morning, there was two inches of snow on the ground, and it was nearly a blizzard outside. However, it soon stopped snowing and before dark, there was barely a trace of snow on the ground.

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    One Year Ago in Birds Etcetera

    Some "gems" from April 12, 2007:
  • Funny Bird Comic
  • Gamebird Hat
  • Introduced Birds
  • Gargantuan Rockfish Meets Sad Demise
  • Five-Star Birding
  • Five Years Ago in Birds Etcetera

    Some "gems" from April 12, 2003:
  • A Murder of Fish Crows
  • Cormorants for Sale on eBay
  • Field Notes from the Past #5

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 12 [1963], Good Friday

    Got out of school at 11:30 A.M. and went bird-watching in the afternoon. The first Brown Thrasher of the year was seen, a singing male. I added the Common [=Wilson's] Snipe and the Pied-billed Grebe to my life list bringing it to a total of 110 species. I believe I have seen the Common Snipe before but misidentified [it] as a [American] Woodcock, a similar species. Because of this, my records of the Woodcock should not be recognized as accurate.

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Economics of Ivory-billed Woodpecker Recovery

    An old, but still relevant, item posted by Tim Haab (a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at Ohio State University) on the Environmental Economics blog questions the economic soundness of spending $27 million on recovery efforts for a species whose continued existence is still in doubt. Also be sure to read the comments.

    Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    Field Notes from the Past #4

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 8 [1962], Sunday

    I got up at 4:30 [EST] this morning to go birdwatching. My greatest thrill was when I saw a male [Eastern] Bluebird perched on the wires along the railroad track[s]. The bird was not more than seventy-five [feet] from house #2. Later in the morning the male was seen perched on the edge of the hole of house #2. In the second he entered the box A female Bluebird then appeared and also entered the box. If these birds nest, it will be my first pair of bluebirds to nest in the boxes.

    The first [Rufous-sided, =Eastern] towhee, [Eastern] phoebe, and Great Blue Heron of the year were seen today.

    I saw my first Baldpate [=American Wigeon] and Blue-winged Teal today. Several were seen in a small farm pond with two Mallards.

    Monday, April 7, 2008

    101 Dalmatians, 3 Bloggers


    swiped/borrowed from Michael Sporn's blog, which you should visit immediately


    A triumvirate of essential blogs are contributing to an analysis of the just-released-on-DVD "101 Dalmations". Hans Perk has posted the drafts(the records of who animated what for the entire film), Mark Mayerson is putting up his shot for shot "mosaics"--a kind of visual draft, and invaluable--along with his typically sharp and interesting commentary. And the redoubtable Michael Sporn has done a fantastic post on the "art student" girl's walk--the slouching gal with her matching afghan hound.

    It's been said before of this kind of loose collaboration, but this is really the best of the blogosphere: when something like this is put out there and is available to everyone and anyone. What riches.

    All of these guys deserve a lot of applause they can't hear for their efforts.

    Thursday, April 3, 2008

    The $3,000 Birdhouse

    An exact reproduction by Karl Goldsmith of a house designed and built by American landscape architect Fletcher Steele in 1939 for the Helen Ellwanger Estate. Articles about the house can be found here and here.

    Goldsmith is obviously filling a niche for people who have more money than they know what to do with, and crafting beautiful pieces of artwork in the process. These people have a right to spend their money as they wish, of course, but I'm thinking it would be nice if some of it were put to good use on bird conservation projects rather than on decorative objects for their fancy gardens. Just one man's opinion.

    Field Notes from the Past #3

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963 when I was a budding ornithologist of just 15 or 16 growing up in the rural village of Galien in Berrien County, Michigan.
    April 3, Tuesday [1962]

    I again went to Springville [LaPorte County, Indiana] to see the [Tundra] swans with Ado Boyce [a neighbor]. We left just as the sun was coming up. About five or six ducks were seen swimming on the pond but no swans were seen.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Field Notes from the Past #2

    Being a continuation of field-journal entries from the springs of 1962 and 1963, when I was just a lad of 15 or 16 growing up in the village of Galien, Berrien County, Michigan.

    April 2, Monday [1962]

    This evening after work, Mom, Jim [my brother], and I went to Springville [LaPorte County], Indiana[,] with Mike and Ado Boyce to see the Whistling [=Tundra] Swans. We found the marsh without much trouble but no swans were seen. We decided to go again tomorrow before school.

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008

    Penguins Can Fly? Say It Ain't So!

    Watch the incredible video footage here!

    Field Notes from the Past #1

    In packing for my move to Michigan, I ran across some old field journals that had been lost for 40-some years. The first of these are from 1962, when I was just a lad of 15 growing up in a small town in Berrien County, Michigan.

    April 1, Sunday [1962]

    I set out six of the ten bluebird boxes today. I placed them all along the railroad tracks [just east of Galien].

    In the afternoon I went to a membership meeting of the South Bend Audubon Society. Mom and Dad and Jim and Ado Boyce went along also. I joined the society as a student member for $2.00.

    We were told that Whistling [=Tundra] Swans were seen yesterday in a small marsh near Springville [LaPorte County], Indiana.

    My March BiGBY List

    The Big Green Big Year (known as BiGBY, for short) challenges birders to compile a Big Year list without the aid of fossil fuel-burning vehicles. It offers at least three advantages over traditional Big Year counts: increased knowledge of the birds of your neighborhood, increased physical activity, and increased energy conservation.

    This report continues my monthly tally of species observed on a BiGBY being conducted in Buchanan Township, Michigan. It consists of species seen from my house or yard or while engaged in Walking or other modes of Self-Propelled transportation that originated from my house (i.e., no fossil fuels were burned in recording any of the species on this list). In the following list, species recorded for the first time this month are indicated by an asterisk (*), those not seen in or from the house or yard are italicized, and the date each species was first observed during the month is indicated in parentheses:
    Canada Goose (2nd)
    Mute Swan (2nd)
    Wood Duck* (18th)
    Mallard (18th)
    Redhead* (26th)
    Ring-necked Duck* (18th)
    Greater Scaup* (28th)
    Lesser Scaup* (18th)
    Bufflehead* (19th)
    Hooded Merganser* (18th)
    Wild Turkey* (31st)
    Pied-billed Grebe* (26th)
    Great Blue Heron (16th)
    Turkey Vulture* (7th)
    Cooper's Hawk (2nd)
    Red-tailed Hawk (11th)
    American Coot* (18th)
    Sandhill Crane* (26th)
    Killdeer* (13th)
    American Woodcock* (13th)
    Ring-billed Gull (2nd)
    Mourning Dove (1st)
    Belted Kingfisher* (13th)
    Red-bellied Woodpecker (5th)
    Downy Woodpecker (1st)
    Hairy Woodpecker (2nd)
    Northern Flicker (27th)
    Blue Jay (1st)
    American Crow (1st)
    Tufted Titmouse (1st)
    Black-capped Chickadee (1st)
    Red-breasted Nuthatch (1st)
    White-breasted Nuthatch (1st)
    Eastern Bluebird (14th)
    American Robin* (5th)
    European Starling (2nd)
    Yellow-rumped Warbler* (5th)
    American Tree Sparrow (1st)
    Song Sparrow (4th)
    Dark-eyed Junco (1st)
    Northern Cardinal (1st)
    Red-winged Blackbird* (5th)
    Common Grackle* (9th)
    Brown-headed Cowbird* (31st)
    House Finch (5th)
    Common Redpoll (1st)
    Pine Siskin (27th)
    American Goldfinch (1st)
    House Sparrow (2nd)
    Personal highlights included an American Woodcock peenting behind the barn on the 13th, a pair of Sandhill Cranes soaring high over the house on the 26th, a female-plumaged "Oregon" Junco beneath the feeders on the 26th, and a pair of Wild Turkeys scrambling across the backyard on the 31st.

    TOTALS:
    March BiGBY List = 49
    March Yard List = 46
    New to BiGBY List for 2008 = 21
    New to Yard List for 2008 = 21
    2008 Cumulative BiGBY List = 51
    2008 Cumulative Yard List = 48
    Previous monthly reports for 2008: January, February.