Wednesday, December 31, 2008

African Diaries-A New Sketchbook

I've posted about my friend and fellow story artist David Derrick before, pointing to his blog. He's a multi talented man who somehow finds time for constantly exploring new things and continuing to build on the knowledge he already has, putting it to good use. There's no one else I know who's as knowledgeable about flora and fauna--especially animals. He has a special interest in the life of the African continent, and finally had the chance to go there on safari this past year. He made sure to record much of what he found there and just published some of the choicest excerpts from his sketchbook in a lovely trade paperback, "African Diaries".

Here is a review from a critic who's not an artist but knows an interesting read when he sees one. I can't describe the book as well as he has.

As my old money pit manager Bud Plant would say "Highest Recommendations" for this title, which you can get for $14.95 here.

In addition to sketching and writing notes about what he saw on safari Dave took his sculpting tools and clay on location. Below are a few examples of what he came away with. He's particularly inspired by the great, lively genius of animal sculptors Bugatti and Barye.

Mara King, a sculpture Dave did on location in Kenya that he's now cast as a bronze. I can't ever get enough of good rough animal sculpts like this.
So again, I'd urge you to add this to your shelves. And remember to take a look at the other sculptures and goodies at Dave Derrick's blog.

I've got a lot of catch-up to do with posts, but they are coming. Thanks for dropping by and eyeballing the archives and intermittent posting this past year. Hopefully 2009 will be full of pleasant experiences for everyone.

North American Bird Blogs

What follows is a list of active and inactive North American (Canada to Panama) bird blogs that are personally known to me. There are certainly many others that I have not yet discovered, with more being created daily. My goal is to make this list as comprehensive as possible. I plan to update the list frequently, so if you know of other North American bird blogs (or have one yourself) that should be included here, please leave a comment.
  • 200 Birds (UT)
  • 600 Birds (WI)
  • 2008 Colorado Big Green Year (CO)
  • 10,000 Birds (NY)
  • A Charm of Finches (TX)
  • A DC Birding Blog (DC)
  • A Spattering (PA)
  • A Year of Birds on Stony Lake (ON)
  • Adventure Birding (AZ)
  • Adventures of Bird Girl (MD)
  • Afield in Oklahoma (OK)
  • AGBirder (CT)
  • Aimophila Adventures (AZ)
  • AKA Bird Nerd (WA)
  • Alan Contreras Birds (OR)
  • Alan Murphy Photography (TX)
  • Alice the Owl News (MN)
  • Ali's Birding Journal (NC)
  • Alis Volat Propiis (CA)
  • Angela's Birding Blog (ON)
  • Antshrike's Bird Blog (TX)
  • Antwren (CO)
  • Apartment Biology (OR)
  • Arctic Refuge Project News—Shorebird Conservation (MA)
  • Arkansas Birding (AR)
  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
  • As the Mind Wanders (TX)
  • Ask the Birds and They Will Tell You (SD)
  • At the Bird Feeder (MB)
  • At the Water (MN)
  • Audubon Birdscapes (PA)
  • Avian Tendencies (MI)
  • Avimor Birding Blog (ID)
  • Backyard Birder (Dave in PA)
  • Backyard Birder (Dorothy in TX)
  • Backyard Birds Utah (UT)
  • Badbirdz - Reloaded (FL)
  • Bay Area Bird Blog (CA)
  • Beakspeak (TX)
  • Beaverton Bird Blog (OR)
  • Beginning to bird (PA)
  • Behind the Bins (NY)
  • Bell Tower Birding (MI)
  • Best Bets for Birding (OH)
  • Betsy's Bird Journal (VA)
  • Big Country Audubon Society Blog (TX)
  • Big Fat Birder (TN)
  • Bike-by Birding (CA)
  • Bill of the Birds (OH)
  • Biological Ramblings (NY)
  • Bird Advocates
  • Bird Banding in Saskatchewan (SK)
  • Bird brained stories!
  • Bird Blog (NF)
  • Bird Blog - River Legacy Parks (TX)
  • Bird Brio (ID)
  • Bird by bird (CA)
  • Bird Diva Blog (NY)
  • Bird Girl's Birding Adventures (OH)
  • Bird Names
  • Bird Nut's Blog (NM)
  • Bird Photos (OH)
  • bird QUIZ (NY)
  • Bird Sense: A Birding Blog (VA)
  • Bird the Bend (TX)
  • Bird Traveling (AR)
  • Bird Treatment and Learning Center (AK)
  • Bird Watch (BC)
  • Bird Watching Binoculars
  • Bird Watching Blog (NY)
  • Bird Watching Guatemala Photoblog (Guatemala)
  • BirdBlog (FL)
  • BirdBreath Blog (CA)
  • Birdchick Blog (MN)
  • Birdernaturalist (AZ)
  • Birder’s Lounge (TX)
  • Birder's World Field of View
  • Birders on the Border (AZ)
  • BirdFellow (OR)
  • Birdfreak: The Bird Conservation Blog (IL)
  • Birding (NY)
  • Birding (TX)
  • Birding Across the World
  • Birding and Mountain Biking (FL)
  • Birding and Other Chatter (AK)
  • Birding Berrien and Beyond (MI)
  • Birding Business News
  • Birding Bytes
  • Birding Depot’s Bird Feeder (CA)
  • Birding Dude (NY)
  • Birding in Canada (MB)
  • Birding in Chico (CA)
  • Birding in Florida (FL)
  • Birding in Maine (ME)
  • Birding in Michigan (MI)
  • Birding in New Jersey (NJ)
  • Birding in Pátzcuaro and Michoacán, Mexico (TX)
  • Birding in Saulte Ste. Marie (ON)
  • Birding is NOT a crime!!!!
  • Birding Life (NY)
  • Birding Life Photography (ON)
  • Birding Newfoundland with Dave Brown (NF)
  • Birding News and Features @ eBird
  • Birding News, Sightings, and More
  • Birding North Central Massachusetts...and Beyond (MA)
  • Birding Notes (GA)
  • Birding on Broadmeade (TX)
  • Birding Sonoma County (CA)
  • Birding the Toledo Area and Beyond (OH)
  • Birding to the EDG@Nikon
  • Birding to the End (NY)
  • Birding Travel
  • Birding With Kenn and Kim (OH)
  • Birding With Ray and Anne
  • Birding With Tucker (IA)
  • Birding!—A Growing Obsession! (IN)
  • Birding/Wild
  • Birdinggirl (MA)
  • (Mexico)
  • BirdNote (WA)
  • Blog
  • Birdorable Blog (IL)
  • BirdPost
  • Birds and Climate Change
  • Birds and Nature (CO)
  • Birds Etcetera (MI)
  • Birds from Behind (OH)
  • Birds ‘n Such (VA)
  • Birds in My Bins & Lens (MI)
  • Birds in Your Backyard (GA)
  • Birds O' the Morning (CO)
  • Birds of Bay Area (CA)
  • Birds of Illinois (IL)
  • Birds of Maine (ME)
  • Birds of Plymouth Gardens (CA)
  • Birds on the Brain (GA)
  • Birdsbykim
  • Birdspot (NY)
  • Birdwatch–Tucson Arizona (AZ)
  • BirdWatchers Blog (MI)
  • BirdwatchingBlog—Bird Cams
  • BirdwatchRadio Blog (GA)
  • Birdy on My Window
  • Bloomingdale Village (NY)
  • Blossoms & Birdsong (ON)
  • Blue Lizard Birding (DE)
  • Bluebird of Friendliness (NY)
  • Blythe Birds and Silliness (CA)
  • Bob's Birding Blog (ID)
  • βoingbird—Extreme Birdwatching (MT)
  • bootstrap analysis (MI)
  • Boreal Bird Blog
  • Born Again Bird Watcher (OR)
  • Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds (CA)
  • BPBO Research Station Blog (ON)
  • Brandon’s Birding Blog
  • Brett's Backyard Birds (OH)
  • Brewster’s Linnet (MA)
  • Broken Bow Birder (NE)
  • BrooklynParrots (NY)
  • Bubba's Birding Blog (Belize)
  • 'Burgh Birder (ON)
  • Burning Hawk Blog (CA)
  • California Condor Conservation (CA)
  • Campephilus Woodpeckers (NY)
  • Caroline County MD Bird Club (MD)
  • Cass County Birding Page (MN)
  • CD 1000 - Clay's Digiscoping 1000
  • Central Park Wildlife Photography (NY)
  • Checkett Out@Ducks Unlimited (TN)
  • Chickadees, Juncos, and Jays Oh My! (CA)
  • Coastal Georgia Birding (GA)
  • Coffee & Conservation - Birds (MI)
  • Colder by the Lake (MN)
  • Colorado Birding (CO)
  • Colorado Field Ornithologists Photo Quiz (CO)
  • Columbus Peregrine Falcon Update (OH)
  • Confessions of a Backdoor Biologist (OK)
  • Confessions of a Reluctant Birder (NY)
  • Conservation Conversations (MO)
  • Corvid Corner
  • Cory's Blog (NE)
  • Costa Rica Living and Birding (Costa Rica)
  • Craig's Bird Watching and Nature Blog (FL)
  • Craig's Birds
  • Dakota’s All Natural Experience (IL)
  • Dave's Bird Watching Blog (NC)
  • DaveA's Birding Blog (CO)
  • DC Audubon Society (DC)
  • Blog (DE)
  • Drew's Birds (FL)
  • Donald the Birder's Blog (OH)
  • Dream Birding (TX)
  • Drive-By Birder (OH)
  • Duncraft's Wild Bird Blog
  • (CO)
  • Earthbird’s Blog
  • Ecobirder (MN)
  • El Chirimoyo for Birders (Michoacan, Mexico)
  • ETN Birder (TN)
  • Eugene Backyard Birds (OR)
  • Eureka Nature (AR)
  • Fairfax Birding (VA)
  • Falcon Blog (IN)
  • Falconry and Rehab Page (WY)
  • Falconstars (NY)
  • Feather Weather (CA)
  • Feathered Friends
  • Feeder Watch Fotos (NY)
  • Field and Swamp: Bird Blog (NC)
  • Field Notes@Maine Outdoor Journal (ME)
  • Fledging Birders Blog (NJ)
  • Fort Jefferson Dry Tortugas Birding Blog (FL)
  • Fowl Visions—Birding (FL)
  • From My Perch (MI)
  • Front Range Birding (CO)
  • GBBC Blog
  • Great Auk—or Greatest Auk? (NY)
  • Greensboro Birds (NC)
  • Greg’s Blog
  • Heather of the Hills (OH)
  • Hondu Birding (Honduras)
  • Hooked on Birding (CA)
  • Hummingbird Feeding Guide
  • Huron River Birding (MI)
  • I and the Bird
  • I Bird, You Watch (WI)
  • IBWO: Carolina Ivorybills (NC/SC)
  • IBWO: IBW Found Updates—As it Happens! (AL)
  • IBWO: Ivory-bills LiVE!!
  • IBWO: Updates from Florida (FL)
  • Idaho Bird Observatory (ID)
  • Imprints—Journal of the Rochester Falconcam (NY)
  • In a Cabin by a Wood (TX)
  • In the Field@Operation Migration (NY/ON)
  • International Bird Rescue Research Center (CA)
  • Introduced Birds Weblog (MI)
  • Iowa Voice (IA)
  • It's a bird thing (NM)
  • It's just me
  • Ivar's Birds (MN)
  • Jabberwocky of Jays (IL)
  • Jamestown Audubon Bird Sightings (NY)
  • Jeffrey A. Gordon (DE)
  • Jerry’s Birding / Digiscoping Blog (MI)
  • Jersey Birder (NJ)
  • John Rakestraw (OR)
  • JohnTheBirder (SK)
  • Josh Covill's Birding Blog (OR)
  • Julie Zickefoose (OH)
  • Kayak Paddle Tales (FL)
  • Kevin Bolton—Jersey Digiscoping (NJ)
  • Keweenaw Raptor Survey (MI)
  • Kitchen Window Birder (MA)
  • Lanny McDowell Avian Art (MA)
  • Larusology (ON)
  • Laura Goes Birding (OR)
  • Laura’s Birding Blog (NY)
  • Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus (FL)
  • Liberating Wings (FL)
  • Life of Birds
  • Life, Birds, and Everything (AZ)
  • Local Birding Magazine (NY)
  • Looking Out from Central Massachusetts (MA)
  • LoonWatch (WI)
  • Macbirder's Blog (CA)
  • Mad Birders (VT)
  • Magnificent Frigatebird - North America
  • Maine Birds (ME)
  • Manistee Audubon (MI)
  • Marie Winn's Central Park Nature News (NY)
  • Married to a Birder (IN)
  • Mary's Corner of the World (CA)
  • MI-Birder (MI)
  • Michigan Hummingbird Guy (MI)
  • Michigan Important Bird Areas Program (MI)
  • Midway Field Journal—Albatross Conservation (HI)
  • Midwest Birder (MI)
  • Mike's Birding & Digiscoping Blog (WI)
  • Minnesota Birdnerd (MN)
  • Missouri’s birds (MO)
  • Mokka mit Schlag - Birding
  • Mon@rch’s Nature Blog (NY)
  • My Avian Friends (IL)
  • My Bird Tales
  • My Birding Blog (CA)
  • My Birds Blog (OH)
  • My Birdy Blog (OH)
  • My "Little Year" in 2008 (CA)
  • My Orange County Birding Blog (CA)
  • My Purple Martin Blog (FL)
  • Natural History Artwork (NY)
  • Natural Notes - Florida (FL)
  • NaturalVisions Blog - Birds
  • Nature Knitter (MN)
  • NCIOS - North Central Illinois Ornithological Society (IL)
  • Nebraska Birding (NE)
  • NEO Birding@The Plain Dealer (OH)
  • Nervous Birds (MD)
  • Net Results (MI)
  • New Jersey Bird Photos (NJ)
  • New Jersey Osprey Project (NJ)
  • New Jersey Outdoors (NJ)
  • New Mexico Birds (NM)
  • Night Flight Images
  • Nomadic Birder (OH)
  • North Coast Diaries (OR)
  • Northern Maine Birds (ME)
  • Notes from soggy bottom (TN)
  • Notes from the Wildside (PA)
  • Nutty Birder (IN)
  • NYC Birds (NY)
  • NYC Nova Hunter (NY)
  • OC Birding (CA)
  • OC Warbler (FL)
  • Ocellated (Birding) (AZ)
  • Of a Feather (PA)
  • Ohio Birds and Biodiversity (OH)
  • On Carolina Wings (NC)
  • Ornitholature (MN)
  • Ortego Birds (TX)
  • Our Neck of the Woods (WI)
  • Owl Box - It's an Owl's Life (NJ)
  • PAHawkowl (PA)
  • Palemaleirregulars (NY)
  • Patzcuaro Birder (Michocan, Mexico)
  • Pedernales Falls State Park Prothonotary Warbler Nest Box Study (TX)
  • Peeps Online@ABA
  • Peregrinations (NY)
  • Peregrine Chick Blog (MB)
  • Pete at Midway (HI)
  • Phantom Birder (FL)
  • Phenomenological Visions (MN)
  • Pickings from the Chum Stick (NY)
  • Picus Blog (MA)
  • Pioneer Birding (MA)
  • Pish (MA)
  • Placer County Big Year! (CA)
  • Portland Backyard Birds (OR)
  • Prairie Ice (MT)
  • Presque Isle Bird Banding (PA)
  • Puffinpalooza
  • QC Birding 2009 (QC)
  • Quebec Birding 2008 (QC)
  • RAPTOR Inc. Blog (OH)
  • Random Musing (WA)
  • Raven Watcher (ME)
  • Ravens in Hollywood (CA)
  • Recent Bird Reports from Quebec (QC)
  • Red and Peanut (OH)
  • Redhawk's Raptor Diaries (FL)
  • Rich Ditch's Photography Blog (AZ)
  • Roger's bird blog (OR)
  • Rosyfinch Ramblings (FL)
  • Round Robin (NY)
  • Rural Chatter: Birds, Nature, and Environment (CO)
  • Ruthven Park Nature Blog (ON)
  • San Diego Birding and Photography (CA)
  • Saskatchewan Birds, Nature and Scenery (new) (SK)
  • Saskatchewan Birding, Nature & Scenery (old) (SK)
  • Saw-whet Owl Research (PA)
  • Saw-whets News (WA)
  • ScottCronenweth (ME)
  • SE Colorado Birding (CO)
  • SE Texas Wildlife (TX)
  • SEANET Blog (MA)
  • Search and Serendipity
  • Semipalmated Llama (OH)
  • Shearwater's Journeys (CA)
  • Shorebirder (CT)
  • Sibley Guides Notebook (MA)
  • Sitka Nature (AK)
  • Sitta Canadensis (ON)
  • Six-hundred Fifty Eight (MB)
  • Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's Blog (DC)
  • So Much Work, So Little Time..So Let’s Go Birding (AZ)
  • Something Clever (OR)
  • South Carolina Birder (SC)
  • South Shore Journal (MA)
  • Southeastern Shrike Adventures (GA)
  • Sparroworking in Quebec (QC)
  • SpeakBeak
  • Steph’s Birding Blog (IL)
  • Stokes Birding Blog (NH)
  • Surner Birding (MA)
  • Susan Gets Native (OH)
  • Such-N-Such Bird Blog (CO)
  • Swampblog (TX)
  • Tails of Birding (VT)
  • Talking Nature (CT)
  • Team Fly or Die (NJ)
  • Ted Eubanks' BirdSpert (TX)
  • Tern Island 2008 (HI)
  • Tern Island Times (HI)
  • Texas Bird Conservation Alliance (TX)
  • The Armchair Birder (GA)
  • The Bird Boy (NY)
  • The Birdchaser (PA)
  • The Birdcouple (MD)
  • The Bird Nerd (CA)
  • The Birder's Library (GA)
  • The Birder's Report (CA)
  • The Birding Blog of a California Young Birder (CA)
  • The Birding Life (OK)
  • The Birding Retailer’s Merchandising/Marketing Blog
  • The Birdist
  • The Bluebird’s Laugh (WI)
  • The Brownstone Birding Blog (CT)
  • The Bufflehead Birder (PA)
  • The Celery Farm & Beyond (NJ)
  • The City Birder (NY)
  • The Contemplative Nuthatch (NY)
  • The Curious Birder (MA)
  • The Distracted Birders
  • The Drinking Bird (NC)
  • The Endless Wilderness (UT)
  • The Epicurean Birder
  • The Eyrie—ABA’s Blog for Young Birders
  • The Fat Finch Bird Brain Blog (NM)
  • The Feather and the Flower (NY)
  • The Firefly Forest - Arizona Birds (AZ)
  • The Flycatcher (OR)
  • The Flying Mullet (FL)
  • The Gulls of Appledore (ME)
  • The Hawk Owl's Nest (NJ)
  • The Houston Birder (TX)
  • The Hudson River Birder (NY)
  • The Leica Birding Blog (FL)
  • The Meadowlands Blog (NJ)
  • The Near Georgia Report (GA)
  • The Nemesis Bird (PA)
  • The Networked Bird Observatory Blog (TX)
  • The Nightjar (NY)
  • The Oceanwanderers Book Shelf (NY)
  • The Origin of Species (NY)
  • The Ovenbird (NY)
  • The Passionate Birder
  • The Pelee Chickadee (ON)
  • The Perch—Audubon Magazine’s Blog (NY)
  • The Plover Warden Diaries (MA)
  • The Remnant Writer (IL)
  • The Shorebird Project (NJ)
  • The Spark Bird Blog (OH)
  • The SW WI Birder (WI)
  • The Tiny Aviary (IL)
  • The Urban Pantheist - Birds (NY)
  • The Wild Bird (WA)
  • The Zen Birdfeeder (NY)
  • There’s An Ibis in My Backyard! (FL)
  • Thoughts of an Iowa Birdwatcher (IA)
  • Tick Magnate (NY)
  • Tigrina Times@Cape May Bird Observatory (NJ)
  • Tim Avery Birding Blog (UT)
  • Tina's Bird Yarns (PA)
  • Today in NJ Birding History (NJ)
  • Toronto Bird Observatory Blog (ON)
  • Towheeblog (CA)
  • Twitterpated (IL)
  • Twin Beaks (NY)
  • Two Birders to Go (CA)
  • Ultimate Guide to Bird Feeders and Feeding (OH)
  • Under Clear Skies (CT)
  • Urban Birder (MO)
  • Urban Hawks (NY)
  • Vagrant
  • Veracruz Hawkwatch(Veracruz, Mexico)
  • Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VT)
  • View from the Cape@Cape May Bird Observatory (NJ)
  • Vickie Henderson Art (TN)
  • Vulture Cafe (PNW)
  • Walk With Me (IL)
  • Warbler Watch (CA)
  • WBPO - Owls (MI)
  • WBPO - Sightings (MI)
  • Whitefish Point Bird Observatory - Waterbirds (MI)
  • WBU's Birding Blog (FL)
  • Weekend Shooter (MN)
  • Wekiva Basin Banding Station (FL)
  • Well Regarded Birds (CA)
  • West Coast Birding (BC)
  • Wholly Natural (PA)
  • Whooper Happenings
  • Wild Birds Unlimited (Lansing, MI)
  • WildBird on the Fly (CA)
  • Wildbirds Broadcasting (NE)
  • WingbarsCafe
  • Wingbeat: The WINGS Birding Blog
  • Winged Wonders (NJ)
  • Wingnut (MN)
  • Wings Sprit (GA)
  • Woodcreeper (NJ)
  • Words on Birds (IL)
  • World Bird Sanctuary (MO)
  • Zugunruhe (CO)

    Inactive (i.e., no blog-posting in more than a year):
  • “Witchities” World Series of Birding Blog (NJ)
  • A View from the North (MB)
  • Alan's BirdCam Blog (GA)
  • B and B - Birds (TX)
  • Backyard Birding
  • Bird Notes from West Houston (TX)
  • Bird Watching for Birders
  • Bird Watching in Westcliffe (CO)
  • birdDC (DC)
  • Birding Virginia (VA)
  • Birdspotting (BC)
  • Birdwatch (Veracruz, Mexico)
  • Birdwatchin' Buzz (CA)
  • BirdWatching
  • Citizen Science Projects - Ornithology
  • Dave Slager’s Blog (MI)
  • East Bay Birders (WA)
  • Florida Big Year (FL)
  • For Elect Eyes Only (WA)
  • Gulf Crossings (TX)
  • Home Bird Days (NJ)
  • IBWO: Cornell's Arkansas Search Travel Log 2007-08 (AR)
  • IBWO: Cornell’s Mobile Search Team Travel Log 2006-07 (NY)
  • IBWO: Cornell’s Mobile Search Team Travel Log 2007-08 (NY)
  • IBWO: Feathered Ghosts
  • IBWO: Ivory-bill Skeptic (now known as Tom Nelson; the last significant post about IBWOs appeared in mid-September 2007--see here) (MN)
  • IBWO: News from the 2007 Search (ON)
  • IBWO: The Choctawhatchee Search (FL)
  • Illinois Birds (IL)
  • Little Big Year (WI)
  • Migrateblog (IL)
  • My Backyard Birds (VA)
  • Night of the Kingfisher (ON)
  • Omar's Birding (NJ)
  • Ornitheologisms
  • Ornithology (OH)
  • Osprey Project(IN)
  • Quebec year list 2007 (QC)
  • rkbirding (CA)
  • Southwestern Birding Tales (NV)
  • The Chronicles
  • The Incorrigible Birder (Veracruz, Mexico)
  • The QUBS Review (CO)
  • The Rookie Birder (IL)
  • Birding Blog (CA)
  • Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Owl Research (MI)
  • Windy City Birder (IL)
  • Last revised: 03/25/10.

    A Special Thank You!

    I wanted to send out a special huge-ginormous-tremendous Thank You to our clients, for without you, there would be no us!

    MasterPiece Weddings had a terrific year! Our Studio turned One, and you all love it here! And we love you!

    We have been to some beautiful places in 2008 - and we look forward to spending more wedding days with you in 2009!

    Thank You especially for entrusting your special day to us, and we thank you for the honor of working with you!

    You are the best!  Happy New Year!

    Happy New 2009!

    As we all reflect on what 2008 as brought us, and reigning in 2009, I am reminded that 2008, although not an easy year, and brings lots of hope and for what is to come. has brought me closer to my family and friends.

    This year has been a fantastic year for MasterPiece Weddings, and I am so, oh so, grateful for that.

    I am thankful for my business associates, especially for Kristin, for without her, I promise you I wouldn’t have half the hair on my head that is there now.

    I am so grateful for my husband that has been there for me without question, and backed me in every crazy endeavor that I have dove head first into.

    I am thankful for my heath, and for God giving me the vision to do Let’s Eat Cake! {which is coming up in less than 2 months!!!!!} I am so excited for 2009, and the hope and joy that it has already given me!

    And especially, a BIG HUGE thank you to all of YOU that read this blog, and contribute in the comments and email, you are always a ginormous inspiration to me!!!

    Happy New Year!!

    Tuesday, December 30, 2008

    African Bird Blogs

    What follows is a list of active African bird blogs that are personally known to me. I’m sure that there are others that I have not yet discovered. My goal is to make this list as comprehensive as possible. I plan to update the list frequently, so if you know of other African bird blogs (or have one yourself) that should be included here, please leave a comment.
  • A Raptors Ramblings (South Africa)
  • Accipiters of Southern Africa (South Africa)
  • Adam Welz's Weblog (South Africa)
  • Aliwal Birdblog (South Africa)
  • Birding Limpopo (South Africa)
  • Birding With Trish (South Africa)
  • Birdman (Tanzania)
  • Bryan Groom (South Africa)
  • Colin's Bird Atlassing Blog (South Africa)
  • Ernst’s Birding Blog (South Africa)
  • (South Africa)
  • Kersten Birding (South Africa)
  • KZN Atlasing (South Africa)
  • KZN Midlands Bird Club (South Africa)
  • mafikeng birds (South Africa)
  • My Bird Sightings (South Africa)
  • Stuart Groom (South Africa)

  • Birding in South Africa (South Africa)

  • Last revised: 03/30/10.

    South American Bird Blogs

    What follows is a list of active and inactive bird blogs of South America that are personally known to me. I’m sure that there are others that I have not yet discovered. My goal is to make this list as comprehensive as possible. I plan to update the list frequently, so if you know of other South American bird blogs (or have one yourself) that should be included here, please leave a comment.
  • Area de Ornitologica (Peru) [Spanish]
  • Aves de Jaú (Brazil) [Portuguese]
  • Aves do Território Alagoano (Brazil) [Portuguese]
  • Birding in Peru and South America (Peru)
  • Birding in Southern Peru (Peru)
  • Birding in the Falkland Islands
  • Birds in Brasil (Brazil)
  • Birds in Peru (Peru)
  • Birds of Prey - Aves de Rapina (Brazil) [Portuguese]
  • Brazil (Brazil)
  • Brazilian Birder (Brazil)
  • Caapora (Brazil) [Portuguese]
  • Expedições Ornitológicas (Brazil) [Portuguese]
  • Passarinhando (Brazil) [Portuguese]
  • Surucuá e Tristezas do Jeca (Brazil) [Portuguese]
  • Teach Me About Birdwatching!!! (Peru)

  • Peru Birding (Peru)
  • The Dodo Blog (Brazil)
  • Last revised: 4/14/09.

    Bird Blogs of Australia and New Zealand

    What follows is a list of active and inactive bird blogs of Australia and New Zealand that are personally known to me. I’m sure that there are others that I have not yet discovered. My goal is to make this list as comprehensive as possible. I plan to update the list frequently, so if you know of other Australian or New Zealand bird blogs (or have one yourself) that should be included here, please leave a comment.
  • A Bird in the Bush (NSW)
  • An Australian Bird Bander (ACT)
  • Ben Cruachan - Natural History
  • Bird Anonymous (NSW)
  • Bird Explorers (NSW)
  • Bird Note—Words on Birds (NSW)
  • Birding - with Max (NSW)
  • Birds and Things (QLD)
  • Birds in Tasmania (TAS)
  • Blackbirdblog (New Zealand)
  • Cooloola Birds (QLD)
  • Craig Miller - Blogography (NSW)
  • Gouldiae's Blog (VIC)
  • Lucky's bird photography adventures (NSW)
  • Mark Young's Birding Blog (NSW)
  • My Birding Blogs (NSW)
  • Nordmann's Greenshank (NSW)
  • Nyoman's Birdwatching (QLD)
  • Richard Hall's Birding Blog (SA)
  • Sandy Straits and Beyond
  • Search and Serendipity
  • Steve Happ Photography
  • The Northern Myth – Birds (NT)
  • Trevor's Birding (SA)
  • Tyto Tony (QLD)

    Inactive (i.e., no blog-postings in more than a year):
  • ACT Big Twitch (ACT)
  • Birding South Australia (SA)
  • Dabbler (WA)
  • Local birds etc. (VIC)
  • Of Emus and Fairy Wrens
  • Last revised: 6/27/09.

    Asian Bird Blogs

    What follows is a list of active and inactive English-language Asian bird blogs that are personally known to me. I’m sure that there are others that I have not yet discovered. My goal is to make this list as comprehensive as possible. I plan to update the list frequently, so if you know of other Asian bird blogs (or have one yourself) that should be included here, please leave a comment.
  • A Birdwatcher's Diary (India)
  • Addi the Birde (India)
  • Amazing Borneo (Malaysia)
  • Bird Ecology Study Group (Singapore)
  • Bird Group – MNS Selangor Branch (Malaysia)
  • Birders of Sabah Borneo Island (Malaysia)
  • Birding Babylon (Iraq)
  • Birding India (India)
  • Birding Israel (Israel)
  • Birding Kabul (Afghanistan)
  • Birding Mongolia (Mongolia)
  • Birds and Nature Photography (Malaysia)
  • Birds Rule!!! (Singapore)
  • Birdwatching of Indonesia (Indonesia)
  • Burung Sulawesi (Indonesia)
  • Carmo Police (Japan)
  • Dartford Waffler - Thailand (Thailand)
  • Dig Deep (Malaysia)
  • Electric Birding (Thailand)
  • Friendly Animals (India)
  • Gallicissa (Sri Lanka)
  • Hakodate Birding (original) (Japan)
  • Hakodate Birding (new) (Japan)
  • Hirobirder (Japan)
  • Indian Birder (India)
  • John’s Hong Kong Birding Blog (Hong Kong)
  • My Birding field trips (Malaysia)
  • Nordmann's Greenshank (Australia)
  • Phuket Birders Blog (Thailand)
  • Shore Birds in Japan (Japan)
  • Sri Lanka Birds (Sri Lanka)
  • The Jewelthrush Diaries
  • Those magnificent flying machines (India)
  • Urban Babblers (India)
  • Wildlife, Bird Watching, etc. (India)
  • Wild Birding Philippines (Philippines)

    Inactive (i.e., no blog-posting in more than a year):
  • Easy Bird Watching Guide
  • Kazu Birding (Japan)
  • Thai Birds and More (Thailand)
  • Tokyo Birder (Japan)
  • Last revised: 6/27/09.

    Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant

    All of the existing Cooper’s Hawk Wineries and Restaurants seem to be located in the Chicago metropolitan area. I can’t vouch for the quality of the wine or the sumptuousness of the food, but these upscale establishments look like they’d be fun to visit.

    Open Letter to David Sibley

    I found this tongue-in-cheek letter from My 42 Cents to bird artist/field-guide author David Sibley rather humorous. To my knowledge, Sibley has not replied (nor would I expect him to).

    Winter Inspiration

    In Florida, the weather has been un-seasonable warm. Unlike the rest of the United States. Two weeks ago we were in the 20s and 30s, this week it's been in the 70s - it's difficult to get into the spirit of the holidays... so we inspire ourselves.

    Bride with Bouquet,White Cosmo, Pearls, Cake, Square Fabric, Ring Bearer, White Tux, White Centerpiece, Table Setting, Pillow- Cake2, Pearl Candle, Shells, White Tent-

    Monday, December 29, 2008

    Carnivorous Chickens

    Credit: Photo is by canong2fan at Flickr.
    One night earlier this month I was mumbling in my sleep to such an extent that it woke Marj. I was making such a racket, apparently, that she was afraid I was having a heart attack. I was also flailing my arms and hands in the air, seemingly trying to ward off attacks from an intruder that only I was aware of.

    After prodding me until I was partially awake, Marj asked me what my problem was. I replied sleepily, “Hmmm? Oh, nothing.”

    I immediately started dozing off back to sleep. But before I did, I roused myself just enough to mutter, “Oh, now I remember. I was dreaming about carnivorous chickens.”

    Whereupon, I promptly passed out again, probably leaving Marj a bit bemused and chuckling to herself, wondering what the hell I had been dreaming.

    I remembered the dream the next day. There was no doubt that I had been fighting off giant, carnivorous chickens—Moas, maybe (yeah, I know they were herbivores, but let's just pretend otherwise)—in my sleep. I could remember that they were going after my face with their bills. But I didn’t spend much time thinking about it or trying to interpret the meaning of the dream.

    A week or so later, a serendipitous Google search for “carnivorous chicken” turned up an article from Scientific American with the following eye-catching title: Was T. Rex Really King of the Lizards—or Just a Big, Carnivorous Chicken? To summarize the major finding of the paper:
    Scientists extracted collagen from the femur of a 68-million-year-old T. rex and found that its protein sequences were most similar to those of chickens, among modern animals.
    I guess there was a good reason why I was talking to myself and flailing my arms and hands in the air. Those chickens, or whatever they were, might have been even bigger than I imagined. One thing is certain: I'll never again look at a chicken without being reminded of that dream!

    Fred Moore, Cuban style

    click to enlarge

    Many moons ago during the Fred Moore marathon here I posted some terrific rough character drawings Fred Moore did of this little Cuban rooster.   Here's one more, perhaps one of the best.  As with the vast majority of the others this is from the collection of James Walker--a man whose generosity (as well as his love of Fred Moore's appealing drawing)  is boundless.  A little end-of-year treat for readers of the Blackwing Diaries.

    At the time I knew only the sketchiest details of the project they were created for, but thanks to a post by Wade Sampson that you can read here, I know more.  Fred Cuba.  Something tells me that trip would make the wild spree in Guys and Dolls seem like a girl scout bake sale. But as nothing much has ever been said about it before to my knowledge, perhaps not. Either way, Fred did some wonderful work on that trip that shows he still had it in '46-about the time he was fired from Disney's.
    As Sampson mentions, Disney historian J.B. Kaufman has been working on a book about all of the Disney Good Neighbor/Latin American films; after seeing the Ted Thomas documentary recently I'm especially looking forward to its seeing print.

    After The Holidays!

    We have gotten a number of emails asking what the protocol is after the holidays. To write a thank you note, or to not write a note- that is the question.

    Well, this can be gone back and forth on - personally, I think that you should write a thank you note, regardless. Someone went out of their way to find something for you that they thought you’d like…regardless of the cost, they were thinking of you.

    On the other hand… if your neighbor dropped off a plate of cookies, I don’t know that it necessarily deserves a long drawn out note, but if it was out of the blue… tradition shows that it deserves a mention of some kind.

    So all in all- when in doubt, write a note.

    Image Source

    Sunday, December 28, 2008

    From Birds to Beetles

    Sir Paul McCartney has revealed that he liked birds so much as a kid that he wanted to be an ornithologist. But somewhere along the way to his chosen career he went astray, instead becoming an award-winning singer/songwriter.

    Shackleton’s Owl Shacks

    Cliff Shackleton, nongame ornithologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife by day, is a manufacturer of nest boxes for owls by night, as described in this article. Check out Cliff’s Owl Shacks here.

    Chapman’s “Christmas Bird-Census”

    Tom Baine does an excellent job of putting into historical context the birth of Frank M. Chapman’s brilliant vision, the Christmas Bird Count, way back in 1900.

    Ornithologist = Tour Guide?

    Study four years to be an ornithologist and you, too, can become a bird-tour guide. At least that's what this article from African Executive seems to imply . . . not that there’s anything wrong with being a tour guide, mind you!

    Thursday, December 25, 2008

    Birds of Christmas 2008

    Caption: Female Northern Cardinal, by Henry McLin, as posted at Flickr.
    Today was a day spent visiting with friends and family. But between the social events, I managed to keep an eye out for the birds. Here’s a list of the 17 species seen or heard in or from the yard on this lovely Christmas Day:
  • Ring-billed Gull – 1 adult flying over the house enroute to the landfill
  • Mourning Dove – 4 at the feeders
  • Great Horned Owl – a distant bird heard calling at about 7:00 AM
  • Downy Woodpecker – 2 at feeders
  • Blue Jay – 2 birds heard
  • Black-capped Chickadee – 2 birds arguing over sunflower seeds
  • Tufted Titmouse – 1 at the bird bath and later the feeders
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – 1 bird at suet feeder
  • American Tree Sparrow – half a dozen birds at feeders
  • White-throated Sparrow – 1 immature below feeders
  • Dark-eyed Junco – dozens of birds at the feeders
  • Northern Cardinal – 2 females
  • Purple Finch – 1 female at feeders
  • House Finch – half a dozen birds at feeders
  • Pine Siskin – several dozen birds at feeders
  • American Goldfinch – several dozen birds at feeders
  • House Sparrow – 5 birds
  • Wednesday, December 24, 2008

    Christmas Cheer

    On Christmas Eve, I’d like to send out a little something that will put a smile on people’s faces, so here’s an example of my quirky sense of humor. Enjoy!

    Ghost Bird: An Interview

    Here’s an excellent interview—from NPR local affiliate KUAF 91.3 in Fayette, Arkansas—that focuses on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and features Scott Crocker, producer/director of Ghost Bird (the movie), and Alan Mueller, avian conservation program manager for The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas. The interview runs about 10 minutes in length.

    In Crocker’s words, the movie “conjures up nostalgia and longing.”

    eBird Continues to Grow and Improve

    eBird, the massive online checklist project administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, continues to grow, including more than 1,000,000 checklists submitted in a single month. Read the eBird Annual Report for 2008 here.

    Better yet, add the eBird blog—Birding News and Features—to your regular reading list. One of my favorite entries of late was the explanation of the new, updated Bar Charts feature, which is a marked improvement over the previous version. Others may enjoy the recent discussion of crossbill vocalizations.

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    Happy Holidays!!

    From all of us to all of you, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a super fabulous Happy New Year!

    Our offices will be closed from December 24th through January 5th - except for Audrey and Nate's Wedding!

    Have a Happy Holiday season, and I'll see you after the Seven Fishes Dinner!

    Bush Pardons Killer of Bald Eagles

    A Missouri man, as reported here:
    Leslie Owen Collier of Charleston, Mo., who pleaded guilty in 1995 to unlawfully killing three bald eagles in southeast Missouri. He improperly used pesticide in hamburger meat to kill coyotes, but ended up killing many other animals, including the bald eagles. Collier, who was convicted for unauthorized use of a pesticide and violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, was sentenced Feb. 2, 1996 in the Eastern District of Missouri.
    More news coverage of this story can be found here. Of particular interest is this source, which features a video of former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s musical tribute to the American Bald Eagle. Not to be missed!


    During this time of year we all tie lots of bows! But do you know how to tie the perfect bow? At I found a great step by step on how to tie, just the perfect bow!

    1. Measure ribbon by wrapping the ribbon around the box twice. It is helpful to use a sharp pair of scissors when trimming your edges. Make sure to leave enough ribbon so you can trim the edges again, if necessary, after your bow is tied.
    2. Tighten the ribbon around the box and with your right hand pull the length of ribbon on the left over and under to create a single tie, as you would when tying your shoe.
    3. Place your thumb on your left hand to hold the tightness and pull the ribbon length of the right side up to create a loop.
    4. Pull the loop over to the right as you use your left hand to take the ribbon length around the loop.
    5. Pull ribbon through and under. Then pull up to create a second loop over the first loop.
    6. Pull the two loop ends to create a even bow.
    7. Tighten the bow to your desired length.
    8. To create even edges, take both ribbon lengths on left and right, pull together to measure them at the same place which ensures they will be cut at the same length, and then cut at any angle you please.

    Happy Holidays!!

    Monday, December 22, 2008

    Christmas Bird Count Tragedy

    Onik Arian was taking advantage of a break in the storm to go out on the Crescent City [California] jetty and spot a few birds Sunday.

    That's when a wave swept the local emergency room physician off the concrete breakwater into the rocks below, where he died of blunt force head trauma.

    An avid bird-watcher for many years, Arian was taking part in the National Audubon Society's annual holiday bird count early Sunday.
    Click here to read the rest of the story from the The Daily Triplicate. This is the first I’ve ever heard of someone dying while participating in a Christmas Bird Count (but that's probably not something Audubon would choose to publicize). I wonder if there have been other mortalities in the past? The manner in which Dr. Arian died is particularly tragic.

    The Story of the 15 Foot Christmas Tree!

    It all started with an idea. The idea that I wanted to put up and ginormously tall Christmas Tree. My husband was out of town, so I asked his best friend Chris to help. {with the promise I would make him a delicious Salmon dinner as a Thank You!} 2 Christmas Tree stands, a bunch of money and a bird nest… the tree was up.

    So as I stood there at the grocery store {where they sold Christmas Trees and gave the profits to Charity} I fell in love with the biggest, largest, most beautiful tree E.V.E.R! It was a 15 Foot Tree… and the proceeds were going to charity, so what-the-hey!

    6:30PM – I went to Publix got this HUGE tree, I had spotted it at lunchtime and knew that if they still had it after work, that I was going to buy it and surprise John when he came home from his business trip. The nice man loaded it up on top of the Wedding Mobile, and I proceeded to drive 2 miles an hour home

    7:00PM- With the tree bottom bobbin’ up and down the top of the tree can be seen from the rearview mirror of the car – I am telling you it was huge!!! I get home and Chris and I roll it off the car, and then roll it into the back yard.

    Chris gets out the chain saw and cuts at good 6 inches off the bottom. So that this huge tree can suck up all the water it wants.

    7:30PM- Then we trim some of those pesky bottom branches, I run up into the attic get the handy tree stand down. And then we attempt to get the bottom of the tree into the plastic stand. Of course I was worried that it is not going to fit in the stand, and viola it fits!!!

    Horary! Then we bring it in the house through the back, and attempt to get it upright, and then as we are heeving and hooeing all of a sudden the tree stand, bends in half!!! CRAP!

    8:30PM- Okay, so dinner at 9:00… right! WRONG! Then Chris and I leave for Wal-Mart and buy a handy dandy new stand made for large trees, since we measured the base of the tree at about 5 3/4 inches we knew that it would fit, and it said it was made for a large trees up to 12' tall {what’s 3 feet amongst tree-friends}, okay, so we get it home and this time I go over to our neighbors house, and ask if he can help us get the heavy tree into the stand.

    9:00PM - No dinner yet, Shane and Chris get the tree into the stand and up it goes and it all looks good, and we hear a settling noise, like the tree is settling into the stand, and then a loud crack-bam-craacckkkkk and then again a loud crack, the plastic stand, broke, cracked in half!!!!

    Okay, so now I am frustrated and a bit peeved! I am going to get this dag gom tree up tonight if it is the death of me... We leave and go to the Christmas Tree place on the side of the road, and there is a sign that says "No Fall tree stand, the last stand you will ever have to buy, guarteed to be straight every time, takes 30 second to put up", okay so I ask the guy about it, and he says that he is closed. And started to walk away.

    I proceed to say, “PUHLEASE All I need is a Christmas Tree stand! And He makes a face and says that everything is put away!” And I start working on the tears! Here they come, and then he pulls out this stand, that looks like the one my parents used in 1954 or maybe 1979, either way I was desperate!!

    I said okay, what ever it costs no problem, I buy the stand, and then we bring it back to the house, and then Chris cannot find John's drill bits.{Remember, John is out of town and I wanted to suprise him with this glorious tree}

    9:30PM- I am knocking on other neighbors doors asking if they have drill bits that will fit this tree, 5/8" drill bits, he did…, and then tada we had to bang it in with a hammer for about 5 minutes, okay it went in and then we put up the tree and then take down the twine that it holding it together, and then the tree is up!!

    Well sort of, it is too wide now for the part of the living room we put it in, so I get the hedge trimmers and start tearing away at the back of tree so that the branches are not hitting the windows

    10:30PM - We ate dinner, then I got enough energy to finishing trimming the bottom so that I could vacuum the carpet, because you know half the pine needles in the world were on the floor!

    Then what do I see….a bird's nest in the tree, honestly, we just left it there, all Christmas!

    So that is the story of the 15’ Christmas Tree, bigger isn’t always better.

    PS- That stand - well the plastic dish underneath it broke, and then all of the water slowly leaked out and molded up our carpet... we had to replace all of our carpet in that room. All thanks to my dream of having a tall tree.

    I wish you and yours and easy, relaxing, stress free Holiday Season!

    Sunday, December 21, 2008

    Media Coverage of the Niles Christmas Bird Count

    The 46th annual Niles Christmas Bird Count was held yesterday. The following article appeared on page B1 of the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune on Sunday, December 21, 2008:

    Counting birds for Niles annual census

    Area birders count species and numbers in flocks.

    Tribune Staff Writer

    NILES — Alison Village likes the competitive edge of counting birds.

    "I like seeing if I can see something (birds) before someone else," Alison, 16, said.

    She took part in the 46th annual Niles Area Christmas Bird Count Saturday with her partner, Mary Jo Canaday, of Berrien Springs.

    The area for the bird count has been divided into eight territories which encompasses a circle with a 15-mile diameter that includes Niles, Buchanan and Berrien Springs.

    The pair watched a bald eagle soar along the St. Joseph River four different times while taking count of birds along the river.

    "That's been a treat," Alison, of Berrien Springs, said.

    They saw a Lapland Longspur (a sparrow-like bird) at the Berrien County Landfill in Buchanan and that's been a first sighting of the species in this area since 1989, according to Wendy Jones, coordinator of the bird count.

    "They are only seen in the winter around here," said Jones, a naturalist and education manager at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve.

    There were about 450 seagulls[sic] and 2,000 to 3,000 starlings at the landfill, as well as a red-tailed hawk.

    "Hawks like to eat off that kind of stuff," said Canaday. "It was a very aromatic experience."

    Alison and Canaday started their count at 5:30 a.m. and finished about 4 p.m.

    They'd find a place that looked like a good habitat for birds, an open field or a deeply wooded area, Canaday said.

    "In order to see the birds, we used a CD with distress calls and the birds would come in to stave off the predator," she said.

    It amuses Canaday to watch the reaction of birds to the CD.

    "I appreciate the variety of birds and I enjoy their behavior," Canaday said. "I work long hours so it's very relaxing to be in nature. I appreciate the stillness and it keeps me going."

    Dick and Pat Schinkel, of Berrien Springs, saw a robin in a berry tree in the parking lot of McDonald's in Buchanan and a tundra swan on the St. Joseph River.

    "They migrate through here but normally don't stop here," Dick Schinkel said. "We've been doing the count for 30 years and know the area of our territory."

    The data collected by the field counters at lunch time was 54 species, said Jones. She also had feeder counters (people that count bird feeders at their homes) that mail in their data.

    And bird counters have been referred to as citizen scientists for several years, Jones said.

    "We're not trained scientists, but we can gather data that professional scientists can never get due to time and money," she said.

    A history of bird counting

    The bird count celebrates its 109th year with more than 42,000 birders taking part in the annual census.

    The 2007 Niles Area Christmas Bird Count included 11,521 individual birds, a record high, and 72 species.

    Data from each count provide valuable information to ornithologists, scientists that [sic] study birds.

    The National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count was established in 1900 by Frank Chapman, an ornithologist with the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

    He began publishing “Bird Lore,” which became a unifying national form for the Audubon movement.

    Chapman felt it was better to count birds than shoot them, which was a sport on Christmas Day, to see how many birds could be shot.

    The first bird count extended throughout the U.S. from Mexico to Canada.