compiled by John Shamgochian
July is a busy month as summer vacationing season is in full swing and nearly everyone is going somewhere, be it Hawaii or Florida, Costa Rica or Texas. We swung through Cape Anne this July after a quick stay in Worcester county, Massachusetts. We've just returned from Stowe, Vermont, where we had fun and saw cool birds, and next we head out to the White Mountains and Acadia National Park. Yes, July is a very busy month.
That leads me to wonder where other young of our unusual subspecies (Homo sapiens "birdnerdallis") have enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) the month. Some have taken up temporary residence on Hog Island in Maine, while others go for a long drive across the mighty state of California. Some junior birders visit the mountains of Colorado in a posse led by a swarm of famed birders, while others plan to have a Harlequin Ducks in Puget Sound before the month is out.
I've always loved reading others birding stories and no month yields more fascinating tales then July.
Perhaps some of you have been lucky enough to stumble upon a parula's nest; I know I haven't. But this is just what Corey Husic comes across on his very first day on that birding wonderland, Hog Island. This and more are described with beautiful detail in a series of fascinating posts on THE BAYPOLL BLOG.
For the rest of the afternoon, I explored the portion of the island near the cabins and buildings until some of the other teens arrived. During this time, I spotted a female Northern Parula carrying food, a sign that she had a nest nearby. With the help of some others, I spotted the nest, which looked like nothing more than a clump of lichen in a lichen-filled tree! This little nest and the chirping babies inside would prove to be one of the most exciting aspects of the week... more on that later!
On SUCH-N-SUCH BIRD BLOG,brothers Marcel and Joel Such recount a long, long car drive through the bird-encrusted state of California. This trip is also written as a set of posts (this link takes you to the first of a series about this trip).
Three weeks ago today, we left Denver for an epic road trip, starting in Las Vegas, Nevada and encompassing a good chunk of the enormous and ecologically diverse state of California. For 16 days, we traveled 4,017 miles exploring the hot and barren Mojave Desert, the beautiful and unique Channel Islands, the stunning coastline and chaparral-covered hills of Highway 1, the vineyards of the central valleys, and the extremely varied habitats of the Sierra Nevada range.
Yet another post written by Corey Husic, this time on THE NEMESIS BIRD, describes a day full of Barn Owl banding. Corey deserves extra notice on this one, for this post was also highlighted on the ABA Blog' latest edition of Blog Birding!
When the banders arrived, they climbed up the silo to get the young owls and bring them to the ground where they could be safely banded. When the bander reached the top of the silo, a few of us saw the white flash of an owl flying across the hole at the top of the silo. As we waited patiently down below, we could hear the hissing and cries of the owls being placed into bags and carefully carried down.
At FLIGHT OF THE SCRUB-JAY, Fairfield, Connecticut's very own young birder, Alex Burdo, describes the discovery of a mega, with an all too common (and disappointing) twist.
I know what you’re thinking, though. ‘Is 21 species on a hot summer day REALLY worth capitalizing the title for?’ You’re right, it’s not. Instead, it is to explain our excitement over one very special bird, a ‘mega’. In birding terms a mega is usually an extremely rare bird, far away from its native lands and habitats, in a location that it has scarcely been recorded in before, if at all.
On his blog NOT JUST BIRDS, former "Eyrie" manager Neil Gilbert chronicles a 130 mile canoe trip powered by peanut butter (one of the most popular foods in the birding community).
While roaring down the road in the pickup belonging to Kevin, the Jack Pine savage from whom we had borrowed the canoe, we described our plan, to which Kevin shook his head and boomed, “Oh, no, no, you don’t want to do that. Too many dams! You want to float the Manistee!” He slapped his knee and laughed his jovial guffaw that is impossible to impersonate or even describe, apart from the fact that it is fatally infectious.
So it was that nearly two months later in the middle of the night Alison and I found ourselves wresting an old barge of a canoe off the roof of my Taurus, which was dwarfed by the craft that would bear us one hundred and thirty miles from the Manistee’s headwaters to Mesick.
The next story comes not only from a young birder, but from a comparatively ancient one. This young birder (if still alive) will be in her mid 90s. I must now add that this story was written the month and year my grandfather was born and is based in the town he frequents, which is kind of a neat coincidence. To read this post you can't follow a link to some ancient blog; instead this tale comes from the July-August 1925 issue of Bird-Lore. It was written by nine year old Amherst, Massachusetts resident Barbara Nice. Note the change in hands-on birding approach from then to now.
On May 29,1925, we found some baby Screech Owls in College Woods, Amherst, Mass. Two were sitting together on a short dead limb in a pine tree, but the other one was in another pine tree by itself. We took two home and put them in a wooden cage with a box for a top. When they were hungry they would give a queer little baby screech. We fed them meat scraps, angleworms, and tent caterpillars, but they did not care for the caterpillars very much. They ate two big grasshoppers that we caught for them, but when we brought a sick salamander they would take it in their beaks then spit it out, they were very dear pets.