Not a lot of writing at the moment, unless it’s about coordinate systems or horizontal datums or TIGER file formats and reclassification techniques and the appropriateness of choropleth maps vs. dot density maps.
I might write something sometime. But probably not soon.
In the meantime, a friend is writing very good, well-researched, very pleasant to read stuff over at http://www.smithjam.com/, on an occasional sort of schedule. Check out the recent Bayman’s Road Map for some deep NJ place-name goodness. Makes me want to grab a kayak and get paddlin’.
I’ve got a date with the Tanager again before the week is out. My year list… whatever you want to make of lists – contains nothing but city birds: house sparrow, white-throated sparrow, robin, mummer, starling, mocker, rockie – but it’s charming how new they feel in January. Tomorrow morning I’m hoping to kick off the birding year in style with a certain teeny tiny owl, possibly a Northern Shrike, and whatever else I happen across along the way.
Happy birding in the New Year, y’all. I’m looking forward to every minute.
#1 First and foremost: Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. I’m okay, everyone I know was okay, most places I know and love were (for the most part) okay.
#2 You never know who or what is going to show up super early in the morning on a pretty rough industrial patch of the Delaware River-side.
Exhibit A: American Birding Associationbrass Jeff Gordon & George Armistead. George is a Philly lifer, so it wasn’t too surprising to catch him out and about, but Jeff was certainly an unexpected vagrant. Extra points to Jeff for acting as the nerve center for text messages, facebook, listserv reports etc — all while using SmartWool socks as gloves. High-five!
Jaunty hat, SmartWool sock gloves, and big smiles. Pleasure birding with you, Jeff!
It’s not that I haven’t been birding. Au contraire. Birding is an even larger part of my life than ever. In fact, it accounts for the love at my side, countless new friends, countless hours in the field, amazing – like, mind blowing amazing – experiences, way too many books, lectures, bbqs, cold beverages, the ever-churning lust for better gear… so why aren’t I writing about it?
Well, it’s the same reason I should be writing about it. It’s personal. It’s not just something I do, more and more, it’s who I am. The challenge is keeping personal details to the side while writing about something so utterly personal. See?
Here’s a perfect example, the one that’s pushed me back to the press in fact. Hurricane Sandy. Or, as an associate birder accurately called it: that fat bitch.
My lunchtime birding patch is the UPenn Biopond, or Kaskey Park. It’s perfectly snack-sized. I can make the rounds twice in an hour. I usually grab something on the go, cram it in my face on foot, and have free hands to handle my binoculars by the time I get there.
The birding is let’s say… not spectacular. But during migration it’s worth a quickie – it doesn’t have to rock your world, but it gets you through the day ;-)
In the past, I’ve had various thrushes, ovenbird, magnolia warbler, black and white warbler, and this year I’ve had a common yellowthroat, a brown thrasher, and another hermit thrush. Still no ovenbird, but any day now… Continue reading →
We’re used to it. There’s an app for that — but not for Android. I suspect the gap is going to close now that Google’s platform occupies over half of the market. For the moment, the paucity of birding app options in the Market remains the case — but I’m crafty, and I’ve got some moves.
iPhone app stars BirdsEye and BirdJam are not available. This is how I do it instead.
[UPDATE: Audubon Birds has added eBird-based bird-finding functionality to their app for Android since this article was originally posted.]
Bird-finding without BirdsEye: Chrome to Phone.
No need to find yourself outside, stubbornly pecking away at the tiny, mouse-designed buttons and forms in eBird. Not with Chrome to Phone.
Install the plugin to your desktop’s Chrome browser, then install the app on your Droid from the Market. Both require your Google account information and a few seconds to set up. Both are free. Continue reading →