Saturday, December 22, 2012


The Holidays are coming and going and I am spending my time outside owling of course.  Once again, I am being met with failure, however, I am starting to get closer at identifying owl habitat and evidence of owls.  While the other day, I did manage to hear a Eastern Screech Owl, I am continuing my quest to find owls in the wild.  At the end of the day, I am enjoying the challenge.  Of course, I am stuck between owling and and shorebirding.  But that's a post for another day

Happy holidays to all!

White Wash on a Cedar in Connecticut (C) Mine

2012 List:
251 (eastern screech owl and white ibis)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Role of Failure

Dipping must be my middle name.  This weekend's theme is failure.  I've been trying for some time now to see a Northern Saw-Whet Owl.  I keep track of the emails and ebird postings (which are often hard to find to protect this bird and rightfully so) and I even read up on the biology, habits and tendencies of this bird.  Still nothing.  I've been whacked by so many cedar branches and fallen pine cones, that I ask my self what I am doing looking for one little owl when there are plenty of other birds to see, behold, and enjoy.

This brings me to next topic.  Failure.  What role does failure play in birding?  How does the "dip" as they call it push us to move on or stifle our efforts?  How can we, as birders, naturalists, whatever you want to call it, ensure that we have the ability, capacity and tenacity to continue birding failure after failure?  Well, there are couple of things to keep in mind.  The first that without failure, there would be no success.  The joys of finding the bird you are looking come from, in part, the effort you put in to find it.  Failure isn't an end but rather, a step to being successful.  While I have yet to see a Northern Saw-Whet Owl, I do know what a cedar, pine and hemlock tree look like without a Saw-Whet Owl in them.  Along the way, I've seen Barred Owls, Juvenile Sharpies, Merlins, and all sorts of birds and raptors.  While I've enjoyed the pursuits, I do have a goal to find the Saw-whet and I have to keep that in mind.

Here's my future Target and I will keep trying!
File:Northern saw-whet owl.jpg
Northern Saw-Whet Owl (c) brendan.lally of flickr
original link:

2012 Life List:
248 (Eurasian Wigeon)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book Review: Hawks in Flight

Due to a few work and home projects, I couldn't make it out to see the birds.  So for this week, I want to write a review of the latest birding book I picked up.  Dunne, Sibley and Sutton's book does a great job of outlining the challenges and pitfalls of identifying Hawks in Flight.  From regional differences to the challenges created by color morphs, Hawks in Flight outlines a lot of the forms that you can see out in nature.  One the things that I really an enjoying about this book is the fact that it places photos side by side to help you see how the different forms and the different birds look in the wild.  I've included a photo below so you can see how the pages look yourself.

This book is top quality how serves a very niche utility.  During Hawk Migration in the Fall, this book, cannot be replaced as a helpful guide.  I only real complaint is nullified by the point of this guide.  I love looking and learning about birds in their habitat and seeing multiple pictures of them.  This book is meant to guide the hawk watchers and counters who spend hours looking up at the sky.  While this book caters to them and their needs, it is still worth your while to pick up this book and marvel at the pages, photos and informations that fill its pages!

Hawks in Flight: Second Edition
From and (c) of Houghton Mifflin Publishers

Some Sample Photo Comparions of a Red-Tailed hawk,  (c) to the Authors!