Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Computer Access

I have lost computer access (temporarily) except while I am at work, so blogging will have to be put on hold for a while until I get a replacement AC adapter for the laptop. Hope to be back soon...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Eagle Cam

I'm addicted to the eagle cam at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, MD. The eaglets are about three weeks old now and this is the second year I have followed this nest-cam. I love to watch the older eaglet peck on the younger one. They also have an osprey cam. Try it.

Spark Bird and Birding Mentor

It wouldn't be a bird blog if I didn't talk about what started me birding. I got started in birding late in life - in my 40's. My uncle, a long-time resident of North Carolina, is a dedicated birder for 20+ years. During a visit three years ago, he took me birding. My first un-assisted sighting was a plastic owl (I was so sure it was real)! I wasn't sure that this hobby was for me, but as I stood by some reeds at a marsh, trying to focus my binoculars on an egret, a red-shouldered hawk rose from the grasses and perched there for several minutes. I was enthralled and hopelessly hooked. When I returned home to Pennsylvania, I found myself constantly noticing birds - in the air, on the ground, and perched on wires and trees. It became a problem when I was driving and I annoyed friends when my attention would drift to what was outside the window or in the sky. I consider myself strictly a novice, but am enjoying the learning experience of recognizing species and adding them to my list - now up to 176 and hopefully to get over 200 this year.

So the red-shouldered hawk is my spark bird and my Uncle Jim is my mentor. He taught me to color in the lines when I was little - I vividly remember laying on the dining room floor at Grandmom's house, struggling to impress him with my coloring prowess. He gave me the gift of coloring and now he has given me the gift of birding. I am very grateful. Thanks Uncle Jim!

Pete Dunne, in his book "More Tales of a Low Rent Birder" says it best:

"Many, if not most birders, can trace their interest and their development to one special person who took them under a wing. Who taught them the skills and the lore. Who initiated them into the fabric of birding society. This mentor and pupil bond is key to birding, maybe irreplaceable. It helped make birding what it is. It serves to hold it together. And it guides us as we navigate a course through and uncertain future."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Beginning to Blog

At the urging of my bloggy friends, most notably, Susan, I've ventured into the great unknown world of blogging. Now I am officially removed from the Lurker and Commentator list! Thanks, Susan. Although I may be cursing you later when this gets overwhelming. I certainly don't know any of the tricks to making a pleasant-to-look-at blog but I hope I will pick it up in good time. And I know my bloggy pals will offer suggestions and help.

I am looking foward to the New River Birding and Nature Festival in West Virginia in April. I will spend four days birding and laughing with friends and hope to see lots of wonderful birds. At the risk of jinxing myself, my target bird for the trip is a Cerulean warbler. My fingers are crossed that I will see one (or two!). After the festival, I am traveling to Renick, WV to visit my uncle and cousin who built a vacation cabin in the mountains near the Monongahela National Forest. Last summer when I visited, I participated in a little beekeeping - they have three hives. It was fun, if a little stifling in those darn suits.

Anyway, they harvested a record 70 pounds of honey that summer and my new nickname is the Bee Whisperer. Who knows what fate awaits me this time.

Uncle and me catching a glimpse of a scarlet tanager.