Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Guess where I'll be next week?

I just found out today that I'll be going on a business trip to Buenos Aires next week for 8 days. As soon as I heard I'd be going, all I could think about was all the birds I could see. I really never thought I'd ever go to South America. I have a lot of mixed feelings about travel - I kind of hate it a lot. And not in the "I hate airplanes and packing" kind of dislike of travel. More that I don't enjoy being far away from home, and though I enjoy the idea of learning about new places and seeing new things, it doesn't always offset the feeling of isolation and confusion I feel in a foreign country, especially where I don't speak the language.

However, there are some additional factors for this trip I am weighing in - for one, it will be summer in Argentina, which is great. On the other hand, I remember the only other business trip I've been on to Miami a few years ago, where I was very lonely had nothing to do myself in the evening after work. I ended up eating dinner in a restaurant at a table for one and then Harry Potter by myself in the theatre. I remember actually thinking how I now understood why businessmen get hookers - they're just lonely.

Of course, the thing that I immediately thought about was how I would be able to see South American birds that I never dreamed that I would ever see. PARROTS. Would I really see parrots? I realized I actually knew nothing at all about South American birds, or Argentina.

I bought a book on Amazon.com - Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica. I think this'll help.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Overly ambitious

In Alaska, an eagle carrying a deer head flew into powerlines and blew out the power for 10,000 people in Juneau. I really like that the headline of this article is "Overly ambitious eagle knocks out power."

Ambitious! Like the eagle was thinking to himself, "I know I can do it - I just have to put my mind to it! If I believe it, I can achieve it!!!!!!"

Saturday, January 27, 2007

New friend

So I know this is off topic, but lately I've been thinking a lot about how much I like raccoons. I think I may elevate them to Very Liked Animal status, along with sea lions, cats, and black crowned night-herons.

I really like that Wendy's commercial where the raccoons steal a car and take it through the drive-thru. Also the part in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle where the animatronic raccoon gets in the car and bites Harold. Animatronic raccoons are AMAZING.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

South Island Kokako.... EXTINCT!!!

Aw, sorry, lil' buddy.

I saw this article on StrangeArk.com- South Island kokako declared extinct.

Call me a pollyanna, but it seems a little soon to ring the death knell. Maybe that's a little wishful thinking, but I mean, it's happened before.

Here's an article from a few years ago on the NZ Nature Co site:

"Searchers, Ornithologists and volunteers spend more than 100 days in the field each spring and summer, visiting a range of promising locations throughout the South Island and Stewart Island. Although no unequivocal evidence was recorded, a number of clues were gathered which combine to build up a picture of a species that remains elusive but alive:

  • A number of kokako-like calls were heard, many of which were noted at places where reliable reports of kokako had already been received.
  • A distinctive, unidentified moss grubbing was found in several places where kokako had been reported previously.
  • At one site, a kokako-like bird was briefly glimpsed, although it was not positively identified.
  • A large number of new reports were received – many of which are very promising and require further investigation.

"It is becoming progressively more difficult to offer alternative explanations for our findings", said search leader Rhys Buckingham. "While the South Island Kokako is clearly a secretive and unpredictable bird, we consistently find signs of their presence."

"What is most interesting is that we keep uncovering evidence at those sites where reliable reports of Kokako have already been received. There is a very strong correlation between our findings and known historical information."

The site also lists all the places where evidence of the kokakos was most recently found. It seems to be from around 2000. List of evidence.

There aren't many photos of the kokako on google image search, and apparently that's because the bird is so elusive that it's barely been photographed. The first image that comes up is of a man with binoculars, looking for the bird. It's from a website for a radio show where this guy is interview.

The guy is named Rhys Buckingham, and after googling his name, I learned that he has some Buddist books on his Amazon.com wishlist and also made a review of a Bright Eyes album he bought on Amazon. According to Amazon, his birthday is in two days. Do you think I should buy him one of his books? What a nice treat that would be for him.

Here is a link to the radio show he is interviewed on: Looking for the Grey Ghost - .mp3".

I'm kind of hoping that Micky especially will enjoy this podcast.

South Island Kokako

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Jamaica Bay

Amy Hunt and I made a trip to Jamaica Bay on Sunday to impress the other birders with my new scope. Unfortunately, we showed up on a day where there seemed to be some sort of club meeting for bird photographer, and they all had HUGE photo lenses on tripod.

A lot of northern shovelers, hooded mergansers, northern pintails, black ducks, american coots, etc...

More importantly, Amy bought an adorable stuffed mourning dove at the gift shop:

Amy's new soft friend:

Check out the big camera in the background:

Ducks in the background: