30 Birds

Random Footnotes

Not documentation, but illumination of or expansion upon, randomly, various items. Episodically and unpredictably, but perhaps interestingly. A place also for corrections/comments. Contact info in Addendum.

Preface

Perhaps to eccentricities listed at end here should be added molecular biology. This, in the person of James D. Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA. Nobel Laureate. Although he ended up micro, he started macro, as a bird watcher, sharing the hobby with his businessman father in Chicago. Graduated from University of Chicago (B.S. zoology). Another eccentricity would be James Bond.

007 a bird-watcher? Not exactly, but his creator, Ian Fleming, was -- a keen one. After the war he retired to Jamaica (my trip there, many years later, included his house and the Doctor Bird). The field guide for the Caribbean area had been authored by a prominent ornithologist at the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences. No prizes for guessing that man's name. Fleming (a heavy smoker, dead at 56) once said to the ornithologist's wife: "It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born."

1/ Irresistible Lemmon Red-faced Warbler

A checklist for the birds of Theodore Roosevelt Island can be found here: TRI .    A list for Brigantine is here: FWS.    The full text of the Supreme Court decision in Hirabayashi v. US can be found here: Hirabayashi. Be sure and read the magnificent, vehement dissent by Justice Frank Murphy, a man who had his head on straight. Hirabayashi"s first name, incidentally, was not Hideki or Isoroku. It was Gordon -- which says something.

2/ Above and Above White-tailed Ptarmigan

Our birding party there on Mt. Evans included two women out of the five. The study cited of "social learning" in ptarmigans was authored by two women. This all accords with the article A Feminist Revolution in Birding (also linked to in the Addendum here).

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3/ Masked Sibilicide Masked Booby

Fort Jefferson, from which I was unsatisfactorily scoping Hospital Key is nothing if not very odd. 16 million bricks taken out to the middle of the sea for strategic purposes, though the need behind that strategy never materialized. The bricks were not going anywhere, however. The typical tour via ferry boat, to what is now a National Park, lasts about four hours -- in and about the fort. Reading its history is in many ways more interesting. It was used as a prison during and after the Civil War. Far the most interesting prisoner was Samuel Mudd, the doctor at whose home John Wilkes Booth arrived after the assassination and who worked on Booth's fractured leg. What Mudd knew or didn't has launched a thousand books. Yellow fever broke out at the Fort in 1867, and when the prison doctor died of it, Mudd took over and stemmed the disease. The soldiers petitioned President Johnson on his behalf, and he was pardoned. A good movie about all this was made in 1936 by John Ford, a movie with the odd title "The Prisoner of Shark Island." As for using scopes to bird, and connecting them to a digital camera, a good article is Making the connecton.
Potential future notes: Great White Fleet

4/ On the Border Hook-billed Kite

Potential future notes: Edwards Plateau Robert Caro


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5/ Visiting Nobility Whiskered Tern

Potential future notes: Delaware.

6/ Walking on Water Leach's Storm-petrel

We were looking for the white rump, but in fact this area off San Diego is complicated. Indeed the authors of the 7th edition of the National Geographic guide felt it necessary to include a special subspecies map of the area (p. 567) showing where dark-rumped chapmani (breeding and post-breeding) occurs in relation to the nominate subspecies as well as another white-rumped species, Townsend's, and Ainsley's Storm-petrel, which ranges to the Galapagos and which many consider a subspecies of Leach's. On a personal note, one of the NGS authors, Jon, was on the trip I describe, and the other was someone whose acquaintance I made when I used to, every day, park my car at the end of Hutchins Pl, NW in DC and head down to the C&O Canal with Shanghai, our beloved Malamute. Turned out one of the people living down there was a first-class bird artist named Jonathan, with whom I enjoyably chatted on a number of occasions.
Potential future notes: William Elford Leach, Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, Monophysitism.

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7/ Contented Hog Gray Hawk

It's not about the Gray Hawk, but this is as good a place as any to insert a note about the film The Big Year, a fictional version based on the book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession which was written by Mark Obmascik about one of those actual quests to see a record number of birds in a single year. The screenplay is by Howard Franklin, a variegated writer-director, and directed by David Frankel, a variegated writer-director some of whose work is perhaps better known (The Devil Wears Prada). The cast is also variegated: Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Joe Black and an assortment of other very good actors, among whom are Rashida Jones, Anjelica Huston, Rosamund Pike, JoBeth Williams, and Brian Dennehy. Although stupid Rotten Tomatoes gives it but 40%, and it lost about $34m, it is in fact a terrific film. It is funny in being true to life and to the idea of being obsessed with the idea of winning the trophy (as if there were one) of seeing the most birds from midnight January 1 to midnight December 31. If you ever wanted to visit Attu island, here is you chance. Skulduggery is not neglected. Marital discord. Clumsiness. Rich and poor. Actual birds are seen. The film is fictional, but real, and something that every birder, the majority of whom are not crazy enough to lust after a Big Year, will appreciate. Click on the image here and help these people recover some of the $34m.

Potential future notes: Simon Schama George Cuvier, Ernst Mayr, Philippe Pinel

8/ Restricted Diet Snail Kite

Potential future notes: Miccosukee tribe, Samuel Eliot Morrison, Seminoles. History of binoculars (Nikon 9x)


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9/ Marineland California Gnatcher

Something very interesting happened at a northern cousin to Marineland in 1989 -- Marine World in Vallejo. Two Beaked Whales, exact species unknown, perhaps the world's least-known mammal -- certainly one of them -- became stranded on the California shore and were taken to Marine World and given the names Alexander and Nicholas. Alexander survived only two weeks, Nicholas a further 10 days. Sadly short, but in fact the longest any Beaked Whale has survived out of the ocean.
    Potential future notes: American Ornithologists' Union, Marine Corps Camp Pendleton, Pacific Coast Highway.


10/ Carderock Barred owl

Potential future notes: Shelby Foote, Edward Howe Forbush, Karel Voous, Isidore Geoffrey St-Hilaire, Katherine McKeever.


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11/ Valhalla Black Swift

Potential future notes: G. Evelyn Hutchinson, Fran├žois Leguat, Huguenots, Ahwahneechee, Jared Diamond, Cooper Ornithological Club.

12/ Hammering Nuttall's Woodpecker

An interesting story about a Nuttall's is contained in the charming, brief autobiography famous California birder, Don Roberson, offers on this website. Roberson    Potential future notes: Elliott Coues, Yellow-breasted Chat.


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13/ Penelope Eurasian Wigeon

Potential future notes: James Jobling, B.C. Livezey.

14/ Bahamas Bird Stripe-headed Tanager (Western Spindalis)

Potential future notes: M.L. and P.R. Isler, T.C. Moermond, Alexander Skutch


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15/ Burrow Bird Black-vented Shearwater

Potential future notes: Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Puffinus.

16/ Percy Bysshe Eurasian Skylark

Percy had, one imagines, certain psychological issues, given his unbelievably complicated emotional life. Who knows whether "Bird Therapy" would have helped? It did, however, help another Brit, Joe Harkness, who has written about how it helped him overcome a personal psychology which included drug and alcohol addiction: here. Potential future notes: Clive James, Mark Twain, Mary Wollstonecraft,

Potential future notes: Clive James, Mark Twain, Mary Wollstonecraft,


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17/ Pawnee Lapland Longspur

Potential future notes: Pawnee National Grassland, Pronghorn Antelope, English sparrows.

18/ On the Rocks Rock Sandpiper

Potential future notes: David Schneider, Darwin, Wallace [Evolution of Beauty] Spencer Fullerton Baird, Sparrow War, Theosophy.

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19/ Marathon Antillean Nighthawk

Potential future notes: Edmund C. Jaeger, Chuckwalla Mountains, James Lane bird finding guides, Robert Moehling.

20/ Well Loved Tricolored Blackbird

Potential future notes: H.M.S. Beagle, Johnson Neff, Gordon Orians and Robert Payne, Frederick Crase and Richard DeHaven, Edward Beedy and William Hamilton.


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21/ Alas, Lost Cousin Canary-winged Parakeet

In reacquainting with Audubon's magnificent portrait of the Carolina Parakeet, I came across the following from the great man himself: "A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children." This is on the website of Nevada's Red Rock Audubon Society Potential future notes: General Grant, Perzina, Changsha, Hunan province, State Natural Heritage Programs

22/ Bombay Hook Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Potential future notes: Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC, FDR


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23/ Back Bay Long-billed Curlew

Potential future notes: Candlestick Point.

24/ Unexpected Popup LeConte's Sparrow

A picture of Dr. Chipley in Michigan on this trip:
chip

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25/ Presidio Lawrence's Goldfinch

Potential future notes: Don Roberson, George Newbald Lawrence, D.G. Elliot , John C. Fremont

26/ Little Creek Curlew Sandpiper

Potential future notes: Russia, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, Delaware, Port Mahon Road, Little Creek Wildlife Area, molting fall adult.

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27/ Tiger Creek Short-tailed Hawk

Potential future notes: Florida scrub, Avon Park Bombing Range, Clarice Ford, Sharla Shettler, Dothan, Alabama

28/ Taxonomic Birding Red-naped Sapsucker

Potential future notes: Gaspard (Caspar) Bauhin, Johann Siegesbeck, harlotry, Paul Ehrlich, Gretchen Daily.

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29/ Deceiving Appearance Kelp Gull

Potential future notes: Pierre-Yves Henry, Jean-Christophe Aznar, Austin Gallagher, Right whales [endangered]

30/ Florida Canyon Rufous-crowned Warbler

Potential future notes: Alexander Skutch, Painted Redstart


A picture of Bob in the sun, though in a different sunshine state:
 bob in FL


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Bonus White-winged Tern

Potential future notes: Horseshoe crabs, Red Knot.

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Birds treated, but not featured (see Photo Credits):