Motto

"Wherever I go and wherever I am, I find I should be somewhere else."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tits Up




Oh humor me...would you not expect a pun?  Tits up......broken; dead in the water, floating
It is a long and windy road I'm traveling much like this one I found 4 miles back in central North Dakota.  Things always happen to me.

Why was I even in Central North Dakota?
First, I like birding the prairie.  Secondly, I had two birds on my list that are review birds in Minnesota, I was losing sleep over them.  Sprague's pipit which is the 4th in MN in 10 years and that Baird's sparrow...yea that one.  I NEED to sleep at night.  Third, I really know NW, North Dakota and eastern Montana well for birding, all those chasing of petroglyphs (like this one of an eskimo curlew in NW NDakota) and mounds,


I seem to know every weird rock, mound, everything up here.   but I have not birded central North Dakota but it is a lot closer, so well, prairie is prairie, I like driving to see what is over the next hill.



I took off on Tuesday.  It was blowing about 35 mph but was a nice day up here.  You got to know how to bird in the wind up here and typically you have to bird in little hollows.  Unfortunately I needed my flushing spaniel but she was getting a hair cut so, It was just me.  Brighid is a great sparrow flusher

North Dakota is just like Oklahoma where they reserved sections in every township for the schools.  Typically, these have the best prairie as they rent it out for pasture.  I think you can access them as a birder and I haven't been thrown out yet.  Some of these are in the middle of nowhere, though and after all the rain up here, it was a muddy 4x4 drive.  I hey some puddles that just kicked up so much mud...it was kind of fun.

Well to birding....I spotted a Baird's and heard two more, I could not get a camera on the one I saw, it wasn't for lack of trying.  It seems only the grasshopper sparrows came up when walking but heck, a guy can only do so much

I did get a camera on a Sprague's pipit through a muddy car window and dang thing was spooky in the wind, so only got two shots.  This is about as SE as you ever see them in the summer


 I got a photogenic dickcissal


We've had a big eruption of them this year
Well my work done in North Dakota I was enjoying myself.  It was a great day to bird.  I stopped in Jamestown to buy an extra pair of boots, someone knifed my snake boots in Alaska and I ordered a new pair at Cabelas but decided I needed a second pair, I rarely shop so I bought a new pair of pants  ..and then....the phone rang.  Lakes Region Electric is putting in a underground powerline near my house and they accidentally cut my already underground cable.............


Getting late they wouldn't get to fix it until tomorrow....I needed to get home to save the stuff in the freezer and fridge...geez.  My wife and daughter were in Minneapolis.......I hustled home furious, so they are moving my camper hook up for free off the powerpole.

While home I still birded in my back yard today

Swainson's hawk anyone?

I have to ask...which county is this Eastern Kingbird actually in, head is in Day County but mid body and tail is in Roberts County.  The pitfalls of listing on a county line and living on one...


What about year birds?  I did get a link about gray headed chickadee being a Euro birder shall be forever the Siberian tit to me...on a blog from a recent tour...it is pretty good

http://www.david-w-shaw.com/the-mysterious-gray-headed-chickadee/

I'm glad I wasn't on that trip....lucky me!

But...I'm now thinking I want to go chase this bird especially in the Yukon.  This bird needs to be found and documented better and I got a new Yukon birding friend....can I bring guns to Canada to protect from bears?  I'm not so dishonest to say my year is for anything, other than myself.  How can it not be?  But I want to become the tit man, I really do.  My first word was water but second was chickadee.  Really..they are such cute little guys.

My lifer tit came in the Lapland region of Sweden one winter skiing, when I gave up and went into a pub on the side of the trail and watched the Swedes do well at the world Nordic Championships, somewhere after third beer and outside (Swedes will go outside and sit at a table any time of the year) cheering the team a pair of tits came by....cool!  But as they are declining on this side of the pond, and no one can find them, this looks like a productive project for me, maybe if I can get enough data, I can write a book or an article on them....

So my last goal for the year, find a bird to dedicate my life too....the Siberian tit...gray headed chickadee it is!  I'll try to help them, but first someone needs to find them, and well in that, I can help.

so anyhow, I covered my pipit and Baird's with extra sightings so now I can rest easy.  Power back on...so I can write this blog, and I got my new mascot bird.....at least I pickd a bird I can find...well maybe....

The Dakotas are 600 miles of really fun birding intermingled with a near disaster.  Some call this hell, I call this home..........I'm more comfortable with my list now....

My life as a big year birder, something is always tits up, hopefully next time it won't be me

Olaf

8 comments:

  1. I love reading your blog.
    Do you have any strategies going forward to he end of the year?
    What locations you might visit, etc.

    Also saw this on the Alaska listserve:
    http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1148870&MLID=AK01&MLNM=Alaska%20Birding

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    1. Thx, strategy is simple, don't get my wife mad at me

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    2. That sounds like a good long term strategy!

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  2. Hi Olaf, I've just discovered your Blog! Really enjoyed reading about your exploits. I'm a keen ABA birder from England. Just a question about your trip to Gambell...Did you go with a tour group or plan it yourself? Good luck for the rest of your year.

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  3. Hi, Olaf! Your pipit looks quite a bit like a juvenile Horned Lark to me, which is a common identification problem. No offense is intended at all, but did you eliminate that possibility in the field? Cheers!

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    1. They do look a lot s like and I did see some around. Not right there. The thing that struck me was the pronounced white tail edges when it flew off to my right. It went right into the wind and stalled out as I was trying to open window and photograph it. I had one fly by me ten miles up road and that is what I saw too. Something always looks like something just to confuse you.

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    2. I looked at this with better internet. I blow up the photo I still think pipit bill but idk. I turfed it to pas serine sp on checklist. Good it was back up of back up idk. One needs to be certain now I'm filled with doubt thanks tho

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