Motto

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

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Killer Rabbit of Patagonia


The Movie Monte Python, first told the story of a terrible beast, a mythical beast, killed with a holy handgranade but....there could not just be one......then the story continued....really....

It was 1979. and despite the best efforts of the US Secret Service...President Jimmy Carter while fishing on a small farm pond in Georgia was charged by a swamp rabbit and as the rabbit tried to board the President's boat a small skirmish occurred and the beast was repelled with a boat oar, so continues the legend of the Killer Rabbit.  It was thought that the Welsh left King Arthur in search of new land but in reality, they were just taking the Killer Attack Rabbits to a new land....what became America.

It was said by some that the rabbit and it's kin were moved by the US Government to a place where no one would be bothered by these foul ill-tempered creatures ever again....until.........Olaf showed up......

The synopsis:

Big Year Total:  693
Coded Birds:  60

number to go to old record:  57
Miles driven.  30,235
Flight Miles 88,200
flight segments: 94   Different Airports: 39
Hours at sea: 123
Miles walked 195
showshoes 4 (isn't going to be any more)
Miles biked 2
states/ prov. birded: 31
Lifers seen this year:  47
nights slept in car:  9

Yes, really?  killer Rabbit?....but more on the appearance of "Killer"  later....

A sojourn first into Olaf:

Many of you ask questions....

How much are you spending?
It is rumored that Komito spend 80-100K on his 1998 year.
I'm thinking I'll spend 45K, plus a boat load of fflier miles.  Way WAY below other birders....efficiency....and fflier miles.....this doesn't count my car damage from sons or broken camera.

I will add a new category:  Costs for trip

Arizona, May 24-28
flight RDU to PHX       $174 (cheapest flight I've seen in a while)
Rental car  $210
gas, $76.00
Hotels....$625  (family of three for three nights, two for one, full cost..note should have been $80 camping)
share guide fee  $80
feeder fees for me  $10.  (have National access pass)
$3 donation to museum in Willcox
laundry  $4
food.  $124
lifer beer $5
total   $1301

added stuff.  Lost waterbottle $25, broken speaker cord $18, car is NOT in parking at home airport, postage to send home wife's stuff in Portal,


My favorite books?
Ursula LaGuin The Dispossessed -fiction
Barry Lopez-- Of Wolves and men
Both were the most influential books in my literary and personal development, One was a textbook for a college course.

Where am I from?

I grew up on the family sawmill in rural NW Wisconsin, Falun a Swedish immigrant community.  I trapped pocket gophers and worked on the mill in my youth.  He stressed in me the advantages to knowing how to live off the land.  I have only worked for another person in my life for 5 years in residency.  Grandpa Allwin Danielson taught me to be a deer tracker.  I taught myself to be a proficient pike fisherman.  Grandma Danielson taught me to hunt and clean squirrels.
My grandfather never advocated for the fairness of life outside of our little domain, in fact, he stressed the opposite....you need to make sure you are comfortable in what and who you are because no one else will acknowledge it.

When is the book coming out on this year?

Been there done that...I don't think I will write anything more than this for this year.  Books are dead.  I wish Hayward the utmost success with his, but again, been there done that.  Boobies Peckers and Tits, poured out my innermost fears and thoughts and there have been too many big year books.   Partners one of the biggest distributors of books...Out of business this month...private books stores,,,,dead, dying...Amazon...pays you nothing and gives you headaches.  I write fiction so my kids can appreciate my versions of Utopia and what fears and thoughts I have in my head....if any break even, I'd be shocked.  No one cares...no one reads,...especially, to be brutally honest...no one cares what i think or write, I am from the part of the USA, that is ignored by those on the coasts....for a Midwestern author to get published from a big house...get real.

why big year?
I'll explain more on that next segment, it is complicated.......time to talk about the birding

May 24/25th brought me and my family to Madera, they arrived 8 hours after I did.

The birds kept coming
679.  Varied Bunting (could not get a photo at Santa Rita feeders)
680.  Cordillian Flycatcher

I went out with a Dr Ammann I met and we got his lifer whipoorwill, a nice guy from Vancouver BC.
681.  Mexican Whippoorwill
682.  Whiskered screech owl

May 25
683.  Red faced warbler
684.  Plain capped starthroat
Dig the red-faced warbler.....one of my favorites

The starthroat I had staked out for 5 hours before just before 11am on the 25th, it appeared without warning, and drank a bit, as I grabbed for my camera, it was gone.  I had neither time to shout there it is or anything before it was gone.  The woman in front of me started chanting lifer bird...lifer bird...the two of us were the only two paying enough attention to get the 20 second cameo view of the bird.  It wasn't a lifer for me and I have a huge blow up of the 2013 bird on my wall.

Eventually my wife who had taken Lena back for a nap to Chaparusa Bed and Breakfast (I'd camp if I was by myself) found me walking home....she had forgotten about picking me up.

I met up with Thor, his friend Dan, and Laurens Halsey in Green Valley, a place where Thor had just bought into to.  I was too young to live there, 50 is the new 20 or something IDK.  LOL.  I got a local expert Halsey to show the way to the California Gulch as I hate it down there....long, scary, and windy road.  I had my 16 yo with...Silja went over to visit Joan, Thor's wife.


But it does have one good sign.
We got there and staked out the night and found
685.  Five striped sparrow
686.  Buff Collared nightjar

Clear as mud...right?  You can see her collar, it was a female.  I had heard her song on proctor road in 2013, just didn't know I had, oh well to late now to add one to my BPT list....

May 26th soon became the number two birding day of the year.  I got my crew out of bed and we hit the road at 645 and drove the Box canyon road over to Sierra Vista.  I was relieved upon arriving late at Ramsey Canyon but finding there still was parking at 0815.  No fights today in the parking lot.  We hiked the trail, and it wasn't a trail of tears or anything.  Just up but either I was in better shape or maybe I given the trail too much credence OR even the flycatcher had moved a lot down but it was an easy hike.

The tufter just appeared in the dry creek bed, and there it was in all of its code 5 glory.

687.  Tufted Flycatcher

 over exposed under exposed but well I had a perfect shot of one of the two last year.

Walking back, a helpful birder pointed out bird #688.
Sulphur-bellied flycatcher

We also saw a cool raven nest
I'm not sure how they fit.  Mother needs to kick some not-so-baby birds out.
I got bird #689.  Virginia warbler in the oak scrub, and well we got back to the car by noon.

We went over to Beatty's for lunch (we brought it) to watch hummers and a blue thorated came in bird #690, but I missed the photo op as it was too close.  Here is a photo from the 27th at Cave Creek Ranch in Portal to document...

Then it was off to Patagonia.  We had a plan, find laundromat, put in load....go find thick-billed kingbird, come back, switch to dry, go to Patton's IDK, because my daughter noticed she needed a brown headed cowbird (really?) and then back.

Phase one, Laundromat
they had one, next to the police station with itself was just a trailer

24 minutes later, #691 nabbed, Thick-billed Kingbird
back to get change at grocery store and something to eat for supper, then drier..

It was at Patton's when I got scowled at by the attack rabbit....
Lena got the cowbird...we saw the violet crowned hummingbird...now a trash bird and no one bothered to take a photo...

We arrived just as the drier had stopped spinning 32 minutes later packed and headed back to Madera...plan foolproof, my clothing didn't reek of me anymore...

We ate and then thinking.....seeing a white buffalo was supposed to be magical....I saw a white buck playing golf one fall at Luck Country Club and well I had a "Lucky" round and then the white rabbit...?

I said let us go owling!  The ladies agreed....wow!  What a crew.

We hiked into an undisclosed place in Madera and nearing dusk heard the whiskered screech owls everywhere.  Mexican whip-poor-wills were singing and I said to LE and Sil that Flamulated owls sound more like owls.  I had only one call of theirs on my iphone and I played it once to show them. Immediately, I saw the flutter of a something land on a dead tree in front of us.  I shined my light thinking it was a bat.....FLAM OWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was beside myself saying..."There it is, there it is!" Maybe like 20 times thinking the two ladies wouldn't notice the little owl 15 feet away. I was in disbelief Wow!  Wow again, wow a third time. I didn't bring a camera.  Who knew?  I thought there was like 10% chance we'd even hear one.

"Try the screech owl song once"  Lena said as the Flam owl went away.  I did.  In came another bird, same branch.  Whiskered screech owl.  Lena was ready with the iphone, she got an owl photo with an iPhone....?
It looked so big compared to the Flam....by the way, Flam Owl was a lifer...and I didn't even have any beer with, just white wine.
#692....what a day, what a day...thank you rabbit.  The attack rabbit portends good things...unless your name is Jimmy Carter

I got 6 birds during Boobies Peckers and Tits at this same spot, and now 6 lifers here, all within 10 feet.  I like this spot.  I love this spot....cool!!!

I drove out of Madera nearing 4am as we cruised through to the Tucson airport, and dropped my best friend, Silja off for her flight to Atlanta and then Dusseldorf.  It was great reconnecting, and now she had her adventure and we had ours, Lena and I had one more bird to find for my list and she had all kinds of stuff.

Willcox gave up a Bullock's oriole for LE and then 20 miles south, I stopped at the side of the road and her year bird #400, Scaled quail darted around the road.


I hadn't got a photograph of any this year either so it was a good stop as it is pretty certain a guy or gal  needs to document everybird they can.

It was a happy car as we rolled up the Pinery Canyon Road, directions were to go exactly 10 miles...and about mile 8.2 from the black top, we came across a birder in California plates, he was looking for the redstart he said, I said "I think the spot is farther up."  I scratched my head and drove on.  Then well before 10, we saw birders.  This looked like the real deal.  We stopped.  It was the stakeout.  They had seen it twice, about an hour ago, and it was just 7  am.  We didn't have to wait long.  It flew out across the road in minutes, then lost it showed back up in the pine tress, spotted by my eagle-eyed daughter., then off it flew.  30 minutes later it came in again, easily noted for its lack of white on wings, and then it flitted from tree to tree, finally...I took a shot with the camera

slate-throated redstart 

 It could be the worst identifiable photo ever, but it was, and it was a life bird....and bird #693.....it was over.....I had conquered Arizona.  I had conquered warblers, I now had them ALL!!  every warbler seen in the lower 48 this year, every one...........cool!
How many is that?  Go count, my friends, go count.

I ran into friendly birders to ladies from Ft Worth Texas, who had spent a period of time at St Paul with Neil.  The California guy came and thanked me for redirecting him and then I gave him tufted flycatcher directions.

It was 8am, we were half way from Portal to nowhere, I needed to mail stuff home, and well I had promised number 1 daughter lunch...well breakfast....AND she needed the Mexican chickadee and I wanted to photograph that and blue throated hummingbirds.

The Mexican chickadee proved difficult.  It took us until after our tour in Portal and an hour eating and then another hour watching the blue throated hummers at Cave Creek Ranch, then 15 minutes to the post office, and ten minutes going into New Mexico, daughter had never been and well, there isn't a sign......, but the view driving back was cool.  I like the Chiricahua Mountain Island.

Even spied many javelina in Cave Creek area.

Some birds I have seen before but now photographed:  As I guess you might not have believed me

Mexican Chickadee


Grace's warbler

Elegant Trogan


May 28

Day 148 of the big year started as normal, up before dark, but one thing was different, I had nothing to get.  There were no birds reported within hundreds of miles, so I took my daughter out to the thrasher spot to pad her year list.  I got lost and ended up at the nuclear power station....

She nailed it with a LeConte's and a Bendire's thrasher, The LeConte's was standing on the road and then I sat in the car and found out Delta had changed their seats into three zone, nixing Medallion people from upgrading any person traveling with them.  Sky cap service in Phoenix is also being nixed at the end of the month.  Nothing like giving the retirees a boot in the bum.  Arg!  Not going to be fun trip to Anchorage.....

We went to Encanto Park on the way to the airport to both pack the car and for dearest daughter to go hunt the elusive yet satisfying Red-faced lovebirds.  They are like a very satisfying tick as they are cool and everywhere, but somehow I had managed to not photograph any this year...
I did now.
Rosy faced lovebird

Bird  #410 for Lauren Elizabeth for the year..how cool is that!   While there, we got a text that Silja and Tyko had reached Bonn and met up with Allwin, our wayward son abroad.

Off to Alaska, I suspect, to get the jeers or better put the indifference, I deserve, not sure I will even mention it on the Puk-uk when I break 700 on May 30th, not that it matters, 150 days is good, a record but really?  This is just birding....but thank you for following along with my adventure.

I will say though, it is so cool when people recognize me around.  It has given me hope in the kindness of people.  I had lost that in business and in the ER.  In business most people are heartless and ruthless, and in the ER.....it is the views of the American underbelly that I usually see and that is why I don't want to do medicine any more.  It is not puppies and kittens out there.

Christian Hagenlocher is doing a big year because he is worried that he has little time left to see many of the birds before they are gone.  This made me smile....but thinking about it, he may be on to something.  Many of the places I saw in 2013 are already changed..and not for the better.  The Thrasher spot will eventually become hay pasture, as no one will buy it and save it for the birds.  Much of the wilds is being destroyed and all the while as we waste everything....just my carbon footprint, I am laying crusing around seems bad and mine is less than some.....but again, if many of these wild places are closed off to human intrusion no one will even care.....IDK, I hope they never change Madera, but shockingly, you can't camp at Rustler Park on top of the mountain in Portal any more.  Not enough staffing.....very sad.

Well maybe I have been putting in on too thick...?  I saw this a few days ago..



Well to Alaska we go,
14 days with my number one daughter, and that my friends is PRICELESS!

Olaf

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

One for the Thumb



Northern Wisconsin to Hatteras NC

Hate me or love me, I finally have internet and i'm back!  You cannot believe how few places that say they have internet that it actually works.

I was going to title this blog, Going Spread Eagle using both the double meaning of the phrase, (majestic and opening up all of your junk for other's to see) and because Tony Lau and I started this phase of our trip in Spread Eagle, Wisconsin on the Michigan border.  In many ways the town seemed to have a double meaning itself and for a while, it seemed to Tony and I that we had inadvertently turned off of Highway 2 in Florence County, WI and onto a porn set.  There was "Misty Moors" place, with a sign, which sounded so much like a porn name, I looked it up...It IS a porn name!   We were afraid to find out what kind of place it was.

Then we drove on, and at a restaurant, the sign said something like..."Eat out Spread Eagle at Gia Marie's."  They had an odd 2 for 1 special.  "Buy one meal, and the second one is on Gia"  Was it really ON Gia?  Maybe eating out ...I won't say it. Then there was a strip club, a real live Party Store, and somewhat scared to stop or eat anywhere....Tony and I went to the Spread Eagle Barrens, to bird, we walked 100 feet and observed a threesome on a blanket in the port-coital throws of sex.  It REALLY WAS a porn set.

I could have put in some pictures....but to be honest that chip got to the bottom of my backpack.  You won't believe it, you don't want it, and there was too many double entendres, even for me....I was too exposed last time for discussion. so I changed my mind.  You know, I'm just a guy who is trying to see a lot of birds, write a few stories, meet some people.....you are going to think I'm weird or I make this stuff up.....like virginity, as Sandy Komito once said, you can only loose your reputation once....mine is probably hanging on by sinew.  That is okay, I know my limitations.

Okay...on with the story...

I loved the colors black and yellow when I was a kid, I liked them because they were the colors of the Pittsburgh Steelers....I also secondarily had a love of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Iowa Hawkeyes.  1979 was a glorious year for Pittsburgh, first the Pirates in their "We are family" year, beat the Orioles for their first world series win since like 1960....Bill Mazerowski....Bert Blyleven and the Candyman were the pitchers I loved and I even changed my left handed batting swing to mimic Willie Stargell.  Then the Steelers won the Super Bowl that January.  It was magical their 4th championship in 6 years and Terry Bradshaw in a post game discussion set the battle cry for the 1981 season...."One for the thumb"  basically a phrase to say where he would put his 5th championship ring.....an event that never happened btw.   One for the thumb......a five spot, a whole hand.....it would be a wonderful thought.....could Olaf get a five handle on his lifer list, even one for his thumb?  

The synopsis:

Big Year Total:  678
Coded Birds:  55

number to go to old record:  72
Miles driven.  29, 563
Flight Miles 88,200
flight segments: 94   Different Airports: 39
Hours at sea: 123
Miles walked 185
showshoes 4 (isn't going to be any more)
Miles biked 2
states/ prov. birded: 31
Lifers seen this year:  43

Well let me go back to Michigan....
May 20, 2016

We met up with Roger Hill a retired periodontist I ran into in Florida Canyon AZ in January.  Not wanting to try my hand at trespassing in Wisconsin to nab their elusive Kirtland's Roger took us out near Grayling, we found a forest and basically found the birds......

They have basically closed so much public land up here in the Huron National Forest, it irritated me.  Public land not public.....?  They have elk up here, these warblers, like the whole of the Lower P. is closed to the public.....

We went south towards Tawas Point and found a road in the middle of nowhere that had like all the odd warblers singing....I photographed a Mourning warbler for the year, then we looked around, saw some mute swans and I don't want anyone to say my BC Mute swan was NOT an established acceptable bird so I photographed this family below.   We took Roger out to lunch (great perch), told stories, and I gave him a copy of my book.  He was a great help and a positive face for Michigan birding...thanks Roger!

*  equals lifer seen
#669 Kirtland's warbler

This could have been a better photo but well it is identifiable, we had places to go and birds to find.
  Mourning warbler
Mute Swan

May 21, 2016
Tony and I waited for 3 hours for a new plane in Midland MI, landing gear failure....luckily we had a 3.5 hour layover.  While I was there, I had a scheme....Tony agreed, not knowing what he had agreed to....

We would land at midnight in Raleigh AND I was planning to drive all night to.....New Jersey...because it was on our way to Hatteras....Isn't it?   5/21 was a travel day, if I had scheduled a peleagic on the 21st, I may have missed it due to that plane delay so I gave myself an extra day.....

We reached the ferry in Lewes Delaware at sunrise, realizing it is farther to New Jersey than one thinks.  We got delayed for an hour in Raleigh as my Siri would not navigate in North Carolina.  Was it the bathroom law and Apple was punishing them (me)?

We caught the ferry to Cape May, drove 30 miles and found this mudflat on a fast falling tide.....they were having a birding festival and everyone was around....but no one helped us and we ended up sorting thousands of sandpipers for the Curlew sandpiper and eventually found it tucked in a corner.  It was a lucky break on the tides and then also because right afterwards, it started to rain....Okay, I didn't get it Ohio.........

#670  Curlew Sandpiper  *



dipping three times, I averted a new nemesis bird.......things were looking up.  I slept on the ferry back, and then we drove on to Hatteras NC, we arrived exhausted at 1030 in the evening, the pelagic sailed at 0515, yet another short night....but we got the dang bird....and a not too bad photo.

May 22, 2016
Brian and Kate run the best pelagics on the Atlantic in MHO.  It is intimate and they can usually find stuff, but Brian is no risk taker and on the 21st, they cancelled due to a gale.  It is always rough out here when I'm aboard and today...no exception.  It wasn't a gale but...

I like belittling my life list, but I probably can't do that anymore.  in New Jersey, the CUSA was ABA lifer number 750, a bird I was thinking of celebrating with champagne, but we were too tired.  Despite my list, it had this huge hole in Atlantic seabirds that I knew could mean a very special day, whenever I came in May. This could be the last very special multiple lifers I would ever have, but just because you have a hole doesn't mean the birds will be there to fill them.   Today, though was different.  It was like whatever I could dream I needed, lifer or for the year....it showed up.

If this was baseball, it could be said I pitched a perfect game, so to speak. I got a seven spot for the year Including 5 lifers, I really did now have "one for the thumb."  Look at that whole hand in my picture...it was my second best day of birding all year, after with Grandmother Lucille.  I even got one of the biggies, 2 great looks at Trinidade petrels....how cool is that!

Tony got 10 lifers....

And get this....I photographed, and some pretty good, all of the year birds I needed.....it was a grand day.

Lifer beer was good before the exhaustion took its toll and we passed out at 8pm.  I had thought about chasing a white-winged tern in Wisconsin but I was in no shape to drive all night again to the airport...after much soul searching I decided not to bolt...I didn't need anything but maybe something odd would show up....here is my list for the day....and what a day it was.....I was too pumped to even get seasick.

#671  Cory's Shearwater *

#672  Wilson's storm-petrel

#673  Black-capped petrel *


#674  Bridled tern


#675  Trinidade Petrel *

#676  Band-rumped storm-petrel *  
(lead bird, thank God Kate is like a storm-petrel whisperer as not sure i would have made this ID on my own.  They don't patter on the waves like Wilson's, but their longer wings and shorter legs are not that easy for me, to discern in the field or sea as in this case)




#677  Great Shearwater *

The bridled terns were like a lucky break.  Bored and slow birding near lunch, we had this school of fish, mostly dolphin fish, gorgeous blue and yellow fish, Brian was feeding them and it was fun.  Then everyone was watching the fish and not for birds and somehow a small flock of bridled terns came right up to the boat before anyone noticed and then just barely.

After the diversion with the terns...the fish wanted more sardines and then Brian called one of the fishing boats which had no luck yet that day to come over....they were all sitting on their duffs drinking beer and then they passed behind us and chaos took over as something hit all of their lines..


They may have even got one for all of their thumbs.....as a fisherman I was a bit jealous.  I'm sure Brian is now owed one in the close-nit world of the fishing guides....

We went home, Tony looked a bit green but came out to drink lifer beers with me and finally eat a real dinner.....I was in a party mode, even if Tony was just hanging on to reality, he gave up on his snapper.

May 23, 2016

Day 2 at Sea in the Stormy Petrel II.  The day was in some ways nicer, maybe a real night of sleep changed my perspective....it was better weather wise, but it wasn't nice, only one poor older man got seasick.  I was unsure of if I had made the right choice, should I have bailed on today and chased the white-winged tern?

Everyone was surprised to see us, they figured we'd bolt.  At 915, though, it happened..............."Fea's petrel coming down the starboard"  Brian shouted and I ran for the front of the boat.  You could have almost reached out and touched it.  I shot these photos at 150mm.  One pass, it turned and headed away.  It was like it came for me.  It was a magical moment in birding....wow a Fea's!  I gave a birder named Susan a high five.  Did a fist pump and smiled.  I had made the correct choice.  It turned out the tern was a no show in Wisconsin to boot.  Score one for Olaf!  It was a small victory but yet another lifer, number 7 for this trek.

#678  Fea's Petrel *



The rest of the day was slow, like oh so painfully slow.  Little diversity, few birds, not even fish and one extremely pesky pomerine jeager which was probably not a good thing.  It scared away all the birds.  But....he or she put on a good show, was probably with us for 6 hours.


The day ended early with t-storms coming in.  I got a lifer and a year bird so no complaints and for once, had made the correct choice and we still had a five hour haul to get to the airport, it was going to be another short night...too short.

I rolled a seven, for lifers in 3 days, didn't crap out and put myself in the position I wanted, breaking 700 by day 150....day 150 is May 30th and I needed now to clean up Arizona before I began my Alaska strategy.  700 in 150 days I think is pretty good, for many a lifer goal, and it took me 49 years to get Mr 700 last May, and now what a difference a year makes...

The Alaska strategy, Adak-Gambell to Nome before hanging out in St Paul after I got my daughter back home.  I've been studying years of trends and well, IDK, we'll see how Arizona goes and what the Attu birds are ....which at midway didn't look like I had made a mistake.

We'll see.....

right now I'm still trying to determine how I can drink all of this lifer beer I have to drink, which I'm afraid that if I drink too many, I may try to wrap a can around my thumb

Thanks you crew in Hatteras, Brian and Kate, thank you Roger, and also, thank you Terry Bradshaw for well, being the lovable goofy Terry.  Those were some very good years and fond childhood memories.

petrels are sooo cool!

cheers!!

Olaf

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Birding with the Legend



May 19, 2016

Crex Meadows
Grantsburg WI

Today I had the best birding day of the year.  It was grand.  It was also grandmother.  Today I was lucky enough to bird with my 91 year old grandmother Lucille Danielson of Grantsburg, the person I'm dedicating this year to.  I can say no more positives than this....except it was a day I will always cherish and remember fondly for the rest of my days.  Whatever happens, whatever number I get I had today.  I came in search of one bird, the black tern and like many this year, it didn't make it easy for us.  We had to play the marsh I've been in for all of my life.

I brought a friend Tony Lau of NW Minneapolis with.  We had breakfast, we saw wonderful birds, I got my year bird, and we saw probably the oldest moving creature in Wisconsin, the biggest, Blanding's turtle I have ever sen and possibly the oldest and largest one anywhere.  This endangered turtle was in a word...spectacular.  I know this is a big year of birding but...you had to notice.  They say this turtle grows to 10 inches and 80 year, (but note this turtle does NOT age).  this one at 16 inches, 200 years old??....it was around long before Grandmother was born in 1925 I suspect.  It could be older...IDK.  wow!!



Enough to give you size.  We rescued it off a road but never touched it.  Didn't want to harm the old gal.  Grandmother either,.... this turtle bites.

We saw my year bird #668 finally  Black tern


Golden winged warblers were everywhere...



I finally photographed a Philadelphia vireo today.  I was not going to sleep until I photographed one.  We saw a Wisconsin record for me, the black throated blue warbler...they are everywhere this year  and the masterpiece bird........................a close view of a resting Barred owl...even grandma Lucille was impressed.


This is now the owl of the month.  Cool bird...great to share and see.

Two days ago I got bird #667 Sprague's pipit ...fifth documented in the last ten years in Minnesota, very near the border as I had to take care some potentially unpleasant business at home, which wasn't so unpleasant in the end.  I also had to think about my Grandfather Allwin's birthday on the 17th, if he had been around.  I had to think about the rest of my year.  I was a little sad thinking about him, the year?  Something to do.  I got a lot of birds to see.

Today was a new day.

You know, I don't care about anything else right now.....I'm just savoring the day.  I may never get to bird with my legend birder ever again, so today...........PRICELESS!!

Thank you "Nan"

Your loving grandson

Olaf