1/24/2009

Superbowl of Birding - Final Standings

So we ended in 4th place for species and 6th for number of points. We are reasonably happy with the results, although we feel like we missed a few easier 4 and 5 pointers. I got a bunch of lifers and a ton of nice pictures so I'll be blogging a ton more.

Superbowl of Birding - Prize time

We may or may not have won the big one, but 3 of us won raffle prizes.

Superbowl of Birding Final

Final results for the day 72 species - 133 points

SBB-Update

5 minutes to go. No Snowy Owl nor Harriers. Official counts starts soon and then we'll know how we did.

SBB - Final drive

We just saw White Winged Crossbills and Lapland Longspur. Rushing to Plum Island to wrap up a day of non-stop 12 hour birding!

SBB-Update

videoWe tracked down Harlequin duck. Here's us looking for Gannet - bbbbrrrr

SBB-Update

We've been looking for King Eider - no luck. We did see Black Guillemot and Red Necked Grebe. Next stop Harlequin Duck.

SBB Update - 8 Pointer

Birding has been chilly but pretty decent. We just got our first 8 pointer - Dovekie!

SBB-Update

We are making good progress. We found GHO, Screech owl - struck out on Barred. Good shore birds including Eider.

Superbowl of birds - SBB - Kickoff

We hit a small pond. 5 species - 9 points. Conditions are windy and set to get colder. Looking for owls at the moment.

1/23/2009

Hawk owl - lifer

Hawk owl- yeah baby !

In NH heading to find

In NH heading to find a hawk owl and pine grosbeak. LIVE FREE OR DIE!

1/22/2009

Superbowl of birding: LIVE updates!!

Within less than 24 hours the Bloggerhead Kingbirds will start assembling for the Superbowl of birding IV. The event start EARLy on Saturday morning and we're all rearing to go. Our fearless leader - Christopher from the Picus Blog is so committed to the cause that he’s doing a dry run today to scope out the best locations at the optimal time. {Hats off to Christopher for ALL the work he's done} The reason for this is because birds are assigned point values based on their rarity, so it’s not necessarily about how many you see but what you see. In addition, the team that reports a 5 pointer first will get bonus points, so it’s important to get as many 5 pointers first as possible.

Considering that our team is made entirely of bird bloggers we decided to keep our readers in the loop with live updates. I’ll be sending through reports on a periodic basis to this blog and N8 will be twittering at https://twitter.com/NC_N8 I won’t be able to read your comments while out and about but I look forward to reading your comments when I get back to NJ. As far as I am aware this will be the first birding competition that will have live updates from a competing team, so it should be a blast. This will also be my first foray into competitive birding so I’m looking forward to this new experience.

Our team for the Superbowl of birding:
Will be made up of one African and Patrick from the Hawk Owl's Nest, Corey from 10,000 Birds N8 from The Drinking Bird and our fearless leader Christopher from the Picus Blog.

Our targets:
Some of the awesome birds that we are aiming to see include King Eider, Black-headed Gull, Ivory Gull, Snowy Owl, & White-winged Crossbills. We’re also heading up north for the cooperative Northern Hawk Owl, a lifer for me!

We're nearing the time when all the talking will be done and it will time to start spotting some serious winged wonders. Wish us luck!
BTW, Our Bloggerhead Kingbird logo was designed by the folks at Birdorable.com so make sure you swing over there to check out all the amazing stuff they have.

I & The Bird 92

Check out the picnic party hosted by Seabrooke for I & the bird 92

1/21/2009

Wordless Wed: Gull

Bald Eagles fight over Common Merganser

If you haven't seen this amazing story with incredible photos (taken with a point and shoot), please check it out!

Inauguration

Regardless of whether you like Barack Obama or what you think of his politics, you still had to have a sense of the momentous moment in history that yesterday represented. The crowds of people in D.C. especially those along the route back to the White House were spectacular. The spontaneity of the people running along with the motorcade was truly moving. That scene reminded me a lot of the release of Nelson Mandela back in the 90’s. Both scenes had a palpable sense of hope and joy.
It will be interesting to see what the next four years holds for our country. There won’t be much of a honeymoon for the Obama administration and his speech clearly pointed to the fact that he’s planning to get straight to work.

1/20/2009

Happy Settlers' Day

Yesterday was not only Martin Luther King day, but it was also my personal Thanksgiving. Yesterday marked 10 years to the day since I stepped off the South African Airways flight at JFK in New York. I really can’t believe that it’s been 10 years that I’ve been in the States – wow. In that time I’ve finished college, joined a volunteer fire department, bought a house, married a beautiful lady, added two cute bouncy kids to my clan, bought a business and built a close knit network of loyal friends.

Moving to a new country is VERY different to visiting a country as a tourist or business traveler. Once you move to a new country, you need to deal with the day to day differences that aren’t evident when you just visit. Dealing with those cultural differences was shocking and challenging and I made it through it with the help of my great family and friends. It took a while to make good friends and honestly I doubted that I would be able to match the quality and closeness of my childhood friends. Surprisingly, I’ve been able to make friends with some remarkably caring and loyal people and much of my happiness can be attributed to this fact.

I have a lot to be thankful for on this, my personal Settlers’ Day. This country, the United States of America is not perfect. Yes, this country has many challenges that face it. Yes, we haven’t always been a positive global force. There are areas of improvement, but this is definitely an awesome country with wonderful people. If you set aside all the macro generalizations and you look at the people around you, you realize that all Americans should thank their lucky stars that they live in a country that promotes personal freedom.

One of the young guys at the fire house teased me the other day about wearing a T-Shirt with ‘USA’ emblazed on it. “You can always spot the foreigners, because they are always wearing the patriotic T-shirts” he said. Although this is a VERY broad generalization, it may be true to some extent. The reason for that is that us foreign born Americans have grown up in places that don’t have the same opportunities as most Americans. I think most naturalized citizens are EXTREMELY patriotic, because they understand what makes this country so unique. Sadly, I think many young Americans take their liberty and the opportunities offered by this country for granted. Recent developments may change this outlook and although I hate to see people suffer, I do think it will make this country more resilient and even stronger than it is at the moment.

…Ok, I’m off my soap box now. It’s not often that I reflect on my place in the world and look back over a stretch of my life. It’s amazing how much I’ve changed and my perception of the world and this country has changed as I’ve become more Americanized. Again, this is not a perfect country but it sure offers most citizens the opportunity to make something of themselves. I’m happy to have spent the last 10 years in this wonderful place and I hope that the next 10 years will be as incredible. Happy belated Settlers’ Day!

Test vid

video

1/19/2009

Test layout

This is to check formatting for longer texts. wow i have a thousand characters and nothing to say. the big red fox jumped over the small little hedge. so far we've seen hawk owl, long eared owl, ivory gull, great eastern fronted wattled crane, ivory billed woodpecker, long tailed eagle. we're hoping that the weather will stay warm and the birding hot. all is well-test out.

Mobile blogging - Super Bowl of Birding!

As you may have noticed I sent through two test posts recently. Our blogging team recently kicked around the idea of doing blog updates during our Super Bowl of birding trip this weekend. My initial thoughts were that I wouldn't be able to participate in the mobile blogging as I don't have a PDA nor a data plan. I decided to look into it anyway and it turns out that Blogger has made mobile blogging accessible to all users, even the ones like me who are too cheap to pay for a data plan and a PDA.
If you're interested in joining the mobile blogging crowd check out these instructions - it's painless and quick. If all goes well I'll send through some highlights while in the field during our Super Bowl endeavor this weekend.

Test2

Testing pic

Test

Test

Poll update: Cardinals vs. Steelers

Well after this weekend's Championship games we now know that it won't be an all-bird Super Bowl after the Ravens were defeated by the Steelers. In what turned out to be a slight shocker from me the Cardinals defeated the mighty Eagles to advance to the big stage for the first time since 1947 when they were still the Chicago Cardinals.

Now that 2 teams have been knocked out of the running, your odds greatly improve in my online poll. My vote went to the Steelers and I'm staying with my back up team. Who do you think is going to win? Can the Cardinals really come from nowhere and win it all? I guess time will tell.

1/18/2009

Incredible photos shared by the Flickr community group - Owls of North America. Click on the play button to begin the slideshow - ENJOY!