August 30, 2009


For the month of September I will be doing a BIBGY.
What's a BIGBY you ask?

BIGBY is short for Big Green Big Year. However, I'll be doing a Big Green Big Month. The whole concept is to see as many birds as possible while leaving the combustible engine at home. In Chicago, September is the month for fall warblers and I can't wait to get and see what I can see by foot, bike, skateboard, shopping name it!

This is going to be a great chance for me to appreciate the birds seen close to my house. I hope to have a good list to show you guys filled with surprises that might inspire enough to leave the car in the garage and take a walk outside your front door. We waste enough fuel taking planes to exotic locations or the car on twitches.

I'm not saying that taking trips are inherently's just a sobering thought that a lot of birders (including myself) care so much about the environment and the birds that live there, but haven't really stepped out to how global warming and our dependence of fossil fuels might be effecting our avian friends.

still no camera yet...but pictures of this September BIGBY are to come!!


August 7, 2009

Money? Yes, please.

So, I think I've figured out the camera that I want.

This is the Nikon D60. As a recent college graduate, my pockets aren't deep. I know that I want a camera that can serve me well in years to come and will still a desirable piece of equipment as I learn more about photography.

On Amazon, I found one for $746 with a Nikkor 55-200mm lens. Is this a good deal? Any help with be of value. Or money. I'd gladly take your money!!

Photos to come. Until then, I'll paint my birding and life experiences with my words.


August 4, 2009

Birder with a camera

Okay, I've been birding my whole life.


And I don't see anything stopping that.

However, my interests in birds has taken a new turn: photography. It's not that I'm bored with just looking at birds and observing them. It's just that I'm always looking for that new thrill; that new adventure within the world of birding. Photography could be the ticket.

Though I know little about photograhy right now (shutter speed is about girls, right?) I want to become skilled at it. My idea of bird photography isn't getting that blurry photo of some state record yellow-billed loon that was taken with a camera phone and a pair of bins. I'm talking about the hunt....getting that one. perfect. shot. The kind of shot that takes patience and knowledge of where the birds are.

Yet, I'm reluctant. I have heard of many a good birder becoming a photographer. Then it all changes.......I never want to become that guy who will tromp through any habitat just to get that great photo. I want to be someone who can champion both photography and birding.

I guess I've been birding long enough and have had too many moments where I've said, "Damn, I wish I had a camera with me right now." I'm sick of saying that. I want to have great photos to look over as memories...not simply a list of checkmarks, but I want to be satistifed as well at just looking at bird instead of always saying, "can we get closer, please. I want that photo."

So, here's to a new adventure. May I be a birder who has a camera with him. Not a bird photographer.


August 3, 2009

Rio Grande Musings

A little late. I went on a trip with my dad out to the Rio Grande Valley and the Hill County of Texas in early June for all of the specialties….and specialties did I find.

First stop: Texas Hill Country

Went in search of the Golden-Cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. Got both of them on a very steep hike up to the top of a plateau at Lost Maples State Park .

The hike offered some amazing views of the Hill County and the only thing that kept us from searching out the gray vireo was a huge thunderstorm threatening us.

After the Hill Country, we started the somewhat long drive in our terrible rental down to the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Did I mention that car sucked?

Me “Whoa, what was that?”

Dad “Sounds like something is wrong with the tire.”

Me “Nah, let’s just wait it out.”

We were stuck in the “sticks” without a town for miles. The lug nut wrench was too small and tensions were beginning to rise. That is, until we started looking at our surroundings.

All of a sudden, waiting for help wasn’t too bad. Picked up a few species. We got Painted Bunting, Crested Caracara, and Northern Mockingbird. I hadn’t seen a mockingbird since I was a little kid growing near Dallas. I forgot how common they were. Soon, I’d be saying “just another Mockingbird.”

Thanks to whoever that ranger was that found us.

The rest of the ride down was quite desolate as we entered prime farming habitat. The ride down was unbelievably flat and boring compared to the beauty of cruising the Hill Country. A few birds were seen though, rising our spirits as we neared our next destination. The best bird was definitely a White-tailed Hawk that swooped down into a field to pick up a rat snake. The gray back, white breast and chestnut shoulders of this buteo were striking in contrast the green field it was resting in with the snake in beak. It was a great start to our trip.

More to come on the trip…