Saturday, December 24, 2016

Why We Go Look

Northern Pintail
I was sitting around this morning looking at my eBird tally for the year. It isn't bad but I missed several species this year. I had no terns, Sanderlings or Dunlins. Of course I had zero scoters (I use scoter repellant).
No Short-eared or Long-eared Owls. I missed Snow Buntings (twice) plus the Lapland Longspur. Missed the White-fronted Geese, too. In 2 states.
I figured the best chance for something I needed for the year was a Herring Gull or a Northern Pintail. six days left in the year, so not much chance of that happening, either.
Couldn't stand it. wet, dreary and boring. So, I decided to go to Elkins and get gas for some excitement. I rode through Glendale park hoping that maybe the White-fronted Geese flew down here. Nope, just a clump of Mallards. I looked one more time as I was driving out of the park and there it was amongst the Mallard mass..A lone Northern Pintail !! Yep, that is why we go and why we look. Even when we figure there isn't much use.

eBird 2016 — Year in review

American Tree Sparrow

eBird 2016 — Year in review

Masafuera Rayadito—one of the 20 new species added to eBird in 2016. Photo by Héctor Gutiérrez Guzmán/Macaulay Library.
2017 will mark the 15 year anniversary of eBird. In just a decade-and-a-half, the bird checklists that you have shared have helped make eBird the largest citizen science biodiversity project in the world. More than 1/3 million eBirders have submitted 370 million bird sightings, representing 10,313 species from every country in the world. We are continually humbled by the amazing power and passion of the birding community, and have nothing but excitement as we look to the future of what we can do together. As we compile this list of eBird’s achievements in 2016, we are reminded that these are all truly your achievements. It is your contributions that power this knowledge engine. Every time you go out and keep a list of birds you see, you’re making a real contribution to our understanding of the world’s ever-changing avian biodiversity.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Flexible Flyers & Shotgun Shells

Flexible Flyers & Shotgun Shells
I’m just sitting around thinking back to the times when trucks had gear shifts and roll up windows. Yes, you cranked the window up and down manually with your own power. You could even break the window loose from an icy grip; or break the window crank. How about actual brass keys? Remember them? See you’re not that old. Flexible Flyers now may be a little different. That is something that popped into my head today. Things tend to do that.
I do not know if they are still made. I doubt it. Metal runner sleds that you could steer a little and had no braking methods seem a bit risky for these times. Sand those runners off and rub some paraffin wax on and see how fast you could go. Down the middle of the road!! Yeah, not anymore. Remember those waffled cotton insulated” underwear? I sure hope you don’t still have some of those atrocious things stuck in a drawer somewhere. Take those frozen pants off and stand them in the corner beside the wood stove. Yep, frozen up to your zipper. Stand on their own; until they melted into a soggy clump. Fun wasn’t it?
Have you ever gotten a box of shotgun shells under the Christmas tree? Can you smell the aroma of a freshly opened box? I liked the Peters True Blues. I think they smelled the best. They were pretty, too. How about a Model 37 to go with the shells? Bringing back any memories? That is what the Christmas Season is all about. It was a time when families made their own decorations. We hadn’t even heard of Sri Lanka, yet.
Take a few moments to reflect back in time. Just think about the trouble your parents and grandparents went through to get you something special. They had to either search or create. There was no one-click shopping. Yes, times have changed and it has been a quick process in the grand scheme of things. I’m really not sure that it is for the better, either. We shall see.
There are two things that cannot be taken away from us. Those are memories and knowledge/. These are also two things that can be shared and passed on without any expense. Think for a few seconds and you will come up with something that you are glad you know today that was a gift given to you by someone you thought was being facetious at the time. Probably made you mad, too. Aren’t you glad they spent those few seconds on you?

We have all acquired knowledge over time. Things are stored somewhere on our heads. We can help and learn from everyone around us. Sharing knowledge freely to create memories for others seems to me as if it is something we all should be doing. The problem with our busy world that consumes us is that we don’t think we have time for the simple things in life. You do have the time if you take it and you will be glad you did. Give the gift of knowledge and create some memories; enjoy the simple things, slow down and live. Merry Christmas

This is my December 2016 Article for Two-lane Livin (c)2016 High Virginia Outdoors
Photo (C) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved