stuff and things

24 May 2012

The Migration

"Sorry about that, Chief!" Any fans of the iconic comedy series "Get Smart" will recognize that phrase, and perhaps you'll picture me with Don Adams' abashed expression (total incompetence), on my face, too. Yes, this has been the longest pause ever on Artelicious. No excuses, however. I want to get blogging!

Here in San Diego County, birding capital of our nation, so it is said, this season is known as Spring Migration. Lately, we've seen some dandies. The Yellow-rumped Warblers have moved on, but taking their places has been a gorgeous array of, in semi-order of appearance:
A Summer Tanager, male, living it up at Pt. Loma's Westminster Park this April. No pix of the female, nearby. Photo: AR

Summer Tanagers 

Feast your eyes on the brilliant male, above, in Breeding Plumage. Casually, on an outing to the San Diego River, I made the mistake of discussing a shore bird's "breeding plumage" with a fellow bird watcher I'd met a few minutes before. He corrected me, walking away and saying with disdain that the real term is "Alternate Plumage." Later, I related my story to a fellow birder, a very experienced gent, who said I should have told him to "Get a Life." [Hey, J.K.!] Are you starting to get a sense of the passion and zeal and snippity-doo-daa of bird watching? :)
So colorful, the Western Tanager here, a male, was a favorite even before I became obsessed with birds. Photo: AR

Western Tanagers

If you want some fun, get a pair of binoculars, a field guide for your part of the country, and take your family out to an entertaining outing that's almost free  -- minus the binocs and book, which will last all your lives. Most parks, wildlife preserves, and even city zones offer bird lists and more. Watching birds and studying their behaviors and environments is completely engaging. If I had kids I would so be there! If you have a nice camera and lens, it's a plus: it makes id'ing your birds a lot easier, plus it's fun to plug the photos into your TV and relive the outing. Fun, but not essential.

Regarding the bird above, the beautiful Western Tanager, I think we saw this fellow right outside our north-facing windows. We're lucky to have insect-infested eucalyptus trees in the neighbor's yard to the north. Long live the lerps! Lerps, for short, are/is an infestation that that the birds just gobble up.
If Marilyn Monroe were around, she'd ask what the Baltimore Oriole was doing here in So. Cal, all the way from Baltimore. Actually, I just read a super thorough and great bio on her, and have always considered her witty. Smart, or secure, that's another question. Sigh. When she was served Matzo-Ball soup for several days in a row, she asked, "Do they ever eat any other part of the Matzo?" Love it. Photo: AR

Baltimore Orioles 

It was dark, the bird above was quickly darting about, but still it was a "Life Bird" for us, and we're gonna show it here, gosh-darnnit! :) Seriously, Marilyn would have been right: the bird's a long way from home.
Hooded Oriole: My favorite Spring Migrant.  Photo: AR

Hooded Orioles

I love the way the shiny beak evolves from the black face. So beautiful. I hate to pick favorites, but this, above, is the one. 
A Joy: The Hermit Warbler. Photo: AR

Hermit Warblers

As are many here, this bird is a first for us: So lively and hard to capture.

Enjoy your spring. Write me or better yet, send a comment my way.

Hugs for you all! Tina