Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lifers and Rarities...

 ...twas a dark and stormy night...well, it was kinda dark anyway...

 So...The Doodles went out on an morning bird walk(while I was WORKING!) with our friend and most excellent bird guide, Jen Brumfield. They hiked around Huntington Reservation right here in Bay Village, aka Loopyland. Jen knew of a pair of Barred Owls that claimed this area as their own and found them easily for the pleasure of The Doodles. Another lifer...while I was at WORK .  Doodles emailed me promptly to let me know and to rub it in a little that I was at WORK  and she got a lifer. Oh well, cheers for her. (bah.)

Being the kind hearted and thoughtful soul that she is, she suggested we go back out when I get home from WORK .  I thought that would be a peachy swell idea and proceeded to cough and it was decided I should leave work early to protect my health...mwahaha! I raced home quick as a bunny...though not exceeding the speed limit(honest.) I picked up The Doodles and my camera and went to see if any owls were about.

The Doodles led me to the site where the owls had been seen earlier in the day. We trudged through ankle deep snow...that would be knee deep for The Doodles by the way...nope, no body home. Doodles are known for their determination and she kept scanning the trees. Lo and Behold! Buried in the thick of the hemlock branches sat one lovely lifer!
 I'll crank up the ISO to 25,000 just to make sure I get one evidence shot.
(I didn't use any flash so as not to stress the owls.)

 Then I'll sneak through the underbrush to get a better angle...

 A second appeared!
 And this one is more in the open and easier to see it's beautiful plumage.
 And I even managed a butt shot!
Does life get any better?

 After calling out "Who cooks for you?" off he flew...

 A happy Doodles!

Speaking of hard to find birds...
 There's a great new book for all of you "hunter gatherers," folks that want to add to their life lists or those trying for a Big Year. "Rare Birds of North America" by Steve N.G. Howell, Ian Lewington and Will Russell is a great tool and wonderful guide to the rarest vargrants that visit North America every year.

This book explains very clearly what makes a bird a rarity, where they come from and how they get so far out of range. 262 species are covered, originating from the Old World, the New World's tropics and the world's oceans. An extremely detailed book with 275 outstanding illustration by Ian Lewington, you will learn where and when to look for these unusual visitors, and who knows, maybe add a few of your own lifers to your list!
 There are very detailed illustrations throughout, including flight images and similar species.
 I couldn't help but add a couple of my lucky finds in this post!
Though I didn't find these in North America...

This Sedge Warbler and the Northern Lapwing above, were both seen on our visit to Britain a number of years ago.


  1. It is always a wonderful thrill to find a bird that you have not seen. And owls are such impressive creatures.

  2. Barred owls or any owls are hard to find in the day. Good for the Doodles. I've walked under owls in a tree. I Just read "To See Every Bird on Earth" by Dan Koeppel. It was a great read.