Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Birding by ear.

In the spirit of birding by ear, this post only contains images of places I heard birds singing. No actual birds.

This much needed long weekend with the family was spent birding 24/7. You could almost call it a Big Weekend. I didn't get any knew birds to my knowledge. So many great birders would probably say they make most IDs by ear. Im not great at that but certainly im getting better, right Richard? So that's the way this weekend went for me, practicing my birding by ear. Not because the birds were particularly difficult to see. Some were visiting my feeder. But I was busy. These four days off (my company gives us the extra day for each summer long weekend) were to be very productive. Not birding productive but more about getting shit done in the yard productive. You see, when we bought this small town home, we knew it'd be some work to get her all cleaned up inside. We also knew doing the yard would be difficult too. The backyard is right at the edge of a forest with a stream. Unfortunately, our property was abandoned for many years and became a midnight dumping ground where the land grades down to the forest.

What we needed to do was dig out some shit and haul it away. We started in on the task, listening to all the birds Friday morning, I decided to create a Big Sit/Weekend list. There was lots to hear over the four days (see the list at the end of this post). More importantly, once we started to dig, we found an awful lot of rock, or so we thought. More uncovering showed us what was really there. We knew there was once a barn standing where we were digging but we also had heard it was deemed unsafe and crushed and taken away by the town. We found many chunks of the stone and concrete foundation walls. They had been crumbled in on themselves and were all askew under the earth and weeds. Way to big to move, I'd dig around one, smash it to more manageable sized pieces and drag it off to a 'fence' we'd made from the rubble. This would happen over and over until we uncovered one that seemed way too big for that technique. We kept removing dirt waiting to find the edge. No edge really ever showed up. This proved to be a huge concrete pad. And in perfect condition. We uncovered it as much as we could and now we have a free deck right at the edge of the woods. Monday, I woke and sat with my family and drank a nice cup of birds and beans coffee. This had been a perfect long weekend. I really didn't want it to end.

Since I had such a great weekend spent entirely with my wife and kids, I thought I'd leave you with something that might make your Monday just a little brighter. My kids dancing up a storm.

Big Weekend (by ear) list

American Goldfinch
Black-capped Chickadee
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
European Starling
Red-eyed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Yellow Warbler
Chimney Swift
Ring-billed Gull
Canada Goose
Northern Cardinal
House Wren
Eastern Wood Pewee
Great-crested Flycatcher
Song Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Baltimore Oriole

Paul Riss
Punk Rock Big Year

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