Saturday, May 3, 2014

Backyard Birding - If you cannot make it to Magee Marsh for migrant birding, Love the birds you're with!

After reading the recent great short article by Kenn Kaufman in Audubon magazine, an older song by Stephen Stills stuck in my mind. "Love the One You're With"! It is still (intended pun) stuck there! Gotta blog it out - but not sure if even a blog post will move it to the hind-brain. Great song! Playing now on Doc Bob's brain! (Sorry, subscriptions unavailable ...)

I paraphrased his song a bit below. I am thinking about the many birds we will be seeing at Magee Marsh and surrounding areas during the Biggest Week in American Birding. It starts next week! Migration is ON!

If you're down and confused
And you don't remember who you're talking to
Concentration slips away
Because your birds are so far away

And if you can't be with the Magee birds you love, honey
Love the birds you're with,

Love the birds you're with!

See! Now it is stuck in your mind as well (assuming you are of some age and musical predilection ...) So there!

Yes, Magee birds are so far away (relatively speaking ... the drive for us is about 5 hours round trip, (but I know many of y'all are much farther away...)  Indeed, gotta love the birds you are with! Yes,we are missing many migrants at Magee right now, but Judy and I can only afford to be away so long. And, we really need to just "do stuff" here first.

And yes, we could be spending more time in our "extended yard" like the local city parks and Metro Parks within an hour's drive near us; and yes, we are missing possibly great birding now. And yes, from Facebook I DO know we are missing a bunch! On the the hand, I have learned that on any given day with decent weather, I really just want to get out and bird. Especially at this time of year!

But then the next day, I look at my "to do list" and see that I really am at the same place I was the day before. Oh, what have I done? "Birding hangover"?

Regrets? Never about birding! Behind? Yes, maybe...

But I had fun! I think I am starting to learn something about my "birding demons" and sometimes try to think about sacrificing immediate avian gratification for better days in the future. So I sometimes need to force myself to stay home and "just do".

[Aside: besides checking out the main website for Biggest Week, be sure to check out the online Guide! You will find free copies of the Guide at lots of local lodging and other establishments in nw Ohio when you get there  -  it is available now! But it is great to read it before you go! BTW, be sure to see page 16 (just page thru it - by clicking on right arrows -  it goes fast!) that references Biggest Week bloggers and has links to their blogs! Yes I am quite honored and self-serving here as being a Biggest Week Blogger, but these other folks have great year-around blogs (bookmark them!) about birding, and they now are turning their attentions to the Biggest Week).]

[And another aside: if you want to see more of what is going on at Magee, and also see predictions of possibly great days to be there, check out Kenn's Crane Creek blog!]

 ...  Back from your friendly sponsors (it could be called an ad, but that is just how my mind works...)  to "ramble" further:

But being never one to deny most of life's pleasures, I gotta get my "bird fix" every day. It can be as simple as recording my deck birds over morning coffee. I do this daily. And also often in the afternoon while I am fixing dinner. I never know what each session will bring! Sure, I mostly see House Sparrows and the pesky squirrels that limit the birds that come while they are there. And this time of year, the Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles and Cow Birds. But visits by my Downy Woodpeckers (is it the girl or the guy?) on the suet, and American Goldfinches (Geez! How bright yellow the guys are becoming!) on the thistle feeder brighten up my observations. And ... then there are the "you never know what you will see if you feed them they will come" birds.

This week the Baltimore Orioles arrived. There are at least three males and one female hitting the oranges, hummer feeders (still awaiting first hummer) and the suet. Whoo Hoo! I am "taking names"! Well, actually I am making up names for the males to try to distinguish them and see how many different birds I see. This one is "White Wings".Some nest here around the condo property.

Also this week a migrant dropped by the deck - White-crowned Sparrow! I have seen them here before, but not at all last year. Whoo Hoo!!! A rare sighting on the deck - only during migration! I had two on the same day this year. These guys only came by on that one day! Best pics ever ... then gone up north to do their sexy thing showing their great patterns to each other! I am SO glad some other birds had kicked out seeds onto the deck to grab their attention long enough for pics!!! I doubt they ever feed from hanging feeders. I then put some seeds directly on the deck itself like I do for  the winter Juncos and American Tree Sparrows with similar habits, but by then these were long gone. Super duper cool!!!

And a short walk around our property this week yielded a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in addition to several "butter butts" (Yellow-rumped Warblers). I am very sure I could have picked up many more migrants here if I had gone out more, but we are "doing".

And today - as I was photographing the Orioles - I looked up to see a "weird duck" in the back. It was at the same place near our neighbor's feeders where the Mallards daily feed. Fortunately I had camera in hand! I took a sequence of pics of a Coopers Hawk with a fresh caught Blue Jay prey (...damn I wish hawks and feral cats would eat the House Sparrows and not the pretty more vulnerable ones!!!). My pics were my first ever shots of an adult Coopers!

We can hardly wait to get down to northwest Ohio for the Biggest Week! This year in addition to birds, I want to take pics to compare places on the boardwalk with my recent blog post when fewer people were there. I know many outdoors folks hate crowds (as we do) and I addressed that in my post. Really! Check it out. I enumerated many great reasons to go there during the Biggest Week. We missed everyone!

If you have never been there before during migration, I can almost guarantee dozens of "life birds". And if you have, certainly you will catch lots of new ones!!! That is the fun of birding.

The phrase that accompanies Judy and me whenever/wherever we go out and about is "you never know" ... sung to the tune of some silly Muppets song:  Mahnamahna Mahnamahna, or as we sing  it... "You never know; Da doot the doo dit!; You never know!!! Do doot the doo! You never know. Da doot the doo dit. Da doo dit, Da doo dit , Da doot doot doot doot doot ..."  I was going to link to it, but suspect some links presented by search engines. "You never know" ...  Well, y'll know what I mean!

Damn! Now THAT song is stuck in my brain! "You never know"... Will I ever be relieved?

Even if you will not be at Magee, go check out your "home boys" birds!!! Especially now during migration! Birding is whatever you choose!!! Wherever you choose! All fun!!!

Keep your feeders full and your mind and hopes alive to possibilities. Keep your eyes to the outdoors and take a walk around YOUR place when you can.

Always love the ones you're with!!! "You never know, Da doot the doo dit!"

Oh! It is just too much fun for one person like me to handle alone! Please share your adventures with others and with me!!! Go bird! Share birding! A gift everyone will appreciate for a life time!!! And ... as you see, you do not have to go far to see great birds!!! Hope to meet many of y'all at the Bighset Week!!!

Hope you enjoyed another "Dr. Bob Ramble"! I never know, Mahnamahna and so on ...  I done it! Da doot doot doot doot doot!!!

( ... in review, weird how I started and ended with musical da doot ...! Some da doot thing still playing ...I guess )

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