I and the Bird #117

Last January, nearly a year ago to the day, I hosted I and the Bird #92. I invited birds from all around the world to join me at a picnic party, and had a grand time planning and hosting the event. But boy – after letting all those party animals loose at the house, the clean-up was a nightmare. I wanted to host again, but even just thinking about the day after gave me the chills. I’d have to hire a housecleaning service just to find my floor again. Surely there was another way?

So I sent out invitations for a beach party this year. Some 30 participants joined me for the 117th edition of I and the Bird. We all gathered at a favourite lookout of mine, at the edge of a lake I’m fond of (I put out a banner on the lookout tower, just to make sure everyone found the place). I provided a feeder in case anyone got peckish, but many guests found their own food. I spent a little over a thousand words on the last party; knowing that a picture’s worth a thousand words, I thought maybe, for a change of pace, that would be the way to go this year. It was easy to organize, I didn’t need to put out plates or glasses or prepare food platters or punch. No furniture to damage. Water to splash in if folks got bored. But best of all – no mess to clean up afterward!

Click on the birds in the image below to visit each post. Thanks to everyone who sent in submissions, I had a great time reading – and drawing – them all!
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IATB #118 is being hosted by Duncan over at Ben Cruachan. Send your links in to Duncan at dcfraser AT netspace.net.au by February 2.

One letter different

Cardinal at Jeep mirror as seen through lilac bush in winter

This afternoon, Dan called me to the window to point out the cardinal. He was hanging on to the side of Dan’s Jeep, checking itself out in the reflection of the side mirror. I grabbed my camera and tried for a few shots, but unfortunately there’s a very large lilac bush between the house and the cars. The birds are loving it for perching in when coming to visit the feeder, and it will be tremendously lovely in the spring when it blooms, but it did make it difficult to get a good view of the cardinal. This was the best shot I could manage, and you almost need to know what’s going on to be able to pick out the details in the photo. Oh well. Can’t win them all. I was mostly interested in documenting it because it’s the first time I’ve personally witnessed this behaviour, which is actually rather common in cardinals. It’s a territorial thing, they think they’re attacking an intruder. Since cardinals hold their territories year round, the behaviour can be observed in the winter as well as the summer.

What’s the difference between a cardinal and a carnival? A single line that turns a sideways-v into a d.

Okay, I’m sorry about that. But I had to draw a connection somehow, didn’t I?

Two carnivals up recently that are worth checking out. The first is I And The Bird #115, being hosted this edition by Jason of Xenogere. Jason adopts and adapts “original and unadulterated Thoreau” to share the links for this carnival. Curious what the heck that means? You’ll have to go check it out!

And the second is the inaugural edition of House of Herps, which coincidentally happens to be the brainchild of Jason, as well, in partnership with Amber of Birder’s Lounge. This fine first edition gifts us with much great herpetological reading, so make sure you swing by to pick up your presents!

November blog carnivals

Two blog carnivals to announce today. The first is The Moth and Me, a carnival I started up back in the March of this year to celebrate my second-favourite group of living organisms. This month’s edition is the final one of 2009, and was hosted by Susannah of Wanderin’ Weeta. Check out the excellent assortment of moth-related blog posts that she’s assembled to give us another reason to be glad the earth is not flat.

The Moth and Me will return in March 2010, when it will be hosted by Jason of Xenogere. Send your submissions to jason AT xenogere D0T com by March 13th. We’re looking for hosts for April 2010 and beyond. If you’re interested in hosting, send me a note at sanderling AT symbiotic D0T ca.

Also recently up is the 113th edition of I and the Bird. Matt at The Modern Naturalist has put together an enjoyable edition filled with quotations and verse. Matt put a lot of work into this one – head over and check it out.

Sunday snapshot: bluet damselfly

unidentified bluet

Okay, I lied. We’re still not online at our new home, waiting to have the company out to tell us how tall the tower needs to be to get signal (when I left on Wednesday to go to my mom’s, the service guy was there to check for signal and install the service, and I expected it to be all up and going by the time I got back. Fingers crossed that we’ll be online in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, check out the latest I and the Bird at A Birding Blog from Peru by Gunnar Engblom.