Thursday, October 15, 2009

I and the Bird #111: South With the Fall

Posted by Kirk

In 1951, naturalist Edwin Way Teale wrote North With the Spring as he drove north following spring as it brought warmth to the land. In 1953 he wrote Autumn Across America as he drove from coast to coast. For the fifty five years since that book came out, Autumn has continued to descend from the north until it reaches south where its presence is known only by the changing birds. In this, the fifty-sixth autumn since Autumn Across America, I present South With the Fall, the one hundred and eleventh edition of I and the Bird. This is a collection of bird related writings from around the world in the past two weeks. Like autumn descending from the north we too shall head southward on our journey. Let's begin our migration shall we?

• White Rock Beach, British Columbia: 49.0° North
To start things off, Susannah, a.k.a. the Wanderin' Weeta took a trip down to White Rock Beach to photograph gulls and lure them into a life of high cholesterol by feeding them cheese.

• Point Pelee, Ontario: 47.97° North •
Just a few degrees to the south, Bob blogs about the 2009 Ontario Field Ornithologists annual convention. He gives an exhaustive report and don't worry, there are plenty of photos of people looking at birds. You know the ones.

• Carpenter Nature Center, Hastings, Minnesota: 44.8° North •
Half-way across the continent, and a little further south, Sharon Stiteler a.k.a. Birdchick captures the last hurrah of fall with flickers and bluebirds at Carpenter Nature Center.

• Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge: 39.41° North
Jumping back to the East coast of north America, Larry Jordan of The Birder's Report gives us a gorgeous overview of the avifauna of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.

• Brigantine Division of the Edward B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey 39.41° North •
Curious what migration is like over at the exact same latitude on the East Coast, we join up with Corey of 10,000 Birds who spins a highly caffeinated yarn about a legendary birding spot.

• Knoxville Tennessee: 38.98° North •
In our strange yet ever southward migration, we wing our way back east to Tennesee where Vickey Henderson takes a break for a red-bellied woodpecker and marvels at the enormous fruit one wolfs down.

• Cape May New Jersey: 38.92° North •
Skipping back to the east coast again we join John Beetham who's doing a little raptor banging in Cape May.

• Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina: 35.25° North •
Newly banded and heading south down the Atlantic Flyway, we stop to talk with Nate of the Drinking Bird as he takes on the contentious issue of Off Road Vehicles. We also learn that Piping Plover tastes like chicken.

• Santa Fe Dam, California: 35.17° North •
Bob Kaufman revels in the schadenfreude of birding (as we engage in a sadistic migratory trek back to the Pacific flyway) but in the end, Two Wrens Make it Right.

Akrotiri Salt Flats, Cyrpus: 35.00° North •
We can of course can justify a 7349 mile detour to Cyprus since we're still technically traveling south. While there, Dan spots some black storks in Cyprus, which is not to be confused with seeing black storks in a Cypress which would just be strange.

• Dallas Texas; 32.78 North •
We head on back to Texas where Jason M Hogle has been keeping an eye on a set of cooper hawk triplets and we learn about one aptly named Trouble.

• Port Aransas, Texas: 27.83° North •
Amber Coakley over at birders lounge took a trip to Port Aransas and took some wonderful shots of animals. Seriously though, which one of you was feeding the Egret single malt scotch?

And so it is we finally cross the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5° North. We continue on south. Though the lush green tricks us into thinking that it is not fall, the migrating birds tell us otherwise.

• Xalapa, Mexico: 19.53° North •
Rick Wright takes a stroll though Xalapa’s Parque Natura on his last day at the 2009 ABA River of Raptors Conference and revels in being the only human out for a stroll with the morning birds.

• Veracruz, Mexico 19.2° North •
Alison Beringer takes pause looking at her husband's photos from the ABA River of Raptors Conference and at first doesn't recognize an old friend in shabby clothes.

• Panama: 9.00° North •
Jan Axel birds the Pipeline Road in Panama and spots fantastic birds that never see their way to the north. (Note to self, must go back to Panama.)

• Singapore: 1.36° North •
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Jason Cho & Wang Luan Keng of the Bird Ecology Study Group discuss feather condition of a White-rumped Shama. It reminds me a lot of my How old's that Thrasher? post from last spring. Two birds, different sides of the earth, same idea.

• Tanzania: 3.23° South •
We're already heading south so why not keep going? Birdman decides he needs to tackle a light subject like The History of Birding.

• Gippsland, Australia: 37° South •
Meanwhile, Duncan of Ben Chuachan-Natural History, gets herded by a female duck while on a stroll.

• Bird Island, South Georgia: 54.00° South
Finally, we end our journey appropriately at the other end of the world from where we started and talking about one of the great long-distance flyers. Greg Laden gives us a nice review of black-browed albatross research using tiny cameras strapped to the birds.

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone. If you enjoyed this installment of I and the Bird please consider becoming a follower of the Twin Cities Naturalist through Google Reader, Networked Blogs, Email or simply by bookmarking the site and coming back. I'll leave you with some thoughts from Edwin Way Teale's Autumn Across America. ""Driving with infinite regret, away from the cony heights that night we seemed to be very close to one of the pioneer naturalists who had followed the westward trail more than a century before. No one but a naturalist, he had observed, can know the joy of a new discovery in the wild. And no one but a naturalist can know the sadness of having to leave so soon the thing so much enjoyed."



jason said...

What a great approach! Looks like a full carnival with plenty of rides to enjoy. Thanks for hosting and for providing such a marvelous trip along autumn's path.

Now pardon me while I lose myself in all the goodies...

YC said...

What a fascinating journey...

nishiki_85 said...

Nicely done. It left me wanting to travel, especially to get away from the near freezing temperatures.

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

This is cool...wish I had participated! Nice job!

Kirk said...

Thanks everyone and thanks to the new folks who have subscribed! Always appreciated. The October episode of the Twin Cities Naturalist Podcast should be out in not too long. I think we're shooting to record next week some time.