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Monthly Archives: July 2010

30 Jul

Bill and I decided to stretch our feet, this morning, and walk around the Deer Valley Lodge grounds. Typical mountain weather – warm, almost hot, but dry and quite comfy. As we walked along, I kept thinking of all the years and all the places I in the west that have been such a big part of my life. Funny how it all comes flooding back with a breath or two of mountain air.

The memories were equally divided between birding trips and some of the many trout streams where I wet a fly for trout and, sometimes, for very…

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29 Jul

As I sit and write this, the scent of wet sagebrush and pine drifts through the door after this afternoon’s thundershower in the hills above Park City, Utah. I am in heaven. I have been too long from the west I so dearly love and though we have chosen to retire to my other heaven in the north woods of Wisconsin, I know I shall return to the west many times. How else will I get to record those western species on my annual birdwatching list? I’ve already added the Steller’s Jay, which, oddly enough, I spotted behind the local …

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28 Jul

Believe it or not, there was a day when airports were considered hotspots for birding, at least for some species of birds that need wide-open country, such as Larks, raptors of all kinds, (especially Burrowing Owls in some areas) and other species often not otherwise found in an area. Of course, that was before 9-11 and all the security that followed. Today, pull out binoculars at an airport fence and you may spend the day with the security folks rather than the birds. Even wearing binoculars around when you pass through an airport security will get you some stares and…

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27 Jul

Bill and I are flying out to Utah, tomorrow, for my family reunion, which we hold at various locations around the country, every couple of years. This time the location is Park City, Utah. Can’t wait to see all my family, of course, not to mention the wide open spaces of the West I dearly miss, but I am not looking forward to flying, again. Flying makes me uncomfortable, though not to the extent of having a phobia. Mostly, I hate flying due to the ridiculous time spent in the airport on security and the sometimes equally ridiculous security measures…

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26 Jul

In my six years in the big city of Chicago and, more recently, a year in suburban Milwaukee, I never gave up on astronomy, though the severe light pollution often made it a challenge to continue using my astronomy binoculars, let alone my telescopes. After all, I was used to some very good, very dark skies, prior to my arrival in Chicago. To say it was a blow to my astronomy is putting it, mildly. I will soon be back to the dark skies I so missed, when we move, north, permanently, later this fall, but I will not forget …

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23 Jul

Okay, not everyone gets excited by binoculars. For a binoculars nut like me, that’s a little hard to appreciate, yet I know it’s true. After all, I have lived with people all my life who are mystified by my “obsession” with binoculars. I prefer to call it a “healthy interest” in binoculars, but either way, I have been fascinated by binoculars for more than forty years. Obviously, you don’t have to have an obsession with binoculars to buy a binocular or own a binocular. The majority of people who own binoculars probably see binoculars as tools to do a job…

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22 Jul

What does a birder or birdwatcher do on a rainy day? I have been known to go birding, anyway, in the rain (or snow), when attending or leading a scheduled event, such as a Christmas Bird Count or a Birding Marathon, but mostly I stay indoors like everyone else when it rains. That doesn’t mean I have to stop birdwatching, though. Just calls for a little change in focus.

You could, of course, pull out a lens pen or lens cloth and clean your birding binoculars or your spotting scope, but that only eats up a few minutes for me,…

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21 Jul

The birds in our yard in northern Wisconsin backyard are quite unlike the birds that normally frequent suburban backyards, given that our house is surrounded by northern coniferous forest and open areas are few and far between. This is a new experience for me and I can’t wait to put out the bird feeders to see what birds visit. It certainly makes for some interesting birdwatching. I make it a point to always have binoculars close at hand as we unpack and work around the house, plus the spotting scope is waiting on a tripod, aimed out our kitchen window. …

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20 Jul

You know the feeling you get when you see friends you haven’t seen in many years? That’s the feeling I have, these days, when it comes to my astronomy. Our new home offers such wonderfully dark skies that I have been able to easily detect objects that have eluded me in my astronomy binoculars for the last ten years or so, due to light pollution. What a difference a dark sky can make when using an astronomy binocular or using a telescope. The difference has to be experienced to be believed.

I first moved to the northern suburbs in the…

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20 Jul

According to the bird books, our new northern Wisconsin home is in the northern coniferous or boreal forest. Not that I didn’t already know that, of course, but it does explain why we have a pair of nesting Olive-sided Flycatchers our yard. That little bird only nests in the northern coniferous forest. I first identified them by their famous, “quick three beers” call, but have since seen them constantly, right in our yard, no need for birding binoculars or my birding spotting scope. This is birdwatching, up close and personal.

That’s not really a challenge, since our pair of Olive-sided …

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