Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tennessee, day 3

Classroom Humor

Doc explains and explains and explains...

...until Glenn flashes his gold Rolex at us.

Why is this man smiling?
Ignore the fact that I am holding my M-4 improperly. I did that on purpose for this picture.

Because that's damn funny!

After class, I walked down Prater Road, and crossed over the border into Lakeview, Chickamauga County, Georgia.


The Peach State.

Where Leland B. Haraszthy M.D. was born.


Leland and I went to SOTE together in the 1980s, back when the Communists were still in power in Hungary.  Leland's dad was both a medical doctor and a Baptist minister.  Needless to say, Leland has all kinds of hangups about women, booze, and tobacco.  He is a very unhappy man.
Leland stopped talking to me 10 years ago after he wrote an email that was really bad.  He's really into astronomy, so he wrote me an email about how Mars is at its closest that it's been in the 6,000 year history of Earth.  I fired back an indignant reply that if he's a medical doctor who is licensed to treat human beings, I can't believe that he's so ignorant of basic science that he believes all of that fundamentalist baloney where they think that Genesis is a factual history of the world i.e. the world was created in 6 days.
Leland hasn't spoken to me, since.
I'm sorry that I lost him as a friend, but if you can't tell a friend that you disagree with their belief system, then there's a problem.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tennessee day 2

Notice the writing in the Cherokee language.
This cemetery is in a town called Brainerd that got gobbled up by the expansion of Chattanooga.  Now the cemetery is surrounded by asphalt.  It is in the middle of a gigantic parking lot for the shopping center and office complex.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
They are annoyingly uncooperative.  This is as close as I could get.  I chased her in circles around the cemetery.

Gravestone of Chief John Ross' grandmother.
This is what the Brainerd Cemetery looks like from all sides.
Tuesday afternoon
Chester Frost State Park
Marty Paige picked me up after class, and took me to Chester Frost State Park, where I got 2 new life birds: Red-headed Woodpecker, and Eastern Towhee.  Other birds seen here:

Great Blue Herons
Cooper's Hawk
Pied-billed Grebes
Ring-necked Ducks
Canada Geese
Ring-billed Gulls
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpeckers
Downy Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouses
Northern Mockingbirds
Northern Cardinals
Eastern Bluebirds
Cedar Waxwings
Common Grackles
Blue Jays
American Crows
Red-winged Blackbirds
White-throated Sparrows
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Chickadees
Carolina Wrens
House Finches

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chattanooga, Tennessee: day 1

So far, Tennessee has been disappointing: I have yet to see anyone in overalls, or hear banjo music.

Hm...I'm not the first Omega fan in Chattanooga!

Well, that landing in Chicago was interesting.  Now I know whay they call it The Windy City.  I didn't know that the Boeing 757 was designed to land sideways.

"We're safe.  I've locked the trunk. Tom can't get out!"

I was supposed to get up early, today, and bird the back streets behind the hotel before we went to class, but my alarm clock never went off, and my boss woke me up at 07:30 (!). During our lunch break I found two life birds in the parking lot behind Popeye's Fried Chicken: a Carolina Wren (they seem larger, and longer-billed than our Bewick's Wrens) and Carolina Chickadee (beautiful colors).

Carolina Chickadee, Poecile carolinensis

A very nice lady named Carol Fegarido picked me up, and took me to her backyard feeders,

where I photographed House Finches, Chipping Sparrows, Cardinals, more Carolina Chickadees,

Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis 
White-breasted Nuthatches, Slate-colored i.e. Dark-eyed Juncos (our common Junco in California is the Oregon Junco), Downy Woodpeckers, and another lifebird: Brown-headed Nuthatch.

Seen, but not photographed were Red-bellied Woodpeckers and lots of Robins.

Pine Warbler

We then went to Standifer Gap Marsh, where I heard--but did not see--Eastern Meadowlarks. They don't sound like the Eastern Meadowlarks in Arizona (the lillianae that may or may not eventually get slpit off into a separate species one day). There were Brown-headed Cowbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a couple of Canada Geese, but no Rusty Blackbirds or Common Grackles.

Then at dusk her friend Susan drove us to Camp Jordan where they saw an American Woodcock while I was staring in the wrong direction.

It was darker than this when the Woodcock flew over the field, and landed in the forest.

That area is around 1 mile on foot from my hotel, so I plan on walking over there, tomorrow afternoon, unless it is raining. I am going to use your info to look for Eastern Towhees, tomorrow, before the rain arrives (the TV weatherman says maybe light rain around 7:00 p.m.)

American Red Squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
These guys are native to the eastern U.S.  They have a relative in the Mountain West called the Douglas Squirrel

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tanagers in Gonzales Park, Compton

Hi there! 
 I'm a Summer Tanager spending the winter in L.A.!
No pictures, please!  I am but a humble Hepatic Tanager.

By April, I'll be a pretty boy!

...And I'll still look like this.  Oh, bother.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Salton Sea February 19th, 2012

Wister Unit 8:00 a.m.
Much to his disappointment, Balázs didn't see any rattlesnakes.

Abert's Towhee
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Gambel's Quail
House Finch
Audubon's Warblers
one Myrtle Warbler
Inca Doves
Eurasian Collared Doves

Red Hill Marina 11:00 a.m.
American Herring Gull?  Okay, but we need a Yellow-footed Gull!
No Yellow-footed Gull, huh?  Too bad.
Dude, where's my Salton Sea?
The Salton Dea is drying up.  Its water source is being diverted to water golf courses in San Diego.  They are trying to save it.

John Thomlinson, Ph.D.
Biology Professor at California State University,        Dominguez Hills

Who do I run into, when I go to a party at Cathy Jacobs' house? John Thomlinson!

Who do I run into, when I chase a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in San Pedro? John Thomlinson!

Who do I run into, when I go to a party at Cathy Jacobs' house? John Thomlinson!
Who do I run into, when I chase a Gyrfalcon in Riverside? John Thomlinson!

I can't get away from the guy!

Laughing Gull at the end of Lack Road 5:30 p.m.

István kept pronouncing "Laughing Gull" as "Lo-fing Gull".  Lo fing is Hungarian for "horse fart".

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Common Redpoll in San Diego County (of all places)

Zsezse San Diego Megyeben 

 At 11:55 a.m. today, I was baking chicken for my kids while doing the dishes.  Little did I suspect that 3 hours later I would be in Julian, a quaint tourist trap in the mountains of rural San Diego County, staring at a Common Redpoll.
Ez igen!
     Then the phone rang.  After my friend told me about the Redpoll being found at the parking lot bird feeders of a bird feeder store in downtown Julian I yelled at my kids, "ROAD TRIP!!!"
Ennye, ennye, Zsezse.  Neked a Hortobágyon kellene lenned!

      The usual crowd of birders were standing the The Birdwatcher's parking lot when we pulled to a stop, and parked.
     After admiring the bird for an hour, I went inside their shop, and bought some gifts for a couple of friends who are birders.  My way of expressing my appreciation.Wow, I didn't expect to get a life bird this weekend.  Certainly not a Redpoll this far south.