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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Travlog: Part 6 -- More Birds; The Big Week

If you haven't read The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession
you might like it. There's a movie probably hitting the rental stores by now called The Big Year. The book is about birdwatching. It tells stories of three guys who, in 2002, I think, happened to independently each commit to attempting to observe more varieties of birds while standing on USA soil or floating on USA waters than anyone else. It does it well. The movie, I hear, doesn't do it so well.

I don't consider myself a birder and lord knows a birder wouldn't. I do like to watch them, though, birds, that is. I might do it some more. Until now, I haven't had time to develop that particular obsession. That's one good reason to read The Big Year. Obsessions, that is. It will make you feel good that your obsessions aren't as possessive of your soul as birding is. Another reason to read The Big Year is that it's very readable and you'll learn something.

Apparently everyone in birding knows that "A Big Year" means "[Insert Name] is attempting to observe about 780 species of bird within a 12-month period on USA soil." If someone says, "I'm going to do a Big South Dakota Year," I'll bet you can surmise the frame of reference.

I'm thinking of testing my ability to commit to the obsession in a Custer County Big Summer, or something along that line. Or maybe just a Back Yard Big Week.

In San Jose del Cabo, we walked through an estuary where a creek ran into the ocean. Here are some pictures I grabbed without stepping off the path or slowing down much. A birder would have never made it to the beach.

This Great Blue Heron might very well summer on Battle Creek in Custer County. The swimming birds are mostly pie-billed grebes.

Pie-billed Grebe.

Red-headed Turkey Vultures. The Cabo goes quickly from a tropical seaside environment to cactus desert foothills, rough, dry sandy country, so the vultures are within sight of more typical terrain for them. If I was a real birder, I'd make some guess as to the type of sea gull is in the background. It looks like a Blue Heron on the left side.

Snowy Egret, reminding me of the velociraptors in "Jurassic Park."

1 comment:

Wayne Gilbert said...

Very nice photographs. Thanks.