Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mountain Plover. Five Tips for Easy Backyard and Balcony Birding. Rufous-necked Wood-Rail in NM. Green Heron. BirdNote. "Wrong Way" Corrigan. Port Chicago. Joe DiMaggio. Disneyland.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Mountain Plover

Mountain Plover by Greg Homel

The sand-colored Mountain Plover is misnamed as it is found on flat land, not in mountains. Unlike most plovers, it prefers dry habitat with short grass and bare ground. These birds are often associated with prairie dog towns and areas of cattle concentration.

The most severe threats to this species are habitat loss and degradation caused by agriculture, development, and the absence of grazers (prairie dogs, bison, and grasshopper swarms) that historically kept grass short. Nests on cultivated land can also be destroyed by farm machinery. Native predators, especially the swift fox, limit the bird’s productivity in some parts of its range.

Conservation actions to benefit the Mountain Plover include protection and restoration of native grasslands. Controlled grassland burning in both the breeding and wintering ranges can also be beneficial. ABC and Mexican partner Pronatura Noreste have protected important wintering habitat for the species through land purchase, conservation easements on community owned lands (ejidos), and helping local cattle ranchers implement best management practices.

You can help the Mountain Plover by joining our Spring 2013 Fundraising Challenge. We urgently need your support to conserve prairie grasslands and other critical bird habitats.”

Photo by Greg Homel, Natural Elements Productions; Range Map by NatureServe


Five Tips for Fun and Easy Backyard and Balcony Birding

northern cardinal

“Many of those who regularly watch their feeders are satisfied to just to see the birds flitting back and forth between bush and feeder.  Others, however, gradually start trying to figure out which bird is which. 

These folks will start looking at the difference between a red cardinal and the red-tinged house finch and others will wrestle with the distinctions among chickadees, titmice and nuthatches. 

After a time, these watchers might even start to keep track of their observations and maybe keeping a list of what species they see.  So here are some suggestions for the backyard birder:”    More at:


A rare - Rufous-necked Wood-Rail

“A Rufous-necked Wood-Rail has been reported from Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (fee) near San Antonio, New Mexico. Matt Daw obtained video of this bird in the morning of July 7 when it walked through the frame as he was videoing a Least Bittern. It was about 25 meters past the "1" sign on the Marsh Overlook Trail. (Click here for a map showing what I believe is the Marsh Overlook trailhead.

Least Bittern getting photobombed by a Rufous-necked Wood-Rail, imagine my surprise!! I was so startled I stopped recording!

There are no previous records of Rufous-necked Wood-Rail in the ABA Area, and it is not shown in the popular field guides to the US and Canada.”    More at:


Green Heron Green Heron is among some elite avian company.

It is one of only a few species that have been recorded using tools!

But how, and why, do they do it?

Find out here >>




Upcoming Shows

Gray Catbird

Sitting in the Catbird Seat
by Ellen Blackstone

Eastern Meadowlark

Listening for Bird Song
Featuring Gordon Hempton of

Bar-headed Goose

Researching High-flying
Bar-headed Geese
Jessica Meir, Ph.D.
by Eileen Bolinsky


Superb Fairy-Wren

Fairy-Wrens Sing Secret Passwords to Unborn Chicks
by Todd Peterson 

Yellow-breasted Chat

The Loquacious Chat
by Bob Sundstrom 

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Peatlands - Maine's Sunkhaze Meadows Refuge
by Bob Sundstrom

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbirds
Head South
by Frances Wood


On This Day:

"Wrong Way" Corrigan crosses the Atlantic, Jul 17, 1938:

“Douglas Corrigan, the last of the early glory-seeking fliers, takes off from Floyd Bennett field in Brooklyn, New York, on a flight that would finally win him a place in aviation history.

Almost immediately after arriving in New York, he filed plans for a transatlantic flight, but aviation authorities deemed it a suicide flight, and he was promptly denied. Instead, they would allow Corrigan to fly back to the West Coast, and on July 17 he took off from Floyd Bennett field, ostentatiously pointed west. However, a few minutes later, he made a 180-degree turn and vanished into a cloudbank to the puzzlement of a few onlookers.

Twenty-eight hours later, Corrigan landed his plane in Dublin, Ireland, stepped out of his plane, and exclaimed, "Just got in from New York. Where am I?" He claimed that he lost his direction in the clouds and that his compass had malfunctioned. The authorities didn't buy the story and suspended his license, but Corrigan stuck to it to the amusement of the public on both sides of the Atlantic. By the time "Wrong Way" Corrigan and his crated plane returned to New York by ship, his license suspension had been lifted, he was a national celebrity, and a mob of autograph seekers met him on the gangway.”


Joe DiMaggio ends 56-game hitting streak, Jul 17, 1941:

“On this day in 1941, New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio fails to get a hit against the Cleveland Indians, which brings his historic 56-game hitting streak to an end. The record run had captivated the country for two months.

DiMaggio won the 1941 American League MVP over Red Sox slugger Ted Williams in spite of the latter’s .406 batting average that season, the last time any major league player hit over .400. DiMaggio retired after the 1951 season after 13 seasons with the Yankees that included 11 pennants and 10 World Series wins. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.”


Port Chicago disaster, Jul 17, 1944:

“An ammunition ship explodes while being loaded in Port Chicago, California, killing 332 people on this day in 1944. The United States' World War II military campaign in the Pacific was in full swing at the time. Poor procedures and lack of training led to the disaster.

Approximately 320 workers were on or near the pier when, at 10:18 p.m., a series of massive explosions over several seconds destroyed everything and everyone in the vicinity. The blasts were felt as far away as Nevada and the resulting damage extended as far as San Francisco. Every building in Port Chicago was damaged and people were literally knocked off their feet. Smoke and fire extended nearly two miles into the air. The pilot of a plane flying at 9,000 feet in the area claimed that metal chunks from the explosion flew past him.

The Port Chicago disaster eventually led to the implementation of far safer procedures for loading ammunition. In addition, greater emphasis was put on proper training in explosives handling and the munitions themselves were altered for greater safety. There is now a national memorial to the victims at the site.”


Disneyland opens, Jul 17, 1955:

“Disneyland, Walt Disney's metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism, opens on July 17, 1955. The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion.”



Misty and I went to get Jay, and we had quite a walk down there while we waited for him to get ready.  He always says he’s ready when he calls, but there always seems to be last minute things that he has to do.  I think Misty is doing better as she is now on Probiotics for Dogs.

Walkway-Misty-Paco We mainly wanted to straighten out the lattice fence on the walkway from the front of the house to the back yard.  It was very noticeable that one of the posts had been installed out of line many years ago.

We unscrewed the lattice panels, and tried to move that post, but there was no way we could budge it.  It was a post width out of alignment.  So we screwed a post to it, and then cut the existing one right down the middle.  When we put the top board back on the fence it all looked straight.  Now Ray can paint it.

It has been a bit cooler, as we have had rain showers off and on for a couple of days.

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