The first of a few pieces I am doing for Audubon's new The Sketch series is up, this one about the Monk Parakeet. They're little features about quirky birds, accompanied by a drawing from artist Jason Polan. A piece on House Sparrows is coming soon, and I'm working on a couple more. Stay tuned, and enjoy!
Monday, June 29, 2015
Monday, June 22, 2015
Everything about this is great.
The first season of Fargo on the FX network was a great watch, and a big hit (it won the Emmy for Best Miniseries, doncha know). Last week the network gave us its first glimpse of the show's second season, in the form of a twenty-second teaser trailer. Check it out:
On the particular day I filmed the male black-backed footage (December 20) I was bush-whacking off a of a popular hiking trail on public NCC land; only ten minutes from my house in Ottawa. I wasn't necessarily looking for birds this day, but wildlife in general, as we had had fresh snow the previous evening. Approximately 1.5km's in, I heard the faint 'pecking' sound of a woodpecker some 30 feet from me and instantly recognized it to be a male black-backed woodpecker. This bird was very comfortable with my presence and I set up my tripod less than 15 feet away from it.
I photographed the willing model before deciding to capture some video footage. I shoot a variety of wildlife and nature clips for my YouTube channel and the clip was posted there later that day.
It was definitely hard to keep this secret for four months, but was great to finally be able to share it last week - and the response and exposure has been very positive and exciting so far!
Sunday, June 14, 2015
I don't like doing trip reports on this blog, but I do like doing whatever the hell I want to. So here's a trip report.
3. The butterfly lady who yelled at me at the NBC for walking too fast when she was looking for a Gray Cracker
2. Stripes worker who really wanted to give Zach a fork
1. Paranoid waitress/conspiracy theorist in Leakey, Texas
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
The adventure continues!
We are a third of the way though our epic, vicarious journey to Antarctica, stowing away with the crew of Google Street View. We've just left the Falkland Islands, which dazzled us with winged splendor, introducing us to hordes of penguins, weird geese, and even a tiny, endangered wren. A great first stop, indeed.
But we must move on. Our next stop across that cold southern ocean is the wild South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
There isn't much human history on the South Sandwich Islands, save for a handful of whale-butchering operations operated on the largest island, South Georgia, in the early 20th century. This was messy business, according to my intensive research (cough cough Wikipedia cough wait why am I typing all this out), and occasionally involved some downright frigging disgusting things: "A rotting whale could fill with gas to bursting, ejecting a fetus the size of a motor vehicle with sufficient force to kill a man." Great!
Well, lucky for us, the whale carcasses are gone but the birds remain. Let's check it out.
The first stop in the South Sandwiches is a small island off the coast of South Georgia, and it's a doozy. It's called Prion Island (good start), and it's heavily protected by the small South Georgia government because of all the cool creatures that live there, like South Georgia pipits and burrowing petrels. And like these penguins:
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Hello everyone this is Brian Hinchletwist at CNN sorry to interrupt today's episode of "House Flipping Idiots" to bring you this breaking news: "Prothonotary Warbler" anagrams to "Noteworthy Bra Parlor." That's right, word just coming in from the AP confirms that "Prothonotary Warbler" anagrams into "Noteworthy Bra Parlor." Shocking stuff. To help us make sense of this news let us turn now to CNN International Affairs expert, Diana Brinklegin. Diana?
Thanks, Brian. This is most certainly a sad turn, but perhaps not so surprising considering last week's revelations that "Willow Ptarmigan" anagrams into "Wallowing Armpit" and that "Red-necked Phalarope" anagrams into "Henpecked Lard Opera." Still, this latest development marks a dark new chapter for NATO-backed forces already on the ground. Brian?
Thanks, Diana. And the story is still breaking. Just now a newsflash has come across my desk with new information. Apparently - and this is unconfirmed but coming from a trusted source - but apparently, "Gray-cheeked Thrush" anagrams to "Sketchy Hug Adherer." Unbelievable. Let's go live now to our own Charles Mittonsuit who is on the scene there at the bicycle factory. Charles can you hear me?
I can, Brian, thank you, and apologies again to those at home for interrupting your regularly-scheduled "Bride Punchers." Yes I am here at the bicycle factory and I just spoke to Duncan Thkkk, Senior Regional Spoke and Wheel Auditor, who has confirmed these latest developments, and also added a disturbing new fact: "Eastern Screech Owl" anagrams into "Encore Cartwheels." A bold assertion from the scene on the gr...
Charles, Charles I'm sorry but I am going to have to cut you off there, as I have just heard word from the White House that President Kaylee Addison Madison herself is taking to the airwaves to address the American people on today's news. Here we are live now at the White House, with the President.
My fellow Americans. I apologize for taking you away from your episode of "Let's Try To Eat It All," but these are important times. I am sure by now that you have heard the news that "Gunnison Sage Grouse" anagrams to "Guessing Onerousness" and that "Common Merganser" anagrams to "Cram Men or Gnomes." These, certainly, are trying times. But I urge us to remain calm and remember that we are Americans. We will get through this crisis, together. Thank you.
Sage words from the President, there. Stay tuned to CNN for additional developments, but this is Brian Hinchletwist signing off. Now let's return you to your local stations for the in-progress episode of "Hoarding Bride Renovation All-Stars."
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Just back to stupid real life after heading out to the Gulf Stream with the Seabirding Pelagics and the crew of the Stormy-Petrel II yesterday. The trip was just incredible, as we get multiple, sustained looks at a Bermuda Petrel - one of only about 400 individuals of this species left on Earth, distant looks at a Fea's Petrel, and close-up views of South Polar Skua, Black-capped Petrel, and a host of other great birds.
My personal goal was not to get seasick. Last time I was out on this boat, I got an estimated 0 hours of sleep and ended up sick and sleeping in the cabin for most of the trip. This time I slept a little better, but didn't use any seasickness aids or anything, because I am dumb and think I'm tough. I felt pretty queasy and fully exhausted much of the time, though I didn't get sick, and wished I could have been out on deck more, but hey what can you do? Thank goodness for the incredible crew of spotters.
Anyway, I mostly just wanted to post some images I got, to show off. Here:
Bermuda Petrel. This is an incredibly rare bird, and the prolonged looks it gave us on two occasions (we later refound what was determined to be the same bird) are almost unprecedented. Brian Patteson's Stormy-Petrel II is pretty much the only boat in the U.S. where this species is possible. Read here to learn about ongoing conservation efforts to protect this endangered species.
I also saw one Fea's Petrel (pronounced Fay-uh, apparently!). I was napping in the cabin during one of my bad spells when the shout rang out on deck. I jumped out to see a small gadfly petrel with dark underwings cruising away, in the company of a few bigger Black-capped Petrels. It was not an ideal look, but a look nonetheless. I did not see the bird that was seen later, much closer to the boat. Apparently Steven Howell and some others who managed to get shots of the first Fea's think that the bird is a candidate for a Zino's Petrel, an extremely similar bird that has only been seen in North America one time, by Patteson on his boat. I can't speak either way to this ID, but wanted to point out that the debate was ongoing.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Hello, and welcome back to the worst blog on the internet.
Today brings another installment of Google Street View Birding, where I sit at my desk in the dark, my pasty face squinting at the screen, and surf around Google Street View looking for birds. This installment is my favorite yet, and takes us to a place with very few species of birds, but many excellent Google Street View looks: Antarctica.
|Gentoo Penguins on Petermann Island, Antarctica|