Tuesday, December 27, 2016

All the Bird Stuff I Got for Christmas

Once your relatives know you're a birder, you'll be getting tons of birds stuff every Christmas. It's great, mostly, and who am I to complain about anything anyway I'm getting free things from loved ones and everything's great. But still, one can only have so many bird calendars, you know? Like, one per year. 

Thankfully, my loved ones have great taste and a classy touch. Let me share with you the great bird-y things I got this year.

Let's start with my mom, who gave me a bunch of little goodies.

Some pretty postcards and a magnet. Nice.

A Charley Harper bird mobile! I will hang this above my bed maybe because I am a grown man.

A cute little birding journal that I can, like, write my notes in. Being completely honest, I will never use this because I am not 90 years old and it's not 1971, but it's a very nice little book and deserves to be filled with pretty memories and sightings.

Thanks, mom! You're great and beautiful and good at giving presents. 

Now from my uncle! He's awesome at finding old books and other overlooked treasures, and then passing them on to lucky folks. He got me two cool books.

The first was this funky little paperback published in the early 60s in my home state of Maine about taming wild birds at your feeder! This thing's crazy! That guys got a Pine Grosbeak in his hand, for goodness sake!

Now, this next one absolutely blew me away. It's a 1903 copy of Frank Chapman's Color Key to North American Birds. HOLY COW. I'm no birding historian (sorry, Rick Wright) and didn't even know that the guy who started the first Christmas Bird Count also wrote field guides. This one's a beaut. 

The birds are arranged by color, with cool little illustrations and and information. It's a tight little guide. The art isn't ... how can I say this nicely ... museum quality (check out the funny face on the Bald Eagle below), but there's a lot of love in here. And Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. And Snow Buntings which apparently used to be called Snowflakes!

Last, but certainly not least, my beautiful wife Liz is a good listener. She heard me complaining about how hard it can be to drag around all my birding stuff -- binoculars, cameras, scope, tripod, etc. I had been talking about the camera bags some of my photographer friends have, and said that I thought one of those could be used for birding gear. She filed that away for awhile, then voila:

This is the Burton F-Stop backpack. It's a real beast, and just what I needed. Inside, as you can see below in the not-very-good picture, are a bunch of padded compartments that are completely customizable with velcro. 

Here you can see I've moved those compartments around to fit everything I need: binoculars (with Maine Birder Bands to the right, scope down the middle, camera body on the lower right, and big 400mm lens on the left. It all fits perfectly!

There's plenty of storage to spare. Up to here I put a battery charger, CF cards and other goodies.

Here's the final set-up, wth the tripod secured onto the front (two of the legs are in the little tripod pouch and then the whole thing in strapped in). I've got a small guide in the pocket on the side, though it's not big enough for a Sibley or something of similar size. 

This things is awesome, and will make trekking for birds so, so much easier. Thanks, Lizzie! Merry Christmas to all!


nancyg said...

That mobile is destined for hanging over a bed in another room....!
Love your Mother

nancyg said...

Ummmm...That mobile is destined to hang over another bed in your home someday...!
Love your mother

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