my year in birds: 2018

December 31, 2018

in Me

“Birding” in the sense of really spending time in the field looking for birds has largely fallen by the wayside. My work over the past few years expanded into broader ecological endeavors, heavy on botany and entomology. But in keeping with tradition, here is my catch up post.

  • Some new life birds since the last update: Elegant Tern and Red-breasted Sapsucker (2017 on a visit to California) and Spotted Redshank (2018, in my home county), and Slaty-backed Gull (2018, in my former home county).
  • Total life birds: 1111.
  • Total ABA-area birds: 585.
  • Total state birds: 327.

Work county. Alas, now that I have left my long-time job, my former county, city, and workplace lists will likely not grow much, although if something really interesting shows up I might run over there and take a look.

  • Wayne County: 270. Last two were notable. One was the first confirmed record for the county for Say’s Phoebe, found by my other half at his work place, a big corporate campus, in December. The other was the above-mentioned gull.
  • Total Dearborn birds: 231.
  • Total birds at work: 203. The last bird for these 2 categories was a Yellow-crowned Night-heron at work.

Home county.

  • Total birds, Washtenaw County: 237.
  • Total birds in my home township of Lodi Township: 194.
  • Yard birds: 156; my better half has seen more species, so the yard list is actually 169. After 16 years, our yard list in Dearborn was 138.

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Juniper (a.k.a. Juni, June Bug, The Bug, My Beautiful Girl) has been with us for ten years now. At nearly 12 years old, she is still as goofy, sweet, and playful as ever. We lost our beloved Sophie in 2013 and it was devastating for all of us, including Juniper. She was clearly depressed for some time, and when she finally came out of it, her personality was much more affectionate, and she became much more attached to me. Thus, she spends more time in my lap than ever before (and she sleeps in exactly the same place beside me as Sophie used to), but still gets the wild zoomies on a regular basis. We now also have another cat, Liberty (Libby). More on her another time, as this is Juniper’s special day!

We love you June Bug!


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still with me?

December 19, 2018

in Me

Did you think I had just given up, abandoning bootstrap to the graveyard of dead blogs?

The last few years have been a crush of winding down my university job, taking an offered premature retirement, and transitioning to more freelance work and more free time (in theory, at least). Although I have kept several of the outlets for my previous gig functioning, I’m going to rechannel my continued research output and outreach to other venues, including right here. I’m not sure if I will ever get back to the level of productivity of personal essays here that I used to, but we’ll see what happens.

You haven’t heard the last of me yet.

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my year in birds: 2014

December 31, 2014

in Me

My traditional compilation, after the second full year in my new home and home township.

Once again, due to many (expensive) house projects, we did not travel.

  • New life birds: None.
  • Total life birds: #1100. No change.
  • Total ABA-area birds: 579. No new species this year.
  • Total state birds: 315. A Western Kingbird showed up a few miles from home. We found out as we arrived home after running a lot of errands, and (to give you an idea of how little I chase birds anymore) I took a nap instead of going to see it with Kingfisher. It hung around, and I saw it the next day.

Work county

  • Wayne County: 265. New species this year was Wild Turkey (finally).
  • Total Dearborn birds: 226, new was Glaucous Gull.
  • Total birds at work: 197, that Glaucous Gull was there.

Home county– as I’m catching up here, I won’t start annotating these lists for a year or so.

  • Total birds, Washtenaw County: 217
  • Total birds in my home township of Lodi Township: 164
  • Yard birds: 141; my better half has seen more species, so the yard list is actually 156. After 16 years, our yard list in Dearborn was 138.

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my year in birds: 2013

January 5, 2014

My traditional compilation, which is essentially the same as last year, except that I’m filling in the baseline data at my new home and home township. Otherwise, nothing new as we did not travel. Like last year, I picked up an armchair lifer, which I am counting because 1) it’s my list, and 2) I […]

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my year in birds: 2012

January 5, 2013

My traditional compilation. I took no trips at all this year, as my father was ill and passed away, and we bought and sold a house. We barely had time to eat, much less bird. New life birds:  I picked up an armchair lifer with the split of Gray-lined Hawk (saw mine in Nicaragua in […]

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my family started the 1924 smallpox epidemic

March 18, 2012

I occasionally dabble in genealogy, the only hobby I have that has nothing to do with natural history or science. I’ve been most interested in my mother’s side of the family, which was a big mystery even when my grandmother was alive. My mom was an only child, but her mother came from a large […]

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the year in birds: 2011

January 1, 2012

This tradition is now probably just for me, and my 3 remaining readers! I took two international trips this year: one to the central highlands of Nicaragua, my second time in this area (you can read about the highlights here and here), and the other a quick trip to Honduras. Also a business trip to […]

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updated: plotting a christmas bird count circle

December 24, 2011

A new and improved way to create circles on a Google Map or for use in Google Earth, especially handy for Christmas Bird Count circles.

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fill ‘er up

May 31, 2011

The Rouge River is an urban river, and its urban character is nowhere better reflected than where it gets harnessed into its concrete straitjacket.

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