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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

8 Sort of Random Birdchaser Facts

David over at Search and Serendipity has tagged me for the 8 Random Facts meme. My understanding of the rules is that:
- Players write a post describing eight random facts about themselves.
- They then “tag” eight bloggers to write similar posts, including the rules.
- The players then leave a comment on blogs they've tagged to tell them about the meme.

First off, since this is a birder blog, I'm not going to have to modify this a tad, and stick to 8 Sort of Random Facts about myself--since truly random facts such as my fondness for dark chocolate and genealogical research aren't germane to the theme of this blog. With that in mind, here we go...

8 Sort of Random Birdchaser Facts

1) First Bird The first wild bird I remember putting a name to was a Killdeer flushed from a gravel road on a fishing trip with my dad and grandfather to either Deep Creek or Honey Creek near Lakeview, Oregon in June 1975. I was just a kid, so I remember being alarmed by such a violent name for a bird!

2) First Birdwatcher In August 1976, my mom and I and some of my other siblings went to the Oregon Coast with another family from Oregon City. Ellen Skyles had just taken a birdwatching class somewhere and was keeping a list of birds she had seen. It was the first time I knew there was something called birdwatching.

3) First Bird List In July 1977, I made my first bird sighting list for a cub scout requirement. While I've since lost that list, I'm sure it included crows, robins, blue jays (=Western Scrub-Jay), and chickadee (=Dark-eyed Junco).

4) First Birding Trip I remained a casual birdwatcher for several years, and wanted to be a herpetologist. Then on August 10, 1981 I went on my first birding trip--a week long excursion to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon with a group from my junior high school. Ron Keil, my science teacher, gets credit for giving me the real birding bug. We saw over 60 bird species that week. Its been downhill ever since.

5) First Audubon Field Trip In June 15, 1983 I joined Lynn Herring from Portland Audubon for one of her monthly birding trips to Sauvie Island. We met at the Safeway store in Lake Oswego where she gave me a lift to the trip in her VW Rabbit. On that trip I saw my first Barn Owl, Blue-winged Teal, American Bittern, and Bullock's Oriole.

6) First Birding Milestone On July 18, 1983 I saw my 200th bird, a Marbled Murrelet at Yaquina Head near Newport, Oregon. Actually, due to bad note taking, I hadn't realized that I had actually reached that milestone a week earlier when I went to look for Purple Martins nesting in some pylons in the Columbia River off Marine Drive in Portland.

7) First Pelagic Trip A couple days before starting high school, my folks dropped me off at Westmoreland Golf Course in Portland so I could catch a late-night ride to the Oregon Coast with David Irons and Koninendyke. I was fourteen and had never met these two guys before and was a bit alarmed as Mark downed a beer while driving his truck through the dark over the Coast Range. We slept on the beach and got up early to catch the boat, only to find Mark's truck was stuck in the sand. Dave and I hitched a ride to the Garibaldi marina to catch the boat, and somehow Mark got the truck out and just barely made it to the boat before departure. Despite the crazy start, it was a glorious day with shearwaters, and storm petrels, and Sabine's Gulls!

8) First Rare Bird Chase On December 10, 1983 my dad drove me over to see a Brown Thrasher hopping around in a backyard compost pile in Colton, Oregon. It was my first time to chase a rare bird listed on the Portland Audubon rare bird alert. Birdchasing has been a chronic obsessive degenerate disorder ever since!

Well, that's it for me for now. To continue the meme I tag
1) High School birding buddy David Bailey at Eva Calidris Bailey.
2) Fellow college radical Matt at The Underview.
3) Underground college paper mate Russell at In Medias Res.
4) Foodie and fellow birder Scott at Dallas Food.
5) The crafty and not so birdy Cheff Messy.
6) Favorite Austin musician and sometime birder Kim at Boneyard Media.
7) Texan birder John at Swampblog.
8) Winging It editor Rick at Aimophila Adventures (I'll get you that article soon, promise!)


Jennifer said...

Well, I'm not quite sure exactly how I arrived at your blog, given that I have a fine-tuned fear of birds. Somewhere in something associated with your blog,however, I read "In media res" and thought I was navigating to a site about the classics, which I love. But... I am taking this as a sign that somewhere out there Someone is trying to help me get over my fear of birds, so I think I'll continue to visit for a bit, if you don't mind, and try to learn a little something about birds. Hello.

birdchaser said...

Welcome Jennifer. If you lived near Philly we could go see some cool birds together. Nothing to be scared of. They are prehistoric beasts, but harmless. Give 'em another chance, they've got a lot to give!

Jennifer said...

Funny you should say that -- there is a heron that lands in the lake in our front yard every so often. We've always joked that he (or she) is a pterydactyl -- or at least has the appetite of a pre-historic beast. He single-handedly (?) decimates the fish population every year. And, I guess I must admit, fascinates us (from afar) with each landing.

birdchaser said...

Now a Great Blue Heron would actually be a bird to be afraid of if you were trying to grab it--that spear-like beak can inflict serious or even lethal damage. But from afar, they are mostly just majestic and other-worldly. Very cool beasts.

Hyygeia said...

I have it seen stand nearly pefectly still but actually moving in VERY SLOW MOTION for what seems like a loonnnnnng time and then spear a fish like a bolt of lightning, swallow it in a single gulp, and gracefully depart. It does look kind of blue -- perhaps slate gray-- now that you mention it. I will post a photo of the oh-so-elegant beast on my blog.

KJS said...

I may yet do this...

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