Hope Springs Eternal

When a hummingbird was reported as coming to feeders in Middle East Pubnico the rarity radar fluttered at the possibility of it being a Black-chinned. Possibility was the right word because there seem to be a couple of vagrants on the east coast of the US and so hopes were high, also it is some time since the last Ruby-throated was seen in Nova Scotia, the sensible ones are in the warmer bits of the Americas by now, not grabbing some aged nectar from a feeder on the ‘must take that down’ list.

The day was pretty grim, dark and lowering clouds promised rain or even snow later and the wind was brisk but not, at that point, cold. The car temp gauge gave 14°C at the time but it was hardly balmy. With typical Nova Scotian hospitality the home owner had allowed access to her property, but not told her neighbours who dropped by to see what we were up to, and quite right too. The hummingbird would dash in, slurp a few times and dash out. We tracked it down to a small clump of bushes behind the well, where it rested between sugary forays.

The light made photography difficult but, with digital, you don’t have to wait two weeks for the photos to be developed and we were able to get expert opinion on the bird. Once home I’d spent time examining the crucial shape of the primaries and realised it was not to be NS tick 350, pity.

Such bird are very educational and, after having gone through the process of critically examining the features and reading up on a species I might otherwise not have learned better, I came away a bit wiser on the important and definitive differences between Ruby-throated and Black-chinned Hummingbird. The key feature is the narrower, more pointed p10, on Black-chinned it would be blunt, almost paddle-like.

It looks like I’ll have to wait for NS bird 350 and year bird 290, still, there is time yet.

Earlier in the day I’d done a sea watch off Baccaro. It was pretty wet at first with a strong southerly wind and no hunters, some will insist on shooting from the parking lot, which is illegal. In three hours, forty minutes I had one other person visit, a guy from Ontario but born in Baccaro who was trying to video the sea with a phone that baffled him. I helped out as best I could and he went away happy.

The watch was pretty good. Dominated by Northern Gannets and Black-legged Kittiwakes with healthy numbers of Razorbills through. Single Parasitic and Pomarine Jaegers escorted their meal-ticket Black-legged Kittiwakes as they went south. Loons of both regular species also passed by. Perhaps the highlight was my first fall Dovekie battling the breeze. I also saw Cory’s and Great Shearwaters, my first for some time – I thought they’d all gone.

Such conditions don’t make for great photos but, when sea watching, even a crappy shot can give you an accurate count of a distant bunch of Razorbills and frequently the Northern Gannets will be close enough to snap. Such sea watches are always enjoyable and there is always the possibility of one of the rarer boobies or a skua wandering past, also Sabine’s Gull will sneak into Black-legged Kittiwake flocks but you have to be lucky with that one.

Here is my eBird checklist for the sea watch: https://ebird.org/canada/checklist/S61401680

I Was Just Saying!

No sooner had I posted the last thrilling episode of my blogging life than the phone rang and Ervin had found a White-eyed Vireo in Yarmouth. The spot was along the access road to Bunker Island, the now bunker-less island that just out into the harbour, connected by a spit to the mainland. It took us about twenty minutes to find birds but we found it and the bright little gem lit up the dusty access road. Year bird 289 and suddenly my year list equals my NS best, not done yet though.

While having a pause for coffee and nibbles in Yarmouth, the phone went again and Ervin had a flock of six Eastern Bluebirds on Chebogue Point Road. We had planned to wander down that way anyway so we munched on the run because bluebirds are worth it. Here in NS they are a bit local and you have to be where they are to see them, well yeah! Since we’ve lived here I’ve only seen one in Shelburne County and missed two on CSI but in Yarmouth County they breed and can be expected once or twice a year with luck.

They were still there when we arrived, as was Ervin, and we enjoyed good views as they milled around a couple of houses, occasionally dropping to the floor to snatch a grasshopper. I have seen Eastern Bluebirds many times but have always found them difficult to get good shots of, their blue plumage tends to suck the sharpness out of an image, I don’t think digital does blue ever so well.

After the bluebirds had wandered away we did our usual cruise to the point. A nice flock of Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds were busy feeding, or dozing on the wires. After a recent dearth of Red-winged Blackbirds locally we suddenly seem to have a few bunches around, I’d had ten in the yard earlier in the day.

A third of November has now gone, blink and it will be December! We are doing a little trip from December-02-17, Costa Rica, mostly the Pacific side. We hadn’t planned anything but saw the flights and they were very cheap, perhaps because we transit through El Salvadore and some people don’t fancy it but I don’t anticipate any issues. Basically we are visiting areas we first went to in 2005, self-guided, only this time not in the wet, alright ‘green’ season and we are a bit better at Neotropical birding than back then. My eBird world list is currently at 2957, maybe, just maybe I’ll tickle 3000 on this trip. One thing is for sure, barring disaster I will hit 10,000 birding days (based on the records I have data for) on December-05, 2019. That represents 27.39 years of birding, daily!

Suddenly I feel old.

More to Come?

It feels like we are slipping into the pre-winter quiet period where we are scraping around for the unusual and, generally, not finding anything. I know that situation can turn on a western reverse migrant or a European Thrush but still, it feels like we should look back and be grateful for the year rather than bemoan the lack of a grandstand finish, so far. There have been a few interesting birds, greater Halifax is still turning up Yellow-breasted Chats and a Grasshopper Sparrow, we might swing one of the former down south although I have yet to have a sniff from their regular spots and we have tried. I’ve frequently said that this is a funny year and it continues to be so, few sparrows so far, in fact we are past the window for the sparrow arrival, it just didn’t happen this year.

One of the poorly understood but annual events is the arrival in north-east North America of three warbler species that should be sunning themselves in warmer climes; Townsend’s, Hermit and Black-throated Grey. Quite why a sprinkling of these tough little warblers are found in our area happens early winter can only be speculated at, the conclusion being that they are reverse migrants genetically disposed to travel the wrong why. This may be for two reasons, they are evolutionary dead-ends within the species and should perish to prevent their wayward genes infecting the population with calamitous results or, they are pioneers of population expansion.

The reverse migration hypothesis has some traction but, taking the most ‘common’ of the three, Townsend’s Warbler, the normal migration track as we understand it is from the north west south into southern California with a smattering overwintering in the Neotropics. For a Townsend’s to find us it would need to make a hard left, a reverse migration would see it sitting on ice off Barrow with Spectacled Eiders, although perhaps not for long.
Why we don’t get more Black-throated Grey Warblers is a bit of a mystery too. They have a much larger range and therefore a larger population. Perhaps it is the more southerly element of the population where density would be greatest that simply do not move in the same way as the northern birds. Hermit has the smallest of the populations and it is remarkable that any ever get here, but they do.

Map from Wikipedia. It shows Townsend’s range and the direction needed to become a star.

Black-throated Grey Warbler in Quebec – it was very nearly refused entry due to its poor warbler skills!.

Townsend’s Warbler from Quebec – tough little buggers.

Newfoundland has recently been swamped by Townsend’s Warblers. In context that would be eight individuals that you could easily fit in a large coffee cup, if they cooperated, but to all appear at the same time can rightly be interpreted as swampage. We look on enviously but only as a cat that ate the feline’s share of Dorian birds and still wants more. We most likely have had a few but coverage is miniscule and, if they don’t show up in hotspots, they don’t get found. Back on Nov-09, 2016 I suggested to Ervin that he might see a few birds at Butch Hogg’s Feeders in Barrington, Cape Island was particularly quiet that day. Ervin went, saw a warbler, sent out back-of-the-camera shots and we all converged on the bush where Nova Scotia’s last Townsend’s Warbler was seen – and we all missed it!

So hope springs eternal. There have been November and December records of Townsend’s, Hermit and Black-throated Grey Warbler in Nova Scotia this century, so on a day when the snow came for the first time this winter, I prefer to look forwards to the next little ray of sunshine that we just might be lucky enough to get. I hope the birding god ‘Alipher’ doesn’t drop one between December 02-17 though, more on that in a future post.
Last winter we had a Lincoln’s Sparrow in our area. It started around Mike’s place then came to us and appeared most days until Apr-19, 2019. A couple of days ago one appeared in the yard and has been in feasting daily on the sparrow seed, same one? Site fidelity is shown by many species but is perhaps easiest to track in banded gulls, who have been shown to return to wintering areas for multiple years. I’d like to think that our little sparrow, we’ll call him ‘Abe’, has been off during the summer and made a whole bunch more Lincoln’s Sparrows before heading back to us for the winter, sure of a continuous supply of seed.

The year list, which I know you are absolutely desperate to hear about, limps on like a lame Donkey. The sparkling Marsh Wren came back to Broadbrook Park in Yarmouth and was duly added but that has been it, so far. No chat, two sparrows, three if you count towhee. No shrike or Red-shouldered Hawk yet. No ducks or cranes, late vireos or House Wrens and White-winged Crossbills are just nowhere. I live in hope of adding to my current 288, I am level with Diane and two behind Jason; it is tight and enormous fun and, congratulation to whomever finishes the year with the most, the taking part as been such a bust. If I were a betting man I would back Diane. Jason has to go places and will miss birds. I am going places in December and I’m also too cheap to travel far. I predict 298 as the final top score.

Locally my Cape Island year list, which I do coincidentally every year, stands at 232, a big improvement on 2018 (221) but some way off my 248 in 2017. But what of your other year lists I hear you mumble with barely concealed boredom, well, my self-found is 253 in NS (294 life) and my photographic year list in NS is 271. I’ll not bother you with this stuff again until my last post of the year.

And now a few more photos.

A Bit of a Jaunt

Some species will always be special and Northern Hawk Owl is one of them. I’ve seen a few while living in Quebec, although it has become harder over the years to hear about them due, in the main, to poor behaviour by photographers at wintering owl sites. This might sound unfair to photographers but it isn’t. It is not all photographers of course, but it is a significant few who are willing to cross the line, placing the object of their lenses in danger. Anyone who uses baiting or lures to bother owls is in the wrong.

Fortunately news of a provincial Northern Hawk Owl found at Apple River at the extreme end of Cumberland County, NS, appeared in the news feeds and the twitch was on. I never really had the prospect of adding a Hawk Owl to my NS list on my radar but this was the year. The bird was in a remote area, well remote from the main population centres and was settled. It had a good hunting area, numerous tall trees in which to sit and cast a staring yellow eye over said area. Getting there required highway patience and B-road perseverance but we got there and saw the bird and made new friends along the way.

Obviously it was another great October bird, an October that has hardly been a classic in terms of species diversity, according to my records, but has been a classic in terms of rarities. I think 2019 will go down as a truly stellar year for rarities in Nova Scotia, it almost makes you wish we could rename 2020 as 2019 because it is sure to be a let-down! Actually every year is stellar for birding when, on the up side it means you are not dead, but on the down you are that bit nearer being so!

The jaunt was lengthy and probably size 11 on the carbon footprint scale, but I’ll plant some more trees and still not mow my lawns to balance it all out. It was actually a treat to visit an area we’d never been too and, even if we’d missed the owl it would have been worth it, no, actually, thinking about it that is not 100% accurate. On eBird the owl won’t show up due to their sensitive species policy. To me logging a gathering of ducks on a local wetland that is hunted maybe should also fall into the sensitive category, but they are just ducks right.

On the way back we managed to see one of the Cattle Egrets found a couple of days before. I hope the next chase is a bit nearer, a bit cheeky I know but Drinking Brook Park is just very convenient for me. Speaking of which, the Pacific Loon continued to arrive on the falling tide until at least Oct-29, 2019.

The owl and a recent Orange-crowned Warbler nudged me up to 287 for the year, three needed to beat my best ever NS year, will it happen? Watch this space.

Loon-A-Tick

After missing out on seeing either of the Pacific Loons that Alix saw and photographed at Baccaro earlier in October 2019, entirely because I wasn’t there, having decided to give a sea watch a miss on the grounds of poor visibility, I have been on high alert in case any more rattled past while I was checking the sea. I’d been seeing loons, several Red-throated in fact but not a calming Pacific until midday on Oct-24, 2019 – but there is more background preceding the story to be told.

When Ronnie and I were on the Cape on Oct-20, 2019 there was a loon offshore that pretended the be more interesting for a while. One of the problems we had was getting a good view, for that the digital camera was engaged. It is amazing how often a still image on the back of the camera it is easier to decipher an ID than an in-field view through bins is. From some angles, The Cape bird looked good, from others it didn’t, here is one of the ‘good’ angles. The bad ones showed not enough head contrast, the bill was the wrong shape and there was no chin strap, more or less a sure-fire ID feature of Pacific.

When I dropped into Drinking Brook Park, Clam Point on Oct-24, 2019 I had two intentions. One was to check for Horned Grebes, the other to idle time while the mail lady filled our box just down the road. I succeeded on both counts. Scanning the rocks for any perched shorebirds I saw a loon actively preening, a complex activity involving much pirouetting and the deliberate avoidance of a throat view. The range, while not great for the scope, was certainly a challenge for the camera.

The thing with the loon was the pale hind neck and seemingly small size, although isolated views of any bird are fraught with issues regarding correctly assessing size. The scope was up full as I waited for the clinching view, which never came. A brisk wind, head-on was a factor, it caused tripod shake making fine detail hard to discern on the dancing image. Despite the range I fired off a succession of shots, hoping to get a side-on and head-on view of sorts. Satisfied that I had something and still firmly sat on the ID fence I headed home to look at the images on the computer.

All of the images were awful, they were bound to be at that range, in that light and in those conditions but the bird looked more Pacific than I expected so ‘el Google’ was engaged and images perused. Sandra was outside doing something domestic, well somebody has to. She looked up to see me waving and urgently getting ready to go back out for another look, so she dashed inside having correctly interpreted the signs! Drinking Brook Park is almost just over the road from us. I also contacted Mike, he is even nearer to it and can see much of the bay from his place.

The loon had moved a bit giving a better angle, light-wise but was further away and it was now very active. Loons dive a lot when feeding (obviously) and may only pause on the surface long enough to get a good lung full. They both had scope views and could see the detail I was seeing so it wasn’t just an hallucination. The loon soon became lost as the tide receded and the birds all moved way out into the deeper channel. Back home I posted a shot on our local Facebook RBA and got no negative thoughts back, it was a Pacific all right.

After a light lunch I went back on a rising tide fully expecting to find the bird again, and hoping that it might be a bit closer and in flatter light, it wasn’t. I spent two hours scanning every bird without any further luck. I didn’t think it had gone, just become out of range. I had planned a bit more looking but a nearby Greater White-fronted Goose beckoned, another Shelburne tick, another call to get ready quick for Sandra, so the loon looking was suspended.

The next day I was off island but Mike kept looking without success. Today, Oct-26, 2019 I was back in the morning and came across a distant look that looked odd. It was raining and the bird uncooperative but, when side-by-side with a Great Black-backed Gull it looked about right for Pacific. Calls were made more as a heads-up than call to arms and Johnny came along for a look. Mike and I bemoaned the location and the fact we could not get nearer, Johnny had a remedy, his brother’s property backed onto the beach where the loon was, so, off we went. Johnny’s brother was very accommodation and Mike and I went to the beach and had a better look. It was an odd bird but looked more Common Loon close-too although it did have some odd features. Back home I checked the shots and confirmed it was a different bird from the Pacific, odd though. Here is a terrible shot of it.

I still think the loon might be somewhere although Barrington Bay is big and it gets regular hunting, which forces birds to move out. I’ll obviously keep looking though and hope it comes back.

The trials and tribulations associated with the loon identification got me thinking about previous loons I’d seen and photographed, both normal looking and weird so, for the purposes of completeness, here are a selection with comments. For reference there is a nice note from Jean Irons on the Ontario Field Ornithologists pages: http://www.jeaniron.ca/2014/loon2ID.htm

Red-throated Loons Passing Baccaro. Even with lousy shots they are easy to call.

Two different groups of Common Loon showing their variable appearance but always looking meaty.

Above, an odd CSI loon. Below two in breeding plumage, female and male I think.

Above another odd looking CSI Common Loon.

Perhaps one of the oddest Common Loons I have seen, quite a few people found this plumage intriguing. It was off Black Rock Lighthouse and interestingly seen at a time when we were looking for a Pacific Loon seen the previous day – we never saw it, such is their nature to go with the flow.

Additional – as they say!

The Pacific Loon finally gave  better views on Oct-27, 2019. Here are some better images of the moulting adult.

Top of the Tree (for now)

Every year around now the eBird listings take on a familiar shape with the top fifteen to twenty active Nova Scotia birders all not quite jostling for position, but at least interested to see who is where. The business end of the year is probably done, migration, fall-outs and hurricane birds, but there are still gaps to fill, whether by purposefully seeking out something you have yet to see or by allowing birding nature to take its course, safe in the knowledge that an Orange-crowned Warbler, White-winged Crossbill or a Clay-coloured Sparrow will appear in your bins view at some time.

It is also the time of year where pangs of regret at missing something that you really should have seen but didn’t come to the fore, the what-ifs. Not counting the rarities, if you miss those they are not what-ifs, just dips, I have missed seven regular species, some of which may be redeemable. I chewed over going for a year list, chasing off places to catch up with up to ten that I might be able to find but decided not to, it is too late in the year and better for the planet and the pocket.

The top three, or those at the top of the eBird tree for now, are myself, Diane LeBlanc and Jason Dain. Between us, to date (Oct-20), we have submitted 1759 complete eBird checklists. How many incidental checklists we have between us is not publically available but, the point I’m making is that there is a lot of valuable eBird data there and you can view it two ways: the year list is a by-product of the birding or the data is a by-product of the year list. Either way data wins. Now some of you may be wondering why only three people are mentioned here when clearly, if you look at the list, another name is present. I think I’ll just say I’m only including verifiable totals and leave it at that. If you have been around the birding scene a while you can fill in the blanks here.

I think the best ever year list in Nova Scotia, a verifiable one, is 312. In eBird the best year is from 2017 when Dave Bell hit 301 species. While Dave had the advantage of being on the best off-islands, Seal and Bon Portage, he also had the disadvantage of being on Seal and Bon Portage, he was bound to miss stuff but then so are we all and therefore perhaps a 300 year should be seen as the Nova Scotia benchmark.

Statistically it is interesting to know that, until 2013, the cumulative Nova Scotia year list was always below 300 species, since 2013 it has always been above 300. The average between 2014-2018 is around 330 species, the best to date being 336 in 2017, the year of the October fall-out. In 2019 the total so far is 343, clearly making it the year to do a year list and the year to reach the benchmark. If only we’d have known this in January!

So what has precipitated this huge jump in the number of species recorded? Primarily it is eBird becoming the default bird reporting tool and, if you don’t use it I’d say you really should, when you are long turned to dust your records will always have value. Another factor has to be the banding on Seal and Bon Portage, particularly when good birders are aware of the possibilities and at the nets daily. Another major factor is increased effort. The more people out birding and contributing to eBird, the more checklists submitted and therefore more species are reported.

When you look at this information, easily found in eBird, you start to realise the value of data. For this simplest of exercises the data has shown how engaging birders leads to greater and therefore more accurate reporting. At some point we must turn our attention to the historical to make sure the eBird facts are a fair reflection of Nova Scotia birds and here we have a snag. There is no easily accessible historical database of Nova Scotia records as far as I know so perhaps we need to create one. It will be a painstaking task to go through all of the NSBS bulletins though, especially when you have to actively weed-out the unsubstantiated. In the long-term it will be worth it though, especially if we want to update the Nova Scotia avifauna.

There are also other influences that have changed the face of bird recording in Nova Scotia over the past decade. The first is birder competency and this is not to say that there have not always been competent birders in NS, of course there have, but there are now more and they are more experienced, especially through direct experience of rarities here and travel overseas. Optics have improved too, this does make a difference, if your optics are poor, then your views are poor and no matter how good you are you can only see what you can reliably see. The final and perhaps most controversial influence is the use of ‘the call’.

Playback annoys some people a lot. Before playback, counting passage migrants relied on lucky views, pishing, which has its limitations, and also chance opportunity. Using playback, and I specifically mean the owl and chickadee melody, increases the accuracy and opportunity to count migrant passerines by a factor of wow. With judicious use, it is possible to cover large areas of coast quickly and efficiently and gives you the optimum chance of drawing in the majority of the birds present. You can cruise the lanes with the windows down listening for chips and chickadees, stop, play and move on with a checklist of data and no harm done. If you think getting the birds to pause feeding to investigate the clamour harms them, or is an intrusion, then you are not being a realist. Everything we do as humans disturbs them and most of those things are to their detriment. Recording using playback is an entirely legitimate tool and just as scientific as banding, no really, it is.

I had a decent sea watch off Baccaro on Oct-17. The wind from the east howled all night with heavy rains spells blattering the windows. In the morning it was still going strong but due to change late morning so it was a fairly small window of opportunity, I gave it a go.

On arrival at Baccaro it was a relief that nobody was exercising their right to break the law and shoot ducks from the parking lot! I pointed the car into the wind and watched through a crack in the window. For the first hour it was just wet, then a Leach’s Storm-Petrel appeared off the parking lot and the fun had begun. By around 10:40 the sea had become shiny, the wind turned south-west and lighter and the birds had visibly moved out well offshore. I watched a bit longer and only had the odd distant Black-legged Kittiwake and one of the Cory’s Shearwaters that refused to push off. I had hoped there might be a loon passage but no, in an instant the conditions had switched from birdy to birdless so I called it a day. Later I headed to Daniel’s Head to see whether anything was afoot but there was barely a sea bird including Northern Gannets, they had all pushed out of visible range.

This is my eBird checklist for those interested: https://ebird.org/canada/checklist/S60688710

Incidentally, for those who note these things, I haven’t seen a Sooty Shearwater in southern Nova Scotia since Aug-26, 219 and I do look a fair bit. This accords well with my general experience of them down here, they are a spring/summer bird and become pretty scarce in fall.

Here are some poor shots form the sea watch.

Not every good bird is a tick. On Oct-15 I turned onto Hawk Point Road in fog and noticed a couple of small birds flying around trees on Smith Lane. I drove around and parked, seeing Red-eyed Vireos, Yellow-rumps and a few sparrows; then I got a really rusty looking junco. I was quite sure it was Oregon Junco from, as its name suggests, out west. I managed to squeak it near enough for a few shots before it followed the roaming flock. Not great shots below but it was a pretty good birds to see.

The rest of the pics are a mish-mash. It has gone quiet but another easterly wind storm approaches so I may have the chance of more sea birds tomorrow (Oct-23). I don’t expect too much but Razorbills should start up soon and it is not to early for the first Dovekie, we shall sea (sic).

Windblown

For the past three days the wind she has blown a bugger. Mostly from the east but occasionally nudging a bit north, this system has been creeping our way slowly. You can see from the map (from Windy, excellent weather web site) that it has the look of a Hurricane about it but without the benefit of having a name, so I’ll call it wind storm Gale (get it!).

Just updated to Melissa by the weather boffins. Seems it will cause some coastal flooding in the US but when it actually gets to Canada we’ll just shrug it off as weather. I think I’ll stick with Gale.

The thing about this storm is that it is keeping all the small birds low, both in terms of morale, although I am assuming that, and also in terms of feeding and therefore being seen. Even the sparrows in our yard who are able to cling onto bushes in regular gales, well they do have thighs like Fatima Whitbread (lady shotputter), are hugging the ground and who can blame them.

At sea, so far, there has been little effect as far as I can see. The seas are now at 4-6m swell, making the troughs deeper and the birds harder to see, later today (Friday Oct-11, 2019) the rain should start. When that happens the birds come closer and I feel Baccaro calling. If we are to see some spectacular sea bird passage on this storm then that is where it will happen, it all depends on how bad the visibility gets. From dawn on Saturday should also be good but there is the chance that hunters, kept away from their chosen vice by the same weather, might be shooting from the parking lot. It is illegal but what can you do?

A few days ago Red Dwarf, my Grand Caravan, got rear-ended by a truck as I was on my way to Daniel’s Head. The tailgate got stoved in and the fender crunched but otherwise it kept its looks. The truck driver fared worse as my towing hitch did considerable damage to his front end. Luckily he’d come the same way as me and so wasn’t going that fast, neither of us were injured. Had he been on the main road and going at 80+ then this post might have been quite different, written by someone else even! The good news is that repair is possible, Red Dwarf will ride again.

While I was out getting a repair quote I thought to check nearby Chebogue Point. It was a bit quiet but this Eastern Phoebe showed nicely in good light.

The Nova Scotia year list has stalled a little but there are still a few regular overshoots I have yet to bump into. At 284 species I ‘need’ six more for my best Nova Scotia year and I’m optimistic I’ll get them plus the odd new species; you have to keep chipper about these things. Locally my Cape Island year list is also a bit static but the same rules as above apply. I won’t get near my best year of 247 but at 228 and counting I think there is room for improvement. My other two year categories, just something to get me out on lousy days just in case, are my self-found year which stands at 252 species, and my photographic year list, which stands at 267 species.

It is very hard to predict how the rest of the year will go. The main thing is to wake up every day, after that fate will take care of itself. Whatever happens between now and midnight on Decembe-31st this year will go down as very memorable.

BTW, in the pages section of the blog I added some bits to the scrapbook. Stuff from Notts but if you like to read birdy stuff then you might like it.