Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year!

It seems like New Year’s greetings are rolling around with greater frequency than ever before, but I’ll save my musings on Time Passing for another day! It’s been a fantastic year over here at Birds and Words. I’ve identified more birds than ever before, though my success rate is still rather shaky, as the comments in the previous post attest — for the record, a rockstar birder and generous reader alerted me that the shorebirds in question were Ruddy Turnstones and Western sandpipers, not Semipalmated plovers as I had assumed (the other mystery bird was a Little Blue Heron). I held a bird in my hand for the first time, watched my husband marvel at a Baltimore Oriole that I located at Leslie Spit, saw my first Phalarope, went on my first Christmas Bird Count, wore my Tilley Hat more than ever before, and finally discovered that there might be more to sparrows than sheer frustration. A great year. On the non-birdy end of the spectrum, I recently started blogging for Ontario Nature and have a couple exciting publications coming up. And, in other exciting news, I saw Midnight Sun in the Lofoten Islands in June, and it looks like I can now play Chopin’s Valse Brillante #2 in tempo (small thrills abound around here). It’s been a wonderful year and 2012 came to a grandiose end with two fabulous events: my dearest high school best friend’s wedding and a luminous performance of the Messiah!

Midnight Sun, Henningsvaer, Lofoten Islands, Norway, July 2012.

Midnight Sun, Henningsvaer, Lofoten Islands, Norway, July 2012. I’m not much of a photographer (as you can tell), but this pic was taken at 1 a.m.

For 2013, my resolutions are simple — I’d like more of the same! In short: more birds, more words, please! In more specific, New Year’s resolution-type style, I’d like to:

  1. Finish my book. (Translation: keep working really hard and do not despair at the rejections. Keep. Writing. Every. Single. Day. Eventually, the hours and words have no choice but to add up! Better translation: keep showing up!)
  2. Keep my bird list up to date.
  3. Keep swimming regularly (I’ve gotten faster now that I’m able to breathe every three strokes when I swim front crawl!)
  4. Keep playing badminton.
  5. Keep practicing piano (on the horizon are: Beethoven Sonata [#7], a new Bach Prelude & Fugue [Bk 1, #3], Brahms Intermezzi [op.117, #1,2,3], a Shostakovich Prelude & Fugue [#7], and perhaps a Chopin Ballade, but that might be pushing it)
  6. Eat seasonal food and keep cooking healthy meals (thanks to my fantastic food share for making this possible!

As I said, lots more of the same. Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you a stellar, birdy New Year full of good health and happiness!

Where I’ve Been

Beloved Birders! I’ve just returned from a week in paradise:

IMG_1664That’s the beach in Turks and Caicos, where I spent a week watching the ocean, swimming, staring at sunsets, walking along the 20km beach, cooking, eating, and repeating the cycle for seven days. I had grand intentions of reading Bleak House, but ended up opting for Nabokov’s Pnin, which seemed more my pace. Dickens will have to wait until I acquire a greater attention span. I had meant to go on a birding trip, but it seemed that staring at the ocean took up the bulk of my time, and I didn’t quite get around to accomplishing any serious avian feats.

I did, however, see a grandiose Brown Pelican and watched him fly close to the ocean, and then land on a scraggly branch of a tree, no stronger than a small twig. Not only did the pelican land on the twig-like branch with grace and style, but he sat there for at least ten minutes, scratching his breast by opening and closing his giant bill in a scissor-like movement. It was entrancing and I bemoaned the fact that my camera was an hour’s walk away, lying on my towel, next to poor Pnin.

I did manage to take a picture of a congregation of what I think are Semipalmated plovers relaxing on a pier. (Please tell me I managed to identify these birds correctly! If not, please correct me!):

Hopefully I've ID'd these birdies correctly and they're Semipalmated plovers!

Hopefully I’ve ID’d these birdies correctly and they’re Semipalmated plovers! They’re talking politics.

And, I saw this lone mystery bird on the next pier, which I should be able to ID but can’t seem to. Let me know what it is! There he is, staring out into space, pondering the meaning of life. He almost looks like a night heron, but that couldn’t be, could it?

And I am....?

And I am….?

And there were warblers galore, colossal quantities of Common ground doves (Columbina passerina), egret type species, a glorious Osprey, and a majestic Cuban Crow (Corvus nasicus) who made the loudest, strangest door screeching sounds imaginable. There were dozens of other species, but between eating, sleeping, swimming and staring into space, that’s all I managed to accomplish, bird-wise, in paradise.

In other, infinitely more exciting bird news, I started blogging over at Ontario Nature earlier this month. Feel free to read my stories over here.