Bad bird photo of the week

Scaup taking wing…

So I happened to come across this article about a local duck phenomenon and made it a point to find my way there today, in my traveling from one end of the county to another to see clients. For many years this was THE place to go locally for huge numbers of Scaup, but in the last couple of years, not so much. I’d drive by, over the Oceanic Bridge hopeful, but nothing the last few years.

I found them there today, but completely panicked when they all took off at once from the water…

It was really beautiful, though.

(Darn camera!)

; )

Ruddies

There are finer, more carefully focused and composed photos from a chance encounter with a group of Ruddies the other day… but this is my favorite because the details give away so much about this little duck… the bluish bill, the outstretched neck and jaunty tilt of the tail.

They’re usually easy to find in the neighborhood ponds and almost always bring a smile.

: )

My go-to book for historical bird names has a very long list for the Ruddy Duck; many of which are hysterical…

Dumpling Duck, Daub Duck, Deaf Duck, Fool Duck, Sleepy Duck, Butter Duck, Brown Diving Teal, Widgeon Coot, Creek Coot, Sleepy Coot, Booby Coot, Ruddy Diver, Dun Diver, Sleepy Brother, Butter-Ball, Batter-Scoot, Blatherskite, Bumblebee Coot, Quill-tailed Coot, Heavy-tailed Coot, Stiff-tail, Pin-tail, Bristle-tail, Sprig-tail, Stick-tail, Spine-tail, Dip-tail, Diver, Dun-bird, Dumb-bird, Mud-dipper, Spoon-billed, Butter-ball, Spoonbill, Broad-billed dipper, Dipper, Dapper, Dopper, Broad-bill, Blue-bill, Sleepy-head, Tough-head, Hickory-head, Steel-head, Hard-headed Broad-bill, Bull-neck, Leather-back, Paddy-whack, Stub-and-twist, Light-wood-knot, Shot-pouch, Water-partridge, Dinky, Dickey, Paddy, Noddy, Booby, Rook, Roody, Gray Teal, Salt-water Teal, Stiff-tailed Widgeon.

Edward Howe Forbush (1917) explains that many of the common names stem from the difficulty in hunting them…

(Stub-and-twist is a personal favorite!)

What’s not to love about this man?

Image courtesy Princeton University Press

He’s handsome, smart, likes birds, has that incredibly cute accent, not to mention the humungous camera lens…

(which, btw MevetS, he handholds!)

Besides the avant-garde fashion sense (look at that blue jacket!) he’s also, clearly, very brave. I imagine him to be risking life and limb to photograph Harlequins out at the end of the Barnegat jetty, don’t you?

Have I mentioned that he’s just published a book? And a book about birds, no less!

(swooning)

My momentary infatuation is directed towards Richard Crossley and his Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds. I’m planning to spend this Valentine’s evening curled up with it by candlelight, maybe with a glass of wine.

Like with all tender new love, all I can say is, “Wow!”

and,

“He’s sees birds just like I do!”

and,

“Where has this field guide been all my life?”

and,

“Gosh… it’s so sexy when he uses alpha codes!”

; )

It really is a cool guide; his approach is unconventional and that’s exactly what excites me most about it. I’ve not ever been one to rely on a field guide. I collect them, yes. But use them? Hardly.

This is a book I want to spend time with and get to know better. I think Richard Crossley can make me a better birder.

*Please note that, while Princeton University Press has kindly provided me with a free copy of The Crossley ID Guide to review, this is not my proper review. I promise to do that once I’m over the puppy-dog stage of love and can see things more clearly.

**Please also note that I have no personal relationship with Mr. Crossley, nor do I desire such. There was a brief interaction at the Cape May Hawkwatch this fall involving the ID of a sparrow, however. I am happy to report that Mr. Crossley did not laugh me off the platform at that encounter.

(Imagine the pressure of having THE RICHARD CROSSLEY toss a roadkill sparrow your way and demand that you ID it, in hand, before he’ll even make eye contact with you.)

Thanks for that experience Wren!

Have a listen as he describes the book (oohh that accent!)

And Happy Lover’s Day!

Secret garden

A couple more pics from the other day at Terrain – highly recommended for anyone suffering from the late-winter blahs…

Our lunch spot, happy with sun.

Set in a greenhouse, there is flowing water, antique stained-glass doors and plenty of sunlight!

There’s an attached shop that sells all manner of pretty things.

More pretty things!

They also sell plants, but I was barely even tempted, considering my lousy luck with houseplants.

Wandering around with my camera I found lots of things, like the winter sky reflected in silver plant misters.

; )

Sun soaked

This is the photo I took at the beginning of our visit – a simple bread baked in a clay pot, a mason jar of ice water and the late winter sun streaming across the table where we gathered for lunch.

Every moment in the sun is a gift these days and I think we all might’ve stayed in that sun-drenched spot and happily chatted the afternoon away. We – myself, Julie Zickefoose, Heather from Wayne PA (who many of us know from her sweet comments on our blogs) and Heather’s friend Linda met for lunch and a visit to the Wyeth collections at the Brandywine River Museum.

Julie is in town to speak at Longwood Gardens. Heather was our local guide and she picked the perfect spot for lunch – sun soaked and fragrant with the scent of growing things… a place to nourish winter-weary bodies and hearten a growing friendship.

More another day!