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Showing posts from February, 2010

Return to Ecuador

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From beneath Winter's Lovely White Cloak, Kim writes: Okay, so practically the entire staff at BSBO is in Ecuador right now on a birding trip with our friends at Tropical Birding . Since I've been to Ecuador twice, I volunteered to stay here and mind the office so that our Board would approve the trip for the rest of the gang. I felt really good about my decision. The people at BSBO are among the finest individuals I have ever met anywhere in the world. They work incredibly hard for little or no pay, and they absolutely deserve this fabulous experience. But...Today I'm kind of bummed. The Tropical Birding guides have been posting some of the birds they've been seeing, and I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a tiny part of me (okay, so it's a moderately large part) that's wishing I was there too. I thought it would help me feel better to take all of you along with me on a trip back in time to our visit to Ecuador in February 2006. Caution...the trip I

The Antpitta Whisperer

For Bird Watcher's Digest column “After the Spark” by Kenn Kaufman July-August 2006 issue THE ANTPITTA WHISPERER After a lifetime of pursuing rare and wonderful birds on all seven continents, I have just had the strangest experience of my birding career. The following may sound like weird fiction, but it’s all true. The story begins with the Andean cock-of-the-rock. It’s a bird as odd as its name, the size and shape of a football, living in mountain forests of western South America. Males are brilliant flaming orange-red, but in mating season they don’t rely on mere color. Groups of males, a dozen or more, gather at traditional dancing grounds called leks at mid-levels in the forest, and hop about while they make odd calls. At times, perhaps when a female is nearby, the lek erupts into a frenzy of bobbing and bowing, twanging and growling and squealing. This is a bird made for stardom, made for television, and the weirdest thing is that it’s not even the subject of this story. I

Petal to the Medal / Bird on a Wire

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From Home base in Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kim writes: After a very long day, this is what I arrived home to last night: Aren't they lovely?! If there was a medal for world's most beautiful flower arrangement, these flowers would take solid gold. The best part is that they came on a random day: Not my birthday. Not our anniversary. Not Valentine's Day. Just another day in the life of being married to a very sweet and thoughtful man. Okay, I know this is supposed to be a birding blog. So, I'll give you a bird fix. Our friend and great birder, Carl Edwards, is a lifelong Floridian and he lives near the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, so he joined us for Kenn's keynote talk at the refuge last Saturday. The talk was sold out--standing room only--and they actually blocked the door and had a refuge volunteer keeping people from squeezing in. Well, Carl spent a little too much time out birding and arrived a few minutes late, so he had to ninja his way past the door

A favor, pretty please!

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From Ohio's Winter Wonderland, Kim Writes: Kenn and I arrived back in Ohio around 2:00 this morning from our adventures in Florida. We had originally planned to stay an extra night and come home late this afternoon, but, the roads were clear and dry, our "rockin rental minivan" had satellite radio, and we were all hopped up on Girl Scout Cookies that we purchased from a pig-tailed entrepreneur, who had gotten permission to set up a stand at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge during Everglades Day. We stopped at this great farm market right at the entrance to the Refuge with the intention of buying all this great fresh fruit. BUT...we spotted the sad little face of "The Cookie Racketeer" and she made us an offer we couldn't refuse. (Don't you think the Thin Mint should be declared our National Cookie?!) We've got tons to tell you about the trip and the two events, Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival and Everglades Day at the Loxahatchee Na

Sky Watch Friday

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From somewhere near Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Kenn and Kim write: We have much to share from our amazing experience at the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival last week. But for now, in celebration of Sky Watch Friday, we offer you this sizzling sunset over the marshes and mudflats of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.