September 19, 2012

Fall winds are blowing...

Apparently another summer has passed.  Where did the time go?  September is flying by - the Virgina Creeper is already reddening and the Ash in the back field is looking pretty bald.  The garden is all harvested save for the squash.  The sounds of nocturnal migrants have been filling the cool night sky.

I observed some great birds this summer and spent many a hour pondering their economics.  Like these Sandhill Cranes in Maine, which are pretty uncommon here and only the second ones I've seen in the Pine Tree State.  

As Aldo Leopold wrote:  "Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty.  It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.  The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words."

I saw a couple more Black-billed Cuckoos...who knows when they'll have another big year?

I decided that terns and swifts are the most difficult birds I've ever tried to photograph.  I'm pretty sure I made a fool of myself trying to get pictures of these Common Terns foraging...

These Chimney Swifts are backyarders that never fail to out-fly my lens.  My St. Paddy's Day bat was easier to get a picture of than this Chimney Swift...

I've been fortunate to be conducting boat surveys 20 miles off the coast of Maine this summer and have seen great birds out there.  It's a rugged 16 hour shift but seeing whales and seabirds make the long days and nights worth it.  Adding South Polar Skua and Atlantic Puffin (ATPU) to my Life List both deserve honorable mention, let alone adding a juvenile ATPU to my Baby List...

I can't forget about the Long-tailed AND Pomarine Jaeger lifers!  I've been looking for those suckers for YEARS and finally hit paydirt.  This Pomarine flushed from the log on the right and flew by the boat...I was elated to even get a photo because all I wanted to do was drool through my binos...

I will never tire of watching Wilson's Storm-petrels forage and flutter...

And how could one ever fail to appreciate the achingly graceful oceanic wanderings of a Greater Shearwater?

Storm-petrels and shearwaters certainly conjure up August/September in Maine for me.  Soon these birds will have peeled out for the winter.  What a wonderful time of year!


  1. Super shots Lauren.

    That Aldo Leopold quote is great too. I've been in a recent debate about whether the most potent/powerful art forms can be made by man, a being racked with imperfection stemming from his self-consciousness and environmental limitations, or found in nature. I lean towards nature, and the Leopold quote articulates a part of that very well.

    Seems like everyone is doing awesome pelagics these last several weeks! Nothing makes Phoenix seem worse than reading about everyone else's pelagic trips!
    That Great Shearwater photo is photonomenal!

    1. Thanks Laurence! I agree, nature wins - good thing man has a potent and powerful ability to protect and conserve that natural art. Just wish more folks appreciated it. Love that Aldo quote too, he was such a genius and so eloquent.

      Pelagic birding is pretty awesome, you guys are welcome in Maine anytime! Don't worry, I'll be stuck in seemingly birdless winter here pretty soon, drooling over all your phenomenal AZ winter birds!

  2. Dang you had an awesome summer! Congrats on all the sightings and also having a rad job... Nice work!

    1. Thanks! It has been a great summer, gotta load up on birds before winter hits...