March 23, 2006

Birds: Lesser Black-backed Gull photos

This beautiful adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was loafing near the lock in Phoenix this afternoon. I was trying out the new adapter I got for my camera on Ring-bills and Herrings when I spotted this guy towards the back. Here are some more shots:

What are you looking at?


In comparison with a Herring Gull

I already had this bird on my year list but it was not nearly as good a look. I'm using a Nikon Coolpix 995, a Williamson adapter and a Pentax Spotting Scope. Still need to figure out how to get the image sharper. Maybe cleaning the lense every now and then would help...

March 20, 2006

Birds: 100th Bird!

I did it! This afternoon I had my 100th bird… a Wilson’s Snipe at the Lamson Pony Farm in northern Onondaga County. My goal had been to reach 100 before my first Tree Swallow and for a while it didn’t look very likely. But the recent cold spell gave me a chance to pick up a couple missing ‘winter’ birds and early migrants before the swallows return. Last year at this same date I only had 58, so I'm very excited about how this year is going. Also seen today were Rusty Blackbirds at Three Rivers WMA and a juvenile Iceland Gull in Phoenix.

March 13, 2006

Music: Tally Hall

This is one of the most off the wall, deliciously dorky and thoroughly enjoyable bands I've come across in a long time. Hailing from Ann Arbor, Michigan (yeah, I know... Michigan?) these guys have a pretty unique sound to say the least. Somewhere in between Franz Ferdinand, The Flaming Lips, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Weird Al Yankovic, Tally Hall sets up camp with intense vocal blends, fantastic musicianship and totally unpredictable arrangements. I mean, these guys are way over the top, but I think one of the reasons I like them so much is that they don't quite take themselves that seriously. Their debut album Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum is mind-bending extravaganza of amazing noises, intriguing sounds and frequently, some very cool music. Lyrically they are often clever and occasionally funny; just don't expect anything too deep or philosophical and you'll be fine. So if you're ready to hear your world in a whole new light I suggest Tally Hall may be just the thing you're looking for.

PS: Remember, these guys are from Michigan so try to cut them a little slack...

March 08, 2006

Birds: Red-necked Grebe

Yesterday I did some birding with Sarah and Jonathan Calderon. We had pretty good luck... Northern Shrike, Hermit Thrush and other early migrants. But the highlight was this very-nearly breeding plumage Red-necked Grebe in Oswego Harbor. What a handsom bird! Sorry the photo is so crumby. This was year bird number 80. In 2005 my total for this date was 51, in 2004 it was 58, in 2003 it was 65, in 2002 it was 70. So after three years of steadily declining I'm now at a personal best (per this date) by 10 birds. Kind of exciting for me anyway. What can I say... I like my lists. I might be able to make 100 by the first Tree Swallow but it's still kind of a long shot. We'll see.