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Reunion on the Platte

By mid February, migrant sandhill cranes begin to gather along an 80-mile stretch of the Platte River, in south-central Nebraska. They are traveling northward from wintering grounds in West Texas, Mexico and eastern New Mexico, headed...Show More Summary

Wildlife in the Mist

Low clouds, patchy fog and a cool mist enveloped central Missouri this morning and, as I reached Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, a barred owl perched like a sentry along the entrance road. Flocks of ducks, mourning doves and red-winged...Show More Summary

Chet Baker Steals the Butter!

These holidays have held so much joy for us. Corey comes to visit. We went birding on New Year's Day and found all three falcon species (kestrel, merlin and peregrine!) Bolt upright, regal Ohio River falcon dresses up a bridge To know...Show More Summary

The Best Thing I've Ever Bought

You know that good feeling you get when you find something that WORKS? It may not be expensive or particularly beautiful, but it just WORKS. I was reading galleys for Bird Watcher's Digest, which I've been doing since about 1991 in my position as Contributing Editor. Show More Summary

Rural Light, Rural Shadow

Scrolling through photos for the last post, I came upon a forgotten photo safari. The images were too beautiful to let them die in my library. So here's a little flashback to the lush beauty of early November along an Appalachian Ohio...Show More Summary

Other People's Stuff

I'm snooping in other people's barns on an early November six-mile run near my home. Around here, very few barns actually house animals any more. Some of them still shelter hay, but most of them are just big airy storage units for stuff...Show More Summary

Beyond the Mud

Across the American Heartland, March is known for its muddy landscapes, cold rain, wet snow and raw, windy days. But, to the naturalist, March has far more to offer than ugly weather and sloppy terrain.After all, the month generallyShow More Summary

Clammy Groundcherries, Everted Opossums, and Art

I go on to the second barn, but find it full of honest machinery. It's a better barn with a better roof. I guess I like the skeevy one better. It tells more stories. I go a bit farther beyond the second barn and see a huuuge whitetail buck in the hidden meadow. Show More Summary

Sharp-shin or Cooper's?

There's been a hawk strafing our feeders this winter. I'd seen enough of it to know it was an adult: gunmetal blue above and rust below, and it was in that gray area of size that makes its species really hard to call. It's the size of a small male Cooper's, or a big female sharp-shin. That's what makes this ID conundrum (sharp-shinned vs. Show More Summary

Macaw Messiah

I am delighted to say that, in February, I will be returning with a group of about 15 people to Costa Rica. Guiding trips is a brand new thing for me, but I find it suits me pretty well. Why wouldn't it? I guess it's obvious that I love showing people amazing places and creatures. Show More Summary

Sharp-shin Vs. Cooper's: Wrong Again, and Happily So

When we last left our heroine, she was flying through the air at a high rate of speed on her way to Orlando to give three talks and accompany (I won't say lead) two field trips in five days at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in beautiful balmy Florida. I left this...this...crapola... Show More Summary

What the Willet Does

I've been busy in Florida, working at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. The weather's been sunny and in the 70's. Liam's with me. We're in heaven. This afternoon we raced over to Canaveral National Seashore and watched birds. Show More Summary

Chet Baker: Training Humans

This dog has us all figgered out. He knows that he gets away with about anything by being himself, which is to say impossibly cute. Most mornings, I find him lying crosswise, right through the middle of the bed, taking up the room of 1.5 humans. Show More Summary

Survivor Peg

I got home from Costa Rica late Tuesday, March 3. Wednesday was a blur of scrambling around catching up, waiting for my lost suitcase to find its way home, waiting for The Biggest Snow of the Year to hit. The snow started that evening and piled up to about 13" overnight and the next day. Show More Summary

Escape to Blue Spring

I'm writing this on a dreary Ohio evening. I've just returned from a four-mile run and a singing session in the Waxler Church at twilight. It's the most I can do to fight the gloom. The boys are at a StupidBowl party, something that is frankly so far down on my scale of Appealing Things that it's flatlining. Show More Summary

Pink Flamingos, Happy Boy

The first thing Liam and I did upon arriving at Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, FL, was to stop right on the road for a bald eagle who was hangin' out on a power pole. I have been there a bunch of times and I'd never seen that. Now, maybe I'm supposed to be blase about an enormous sea eagle 30' over my head. Show More Summary

Butterfly Lightning

The best thing about being a generalist is that you can amuse yourself anywhere. If there isn't a bird to watch nearby, there are bound to be plants and insects. And January butterflies are fabulous. January butterflies!! I'll take 'em!! Here's an eastern pgymy-blue Brephidium isophthalma. Show More Summary

The Grateful Gull

Liam and I, turned loose in Florida, when the Weather Gods decided to smile instead of crap on us. It was in the upper 60's and 70's for the duration of our visit, and only rained one night and the next morning. The reason I'm blogging this now is because it is unconscionably dreary here in them Mid-Ohio Valley right now. Show More Summary

Speed Birding

Most of our National Wildlife Refuges, Conservation Areas and large nature preserves are accessed by a network of graveled roads which permit close observation of the component habitats and their wild residents. This provides an excellent...Show More Summary

Consider the Armadillo

The nine-banded armadillo is an oddity to me. I know nothing about them other than what I've read. My encounters have been limited to a few minutes each, near dusk, in Florida, or perhaps poring over my first roadkill in amazement. So what I'm going to give you here you could get about anywhere, but it's interesting to me. Show More Summary

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