Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Birding is Enjoyable Again

The more observant of you readers may have noticed a lack of posting recently from This Machine. I cannot lie, I have been in a mostly non-birding state. Maybe I'm still in a post MAYNE RAYGE hangover, maybe I've been fascinated by this novel (which I just finished and cannot recommend highly enough), or maybe it's just that Texas is hot as fuck right now, and there has been a significant dearth of birds, and the thought of going out in that shit and not seeing anything sounded like it belonged in the same realm as getting kicked in the nuts over and over. Hard pass.

Anyways, this past weekend made me like birding again. Why? You should probably know the answer to this, right? Shorebirds. Shorebird migration happens earlier than passerine migration. And, birders love migration. New shit. Different shit. Sign me up.

A juvenile Semipalmated Plover shows fine fringes on the upper parts, giving it a scaly effect.
Western Sandpiper
Most of the adult shorebirds passed through a month or so ago, so the majority of migrants now are juveniles, as with this Stilt Sandpiper. It's been awesome to see the plumage differences between ages.
For real though, shorebirds were great this weekend. I had 16 species on Saturday, which is the most I've ever had in this county in one day. Good ones, too, highlighted by a Piping Plover and a Short-billed Dowitcher.

So here's a juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher, mainly evidenced by the patterned tertials.
Short-billed Dowitcher is a good bird in central Texas. So good in fact, that this individual has already been strung.

I also took this video, which is cool not so much for the feeding birds, but more so for watching the bugs they're feeding on move away in waves as soon as the birds got near them.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


This is a short post, but one that I'm particularly stoked about. Magnificent Frigatebird has been a "better view desired" bird for me for some time. I've seen them, but always at great distance, which causes much grief. This is the case no longer.

This has been a productive summer for me in terms of improving my views on birds of which I'd only had terrible looks previously: Bobolink, Glossy Ibis, and now Magnificent Frigatebird. Bad looks at good birds are painful. They can keep you up at night. Rectify that shit.