Every time I pass my boxes of bird slides I’m tempted to throw the lot in the recyc then, sometimes, I sit down and browse through a few and I just can’t do it. I have a copier but it does not really do the original justice – or at least how I remember it, still, browsing the slides does take me back to each occasion when the shutter clicked and I hoped that the parcel would come back from processing and I’d have a decent shot. Most of my photos used to be taken using an adaptor for the telescope and so the image tended to be a bit one dimensional, oh for a digital camera back then. Later in this post are a few scans of old images with a bit of blurb because they come from various places, I hope you’ll indulge me the memories.
Thursday last week I started a three day contract – work, I know, the curse of the birding classes. The contract involves travelling Quebec’s charming road system, much of which is currently being moved from one place to another. Out west of Montreal we are blighted with road works and if that was not enough, morons who have no patience, courtesy or common sense when negotiating them. I’ve been driving to down town, well Boulevard Decarie, and I truly feel for anyone who has to do it daily for the rest of their natural lives. The other problem is that Quebec’s road system has actually been designed by a complete idiot and frequently where there should be a stop there is a give way – a white triangle bordered red sign that requests an action absent from most Quebec drivers’ repertoires.
I could go on but really I was just explaining why I have not very much to post. I’m working Monday too but then I’m not sure whether I’ll be needed again. Luckily, when negotiating the bomb sites they call roads I am able to call on the trusty Garmin, one of the Helen Keller range of navigation devices that once confidently told me that I’d reached my destination while I was in a tunnel, I may have mentioned it before. This time she tried to send me to the south of the city so I ignored it and got Mark Knopfler to play a bit louder to cover her creative pronunciation of the French road names.
The pits have been quiet except that I had an early Snow Bunting go over calling and was so surprised that I taped the call to prove it! Today (Sunday) was a goose day between rain and the Canada Geese were running at 1500+ an hour to south late this afternoon. I did managed one Cackling Goose on the pits and the regular duck numbers are climbing daily, should be a Greater White-fronted Goose along any day now.
So, now back to the digitised slides. First up are some shots from Texas, taken in 1997. It was our first trip across the pond and I was so excited that I didn’t sleep and was up at dawn. We did a three week trip, starting at High Island, down to the Rio Grande then west to Big Bend before returning to High Island. What trip and so many birds during a fall-out that they were beyond counting.
Below are Ash-throated Flycatcher from Big Bend. A Western Sandpiper – not a great shot but showing the weird tilt forward that helps to ID them. A Forster’s Tern in partial winter plumage. Also a Nine-banded Armadillo (not a bird).
In 2000 we went to California and dragged an RV around the birding sites and generally had a great time, even when we ripped a bit off the roof chasing Brown-capped Nuthatch near Monterey. Below are Glaucous-winged Gull; Heermann’s Gull; Sooty Fox Sparrow and a bold Bobcat that was hunting California Quail at Pinnacles campsite.
In 1996 we went to Israel – Eilat. It was an absolute bird fest from first to last. We birded a local reservoir daily and still missed a Wolf. The oasis that is Eilat attracted many migrants including this Wryneck. The reservoirs attracted shorebirds like this Kentish Plover. Northern Wheatears were often everywhere.
In Britain I took thousands of photos but looking back at them they just don’t match todays digital standards. Below an Ivory Gull – a pure white adult.
Incidentally, the ID quiz from last time, a Philadelphia Vireo.