Monday Mystery Answered


On Monday I asked:

After a really good day of birding, I hear a lot of folks say that it was "a red-letter day."

What does it mean, and where did it come from?

The answer is here.

It should be noted that birders love to use the expression when they get a new life bird or see a great migration.

Carol Flanagan got high marks for creativity.


A Visit to Mrs. Jones' Class

Toward the end of every school year, I visit Mrs .Jones' elementary school class in Newburgh, N.Y. to read "Duck Enough to Fly," "Icky the Hungry Heron," and "Swan Babies."

After the readings and discussion, student got their choice of a signed copy of "Duck Enough" or "Icky."

Here are parts of their thank-you notes.

(Thank you, Mrs. Jones' class!)

Continue reading "A Visit to Mrs. Jones' Class" »

All about the Banded Goose

DSCN1740On Sunday morning, after photographing all nine numbers on the brass band adorning the Canada Goose pictured above,  I submitted the information to the nation Bird Banding Lab in Maryland and gotten an instantaneous reply.

Turns out that Canada Goose No. 1168-30285 is a female, banded as young bird on July 9, 2015, in Ramsey.

I also got a certificate of appreciation (not too brag) -- the first one I've ever gotten for anything pertaining to a Canada Goose.

What does it all mean? 

I plan to find out and write. a column about it down the road.

Certificate of Appreciation Goose

Banded Goose Mystery Solved!

_MG_8924When I noticed that the flock of molting Canada Geese was still hanging out by the Warden's Watch this morning, I returned with my telephoto lens and managed to record all nine numbers on the band.

I then sent the information online to the Bird Banding Lab and -- amazingly -- got all the information about the bird instanteously, and a certificate of appreciation.

Can you guess when the goose was banded as a youngster, its gender, and the location where it was banded?

Answer on Tuesday.


The Banded Goose Challenge

Last week, Bill Kempey mentioned that a Canada Goose with a band on its left leg was among all the geese (and two Mute Swans) hanging out at the Warden's Watch.

When I saw that the geese were still around yesterday, I attempted to photograph the  leg band.

With Sally Techson's help, I found the aforementioed goose and managed to photograph the band from two angles (no easy task).

I then went to the home page of the USGS' Bird Bnading Laboratory, which has a fairly straightforward process to enter the information.

Long story short: the Canada Goose had a butt-end band, and my photos apparently had only eight of the nine digits needed for an I.D.

Photographing all nine would have required getting unobstructed photos from at least three angles, which leads me to believe that these banded geese are often I.D.'d-- if they are I.D.'d at all -- after they're dead.

I took an educated guess at the missing number (telling the lab of my guess) and submitted the info. We'll see if I get a reply.

(I will post any information I receive.)

The larger question is, who really cares about the numbers on a butt-end band on a ubiquitous Canada Goose?

The answer, for me, is that I kind of stopped looking at these loud creatures with any interest long ago, and if I were able to learn how old one of them was, and where it was banded (probably as a young goose), I might think of them in a slightly new light.

Now, if anyone wants to try to photograph the first number on the band.... (Better hurry; I think they're hanging out at the Warden's Watch because they are molting, and it only last so long.)

(Thanks, Bill and Sally!)

_MG_8847 (1)



Half a Mystery Answered

On Monday, I offered a doubleheader from a recent Slabsides visit. (Click on pic for better views.)

Kurt Muenz's recent damselfly/dragonfly talk for Fyke rekindled my interest in these cool insects, and this damselfly looked cool, even if I only had a point-and-shoot with me.  Ditto the flora above.

No luck on the damselfly I.D, but Slabsides naturalist Joe Bridges pointed out the clump of colorful flora and said it was Squawroot.

Deedee Burnside, however, I.D.'d it as Broomape. What was going on???

The answer, perhaps, is here.  (Thanks, Joe and Deedee.)