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November 2015

Don Torino's Latest: Saving the Rusty Blackbird


Don Torino's latest column is about the decline of the Rusty Blackbird.

Here's a sample:

While it may be a challenge to get some people excited about these special little birds, we all should be very concerned about the future of this fast disappearing species.

The National Audubon Society lists the Rusty Blackbird on its “Yellow” alert status category on the “Watch list," which means that a species is either declining or rare.

These typically are species of national conservation concern. The Rusty Blackbirds numbers have been on the decline for more than 40 years, from an estimated 13 million in 1965 to 2 million in 2004, a more than 10% a year decrease with no end in sight.

And maybe just as frightening is that the reasons for their declines are not understood.

The link is here.

John Workman's Celery Farm Appreciation

John Workman wrote this appreciation in 2008 as part of the celebration honoring Stiles and Lillian Thomas' contributions to the Celery Farm. He has allowed to me reprint it here for Thanksgiving. Thanks, John!

The Celery Farm is one hundred and seven acres small.   It doesn’t get the thumping, eye-popping natural spectacles seen on the coast, or in the high mountains, or out on the plains of other nature preserves. 

You won’t see Snow Geese by the thousands here, or sandpipers by the tens of thousands. No bison or caribou blacken "The Farm's" open spaces.  Unless you have a big imagination. 

But you might (like Stiles and Charlie) see a Peregrine Falcon swoop in and take a Green-winged Teal on the wing.  Right in front of you.  Only a few yards away.

Or you might (like Judy) be lucky enough to see scores of Common Nighthawks whipping silently and suddenly through the fall marsh air. 

You might (like my son) see your first-ever American Bittern, surrounded by this species' symbiotic partners:  the photographers.

Or watch a Woodcock launch into his evening courtship flight, a high spiral which concludes with a free-fall landing. (Many courtship attempts, successful and not, end that way.)

Continue reading "John Workman's Celery Farm Appreciation" »