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August 2020

The Ultimate Monday Mystery?

Ginny Chucka sent this photo on Saturday afternoon, and I knew immediately that it had to be the next Monday Morning Mystery. (The photo was taken recently  in Western N.J.)

See anything unusual?  (Wait till you hear the whole story later this week.)

(Thanks, Ginny!)

3 'Good' Backyard Birds!

Don't you love it when you ask someone if they've seen any good birds lately, and they reply: "They're all good birds"?

At the risk of offending all the Saint Francis of Assisis of this world, I would like to report three good bird sightings of late in my own backyard in recent days.

On Thursday afternoon, I saw a Broad-wing,

On Friday night, I had my first Common Nighthawk.

And yesterday afternoon I had a Yellow Warbler that flew into our old Christmas tree (above) before flying up to the shrubs next to the house to catch insects.

Not bad! 

Monday Morning Mystery Answered

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On Monday, I wrote:

The last two weeks I've had insect mysteries. Today it's a spider. Next to our vegetable garden, next to the Celery Farm.

What is it? (Reminded me of a Banana Spider I saw in the Louisiana Bayou last fall.)

Ron Shields identified it as  "Argiope aurantia, a showy spider usually noticed in late summer. It has several common names: black-and-yellow argiope, black and yellow garden spider, corn spider, golden garden spider; golden orb-weaver, writing spider, yellow garden argiope, yellow garden orb-weaver, and zipper spider." (Thanks, Ron!)



A Memorable High Mountain Hike

Hiked to the summit of High Mountain this week and saw many nifty butterflies and dragonflies, but a Common Raven almost did me in.

The first rule of High Mountain: Always stay on marked trails, even if a mischievous raven beckons.

By the time I found the Yellow Trail again, I was headed in the opposite direction I thought I was going. And I never did get a photo of the crafty corvid.

The summit was jumping with grasshoppers. I was hoping an American Kestrel would stop by for lunch but no such luck. No Eastern Bluebirds or Wild Turduckens either.

Top row: Signs of civilization.

Bottom row: A few insects.

My Short Talk for Britain's Birdfair

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I am pleased to announce that I am presenting a short talk for Britain's first-ever virtual Birdfair, which runs from through Sunday, Aug. 23.

Screen Shot 2020-08-10 at 8.01.43 AMMy talk, "The real James Bond and Caribbean Conservation," is one of the headliner talks for today, the first day of Authors Forums, and is available now to Birdfair registrants for three months thereafter.

The main webpage for the fair is:

Continue reading "My Short Talk for Britain's Birdfair" »