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December 2022

Ready for a 2023 Celery Farm Big Year?

With the new year upon us, I thought it might be fun to see if anyone is interested in doing a Celery Farm Big Year.

I found an old unused checklist and scanned it,  The only trouble is that the checklist is a very weird size and impossible to scan on my printer.

What you see here is the best I could do -- the two sheets have all the birds, just not all the seasons or abbreviations.

The rules are simple -- keep track of every bird species you see or hear in the Celery Farm in 2023, and then add 'em up on Dec. 31.

I can probably do a two-sided printout for anyone who wants one. Just let me know. Or use eBird.

Want to do it as a team? Knock yourself out.

I hope to post some of the incredible Big Years done by Fred Weber, Ron Fanning, John Workman and Stiles Thomas.

Legends all.

Holler if you have any questions.



The Ultimate Avian Ale?

IMG_7907When it comes to adult beverages named after rare endemic birds, it's tough to top one of my Christmas presents: a can of Turducken Ale.

Note: The Turducken is, appropriately, a triple IPA, which will have you flying in no time.

In an ideal world, it would be a can of Wild Turducken Ale. (Attn: Trillium Brewing Company, purveyors of the domestic version.)

As some may know, I have spent years in pursuit of the Wild Turducken in The Nature Conservancy's High Mountain Park Preserve. The Wild Turducken is widely considered to be a legendary trifecta of avian perfection.

I think I may have heard the bird on several occasions, but am awaiting an updated version of the Merlin bird-call app to confirm.

I heard about beer on my recent trip to Cuba (go figure!), and then got a can as a present. Who says there's no Santa Claus?

Here's an earlier post, about my discovery of a likely Wild Turducken egg:

Monday Mystery 122622

IMG_1908A friend writes:

Dear Jim, 
This photo of my grandfather was probably taken in Brazil, where he was a missionary for a couple of years teaching agriculture.  I wonder if you could help me identify the bird he is holding.

I would also like to know why he was dressed in such a natty fashion that day. 

It sort of looks like a duck, almost Wood Duckish, and it appears to be banded. Any thoughts? (I know, not a great photo but that's all've got.) Possibly circa 1933.



Owl Be Home for Christmas

Did a slight variation on our Christmas Tree birding theme this year, putting all of our favorite owl ornaments toward the top of the tree.

We have Screech Owls (of course), Barns, Barreds, Saw Whets, Great Horneds and several UFOs (unidentified festive owls).

Happy holidays to owl, and to owl a good night!




Meeting Orlando Garrido Again

Jim with Orlando Garrido Barbara Retzlaff  IMG_3633
I met with the legendary Cuban ornithologist Orlando Garrido in Havana for the first time since The Real James Bond came out and presented him with a copy of the book. I had interviewed him for the book back in 2016.

The visit was part of a birding tour with the Caribbean Conservation Trust, and the visit was one of the highlights.
In fact, the Caribbean Conservation Trust was the main reason I went to Cuba back in 2016. I saw that a visit with Orlando was part of the trip, and I really wanted to meet him after seeing the exchange of letters between Orlando and Jim Bond in the Academy if Natural Sciences archives.
Jim Bond was Orlando's stateside mentor, and Orlando has become a research associate for Bond's Academyof Natural Sciences -- a fitting honor for a living legend.

Orlando was wearing a BirdsCaribbean T-shirt featuring the endemic birds of Cuba.
We saw most of them on our 11-day trip.
(A big thank you to Barbara Retzlaff for taking the photo.)