Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Boy Remembers Maine

A boy once lost his way in the world. A boy forgot. About the birds. The birds in the trees. The birds upon the sea. The birds ripe for Crushing.

Then one day, a boy spent much time with three nerds. Nerds who make blogs. One nerd was a Machine. One nerd Used to Hate Birds. The last nerd cared only for three things, all of which begin with the letter B

The nerds helped a boy to remember. A boy remembered both the Joys and the deep Despairs that embody the noble act of Crushing. Many moons had passed since a boy had Crushed. Or made a blog. He had forgotten. He had lost his way.

Inspired by the nerds, a boy dusted off his Crusher. He followed the nerds through the heat and cold and blackflies and islands of Maine. A boy saw the Easternmost point of land in the United States of America. A boy ate lobsters whole. He drank whisky and played Pocket and did embarrassing things with his bellybutton.

What follows are the fruits of his labor.

Unfortunately there are many Starlings in Maine. Prior to Crushing important birds, a boy needed something on which to practice. Pine Point Beach, ME.

The Great Black-backed Gull is a big gull. And a good bird. On this day, it was a Day Bird. Pine Point Beach, ME.

White-rumped Sandpipers prefer to be Crushed in the light of early morning. On this beach, a boy began to remember the old ways. Pine Point Beach, ME.

In the shadows of a Maine forest, a boy lured a Chestnut-sided Warbler to within spitting distance of the business end of his Crusher. Evergreen Cemetery, Portland ME.
It continued to approach, until it was Too Close For a boy To Crush. Evergreen Cemetery, Portland ME.

A Crushing was made of this Gray Catbird. It is such an enormously Artistic Crush that it very nearly appears to be Black and White. The holiest of all artistic forms. Biddeford Pool - East Point Sanctuary. 

Common Eider is the commonest Eider in Maine. Some would make the argument that the female Common Eider is just as beautiful as her male counterpart. A boy believes this to be hogwash. Biddeford Pool, ME.

A boy believed it to be quintessential that this bird be literally hunted down, stalked, and ruthlessly Crushed, forse. Biddeford Pool, ME.

A boy perfected his Lure and Crush methods on the great plains of Maine. Where there are no Upland Sandpipers. Only Prairie Warblers. Kennebunk Plains, ME.

Art. A boy rediscovers. Black and White Warbler. In Black and White. Scarborough River Wildlife Sanctuary.

A boy agreed with several nerds that this bird was a Good Bird. Perhaps even the Bird Of The Trip. Spruce Grouse, Bold Coast, ME.

And now, a boy arrives at the puffins. In a dark blind on Machias Island as HJs were being furiously exchanged in the shadows, a boy and three nerds brutally did this. The devastation was total. A boy prays and hopes that the island's seabird populations will recover from his actions.

Razorbirr, Machias.

A boy's puffin porn, shared with the world. Machias Island.

The last bird that a boy remembers seeing in Maine. Just before the Whisky and Twerking and HJs and generally unspeakable behavior brought a close to the final act of a boy's time spent in Maine with his three nerds.

For more on a boy's story in Maine, click the links of the three nerds at the top of this post. They will have undoubtedly made better Crushes, penned more eloquent prose, and been better than a boy in nearly every way. They are professional blog nerds, after all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm back. On the Farallones, and in the Blogosphere. I know I barely qualify as a blogger. I think I am fine with that. I have only been Crushing rarely since we last spoke. I will maybe go back and fill in the long gaps since the last installment, but for now here are some Crushey moments from the last few months.

This is my sixth Fall spent on Southeast Farallon. I am here with one Rob Roccoli, a SEFI first-timer and known liar/coward/pingpongfailure. I have only Crushed a few birds here and there because there have been few birds around to Crush. 

Do not despair dear Reader, they will come. They will arrive in hordes upon a south wind under a gray overcast sky and we will all rejoice.

To start, a bird definitely not from the island:

How far could  Greater Roadrunner make it over open ocean? A quarter mile? That's not far enough. This bird was checking me out in my truck on the Angeles National Forest. 

Reddish Egret, Long Beach CA. Probably the only one alive with tiger stripes.

Risso's Dolphin, near Anacapa Island.

Brown Pelican with wings chopped off, following the sailing vessel Vesper, Santa Barbara Channel.

Brandt's Cormorant, SEFI.

Baird's Sandpiper, SEFI.

Virginia Rail, SEFI. We named it Railey after last year's dearly departed Craney. But we didn't give this one any mice. Too big.

A much lurkier Crush of the rail.

Our flagship bird, the Western Gull, SEFI.

Least Flycatcher in Jim's hand. Is it legal to Crush birds while they are in your hand? I don't actually know, But I did it anyway.

Gray Flycatcher in my hand. I believe Rob Roccoli took this photo.

Townsend's Warbler, Heligoland.

Gray Flycatcher, Crushed while free.

Western Wood-Pewee, SEFI. We have had good diversity of flycatchers this year. Least, Dusky, Gray, Willow, and Western Kingbird come to mind. But only a few were Crushed with any severity.

White-tailed Kite, looking at me at sharkwatch, SEFI. Muy rusty and young.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Islands, Deserts, Crushes.

Hello, I am back. I'm not going to apologize or ramble about how it has been too long. That is what cowards do. I am no coward. I will proceed straight to the Crushings.

First up on the menu at Crush Cafe is an almost unbearably cute looking hairy animal. The Island Fox. These things only occur on the Channel Islands. This one is from San Clemente Island, where I have been privileged enough to join friends and other questionable characters to look at birds twice over the last few months. Generally, the birding on San Clemente is very poor, but the foxing is excellent. An avid Foxer can relentlessly Crush Island Foxes from distances as close as 1 inch. Foxers are hardcore compared to birders and are awesome.

This Double-crested Cormorant was fishing around the boat at Channel Islands Harbor, so I Crushed his face. He is both sexy and a fine fisherman.

Most people like to Crush an Eared Grebe's ears. Not me. Nope, I prefer to Crush the Eared Grebe's taint. #TaintCrushChannelIslandsHarbor

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is one of those birds that fills your heart with guilt as you Crush it. Each pounding blow of the shutter releasing on your Crusher just hammers pity into your soul for these poor little things. Notice how I chose to Crush only face and neck. Not tail or wings. Some would call this art. Crushed in Angeles National Forest.

Western Tanagers are feathers on fire. Such brightness is pleasurable to look upon when flattened into 2 dimensions. Angeles National Forest.

At Butterbredt, this Lawrence's Goldfinch was trying to apologize for being a drab, boring, hatch year Lawrence's Goldfinch. Apology not accepted. Boom. Crushed.
This is the first Crushing I have made of a Lucy's Warbler. I have many Docu-Crushes of them, which aren't actually Crushes at all. They are simply poor photographs used strictly for documentation purposes. Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley.

A nice non-bird for everyone who is sick of birds. Desert Spiny Lizard, Galileo Hill. It was nearly a foot long, but my Crusher is longer, so it was no biggie.

Ovenbird at Galileo borderline Crushed due to low light.

Anyone who has not yet read the latest BB&B should do so now by clicking here. It is excellent. If you haven't read the article about birding becoming cool on the Esquire magazine blog, do that first by clicking here. It's kind of a prerequisite. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

MexiCrush 2014

Once again, it has been too long. I have been remiss in my duties. You have missed me dearly. I have visited so many places since we last spoke. From the most Northern borders of the great state of California to the Southernmost point of Baja California Sur. I have Lifered (three times in Baja). I have Big Yeared (~420 in CA 2013). I have Crushed (too many to count).

In this chapter, I bring you Crushes from south of the border.

Blue-footed Booby, Estero Agiabampo. Sonora, Mexico. Several thousand breed on a tiny island in the estuary called Bird Island.

Curve-billed Thrasher sporting some jewelry, compliments of Adam Hannuksela at Navopatia Field Station.

Streak-backed Oriole, Pedregal Nature Lodge and Retreat Center in Alamos. Sonora, Mexico. I admit, I wish I had Crushed this guy a little harder.

Sultry and I spent the first half of the trip in Sonora, Mexico. If you ever get the chance to spend some winter time down there, DO IT. The two places I have visited are Epic in the extreme:

1) Alamos Wildlands Alliance is a remote field station on Estero Agiabampo, where desert thorn-scrub habitat meets mangroves and the Sea of Cortez. It is run by the nicest couple in Biology, Adam and Sallie. Birding here is ridiculous, and the camp is more fun than I can explain. You can kayak with dolphins, see 170+ bird species on a Big Day, and eat earth-shattering Mexican food prepared by Lupita (the best cook in Mexico). Check out their spot:

2) The town of Alamos is an old Colonial style town with hella worthwhile buildings, restaurants, and Birding. If you go, stay with Jen and Dave at El Pedregal Nature Lodge and Retreat Center. They have the best birding in town. Blue Mockingbird visits the bird bath. Black-throated Magpie-Jays, Black-vented and Streak-backed Orioles, and Summer Tanagers are carelessly littered throughout the grounds. Violet-crowned Hummingbirds sing incessantly every morning from every tree. Dave does birding tours of the area and is the best guide in Mexico. He might even fire up the wood-burning pizza oven for you. Their place is a must see if you plan any kind of birding trip in Sonora.

All of the above Crushes are from mainland Mexico, and all of the Crushes below are from Baja (nearly all from the town of Todos Santos). If for some bizarre reason, you haven't already seen Felonious Jive's reports from this Epic and Ragey area, please do so here. Or, for his second installment, right here.

There are no words to describe Lifer Hummingbirds. This one is a Xantus's Hummingbird and is epically good to gaze upon, and to Crush. 
Gray Thrasher. Another stunner from Baja only.

Gray Thrasher, Todos Santos, Baja California Sur.

Not the Crushiest of Yellow-footed gulls, because I wanted the whole bird in frame. If you want to see how Crushed he is, zoom in on his face yourself.

MoonFrigates. Moon Crushing is an entirely different offshoot of the sport of Crushing. It has its own unique set of rules and regulations. It is not for the faint of heart.

Gilded Flicker, Todos Santos, Baja California Sur.

Cactus Wren, Baja California Sur. Crushed in low light.

Something like a Swallow-tailed Skipper? I don't have the right book with me, as usual. Someone help me out. In any case, it is Crushed.

Moon Crush at night.

Magnificent Frigatebird, bathing in the freshwater lagoon at sunset.

Another Magnificent Frigatebird, doing the same thing.
Hope you enjoyed, Crush Fans. Until next time, I bid you adieu.