Category: Photography

New World Vulture Pages are Live: Turkey & Black Vultures

So I realized that I probably didn’t get anything posted last week here on the blog.

I could blame it on the weather–we had the polar vortex and about a foot of snow to deal with from I think the 4th/5th (cold temps) up through this last week (the almost foot of snow came down from the 14-16).

The weather was partially to blame–because when it is super cold, I usually fall to my ‘default’ which is to curl up under a blanket and binge read series (more on that later). But truthfully, I was just having a little trouble focusing on things–something that I’m working on.

Today I managed to get caught up on the ‘raptor’ pages under the bird, birds, & birds tab.

Turkey vulture stretching it wings

There was one more group of ‘raptors’ that I had pictures of and that group was the New World vultures in the order Cathartiformes.

As mentioned on the pages–there is a single family (Cathartidae) that makes up the order, and then only seven species within that family.

Of the seven species, I’ve managed to get pictures of only two: the turkey vulture and the black vulture.

I find the turkey vultures to be unique–depending on the area of Oklahoma they can either be year round residents, or migratory visitors. Where I live–they’re migratory visitors who really enjoy soaring over Boomer Lake.

Turkey Vulture soaring over the house

I’ve only spotted the black vulture while on vacation in Arkansas a couple of times–it’s range in Oklahoma is just the far southeast corner of the state.

Black vulture spotted in Devil’s Den State Park

I’ve also come to respect the difference in camera types–the pictures of the black vulture were taken with my small hand-held Olympus digital camera that only has a moderate zoom function. The turkey vulture (and majority of the other birds) pictures were taken with my canon camera that I have several different lens for, which gives me greater range for picture taking.

Since this particular group of birds are only found in the New World–I’ve managed to see two out of seven or 28.5% of the species. If I can manage to get a picture of the California condor in the wild–that would take me to three out of seven or 42.9% of the species.

The one big birding goal–get a picture of each species in this particular order, with the huge goal of each picture being taken in the wild (which could be a little problematic for the California and Andean condors since they’re both endangered and the number in the wild is quite low).

Have you seen a California condor in the wild? If so where?

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotographyState Parkstravel

The Great Horned Owl: Currently the only Owl member with pictures is live

So the trio of owl pages (Order Strigiformes, Family Strigidae, and currently the only member that I have pictures of–the great horned owl) are live under the bird tab.

As I mentioned on the great horned owl page–while they may not be the best pictures of a great horned owl, I’m extremely proud of them for a couple of reasons:

Great-horned owl roosting at Boomer Lake

  1. I wasn’t expecting to see an owl (even roosting) in the middle of the day. I always thought that they retreated to their nests and stayed ‘hidden’ until nightfall.
  2. I felt like seeing the owl helped reinforce the notion that I needed a ‘reboot break’. Because if I was at work–I wouldn’t have seen one, and it would still be on my ‘birding’ bucket-list.

They also reinforced my notion of going birding or walking with no particular goal in mind. I know that some people go out birding with a certain goal (of either hoping to spot a certain bird or a specific number of birds)–I just go out with the hopes of getting at least one good picture of a bird (and it doesn’t matter which bird).

We live close to a wooded area of town, so I do occasionally hear the calls of great horned owls, plus the occasional screech of a screech owl–now the goal will be to get a picture of a screech owl, possibly roosting during the day on a tree branch, or in its nest.

The next series of pages possibly will be the New World Vultures (turkey and black), and those will finish up the raptors (both diurnal and nocturnal), and then I will continue working my way down the list of birds I have.

Have you seen a great horned owl (or another owl) in the wild? If so–where?

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotographyScience

200 days into the ~150 goals in 2002 day challenge

So as I mentioned last fall I decided that I was going to ‘restart’ and expand the time frame of my 100+ goal challenge. The new challenge started on July 19, 2020 and I planned for it to run through January 10, 2026 (basically 2002 days–double the normal 1001 day time).

So I’ve been updating this list on-and-off since the first update back in October. One of the things I decided to remove were all of the TV shows that I thought I’d be binge-watching. The reason–currently I don’t feel like sitting down and watching multiple seasons of any TV show. While I may decide to watch an episode or two (or maybe a season)–I just don’t see myself sitting down and binge watching like a total of 20+ seasons of shows over even a five year period.

Then, there is still the pandemic going on–which means that my travel plans (and any plans that requires me to be around other people) are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. While two vaccines have been approved for emergency use (with three more in the middle of phase 3 clinical trials), I probably won’t be eligible for the vaccine until late summer or early fall. Therefore I’m still going to be sheltering in place (and wearing a mask when I do go out and about) probably until August or September of this year. This gives me plenty of time to still try to figure out what my ‘new normal’ is going to be looking like.

So my first check-in on this challenge was in October, and the blog title was ‘check-in on the 150+ goal challenge‘. This was where I first started editing out some of the goals that I didn’t feel were fitting my current projections of what I was wanting to do with my life.

So if you want, you can click on the above link, go read that post and see where the changes have occurred.

Note–some goals aren’t numbered as they’re considered a ‘sub-goal’ of the goal above. But in total (numbered and unnumbered) I do have almost 150 goals on the list.

So how have all the goals been progressing?

  1. Transition into an industry position. Currently thinking of either remote/contract or possibly freelance to start (mainly due to the pandemic). But also thinking of possibly doing freelance and then also finding a ‘in-house’ position doing something slightly different.
  2. Learn a programming language (python or R–ties in with #6). I have downloaded a python program, and will be starting to work through some of the e-courses that I bought that deals with python.
  3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:
  4. Clinical Research Coalition (Advanced Cheeky Scientist Program)–started watching the videos in this program recently.
  5. Medical Writers Organization (another advanced Cheeky Scientist Program)–need to finish the writing and editing assignments
  6. Data Science Syndicate (another advanced Cheeky Scientist program)–finished this on September 3rd 2020.
  7. Program Management Consortium (another advanced Cheeky Scientist program)
  8. Management Consulting Firm (yet another advanced Cheeky Scientist program)
  9. All other courses–see additional lists in the journal. Decided to make things a little easier–I have a list of courses that I would like to finish in 2021, and if I manage to finish all of those, then I will go back to the master lists in the journal.
  10. More interacting on LinkedIn. This section is hard to score. I’m doing the best with the first one, and trying to improve on the second and fourth ones.
    • Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages. I usually manage to share at least two to four articles a week from the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News site.
    • Commenting on posts. Trying to get better at this
    • Giving/Asking for recommendations–need to start doing this
    • Start writing my own posts. I’m slowly trying this, but have started by trying to share photographs and/or inspirational quotes to begin with. I also need to work on the frequency of posts as well.
  11. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals. This is something that I’m still working on. I’ve realized that while calendars are good, I also like the flexibility of deciding what or when to post. Mental block that needs to be worked on.
  12. Renewing professional memberships. I need to decide on which association I will be renewing first, as I had mentioned in a previous post I currently don’t have enough money to renew all of them at once.
  13. Become fluent in Spanish
  14. Become fluent in German
  15. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish
  16. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books. This is also including books from my previous attempts at 1001-day challenges as well. I have over 300 books on the list (actually probably closer to 400), and I would like to get through at least half of them before adding any new ones to the list. In addition I’m reformatting the goal slightly and aiming for at least 30-40 non-fiction books a year (so the total number may only be 90-120 instead of 300). Counting in the books read during the previous attempts (2018-2020) I’ve already read 73 books (though I considered 12 of them to be ‘reference’ books on a topic). I’ve also finished 3 books this year. That means in theory to reach 300 books, I need to read another 224 books over the next 1802 days.
  17. Finish the books on scientific writing (tied in with #16)
  18. Start building a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/other ideas)–may mean either another website, renaming this one and reformatting what I have posted.
  19. Develop a daily writing habit–I usually manage to write in my journal a little every day. Sometimes it is just to make note of the workout I did, or card spread for the evening.
  20. Write a letter to my future self
  21. Paint and frame at least one original painting
  22. More photography–haven’t done as much as I would like so far for 2021, mainly due to the temperatures and not getting outside as often. But I have been updating/adding pages to the bird section
  23. 365-Day Photography Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures). I have a couple of ideas for this, just need to fine-tune one or two of them and hopefully will be starting this challenge again within the next few months.
  24. Updating photography pages on blog. I’ve been adding pages to the bird tab on the website, with the goal of hopefully one new species page a week (with pictures), in addition to pages for the bird order & family. I will also start adding in other pages under the photography and travel tabs throughout the spring as well.
  25. Make my own jewelry
  26. Learn to cross-stitch–I started doing this the other day. It will be something that takes practice at to be good at. I do enjoy doing it and will try to practice at least every other day.
  27. Get a new sewing machine–on hold. Possibly once I move and am willing to take the risk that I’m getting a machine with a defective bobbin winder.
  28. Make a new quilt for my bed–on hold (see #27 for reason)
  29. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (mainly for backdrop for zoom calls)–again on hold (see #27 for reason)
  30. Start a new afghan (after mending other two and writing a blog post on it)
  31. Showcase crafts on blog–need to have some crafts actually either started or completed
  32. Start writing a book–I have an idea or two for this
  33. Learn Photoshop
  34. Write in journal daily (answering questions/prompts from various books & free thought). Have been doing this–though sometimes it is just noting that I did my morning workout.
  35. Create my own coffee-table photography book
  36. Learn basic sign language
  37. Start a virtual book club–question though is, would it be non-fiction or fiction?
  38. Create monthly budges–currently this is just paying off the bills
  39. Credit card debt down & hopefully paid off monthly–some are still a little high (due in part to impulsive book buying and investing in myself (a couple of courses were rather expensive)
  40. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)–need to place a couple of declutter orders over the next few weeks
  41. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)–this is tied with a few of the other finance goals. In truth the goal should be trying to get my savings to where it was before I started my reboot break
  42. Talk with financial personal about short-term investment possibilities
  43. Continue doing small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash
  44. Finish the various financial e-courses, and then decide when/how to start investing
  45. Get into the best shape of my life
  46. Multivitamin & supplements daily–I think I’ve only missed a few days here and there
  47. Make it through the following Beachbody programs (at least once):
    • Morning Meltdown 100–First round was finished on 9/15/2020
    • Yoga Booty Ballet (Abs & Butt Series)–~3/4 of program completed by 11/14/2020
    • 10 Rounds–1st Round completed on 12/26/2020
    • Barre Blend–Will be starting this on Monday 2/8/2021
    • Insanity Max:30
    • LIIFT4–2nd round finished on 11/14/2020
    • 22-Minute Hard Corps
    • T20
    • Insanity
    • Insanity: Asylum 1
    • Insanity: Asylum 2
    • 4 weeks of Prep
    • 6 weeks of the Work
    • T25 (have already done this program once)
    • Brazil Butt Lift
    • 21-Day Fix (already done once; 2nd time will be the ‘live’ version)
    • 21-Day Fix Extreme (already done once; 2nd time will be the live version)
    • Country Heat (already done once)
    • CIZE
    • Muscle Burns Fat–First round completed 1/17/2021
    • Muscle Burns Fat Advanced–First round will be completed 2/7/2021
    • Let’s Get Up–Shawn T’s new one
    • 9-week control freak (dumb bell option)
    • Shawn Week
    • 80 Day Obsession
    • Brazil Butt Lift: Carnival
    • Shift Shop: Proving Grounds
    • P90
    • Core de Force
  48. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes (I’ve been practicing & managing between 4-10 on my knees)
  49. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes
  50. Hold a 2 minute forearm plank
  51. Hold a 90 second plank
  52. Meditate nightly–have been doing, though sometimes its only been for a minute or two
  53. 60-80 oz of water daily–getting close though some days its probably between 40-50
  54. Stretch daily
  55. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)–on my way to meeting this, as I usually manage to meet monthly goals
  56. Finish YouTube for bosses course
  57. Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course
  58. Finish blog to biz course
  59. Launch a YouTube channel
  60. Launch a online course
  61. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day
  62. Rebrand myself & website (?)
  63. Get instagram followers to constant 800+
  64. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+
  65. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+
  66. Publish at least two blog series
  67. Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)
    • Blog
    • Instagram
    • Facebook page
    • Twitter
    • Pintrest
  68. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows on Facebook
  69. Various top 10 author lists
  70. Various top 10 book series lists
  71. Launch a podcast
  72. Launch a etsy store
  73. Full & New Moon Goals
  74. Create my wiccan/pagan altar
  75. Daily oracle card readings
  76. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only)–weather permitting; basically start in spring
  77. Keep at least 3 plants alive
  78. Design a science based board game
  79. Create and update a digital vision board
  80. Reorganize my storage unit
  81. Put in at least 1 flower garden around the house
  82. Help put up a partial privacy fence in backyard
  83. Start downsizing number of clothes I own & creating both different ‘minimum’ wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out) & dressing for my now body
  84. Start downsizing the rest of my things as well–would like to be able to live comfortably in a smallish size house (or apartment)
  85. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges–will include 100 days of iPhone photography and 100 days of doodling
  86. Re-pierce my ears
  87. Go to at least 1 scientific conference & present at a scientific conference
  88. Go to at least 2 professional networking events
  89. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job
  90. Visit at least 3 new (to me) countries
  91. Visit at least one new (to me) national and/or state park
  92. Visit at least one new (to me) national and/or state monument
  93. Visit at least one new (to me) zoo
  94. Visit at least one new (to me) aquarium
  95. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports
  96. Visit at least one new (to me) city
  97. Visit at least one new (to me) state
  98. See the northern lights
  99. Attend at least one blogging conference
  100. Attend at least one author-reader conference
  101. Swim with whale sharks
  102. Parasailing
  103. Buy fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs
  104. New couch and chair(s) for living room
  105. New dresser for bedroom
  106. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or new bed set
  107. New TV & stand
  108. New desk/craft workstation
  109. New dining table

So while I removed one program from my professional development goals–I added another in it’s place. I also made a list of courses to work through for the year, instead of trying to debate between courses and never getting any done. I’ve already watched three of the small courses from Skillshare during January.

I’ve also realized that I’m behind on writing quite a few posts (such as my thoughts on the Data Science program offered by the Cheeky Scientist Association, and several book reviews). I’m also hopefully going to be done with the Medical Writing Organization program this month (once I block out enough time to work through the various writing and editing assignments).

I’m doing well with the fitness/health goals. I made a bingo card for the next two years (2021-2023) with different programs (1st, 2nd, or 3rd rounds) on it. I made it a goal to make it through 9 programs this year (which includes doing the 2nd or 3rd round of a couple of programs), and then hopefully 7 programs next year.

As I mentioned previously–I’m leaning heavily in the direction of going freelance/online/remote for work. Now I’m thinking on what type of combination of things I want to be doing (such as writing, data analysis, project management, or data entry), and then also stick with something in the personal development/hobby realm as well. The dual, multiple focused combination actually appeals to my mixed-styled multipontialite personality.

This then raises the next question of either changing the name of the blog/site, and possibly archiving older posts, or keeping this as my personal blog and then starting another site from scratch. I need to inquire with various people on their opinion (change name/archive/delete or keep and start a second one from scratch).

I’m also still working on developing an editorial calendar/to-be accomplished list that works for me. Besides swinging between two extremes: trying to cram way too much stuff into a day or not getting anything done, I am also still working my way out burnout (more on this in a later post).

So I am making decent progress with some goals, and need to start working on others. The main thing I need to remember: “Progress over Perfection” and to start embracing the learner and intellection parts of my personality again.

Next check-in will be coming in mid-May.

Have you tried a 101 goal in 1001 days? How did it go?

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravelUpdatesvision boards

Crested Caracara, currently the solo member of the falcon family

So I managed to get another series of bird pages up under the bird tab this week.

The pages are for the Falconiformes order, the single family that makes up the order (Falconidae), and currently the only member of the family that I have pictures of: the crested caracara.

Crested Caracara

This particular member of the falcon family is only found in certain parts of a few states, otherwise it is spotted more regularly within Mexico and Central America.

This was a ‘new’ bird for me that I spotted years ago on our family vacation down to South Padre Island, Texas.

What struck me most about this bird was its cap of black feathers (though difficult to tell the color in the picture) and the contrast to the bright orange beak. I think we saw two or three different adults sitting on the top of yuccas just looking over the terrain.

I would like to get back down the South Padre Island again and drive through the wildlife refuge (where the pictures were originally taken) and see if 1) I can spot another crested caracara, 2) if areas managed to refill with water (when we originally went, Texas was going through a drought so some areas were dry instead of flooded), and 3) possible to see another ‘new’ to me bird.

No Comments bird watchingnatureNature PreservesPhotographyReflections

Bird Section Up to Date–last of the diurnal raptors added

So I managed to get caught up on the bird section of the website this week.

The last of the diurnal raptor pages was added–for the osprey, including information on the family (Pandionidae).

Osprey flying over Boomer Lake

There are 24 diurnal raptors within the Acciptriformes order that can be spotted within North America. I’ve gotten pictures of six of them (so basically a quarter of them). While there are two other groups of raptors that are also consider diurnal–they’re in separate orders, and therefore will be having their own pages added throughout the year.

I also added in the pages for the order (Apodiformes) and family (Trochilidae) for the ruby-throated hummingbird as well this week. In terms of this group–there are twenty-two species (between two families), and I’ve only spotted one of them (the ruby-throated hummingbird).

Ruby-throated hummingbird at the nectar feeder.

So now that I’ve caught up with the orders and families of the birds I originally posted starting last fall, now I will be continuing to add more orders/families/species to the section throughout the year.

One hope is that with currently two vaccines for the SARS-CoV2 pandemic being available, I should hopefully be eligible to get the vaccine by late summer/early fall. This means that I might be able to plan a trip for sometime in 2022 or 2023–which hopefully means somewhere new, and possibly spotting more birds and continuing to increase my personal bird sighting (and photograph) list–which currently is sitting at about 90 different species.

I currently have 21 species pages posted (32 pages, when including the order and family)–which means I have basically 70-90 pages still to add to the section. I just haven’t decided which of the remaining thirteen orders I’m going to go with–but will start with another order within the next two weeks.

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotographyScience

Leo Full Moon Goals: Making total health a priority, in addition to other goals

So tonight marks the first full moon of 2021. We survived 2020, and while I was questioning if 2020 stole a couple of weeks from 2021–I’m confident that we’ll survive 2021 as well. I missed a few months of new and full moon goal setting throughout 2020–and I will basically blame that on the pandemics (both the SARS-CoV2 and the ever rampant stupidity pandemic) for missing them. I have realized that when I do take the time to reflect on the questions for the full moon, or the other activities one can do during the new moon–I feel a little calmer (at least for a day or two).

I decided that instead of having a single word to try to define 2021, I would have several and picked: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity. In addition, I’m working on refining my core values and merging them with my strengths while working on strengthening a weakness or two.

What are some questions to reflect on during the first few days of the full moon? According to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, they are:

Have I been too self-centered, egotistical, or proud?

Have I been treating the people around me like minions?

Have I been arrogant, vain, pushy, or pompous?

Have I been expressing myself creatively enough?

Have I shown myself enough self-love?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as followed:

  1. After last year, I think I can safely say that I haven’t been self-centered or egotistical really about anything. But I can say that I’m proud that I survived the year without having any type of major mental breakdowns. Though over the past year, I have defended my beliefs in everything from wearing masks and social distancing to why I think schools should be taught virtual–defending those stances did upset some people, and several have un-friended me on Facebook. But I’ve gotten to the point where I have very little time and energy for certain types of people.
  2. No, I haven’t been treating the people around me like minions. I live at home with my parents currently–there are no minions here.
  3. Again, nope I haven’t been arrogant, vain, pushy, or pompous. People will probably say that I’m usually the opposite of quite a few of those adjectives.
  4. No, I haven’t been expressing myself creatively enough lately. While I have been trying to write more posts for the blog, it has been a little too chilly for walks at Boomer Lake (while I know I can bundle up–I’m more worried about the temperatures, condensation, and possibly wrecking a $600 digital camera that I currently can’t afford to replace). I am going to be trying my hand at cross-stitching, plus I’ve come up with an idea or two for trying to mend the afghans that my pup chewed holes in.
  5. Again, this one is basically a no, that I haven’t been showing myself enough self-love. While I’ve been sticking with a consistent workout schedule for the past eight months–I still need to work on improving my mental, spiritual, emotional, and social health habits. Over the past few months, I’ve realized that I’m just starting to come out of the total and complete burnout that I was keeping myself immersed in for years (more on this in another post). I’m working on ways to process and deal with stress (that don’t revolve around eating chocolate constantly), reconstructing the negative self-talk, plus trying to acknowledge and work with my inner critic/anxiety instead of against it. I’ve also decided that I’m still keeping the word diet out of my vocabulary and working on improving my relationship with food.

So a good portion of this year is still going to be focused on self-care/love. This will still include a daily workout (my current year schedule will be finishing up Muscle Burns Fat Advance in the early part of February, then on to Barre Blend, then the live versions of 21-Day Fix/21-Day Fix Extreme, a 3rd round of LIIFT4, a 2nd round of Morning Meltdown 100, a 2nd round of 10 rounds, and then finishing the year with either Country Heat or CIZE), evening meditations, oracle/tarot card readings, listening to podcasts, reading, journaling, time outdoors, and just trying to reconnect with my inner spirit/voice.

Looking at my chart–the Leo full moon is also going through my 10th house (or my career zone). I’m still considering myself on a semi-‘reboot break’ (since 2020 took all my plans and threw them out the window with the pandemic)–but I do need to start trying to figure out what I’m doing with the second half of my life.

I have a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head in terms of possible paths, but I need to do a little more research to make sure that those ideas/paths will let me focus on my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger, creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking), while also improving one or two of my ‘weaknesses’. In addition I want to ensure that the paths, plus my strengths are also connected to my values (vitality, spirituality/inner harmony/peace, creativity/curiosity, learning/knowledge, and evolution/growth/transformation/openness)–some of which are identical to some of my strengths.

I’ve put health (mental, physical, and spiritual) as core values–because I’ve learned the hard way that trying to focus solely on my career lead me to becoming burnt out on everything. I’ve only started rediscovery my joy of learning, reading on different topics, and other things over the past six to eight months. I won’t say that I’m back to ‘normal’ yet–because I’m not. But I’m slowly getting there–but to fully get there I also need to prioritize my health above all else, or I will fall back to the bottom of the pit of burnout again if I neglect them.

So what are my goals for the Leo full moon?

  1. Continue with my fitness schedule–to begin with finish up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and then move on to Barre Blend.
  2. Write down the current ideas I have for going freelance/independent/remote, in addition to also seeing what other industry positions may be of interest, plus figure out other ways of earning a little extra income
  3. Spend time working on crafts–and doing more than just color-by number. I’m talking learning to cross-stitch, patch up the afghans, making jewelry, doodling, coloring, and once the weather warms up–getting back up to Boomer Lake with my camera.
  4. Meditating, oracle card readings, reading different books on spirituality, and hopefully finally setting up my altar for doing my card readings.

All of this while reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life, if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsspirituality

Accipitridae family section complete: Mississippi Kite & Sharp-shinned Hawk pages are live

So currently the last two Accipitridae family pages have been uploaded today.

Mississippi Kites sitting atop some cedar trees at Boomer Lake

Both of the birds are seasonal visitors to Stillwater. The Mississippi kites are here from late spring through early/mid autumn. At least one pair nests around Boomer Lake, I’m sure that there are other pairs also at the lake, but possibly back in the wooded areas or closer to the golf course.

They easy to spot during the summer time, especially in the mornings, sometimes in the afternoon, and then again in the evenings.

Possible young female sharp-shinned hawk

The sharp-shinned hawks are our winter guests, staying from probably late fall/early winter until mid-spring, when they probably start migrating back up north to their breeding territories.

I will admit that there are times when I almost trip over the bird before I see it–and that was how this one was–which is why only one out of the four pictures turned out decently. I’m thinking that when I do manage to start walking at Boomer Lake in the mornings, I’m going to try to keep my eye out for the hawks–especially the ones that sit still in the trees waiting for a meal to either dart out across the field or fly past.

So, these two pages currently round out the members of the Accipitridae family that I’ve seen in the wild.

There are twenty-two species that can be seen within the US, Canada, and Mexico–and currently I have pictures of five of them (or 22%). I have seen a couple of the other hawks–I just don’t have pictures of them. When I do manage to get pictures of them, they will be added to the Accipitridae section.

Therefore to finish off the Accipitriformes order, I will be adding in the family and species pages for the osprey next. Then it will be order and family pages for the ruby-throated hummingbird. After those four pages, I will start working down a long list of birds that I’ve managed to get pictures of over the years.

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Two of the hawk pages are now live: Cooper’s Hawk & Red-shouldered Hawk

So I’m slowly getting back on track in terms of getting more bird pages posted under the main bird tab. As I had stated previously, the next group that I was going to be getting organized was the raptors.

Cooper’s Hawk thinking of taking off from the wood pile

This is a very large group (as mentioned on the page for their order–Accipitriformes; and one of the family pages–Accipitridae). These two pages were published earlier this week–I’m only now announcing them, because I’ve added a few more family members to the list.

I had published the page for the bald eagle back in October, and then decided that I was going to organize the pages, and it took awhile to get to the order and family for the bald eagle.

Two of the last four pages were added over the past few days. Those pages are for the Cooper’s Hawk and the Red-shouldered Hawk.

Red-shouldered hawk sitting in the elm tree in the backyard

The Cooper’s hawk has mainly been a visitor in the backyard (either ours or our neighbors), while the red-shouldered hawk I’ve spotted in our backyard, and on several walks at Boomer Lake.

A photography goal is going to be trying to get a picture of the Cooper’s hawk at Boomer Lake, and possibly closer one of the Cooper’s hawk when it’s sitting on the fence from the back (I’d like to really be able to see the gray-blue better).

The next page or two will be over the Mississippi Kite and the sharp-shinned hawk, before going on to the osprey family (which will round out the current diurnal raptors that I have pictures of).

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The last trio of woodpecker pages are now live

So the last three woodpecker pages are now up and live under the woodpecker family page (Picidae). The last three pages added were for the Northern Flicker, the red-headed woodpecker, and the pileated woodpecker.

Pileated woodpecker in the woods at Boomer Lake

So there are twenty-two woodpecker species that can be spotted in North America (Canada, US, Mexico) and to date I’ve spotted five of them, or not quite a quarter of them (twenty-two percent).

These birds can be spotted within forests, at the edge of forests, in city parks, in cacti, and at your backyard suet feeder (depending on the species).

Northern Flicker on the ground at Boomer Lake

I’ve realized that all five that I’ve spotted have either been around the wooded areas of city parks or at the backyard suet feeder.

A goal for 2021 is to see if I can spot a different species of woodpecker (possibly teh yellow-bellied sapsucker), or get better at distinguishing between the downy and hairy woodpeckers, or perhaps getting a better photograph of the red-headed woodpecker.

Red-headed woodpecker at the top of a dead tree

Getting a picture of the yellow-bellied sapsucker and the hairy woodpeckers would round out the woodpeckers that are common around Oklahoma. Getting a picture of any of the other woodpeckers common to North America will require at least one trip somewhere that has the type of forests (or cacti) that the woodpeckers prefer.

So the next set of bird pages to be publish on the blog will revolve around the hawks, eagles, kites, and osprey.

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National Bird Day, the first of three bird holidays

So today is National Bird Day. This is just one of the few days that are devoted to our feathered friends. The other important bird dates include Bird Day on May 4th, and then World Migratory Bird Day on May 8th (this one changes yearly as it is the second Saturday in May).

Great Horned Owl roosting at Boomer Lake

National Bird Day was started in 2002 by the Avian Welfare Coalition for a specific purpose: “to raise awareness of the hardships and plights of these important animals and how we can initiate the change needed to create a healthier, more sustainable relationship with them”.

One of the reasons why they started the day is that roughly twelve percent of all bird species in the world (which is roughly 1200 out of roughly 10,000) are in peril of extinction–through habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and the humans expanding cities and towns.

Killdeer and young along the bank of Boomer Lake

One thing that you can do on National Bird Day is to go out and bird watch (and actually it is something that you can do any time of the year–weather permitting). It is also a great way of helping to count the number of bird species, as there are different ‘bird counting’ events throughout the year. National Bird Day falls within the Christmas Bird Count that the Audubon Society hosts which runs through December and January.

Other things you can do include setting up bird feeders, planting native bushes and flowers to attract native birds. Donations to various wildlife organizations (such as Audubon Society, American Bird Conservancy, or Sierra Club), going to zoos (this supports the conservation efforts directed towards endangered species such as the California Condor and other birds).

Yellow finch sitting in the trees at Boomer Lake

So I usually do donations to various wildlife organizations when I can, I love to visit different zoos and see what animals are being cared for in different areas (usually the main difference can be in the bird species, reptile, and amphibian–sometimes fish), and I love birdwatching.

Green Heron flying through the mist at Boomer Lake

So, lets try to start being better caretakers of Mother Earth. While our population is growing–we should start revitalizing older, abandoned building instead of marching out into nature to build cities. Because if we destroy their world–we’re destroying ours as well.

What bird species are you hoping to get a picture of this year?

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