The Canada goose is a bird that probably needs little introduction, as it is a common waterfowl species throughout North America, and was introduced to the ‘Old World’ in the late 1600s.
The Canada goose is one of two waterfowl species that is present year-round at Boomer Lake (the other is the mallard—page coming soon), and can be spotted either out on the lake, along one of the many ‘fingers’ or wandering through the fields grazing on the grass. Also, depending on where you live in town, you may even see them crossing the street, snoozing in someone’s front yard, or grazing in said yard.
I actually was able to get a couple of walks in this spring, to where I was able to get some pictures of the latest group of goslings as well.
The tufted duck on the other hand, is a native to Eurasia—but has slowly made its way to North America (unlike the Canada goose—I don’t think anyone ‘introduced’ the tufted duck to over here). They can occasionally be spotted within the northeastern part of the continent (both within the US and Canada), but is considered somewhat common in western Alaska.
I managed to get a single picture of one when I was over in London several years ago, walking through Kensington Park on my way back to my hotel.
The only photography goal I can think of for the Canada goose is to see if I can get pictures of the different subspecies (currently that number sits at seven), while my photography goal for the tufted duck is to try to get a picture of one in North America, and then try to get a picture of one with a gosling swimming somewhere in Europe.
I just realized that I missed doing a 1-year check-in for the challenge last month since I’d been so focused on doing 100-day check-ins. I’ve also realized that I don’t check-in as often as I should with the list, possibly because we’re still in the middle of this damn pandemic and at times I feel like there isn’t a point.
TV shows were removed during earlier updates, as I usually don’t watch that much TV currently, and I am also thinking of cancelling my Beachbody-on-Demand subscription, since I’m also wanting to start ‘working-out’ away from the TV/computer screens. But, if I decide to do that—it will probably be before the fifth check-in on the challenge, and it will have it’s own post on the blog as well.
There is still the pandemic going on—which means that the travel plans are still on hold, and I’m still sheltering in place. While three vaccines have been approved for emergency use and the Pfizer was just granted full approval for people over the age of 12 (with several more in the middle of phase 3 clinical trials), I managed to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (1 & done) in early April. The numbers of cases had started to go down, but then people got lax on getting their vaccines (or just didn’t want them—not going to rant here), and then the delta variant decided to become the most dominant—and numbers are going back up. Therefore, I’m still going to be sheltering in place through the fall and winter, and hope that maybe by the late-fall of 2022 things may be heading towards a new ‘normal’.
So how are things progressing?
Professional Development and Career–Ongoing:
Transition into an industry position (this is probably going to be remote/online or freelancing; exact direction (subjects) still to be determined; there will be several posts on this goal
Learn a programming language (going to go with python to start); just need to set up the newer laptop and download both teh program and bookmark the e-courses that I bought on the subject
Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:
Clinical Research Coalition--Finished May 30th 2021
Medical Writers Organization–need to finish the writing assignments; finished up the editing assignments last month
Data Science Syndicate–Finished September 3rd 2020
Project Management Consortium
Management Consulting Firm
Intellectual Property Pack–Finished June 25th 2021
Regulatory Affairs Council
All other e-courses that are in the journal (including other Cheeky Scientist Courses)
More interaction on LinkedIn-while hard to score (see the below photograph), I’m slowly figuring things out. There are certain posts that do better than others, and certain versions of posts that do better than others.
Sharing articles from various biotech pages and other science pages–I’m managing to do this at least once a day, Monday thur Friday, I don’t really share much on the weekend.
Commenting on posts–as I commented on a post, I’m trying to do more than the just usual congrats, or that’s great. So this is still a work in progress
Giving/Asking for recommendations–this still needs to be done in order to ‘finish’ building my professional/personal brand on LinkedIn. I just have to decide who I’m going to ask (and then who I’m going to give recommendations to)
Start writing my own posts–see the below photograph, but I’m slowly dipping my toes into the world of LinkedIn publishing. I mentioned previously that my first two comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram posts had been my best posts (1st had over 1900 views, 36 reactions, and 12 comments; the second had over 6 thousand views, 36 reactions, and 20 comments). Obviously I didn’t use the correct hashtags with the third diagram (as it hasn’t come close to the number of views, reactions, or comments yet).
Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals–trying to get better at the whole ‘planning’ things out in advanced.
Renew professional memberships–I need to pick two (one is going to be joining the American Medical Writers Association, and then the other may be either ASBMB or ASCB).
Personal and Professional Development: on-going
7. Becoming fluent in Spanish–I need to get back to using the app Mondly, and aim for thirty minutes two to three days a week to begin with and build back up to doing it daily.
8. Become fluent in German again
9. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, Swedish, or Mandarin
10. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books total (since I first started these challenges in 2017). Aiming for twenty to thirty (plus) books a year, this year is going to be low (unless I start really reading all non-fiction and very little fiction).
11. Finish the books on scientific writing
12. Start building a portfolio (possibly as another ‘page’ on the blog) of different types of work (writing/data analysis)
14. Develop a daily writing habit
15. Write a letter to my future self
Personal Development and hobbies: on-going
16. Paint and frame at least one original painting
17. More photography–have been doing some, but now between the weather and the delta variant I’m not walking at Boomer as much as I would like to
18. 365 photography challenge–this one I’d try to start, but had fallen off track already. May try to restart it in the fall
19. Update photography pages on blog–I’ve been adding pages to the bird tab, and I have about another 100 pages to go, plus have been trying to expand the travel pages as well
20. Make my own jewelry
21. Learn to cross-stitch–I’ve started an abstract project, where I’m just filling in the entire tapestry with colors
22. Get a new sewing machine–on hold, due to the fact that there are issues with the machines being able to wind their bobbins, and the fact that people are probably buying them up again to make masks.
23. Make a new quilt (on hold due to #22)
24. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop when sitting at desk; on hold due to #22)
25. Start a new afghan–not sure if I’m going to be buying any yarn this year or not, since I still need to finish patching the second afghan that Chaos had chewed holes in.
26. Showcase crafts on blog (weekly update or possibly new pages when I have several completed?)
27. Start writing a book
28. Learn Photoshop
29. Write in the journal daily
30. Create my own coffee-table photography book
31. Learn basic sign language
32. Start a virtual book club
Finances: on-going (still a little difficult as there is no steady paycheck yet):
33. Create monthly budgets–currently this is just paying off the monthly bills
34. Credit cards debt down and hopefully paid off monthly–there are two that are high (where they aren’t paid off in full). Plus one is probably going to be high for a couple of months (since I’m thinking of possibly buying a bookcase and nightstand).
35. De-clutter the house–basically trying to sell DVDs back as a way of earning some extra money; on hold only because of the delta variant and me not wanting to be around other people
36. Saving account up another 20+K–this will take quite awhile since I haven’t ‘officially’ started doing any freelancing or remote work yet; nor have I landed any type of contract position
37. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities–on hold, again due to the delta variant
38. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash
39. Finish the various financial e-courses (and decide how to implement what I’ve learned)
Fitness and Health: On-going
40. Get into the best shape of my life
41. Multivitamin and supplements daily–I’ve only forgotten to take my multivitamin and supplements every so often
42. Manage to make it through the following Beachbody workouts–these might be removed by the time I do a 500-day check-in as I’m thinking of cancelling my beachbody-on-demand membership
43. Morning Meltdown 100–I finished my 1st round on 9/15/2020
44. Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs & Butt series–Made it through 3/4 of the program by 11/14/2020
45. 10 Rounds–1st round finished 12/26/2020
46.Barre Blend–Started on 2/8/2021; managed to do half the program before deciding to call it quits
47. Insanity Max 30
48. LIIFT4–Did a round of the program back in 2018; second round finished on 11/14/2020, 3rd round (focusing mostly on the lifting) was finished 7/23/2021
49. 22-Minute Hard Corps
52. Insanity: Asylum 1
53. Insanity: Asylum 2
54. 4 weeks of Prep
55. 6 weeks of work
56. T25 (have already done once)
57. Brazil Butt Lift
58. 21 Day Fix (have done once); started the ‘LIVE’ version and made it a week before moving to LIIFT4
59. 21 Day Fix Extreme (have done once)
60. Country Heat (have done once)
61. CIZE–managed to make it through the program, even though I felt like I had two left feet the entire time. Finished this April 9th 2021)
64. Let’s Get Up! (hopefully out fall 2021; but have to decided if I’m keeping BOD or not)
65. 9-week control freak off the wall (technically with dumbbells)
66. Shawn Week
67. 80-Day Obsession
68. Brazil Butt Lift: Carnival
69: Shift Shop: Proving Grounds
71. Core de Force
72. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes (I had been practicing, but I haven’t done much lately–need to get back to it)
73. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes
74. Hold a two-minute forearm plank
75. Hold a ninety second plank
76. Meditate nightly–Have been doing, even if its only been for a minute or two
77. 60-80 oz of water daily–some days I fall way short on this; something to work on
78. Stretch daily
79. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)–on my way; some months are better than others.
Blog and Social Media: On-going:
80. Finish the YouTube for bosses course
81. Finish the YouTube course creation for bosses course
82. Launch a YouTube Channel
83. Launch an online course
84. Launch an online freelance/remote/contract business
85. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day–have managed to increase the monthly views (May-July it was a little over 500 views per month), and now just need to work on increasing the weekly and then the daily views
86. Rebrand myself (?)
87. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+
88. Get Pintrest followers to constant 400+
89. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+
90. Publish at least two blog series
91. Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)
92. Blog–tried this for August, but life had a way of throwing it out the window; will try it agian for September
94. Facebook Page(s)
97. Get BecomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows
98. Various top 10 author lists
99. Various top 10 book series lists
100. Launch a podcast
101. Full/New Moon Goals–I’ve been managing to keep with these, even if I may not hit each goal that I set for each new/full moon
102. Create my own altar (wiccan/pagan): This was accomplished earlier this year, though I will be moving things around since it is a small shelf and everything feels crowded
103. Oracle Card readings (Weekly or Daily)–I’ve managed to do this more or less daily (though there have been a few days that I’ve missed). I started a 120-day oracle card sharing challenge, but after 26 days I’ve called it ‘quits’ for now, as it was feeling more like a task than an enjoyable hobby.
104. Sitting outside in the morning with my coffee (back to waiting for nicer weather–so hopefully sometime this fall)
Others (that don’t require travel): On-going
105. Keep at least three plants alive–I’ve managed to ‘root’ and replant several cuttings from our dumb cane plants, so I guess that could count as keeping plants alive. Though the Christmas poinsettia didn’t survive it’s repotting.
106. Design a science based board game
107. Update my digital vision board
108. Reorganize my storage unit
109. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard).
110. Help put up a partial privacy fence in backyard
111. Start downsizing clothes and creating different ‘minimum’ wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out). Have found different non-profits that I could donate clothes too, but the overall project is on hold due to the delta variant. Once that is under control, I’ll box up clothes that I don’t want and ship them off.
112. Develop different 30-day challenges–this one may be taken off by the 5th check-in if I haven’t come up with one and seen it through to completion.
113. Start down sizing the rest of my belongings (would like to live comfortably in a small house/apartment and I know that I don’t need majority of my stuff).
Goals that require a little traveling (or having moved into my own place):
114. Re-pierce my ears
115. Go to at least one scientific conference
116. Present at a scientific conference
117. Got to at least two professional networking events
118.Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job
119. Visit at least three new countries
120. Visit at least one new national park and/or state park
121. Visit at least one new national monument and/or state monument
122. Visit at least one new zoo
123. Visit at least one new aquarium
124. Fly out and/or land at three new (to me) airports
125. Visit at least one new city
126. Visit at least one ‘new’ state
127. See the northern lights
128. Attend at least one blogging conference
129. Attend at least one author-reader conference
130. Swim with whale sharks
132. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs
133. New couch and chair for living room
134. New dresser for bedroom
135. New mattress and box spring for bed and/or a new bed set
136. New TV & stand
137. New desk/craft workstation
While the number of goals seem shorter than previous: the total number is still about 147 (ten of the goals in the professional development group were dotted instead of numbered).
Since, I thinking of cancelling my Beachbody-on-Demand membership next month, there will probably be about 25 ‘goals’ that may disappear from the list (at least the ones that would require the use of streaming; older programs that I have the DVDs on may still be done).
Therefore I may in add some additional personal or professional development programs to the list, or some other goals to take their place (in other words I’m not sure I’ll be decreasing the total number of goals or simply switching numerous ones out).
I’d mentioned in a post last week (my most updated comfort diagram share), that I felt like I’d let my time management slip the past month or so—and I have. I actually tried to make an ‘editorial’ calendar last month for August through October. But, life has a way of getting in the way at times, and it threw the calendar out the window (though I’m going to try to update it for the rest of fall).
I’m almost certain that I want to go in a freelance/remote/contract direction for my career (since the delta variant isn’t going to be disappearing anytime soon), and am slowly brainstorming the ideas needed for that pivot.
The bingo card that was created at the beginning of the year (both for yearly goals and the fitness programs I wanted to get completed), with the best intentions—I’ve realized that I probably won’t be getting a ‘bingo’ this year, and I will need to fine-tune the ideas for my 2022 yearly bingo card and any future fitness bingo cards.
I’ve decided currently that I’m going to keep the current web addy (becomingjessi) and the running tag-line (a little bit of this, a little bit of that) for the blog, but also start trying to brainstorm some ideas for new ones as I slowly start trying to develop my freelance/remote/contract business (writing, with possibly data analysis, project/product management, consulting).
So, the summer saw me becoming a little lax in time management and online learning—but I’m reactivating the self-control app, and will be setting weekly goals (say three hours of online learning, non-fiction reading, and work on crafts; in addition to some type of word total for writing).
The volunteer writing position that I took is helping me learn some of the ins and outs of researching various types of topics and writing for a general audience (I’m slowly figuring out how much science is actually needed within those topics), and I’m hoping to be able to do more than one post a week (one for the company, and then a different one for the bog) within another month or so.
So I will be brainstorming/mind-mapping different ideas for the career pivot that will appeal to my mixed-style multipontialite personality (different types or number of projects), and my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, ideation, and deliberative) moving forward. This will mean trying to determine the best type of daily schedule (when to do research; what to research; how long to research; blocks for writing and so forth).
Therefore, the goals for the next 100 days will include getting through various professional development programs (finishing up the writing tests for the Medical Writers Organization, making it through the Regulatory Affairs Council, and possibly the Business Development Federation program as well), reading at least 3-4 books off the personal/professional development list, and creating my own fitness/intentional movement calendar for the rest of the year (weight lifting, and then some types of cardio and recovery), and then whatever else from the list that will fit into the 100-day schedule.
So another series of bird pages are live under the bird tab. I decided to go a head and get the order page (Psittaciformes) for parrots and their relatives, the family page (Psittaculidae) for one of the three ‘true parrot’ families, and the species page for the rose-ring (or ring-neck) parakeet completed and published.
Did you know that there are over 350 different species of parrots (and their allies), and a third of them (basically a little over 115 of them) are endangered or threatened? This is due to lost of habitat, illegal bird trade, and introduction of non-native predators.
I managed to get a single picture of a female (or immature male) rose-ring parakeet on my trip to London several years ago. Seeing a parakeet in the middle of London in early October was an odd sighting—but it turns out they’ve adapted to the country quite well.
London is just one of the cities that these parakeets have managed to adapt to, they can also be found in other large cities in Europe, and even within the US (they’ve formed colonies in California, Florida, and Hawaii).
A goal is to get a picture of a mature male (they’re the ones that have the colored ‘rings’ around their necks), and a picture of them in either Africa or India (their ‘natural territory’), plus possibly getting a picture of one within the US (I’d prefer to go back to Hawaii to try to find one, but might have to settle for California after we get the pandemic under control yet again).
Have you seen a rose-ring (or ring-neck) parakeet before, and if you did–was it in the wild or at a zoo?
Unless this is your first time visiting my blog (and then, hello and how do you do), one may realize that bird watching and photography are some favorite pastimes of mine. While creating the birding section of my blog and the various bird pages, I’ve come curious on the topic of ‘state’ birds.
Every state has an official ‘state’ bird and after seeing the list of birds, I decided to create a list of ‘fifty-one’ odd facts about the state birds. In addition, I also found about a dozen odd stats about them as well.
So to start off, here are the odd statistics on the ‘state’ birds:
There are over a thousand different species of birds within the United States, but only twenty-seven species, plus two types of chickens were chosen as state birds.
Ten states have both a state bird, plus another ‘official’ bird (game, waterfowl, raptor, or symbol of peace)
The state birds of nine states (plus the District of Columbia) are only present in the state (or area) from mid-spring to early/mid fall (breeding season)
Seven states have the northern cardinal as their state bird
Six states have the mockingbird as their state bird
Six states have the western meadowlark as their state bird–though it is a summer resident for three of those states
Two states have a chicken as their state bird
Three states have the goldfinch as their state bird
Three states have the American robin as their state bird
Two states have the eastern bluebird as their state bird
Two states have the mountain bluebird as their state bird (though it is a summer resident in one of those states.
Two states have the black-capped chickadee for their state bird
What I found ‘weird’ was that high frequency of the northern cardinal (14% of the states), mockingbird (12% of the states), and western meadowlark (12% of the states) being chosen for state birds. These three choices by nineteen states account for 38% of the ‘state birds’.
So, what are some weird/odd or amazing facts about the various state (or national) birds?
The national bird (the Bald Eagle) is no longer considered endangered or threatened (it is one of the biggest success stories of the Endangered Species Act). Though it is still protected at the state level in many states.
2. The District of Columbia has a ‘state bird’–the wood thrush.
3. The rough translation for the wood thrush’s scientific name (Hylochila mustelina) is ‘weasel-colored woodland thrush’
4. Male wood thrushes do more of the feeding of the chicks than the female; this allows her to start a second brood.
5. The first national wildlife refuge (Florida’s Pelican Island) was created in 1903 by Teddy Roosevelt to protect the brown pelican.
6. Besides being the state bird of Louisiana, the brown pelican is also the national bird of Saint Martin, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
7. Northern flickers actually hunt for their food on the ground, with ants being a staple in their diet.
8. In addition to nesting in trees (like all other woodpeckers), northern flickers have also been know to use abandoned burros of belted kingfishers or bank swallows.
9. The willow ptarmigan is the only grouse in the world where the male regularly helps raise the young.
10. The willow ptarmigan is also a master of camouflage; they can be snowy white in the winter and a mix of reds and browns in the summer.
11. The cactus wren gets its liquids from the juicy insects and fruits it eats; therefore rarely relying on water.
12. Young California quail gain their gut microbiome by pecking at the feces of the adults.
13. California quail broods mix after hatching and all parents help care for the young
14. A male northern mockingbird can learn up to 200 songs during his lifetime.
15. While it is called the northern mockingbird, it is actually absent from many of the northern states.
16. Lark buntings are able to survive periods of drought by taking moisture from grasshoppers and other insects
17. Lark buntings are endemic sparrows to the grasslands and shrub steppes of North America.
18. The entire American robin population ‘turns over’ on average every six years, though many may live longer than that.
19. Did you know that robins can become intoxicated when they exclusively eat honeysuckle berries?
20. Brown thrashers have been known to imitate the songs of Chuck-will’s-widows, wood thrushes, and northern flickers
21. Brown thrashers are the largest common host for the ‘parasitic’ brown-headed cowbirds. Though they can tell the difference between their eggs and the cowbird eggs, and usually reject the cowbird eggs that had been laid in the nest.
22. The Nene evolved from the Canada goose, which probably arrived on the Hawaiian Islands roughly 500,000 years ago.
23. The Nene is the sixth-most endangered waterfowl species in the world.
24. There are Hawaiian geese (Nene) living in the Slimbridge Wetland Wildlife Reserve near Gloucestershire, England
25. Mountain bluebirds can hunt for insects either in flight or from perches
26. A male mountain bluebird with a high-quality nesting site is more likely to attract a mate than a more ‘attractive’ male with a low-quality nesting site.
27. Female northern cardinals are one of the few female songbirds that sing
28. Cardinals don’t molt into duller colors–the mature males stay bright red year-round.
29. Goldfinches are strict vegetarians, and the offspring of other birds who parasitize their nests (such as the brown-headed cowbirds) rarely survive more than a few days on the all-seed diet.
30. Meriweather Lewis, noted in 1805 the differences between the eastern and western meadowlarks
31. Male western meadowlarks usually have two mates at the same time, as the females do all the incubating, brooding, and most of the feeding of the young
32. Black-capped chickadees hide their food to eat later, placing individual items in different spots
33. Black-capped chickadees adapt to changes in their flocks and the environment every fall, by allowing neurons with ‘old information’ to die and replacing them with new neurons
34. Baltimore orioles are known to breed/hybridize extensively with Bullock’s orioles where their ranges overlap within the Great Plains
35. When migrating the common loon has been clocked at speeds greater than 70mph
36. Common loons are only present in a few states during the summer. Most of the US is actually within their migratory routes to the coasts, where they will spend the winters (and the young will stay for two years before heading back north).
37. Eastern bluebirds will typically have more than one brood per year
38. Purple finches have lost territory in the eastern US to the house finch
39. Roadrunners are able to eat venomous lizards, scorpions, and rattlesnakes.
40. Roadrunners may also be seen walking around with a snake protruding from its bill, swallowing a little at a time as the snake is digested.
41. The scissor-tailed flycatcher tends to wander on their way to and from their winter grounds in Central America. They have been spotted as far north and west as British Columbia, and as far north and east as Nova Scotia.
42. The scissor-tailed flycatcher as the second longest tail for members of the kingbird family. The fork-tailed flycatcher has the longest tail.
43. The popularity of the ruffed grouse as a game bird led to some of the earliest game management efforts in North America back in 1708.
44. The overall population of the ruffed grouse goes through an eight-to-eleven year cycle that is in correlation to the snowshoe hare population.
45. It is only the male Carolina wren that sings
46. Ring-necked pheasants will sometime parasitize the nests of other birds (such as the ruffed grouse or the greater-prairie chicken)
47. Ring-necked pheasants practice ‘harem-defense polygyny’ where one male will keep other males away from a group of females during the breeding season.
48. The California gull became the state bird of Utah in 1848, after they started feasting on the katydids that had been devastating the crops of the settlers.
49. Hermit thrushes are likely to nest in trees west of the Rocky Mountains, but on the ground east of the Rocky Mountains
50. Male hermit thrushes will collect the food for the nest, giving it to the female who will then feed the nestlings.
51. Not really odd facts, but here are the two pictures of the chickens that are also state birds:
So there are the ‘fifty-one’ odd facts on state birds (yes, I know that the last fact are just pictures). So far I’ve managed to get a picture of thirteen or fourteen of the birds–I’m leaning more towards fourteen, since I’m pretty positive that is a purple finch I got a picture of this winter.
A photography goal–get a picture of the other state birds, though I’m not sure if I’m also going to include the chickens in that or not. You might have noticed that I didn’t mention every state in terms of their state bird–I thought it would be more fun to test everyone’s knowledge.
So question–do you know the state bird of your state?
So there are two more bird pages live under the birding section, and they aren’t geese, swans, or ducks: they’re two members of the rail family that I saw on my trip to the UK a couple of years ago.
Ever since I started this project (creating bird pages for the various birds I’ve gotten pictures of over the years), I’m constantly going through my old pictures and asking–which bird is this, and am I sure that is the correct bird?
For most birds, I’m usually correct with my identification, but there have been others that I’ve been wrong on. As it turns out I wasn’t correct with my first identification of these two birds; I’m made a ‘rookie’ mistake and assumed they were just ‘regional’ variations of birds I’d seen back in the US.
Well, it turns out that that was the wrong assumption to make–they’re actually separate species from the ones I’d spotted within the US.
The first one is the common moorhen. The reason why I’d thought that it was similar to the one I’d seen down in South Padre Island, is that they had been considered the same (or possibly subspecies) up until 2011–so only a decade ago, and I have an ‘outdated’ bird book.
The ‘Old World’ has the common moorhen, while the ‘New World’ has the common gallinule.
The second one I had ‘mistakenly’ identified was the Eurasian coot–I thought it was the American coot. Yes, I know that the name ‘American’ should have given it away that it probably wouldn’t be found in the UK–but if the pied grebe can occasionally migrate over the Atlantic Ocean, whose to say that the coot couldn’t?
I now know that there are several coot species, and I’ve managed to get pictures of two of them–in order to make it a perfect trifecta, I now need to head back to the Hawaiian islands and get a picture of the Hawaiian coot.
There are still one or two more birds from the UK trip that will be getting pages, but currently this brings the rail family up to date for members that I’ve spotted either within the US or abroad.
So another #throwbackthursdaytravel page is up under the travel tab. This week is showcasing our quick stop and mini-hike through Robbers Cave State Park in southeastern Oklahoma.
We stopped at the park on our way home from Arkansas after doing some hiking and kayaking through some of the Buffalo National River area (that trip can also be found under the travel tab).
Being someone who enjoys history, I would have liked to spend a little more time exploring the park (but it was a quick stop), as they have several historical buildings within the park (from the mid-1930s when the park was initially started). One thing I found fascinating was walking around in an area that Jesse James and Belle Starr also walked/rode/hidden in as well (the area was well known for being a hideout for outlaws in the 1800s).
While it was a ‘short’ stay within the park, it was also a nice introduction to what the park offers, especially in terms of hikes for ‘beginners’.
While I may not have spent a lot of time in the park–I do highly recommend the park to anyone who wants to explore a little of southeastern Oklahoma.
So several more pages are now live under the birding tab of the ‘blog’.
An new organizational page (the ‘water birds’) is up and running. This ‘tab’ will contain all the bird orders/families that are associated with the water (members spend at least fifty percent of their time near, on, or in the water). As mentioned on the page, while there are raptors that eat fish (namely the osprey and bald eagle), they aren’t included within the tab as they don’t spend that much time on or in the water (they grab their food and fly off to eat it).
The order (Anseriformes) and family (Anatidae) pages for the ducks, geese, and swans are also up and live under the birding section (specifically under the ‘water birds’).
This is another group that will take several days/weeks to finish, as I think there are thirteen to fourteen members of the family for me to do research over (most seen within the United States and three or four were also seen over in the UK).
So far I have two swan pages up on the site: the Mute Swan (seen in both Boston and the UK) and the black swan (seen solely in the UK).
The black swan is native to Australia and was introduced to the northern hemisphere starting in the 1800s, and the mute swan is native to northern hemisphere–but within the ‘old world’ and was introduced throughout the rest of the world starting again in the 1600-1800s.
The next set of pages will probably cover the geese that I’ve seen (again mainly in the US, but several were also spotted within the UK) and I’m hoping to have those pages up and ‘live’ by the end of the weekend.
A photography goal is to get pictures of the two native swans in North America: the trumpeter and tundra swans.
Curious to know if you’ve seen a swan–which species was it and where were you?
Today is ‘celebrate your geekness’ day, a day that was created by Wellcats Holidasy as a day about being proud of what you do, who you are, and what you’re ‘obsessed’ with. I will freely admit that I’ve always been a ‘geek’, and I’ve been proud of being a geek. While I may seem ‘quiet’ and slightly ‘unsociable’, it is more of the fact that I’m wondering what I can add to the conversation. Depending on the topic, I may either be more of an active listener or an active participant. While I am a ‘geek’ on various subjects, I also admit that some areas I’m reconnecting to, so I may not be that big of a ‘geek’ in terms of random knowledge.
I like these five reasons from ‘a big think edge’ blog post back in 2018 on why one should embrace thier inner geek:
The term communicates that you are intelligent
You may be more socially competent and mature than the ‘cool kids’
As a geek, you are viewed in a increasingly positive way
You are technically savvy and an early adopter of new technologies
Geeks bring different perspectives and knowledge to the conversation
I agree with all of them, with the exception of number four–I really don’t care for updating/upgrading my electronics and such unless I either absolutely have to, or the update/upgrade has something really going for it.
So what are things that I consider myself a ‘geek’ about?
Hobbies such as:
Birds (and bird watching)
Reading (fiction, especially romance)
Knitting and other crafts
Being outdoors, gardening and nature
Learning, especially on topics related to:
What am I currently learning or teaching myself?
Python coding, cross-stitching, jewelry making, and brushing up on subjects such as intellectual protperty and clinical trials.
What are my end goals?
Continuous learning, finding harmony between ‘work’ and ‘everything else’, and bridging the communication gap beteen the scientific community and the general public.
What is one scientific topic that you wished was communicated better?
So the latest #throwbackthursdaytravel page is up under the travel tab. This week’s entry was our whirlwind afternoon in the White Sands National Park in southern New Mexico (though at the time it was still only a National Monument, it had been promoted to a National Park later).
This is actually the world’s largest gypsum dune field at 275 square miles. If you camp in the back country or hike any of the trails away from Dunes Drive, it is easy to see why parts of various movies (such as Independence Day) were filmed within the area, with rolling dunes and flat plains of gypsum as far as the eye can see.
While the dune field covers a large area, one doesn’t want to become ‘lost’ within it–especially since the park is also within the White Sands Missile Testing area and adjacent to a military base.
Our afternoon was spent basically taking the scenic drive through part of the park (the Dunes Drive is a round trip sixteen mile drive, but one should also account for time spent taking pictures, hiking up and down the dunes, and even possibly sledding down the dunes), hiking up some of the dunes and taking pictures.
While I may have only seen a single lizard, I was able to get pictures of several different wildflowers that are able to grow within the gypsum dunes:
I would love to go back to the park, and actually try sledding down a dune, hiking a little further than what we did, and even trying to camp out in the back-country for a day or two.
There are two more bird pages live under the bird tab. This time it was adding in two additional dove pages for the two doves that I had spotted and gotten pictures of years ago in South Padre Island, Texas.
The first one, for some reason I misidentified as a mourning dove–white it has the black crescent on the back of the neck, it is missing the black dots on the wings. Therefore, it turns out that I actually managed to get a couple of pictures of a Eurasian collared dove on a roof.
These doves aren’t native to the ‘New World’, and were originally brought to the Caribbean to be sold as pets in pet stores, but in the 1970s were released from a pet store in the Bahamas. It took them about ten years or so to make their way to Florida, and have been spreading throughout the states and Mexico ever since. For some reason though, they haven’t made much headway into the Northeastern part of the country or into Canada.
The second dove I spotted, I truthfully forgot about until I was going back through the pictures, because of how well it blended in with the grasses.
It turns out that I also managed to get a couple pictures of an Inca dove as well.
This dove is mainly found in the southwestern parts of the country, even though there have been sighting of it up in Colorado. They have the coloring to blend in with the arid, desert landscapes of the American Southwest.
Photography goals will be trying to get additional pictures of the doves using my other camera (that has a slightly better zoom), and possibly getting a picture of more than one roosting on a wire or tree branch.
With the addition of these two pages, the pigeon/dove group is ‘complete’ as of today. There are still more pigeons and doves that can be spotted within the US, not to mention around the world.