The smallest kingdom in the world

This was one of the best posts I’ve read for a long time – I’m reblogging it on mine, hopefully with your permission. My favorite photo, though difficult to choose, was the Hay Bluff. I’m a sucker for sheep for some reason, perhaps I was a shepherd in my previous life in the valleys of Norway. Thank you for your post!

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Some believe that the tiny Island of Tavolara off the coast of Sardinia was the smallest kingdom in the world. They are wrong. The smallest kingdom is on the border of Wales and England.

It lies on a river. The fifth longest river in the UK to be exact. A river which helps form the border between England and Wales. The river Wye:

River Wye River Wye

A much smaller tributary of the Wye also forms the border between England and Wales and runs through our pocket-sized kingdom: it is called Dulas Brook. As I stood on a bridge this weekend gone, straddling England and Wales with a leg in each and peering through a curtain of vines, I saw a pair of some my favourite British birds, the water-bound Dipper:

White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus)

The Kingdom is nestled in a valley overlooked by the northern outpost of the Black…

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Three Days, 40 Pounds And A Full Thermos…Birding Humboldt Refuge

Arcata Marsh Bird List February 11, 2015

Arcata Marsh Bird List
February 11, 2015

With fresh coffee in the thermos, dog in car and the GPS pointing toward Arcata Marsh, California, we headed out.  This marsh was one of the best places to bird on the west coast, and you can very well bet I was ready to see a lot of birds and a lot of strange things I’ve never seen before…

Arcata Marsh is just north of Eureka, and luckily for me, just 15 minutes from my kabin.  I arrived at 8:23 a.m. and proceeded to get my equipment together.  This was to be the first time I field tested my new heavy-duty tripod.  So, with backpack on the back, digital camera with 200mm lens around my neck, 20×80 binoculars securely on the new tripod and the tripod resting on my shoulder, small binos in my pocket (dog in car, sorry Joey), and coffee cup in the remaining free hand, I headed for the trail.  If you are new to birding – remember, NEVER leave any equipment behind that may cost you a bird!  When in doubt, bring it!  This includes food, because if you’re hungry, you’ll be impatient, and you can never be in a hurry when birding. Continue reading

In The Land Of Redwoods And Scoters, The Big Year Continues…

This is how far this little scoter is from home: 5,278 miles.  He is from Holland and he took a very wrong turn.CommonScoter CrescentCity3

Needless to say, I had to go see this bird.  It is the first ever sighting of the Common Scoter in the United States.  Ever.  I left Scappoose, Oregon on February 10, 2015 very early in the morning and arrived at Crescent City, California at about 3pm.  The ten hour drive down Interstate 5 was like my backyard, but once I turned right at Grants Pass, I saw something I’ve never seen before.  The Redwoods National Park is something everyone should see – I mean everyone.  These trees were so big that I couldn’t even photograph one in the frame.  You seriously need to back up a long ways, but you can’t because there are these monstrously beautiful trees everywhere. Continue reading

Birding Petaluma

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Driving into Petaluma at sunset.

After the driving rain came the warm California sun and the promise of expanding Big Year list.  The eleven hours of driving down Interstate 5 and then west on the 505 to San Francisco brought me to the KOA kabin in Petaluma.  I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep, except for the swans and wigeon dancing in my head.

The first stop was the famed hot spot of Shollenberger Park from 8am till 10am.  The walk around the lake and marshes was slow and thorough.  I expected to see more people toting around tripods, spotting scopes, backpacks and cameras but instead there were nice joggers, moms with strollers, an occasional man with lifted eyebrows, and solitary quiet walkers enjoying (perhaps) the surroundings as much as I.

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In Search of Two Lifers

January 27, 2015 Bird List

January 27, 2015 Bird List

After my San Francisco Rustic Bunting trip was scrubbed this morning, I decided to head out and find a couple of more local lifers. The weather was cloudy but pleasant, it stayed in the 40’s all day, rained some, some fog, some mist but no wind. I arrived at Marine Park in Vancouver just after 11:30 (with chestnut praline latte in hand). The first bird of interest was the rare and mysterious Tufted Duck. It is a common and friendly bird of the United Kingdom and surrounding countries, but not so common over here in Oregon! Below are photos of my findings. This duck was photographed at quite a distance, but I managed to capture him here. Continue reading

Birding in Scappoose

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There was an old man with a beard, Who said: ‘It is just as I feared! Two owls and a hen, Four larks and a wren Have all built their nests in my beard  Edward Lear

This morning while Joey was at the groomer, I walked down Crown-Zellarbach Trail for about ninety minutes.  With coffee, camera, binoculars (and other essentials in my EDC), I headed out in the billowing fog.

I first discovered the ducks.  They were the usual suspects of mallards, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, and American Wigeon.  I tried desperately to turn one into a Eurasian Wigeon but the color wasn’t there.  They all seemed to be quite vocal this morning – and except for the mallards, I don’t even think any of them noticed me. Continue reading