Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Star Spangled Banner & Maple Leaf

Well he's here and as he was bearing gifts I let him in the house.

Joy, as well as me, was delighted to see Jim the Medic and soon got tucked into the wine - cheers!

As well as the 2 bottles in the previous photo he, and partner Liz, bought me this Joe Bonamassa poster when they went to see him in Holland. Liz also sent me a 'Kiss' lollipop - thank you very much Liz, you can come next time. Anyway, must get the peas on so - manana!

This post is dedicated to the lovely people of the United States of America and Canada as part of 'thanks' to the response to yesterdays post. For the first time for many, many months the Stat Counter has shown the United Kingdom drop to below the 8,000 'hits' threshold, while the USA has leapt from a modest 3 figures to 500 by breakfast time UK this morning Canada meanwhile is on the cusp of 200, great to welcome you all, and please pass the Link on!

It's been 'tiger in a cage' day today with the expected arrival of Jim the Medic plus four other friends coming to dinner this evening. Not having done a dinner party for quite a while now it's been fantastic spending some time in the galley for a change, another of my great loves. I expect there will be some photos of this event, so watch this space.

Back to 'birding' the North American sub-continent, this (outside of the UK) is my most favourite area in the world. While I love the gaudy colours and strange forms of all the Tropical birds, here there is that middle ground of diversity between brilliant colouration and UK birds which by and large are more subtle (didn't want to use the word 'dowdy' as this they are not). Add to that the chance of recording a trans-Atlantic vagrant here in UK and the intrigue is to the fore.

Downy Woodpecker - this photo was taken in New Jersey where my US 'birding' first started. Over the years I have returned time and again, and on each occasion have received the kind of welcome synonymous with that side of the Pond. An ideal opportunity here I feel to remember some who have become firm friends. Sandra Keller of Cape May has been my inspiration and companion on may ventures, and through her met Doug, Mary and Gabe Johnson who have shared both the hobby and home. I'll have to get over and see you guys again soon.

Savannah Sparrow one of a diverse array of sub-species, one of which, the Ipswich Sparrow, has graced the Isle of Portland which is something of a coincidence. It's breeding range is restricted to another 'island' Sable Island, Nova Scotia and spends the winter months on the grassy dunes between New England and Florida. Passerculis sandwichensis princeps differs from the nominate race and others in being larger and paler overall, described by Sibley as 'greyish'. I bet there are a few readers of this Blog who remember that little gem with a great deal of satisfaction?

Sora is a more frequent visitor to our shores, but still a 'rare' bird for all that. This individual showed well close to Beaver Creek, Yukon on the Alaska Highway.

Swainson's Thrush another infrequent visitor to Great Britain.

Sandhill Crane as with the picture above, this was taken at Creamers Field 'ringing station' just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska where I also received an extremely warm welcome and was allowed to view what they call 'banding' over there.

Spotted Sandpiper a far more frequent visitor to our shores than any on this page, but it still remains absent from my Dorset List - please send another.

Tree Swallow very common throughout the sub-continent and has been recorded in Great Britain.

Song Sparrow also on the British List but not yet for me.

American Coot this photo was taken at the Dawson Creek Nature Reserve, British Columbia, Canada.

White-crowned Sparrow is on my GB List, but this one was in Central Park, New York City.

Trumpeter Swan aloft over Toad River, Yukon, Canada. Singularly, the most memorable part of this 3 day stopover was meeting Colin Leake, wife Heather and their beautiful family and friends. If you are reading this Colin, there is more that a good chance I'll be passing through sometime in the spring, and yes you can consider this a HINT for an invite!!!!

Yellow Warbler certainly in my 'top ten' American Warblers, taken in Seattle, Washington State (the northernmost largest city in the contiguous US).

Blue-winged Teal taken somewhere along the Alaska Highway.

and finally, a look at the Stat Counter at noon today - what a response from across The Pond!

Num Perc. Country Name

drill down790875.31%United KingdomUnited Kingdom
drill down5905.62%United StatesUnited States
drill down3743.56%TaiwanTaiwan
drill down1891.80%EstoniaEstonia
drill down1691.61%NetherlandsNetherlands
drill down1061.01%GermanyGermany
drill down1061.01%CanadaCanada

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