Spotted Owls

Spotted Owls
adapted from my photo of 2008

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gray Partridges!

I glanced out the window this morning and was delighted to see what I thought was a Sharp-tailed Grouse family. Although I have seen many in SD, I did not have them on my yard list here. And I still don't, because they were Gray Partridges, a mother and 6 young, and not Sharp-tailed Grouse. The young easily came through the backyard fence while mama waited and called outside the yard. Eventually they all wandered off into the taller grass outside our fenced yard. I have been looking for them in SD since I arrived, but these are the first. The only other time I've ever seen them in the US (they are introduced from Europe) was in Washington State during my 2008 big year!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer South Dakota birding

It's been many years since I lived where there were many breeding birds. North Carolina and Texas are better for migrants and wintering birds. It's wonderful to wander up and down South Dakota roads and see baby birds and parents with worms in their beaks. Many of the birds are the same species I grew up with in Wisconsin (Eastern Kingbird, Bobolink, Western Meadowlark, American Robin) but there's the delightful addition of more western species than I typically had in central Wisconsin, such as Burrowing Owls (see picture, small & distant family of Burrowing Owls), Western Kingbirds, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Greater Sage-Grouse (see picture of mother and one of the 2 young that I saw along a NW SD roadside). Tomorrow I'm off to join a morning field trip in the Black Hills.

Monday, June 27, 2011

South Dakota birding

I've finally gotten a bit of birding done (ignoring for the moment the remaining boxes in the garage). I did my Breeding Bird Survey east of Rapid City last Wednesday, went birding with a new SD birding friend south and east of Rapid on Friday, and went with the Northern Hills Bird Club on a field trip to the upper northeast corner of the state on Saturday. I'm hoping to take a bit of bird-exploring time this afternoon after my husband goes to work his 3-11 pm shift at the Weather Service. Lots of neat birds so far, and many more to look for. Best photos up here so far are ones I've posted on my Facebook page, but I am just so happy to have gotten them that I have to share them here too -- a Northern Saw-whet Owl up in Harding Co., SD.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Texas to South Dakota accomplished

I have arrived!! I left Fort Worth after the movers cleared out our house about 6:30 PM on Wed., 6/8, and drove to Oklahoma City for the night. Then yesterday (our wedding anniversary) I drove the remainder of the 1110 miles and arrived in Rapid City about 8:00 PM (MDT). The fence folks are finally able to begin putting in the dog fence that we ordered in April. It's been so rainy that the test fence post hole that they had drilled has had standing water in it. It's still wet, having rained again last night, but they can at least begin on the uphill fenceline area.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Extreme Birder book

Book sales of the books that I got from the publisher in late March have been going well - and something one of the publisher folks emailed me implied that their sales have been going really well too. I should find out more soon because I will be going to down to College Station next week to pick up more books, some of which I will have moved to South Dakota with all our furniture and other books, etc., and some of which will remain here with a friend so that when I come back to Texas for my scheduled talks I won't have to bring them back with me. I am very much enjoying selling them; until now I thought I have never liked selling anything, but there's an exception to any rule.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Anybody out there?

I'd love it if someone would comment on this blog. If there's a problem commenting, please email me at, so I can check on it. Thanks.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Late Easter Bunny

So far our Rapid City yard list (after 2 days) is 18 species. The latest are Killdeer (in the street in front of the house) and Chipping Sparrow (behind the house on the ground, of course). The only mammal so far is in the picture.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Rapid City

I've started my "yard list" of birds in Rapid City, even though I've not moved up there yet. The best by far is a singing Western Meadowlark out the back in the fields beyond the yard. This is the first yard (I think) since I grew up in Wisconsin that meadowlarks were around the house. This is serious prairie, even though civilization (and a rumored Wal-mart) are encroaching on it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Eat, sleep, unpack old boxes, shred and/or throw away junk, repack new boxes, do client work,sell Extreme Birder books, and sneak in a bit of birding. The latter, this morning at Village Creek Drying Beds, where highlights were a Willet (rarely there), a breeding plumage Eared Grebe, lots of swallows and Chimney Swifts, and the usual nesting season Great Blue Heron rookery.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring, Book-writing/publishing, News

I took a morning drive around south Tarrant Co. today. The Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, which ought to be the Texas state bird, have arrived. I've sold some of my Extreme Birder books even though I haven't yet given a talk or done a book-signing yet. I was delighted yesterday when I got an email asking if I could speak in November at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival! And in the newest news of all - I have just signed a contract with Texas A&M Press for another book, which will be about endangered birds in the U.S. It will be written especially for concerned citizens who are not fanatic birders, and will contain species information and stories and paintings and sketches and probably photographs of the birds chosen for the book. Life is exciting!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Snowy Egret painting

Not content to ever sit still, I wander the house, putting a few brushings of paint on a painting, scanning old slides, making some of many phone calls on my to-do list, paying bills, and of course, doing client work. Out of it all I've finished a couple more paintings, one of which is the Snowy Egret shown here. To see the other new one of a Vermilion Flycatcher as well as a bunch of old ones, go to my web site (

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Boxes of books

There are boxes of books in my house, and also still in my car,just in case I am somewhere and someone says, "Oh I'd like to buy a copy of your book", and also because those boxes are heavy and I just could not get them all in the house. I have already sold a handful of books, even though I haven't begun with my scheduled book-signing events/talks. I have signed a few in addition to those sold, because the Texas A&M Press had me sign a box-full when I was there. Four of those will go to the Great Texas Birding Classic, as gift/prizes as I recall.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's here!!!

I got an email today that my books have arrived at the publisher. Now to schedule a time to go down there and pick up boxes of them. Should I be optimistic? I can't even estimate how many friends will get one, much less strangers when I give talks about my big year. People's enthusiasm about the book may not translate into spending money for it. And they all know that they can get it a lot cheaper by ordering from Amazon or other book dealers (and I get nearly none of that). Oh well, the real point is to have lots of people buy it, because it was a wonderful year and I want people to read all about it, and see the pictures. It really would take a million years for the book sales to pay me back for the $$ spent that year.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bald Eagle

I explored north of Rapid City today. In spite of the bright, warm (45F) day, it is still winter and few birds are around. Lapland Longspur, both Bald and Golden Eagles, a Prairie Falcon and a Ferruginous Hawk, Horned Larks, and many Sharp-tailed Grouse and a few pheasants were the main birds. The Bald Eagle was in a leafless deciduous tree along the road, and although he peered at me when I stopped and turned around and took many photos, he never flew away even though I was probably only 25 fee from him.

gold parties