Spotted Owls

Spotted Owls
adapted from my photo of 2008

Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter wonderland

It sounds like much of the US is a winter wonderland, or a winter nightmare (east coast). Here in South Dakota (which I'm about to leave and where I spent a long weekend) it's a wonderland, but very cold. Only an inch or so of snow last night, but the temperature is 0 degrees (like 32 degrees below freezing) in mid-morning and it's very windy with a wind chill of -27. It's forecast to be -19 degrees F tonight and -40 degrees wind chill, but I'll be in Fort Worth where it's forecast to be only at about freezing or a little below, and tomorrow possibly freezing rain and/or snow. At least in Fort Worth there's a good chance winter will be over before May.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Extreme Birding

Preparing to move to South Dakota (months from now) and preparing to give a Powerpoint talk on "extreme birding" to groups that have already seen my big year talk, I'm scanning as many of my slides (you remember - those non-digital little rectangles of picture mounted in white cardboard) as I can. Last weekend I scanned my over 800 Attu slides from 2000. Lately it's been Antarctica slides from 1998, surely a place to do extreme birding. It's fun reminiscing. I've chosen this picture, because it probably is a cartoon of me, telling the world about my new book.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Extreme Birder is a real book!

I received the advance copy today. It's strange - it's so recognizable and so strange. How can my text and my photos and my artwork and my poems come together to be a finished book? There's a big disconnect between imagining getting a book published and the real thing! I'm sure it will be even more disconcerting to see boxes and boxes of my books, but I'm looking forward to the disconcertedness!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Even better news about Extreme Birder

Yesterday I learned that THIS WEEK my book will begin its journey from Asia to Texas. Because of customs, and who knows what all, they normally figure it takes 6 weeks. As I posted on Facebook yesterday, the length of the journey makes me think of long ago boats struggling across the ocean to find the new world, beset by danger and waves and the unknown, and of course, then it has to go overland, by stagecoach no doubt, to College Station, TX. I hope it makes it. Assuming it does, I should have copies to take to a Fort Worth garden club talk on March 31st, and then to Fort Worth Audubon (4/14) and a signing night at our church (4/28), and of course to my 3 scheduled talks in May. Excitement!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Update on Extreme Birder

About 2 months left until it's in print! I've begun working on trying to schedule talks on my big year (or talks on the more general topic of "extreme birding" for those who have already heard the big year talk). Also I'm going to try to schedule book signings (and hopefully can get some help in all this from the press). So far, I've got 2 signings, at Fort Worth Audubon and our Fort Worth church, respectively on April 14 and 28 (evenings). In May, I've got a brief marathon of talks scheduled for the 14th (Black Mesa State Park, way out in the Oklahoma panhandle at the OOS meeting), the 16th in Oklahoma City, and the 17th (my birthday) in San Saba in central Texas. I'm really looking forward to seeing what it's like to try to sell my book. I know there won't be any huge rush to buy the book, but for the nutty birders, and the people who have nutty birders for friends, there might be some demand. Always the optimist! And in any case, it all will give me an excuse to go birding in different places. Now if all those potential places for me to talk and/or sign my book would just come out of the woodwork and contact me (or let me find them)!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pine Siskin, Extreme Birder update, and vow to post

A wintery day, about to get moreso. About 50 American Goldfinches at my 4 feeders and in the trees, among which was 1 feisty Pine Siskin for awhile.

Now that the wonderful (in spite of rain) TOS meeting is over, I can think more about how I'm going to try to promote (and hopefully sell) my upcoming book (Extreme Birder). I've begun to contact people who've expressed interest in either having me come to sign the book (beginning in April)and/or give a talk about my ABA big year, or about what Extreme Birding is, or any number of other possible bird-talks I would live to give. What's hardest to do is try to sell me and my book to strangers or others who may not be so interested in having me come. I've never been comfortable with selling stuff, but I'm hoping my enthusiasm for the subject will keep me going. So far, I've lined up two book signings (Fort Worth Audubon and our church) and 2 talks (Oklahoma City Audubon and San Saba (TX) bird and nature club), and at least 3-4 others are in the process of figuring out a date. I'll put schedule details on my web site ( as I know them. It doesn't help that I don't know if I'll be in Texas or South Dakota or somewhere else in the months to come!!

I'm vowing to try to post on this blog at least once a week, not only to tell about bird sightings, but to post schedule updates for my book. I'll try to post each weekend for starters and see how that goes.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rufous Hummingbird for 2011!

I really had almost given up hope for having a Rufous Hummingbird visit my yard this winter, but I've been putting out feeders, changing the sugar-water regularly anyway. Previous winter visitors had arrived between August 3 and December 25th. Today, January 2nd, when I returned from grocery shopping and glanced out into the back yard, there was a green backed bird sitting on one of the hummingbird feeders, a hummingbird. I raced out into the back yard, but it had disappeared. Then, there she was, a female Rufous Hummingbird sitting on a branch near me. She may just be passing through, but she very much brightened my day/year!

gold parties