Archive for April, 2006

Back Monday

April 28, 2006

I am going down to the New River in southern West Virginia for three days. I will not provide any entries during that time, so do not check this blog for new things until Monday evening.

I did go to Rock Creek Park this morning, near Rockville, Maryland and I saw a Northern Waterthrush, Woodthrush and an Orchard Oriole (in a developed area near the Park). Those were my new migratory birds for the day.

I saw about 30 plus other birds, including 8 species of warbler already reported. I can say that after the Yellow- rumped Warblers leave, that the neo-tropical warblers are way down in numbers, in this area of Maryland, compared to what I saw in the Park as a teen birder in the sixties.

Matt

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Post About Birds

April 26, 2006

I get all of my information about birds in this area from two web locations. I get my information from The Maryland Osprey; a LISTSERV, which you can access on join on line. The other useful local birding  information can be found on The Voice of the Naturalist, which is also on the web. Or you can call The Voice of the Naturalist at, (301) 652-1088. They are the voice and birding locations of many birders at all skill levels, in the Washington Metro Area. If you want a local hotline comment to me on this blog. More later. Thankyou

Matt

Hawkwatching Trip. Need Hawkwatchers!

April 25, 2006

I am going hawk watching in Corpus Christi, Texas September 26-30. I am going to stay in an inexpensive, but nice, motel. Counters are needed at Hazel Bazemore County park.

This is the largest hawk watch in the USA. There may be as many as 100,00 or more hawks in a day. Kettles of 10,00 Buteos are frequent. Most of the hawks are Broadwings. You will also see Swainson's Hawks and Mississippi Kites, plus you have a chance of seeing unusual hawks like the Harlan's Hawk.

I am not charging a thing, and there is no charge for the trip, just your expenses. I need about eight other hawk watchers to make this trip fun. Believe me you will not be disappointed, especially if you are a raptor-oriented naturalist.

I have guided many bear, bird and whale trips professionally.  I will coordinate this trip.  If you are interested either contact me by email or post that you are interested in the comments of this post. If there are 5 hawk watchers, I will coordinate this trip. Thanks. See you in the field.

Matt

Todays Bird Sightings

April 25, 2006

I saw 2 Yellow Warblers, 2 Blue-winged Warblers, two Black and White Warblers and several Yellow-rumped Warblers. I also saw a Blue-headed Vireo. I had all of the sightings in Northern, Virginia near the Potomac River, around Lorton.

 Matt

New River Trip

April 25, 2006

I am very tired, but I made a committment to put an entry in my blog every day. I am excited. This weekend I will raft the New River in southern West Virginia. My wife is excited about the rafting, but I am excited about the probable sighting of a Cerulean Warbler in the heart of the birds breeding range. I am also excited about seeing black bear sign, something that seemed like a right of spring, until I moved to this part of Maryland. I will report on the trip when I get back.

Matt

MOS Annual Meeting

April 23, 2006

For those interested, the Maryland Ornithological Society is having its Annual Meeting at Rocky Gap Resort in Alleganey County, in western Maryland on June 9 through June 11. ou must sign up for the conference by May 15. Contact MOS by putting the Maryland Ornithological Society in your address bar or URL bar (one and the same). Should be fun.

 Matt

Eagle Festival at Mason Neck

April 23, 2006

Today (4/23/06), in the Washington Post, is a brief article by Tom Jackman  on the Mason Neck State Park, Elizabeth Hartwell  Eagle Festival to celebrate Earth Day. The article talks about winter eagle watching at Pohick Bay Regional Park and Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, a part of the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge complex, managed by Greg Weiler of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It is worth a visit for the Washingtonian bird crowd, and the next time you visit this area (Dstrict of Columbia) .

Matt

More on Bird Migration

April 23, 2006

I will be short. I birded Violettes Lock before the bicyclests and kayakers got up. I saw no other birders. I heard Northern Orioles sing near the lock. I saw twice as many Yellow-rumped Warblers, over 100 plus. I saw Northern Parula Warblers and I saw 6 Cow Birds. On the river I saw the usual birds and a flock of black-headed gulls that were small, and I assumed they were Bonapart Gulls. They were flying fast towards McKee Beshers WMA, and were in the middle of the river. The berries I reported the other day were actually dark bud covers. A large Sycamore and some small Red Maples were in the overstory. The American Goldfinches and the Ruby-crowned Kinglets were in both trees flying and flitting back and forth. I did not stay long enough to see what they were feeding on.

Matt

Polar Bear ESA Listing to the USFWS in Limbo

April 22, 2006

This is an example of a polar bear Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing designation letter. Gale Norton, former Secratary of the US Department of Interior (USDI),  Norton,  a notoriously  poor Secratary is no longer with us. Interior includes the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW). Norton refused to list the polar bear as Threatoned. This refusal was one of her legacies before she left.

The USDI has been sued by the Center For Biological Diversity (CBD), the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC)and Greenpeace for refusing to allow the listing  and the limited public comment period (less than 60 days) that the USFWS, by law, is supposed to allow.

In case the public comment is allowed by the winning of the suit, the USFWS likes short and factual and sweet letters. The CBD has a comprehensive polar bear ESA petitition if you want to look at their information and write more about the bear.

Put the polar bear ESA listinging in your search bar to get to the Center for Biological Diversity polar bear ESA petition document.Comment on this blog if you have questions or improvements. We will keep you posted on this petition and it's lawsuit.

 

                           Comment Possibilities

The polar bear should be listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act as Threatoned. I support the 170 page petition of the Center for Biological Diversity. It is well done and offers many solutions to the polar bears predicament.

While I feel all polar bears are Threatoned, I think US polar bears, especially those at the Beaufort Sea, which will feel the impacts of a warming planet right away .

Even though I get the sense that some of the major polar bear experts are not convinced Global Warming is occurring, or least cannot acknowledge it, I am convinced it is occurring and will impact polar bears negatively, to the point of endangering the population in the next 50 years.

In any event the climate is warming dramatically, and that is irrefutable, and it will negatively impact polar bears.

The Alaskan population of polar bears is centered on the Beaufort Sea, where about 2,000 to 2,500 bears go back and forth between the N W Territories and Alaska. This population is stable at this time. About 43% of the maternal denning associated with this population occurs in theArcticWildlife Range. This is substantial. And will put the adult females and young, in discordance with their primary post-denning food source.It will require them to travel, to and from, their food resource a long distance, too long for the young. They may drown, or at least that should be looked at. The seals, in return may not be able to breed at the current stable density, losing or shrinking  their population in an ever rarer denning habitat.

The primary source of food is the Ringed Seal, which needs ice for its existence. When this food source declines it will go fast, and so will the primary predator, or the polar bear.The Beaufort population is small,2000-2500, and the reproduction in polar bears is notoriously slow. They cannot respond to fast changes in habitat that will impact their food resource. The COSEWIC (Canadian Status designator) considers this population vulnerable and careful management is emphasized. This may be our most vulnerable bear at this time; for this, and the fact that we have a dramatically fast warming climate, The polar bear in Alaska should be listed under the ESA as Threatoned. The Beaufort population should be extensively studied. The bear population and conditions should be modelled to determine the future climate warming impacts on it.

Send your comments, when the time is right to: Division of Endangered Species, US Department of Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington D.C., 20240. Thank you for waiting. I will tell you when to write.

Matt

The Birds Are Coming

April 22, 2006

There is enough weather activity to open the valves and bring in a new suite of spring migrating birds. It is rainy out now, but it will start getting nice, first thing in the morning, Monday. There should be lots of birds.

Matt