Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter and Call for Entries



I saw one of these Eastern Bluebirds on my bike ride today. They're fairly common here, but it always makes me happy to see one.

Anyone have an album they're excited about for this week's AOTW? ShivSidecar, do you want to do the Decemberists? Anyone else have anything else?

Happy Easter, everyone, and I hope the day is bee/hornet/scorpion/goat & Bear-free for all our spillish friends.

26 comments:

TatankaYotanka said...

Where's Abahachi and his Keith Tippet?? he made it sound like he was off for a long weekend .... three weeks ago ;)

Today's UK bird news here ...

http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/aa_latestnews.htm

Me, I saw Rose Ringed Parakeet whilst on my way to the paper shop ... now naturalised in West London and noisy with it.

Blimpy said...

I'm away for nearly all the week, Loch Lomond first thing tomorrow and then the Fence records Homegame festival next weekend.

Steen, ze Spill is all yours...

ToffeeBoy said...

We need more birdwatching-related posts on the 'Spill.

I've been a keen birdwatcher for several years - mainly restricted to my own garden but I once drove around a roundabout in the South of France five times to get a good view of a hoopoe that had landed in the middle of it (the youngest MissToffee though we were looking for a hippo!).

I once flirted with twitcherdom when I drove thirty miles to see a Ring Ouzel but I came back safely and haven't crossed that dangerous line since.

Ring-necked Parakeets are amazing birds - annoying if you live in South-West London/Surrey because they are everywhere and they're very noisy but they make for an exotic sight in leafly England. They're actually tropical birds and the resident population in the south east of England is descended from escaped cage birds. They only started to breed in the wild about 40 years ago. Their habitat is gradually extending - I've seen a few in and around Watford and I saw one in Northwood last weekend. You usually hear them before you see them!

Steenbeck, I'm jealous of your Eastern Bluebird...

Abahachi said...

Two and a half weeks, as it happens. Glorious weather down in Lower Bavaria, lots of cycling interspersed with beer, sausages and cake; interesting bird-life included storks, first swallows of summer, jays, Bergfinke (not sure what they are in English), redshanks and green woodpeckers, plus vast numbers of hares hanging around in large groups and occasionally boxing. Belated Happy Easter to everyone.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ abahachi - good to have you back. A Bergfink is a Brambling - a rare visitor to my garden - just one last winter. Do you mean Redstarts? Redshanks are waders.

goneforeign said...

The 'wild' parrot phenomenon seems to be world-wide, there was an interesting documentary a few years ago about the parrots of SF. When I lived in Southern Cal there was a large flock of red headed parrots that would frequently visit a huge plane tree in my neighbors yard; very noisy buggers but beautiful to see but also difficult as they merged into the foliage. They could be seen flying as a flock all over long Beach and I tried frantically to count them several times with no success. One day at the university I was walking with my Nikon slung around my neck and I saw them ahead in a clump of tall Eucalyptus trees, I switched to a wide angle lens, picked up a stick from under the trees and flung it up into the foliage. The birds all instantly took fight as a group and I fired off several shots of them silhouetted against the sky, when the film was processed I counted 'em; 44!

steenbeck said...

Can you post the picture, Tony?

We used to go birdwatching quite a bit, before we had children. Now I'm glad to see whatever we can near our house. There's a towpath that stretches for miles between a canal and the Delaware river, and there's always plenty to see there, especially this time of year. And in the summertime we frequently have hummingbirds in the back yard, which is always a treat.

Hmmm--no takers on Album of the week?

Japanther said...

back to the original question. i've got a plethora of albums i'd like to see as AOTW. where do i sign up???

steenbeck said...

Do you have one you want to do this week? That would be wonderful! Or did you have a list of albums you want others to do? In which case, I suppose you could just list it here, or start a new post, which anyone else could add to.

ShivSidecar said...

Evening steenbeck and all -

- I appreciate the invite, but I haven't had time to participate in the Album of the Week thang thus far (eg. I haven't been listening to other Spillers' choices, so it would be a bit arrogant for me to foist my tastes onto those of you who have been playing the game). Anyway, you'd do The Decemberists far better justice than I would!

I would like to do an AotW in the future - I have a candidate in mind - and don't panic, it won't be one of my celebrated Sixties bad acid collections in which grown men sing about flying off on magic rocking horses - but only when I get a bit of free time.

Is that a real bird? - looks like a photoshopped robin... me and Mrs S were out walking in rural Essex today; saw hundreds of birds - any colour you like as long as it's brown, black or white!

nilpferd said...

I've also got time constraints at the moment, but I will do an album post in the near future, like about three weeks, if only to allow those who've done one so far the chance to puncture my rock-and-pop free idyll..
I was thinking of doing Kip Hanrahan's Tenderness, not a jazz album, and not one I think any other 'Spillers know either. No particular reason to pick it, except that it made the GU "1000 albums to hear before you die- the ones we missed" list. So, one for those of you with more than 1250 albums, then...
We also have ex-zoo parakeets in the city gardens here in Stuttgart, and if we have a warm summer the most enchanting things we see on our balcony are hummingbird hawk-moths which come up from Italy.

Abahachi said...

For some reason the system doesn't like me, as it's swallowed one of my posts again... Two things: firstly, I'd love to do an AotW at some point, but would actually want to have a go at putting forward an album to try to persuade the non-jazz people that jazz really does have fantastic things to offer, rather than trying to persuade the jazzers to pay attention to my favourite European noisy stuff (not even the album I picked up this holiday of East German free jazz from the 1970s and 1980s); and, secondly, ToffeeBoy is almost certainly right that it was a Redstart, but the German is Hausrotschwanz - we have only a German language bird book out there...

tincanman said...

I too was birdwatching today.
We drove out to Mrs Tin's mother's for a birthday do mid-afternoon and it was so warm and sunny, plus being a holiday, that the sidewalks were full of birds and their lovely plummage.

I am now a Black-Eyed Sore-Butted Tin, in case anyone's recording these things.

As for Album of the Week, I love the idea of some jazz explained by someone who knows about it when he has the time.

I'm kinda taken with Aidan Moffat's I Can Hear Your Heart at the moment so we could do that if you like, but I don't have much to say about it 'cause it's his semi-autobiography so it's pretty much self explanatory. Musically I am impressed by the spoken word and storytelling aspect of it, and it would certainly make a change from the full band stuff we've had so far.

steenbeck said...

Perfect, Tincanman! And you don't have to say too much about it, that's everyone else's job, right? Yippee!!

And bluebirds really are that beautiful. If you catch them in the right light they're breathtaking.
I think there's a phrase "Bluebird of Happiness" and I was thinking that it's a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy--but I can't remember why I was thinking that. Or can't explain it, anyway.

goneforeign said...

Steen: I never throw anything away but I wouldn't know what to look under for those pics. All they were were 40 odd black dots against a blue sky, no significance other than that and just for counting.
Re. humming birds we have them year round, in the spring they do a weird routine, it's happened to me twice. I was working in the garden when a HB appeared about 18" in front of my nose staring straight at my face for several seconds, he then suddenly shot up to about 70 odd feet, did a U turn and came down in a vertical power dive, he swerved over my shoulder within inches of my ear, you can't imagine the noise that those wings make that close at umpteen thousand rpm. That's happened to me twice and each time there was another, a female?, sitting on a nearby branch. I've tried many times with all sorts of specialised equipment to photograph them, to get just one Nat Geo pic but so far without success.
Re. this AOTW thing, I'm working on something related to Miles and Kinda Blue just now. It isn't intended for that slot, I just thought it would be of interest. Might be ready next week.

ejaydee said...

I don't know what that bird is but it was taken in a fairly exotic place:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/yyrwc_XIeHugwQUzZOzz_g?authkey=Gv1sRgCOP8l-r_ufWQlAE&feat=directlink

steenbeck said...

Hmmm... I thought "That looks like a thrush." First image that came up on a google image search of "thrush, bird" (after I foolishly google-imaged "thrush" and came up with some gruesome skin-disease-type shots) was this...
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1307/1208917712_90eea50cf1.jpg%3Fv%3D0&imgrefurl=http://flickr.com/photos/59863704%40N00/1208917712&usg=__7bQrjf41Asj3jmzfFz5DfD9S4n4=&h=452&w=500&sz=117&hl=en&start=1&tbnid=kmrElpWImRRbcM:&tbnh=118&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dthrush%2Bbird%2Bpictures%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den

Sorry--that was a long url. But yeah, right? Thrush? Brazil? Same bird?

ejaydee said...

Yep, I', prety sure that's it, thanks Steenbeck.

ejaydee said...

That should have been "I'm" pretty sure.

treefrogdemon said...

I think I've seen bluebirds in Texas, steenbeck - not Eastern ones, obv - but I keep my Texas bird book over there to save lugging it backwards and forwards, so can't be sure. My most notable local bird lately has to be the red kite that I saw hovering over the A75 on my way home last week - they've been reintroduced to this area and are doing well, but I hadn't seen one before outside the actual bird reserve. Hope it looks both ways before swooping down on the roadkill...

goneforeign said...

TFG: Re. kites, I don't remember seeing raptors as a kid in UK but here in California they're as common as sparrows, I love watching 'em. Every spring there's a pair of red tailed hawks that take up residence in one of my trees and the mating calls and aerial acrobatics are spectacular. I see red tails everywhere, if I drive into town, 3-4 miles I could easily see a dozen sitting on telephone wires scanning the ground. Plus we have buzzards, lots of 'em, you could probably see several soaring on updraughts any day of the week, they're always there. And recently I've been seeing a large flock of wild turkeys regularly.

treefrogdemon said...

gf: we have lots of buzzards too, though I don't think they're the same as yours. I once (unwittingly) provided a lunch opportunity for sparrowhawks, by hanging a peanut feeder in front of the kitchen window; after a couple of loud crashes with no evidence except a few tiny floating feathers, I finally realised the feeder was in full view of a tree where sparrowhawks could perch and watch for a bluetit to come in for peanuts...the crash was the feeder hitting the window after the bluetit had been snatched.

steenbeck said...

We have buzzards, too! They are different than the ones in scotland, though. When we were in scotland we met a nice fellow who said he'd take us birdwatching. He showed up in a little camper van. Being cynical americans, we worried that he was secretly an axe-murderer or some such thing, as he drove us off, but he turned out to be unbelievably nice. We wanted to see a goldfinch, because they're completely different from American goldfinches, but we couldn't find one, and as we parted he said, sadly, "We never got your goldfinch."

TFD, I think western bluebirds are all blue, with white on the bellies. Very pretty.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ steenbeck - we have up to twenty goldfinches at a time in our garden. They are beautiful birds and remarkably exotic-looking for British birds, which tend to be quite plain as a rule.

TracyK said...

We stayed at an award winning b&b between Bristol and Bath last weekend and saw some lovely garden birds, including some gorgeous bullfinches. They also had kestrels in the field and some beautiful chickens. A very birdy Easter.

treefrogdemon said...

Bullfinches? They'd better stay away from my quince blossom...We get loads of goldfinches here too - they come in a gang, eat all the seed and disappear again. I always leave the dead knapweed flowers on the plants for them.