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Nikon Monarch 7

    Wind is a Four Letter Word... Usually

    I’m sure I speak for birders everywhere when I say that for the most part strong wind blows.  (See what I did there?)  Nothing puts wee birds into heavy cover, shakes your scope, and wicks the heat out of your extremities like a strong wind.  Long-anticipated pelagic plans can be dashed when the wind gets the sea [read more...]

      Dark Sky

      I recently ponied up $3.99 for the Dark Sky weather app on my iPhone after hearing rave reviews from birding buddies David La Puma and Jessie Barry.   It looks brilliant, boasting a super clean and elegant interface with the most important weather data easily accessed and beautifully summarized.  The animated precipitation maps are pure eye candy, [read more...]

        Cagey Birds

        A nice trend developed in my yard this winter when a flock of Bushtits began regularly blitzing my suet.  They especially seemed to like snowy mornings which gave me a great excuse to linger over coffee on weekends at the breakfast table awaiting their arrival.  Until this season, I had only seen Bushtits in my [read more...]

          Long Lens for Small(ish) Change

          Tamron, makers of aftermarket lenses, has announced a new lens that may be of interest to bird photographers on a budget.  The  SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD packs a lot of power for the price (around US $1000) , approaching a buck per mm equivalent if you shoot on a crop-frame body.  I know [read more...]

            Taking Pictures in Cold Weather

            With much of the country again in the grips of cold, snowy weather, I thought I’d mention an applicable article I recently read by noted wildlife photographer Weldon Lee.  In it he gives some great tips for Taking Pictures in Cold Weather.  I picked up some good ideas there and think it’s worth perusing if [read more...]

              Oh Junco, What Art Thou?

              In the latter parts of December I began noticing a Dark-eyed Junco working my back yard feeders that had tidy  white wing bars and all gray upperparts.  Combined with my location in Colorado the signs seemed to point to a White-winged Junco, well within expected winter range for that subspecies and indeed far from the [read more...]

                Nature, red in tooth and claw

                Who trusted God was love indeed And love Creation’s final law Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw With ravine, shriek’d against his creed

                Alfred Lord Tennyson, from In Memoriam A. H. H.

                As birders we certainly see this theme played out again and again, even in our back [read more...]

                  Just in time for the CBC season: Count Circle for Android

                  The other day, Diana Doyle rounded up a nice collection of Christmas Bird Count resources including Count Circle.  When I first reviewed the app last year several commentators were disappointed with the lack of Android compatibility– well, Stevens Creek listened!  In the nick of time for this year’s count season, Stevens Creek Software just announced [read more...]

                    Happy Thanksgiving!

                    Happy Thanksgiving, faithful readers!  I hope that birds treat you well, whether on the dinner table or in your field of view.

                    All the best- Bill Schmoker

                    Wild Turkey, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, 21 June 2013.©Bill Schmoker

                     

                      Playing Tag Part 2: How do I access and use my geotagged photo coordinates?

                      In my last post I mentioned the news that DSLR manufacturers are finally beginning to integrate GPS receivers into certain camera body models.  I also mentioned ways to retrofit cameras with aftermarket GPS receivers, and several commentators offered helpful ways to geotag photos using smartphone apps that match the digital time stamp on each image [read more...]

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                      • Planting an Interest at Farm Camp April 22, 2014 8:28
                        To my brother Benjamin and me, it’s not summer without Farm Camp. Run by Connie, a teacher at my former middle school, and her husband David, Farm Camp is a small, outdoors-oriented, all-ages camp that runs throughout the first half of summer. […]
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                        For many species, the slow process of evolution makes it very difficult to adapt to a dynamic society. However, some birds have evolved certain characteristics to assist in ensuring the survival of the species in the face of an ever-changing world. Others have learned behaviors that can assist in their survival. […]
                      • From Coffee to Penguins: Winter Research 2014 April 2, 2014 6:04
                        This post is the beginning of a series meant to highlight new discoveries about birds and make ornithological research more accessible to young birders. […]

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