Obligatory bike shot
Today's ride was more challenging than I expected. The first 32 miles (yes, 32) were all uphill as I navigated through Logan Canyon. Over this distance I climbed almost 3,500'. What made the ride so tough was that the pitch of the road kept increasing along these 32 miles. I thought the grade was going to be fairly steady, so the very steep and difficult top third of the climb was a big surprise. Needless to say I wasn't in the best mood during this stretch of things. There were some really nice alpine meadows along the last few miles of the climb, but given how my legs were aching and how hungry I was, I didn't even bother to scan them for hummingbirds. All I wanted to do was reach the top and begin the decent on the other side. The second part of the ride was either downhill or flat, so my tired legs were able to manage the remaining 24 miles without incident.
The view of Bear Lake from the top of Logan Canyon.
Idaho is off to the left hand side of the photo.
A tough 56 miles today.
This region of Idaho is famous for raspberries, and
my hosts for the night have a huge berry patch in their yard.
And yes, I did pick and eat the whole 1-quart jar!
OK, since birding related news is nonexistent today, I'll touch on a topic that I think will interest many birders: bird listing. I think we can all understand the thrill of adding new birds to our ever-growing life lists. This thrill is compounded when the bird being added is out of its normal range. Why then are so many birders so cagey when it comes their own lists and listing proclivities? Why do so many birders want to avoid being labeled "listers"?
***Note, I realize that I am GENERALIZING below based on my own experience/observations***
There is not one specific answer to this question, but this is how I think about biases towards listers. I suspect that many people feel that being a lister and a student of birds are mutually exclusive. A lister is thought, in my mind, to be someone who is concerned primarily with adding birds to his or her list. This person will often chase, or as I like to say "poach", high quality birds found by others rather than methodically birding the same areas over and over with the goal of thoroughly learning and enjoying the birds of a particular locale. I think that there is a feeling among some in the birding community that the second approach is nobler than the first, and because of this, listers are often thought to be in the birding game for the wrong reasons.
What many people fail to realize is that these two pursuits are not mutually exclusive. For example, I am an unabashed lister. I have always been so, and likely always will be. However, as my Biking for Birds should prove to everyone, I am also very serious about bird conservation and bird education. This is my current mechanism to enjoy birds, and it encompasses many facets and motivations. When I return from this year, I am sure I will fall back into my photography-centric view of birds (I will also touch on the ongoing birder vs. bird photographer war at some point!). The point is that there is no right and wrong way to enjoy birds. The important thing is that people do what interests them with an eye towards understanding, appreciating, and conserving the birds they enjoy so much (you can donate to bird conservation here!). The more people who watch, list, learn about, and photograph birds, the larger our collective voice will be when we fight to protect the birds we love so much. We should focus on our common appreciation of birds, rather than delineating the rather minute differences between various bird-focused pursuits.
Anyway, these are just some of my personal thoughts. I expect a flurry of emails and blogpost comments in response to this!
Lastly, since we are on the topic of listing. Here is a photo of a bird I took in Massachusetts in April of 2011. I have another photo (to which I do not have access as it in on my other computer) that shows a large window on the outer-most primary and a tiny window on the next primary; There were no other primary windows.
This bird (I am deliberately being vague on the name/ID) was not accepted by the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee (MARC). I did not count it on my official ABA list. I have been torn for 3 years what to do about this bird with regards to my list. Should I add it despite the MARC decision? Should I wait for to find a bird that has been OK'd by the requisite birding bodies? Should I stop worrying so much about the technicalities of my list? I am sure other folks have had similar experiences, so I am curious to hear what folks have to say! Comments in the blog would be preferable to emails since everyone can read these. It would be great to get some more discussion going between readers, not just between individual readers and me! Depending on how this little experiment goes, I may try to throw out more discussion points in upcoming weeks. For example, in a Wrestlemania-styled Battle Royale between North America's top birders, who do you think would emerge victorious? My money is on Debbie Shearwater! "If you're gonna throw up, throw up over the SIDE of the ring, not in the ring!" There are few hardcore birders in North America who haven't heard that speech. You know I love you Debbie!
For those unfortunates not well-versed in
professional wresting, this is a Battle Royale!
Kenn "The Macho Man" Kaufman back in the 80s
I mean c'mon, who wouldn't want to see David Sibley in this?
You see that warbler over there? - WOOOOOOOOO!