July. Summer heat and sweat. Breeding birds go silent and migration hardly exists until the end of the month when shorebirds start to move. It is a time to savor air conditioning, cold beer, and vacations. It is not a great time to bird, well, unless you are some kind of sadist. Nonetheless, we 10,000 Birds bloggers saw some pretty sweet species this month, and they weren’t all birds. Not only that, but our visit and page view numbers made July 2008 one of our top three months ever! Dog days of summer? Hardly…
We started the month off with a bang when Charlie announced the winner of the iPod in our Smithsonian Guide to the Birds of North America Giveaway. Congratulations to Debra Ross and to all of the winners of a copy of the gorgeous field guide.
Regularly recurring features recurred regularly (duh). Each Friday we participated in Skywatch Friday, using posts in which Mike asked everyone where they were birding for the weekend. Charlie rounded up the 10,000 Birds clinic question and answers for the month of June and provided the World Parrot Trust with some free publicity with a 60 Second Sell.
We featured many species of birds including a whole genus, the dastardly and difficult Empidonax flycatchers, and a whole family, terns. Also, Black Skimmers, Blue Cranes, Great Egrets, Short-eared Owls, Cliff Swallows, a Clapper Rail, “swedish, crested, and manky” Mallards, and Common Moorhens were featured in their very own posts, all of which included fine photos.
To be able to keep seeing birds, bugs, reptiles, plants, and everything else we will need to conserve our natural resources. Mike informed our readership of a hearing in Washington D.C. about the decline in bird populations and Canada’s amazing conservation decision and Charlie joined a Korean delegation in Europe trying to stop a potentially disastrous canal scheme.
If there is one thing at 10,000 Birds that we like to do it is learning about something and sharing what we’ve learned with our readers. Charlie made sure everyone knows about scruffy adolescent birds while Mike made sure we all know where to go to discover the Air-speed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow, and Corey let everyone know about a hybrid thrush and asked what it should be called.
But what we like doing more than learning and sharing what we’ve learned is birding and bragging about it! Well, maybe bragging is too strong a word but we certainly like blogging about our birding excursions, even when they don’t go exactly as planned. For example, Mike’s recent trips to Maryland, Chicago, and his new local patch, Mendon Ponds, all featured less birds than he would have liked for one reason or another (though he has had a pretty successful trip to Mendon Ponds). Charlie’s trips always seem to work out rather well, whether he is birding locally with a visiting birder or traveling to Nigeria. Corey’s trips sometimes seem to take things too far, whether he is hiking a mountain in the dark or visiting Jamaica Bay for the umpteenth time, though sometimes he just likes to kick back and let the birds come to him. Once this month two of us got together for some birding.
As for carnival news, well, Charlie did an excellent job hosting the three-year anniversary of I and the Bird after Mike asked everyone why they are still blogging. Also, a familiar blogger hosted the 80th edition, to which Mike wrote a nice introduction. We also participated in Tangled Bank and Carnival of the Elitist Bastards.
And finally, and most disturbingly, Mike took part in a ritual burning of a large bird, apparently to appease the birding gods in the hopes of getting some lifers…we think his move to Rochester might have affected his brain. Don’t worry though, we have gotten someone to deal with the situation.