August in the Northern Hemisphere, as the days shorten and the first chilly nights occur, is a transitional month.  The beginning of August is still summer with shorebirds being the only birds on the move and any birding expedition is slowed by heat and biting bugs.  At the end of the month kids enjoy the last hurrah of summer break before going back to school, adults give a hurrah because their children are going back to school, and birders start paying attention again as fall migration gets into full swing.

Here at 10,000 Birds the month of August has been a rousing success.  We broke 30,000 visitors for the sixth straight month and celebrated the fifth blogoversary of 10,000 Birds.  Not only that, but Charlie spearheaded our efforts to fund a survey of and education about the Sharpe’s Longclaw and we are over 2/3 of the way to fully funding the Small African Fellowship for Conservation.  There will be more about that at the end of this post but for now let’s look at some birds!

At the beginning of August 10,000 Birds focused on gulls and terns.  Charlie profiled the Caspian Tern, Mike asked “When is Larid Not a Larus?” and Corey got two life terns in Massachusetts.  It didn’t take too long, however, before shorebirds became the focus, as is only proper in early August.  Corey tracked down a couple of rarities at Jamaica Bay and Charlie followed up by educating everyone about one of them with a great photo gallery (and later added another great gallery about another shorebird).  And while we’re on the topic of Charlie’s great galleries how about his White Pelican, Cooper’s Hawk, or Stellar’s Jay?  Sometimes he makes us all green with envy.  Later in August Charlie got back on the gull theme when he chased a rare gull and shared another great gallery of a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

In addition to those two life terns mentioned earlier Corey had a great time with other bird bloggers at Swarovski’s North American headquarters.  He got to tour the headquarters, try his hand at digiscoping, and explore the birding possibilities on Cape Cod.  Mike’s big trip for the month was to Virginia where he saw some common birds and explored Back Bay NWR.  Corey birded closer to home a bit, hitting up Jones Beach, Cow Meadow Park, and the New York State Renaissance Faire and reported all of the birds he saw to eBird.

But we just didn’t see enough birds this month so we also focused on bugs quite a bit.  Butterflies are always popular, even when they are cryptic skippers.  A cooperative Blue Dasher was also appreciated by Corey.  A Monarch Butterfly and an ambush bug with a victim in one post was Charlie’s insect contribution for the month and it was a doozy.

We also strove, as always, to educate ourselves so we might try to educate our readers.  Mike answered the burning question “What is a Cardinal?” ably and Charlie discussed the plight of vultures in India. Corey shared the creation of a magpie tattoo and Charlie ran through a tricky sparrow identification.  Also, Mike let our readers know about an essay contest and shared a poem about coot.

As is usual every weekend we participated in Skywatch Friday in a post asking where everyone is birding for the weekend.  August had one, two, three, four, five weekends.  We also had a single Welcome Wednesday about learning to bird.  As for carnivals, well, we participated in Tangled Bank #111, Linnaeus’ Legacy #10, Carnival of the Blue # 15, I and the Bird #81, Oekologie #18I and the Bird #82, Carnival of the Green #141, Tangled Bank #112,  and Carnival of the Elitist Bastards, Act I, Scene IV.

And we reviewed books (and a movie).  Mike loved Birdwatcher: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson while Charlie gave a mixed reveiw of the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America.  The single movie reviewed, about the World Series of Birding and called Opposable Chums, was greatly appreciated by Corey.

Oh, and before I forget, there is a diabolical quiz about confusing fall warblers that I guarantee you will fail to answer correctly.

Finally, while your here at 10,000 Birds, why not make a donation to the Small African Fellowship for Conservation?  Whether you want to do it for Dominic, the Sharpe’s Longclaw, or to win a book, it certainly can’t hurt…but it definitely will help!

Hope you enjoyed August as much as we did!

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.