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Nature

Birdwatchers Movie Review: The Big Year

the-big-year

I took Patty on a date to see the new movie “The Big Year” that was recently released in the movie theaters on the 14th of October. Not going to lie to you . . . . I totally expected it to be kind of corny. Hollywood portraying birdwatchers? To my surprise they threw in three big names, Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson as birdwatchers working towards seeing the most number of birds within a years time. Hands down . . . this movie was well researched and did an outstanding job in keeping me entertained throughout the movie.

Steve Martin’s character was absolutely amazing with his struggle of retiring from a big corporate job and the decisions he makes with his supportive family in completing his life long dream (doing a big year). He has many hard decisions that could possibly jeopardize him seeing important birds on his quest.

Owen Wilson’s character was the experienced birder that knew what needed to be done for winning the big year title. He risked a great deal with his family in making sure he keeps this title and was always a bit sneaky with misleading the guys away from seeing the birds.

Jack Black’s character was marvelous in doing the big year while holding a steady job. Every birdwatcher has a boss who doesn’t understand the importance of migration fallout!! Seriously . . . . his boss ROCKED!! He also struggles with his father not understanding his love for the birds and then coming up with the finances for paying for the year. Unexpectedly he meets the girl of his dreams . . . Ok, I will not spoil the ending but I am glad how it ends.

I asked Patty which part was her favorite and she liked the beginning where Jack Black’s coworker ask to hear the song he’s listening to and he was playing bird calls. Honestly . . . what birder doesn’t spend hours and hours reviewing bird songs? My favorite part was the Great Gray Owl find with Jack Black’s father. Birds can seriously do amazing things when people finally find the amazing beauty in them.

Ok . . . . so hands down this will be a DVD that will end up on my shelf and I am really glad I had an opportunity to supporting the movie during opening weekend. I doubt it will beat footloose movie in ticket sales but “The Big Year” is a must for every birdwatcher and or nature enthusiast. Please support this movie in seeing . . . Patty and I both give it two thumbs up!

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The CROSSLEY ID GUIDE [Book Review]

I was surprised this week with a copy of the new “The Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds” sitting at my door step. I remember when Sibley came out with his new guide and everyone thought “it’s too big and it could never replace the Peterson’s guide”!! Instantly we find ourselves buying not one but multiple copies (one for the house, car, office, banding bag . . . etc.). Could the same thing happen with this guide?? My first impression of the Crossley ID Guide is WOW and I know for sure it will be used in my library but I have doubt it will replace Sibley or any of my iPhone apps. It is a “BIG” guide and probably why they are not calling it a Field Guide!! To the right birder, it is possible The Crossley ID Guide will be grabbed for help before the more traditional “painted” guides but it is defiantly a picture reference guide more than our traditional “Field Guides”.

Crossley ID Guide

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My Christmas Bird Count 2010

Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting

Patty and I participated in the Saint Bonaventure Christmas Bird Count for the Cattaraugus County Bird Club in section 3 today as we do every year. Since I have moved over to Chautauqua County . . . . I had the opportunity to show my territory to Lisa who is new to the area and looking for a count spot to do. This probably will not be my last CBC with Catt. Co but this will give me the chance to explore other areas with other counters. Having an area that doesn’t include much water . . . I thought we had a great day with 21 species of birds!
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Banded Junco in the Administration Building

Slate Colored Junco
Dark-eyed Junco

You never know when something unexpected will happen. I got a phone call this morning saying “A bird is in the building”!! Down the steps I go . . . . . hmm it’s Junco!! Took about 10 minutes and we got the bird in the corner!! I realized holding it that it had a band on its leg . . . . 2400 series!! I think to myself “I did have bands in that series”. Sure enough it was a bird that I banded back on 11th of December 2005. I never would have expected five years and five days later this bird would end up in my hand again. Guess that is why bird banders band birds . . . . get recaptures that tell us that this girl loves the winter in Allegany State Park!
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Red-bellied Woodpecker

I was shocked when this Red-bellied Woodpecker rolled into the feeders yesterday! Little skittish but still not afraid to take control of those feeds . . . maybe not as bold as the Blue Jays!!

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Tree Sparrow

My first Tree Sparrows arrived at the new house just last week and they have already taken hold at the feeders! They are such stunning LBJ’s!!
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Rooster Tail

Whenever water levels are high in Allegany State Park . . . I always make it a point to see how high the Rooster Tail is over on the Quaker Lake Overspill.  Many years ago, I had seen the Rooster Tail higher than the lake.