Yesterday on our field trip we were followed by a film crew from WGME. That's one of our field trip leaders, Steve Howell using a field guide to show Amy Sinclair and the camera man some of the birds we were seeing on the trip. Amy was wearing some, shall we say "antique" binoculars. I couldn't stand it and loaned her my 8x42 DLSs. I even put my harness on her so she could see how comfortable binoculars can be. She was really impressed with how well she could see through them. Perhaps we have converted her to birding? You can watch the segment here, just look for and click on "watch streaming video".
She came with us on a great day, people were getting their 500th or 600th bird. I loved finally being able to see the adorable piping plover (above) and we saw two unusual terns, an elegant tern and a gull-billed tern. Thanks, Amy for putting birds and birders in the news!
I owe Steve a huge debt of thanks. We found a dead sooty shearwater on the beach (above). Steve was having trouble getting his macro function to work on his camera and since I love taking photos of dead stuff, I was happy to oblige. This is a tough enough bird to see out on a boat in the middle of the ocean. You just don't get a chance to appreciate a shearwater in the hand very often. You can really see that tube nose and fabulous hooked bill.
The wings of the shearwater are very long and thin, perfect for it to fly right above the waves on the ocean. I have to mention that while I was taking all these photos and posing the bird, a little boy was hovering nearby. His mother saw it and said, "Don't touch, you shouldn't touch dead things." Of course, here I am with Steve doing everything but kissing the bird. You could see the little boy was barely able to keep himself from touching it and asking his mom why we were touching it. The mom couldn't come up with a good answer and probably suspected Steve and I were nuts and shooed the boy back to their spot on the beach.
Being an expert on seabirds, Steve opened the shearwater's mouth and showed us the jagged edges on the tongue and on the upper part of its mouth that are used to push slippery fish down into its crop. I was lamenting that I wanted the head for my collection of bird parts. Since I was kind enough to take photos for Steve, he was kind enough to release the head from its body and now I have a shearwater drying out in my room. Should be interesting getting that past airport security this weekend.