This young bird about sums up how I feel right now. My nose has staged a formal protest and a strike has been called. Mucus has moved into all sinus cavities and nostrils and is heavily picketing. Any air that tries to pass through is blocked no matter how much negotiating is done with decongestant nasal spray. Non Birding Bill is going to try and help the mediation process by getting some nasal strips. Hurry, NBB, hurry!

I am SO sick. However, being optimist, I am incredibly relieved that my body is getting this out of its system this week. A caravan from Indianapolis is coming up next week that will include my mom and three of my sisters...I think. They've been planning this trip for some time and are very excited--as is NBB (they are not stopping in the Twin Cities but heading straight to Duluth so he gets a pass on visits from inlaws this time around). Mom and my oldest sister Terri haven't been here since the owl irruption, Monica has been here once and this will be Angela's maiden voyage--not sure how she's going to fair being in a blind and being quiet all day. Angela is the loud one of the family. I think it's safe to say we won't be getting any harriers.

Cinnamon is somewhat sympathetic but is happy that I am the one being force fed medicine this time and not her.

Hey, can anyone id that young raptor in the first photo? I have some prizes, either a calendar, lens pen, or Nyquill. Let me know what you want.

I'm gonna crawl under a rock now.

Oh, wait an anonymous bird sent me following press release. Careful what you're watching at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge! We had an area in Minnesota get shut off from public access for a similar reason--it was really too bad because long-earred owls roost there. But the police didn't have funding to patrol the area and so closed and bocked it to traffic. My justification was that if more birders were in there then there would be fewer shenanigans, but that didn't fly with law enforcement. Here's the release:


September 27, 2006


BIRMINGHAM, AL - Today in U.S. District Court twenty-one Criminal Informations and seven Indictments have been filed charging illegal sexual contact, public lewdness and indecent exposure at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge located in Limestone and Morgan Counties in Alabama. From July 20 through July 23, 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alabama State Conservation Officers conducted a covert operation to curtail illegal activity in areas of the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge that had generated numerous complaints from citizens using the Refuge. The "Refuge" is an area within the special territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. Government.

"The Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is a place intended for public enjoyment through the appreciation of wildlife and nature in general," states U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin. "It is not, and will not be used as a place for public lewdness, public indecency or perverted
acts by the public. These covert indecency roundup efforts will continue."

"We are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience for our legitimate visitors," said Refuge Manager, Dwight Cooley. "We will continue to place the highest priority on curbing all illegal activities that prevent us from accomplishing that mission."

The release then goes on to name names (mostly men) and ages and acts which we don't really need to read here. But just an FYI, if you're birding in that area and have to use the restroom, I would double my efforts to find a portapotty and not a bush. You might be in trouble.