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Many Thanks

June 11, 2010

Thank you dear readers for enlightening me. Many thanks to Rick for enlightening me as to what I really must have seen out on Denman Island. It turns out the birds wasn’t a Red Headed Woodpecker or (as I had formerly thought) an Acorn Woodpecker, but is, in all likelihood, a Red Breasted Sapsucker, which looks like:

Sphyriacus Ruber. In all its glory. Apparently these inhabit the coniferous forests of the northern pacific coast which is, ahem, exactly where we were. So there you have it. Mystery solved. My husband and I are the proud observers of an honest to goodness Red Breasted Sapsucker.

And, thanks to Fireweed Meadow as well as my friend & awesome San Diego reporter and his biological oceanographer wife, I can now confidently say that the sea creature we saw on Hornby Island is a Sunflower Starfish (Pycnopodia helianthoides), an intensely creepy predator that sheds arms (and then grows them back!) to escape from the likes of King Crabs. I’d like to have that superpower myself: if I were a martial artist (which I’m not), just imagine the perks. Someone grabs you and tries to tackle you, you drop a limb or two and they’re left standing there with a leg or an elbow or something, and off you go about your daily business. Yes, a super power would be nice right about now.

And, finally, my first gift from a reader! (Incidentally, there’s nothing I love more than unexpected presents.)

(Oops. didn’t meant to include the logo from Amazon.) Isn’t that the best title? How to be a Bad Birdwatcher. I love it.

I don’t go birdwatching. Birdwatching is a state of being, not an activity. It doesn’t depend on place, on equipment, on specific purpose…It is not a matter of organic trainspotting; it is about life and it is about living. […] It is just the habit of looking… Looking at birds is a key: it opens doors, and if you choose to go through them you find you enjoy life more and understand life better. (How to be a Bad Birdwatcher, 17)

Simon Barnes, I couldn’t have said that better myself! So perhaps that’s what I am — a bad birdwatcher, but someone who is learning how to look with wonder. (And thank you, Pickle Me This!)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2010 9:58 pm

    OK is Simon Barnes your secret boyfriend? Because that book was written for you.

  2. June 12, 2010 12:24 am

    one of my favorite birding books! Here’s a brief and informal review:

  3. June 15, 2010 12:37 pm


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