I've got a new post up on 10,000 Birds, And so it begins. My new schedule there is the last Sunday of each month. So go visit and show me some love.
Migration is underway up here and although I speak of it as a large influx, it is nothing compared to the fall out that happened recently on New Brunswick's Machias Seal Island. Go here to see the amazing photos (scroll through them) and this is the brief account from the photographer, lighthouse keeper Ralph Eldridge.
Message from the lighthouse keeper:
Wed, 25 May 2011 06:31:45 -0300
From: Ralph Eldridge
Subject: MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND REPORT
The wind drop and shift overnight seems to have encouraged heavy migrant movement. The movement through here was easily the largest this year and one of the largest that I've ever seen. The fog and rain showers prompted lots of fall-outs. There was a good mix of species including shorebirds and Gr. Blue Herons.
Thrushes and Catbirds were noted but the mass was warblers. At one point, while on the light taking a few photos, I counted 15 warblers perched on me comprising 11 species. They feel odd when they cling to your beard or cozy down to sleep in your hair.
A Blackburnian Warbler and Yellow Warbler squabbled for several minutes to see which would perch on my right index finger, both oblivious to the finger's movements as I took photos and made camera adjustments. Evenyually, both the warblers lost the apparent prime perch to a male Common Yellowthroat. That fellow kept his position for nearly a half hour, interrupted only briefly when I had to reach into my pocket a couple times.
If not for a comment from a reader I'd have missed my blogoversary Saturday. That is kind of indicative of the drop in attention I've been paying to it of late.
Six years I've been at this game. For someone with my attention plan that's an incredibly long time. I'm proud of this little space and over the last six years it has waxed and waned, evolved and grown. When I first posted, inspired by the wonderful nuthatch, I really thought it would be something I'd try out and likely let it fade. And although my postings have dropped off, the shine has not come off this thing for me. It is still an exercise that I very much love. I just don't feel the pressure if I don't post every day. Blame it on feeds and my own irrepressible procrastination.
Traditionally, on my blogoversary I post links to a selection of posts from each of the past 12 months. Not one to forgo tradition, I give you a sampling of the year, not the best of each month just pieces to give you a flavour of the blog.
June 2010 - And now you die - A reflection on the anniversary of my namesake's death in Normandy
July 2010 - Summer's Ebb - A drive on the brink of Fall, complete with cute baby bird photo.
August 2010 - Tank Commander - One of those slices of living in the High Arctic - water tank cleaning.
There are few things that helped establish me as a blogger as much as I and the Bird. Way back in the Dark Ages of blogging when I started out, well the Renaissance is probably a better analogy, I discovered carnivals. I believe that the first one I sent a post to was the Tangled Bank, a Natural Science carnival. I contributed a couple of posts to them, but I never felt like I belonged there. Then I discovered that there was going to be a carnival about birds, a new one called I and the Bird and I thought I'd give it a shot.
Now a carnival, for those of you unfamiliar, is a venue for people to re post something they've written. They come out a regular schedule, the host rotating amongst those that contribute. Posts are collected and combined, usually with a theme. They were a great way of driving traffic to your blog.
I'm not sure how I heard about I and the Bird, I had only been blogging for a couple of months back in July of 2005. I was still poking around, enjoying the experience, happy with my 13 or so hits a day. When I and the Bird #1 came out, I was there. Suddenly I had a couple of hundred people come visit, and a bunch stayed. Some of those have come back almost every day since, unbelievably reading every bit of drivel I have spewed out along the way.
When I look back at that first issue, I see familiar friends, people who I have come to know, albeit only through the internet, but people who I count among my friends. My blog mom, Nuthatch was there. Her blog bootstrap analysis is still going, not often enough, but it still exists.
The Dharma Bums were there for the first I and the Bird. Of course that was so far back that they were known as the Dread Pirate Roberts and Rexroth's Daughter, before they became Roger and Robin. More friends. Dave, my fast Alaskan friend, he of Bird TLC and Around Anchorage. John, from the other US shore the Atlantic, the Jersey Shore. His A DC Birding Blog also still going strong. And Duncan, of Ben Cruachan, all the way on the other end of the earth in Australia. Not quite where I'd end up if I dug a hole straight through the earth, but damn close enough.
Most of the contributing blogs from that first edition still exist. Some have fallen by the wayside, but surprisingly not many. Three of us, myself, John and Duncan contributed to the latest edition, #149. Well, four if you count 10,000 Birds, but we'll get to them in a moment. Duncan, I believe, has had a post in every single edition. 149 posts is more than many blogs produce in total, his loyalty to I and the Bird is quite simply astounding.
I continued to find more great blogs and great people throughout the years of I and the Bird. People like Seabrooke of The Marvelous in Nature, David Ringer of Search and Serendipity, Carel of Rigor Vitae, Liza, and Susannah of Wanderin' Weeta, and many more. And of course Mike, Corey of 10,000 Birds and Charlie, formally of 10,000 Birds and Charlies Bird Blog. I and the Bird made the world closer, and birding and birders more accessible to me. Through it I got to rub shoulders with some great people I otherwise wouldn't have. At times I feel like a guy invited to a party he doesn't really belong in. It is a world I'm welcomed in, in a large part because of I and the Bird.
Hosting I and the Bird was a most satisfying experience, not easy, stressful, but very rewarding. The hard part is coming up with a new way of presenting the various and varied posts. Something cohesive and unique, and above all interesting. It is a bar that got set very high. I hosted twice, IATB #11 and IATB # 71. I think I acquitted myself well, or at least didn't embarrass myself.
Hosting drove an incredible amount of traffic my way. When I hosted #11 and was kicking around 100 or so hits a day, to suddenly see 1000 a day was startling. And while most visited and left, many stuck around, adding to my circle of virtual friends.
But now its over, I and the Bird #149 is the last one. The changing face of the internet and social media makes carnivals a model that no longer works well. It had a good run, a damned good run. It lasted just short of 6 years, coming out every two weeks. It outlasted every other decent carnival out there, by far. A damned fine run indeed.
And that is a testament to the energy and vision of its creator, Mike of 10,000 Birds. IATB is, or rather was, his baby, his creation. It is something he should be very proud of, I'm sure he is. Its time had come perhaps, but while it was here it was a magnificent thing, and he should be puffing his chest out with pride. And we should all be stopping by and thanking him for his accomplishment, it made the blogging world a better place.
Well, its clear the wheels have come off this thing. And I wish I had some huge overarching excuse for it. But I don't. Mostly I've been gripped by procrastination that is overwhelming even for me, and I define myself by how much stuff I can put off.
Work on the reno has slowed, I'm way behind at work, and other things as well including mailing off the prizes for the Nunies. There's a lot to write about, and hopefully this is a start.
It won't be much of a start but every journey starts with one step. So here is that step. I'm back. Now to shake off these doldrums and get back at 'er.
I know that things have been pretty slow here at The House. Slow? Heck they've come to a standstill. And for that I'm sorry, I could offer up a bunch of excuses and indeed most of it revolves about my running off madly in all directions and a general malaise over all things internet these days. I've barely read any blogs never mind write one.
But I have written one post, over at my monthly gig at 10,000 Birds. Another version of a story I had on here in June concerning some radio-tagged Red Knots. Go and check it out.