Friday, February 18, 2011

Reader reponses

My inflammatory goshawk post received a massive response and my blog has never seen so much traffic!

The consensus was, of course, that the bird on my picture is not a goshawk. That’s a relief! Interestingly though the crowd was pretty evenly split between Cooper’s and Red-shouldered. To be fair this is likely more of function of the poor/distant shot than any pervasive identification problems.

A big thanks to all for chipping in, especially to Mike Tove and Harry Legrand, for providing extensive identification tips and information about goshawk occurrence history in NC and behavior.

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While I’m on the topic of acknowledging reader participation…

I received seven replies from readers who have seen birds from my 2010 top ten(err… eleven) list. Thanks so much to all who responded!

The biggest surprise was that Harry Legrand (for once) didn’t win. He was eclipsed by Orange County’s Derb Carter, who saw an impressive 9 out of a possible 11. I promised a prize to the winner…more on that later.

Here are a few interesting notes on the responses:

Lists ranged from 2 to 9 with a high average of just over 5-and-a-half.

Banded Ground-Cuckoo was the only bird that nobody seems to have ticked and thus deserved its spot at #1.

Only David and Judy Smith have been lucky enough to make it to the Galapagos and see Flightless Cormorants.

Below is the list rearranged by the number of responses that included each species in its list:

#10 Toucan Barbet: 5 (plus one “heard-only”)

#9 Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan: 5

#5 Andean Condor: 5

#4 Giant Antpitta: 5

#3 Waved Albatross: 5

Honorable mention Wetland Petrel: 4

#8 Coppery-chested Jacamar: 3

#6 Long-wattled Umbrellabird: 3

#2 Golden-backed Mountain-Tanager: 2

#7 Flightless Cormorant: 1

#1 Banded Ground-Cuckoo: 0


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And finally on to Derb Carter’s prize…

Unfortunately I’m out of pairs of Swarovski binoculars, so hopefully this shout-out will suffice:

I happened to see Derb Carter quoted in an article published in The Independent on the OWASA logging issue. For those of you unfamiliar with the case, I’ll briefly and crudely summarize: the organization charged with stewardship of Orange County’s water supply has publicized a plan to log portions of the Cane Creek Reservoir watershed and use herbicide to prevent regrowth of undesirable plant species.

Obviously this was met with some pretty fierce opposition from local residents including Derb Carter who was quoted as saying: “Overmature forests...This is purely an economical term and it has no basis in science or ecology at all," Carter said. "What we have here is a plan that's driven on the lowest priority — money.

What I like even better is this quote from some guy named “James,” who has a similar opinion and puts it a bit more bluntly on his blog: “[Derb Carter] is cautious and circumspect in every way. When he says something is stupid, you can be confident that he's right. What OWASA is proposing to do around the Cane Creek Reservoir is spectacularly stupid.”

OWASA is in the process of revising its plans, but there haven’t been any updates since December that I am aware of. If anybody hears any news on this topic or finds any other instance of Derb Carter standing up for the public good, please share them with me.

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