Sunday 14 July 2019 75 °F
Between the part of early June where interesting breeding birds are most active and territorial & the real start of southbound shorebird migration in late July lies an awkward period for most American birders known as the “summer doldrums.” This period, for many birders, can be considered a time of recuperation from the madness of observing spring migration in May. For me, though, this time is anything but relaxing as it coincides with the preparation of multiple opera performances at the Chautauqua Institution, including my first operatic role as the humorous character “Snug” in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, composed by Benjamin Britten.
The best birding I can get here comes in the form of walking around campus; two purple birds, PURPLE MARTIN & PURPLE FINCH, have been my best sightings here, but have all been sighted sans-camera. A faithful male SONG SPARROW always sings from the exact same tree I pass by every morning too! Additionally, I believe I caught a glimpse of an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL the other evening before it disappeared into the woods, but I wasn’t 100% sure — too fast & too dark to tell.
Today, while waiting outside of the theater during a quiet part of Midsummer Night’s Dream, this CHIPPING SPARROW graced us singers with its presence just about a foot away, allowing for one crappy iPad shot before it spooked and flew off:
Sometimes, we just gotta make lemonade out of lemons! I will give Chipping Sparrows full credit as they are a native species and in my opinion much preferable any day to the aggressive, invasive House Sparrows that take over everywhere.
Although I don’t think I will get around to much birding here at Chautauqua, I fly out to Idaho for my family’s annual trip there on August 10. I am hoping to do some hiking, bird with my wonderful friends Kathleen C & Poo WP, and hopefully “clean up” a few lifers I still need out there such as Spruce Grouse & Virginia's Warbler! That segment of the summer (Aug 10-23) will be packed full with birding so expect to hear much more from me then. After that, it is back to NYC for the school year August 28! Fun times ahead.
World Life List: 971 Species