Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Starting a blog ...

This past weekend I did two things related to this blog. First I started it. Then I realized that I did not have a thing to write for my first post. So I went birding particularly to look for sparrows, but I always look at anything that flits or flies. More about this in a moment. I'd been thinking of starting a blog for sometime now. I've been influenced by the great blogs that friends keep; especially Julie Craves who manages to keep three going at the same time. I should have paused when I had to select a name for my blog. I hadn't given it any thought, so on the spur of the moment I came up with Into the Woods and Elsewhere. I knew that I wanted to write about my birding adventures, but what if I write about birding in the desert, or about the latest book I read or movie I see or about the current presidential campaign (god forbid that one more person should write about this) that we are all being subjected to ... etc., - this is the Elsewhere. Hopefully, I chose my blog title well but if you ever start a blog, I suggest giving the name a little prior thought. So, what do I have to write that isn't being written on the millions of blogs that are already out there. Perhaps a million blogs are being started right now, even as I write this. I mean, after all, what do I know? Well, perhaps nothing; but on a day when I'm not out birding or after I've read a great New Yorker essay or whatever ... I might like to write a bit. I mean we all know a little something - even about presidential politics. Right?

So the second thing I did was to go birding on Saturday and I took this grainy little Swamp Sparrow photo while out. I drove to Crosswinds Marsh in southwest Wayne County and I achieved two things with this outing. I did find a few sparrows, Song, Chipping, Swamp and ... possibly a Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. There was not much else of note but the possible Nelson's was a big distraction. In the end, since I've never seen a Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, I decided not to do anything with my sighting. I saw the bird very briefly, but pretty well, three times - twice on the ground and once in profile perched on a branch in the middle of a bush. A Swamp Sparrow tusseled with it and it tusseled back, but then the Swamp flew off and the possible Nelson's remained for my three brief sightings. Then it was gone and despite twenty minutes of extra searching for a better view and possible photo, I gave up. I won't count the bird. I only count birds that I see well and when their identification is certain.

Early on Sunday morning I checked my email and there was a post to birders@umich.edu from Caleb Putnam reporting that Tim Baerwald had found at least three Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows in a wet Berrien County field on Saturday.  Ces't la vie.