2014 Optics Fling by Time & Optics

2014-06-05 14.17.41

Today (June 5, 2014) & Tomorrow (June 6, 2014)!  Optics Fling by Time & Optics.

6954 CR77, Millersburg, OH 44654 PH 330-674-0210

Here’s a schedule as of late last night:

*Sign up for trips on site as spaces are available (first come – first served)
*Field trips are limited to 10 – 25 people depending on the destination
*Food provided by South Mount Hope School (food is by donation and the proceeds will benefit the school). A local Amish family will also be making kettle corn. (YUM!)
*LOADS of optics to try before you buy!
*Used Book Sale

Field Trips and Book Signing Schedule

FRIDAY

8:15
Mohican Hotspots (4 – 5 hours)
Leaders: Hallie Mason, Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman

9:15
Killbuck and Funk (3 hours)
Leaders: Bob and Denise Lane and Aden Yoder

9:15 AM – Leihley Hill and Dundee Field (2 – 3 hours)
Leaders: Greg Miller and Su Snyder

10:15 AM local Barn Owl and Bobolink Trip (1 hour)
Leader: Bruce Stambaugh

1:15 PM Leihley Hill and Dundee Field (2-3 hours)
Leaders: Bob and Denise Lane and Aden Yoder

2:15 and 3:15 Barn Owl and Bobolink (1 hour)
Leader: Bruce Stambaugh

4:00 – 5:00 PM Book Signing with Kenn and Kimberly, Greg Miller, and David Klein

SATURDAY

Same Field Trip Schedule but leaders may change
Book Signing from 11 – 1:00 PM (same authors)

More information can be found at the Optics Fling web page.

Pied-billed Grebe Diving

It is hard to believe just a week ago I was delayed multiple times in the Atlanta airport on my way north to meet the Polar Vortex.  I am still going through the 8,000+ photos I took at the end of January in wonderfully warm Florida.  Sigh.  But the photos get interrupted by shoveling snow…and going to work.  This bird was photographed during Wildside Nature Tours Florida Birds Photo Workshop.  In the mean time, here is another animated GIF file–a series of six photos of a diving Pied-billed Grebe that I found quite interesting.  Check out how the bird seems to sink slightly before diving.  And watch its back feet kick water upward to get some force downward on its dive.  Very cool!

Pied-billed Grebe diving - Viera Wetlands - Melbourne FL - 2014-01-27

Pied-billed Grebe diving – Viera Wetlands – Melbourne FL – 2014-01-27 photos by Greg Miller

Fast Track Big Year Plans

Great Kiskadee displaying crown - Quinta Mazatlan - McAllen TX - 2012-12-12

Great Kiskadee displaying crown – Quinta Mazatlan – McAllen TX – 2012-12-12 photo by Greg Miller

Have you been following the Big Year drama this year?  Several birders are doing really Big Years and one, Neil Hayward is tied with Sandy Komito’s 1998 record at 745 species plus 3 provisional species (new birds for North America yet to be approved).  Will he break the record this year?  Time will tell.  You can read more about his Big Year here.

Hopefully you all have had a delightful Christmas with family and friends.  I have had a wonderfully quiet Christmas and some time to collect for next year.  Are you thinking about next year yet?  Do you have any birding goals?  Have you ever thought about a Big Year?  They can be awfully expensive.  Maybe you have fancied a smaller Big Year but didn’t know best how to go about getting to your goal.

Enter eBird, a fabulous Citizen Science project on a grand scale.  They collect birding checklists from around the world in an online database.  This data can be accessed by anyone, not just scientists.  It provides a terrific resource.  But can it make a plan for Big Years with goals for 300, 400, or 500 species?  The quick answer is, Yes.  Yes, it can.  That is what this post is about–Fast Track Big Year Plans for goals of 300, 400, and 500 species in the ABA Area (American Birding Association’s designation includes the Lower 48 United States plus all of Canada and Alaska).  Let’s get right to it: Continue reading

The Birds Migrating Through NW Ohio Need Your Help

Bay-breasted Warbler - Magee Marsh - Lucas County OH - 2013-05-05

Bay-breasted Warbler - Magee Marsh - Lucas County OH - 2013-05-05. Photo by Greg Miller. Nearly 1 out of every 5 sightings of this species in North America in May 2013 was recorded in NW Ohio (18.9%). eBird as of 11/29/2013.

Each year, birders from across the U.S. and around the World come to northwest Ohio to go birding. Spring in particular is a great time when visitors come by the tens of thousands and spend millions of dollars in the area. I do not have the exact numbers, but I am sure others do.

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2013 Fantasy Football Top 10 (ppr) by Position

And here you thought you were going to be reading about birding?  Haha.  Guess what?  Not today.  I will return to birding later this week.  Today I am going to give you my personal list of Top 10s for fantasy football (NFL) for this upcoming season.  Are you in a League?  Have you been wanting to find a list that did not look like every other list?  Check out my lists.

Top 10 Quarterbacks

  1. Drew Brees
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. Tom Brady
  4. Robert Griffin III
  5. Cam Newton
  6. Peyton Manning
  7. Matt Ryan
  8. Tony Romo
  9. Andrew Luck
  10. Matthew Stafford Continue reading

Countdown to Ecuador 2013 with Wildside Nature Tours

Wow!  Only a few short weeks left to an epic 2-week trip.  Want to get in on an Independence Day Deal?  How about $300 off? Yesssss! Now here’s the scoop: When you call to make your reservations, just mention you saw the $300 off here at Greg Miller Birding website!  Got that?  Cool.  So sign up for Ecuador now at Wildside Nature Tours!

Wanna see some more Ecuadorian birds?  Ok.  Here we go thanks to more drool-worthy photos from Kevin Loughlin.

A Cream-colored Woodpecker?  Cool.  Listen to a Cream-colored Woodpecker recorded in Ecuador here at xeno-canto.org: Cream-colored Woodpecker.

Cream-colored Woodpecker    photo by Kevin Loughlin

Cream-colored Woodpecker photo by Kevin Loughlin

And check out this snazzy Toucan Barbet.  Listen to one here: Toucan Barbet

Toucan Barbet     photo by Kevin Loughlin

Toucan Barbet photo by Kevin Loughlin

Warblers?  Ecuador has warblers!  This Three-striped Warbler looks a little like our Worm-eating Warbler.  Listen to it here: Three-striped Warbler

Three-striped Warbler     photo by Kevin Loughlin

Three-striped Warbler photo by Kevin Loughlin

Speckled Hummingbird–one of the bazillions of hummers in Ecuador!  Wanna listen to one?  Here ya go: Speckled Hummingbird

 

Speckled Hummingbird     photo by Kevin Loughlin

Speckled Hummingbird photo by Kevin Loughlin

This Masked Trogon is really impressive.  It’s song is fascinating, too.  Masked Trogon

Masked Trogon     photo by Kevin Loughlin

Masked Trogon photo by Kevin Loughlin

And this Masked Flowerpiercer is one of my favorites!  That color is EPIC blue!  Listen to it here: Masked Flowerpiercer

Masked Flowerpiercer     photo by Kevin Loughlin

Masked Flowerpiercer photo by Kevin Loughlin

Green Thorntail is an interesting name.  Thorntail?  Does it have a prickly tail?  Listen to one here: Green Thorntail

Green Thorntail     photo by Kevin Loughlin

Green Thorntail photo by Kevin Loughlin

Toucans have always been of great interest to me.  Just look at this Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan!  And now you can listen to one, too.  Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan

Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan     photo by Kevin Loughlin

Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan photo by Kevin Loughlin

Look!  A Virginia Rail! Haha!  I think I just heard the Ecuadorian Buzzer of Failure.  Beeeep!  Wrong-o!  Yes.  Virginia Rail would be a wrong identification.  This is an Ecuadorian Rail.  Listen to its call: Ecuadorian Rail

Ecuadorian Rail     photo by Kevin Loughlin

Ecuadorian Rail photo by Kevin Loughlin

Hey!  Is this a Crazy Chicken?  Umm.  Nooope.  (Don’t make me break out that Ecuadorian Buzzer of Failure!)  It is a Hoatzin!  Listen to it here: Hoatzin

Hoatzin     photo by Kevin Loughlin

Hoatzin photo by Kevin Loughlin

A Birder’s Guide To The Biggest Week

Kirtland's Warbler. Biggest Week 2012. Photo by Greg Miller

Northwest Ohio in May is…for the birds. No really. It is a very birdy place. It has been my favorite place to visit on the North American continent in May for more than 30 years. And I cannot wait to go back there again this May. It is home to one of the most amazing displays of bird migration. There are many migration hot spots in the East. Your home state probably has a few good areas. And maybe you have ticked all 37 species of eastern wood warblers that occur here in Northwest Ohio, seen all the thrushes, tanagers, buntings, and orioles (and many, many more species). So why visit Biggest Week? Aren't there huge crowds of people? Isn't it hard to find lodging and places to eat? Can't I see all those birds somewhere else? Even if you have all these birds, you should visit this area of Northwest Ohio at least once in your life and experience it for yourself. Yes. There are huge crowds. But with a little planning and patience, your experience should still be unforgettable–even if you don't enjoy big crowds. For lodging and food you should also plan ahead or you will find yourself 30 minutes (or more) away from the comforts and conveniences “civilization”.

Scarlet Tanager. Biggest Week 2012. Photo by Greg Miller

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