Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.



Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dowitchers


For those of you who haven’t heard of dowitchers, well, maybe we should leave it that way.

Identifying dowitchers is the migraine headache of birding. (Or does Empidonax Flycatcher ID gets that honour?)

Short-billed (SBD) and Long-billed (LBD) Dowitchers are large shorebirds that look very similar. Their names aren’t helpful. Both have long bills. You must resort to plenty of studying to figure out how it ID them. Luckily, there is plenty of reference material. If you care.

If you get bored of identifying them by field marks, you can read up on how to ID them by, (deep breath)... the angle formed by drawing a line between the tip of their bill and the back of their head, and another between the beginning of the bill, though their eye and to the top of their head. The degree of the angle averages higher on SBD.

Rehearsing the rules in my head I ventured out to find a dowitcher to ID. One probed the mud across a slough. I zoomed the spotting scope onto it. I studied its characteristics. It was a Long-billed Dowitcher. It flew off, chattering the flight call of a Short-billed Dowitcher.

I can identify dowitchers with confidence and sometimes accuracy!

1 comment:

Parus said...

You didn't say which Dowitcher is in your picture....
Let me guess, LBD? I usually go by the angle of the light band that goes up and over the eye. SBD is flatter than LBD. Going by field marks alone, I'd say SBD. It looks thinner than a LBD.... but it could be the angle of the view..... My final ID is LBD. What's yours?

--Chris