#419 Red-necked Phalarope in Two Counties

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

This was one of those tricky lifers. You’re not quite sure when you saw it first because you’re not quite sure about the first sighting. I think my first Red-necked Phalarope was at San Joaquin Wildlife Refuge on April 27. However those birds weren’t in breeding plumage, and I didn’t have a scope. I can’t say with absolute certainty that they weren’t Wilson’s Phalaropes (though I do think they matched Red-necked much more closely.)

Phalarope at San Joaquin, Pond A

Fortunately just a few days later I was in Santa Clara County on business, and as I like to do I went to Mountain View Shoreline before work. Usually I start out at the end of San Antonio road and walk around the lake. However, today I decided to take a different route and explore the area to the north along the 101. About halfway to the next exit, I found some ponds, and in one of them a flock of about 20 Red-necked Phalaropes were feeding. This time most of them were in full breeding plumage so even without a scope there was no doubt. I even got some recognizable pictures:

6 Red-necked Phalaropes feeding in water


Dude, I Can’t Believe I’m Getting a Dell

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Yep, I did it again. I ordered yet another PC from Dell. I wasn’t exactly happy about ordering my latest box from convicted fraudsters; but nobody else I trusted came close on price, especially when the Memorial Day sale price kicked in. I actually wanted a less powerful system with no monitor, mouse, or keyboard and Windows XP; but that would have cost quite a bit more than what I did buy.

I most certainly did not buy the extended 3 year warranty with onsite service. I have no faith at all that Dell would actually fulfill any part of that promise. However, this isn’t a mission critical system (I mostly bought it for Age of Conanexperimenting with Java 7) and I’m capable of supporting myself for most tasks.

My Midlife Crisis

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Wow. I just went through the blog posts from 2007/2008 while recategorizing them. I didn’t realize how long ago January 2007 was. Last year about now I was at JavaOne. This year I’m at Google IO instead, but that’s hardly the biggest change.

Since then I’ve written and published another book, stopped writing fulltime, taken my first W2 day job in years, quit that, resigned from Polytechnic (where I’d worked longer than anywhere else in my life), took another fulltime job, moved to California from Brooklyn (where I’d lived longer than anywhere else in my adult life), and bought my first car in almost 20 years (and my first ever new car. In fact, the first car I ever paid more than three figures for.)

A year ago I had no clue any of this was going to happen. (Well, I was starting to think about moving out of writing into more fulltime programming, but it certainly wasn’t definite.)

I wonder where I’ll be in another 1.5 years?

Borked Again

Monday, May 26th, 2008

While I wasn’t looking, WordPress somehow decategorized most, but not all, of the over 700 posts on this site. However it did this mostly to older posts so I didn’t notice at first. However the result of this is that most of the URLs have now changed, and many things that shouldn’t be in the birding category now seem to be; for instance, this post about Mac OS X Leopard. In addition the category pages such as Sci Fi now are virtually empty.

I can see no alternative but to go through and manually recategorize all 730 posts on this site as time permits. If I do 10 a day I’ll be finished in three months. Bleah.

I am increasingly unpleased with WordPress. I’m going to stop recommending it to others, and will seriously consider any alternatives that come along.

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus
Shipley Nature Center, Huntington Beach, 2008-05-26

Large black and yellow butterfly sipping from flower

Bolsa Chica Shorebird Mystery

Monday, May 26th, 2008

These photos were taken at Bolsa Chica today (May 26, 2008), at the first pulloff from PCH, where the boardwalk is. This was looking away from the ocean just past where the bench is that overlooks the tern colony (at a different time of year). I’m pretty sure the bird with lots of rufous on its chest is a Red Knot. What are the others? Red Knots? Dunlins? Curlew Sandpipers? Ruffs? Something else? There may be more than one species present.

The photos you see on this page are reduced in size. Click on each photo to see it at full resolution. The images are cropped but otherwise unretouched.

Shorebirds feeding on sand spit