Mail Troubles

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

For reasons that aren’t exactly clear, most but not all e-mail sent to has not been arriving for the last 24 hours or so. I’m shifting a few things around to try to fix the problem. In the meantime, please try one of my other addresses if you need to reach me.

Hmm, maybe I spoke too soon. In what I can only surmise is simply Murphy’s Law at work, for some reason Thunderbird today started to move all my e-mail into my Junk folder so that wasn’t getting through either. I’ve now recovered that, but bleah. It never rains but it pours.

Hmm, you know. Yes! That’s it! Thunderbird’s spam filters went into overdrive sometime around 8:00 PM yesterday evening and began classifying all e-mail as junk, no exceptions. (Apparently there is one exception: accoounts in my address book are not listed as Junk. That’s why the test messages I sent from me to me still got through.) Now how to fix it?

White-lined Sphinx

Monday, June 9th, 2008

White striped brown sphinx moth
White-lined Sphinx, Hyles lineata
Santiago Oaks Regional Park, 2008-05-04

#425-427 at Covington Park

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Sunday morning (2008-05-18) around 8:00 A.M. Jill drove us over to Covington Park in Morongo Valley. It’s a local hot spot. The greenery and water pull in a lot of birds at the western most edge of their ranges, plus there are feeders.

We started with the feeders at the house across the road when I heard a woodpecker. It didn’t take us too long to locate it, and it turned out to be a Ladder-backed Woodpecker, #425. This is a Western species that doesn’t usually cross the mountains to the coast. One was seen regularly at Irvine Regional Park earlier this year, but I hadn’t really chased it and never saw it. This one cooperatively posed on a telephone pole:

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

You Can’t Fool All of the People All of the Time

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

From the L.A. Times:

Proposition 98
  • Yes 39.1%
  • No 60.9%
Proposition 99
  • Yes 62.4%
  • No 37.6%

Prop 99 was actually weaker than I would have liked–I would have preferred a measure that banned eminent domain for private development, period, not just for owner occupied residences–but 98 was just over the top.

Of course now we get to miss the fun of watching the courts sort out the mess that would have resulted if both had passed, since they actively contradicted each other.

Desert Spiny Lizard

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Yellow-headed Desert Spiny Lizard on boulder

Desert Spiny Lizard, Sceloporus magister cephaloflavus
Butterbredt Springs, Kern County, CA, 2008-06-01

#421 and #422 Out of Dana Point

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Saturday, May 10, I got up bright and early to catch a boat out of Dana Point that the Sea & Sage Audubon Society had chartered for a four-hour cruise starting at 7:00 A.M. The goal was just to see what we could find in Orange County Waters. May is not the best time of year for pelagic birding, but the trip a few months ago had been canceled, and there’s usually something out there if you look. Plus it would be my first West Coast pelagic.

The route was out a a couple of miles to sea, north to roughly Newport Beach and then back a little closer to shore. This limited us to relatively near-shore species, but that still offered some good possibilities.

The parking lot produced Rock Pigeon, American Crow, and Black-crowned Night-heron (three perched on a small pier). Before we even left the harbor we had Double-crested Cormorant, Hermann’s Gull, Brown Pelican (in the hundreds), American Crow, and too many California, Western, and Ring-billed Gulls to count. I spotted a Spotted Sandpiper on the jetty. We were barely out of the harbor when we added Caspian Tern and Brandt’s Cormorant to the trip list.

Brown pelicans on rock jetty

At first we mostly just saw more gulls and pelicans, but once we got a little ways offshore we picked up our first real pelagic bird: a Sooty Shearwater. Not a life bird for me. I’ve had them on East Coast pelagics, but at least one for my California list, and the first Shearwater I’ve seen in a couple of years.

At 7:42 we pick our first loon of the day: Red-throated, a relatively common species around here, and even commoner around New York.

At 8:05 we get our first phalaropes, 2 Red-necked Phalaropes in the water, off the starboard side. However the leader doesn’t see them, and the boat blows right past. (I tend to think most pelagics go way too fast.) Oh well, there are more out here.

8:30 A.M: I’m beginning to think the trip will be a bust when we spot a Rhinoceros Auklet! My first life bird of the day, #421. Some Least Terns also fly by.

Small, big-billed alcid in ocean

(Yes, I know the photos are even worse than usual. You try taking pictures of fast moving birds far away from a rocking boat with a point-and-shoot camera.)