Takin’ a hike through active lava flows…

Just your casual, ordinary, every day hike this past Monday. We were vacationing on the Big Island of Hawai’i, and had booked a guide to take us to the active lava flows of Kilauea.  We arose before 3:00 AM, met our guide at 4:00AM, and drove as close as you can get to the active flows.  That’s a minimum of 3 to 4 miles away from either the surface flows or the lava’s entry point into the ocean, which meant a early morning hike was in order.  It’s not the easiest hike in the world! For the first 2 miles, you’re following a gravel road and it’s easy, but to get to the active surface flows, we had to hike a good 1 1/2 to 2 miles across the rough, older flows from Kilauea.

A tiring hike, particularly on the way back when the sun starts beating down on you, but SO worth it! It was the hike of a lifetime, as we were able to experience active, flowing lava from as close as we could physically tolerate.  10 feet was about the limit for me, as any closer and the heat from the lava was overwhelming. An incredible experience for our little family!  Here are some photos from the day…click on each photo for a larger view. When I have time to process video I’ll post out here as well.

Kilauea Lava

Kilauea Lava

Kilauea Lava

Kilaluea Lava

Kilauea Lava

Kilauea - Lava field sunrise

Kilauea Lava

Kilauea Lava

Kilauea Lava

Kilauea Lava

Kilauea Lava - Epic Lava Dude

The guide who took us to the exact location where lava was flowing on the surface was from EpicLava. Highly recommended, once-in-a-lifetime experience!!

There be BIRDS at the end of the rainbow!!

End of the Rainbow - Lincoln County, South Dakota

The age old question of what’s at the end of the rainbow has been answered. It’s this family farm in Lincoln County, South Dakota

I went birding last night, on a weird weather day in South Dakota.  It was cloudy, then sunny, then cloudy again as a brief thunderstorm would roll through, then sunny again…wash, rinse, repeat.  It was actually a bit of a crisp day with temps hanging around 55 degrees, but even so, there were a couple of the little thunderstorms that put out quite a bit of pea-size hail.  It was such a strange evening given that it was absolutely pouring rain at times, yet the sun was shining.

Despite the rain, the birding was quite wonderful (as it generally is in South Dakota in May!!) The best birding for the day was when I was hanging out by a large wetland, one that had swollen with the recent rains to cover much of the surrounding farmland in a shallow sheet of water. Shorebirds were certainly loving it, as were a beautiful little group of Black Terns.  Forster’s Terns were much more numerous, hanging out on fence posts during the rain spells, dipping and diving over the water whenever the rain would stop. It was actually quite peaceful, watching the intermittent downpours, then seeing the birds jump back to life again when the sun would break out. It’s tough being a bird though when the hail starts!  They seemed to do OK with the little pea-size hail that fell at one point. but they weren’t very happy about it!  Shorebirds tended to crouch low during the hail, as did the terns on the posts, but otherwise, they just stayed still and endured.

Although the birding was quite good, the best moment of the night occurred after one of the little thunderstorms. With small scattered storms separated by wide bands of open sky, the sun was frequently pushing through, even during some of the rainy moments.  A beautiful and extremely long-lasting rainbow lit up the eastern sky and was visible for over half an hour as the little thunderstorm continued slowly pushing on to the south and east.  It was a full rainbow, with a partial double rainbow above it, but without my wide-angle lens along (hey, I’m a birder, I rarely use it anyway), I wasn’t able to get a photo of the whole thing. Instead, with my 400mm birding lens on, I decided to shoot what was at the end of the rainbow…this family farm! I’ve certainly never tried shooting a rainbow with a telephone lens, but I think the effect was quite beautiful.

The weather is supposed to be beautiful again this weekend, so hopefully within the next day or two I’ll have some more birding photos and stories to share…

Forster's Tern - Sterna forsteri

A Forster’s Tern perched on a little metal fence pole. This was just prior to the arrival of a little rain band that produced pea-sized hail. Fortunately, the birds seem to cope with the small hail quite well.

Birding the April Migration in South Dakota

The day started off rather gloomy and wet, but after being on travel far too much lately and not getting a chance to bird, I was determined to head out today no matter what the weather was doing.  I birded about 4 hours, staying primarily around Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County, and ended up having a great day. It’s clearly not peak migration yet for shorebirds, but they are starting to show up.  Numbers were generally small in most places, but there was a pretty decent variety.  Here are some photos from the day, many of which are “first-of-year” sightings for me.  Click on the photos for an even higher-resolution version.

White-faced Ibis - Plegadis chihi

White-faced Ibis are a species that I don’t see all that often, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen them in Minnehaha County. There were 19 foraging in a flooded field west of Sioux Falls.

Swainson's Hawk - Buteo swainsoni

Another first-of-year, a Swainson’s Hawk soaring overhead when the sun came out this afternoon. I ended up seeing several Swainson’s Hawks for the day.

Franklin's Gull - Leucophaeus pipixcan

Franklin’s Gulls are one of my favorite spring migrants…they’re so beautiful when they have the blush of pink on their undersides. This wasn’t a first-of-year sighting, as I saw a few in the last couple of weeks. However, they’re really starting to come through in big numbers right now. This was right on the edge of Sioux Falls, at Harmodan Park on the southeast side of town.

Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs - Comparison

By far the most common shorebird today were Lesser Yellowlegs, with a few Greater Yellowlegs mixed in. Here’s a nice comparison shot of the two. It’s pretty evident when they’re side-by-side, but not always so easy when a lone bird is spotted.

Great Egret - Ardea alba

I have a billion Great Egret photos. But whenever I come across this beautiful bird, I can’t help but take yet another…

New website changes, including new “Favorites” section

Elegant Trogon - Trogon elegans

This isn’t one of my best photos from a technical or artistic standpoint, but it definitely is one of my favorites! It’s an Elegant Trogon, a find from a November 2015 trip south of Tucson. One of my most memorable experiences as a birder, so it’s high-time I update my “favorite photos” section to include photos a little newer than just those from 2000 to 2010!!

I’ve been working on my main website a lot lately (sdakotabirds.com), trying to fix some technical issues, as well as address content issues. On the technical side, note my site is now completely “secure”.  When you try to access the site, no matter what you type in (“sdakotabirds.com”, “http://sdakotabirds.com”, “www.sdakotabirds.com”, etc), you should be rerouted to the safe, SSL “secured” pages with the https:// prefix.  Given that Google search rankings are now said to be affected by whether a site uses https or not, I figured it was about time to make the switch.  It should also help people feel more comfortable on my blog should they want to register on my blog or comment on a post.

I’ve also been working on streamlining my website.  When I first started making my website 15 years ago, I had a “species photo” page that showed all the photos I had for that species. You’d then click on a little image chip that would take you to a separate web page for each individual photo.  My photo collection on my website is now around 5,000 individual photos.  That means I actually have (or had) 5,000 individual pages.  It DOES help me to provide more information about an individual photo, such as details about when and where it was taken, or other anecdotal information that I may want to convey with a photo.  It’s not very efficient though!  It’s made my website massive and unwieldy, and given so many similar pages (for example, ~40 different individual pages for each of the ~40 or so Ruby-throated Hummingbird photos I have), it’s also resulted in “penalties” for how Google ranks my website.  I’m greatly simplifying the structure of my website for displaying photos.  I’m working on having each species have only one web page for the display of photos.  All photos of that species are provided on the one page, as smaller image “chips”.  Clicking on the image chip brings up the photo itself, instead of directing you to another web page that contains the photo. In progress, but it should cut down the number of individual web pages on my website by ~75%, and will make it much easier to navigate around my photo collection.

I’m also working on updating material in other parts of my website. One focus right now is my “Favorite Photos” section. It’s been a long time since I’ve updated that page, so most of my “favorites” were photos from 2000 to around 2010.  I’m updating that page right, making it 1) more “selective” in what I deem to be a “favorite”, and 2) more current, with favorite photos from 2000 all the way through the present day.  Clicking on each “favorite” will bring you to a new webpage with a large version of the photo, and a story about what makes the photo special to me. Given how out-of-date my old favorite photo section was, I hope this provides a better impression of my photography, my favorites, and what makes me “tick” as a birder and a photographer!

More website updates are coming this spring as well, including 1) new Bird Quizzes to go with the ones I already have, and completion of the individual species pages for all ~980 or so species that have been seen in North America.  If there are any other things you’d like to see on my main website, let me know and I’ll see what I can do!

2017 bird calendar done – Free, downloadable, printable

August 2017 Bird Calendar - Horned Puffin

The August representative on the free 2017 bird calendar. This is a Horned Puffin, taken off the coast of Seward Alaska at a place called “Fox Island”. He was obviously nesting and feeding young, diving down for fish, coming to the surface periodically, and repeating until it had a beak full of food. Here I captured him just after he surfaced from a dive.

As I do every year, I completed a free, downloadable and printable bird calendar for the upcoming year.  The calendar pages can be downloaded by month, and are set up for standard letter-sized paper, so they can easily be printed at home.  The calendar pages are available from here:

Free 2017 Bird Calendar

I changed things up a bit this year.  Given that I always offer the calendar through my South Dakota Birds and Birding website, in the past, I’ve always restricted myself to photos from South Dakota itself.  Not this year.  Any time I go on travel outside the state, be it for work, family vacation, or other reason, I bring my camera.  I have so, so many bird and wildlife photos from outside of South Dakota, none of which have been on my calendars before, so this year decided to use images from across the United States.  California, Alaska, Oregon, Minnesota, Florida, Maine, Arizona, Utah…several states are represented, with many birds that you’re just not going to ever see in South Dakota (or are there Horned Puffins in South Dakota?).  Below are the months, the bird that’s represented for each month, and where that photo was taken.  You can also click on the links below for direct access to the printable PDFs for each month.

Goat Heaven

Mountain Goat - Oreamnos americanus

One of the larger Mountain Goats, moving through the heavily flowered alpine meadows above Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. Click on this or any other photo for a closer view.

I’m still catching up on processing photos from the summer, including some from our vacation time in Glacier National Park in August. Glacier was busy, so busy that frankly it lessened my enjoyment of the Park.  The Going-to-the-Sun Road is certainly a huge attraction in Glacier, and deservedly so, given the spectacular views along its winding path.  However, there’s so much traffic on a busy summer day that it’s very difficult to find a place to pull over and park.  Most of the roadside stops were full, limiting opportunities to get out and hike. When we reached Logan Pass, a high point in the middle of the route with a visitor’s center and hikes, the entire lot was full, and cars were parked along the side of the road for at least half a mile in either direction from the parking lot.  We were admittedly a bit dejected trying to find a place to park, when we decided we were going to ‘reboot’ the day, drive down to the east end of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and take one of the shuttle buses back to the Logan Pass area.

It was a very good decision.  The shuttles can be a bit unreliable (as we found when trying to go back down to our car, having to wait for almost an  hour for a shuttle), but they freed us from any worries about having to park.  At Logan Pass there are a few hiking options, and one we decided to do went up through a beautiful alpine meadow. There’s a boardwalk that goes up for much of the length of the trail, and given the madhouse at the visitor’s center itself, we were expecting a trail that was elbow-to-elbow in tourists.  However, one thing we’ve learned in all our visits to National Parks…people are lazy!  A short stroll off the beaten path can often give you some solitude.  This wasn’t solitude, but it was manageable in terms of jostling with other tourists.

Logan Pass, Glacier National Park

A view of one of the alpine meadows at Logan Pass. The flowers were truly incredible, although in some spots the dark burgundy flowers were being thinned out by the grazing goats!

The walk itself was incredibly beautiful. The high alpine meadows were packed with blooming flowers of several different kinds.  Combined with the lush greenery and spectacular mountain views, and it was truly one of our favorite hikes on the vacation.  The trail was somewhat open-ended, with no “must see” destination that marked the end of the trail, so we just kept walking until we started to get tired.

After quite some time heading up the trail, we looked up the path and in the distance, saw some hikers seemingly moving off the path to make way for…something.  At first it was hard to tell because of the distance, but soon the small, distant white blobs on the path became recognizable…Mountain Goats!  There was a small group of about 8 Mountain Goats that were headed down the mountain towards the flowered fields, and they were bound and determined to take the path of least resistance…literally!  The goats seemingly put their heads down and kept coming down the path, hikers-be-damned.  They were still quite a ways up the path from us when the moved into the flowery fields and began to feed.

Mountain Goat - Oreamnos americanus

The youngest of the small herd of Mountain Goats, pausing to sniff the flowers. Well, actually, right after this he ate all the flowers off this plant.

We continued up the path until we were in very close proximity.  They weren’t shy, obviously being quite used to hikers on the path.  They were feeding heavily in the gorgeous alpine meadows, and seemed to especially have an affinity for a plant with deep red flowers (that’s about as far as my flower identification skills take me!).  The small group included a couple of young goats that were obviously just born that year, as well as a pair of larger adults that appeared to be dominant. The goats peacefully fed while the handful of hikers that were at that height stood or sat on the path, thrilled to see them at such close range.

As with the previous post about the Grizzly Bears of Banff, it was the Mountain Goats of Glacier that were another true highlight of the trip!

Mountain Goat - Oreamnos americanusMountain Goat - Oreamnos americanusMountain Goat - Oreamnos americanus

Banff Grizzly Bears

Grizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilis

A big Grizzly near the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park. This was actually a rarity, where one of the bears we saw would look towards us on the road. For the most part, they were too busy feeding on berries to worry about observers. Click on this photo or any other photo on this post to see a larger photo version.

In continuing the theme of “summer vacation pics”…the end point of our driving vacation this summer was Banff and the surrounding area in Alberta.  My wife and I had been there once before, but we’d never been there as a family. We spent several days stationed in Banff itself, with day trips to several spots in Banff National Park, and a trip up towards Jasper on the Icefields Parkway.  The highlight of the the trip, however?

Grizzly Bears!  We’ve been in Yellowstone several times.  We’ve been to Glacier National Park two times now (after this trip).  As a family we have vacationed in Alaska, and I myself have been in Alaska several other times.  In all these trips, we’ve on occasion seen bears. One on this trip, maybe one or even two on another trip, etc.  Coming across a bear, be it a Black Bear or Grizzly Bear, is a treat even in these areas that are known for bears. They’re just not very common to begin with, and seeing one during the day in visible range is a special treat.  That’s what made our trip to Banff so special.  We saw SO many bears that on one day in particular, we almost were expecting to see bears around every bend!

On our last trip to Banff many years ago, we saw wildlife (Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Elk, etc.), but no bears.  However, we knew this year might be different, as before leaving on vacation, we had read many stories about the banner year around Banff for buffalo berries.  Buffalo berries are a favorite for bears, and tend to grow at forest edges and clearings…including along roadways in Banff National Park. We had read that the bears in the area were all down in the lowlands, gorging on berries, and that we might have a good chance of seeing one.

Grizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilis

Berry time! A good view of another Grizzly, and the berries that had them so far down in the lowlands of the park.

We saw one!  Then two…then three…then four…until we had seen seven bears in one day!!  Seven bears on August 2nd, all along the Bow Valley Parkway near Banff. The Bow Valley Parkway itself is a really pretty drive, going through dense forest and also occasionally giving you a good view of the mountains. The day before, we had been in the Lake Louise area, and had a wonderful time on a long, 6- mile hike up from the lake to a rustic teahouse.  A beautiful day on August 1st, but WOW, the people!  In the heart of summer, it’s very difficult to even find a parking spot near Lake Louise, and the area around the lake and hotel itself are incredibly busy.  Thus, when starting out on the Bow Valley Parkway on August 2nd, we expected quite a few people.  We were wrong.  The parkway was relatively quiet, so we drove very slow, scanning the forest edges for wildlife.  The edge of the forest next to the road had many fruiting buffalo berry bushes, and it certainly SEEMED like the perfect place to find browsing bears.

It was.  It didn’t take long before we saw a mini “bear jam” up ahead.  Given the quiet traffic that day, the “bear jams” typically only consisted of a car or two, and much of the time we also were by ourselves as we watched a bear.  As we slowly approached the first two cars we had seen pulled over on the edge of the road, we wondered…is it a Grizzly?  A Black Bear? Or something else?

The first bear we saw was a beautiful, large grizzly.  At first, he was perhaps 10 yards back in the forest, making it difficult to see him well, even with binoculars that we had.  It didn’t take long before the binoculars were relegated to the back seat for most of the rest of the day though, as soon the first Grizzly strolled out of the forest and started gorging on buffalo berries, just 15 yards away or so.  With all our previous vacations in “bear country”, this was by far our closest, best look at a Grizzly, so we pulled over and enjoyed watching him feed for a while.  Finally we reluctantly pulled back onto the road to continue our journey up Bow Valley Parkway.

Grizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilis

Slurp! Often we’d just see a bear plopped down on his back haunches while he/she gorged on berries.

It wasn’t a long journey!  After a mere 200 yards or so, we saw movement in the brush on the side of the road.  Another Grizzly!  For the most part the Grizzlies we saw were totally oblivious to activity on the road. They would walk up to a loaded buffalo berry bush, strip the berries with their snouts in big bunches, and pretty much strip the entire bush before moving to the next one.  On occasion they would glance over towards the road, but they had one thing on their minds…berries!  Their close proximity and casual attitude towards observers led to some great photo opportunities.

In one stretch of less than a mile, we ended up seeing 4 different Grizzly Bears.  As we continued up Bow Valley Parkway, we found two more Grizzlies, and one Black Bear who had a couple of cubs.  We also found a couple of Grizzly Bears the next day, with at least one of the two being a “repeat” from the day before.  Some of the Grizzlies had ear tags, and Bear 134 is one that we came across multiple times during our stay in Banff. It was enjoyable not only seeing and photographing the bears from close range, but also looking them up on the internet!  A search of terms like “Bear 134 Banff” would often lead to stories of an individual bear’s exploits, either during the 2016 season, or in previous seasons.

It was a special trip.  We were definitely spoiled in terms of seeing bears, and I truly doubt that we’ll ever experience so many wild bears in one day again.


Grizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilisGrizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilisGrizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilisGrizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilisGrizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilis

 

Visit to Teddy Roosevelt National Park

Wild Horses - Teddy Roosevelt National Park

A pair of wild horses standing on a ridge top. This was with my long 400mm lens, and this was as close as the wild horses were going to allow our approach. It was still wonderful seeing a group of about a dozen, roaming in a valley bottom. Click on the photos for a larger view.

In addition to not doing much birding or photography this summer, I also failed to process photos from the relatively few photo opportunities I DID have.  That includes all the photos from our family vacation at the end of July into the beginning of August.  We LOVE visiting National Parks, and this summer we decided to do a driving trip to visit three: 1) Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, 2) Glacier National Park in Montana, and 3) Banff National Park in Alberta.  We’d been to the latter two before, but just once each time.  Banff was the end point of the trip, and in my mind was going to be the highlight of the vacation, while Glacier is a place we felt we “missed out” on during our first visit, because the “going-to-the-sun” scenic road was unexpectedly closed (still snow in early July!).

Teddy Roosevelt National Park? Eh.  I admit I wasn’t too excited about it before we left, but it was kind of on the way, and my wife and son hadn’t seen it before. We ended up staying a couple of nights in Medora, North Dakota, at the edge of the park, and spending 2 days in the park itself.  It ended up being one of the highlights of the trip!!

Lazuli Bunting - Passerina amoena

A male Lazuli Bunting stopping for a moment in a field of flowers. They are SUCH beautiful birds, and I have very few photos of them, so was quite happy to have this guy stay just long enough for a couple of photos.

Banff is gorgeous. Glacier National Park is gorgeous.  But my GOD, the people!  In Glacier National Park, we got to do going-to-the-sun road, but with the road jammed with tourists, it was almost impossible to find a place to park and walk on most of the route.  In Banff National Park, you can certainly find quieter spots if you get off the road and hike, but Lake Louise? The town of Banff itself?  The glacier on the way up to Jasper?  You sometimes feel like you’re in Central Park or some other park in the middle of a metropolis.  SO many people, which for me, takes away much of the joy of places like that.

And that, my friends, is one reason why Teddy Roosevelt was such a gem to me.  Let’s start with where we stayed, in Medora.  I had a bit of an issue with the company that seemed to OWN most of Medora, as they ran many of the restaurants, lodging, and tourist traps in town.  But Medora itself?  It’s tiny, and even in the middle of the tourist season, it was uncrowded, relaxing, and may I say, damn enjoyable for a town that could easily be turned into a gaudy tourist trap.  You can comfortably walk and see every site in town, walk to visit any restaurant in town.  There are a few shops that you’d deem typical for a summer tourist town, such as candy shops, ice-cream shops, upscale art…but they’re not crowded and don’t overwhelm the natural charm of the place.

The park itself is lovely. Coming from South Dakota, we knew Teddy Roosevelt National Park is sometimes described as a “greener” version of South Dakota’s Badlands.  That’s an apt description, because the topography and geological features do look similar, but with quite a bit more grassland and other vegetation in comparison with the Badlands. It really was quite lovely, and for someone trying to get away from humanity (one of my goals on any vacation!), it’s remarkably quiet.  We walked many trails during our two days in the park, and typically we’d only run into one or two other hiking groups, if we met any at all. I’m a sucker for open spaces and grasslands, and Teddy Roosevelt certainly has plenty of that to offer, in addition to the rugged terrain in many places.

Prairie Dog - Teddy Roosevelt National Park

An alert prairie dog, wondering whether to wait us out, or dart into his hole. I LOVE walking through prairie dog towns in the Dakotas. They’re often so rich with wildlife. Teddy Roosevelt offers several locations where you can see these guys.

With just 2 days in the park, I really didn’t get a chance to get away and do any devoted birding, but it was still a very interesting place from a wildlife perspective.  Bison roam through much of the park, and there was a time or two where we had to detour or pause on a hike to give some nearby Bison the spaced they need.  Pronghorn and deer were commonly seen, and more often than not, when you scanned the sky around you, you’d see soaring hawks.  Prairie dog towns are always a favorite spot for mine, not for the prairie dogs themselves (although they are darned cute), but for the wildlife that’s often attracted to them. In one spot we saw a badger loping through a prairie dog town (much to the chagrin of the prairie dogs), and we also saw coyotes on a couple of occasions. There aren’t many in the park, but one attraction from a “wildlife” standpoint are the few dozen wild horses that roam the park.  We did see about a dozen of them at one point, but they were very skittish and didn’t allow people to get within half a mile of them.  I did manage to get a few nice photos of a pair standing on a ridge, before they galloped away.

If you’re looking for a relaxing, quiet, beautiful, and UNCROWDED vacation spot…Teddy Roosevelt National Park really turned out to be a gem in my book!  It goes to show that the “big name” parks like Yellowstone, Glacier, or Banff up in Canada certainly are majestic, but a visit to the lesser-known National Parks is definitely worth  your time as well.

Now available – Free 2016 Bird Calendar

Free 2016 Bird Calendar - South Dakota Birds and Birding

February 2016’s featured bird, the Northern Saw-whet Owl. Click the link to individually download printable calendar pages for the coming 2016 year.

As I always do about this time of year, I put together a free, downloadable and printable bird calendar for the coming year.  As a long-time South Dakota “tradition”, the calendar of course features the Great Kiskadee for the month of December (in honor of the one freakishly lost bird that is still around!). You can access the calendar here:

Free 2016 Bird Calendar

I hereby declare, “new” bird to be named for my father!!

Photo of Lawrence's Goldfinch

A new species for me! In honor of my achievement, I hereby name this species “Lawrence’s Goldfinch” in honor of my father!!

This morning I bravely ventured out in search of a “new” species.  I heard rumors of a mysterious creature wandering Tanque Verde Wash on the northeast side of Tucson.  With nothing but a camera and my wits, I ventured forth, braving frigid morning temperatures (hey, 35 degrees at dawn is dang cold in Tucson!!) in search of the elusive creature.  Others of my ilk (aka, “birders”) have ventured forth in search of this rare creature, only to come back empty handed.  For example, a nameless colleague who has birded his whole life…let’s just call him “Jim” for the sake of argument…has tried…and failed…to find this mythical creature.

Would I be deterred?  Would I fail?  I WOULD NOT!!  Despite overwhelming odds, despite the incredibly harsh weather, I found the elusive creature foraging in the shrubs at Tanque Verde.  How shall I commemorate this historic achievement?

I SHALL TAKE THE FIRST RIGHT OF NAMING!!  I HEREBY DECLARE that from this day forward, this species shall be called “Lawrence’s Goldfinch”, in honor of my father.  In the words of Ramses II (From the movie “Moses” anyway)…SO SHALL IT BE WRITTEN!  SO SHALL IT BE DONE!!

Already, I hear a revisionist history being whispered by those jealous of my mighty achievement.  I hear vague rumors that others have seen this species long before I had.  I hear whisperings that “Lawrence’s Goldfinch” has LONG had that name, and that it has nothing to do with my father.

LIES!! DAMNED LIES!! Curse the jealous mob who cannot appreciate my achievement!  As for you, casual blog reader, believe what you will!  But in my heart, whenever someone utters the words “Lawrence’s Goldfinch”, I shall think of my father, and remember this historic day!!

 

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