Thursday, April 15, 2010

I and the Bird #123

Idaho's nickname is "The Gem State".  It turns out that a precious stone, the Star Garnet pictured above, is only found in two places on the entire planet; Emerald Creek in northern Idaho and in India's Himalaya mountains.  Idaho is the only location that can boast the 6-pointed Star Garnet.

As we welcome bird bloggers from around the globe to the Idaho Birding Blog, I wanted to share these gems both literally and figuratively.  Each section below features a gem stone found in Idaho as well as birding blog gems from around the world.  Enjoy!

Thunder Egg (Geodes) 
I had collection of these beloved rocks as a boy, as did all my boyhood friends it seems.  
I wonder which of my brothers ended up with them after I went to college?

Idaho Birding Blogs

"I and the Bird" followers going back a few years and nearly 100 editions may remember Rob Miller from Rob's Idaho Perspective where he hosted the 25th edition.  Rob's been busy making a career change and now focusing all of his talents and energies on the study of birds.  He recently presented his research in San Diego at the joint conference of the Cooper Ornithological Society, American Ornithologists' Union, and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists which you can read about here.

One of my all time favorite blogs to follow is Bill Schiess' Wild in Idaho.  I've learned by reading his posts that Bill is a great husband, father, grandpa, mentor of youth, fishing guide, photographer, outdoorsman, and a birder to boot.  He monitors a Sage Grouse lek and always reports their fantastic antics with great photos on his blog.

Matt Miller is with The Nature Conservancy and blogs at Idaho Nature Notes.  Here is a recent post about the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.  Matt is also a regular blog contributor to "Cool Green Science" the official blog of The Nature Conservancy.

I am very appreciative of birders with the photography skills that I lack.  That's why I enjoy Kathleen's Birds of the Air blog.  Here is a recent post about some newly hatched Great Horned Owls.

Kathleen Cameron, based in the Sun Valley area of Idaho, is host of Majestic Feathers where she shares her fantastic photos and reports of the birding tours she leads in Costa Rica.  This post has some cool close-ups of Cedar Waxwings which show us how they eat.

From Moscow (Idaho), Charles Swift reports a Long-billed Curlew were it was not anticipated on his blog BirdaPalousa.

Bruneau Jasper

USA Birding Blogs

Rebecca in the Woods, currently based in Ohio, shares with us a life bird moment seeing the Arizona Woodpecker on her recent trip to Arizona's Chiricahuas. 

Christopher Ciccone from Woburn, MA, of the Picus Blog tells of his adventures on Day 3 in Costa Rica.  The other days were also full of fascinating photography and tales, so check them out too!

Pablo of the Roundrock Journal, while pining away for the woods from his office, manages to enjoy the confluence of man and nature while observing the goings-on at a suburban hawk nest.

Cleaning out bluebird boxes can yield some interesting and amazing discoveries...Just ask Joan Knapp in Walton County, Georgia.  Better yet, go to her blog "Anybody Seen My Focus" and read "The Great 2010 Nestbox Cleanout" (Part I) (Part II) and (Part III).  Each one is worth the read and cool photos too!

Finally!  Photo-documentation of why a Double-crested Cormorant has its name!  Jason Hogle at Xenogere out of Dallas, Texas has the evidence and the story behind it in his recent post "Like, OMG, they have crests"

Larry Jordan at The Birder's Report proves that patience, preparation and some luck make for some awesome photos of the elusive Sora.

Followers of Aimophila Adventures know that Rick Wright & Alison are currently spending a couple of years in Vancouver.  Here is a recent post from Rick entitled "Coronation Day" about the Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Alison at IBIS: Intermediate Bird Identification Struggles gives a nice presentation on Shrike versus Mockingbind identification.

Amber Coakley at Birder's Lounge presents a super hot Red-headed covergirl with fascinating historical context!

The Ridger, FCD, host of "The Greenbelt" from "somewhere in Maryland" recently made a trip to Oregon where she captures some great shots of waterfowl.

Jill Wussow of "Count Your Chicken! We're Taking Over!" photographed the often elusive Varied Thrush...and a pair of them at that!  The first photo is truly stunning.  Check it out here!

Montana native, Radd gives us something to grouse about at RadleyIce.  And not just bad puns!

Every once in a great while, the bloggers from 10,000 Birds are able to get together and go birding.  This time, Mike and Corey met up at Jamaica Bay in New York, all the while mocking their absent third man Charlie over in the UK.  They even had the nerve to blog about it here at 10,000 Birds Bloggers Birding.

Melissa, when she's not "Out Walking the Dog" is monitoring mating and nesting pigeons outside her New York window.

Practicing what she preaches and inspired by the success of one of her readers, Roxanne Brune at Duncraft's Backyard Birding Blog begins The Bluebird Chronicles, starting with putting up the nestbox.

DaveA, from Broomfield, Colorado shares some cute photos of Great Horned Owlets.  He took the shots borrowing a stranger's telephoto lens...but fellow birders aren't really strangers, are they?

Nate over at The Drinking Bird presents the extremely helpful perspective of a rare bird sighting or eBird reviewer.  If you've ever had your feelings hurt by being questioned by the "birding elite", this post will help you understand the process and to not take it personally.

Plume Agate

International Birding Blogs

Ambika, of Madras Ramblings from India posts on her blog the report and photographs from Mr. Ramanan's family trip to Jaisalmer Desert National Park where getting around is by camel cart!

Ambika also sent in the following links for more great birding and wildlife blogging from India:

Walk the Wilderness by T and S is another fantastic wildlife photography based in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.  Check out the photo essays of birding in north eastern India!

Gopi Sundar hosts SARUS SCAPE and has a humorous yet thought-provoking post about Bank Mynas and Water Buffalo called "Getting an Earful"

Owyhee Jasper
These stones, once polished, seem to portray the landscape from which they were taken.

Andrew & Sarah, of the Listening Earth Blog, bring us birdsong and images from the once war-torn area of Gallipoli, Turkey.

GrrlScientist, over in Frankfurt, Germany has a report on a study on the genetics of personality by studying Great Tits in Europe.

From Peru, Gunnar Engblom shares his excitement for the publication of Birds of Peru in Spanish and discusses the impact that this will have on the people and ornithology of Peru.

Wanderin' Weeta from British Columbia, Canada shares a video of crows harassing an Eagle as it dined on a rock at the sea.

Crystal Geode

For more information about Idaho's Gemstones and where to find them, check out the Idaho Department of Lands website here.


  1. Nice job on IATB #123 Robert! A great selection of gemstones and blog posts! I can't wait to check them all out.

  2. What a beautiful edition of IATB. And wonderfully clear & easy to track. I look forward to carving out time to visit all the sites. Thanks!

  3. nice, thank you!
    Just a quibble: IBIS and (for the next couple of years, at least) Aimophila Adventures are based in Canada.
    Many thanks for including us!

  4. What beautiful gems, Robert! And I didn't know of the India "connection" to Idaho vis-a-vis the star garnet!!

    Lots to read now!

  5. @Larry - you are always so kind to comment on the "I and the Bird" posts. Thanks Larry.

    @outwalkingthedog @Rick thanks for participating! I enjoy your blogs!

    @flowergirl - it was pretty timely to have your posts and referrals to have that Idaho-India connection.

  6. Birds and gems! Appropriate; ground jewels and air jewels.

    Good post!

  7. @Dawn @Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) - thanks for checking out and participating in "I and the Bird"! Happy birding!