Monday, October 31, 2011

The Next Day Is Always Tough

I spent most of yesterday saying things like: 

"Wow. How is it 1:30 already?"

"Oh my God.  My fucking head hurts so bad right now.  Get me some pills."

or my favorite:

"My hands are still shaking.  Let's go to the kegmobile and pour some beers."

Then I went to walk the dogs with my mom and I looked at a few birds.

Lark Sparrow.  Having a morning snack.

This is Lola.  She was thirsty.

If anyone is in the greater Angels Camp area and would like to participate in Packed Full Of Fun Day, part 3, IT IS TODAY.  Also, as a simultaneous activity, we will be conducting Operation Drink The Rest Of The Keg.  Call me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kegstands! Right Now! It's Still 2011!

Well, now I'm 29.  I feel hecka mortal now.  I'll most likely keel over from old age within the next year.  Last night was a success.  Everything we set out to accomplish was completed.  Kayla wins the Most Violent Drunk Award.  MB wins Best Behaved Drunk.  I think Darren wins Stinkiest Kegstand.  Anyway, here are a few of the pictures from before we were too far gone to worry about f-stops or ISO.   Maybe some birds tomorrow.

This is Canyon.  He likes to have dance-offs.  He will serve anyone, anytime, anywhere.  Right here he is serving someone twice his size.  Kid has moves. 

These three jokers.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

You Remind Me Of Home

It's my birthday so I'll put up shitty photos if I want.  Yesterday was mostly spent battling the Deathsickness (with whiskey).  It was a success.  I feel pretty good today.  Now it's time to go get ready for the massive rage.  Free Coors Light at Horse and Barrel!  Hope to see all of you there.  Ima drink till I'm sick again!  Here are two birds that remind me of being here at home:

White-breasted Nuthatch.  Getting all inverted.

Oak Titmouse.  Hanging from an acorn.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Home For The Holiday

Hi all.  Yesterday I returned to the place of my birth.  Tomorrow is the 29th anniversary of me being born, so I thought it proper.  Here are a few nice ones from around my parents' estate in the foothills, Brushwood.  The Deathsickness still has a bit of a grip on me, but the end is in sight.  Hopefully by this time tomorrow, I'll be healthy and ready to Birthdayrage to the full extent of my capabilities.

In the US, cats kill 10 million billion birds every year.  And so to my horror, I return home to find that my mother has obtained three bird killing machines.  They are sisters.  From left to right: Inky, Pinky, and Stinky.

A Bewick's Wren at Brushwood.  Hopefully this little guy is safe from the merciless claws of Inky, Pinky, and Stinky.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Final Wish

After determining that I was indeed Just About To Die, I decided that the last thing I'd like to see here on God's green earth was a Yellow-billed loon.  Sultry Sam, Felonious Jive, and I loaded into the car and drove to Sunnyvale.  We promptly set out on a major Death March.  We must've walked twenty miles around this huge lake before we finally came upon the beautiful and stunning creature known as Yellow-billed Loon.  Here he is in all his glorious splendor:

Isn't it beautiful?

F.J. and I have a history with these loons.  Before yesterday, we had unsuccessfully chased at least three separate individuals.  FJ was sure that we would continue our horrible curse, and fail miserably.  I tried to explain that I had broken the curse last year when we went up to Arcata and nailed the Brown Shrike like it weren't no thang.  In any case, post loon day was boring but therapeutic.  I gobbled down vitamins, hot toddies, and chicken soup.  Slept.  Watched Battlestar Galactica.  Now I'm feeling much better.  I might not even die after all.

This is what cures the DeathSickness:  Whiskey (on Felonious's advice), lemons, honey, apples, and Sultry Sam's chicken soup (not pictured).  I feel so well today, I might even go birding.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Life Is Pain.  I got hecka hecka sick (like actually sick) shortly after seeing the following birds:

Horned Grebe.

Swamp Sparrow found by Felonious Jive.  Word on the street is that this bird put Dom Mosur over the top for his SF Big Year Extravaganza.  Congrats to him.

So I'm keeping shit short today.  F. Jive and I are headed out to see a Yellow-billed Loon in Sunnyvale.  We have failed at this task an epic number of times in the past.  Today will be different.  Keep it real everyone, and send me some healing vibes to make my throat feel better.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First 24 Hrs Great Success

Yesterday was a good day.  Started at Ferry Park and quickly bagged the Yellow-throated Warbler.  Started raging slowly, and kept accelerating throughout the day.  By the time it was dark, I had the Fernet anger erupting out of me.  We ended at El Rio, listening to a guy who's going to be mayor talk about how he will change the world.  Sadly, I can only use 2 of the many photos.  I guess I'll have to put more up on Eff Bee.

This is the second Yellow-throated Warbler that I've ever seen.  Totes awesome.

This is my FaraBeard.  It is big.  Stuff gets stuck in it a lot.  Like Sam's hand.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back To Real Life

I am now in Mainland San Francisco.  I'm about to go look for a Philadelphia Vireo and Yellow-throated Warbler that have been seen downtown.  I managed to take a few fotos yesterday during my partial day on the Island.  Goodbye SEFI, I'll miss you.

 A Northern Harrier  paid me a visit during my last sharkwatch yesterday.

Saying byebye.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Here We Come To The End Of The Road...

...Still I Can't Let Go.  Well boys and girls, the end of another SEFI Fall has come for Daniel Maxwell.  I will be getting on a boat in a few hours and heading back to do some hard time in Real Life.  On the Island, there is a certain amount of superstition that goes with boat days like today.  Some people believe that the best birds always show up on boat days.  It certainly happened last year.  On my last day, birds seen were Summer Tanager, Ancient Murrelet, and (1 hour after I departed) a first Island Record Smith's Longspur.  Life was pain that day.  I'm hoping to not repeat that day.  Here are the 2 PADs from yesterday.  It was mostly slow, but there were a few birds here and there.

My favorite resident of Southeast Farallon Island, Common Raven.  This guy has been over on the mainland for the entire Fall.  He made a reappearance yesterday, just in time for me to see him before leaving.  He promptly began murdering mice out on the Marine Terrace.  

My last SEFI suset.  Goodbye gulls.  Goodbye rock.  Goodbye sharks.  Goodbye Lighthouse.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Watch for Raptors On Days Like This...

...They Like To Fly In From The South.  The rarest bird yesterday was a White-tailed Kite that made a brief appearance at the lighthouse during my sharkwatch.  Believe it or not, this kite was rarer than the Tennessee Warbler or the Black-throated Blue Warbler also seen on the Island yesterday.  Today is my last full day here on Southeast Farallon Island for the year 2011.  I have mixed feelings.  Both stoked and bummed to be moving on to the next adventure.  I don't know where TPAD is headed, but I will try to keep up on it for as long as I can.  

The super rare White-tailed Kite, coming in from the South.

I eventually caught the female Black-throated Blue Warbler.  This is the same bird that I posted a few days ago

Friday, October 21, 2011

Don't You Have Anything Better To Do?

Very slow yesterday until Mark and Liz radioed that they were seeing a Connecticut Warbler down at the Carp Shop.  This happened at about 6 PM as it was getting dark.  I managed to get a decent look at it, and one (maybe identifiable) photo of it.  As everyone of course knows, Connecticut Warblers are the sneakiest of all creatures.  They lurk about.  They walk on the ground through bushes.  They frustrate birdwatchers everywhere they go.  In any case, it is now light again outside and I'm going out to look for it.  Here's my epic CONW photo:

A very cute mouse.  This is the most closely related species to Connecticut Warbler.  They are little, sneaky, and hard to see.

Connecticut Warbler.  Can you tell?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Party's Over.

Yesterday was sad after such a nice Tuesday.  I slept up at the lighthouse again, and found no birds upon wakeup call.  It was a nice night, though.  Very clear.  I could see the lights of SF and there were lots of Cassin's Auklets and Burrowing Owls flying around.  

We caught a Merlin on Tuesday night, too.  Which is nice.

Female Black-throated Blue Warbler.  She stuck around since Tuesday, and is still here this morning as I write this.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Feel Happy Of Myself

The fog cleared to several miles of visibility yesterday.  When that happened, a bunch of birds dropped in to the Island.  Best birds: Red-throated Pipit, Yellow-green Vireo, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and Chestnut-collared Longspur.  The Summer Tanager continued, as did some Tennesse Warblers.  I went up and slept at the lighthouse, in case of massive fallout this morning.  Sadly, life was pain.  Visibility was too far (I could see SF when I woke up) and all I saw were a Violet-green and some Waxwings.

Yellow-green Vireo.  7th Island Record.

My first Red-throated Pipit.  (HE,IKR)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Early Summer

Summer Tanager was the BOTD yesterday.  We had an oven specialist come out to fix our Wolf oven, which is now awesome and works perfectly.  Previously, we've been operating it using a screwdriver.  I awoke to fog today, much like yesterday.   Hopefully it will lift and the day will be hecka sick.  

October is time to start thinking about the future.  Today is the 18th, which means that I have five more nights on the Island.  This is making me desperate to find The Bird before I leave.  So far, we have had zero Asian Vagrants.  This must change.  In the next five days. 

I have recently landed another internship on yet another desert island.  In mid November, Dan and TPAD will be following in the footsteps of its forefathers, Felonious Jive and BB&B.  I will be taking up residence on Midway Atoll.  Albatrosses will be banded.  Monk Seals will be fondled.  Faces will be melted.  If you're curious to see what Midway is all about, check out:

Or you can go to FJ's blog - Bourbon, Bastards & Birds - found here:

He was out there for several months, and the photos are fully legit, so go over there and look at what I'll be doing this winter.

Here are yesterday's photos.

Summer Tanager, at Spooky Cave.

Varied Thrush, in "Mark on a Rock's" hand.

I only discovered yesterday that Mark used to keep a blog while out here on the Island.  It's sick, and gives all the history a few Falls past.  Check it out: 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bird Bits

Yesterday was high quality (for 2011 standards).  Red-eyed Vireo, Tennessee Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Western Palm Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Clay-colored Sparrow, and Purple Finch all come to mind.  The weather seemed to be holding, so I decided to spend the night up at the lighthouse.  This turned out to be a poor idea.  I awoke to thick, oppressive fog from hell. And no birds.  Still, Mark D just found something quite nice which I will reveal in tomorrow's edition of TPAD.

Least Flycatcher

Cedar Waxwing

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Yesterday was full of potential.  Weather was very nice.  There was a massive fallout of Yellow-rumped warblers.  A full on maelstrom of at least twenty birds.  The sky was raining little yellow and gray raindrops down on our heads.  It was overwhelming.  They mostly stayed up at the lighthouse most of the day, so we were not able to band them.  Most notably, there were over a hundred ducks flying around the Island in the morning.  We were able to pick out a few Northern Shovelers and American Wigeon (very good bird out here) among the many Northern Pintail.  Also, these were here:

Orange-crowned Warbler (lutescens)

Green-winged Teal.  This duck has been living on the Island for a few weeks.  It just hangs out in the small rancid puddles near the shore.  Seems to like it just fine, though.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Cissel Has a First Name

I baked six pizzas last night, and we ate them while watching Hunt For Red October.  It was pretty sweet.  Commies suck!  We also saw a Dickcissel.  Only the second I've seen.  There were a few more birds around, like Tennessee Warbler, White-throated Sparrows, and some dark swifts that flew by MB's head at the lighthouse.  The Island was featured in a few news stories, of varying quality.  The new movie The Big Year came out, and the birding world is abuzz about whether or not it is good, sticks to the book, accurately identifies birds, etc.  Nerd Town.

Northern Fur-seal Pup at Boiler cove.  These guys are cute.  And they are the biggest victims of exploitation by humans.  Every last one was killed (hundreds of thousands) in the 1800's.  This year, over 400 were counted in one day.  This is the highest total observed since their extirpation over a century ago.  Could be good news for Fur-seals.

Bird Of The Day.  Dickcissel.  Funny name, I know.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Black Blue and Gray

Sunny skies again yesterday.  Massive crews from the media descended on the Island.  Cameramen, newspaper people, PR folks, and scientists were to be found in abundance.  I believe it was a great success.  Mostly I steered clear of all of the cameras.  By doing this, I lucked into a Black-throated Blue Warbler.  A male, and the only one so far this fall.  

Media Blitz!  They are all photographing an Ashy Storm-petrel chick.

Black-throated Blue Warbler.  Very nice, how much?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Brief Break From Fog

The fog lifted yesterday.  Thank the lord.  It was accompanied by strong Northwesterlies.  Frown.  We still managed to get a few arrivals.  An intergrade Northern Flicker was the Bird of the Day. 

Brewer's Blackbird

Intergrade Northern Flicker

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 2 of Fog a thon was a huge success.  The fog was so thick, we couldn't see our hands in front of our faces! I still managed to take a few photos, since I am a very talented photographer.

Not to worry, the fog seems to have lifted today, and the vagrants should soon be raining down upon us.

California Gull, oh face, Sea Pigeon Point.

Here is what happens to watermelons when you forget about them. : (

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Fog.  It's the worst.  It has the power to ruin any good time.  It can sink ships.  It can crash airplanes.  On the Island, the fog causes a massive dirth of birds.  This happened yesterday.  It looks like it's happening again today.  So much for Farallonathon.

This is a Traditional Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner.  Which is, of course, tradition.  By the way, if you haven't seen the  South Park where the Canadian Royal Princess is kidnapped from the Royal Wedding, I ask that you do so.  It's worth it.

A Tundrius Peregrine Falcon from two days ago.  I took zero photos of birds yesterday.  It was impossible.  This is one of many young Peregrines that will visit the Island, only to be viciously attacked by the resident pair.  The chases and dogfights usually last for a few hours until the intruding youngster flees back to the mainland, 30 miles away.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Another mini wave occurred yesterday, bringing with it a Band-tailed Pigeon, Magnolia warbler, and a handful of sparrows (all three Zonotrichia, Clay-colored, Lark, and Savannah).  We added a few points for Farallonathon. I think we are somewhere up around 118 after yesterday.  We had Beef Stroganoff for dinner and watched the South Park where the Canadian Royal Family comes under attack and the Princess is abducted.  Here are some birds I banded yesterday with my bare hands.

Magnolia Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh Lord Won't You Buy Me A Light SE Breeze

It was another sharky day yesterday.  Hopefully, all these shark attacks will pull us through Farallonathon with our pride still intact(we get five Farallonathon points per attack).  The attacks yesterday were both very close to shore, and lasted quite a long time.  The attack in the afternoon was the most up close and personal that I've ever seen.  

As far as birds go, things really slowed down yesterday.  Nearly all of the previous day's birds left, but we had a few arrivals, including an American Kestrel, Say's Phoebe, and FOF House Finch.

Lesser Goldfinch

Whitey, taking a chunk of Elephant Seal.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

High Hopes

There was an inexplicable mini bird wave yesterday.  Our first Golden-crowned Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and Chimney Swifts were seen.  We decided to start Farallonathon, as it is getting quite late in the season, and we don't know if we are going to get any mega wave at all this fall.  Farallonathon is a fundraiser where people donate a certain amount of money for every species that we see out here.  I'm thinking of donating 20 cents/species, since I am a rich Wildlife Biologist.  If you want to follow along with Farallonathon, try the Island blog:  <>

White-throated Sparrow 
Fox Sparrow

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Eyes Are All Red And Vireo-ey

A poor day was avoided yesterday when a Red-eyed Vireo showed up in the Coast Guard Tree.  Phew.  I accidentally slept in super late today, and upon waking found that there are hecka birds here right now.  Nothing crazy so far, but Ima finish up TPADing and go see what I can find.  Wish me luck.

Red-eyed Vireo. 
Palm Warbler. In your face.