Thursday, October 7, 2010

Interview With Diving Bird Magazine

Robert: Hello Larry and thank you for participating in one of our magazine's regular features: " Through The Objective Lens With Robert Cormorant." Shall we get started?

Larry: Thanks for featuring me Robert. I've been a fan of your work for a long time. Go ahead with your first question.

Robert: What type of birding have you been doing lately?

Larry: I recently visited Wangunk Meadows with some other birders. Conditions were unusually dry and we had to work for the birds. We saw 5 species of sparrow including: Lincoln, White-throated , Song, and Swamp but our best view was of a Savannah Sparrow which was perched in a leafless tree at a height of about 15 feet. The view of the bird through the scope was really clear because the lighting was falling on it just right. (Savannah Sparrow in top photo was from a previous trip to Hammonasset). Another interesting sighting for us was seeing 11 Great Egrets fly over. Birds of prey included Osprey, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, and Red-shouldered Hawk. The only warblers seen were Yellow-rumped and Common Yellowthroat.

Robert: Is Wangunk a native American word?

Larry: Yes, the Wangunks were a tribe of Native Americans that lived in the area. Most of the Wangunks had left the area before 1800. The word Wangunk is said to refer to the big bend near our section of the Connecticut River.

Robert: What do you find to be the least and most difficult parts about blogging?

Larry: The easiest part for me is coming up with an idea. The hardest part is taking decent photos and finding the right words to express that idea in a post. A lot of times I abandon my original idea for a simpler one because I realize in the middle of a post that my words are running on and on. English was always my worse subject.

Robert: What have you been seeing of interest besides birds?

I took this photo of mushrooms last week because I was impressed by their clean appearance. They look like a basic mushroom so I figured it should be easy to find out what kind they are by doing an Internet search. It turns out that there are a lot more varieties of mushrooms than I realized. I didn't want to get into another type of field guide but I think it's time I do. Does anyone know what kind of mushrooms these are?
Robert: What is your approach to birding these days?

Larry: I find that the multitask method of birding doesn't work well for me so I try not to concern myself with what I should or shouldn't be doing. Instead I just choose a spot and try to appreciate whatever is best about that particular morning. It could be great viewing conditions, a lot of species, camaraderie of other birders, a zen-like experience, a time to study one particular bird, or any other number of things.

Robert: Have you been keeping records of what you see?

Larry: I try to but not of everything all the time. If I find something out of the ordinary, like the Lincoln's Sparrows I saw in our local meadows the other day, I will enter the sighting on e-bird.

Robert: How would you rate yourself as a birder?

Larry: Mediocre-I still have a lot to learn. birding by ear is probably my strong point when it comes to finding birds.

Robert: What are you doing to work at improving your birding skills?

Larry: I don't like to force feed myself information. If there is something I am curious about then I'll try to learn more about it. Some days I'm more receptive to new information than others. I'm in no hurry.

Robert: How would you describe your ideal birding day?

Larry: It's early in the morning when I arrive at a place that is far removed from the nearest sign of civilization. The only sounds I hear are that of wildlife and the gentle trickle of a clear running stream. Beams of sunlight are seeping through the woods reflecting off of a damp mist that is rising from the forest floor. All of my senses are heightened. I can hear the crack of a twig in the distance and the sound of birds as they start to move closer. Birds are moving all around me but don't seem to be aware of my presence. I feel as though I'm invisible and nature has absorbed my existence. It doesn't matter what kind of birds I've seen or how many-just that I am there.

Robert: What was the purpose of inventing an imaginary magazine -(Diving Bird) and an interviewer -(Robert) and then granting yourself an interview?
Larry: I was having a case of bloggers block. The photos I wanted to use didn't seem to flow with the ideas I had. besides, I've always found it easier to give an answer when you're being asked a question.

Robert: Aren't you concerned that when you do silly posts like:
BwBTC Find Proof Of Avian Life On Mars , The Dangers Of Listing and Roast Meat Hill Road that no one will take you seriously and you will be given the Boy Who Cried Wolf Tag?

Larry: How about "The Man Who Cried Eastern Coyote"? I'm too old to be a boy and the last wolf in Connecticut was killed near Bridgeport in 1837. The world is serious enough place already so I doubt that I'll upset the balance by making light of things on occasion.
Robert: You've mentioned that you haven't done much birding outside of Connecticut. Does it ever get boring to you?

Larry: I wouldn't say it gets boring but some days seem more interesting than others. I like to find overlooked places and see if it turns up any unexpected surprises. Just the other day, I took a ride past a farm in Middletown that was unfamiliar to me and saw Turkey Vultures sitting up on fence posts. It wasn't a big deal because I see Turkey Vultures all the time. For whatever reason, that was an enjoyable sighting for me at that particular moment. You never know where a surprise is going to come from and what it's going to be. I guess that's why they call it a surprise!
(photo of accipter from last year-what do you think-Coopers or Sharp-shinned?)

Robert: Have you gone on any hawk watches this Fall?

Larry-I went to a hawkwatch at a place called Booth Hill in West Hartland Connecticut. I probably saw a dozen or two hawks on the morning I went including: sharpies, Coopers, Red-shouldered, Osprey, Red-tailed, and Bald Eagle. I went to check the total count on the hawkwatch site a couple of days later and noticed that they had seen 1500 hawks at the same place the day after I was there. I guess I picked the wrong day!
Robert: You tend to mix things into your post besides birding and you rarely give a complete list of the birds you see-why is that?

click to play
Larry: I find it too repetitious to list all the species I see each time I'm out. I have to squeeze in all my birding and other interests into a weekend so I try to include those other interests in my posts. For example, there was a bluegrass festival taking place on the same road as the last hawkwatch site I visited so I stopped by the festival after I left the hawkwatch. The video is of the band Acoustic Blue performing one of their songs titled: "Workin' Man Blues". I hadn't heard of them before that day but they sounded pretty good to me. I like the harmonizing and the intensity at which the acoustic instruments are played in bluegrass. I was googling to see if I could find any birding/bluegrass connections and I found this: Birdfest & Bluegrass Festival

Robert: I think that about wraps it up for now. Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions.
Larry: Any time Robert. I'll look forward to part 2 some day.


Andy said...

Nice interview

Chris said...

Excellent Larry, and congrats for the interview. it's ncie you published it, then we know a bit more about you ;-)

Larry said...


Chris-Thanks Chris-Now I have to decide what I'll pay myself

Dan Huber said...

congratulations on the interview. very nice.

warriormom said...

Needed a good laugh today! Thanks!

Larry said...

warriormom-I'm glad you found it amusing-Larry says thanks.

troutbirder said...

Well what fun. A little imagination and a dash of whisey to go with a first class (sometimes serious) nature blog is just great. You've brought a smile to my countenace more than once. Thanks Larry.

Harold Stiver said...

Congratulations!! Excellent interview

Ruth said...

What an excellent way to overcome blogging blocks. Good post and I love the photos. You probably were very good at English in school, at least very imaginative.

FAB said...

Excellent post Larry..thanks for the insight. Cheers FAB.

Larry said...

Harold, Early Birder, thanks

troutbirder--I appreciate your words of encouragement.

good-definitley not.

Dawn Fine said...

Hee hee..I missed this post Larry..until you asked me to ID the mushroom..
Well, it is mushroom unidentifius a very rare and crazy mushroom..much like yourself..hee hee
You sure are a Fun guy!

Dawn Fine said...

Oh..and thanks for the tip on the Bird Bluegrass festival..going to put that on our list of things to do.

Larry said...

I take it you mean next year unless you've unlocked the secret to time travel and you're not telling us.