May 17, 2006 [LINK]

International Migratory Bird Day

Bees closeup Distracted by other things, I neglected to observe International Migratory Bird Day last week. To mark the occasion, Acting Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett announced that more than $3.9 million in federal grants will be devoted to support neotropical migratory bird conservation partnerships in 34 U.S. states, as well as 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries. See the Interior Dept. Web site. It doesn't seem like much money to cover so many countries, but the efforts of volunteers and dedicated natural scientists will no doubt ensure that the limited funds are well spent. It's not enough to protect the environment in our own country, we need to make sure that warblers, orioles, tanagers, etc. have a decent habitat in which to spend the winter months, and in most poorer countries, saving endangered species is not exactly high on the priority list. That reminds me, I need to make a list of the neotropical migrants that I've seen in Latin America as well as in the U.S.A.

1000+ bees swarm!

As intensively as I study birds, I ought to pay more attention to the bees once in a while. I was startled to see this mass of Honey bees (I think) in a walnut tree out back this afternoon. I couldn't tell whether or not they are building a hive. I just hope they're not those "Africanized" killer bees. Roll your mouse over the image to see a closeup.

I was in the Fishersville area this morning, so I decided to check out the pond near the Eagles Nest Airport that ABC member Mary Vermeulen often talks about. It is a very scenic and pleasant spot, indeed. There were quite a few Barn swallows, Tree swallows, and Red-winged blackbirds, as well as a Meadowlark and a female Flicker near a nest hole. No warblers, however.