Thursday, October 30, 2008

IandtheBird 87 My Search for the Prefect Halloween Costume

Here we are at the end of October already which means that the scariest day of the year is just around the corner. A day when evil bloodsuckers and mindless zombies roam the streets. But I have already made a post about the upcoming election this week so instead the theme of this issue of IandtheBird will be the much more cheering date of All Hallows Eve.

Halloween, as we refer to it in my part of the world, is an unusual holiday. On one hand everything that you see on TV at this time of the year is blood and guts on the other hand a big part of Halloween is trick or treating. That was always my favorite part of Halloween, what a deal, people give you candy because you dress up in a costume. The only problem that I had when I was a kid was the fact that my family was not very well to do. We always had a roof over our head and food on the table but we did not have money for luxuries like a cool Halloween costume. So usually my parents would through something together from stuff that we had around the house and I would end up dressing as something lame like a ghost or bum or something.

Things have changed, now that I have grown up. I still do not consider myself, "well to do" but now days I can afford to spend a bit on the luxuries that I did not get as a kid, things like toys, look at all of my camera equipment, and a cool costume. My problem though is with Halloween just a day away I still have not decided what to dress up as to go trick or treating. Fortunately I have been reading a lot of great posts on fantastic blogs over the past week hoping that I can get some inspiration from the wonderful world of bird bloggers.

So I began by heading of to Iowa Voice to see if Moe could give me any ideas for a costume. Moe had a great post about goldfinch with some great pictures of an adult feeding an immature. Maybe I could dress up like a goldfinch for Halloween? The only problem with that is that gold prices are very high right now with all the economic turmoil so I decided to try some more sites looking for inspiration.

Next I headed over to Madras Ramblings where Ambika had a great post, complete with pics, about peacocks. They certainly were beautiful birds but I think that they were a bit too flamboyant for a costume for me so I continued my search.

Next I headed a little closer to home, over to SW WI Birder where Chris had a great post about bird migration. There was a lot of great information but instead of inspiring me to find a costume it made me want to head south where it is warm and there is a lot of food.

So I headed south to I am the Finch Wench where Sara the Finch Wench was Joshing around at Joshua Tree. It does not look like Sara found any finches at Joshua Tree but she did find a very cute mountain chickadee which might be a good costume for me.

My next stop was the Bird Ecology Study Group site. Over at BESGroup Y C has a great post of a chestnut-bellied malkoha feeding its young. The photos in the post are fabulous but they have also discouraged me from dressing up like a famous insurance company gecko.

So off to Eclectic Echoes where Eric has made a post entitled, "It all started with boobies". Now I am sure that all of you are no longer reading what I am writing because with a title like that you have already raced off to Eclectic Echoes to check it out, but don't worry parents Eric's post is about a good way to use resources like Flickr and the Internet to educate and inspire young people. I know that reading through all the great blog posts to do this IandtheBirds has educated and inspired me and I hope that Eric's post and all the others will do the same for you. However Eric's post gave me only bad, very very bad ideas for Halloween.

I decided that I had better move to something a bit less risque so I headed over to Earth, Wind, and Water, after all what can be more pure then earth, wind and water. Tai was very excited, and with good reason, he was able to check off a couple of coots from his island list. The coots were pretty cool but people are already starting to call me an old coot these days so I did not think that it would be a good Halloween costume for me.

My next trip was to Ben Cruachan where Duncan had a great post about oranges, ravens, pelicans, and baby birds, what variety. Ravens would be a cool idea for Halloween and maybe pelicans but oranges would not work because orange is not a good color for me. The best part of Duncan's post is the picture of the little baby bird chicks. They are so ugly that they are cute.

Speaking of bird chicks my next stop was to visit Sharon over at Sharon is very creative, she is a theatre person, so I figured that she could really help me pick out a great costume. Unfortunately for me Sharon was out of town enjoying common Cape May birds. What a great gig travelling to Cape May to work the Swarovski both and digiscoping mockingbirds, coops, black vultures and more. I guess that I will have to wait for the next Birds and Beers to get Sharon's Halloween ideas.

Since Sharon lives close by, relatively speaking, I decided that maybe I would check out a site from some one in another part of the world next. So I went over to Gallicissa to check out Amila's post on the cool things that he sees in his garden. The thing that I found very interesting was that a couple of the things that Amila photographed have different names but look very similar to things that I see in my neighborhood. Like his Indian Cupid looks a lot like my eastern tailed blue and his variegated flutterer looks a lot like my Halloween pennant.

Now Jeff over at the Jeffrey A Gordon blog posted some pics of hummers like nothing that I have seen before. They are truly spectacular. I am afraid I would need way too much face paint to dress up like one of them though. It would probably be easier for me to dress up like a brown-throated three-toed sloth like he photographed in this other post about the good deeds that they did rescuing animals, birds and insects while on his travels.

Next I headed over to 10,000 birds where I knew that I could get some good costume ideas. 10,00 birds always has a lot of great posts with lots of information and great pics. This time mike posted about his travels to California where he stalked the California gnatcatcher. Despite the hostile environments of business meetings and award dinners Mike still was able to brave the wilds of California to bring back a picture of the California gnatcathcer as well as several other birds. Maybe I should dress like a big time explorer.

Reading about all of that work that Mike was doing made me kind of tired so I headed over to It's Just Me where Liza had an interesting post about an amazing day of bird watching. Liza's birds were very pretty but I really wanted to curl up with them and take a nice comfy nap.

By this time it was getting dark so I headed off to the only place to go party in the dead of night, the Saw-whet Owl Research blog. Drew had a great post about their nightly adventures in which he saw no saw-whets but they did capture a really cool red eastern screech owl. Hmm an owl would be a really hot costume.

In the morning I headed over to the Cult of Ornothology where Jeff had posted pictures of mourning doves who watch television.

In the Halloween spirit Larry, over at The Birders Report, posted a horror story that should scare all of us. Reading his post sent shivers down my spine.

John, over at A DC Birding Blog, posted some recent hawk photos that he took out at Cape May. John's harrier and coop photos have got me thinking about a possible raptor costume. The Cape May morning pics are nice too I can't imagine why John would prefer to be at Cape May instead of DC at this time of year. Wait a minute wasn't Sharon at Cape May also? No one ever invites me to the good parties.

As I continued to search for the perfect Halloween costume my mail account kept filling up with political spam, making it harder for me to find IandtheBird e-mails. SO I decided to get away from all of the politics for a while and check out a site over the Pacific for some inspiration. Pergrine's Bird Blog was just the ticket. Craig had a great post there about his birding trip to Inishbofin, don't worry he has the phonetic spelling for people like myself who have a problem with English. It looks like he had a great trip and took a lot of great pics.

On my way back from Ireland I decided to change my radio dial to a new station, AcornRadio. Geoff, the DJ, was spinning the new smash hit by the swallows. This post was definitely going to the top of the charts.

Now it was time to get back to my costume search just as Wrenaissance woman over at Wrenaissance Reflections has gotten back to bird watching. Her post is making me consider something wild and dangerous like maybe a rattlesnake, I think that I was born to be wild.

Since I have decided that I should be something wild I think that I decided that it was time to check out The Drinking Bird. Nathan posted about his awesome beach party. His guests included everyone famous, a virtually who's who including mottled duck, moorhens, woodstorks, ibis, rails, dunlin, sanderling and more. the surprise guest was a young piping plover who I hear was getting close to Nathan.

After all of that party time I figured it was time to get serious so I decided to head over and check out Living the Scientific Life. Grrlscientist had an interesting post an endangered cockatoo species rediscovered in Indonesia. It was so interesting that I read another post about owls and woodpeckers. Check them both out. After reading the second article I thought about about perhaps dressing like a woodpecker but then dismissed that idea since many woodpeckers have red necks.

Time was running out inspiration was what I needed now so I turned to Carrie over at the Great Auk. Who could read Carries story of taking 3 birding trips in three days and finding 3 life birds. Now if Carrie was really in the Halloween spirit she would have doubled everything and had 6 trips in 6 days with 6 lifers.

I had reached the end of my list of websites for IandtheBird 87 and my search was still incomplete. I still did not have the perfect Halloween costume. Then out of e-mail ether 2 last submissions came in.

It was like serendipity. David, from Search and Serendipity, had posted about one of my favorite birds. His post merlins on wires and gulls in the sky has some very nice merlin shots. The time had come to make my decision and David's post was the key.

However one last post came in that gave me the key to the best Halloween costume that I could ever think of. Anonymous from the Unknown Birder sent this post of the most unusual bird that I have ever seen in my life so this is the costume that I decided on.


Nate said...

Well played!

A real treat.

Anonymous said...

Awesome list of links to fill my weekend reading!
Great choice (if a bit timid) for the costume :>

Beverly said...

LOL had me for every minute! I didn't even follow links! Sheeshhhhhhhh

By the by...after your kind offer, I filched another of your pictures...for educational use ONLY! LOL...and of course I gave you credit. It was a Blue Jay you posted last year...the only one I found with crest raised! Thank you for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Boo, you got me.
Very clever post. I thought of you today when I arrived home this afternoon to find five Hooded Mergansers in the pond behind my Mendota Heights home. Thanks for inspiring me to notice the beauty that surrounds me.

Anonymous said...

Love your IATB -- It was wonderful . . . tricks and treats! Sooooo appropriate!

Amila Salgado said...

Wow! Great IATB presentation!
I promise to make several visits.

The Ridger, FCD said...

Damn. I forgot! And this is such a great edition, too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but it is difficult to pull off a costume of Aves, even with a nose like mine ...

Anonymous said...

A fantastic journey in search of a perfect Halloween costume. Great job.

Duncan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Duncan said...

Good one, thanks for your work, cheers!

Chris W said...

Great post Jeff! Nice job with weaving the links into your story. :D