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Elizabeth River Bird Blog by David Gibson

I thought about calling this blog 'Sumer is Agoin Out,' a rewording of "Sumer is Acumen In," a famous medieval English part song, but settled on 'I Love to Tell the Story,' the name of an old Christian hymn. So why the title? Because we're going to do some more storytelling. But hold on, because we'll be jumping around a bit. Paradise Creek Nature Park Let's start the visual storytelling with this: a midsummer shot of Paradise Creek in Portsmouth and the marshes on either side from the... Read More
Funny Bird Stories There are often funny stories about birds in the papers, as well as reports of recent local sightings. These usually appear in weekend editions where harder news is replaced by news that is a bit softer and more entertaining. That's my take, anyway. Here are some recent examples.  The first is about an owl that got caught in a hockey net. The second is an account of a seagull that snatched a man's wallet from his back pocket. (Of course, there's no such thing as a... Read More
My Day Begins Let me put things in context. I started out early on 8/16 making the usual stops along Bainbridge Blvd. I continued south across Veterans Bridge and headed toward Inland Rd. I was making the circuit I often make. I spent a fair amount of time on Inland, much of it waiting and watching. I didn't mind, though. The sun was up, the tide was low, and I was hopeful. Always hopeful. Here's one capture. The wait, as is so often the case, was worth it.   young Osprey in... Read More
I said these words in a previous blog: 'Birds are now settling in to their nest-building, egg-laying, and brood-raising responsibilities.' By now, the beginning of August, most of those brood members have left the nest, and are on their own (more or less), though some certainly remain. (Some species have multiple broods. And some are late breeders.) A Little Review Before we move on and cover what happens next, let's take a look at a few photos that recap the past season. Nest building... Read More
That's the title of an acclaimed memoir by author Chris Offutt, and the title of blog #13. You'll see why shortly. But first, a photo of the same river once, with a female Mallard aloft just above it.   female Mallard duck   Sandy's Story Sandy (with a 'y'), who now works at Deep Creek Veterinary Hospital in Chesapeake (a wonderful place to bring your healthy--and ailing--pets), was a 'much younger' 16 year old when she set out on a waterskiing adventure on the... Read More
Thank You! We've covered some ground here. Thank you so much for reading. And thank you to those who have told me personally (Marjorie, Rebecca, Larry, Steve, Mickie the Master Naturalist, the two Sarah's, Bob S., CBG and others) and through your comments (Abby, Glenn, Phil, Marlene the nature writer, Katiegirl, Dii and others) how much you're enjoying the blog. I realize this is a well-worn expression, but this is a labor of love. I love doing this. And hopefully the labor is yielding... Read More
I came across this scene the other day. I'd rather not disclose where it was, and I'd rather not divulge what I said when I saw it. Outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen search for vistas. Landscape photographers do the same. But no one--except for maybe the occasional nature blogger--searches for anything like this.  Jumbled Mess This jumbled mess of a trash pile was just feet from an Elizabeth River tributary. And that'll be its destination following a rainstorm, a higher than... Read More
Dre at Work I also had the pleasure recently of meeting Dre. No, not Dr. Dre. But when Dre told me his name, that's how I remembered it--by associating it with the name of the famous rapper and producer. From Compton. I'd call Dre a master crabber. Boy was he good, not to mention that he seemed like a great guy.  When I arrived on the scene (same general area where I saw the night heron perched on a tire, and the otter), he'd already caught 2 dozen blue crabs, and was busy trying... Read More
Osprey Nestlings I had the pleasure recently of meeting a lady named Barb. She approached me as I was watching and photographing an active Osprey nest on the Southern Branch of the  Elizabeth. We struck up a conversation. I shared with her that I was with the Elizabeth River Project, that I monitor Osprey nests in the river and elsewhere, and that two nestlings were about to fledge from the nest I was watching. 'Any day now', I excitedly told her.  She expressed an interest in... Read More
That's the title of a well-known poem by American poet James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916). And we are, of course, knee deep in June! Here are a few lines from one of the verses. Fitting lines for inclusion in a bird blog. Mr. Bluejay, full o’ sass,             In them base-ball clothes o’ his,     Sportin’ ’round the orchard jes’     Like he owned the premises!   Mr. Bluejay Hopefully some of you are smiling... Read More