Hello my fellow nature wanderers! I have some exciting news! I will be launching a new website at the end of March!

It seems from my statistics on InkFromTheQuill that you enjoy videos so my new website will contain much more of that! Vlogs (video logs) and other media documenting my work in the field as an ornithologist as well as my birding and travel experiences. The blog posts will continue as well!

I will remind you as the date gets closer but if you would like to subscribe to the email list that receives notifications for new blog and video posts, click this link OR fill out the small form on the right sidebar (it’s just below the InkFromTheQuill logo at the top right). I appreciate all your support and would be completely honored and thrilled by your subscription.

Come away with me! Into a land of wanderlust and avian dinosaurs!

Creatures that lurk in the bayou

Four critters. Two of them are not birds. Maybe if you’ve tired of my incessant bird-mongering, you’ll stop by. Please?

First off, a turtle. Everyone likes turtles right? [Insert link for YouTube turtle kid video that three of you still have not seen somehow.]

Here it is, a mediocre photograph of a Pond Slider in a Louisiana bayou.


Pond Slider (Trachemys scripta) – Holmes Bayou, LA

Every floating log and breaching boulder was overstocked with these fellows. It was difficult to photograph them however because of the speed of the boat and the shyness of the turtles upon our approach.

Pond sliders are quite common. You might know them better as Red-eared Sliders (a subspecies), which is common in pet stores. It delighted me to find out that these sliders are no good for turtle soup. Not that I’d be opposed to trying turtle soup. I just wouldn’t want to shatter my vision of the hordes of sun-happy ancients. Like twenty-somethings on the first day of a music festival.

Secondly, a snake. I nearly jumped out of the boat with joy after finding several snakes along the way. I figured there might’ve been gators in the water though. So I refrained.

Not your everyday water snake.


Southern Watersnake (Nerodia fasciata) – Holmes Bayou, LA

Rather than discussing cutesy things like what they eat and when they sleep, let’s talk about what happens when you try to pick one up. It’s pretty motley. They bite. Vigorously. And they emit jets of malevolent musk mixed with feces. They do not prefer that you handle them. Slightly different from the little water snakes I used to gather in my hands and pockets as a child on the north fork of the Gunnison River. Though I’m certain those snakes did not prefer me either.

If you’re a regular reader, you might know that I find the antics of Great Blue Herons (and by antics I mean that you turn 100 years old watching them take one step) pretty entertaining. The GBH found in the bayou was no exception. He just seemed more creepy because he was wading in the still dark waters of a swamp. Amidst giant mangrove trees that masked him for whole minutes at a time.

Da-dum (Jaws theme music).


Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) – Holmes Bayou, LA



Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) – Holmes Bayou, LA



Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) – Holmes Bayou, LA

And lastly, my very first Prothonotary Warbler. The natives refer to them as swamp canaries. A bayou is a colorful little ecozone and these warblers somehow make it more lucid.


Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) – Holmes Bayou, LA

I hope you enjoyed your quick escape into the bayou. Don’t forget that you can click on the photos to enlarge them AND you can leave me comments at the bottom which I will readily read and respond to.

Personal memo: Remember the island before the snow


Fogo Island, Newfoundland – June 2016

18 Jan 2017

Weeks of snow now. No end in sight. This morning, large sideways clusters of flakes. Like plastic models of hemoglobin molecules. My coworker looked at me and said, “You know what they say, big snow, little snow.” Meaning, if the flakes are big, the snow accumulation is small. The reverse has also proved true lately. I find myself loitering near the bucket of freshly cut Balsam Fir branches in the lab just to breathe them in. I’m drinking a toxic amount of tea. I’ll be septic by March.

Here’s to you, June. The month of warbler song and chlorophyll.


Fogo Island, Newfoundland – June 2016


Fogo Island, Newfoundland – June 2016


Goose Cove, Newfoundland – June 2016


Goose Cove, Newfoundland – June 2016


Goose Cove, Newfoundland – June 2016


Goose Cove, Newfoundland – June 2016


Goose Cove, Newfoundland – June 2016