Thursday, November 29, 2012

Miles and Milestones, Photo Giveaway

It is hard for us to believe that this is our third winter in Marathon. Never mind that the high on December 1st is supposed to be pushing 80 degrees (it was cooler in July!)'s technically winter enough by Texas standards (fake snow in stores = winter, right?)

We moved out here as a back-up to a back-up to a back-up plan D or E or F or something, and anticipated no more than three months out here. My, how plans change. After living with Aplomado Falcons for a while, and with a small town that had no stress and less traffic... well, we're still here. Sometimes we wonder why, but then we realize that we know - and like - the neighbors!

Aplomado Falcon, ~1 week pre-release. July 2010.
For those of you who have offered words of encouragement, support, and gratitude for our coverage of the region; thank you. It has really meant a lot to know that people gain something from this mad experiment we're calling life - we've met some fantastic people who have passed through the region and taken the time to look us up. Admittedly, it's a small enough town that folks passing through have been easy to track down as well... some of y'all have kind of become familiar, if not family (many of you we see more often than our own families!)

Mexican Metalmark (Apodemia duryi)

Just for kicks:
Since adding Site Meter (Nov. 2010?), we've had over 26,600 page views and 43,400 page hits. I'm sure a few of you just sit in front of the computer and hit "refresh" constantly (hi, Mom!) but that's still really cool. To further amuse you, we've recently added the little spinning globe from revolvermaps (it's a bit over 1,800 at the moment).

Regardless of the reason, we'd like to thank y'all - the readers, commenters, lurkers, friends, neighbors, family, strangers, birders, butterfliers, naturalists and those of you who accidentally googled your way over. I don't think we ever quite expected to have more than three or four followers on this blog, yet we're inexplicably up to 39! We've even ended up on our local NPR station twice as a result of the blog (if indirectly on the second round).

So between now and New Year's we'll giving away a few 8x11 prints of our images (some images are from the blog) as a "thank you" to our blog supporters, one or three of which will go to a randomly selected name from the comments (unless only one person comments, though I guess sending three prints to one person would save on postage!). Only one comment per person, please! Once we have the names, the choice of a bird, a butterfly, a moth or "other" print will be given. To give folks plenty of time to comment, we'll leave this thread open through at least Dec. 15th.

For our most frequent commenter, one has been set aside for you - Laurence, please send your contact info to heidi at!


  1. oh! oh! oh! pick me! the boys would love some nature prints (or you can just e-mail me hi-res photos & i can print them myself).

    1. I bet something could be arranged, since I think I'm ~3 years behind on being a good aunt ;-)

  2. Wow three years? That's like, 1095 days!
    Y'all are troopers for sure, rivaling Lewis, Clark, and good ol' J.J. Audubon in your naturalistic dedication. Sometime in the next two years I'm hoping for a trip to west Texas...gotta get Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Colima Warbler, and Golden-cheeked Warbler. I hope y'all are still in the area then, but hey if duty calls elsewhere at least there's the blog to follow.

    So, hard and annoying a question as this is, what has been your best bird sighting so far?

    1. It'll be three years next July - I tend to measure things in strange ways! Two and a half winters is how long I survived IL, so starting the 3rd winter out here is a big milestone for me; I've never made it longer than three winters anywhere outside of the Upper Texas Coast! I lasted exactly three winters in Abilene, so this is kind of exciting.

      Just holler when the trip rolls around - if for any reason we're not here, we'll make sure you have adequate information! You'll have to get more into central TX for Golden-cheeked Warbler, but we can help out with that and Black-capped Vireo as well. Some of our old stomping grounds...

      Best sighting? Ooo. Matt's Swainson's Warbler and Bay-breasted Warbler are probably tied the 'best' sightings - there were no fall records at all for the region, for either of them. Lapland Longspur is up there, with the first through fourth county records... but if you're asking about personal bias, we like them all! The Zone-tailed Hawk carrying a bunny to the nest was pretty darn awesome, though...

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  4. My phone helped out on my original post, so I will spell check this one more closely! Your picture of the juvenile Aplomado brought to mind a conversation with Heidi about the success, or lack thereof, of the previously released falcons. Is there any chance that more will be released?

  5. Lulu, sorry about the delay! Releases continue in south TX, but it's unlikely that any will be released out here in the near future (not sure if that includes the Sierra Blanca and Van Horn sites, too, but Marfa/Marathon/Sanderson certainly will not have a fresh batch of Aplomado Falcons for a long time). We do have our fingers crossed, however, and will keep folks posted as we know more!