The rewards- and consequences- of birding

   Sevral days ago I was making my usual rounds and checking all of the nests that I am currently monitoring for Cornell Lab's NestWatch program. I was quite happy with the results- The bluebird eggs have hatched, the nearby tree swallows are nearly due to hatch, the second pair of swallows had just laid their first eggs, and I found a nest full of young American robins, as well as a new house finch nest right outside my front door nestled right between the side of the house and a porch light. Here are some photos that I took:

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Two young American robins beg for food

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A nest full of tree swallow eggs, which should hatch any day now.

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A male tree swallow perched atop an old rust fence post.

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Red-winged blackbird eggs

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The house finch nest location

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Inside the house finch nest


   Now that I have given you some good photos (in my opinion), I have something to discuss. Birding can be quite joyful. Just watching the birds and hearing them, I can't help but smile. Especially when watching tree swallows (or any swallow species, really). They have such happy, bubbly callss. Comdined with the fact that they are so small (for some reason I can't help but like small birds) and beautiful with their shiny blue iridescent backs and their pure white undersides. And it also makes you happy watching baby birds and their parents. Seeing a new bird and being able to identify it and add it to your life list is also very enjoyable. But there is a downside. In my area, the downside is ticks. In the summer time, they are everywhere. On a 'good' day, I have counted over 45 ticks that I have removed as they were crawling up my legs (and yet not one of them attached that day). But ticks are pleasant compared to what I have found on previous trips, but until this trip, I had never found something other than a tick actually on me. I had made it back into the house when I felt somthing craling up my neck. assuming that it was just a tick, I quickly pulled it off and looked at my prize. A pincher beetle. As you can probably imagine, I quickly flung it into the sink with great abhorrence, and was about to rinse it down with a streak of hot water when I paused. Leaning over the sink, I gazed at it intently. No. I had to get a photo document of it first. And photograph it I did:

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The pinchy bug that had impudently crawled up my neck.


And that, my fellow birders, is the downside to birding.

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