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Loss and Gain

2014 has been a tough year. My dad died on Oct. 23rd. Our Lacey died on Oct. 21st (exactly 8 years to the day that our Coupar died suddenly). Our Trevor died in June. Even though I’ve experienced the depths of sorrow this year, I’ve also experienced the joy of adopting our kitty Jet in October, getting Kellan’s HT title, and going to India for almost two weeks, which included a four-day solo vacation in a gorgeous spot in Kerala. I look forward to more adventures in 2015 and gaining even more wisdom as I grow older.

My New Zealand Adventure

I spent six days on the South Island of New Zealand from 10/20/12 to 10/26/12. It was jam-packed with adventure and work – it was a business trip with a couple days tacked on for sightseeing. Got to go back with Marty. Saw many birds:

House Sparrow


Paradise Shelduck

Australasian Harrier (Swamp Harrier)


Australian Magpie


Canada Goose

Australian Shoveler

White-faced Heron

Black Swan

Welcome Swallow

California Quail

Pukeko (like our Purple Gallinule)

Domestic Geese

Southern Black-backed Gull

South Island Tomtit




Masked Lapwing (Spur-Winged Plover)

Kereru (Wood Pigeon)

New Zealand Gray Fantail

Spotted Shag

Pied Shag



Tern from a distance – no idea what it was

Red-billed Gull

Variable Oystercatcher

Little Blue (White-flippered) Penguin

Yellow-eyed Penguin

Song Thrush

Sulfur-crested Cockatoo

Rock Pigeon

While at Willowbank, a fantastic nature preserve outside of Christchurch, I saw these birds (some being rehabilitated, some serving as ambassadors):



South Island Takahe

Little Spotted Kiwi

Barbary Dove



Birding in Texas

Just got back from a week in Surfside, Texas (40 miles south of Galveston on the coast), where we stayed in a beach house with family and friends. Spent some great hours birding in the area, at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, San Bernard NWR, and Brazos Bend State Park. Saw 62 bird species, 10 of which are lifers for me. I’ll start with the 10 lifers:

  • Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
  • Northern Bobwhite
  • Neotropic Cormorant
  • Wood Stork (finally!)
  • Mississippi Kite
  • Purple Gallinule
  • Marbled Godwit
  • Sandwich Tern
  • Summer Tanager
  • Painted Bunting

Also saw big ol’ turtles, white-tailed deer, and more than a few alligators! The rest of the birds, in no particular order:

  • Mallard
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Brown Pelican
  • Anhinga (love those Anhinga!!)
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Snowy Egret
  • Little Blue Heron
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Cattle Egret
  • Green Heron
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  • White Ibis
  • Glossary Ibis
  • White-faced Ibis
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Crested Caracara
  • Common Moorhen
  • American Coot
  • Killdeer
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • American Avocet
  • Willet
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper
  • Laughing Gull
  • Least Tern
  • Black Skimmer
  • Mourning Dove
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  • American Crow
  • Purple Martin
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Gray Catbird
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Seaside Sparrow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Dickcissel
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Boat-tailed Grackle
  • Great-tailed Grackle
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • House Sparrow

Fabulous birding with DFO

Enjoyed a great birding trip with Denver Field Ornithologists this morning at Lair O’ the Bear park. Saw and/or heard 23 species:

  • Great Blue Heron
  • Bullock’s Oriole
  • Western Kingbird
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Violet-Green Swallow
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • American Robin
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • American Goldfinch
  • Song Sparrow
  • Gray Catbird
  • Northern Flicker
  • House Wren feeding young
  • Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  • Dusky Flycatcher
  • Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
  • White-Breasted Nuthatch
  • Gray-headed Junco
  • Brown-headed Cowbird
  • Northern Rough-Winged Swallow (a first)
  • Lazuli Bunting
  • Black-headed Grosbeak female and young


A new job, a new beginning

Haven’t written in awhile, but I’m happy to report that I’ve accepted a full-time Technical Writer position with Vestas Technology R&D Americas, and I start on November 1st. It’s been a wonderful summer and fall, and I’m ready.

Realta’s Starry Starry Night

It’s official…Star’s registered name is Realta’s Starry Starry Night, with both AKC and UKC!!

Welcome to my blog.

Although it’s mainly about my Belgian Sheepdogs, you’ll also find photos of birds. Once I get out with my fancy camera and start taking those fancy shots. But first, Belgian Sheepdogs.