From 1851 to 1858, Henry David Thoreau noted a number of natural occurrences in detail, including the first flowering dates for over 500 species of wildflowers in Concord. Additionally, Alfred Hosmer, a botanist in the same area, had recorded the flowering dates of over 600 species of wild plants in 1878 and from 1888 to 1902. With that data, Richard Primack, a biology professor at Boston University, and fellow researcher Abraham Miller-Rushing spent years aligning old plant names with current names to study the change flowering patterns from the recorded past to present. Their phenological study concluded that plants in Concord, on average, are now flowering 10 days earlier than they were in Thoreau's time (full article for the journal BioScience). [more inside]
In 1998 three birders--Sandy Komito, Al Levantin and Greg Miller--had their big year attempt chronicled in 2004 in a book of the same name by Mark Obmascik. Due to a few fortuitous circumstances including some spectacular fallout on Attu, a remote Alaskan Island, Komito's 1998 record of 745 species has never been surpassed. Their friendly yearlong rivalry is being documented further in a motion picture featuring Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black coming out later this year. [more inside]
Mike O'Connor, owner of Bird Watcher's General Store in MA, writes a column "Ask the Bird Folks", for The Cape Codder newspaper. Five of O'Connor's short but humorously enlightening pieces were chosen by Steven Pinker to be included in the 2004 edition of the Best American Science and Nature writing. Those five can be read here: ,,,,. The full set of articles here. He started in 2001 and is sort of a "Car Talk" of bird watching.
Bird Watchers Guide on Flickr. "Linked list of species submitted; find all photos of a species here".
Nice Tits! The Royal Tit-Watching Society of Britain. (Shockingly safe for work)
Those Crazy birds The birdwatchers of Ireland were atwitter Tuesday after spotting a Baltimore oriole in a seaside village named Baltimore.