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April 2010: Retrospecticus

April 30, 2010

New I and the Bird #124 at Birds, Words & Websites!


April is a red-letter month on every birder’s calendar.  Not only do the resident birds, flush with hormones, begin the task of prepping for the next generation but migrants, those long-winged dynamos, begin their push into North America making every single day in the field an opportunity for something new.  Needless to say, this was a fun month at The Drinking Bird!

First things first, I got to let the Chaffinch out of the bag, a bird I was fortunate enough to have an in on at the most recent Super Bowl of Birding (Thanks Christopher!).

The moderate temperatures mean not only are the early migrants in town, but I can get Noah back in the field, and he’s really enjoying his time out.

I reviewed the great new Birds of Europe: 2nd Edition, and it can’t be said enough how great of a guide it is.

I made an effort to take some passable photos of birds, some better than others, which is an endeavor that should get easier once my new camera gets here

I helped out with a Songbird Celebration in Wake County for the local Audubon chapter.

And in an ironic bit of serendipity, one I would have preferred to have avoided, I started the month railing on Obama’s ridiculous rationale for lifting the off-shore drilling moratorium only to have the worst oil disaster in United States history occur not three weeks later. And still, in the stark light (though that may just be the flames from the oil burn) of 12 million gallons and growing of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the Administration stands behind it’s original stupid decision.  I realize it’s rude to say I told you so, but sweet jesus, did they have to make it so easy?

Look, I said my piece yesterday but I’ve just about had it with politicians who, for some absolutely insane reason, stick by their terrible decisions for fear of appearing politically weak even as the truth of those terrible decisions is gushing 800,000 gallons every single day into the freaking ocean from now until September!

What happened to being honest and fact-based?  What happened to speaking to the American people like adults?  What happened to political courage?  Instead it’s lip service to the insane minority and triangulation with lunatics masquerading as “progress”.

Honestly, Obama.  We’re dealing with the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history, the direct result of too many years of trusting an inherently corrupt industry that has shown time and time and time and time again that they have absolutely no interest in being an honest broker for anything except the next dollar rent from our collective backs.  I mean, at the very least perhaps we can let go of the myth that these companies are so technologically savvy when that ballyhooed “futuristic technology” ends up consisting of nothing more than matches, cement, and a half dozen robot submarines that for all the good they did may as well have been from the clearance rack at Sharper Image.

The people along the Gulf Coast will be dealing with this fallout for decades.  Bird and turtle and gulf fish and whale populations are hanging by a thread as it is.  This is the same body of water that has a hundred thousand square mile dead zone from fertilizer run-off.  I just want to hear that someone is listening.  That someone is concerned with this beyond the immediate concern for the Gulf coast.  That someone is willing to make damn well sure that this doesn’t happen again.

I haven’t heard that.  Not even close.  And you know what? I’m not optimistic.  Why should I be?  Shitting on the environmental movement is what passes for lunch-hour shenanigans among the real “serious” Beltway crowd. I have absolutely no reason to believe that we’ll be heard any more than we were 20 years ago when 11 million gallons of sweet Alaska crude spilled out of Exxon’s pocket and they got off scott free.  I am truly that cynical and I really honestly hate that I am.

And if this doesn’t do it, this unrelenting stream of toxic dino juice currently streaming into the Gulf of Mexico with absolutely no end in sight (and that couldn’t be more true as even the September fix is uncertain because, second verse same as the first, it’s never been done at this depth), I don’t know what will.  Because honestly, what would it take?

Seriously, I want to know.  I’m clearly not capable of imagining it.

Anyway, see you in May.  I’ll be happier I promise.


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