Whiteout Conditions

Yesterday was fairly improbable. First, the obvious reason:

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Eclipse through an Android

As it turns out, the solar eclipse was pretty cool looking, but it didn’t really translate through the camera of an Android phone.

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Speaking of androids…

During mid-afternoon northern Indiana’s sky slowly dimmed and then got brighter again all thanks to the approximately 80% coverage the eclipse afforded us at this latitude. Here is me doing my best Daft Punk impression with a welding mask. The protective headgear will probably make an appearance again in 2024 when the encore performance will be much more impressive in Indiana.

2024 eclipse

Path of Totality: 2024 edition

Before the light show had totally ended I pointed my car towards southeast Michigan where I had a city council meeting to attend later that evening. I knew of a summering Whooping Crane that was directly on my route and would have been a lifer, so I decided I would try to pick it up on my way into town. I checked eBird first and then Facebook to confirm its continuing presence, the latter of which told me there was also a Swallow-tailed Kite less than 10 miles away from the crane’s known whereabouts. So I performed a double chase of two improbable birds. The kite was first, and the number one jam of the summer started playing on the radio just as I arrived. I took it to be a good sign considering the events of the day and stark black-and-whiteness of the bird.

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Swallow-tailed Kite

The crowd of cars and pile of long lenses let me know right away that the bird was there. This may have been the combination easiest chase/best bird I have ever completed since it was literally exactly where I was going anyway and STKI is just so damn cool. Lifering a bird 1,200 miles out of its normal range with almost no effort on the day of a solar eclipse was just a bit too much, and the birding gods must have agreed, because I whited out on the Whooping Crane. But that just means I can hold on to hope for lifering it as a yard bird when it flies over in the spring, which may or may not be an event more improbable than the combination of things yesterday.

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