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Monday, August 28, 2006

Birder Profile: Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark was one of the first people to respond to my listserv query about DC-area fall birding locations (I'm working on a post, I swear), and so he seemed a perfect candidate for my first birder profile in a couple months.

Since it's been awhile, here's a reminder that profiles are a bunch of questions that birders love to talk about given to a DC area-birder. The aim is to let everyone know a little bit more about those birding around them, and to maybe hear a good story or two.

Take it away, Jeff:

Name: Jeff Clark

DC Location: Fairfax City, VA

Profession: Software Architect

Years Birding: 4

Organizations: American Birding Association, Virginia Society of Ornithology, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, American Bird Conservancy

Lists: Life - 268; ABA – 267 (the Common Myna that I saw in the Burger King parking lot in Florida City, FL does not yet count towards my ABA list); VA – 178; Yard - 79

Field Guide: Sibley – Eastern though I own most all of the North American guides as well as a handful of guides to other parts of the world.

Optics: Stokes DLS 8x42 – Swarovski 65mm ATS HD Scope with zoom eyepiece

Favorite Bird: Rose-breasted Grosbeak – this is the bird that turned me from a passive bird-watcher into a birder. Seeing a gorgeous male come to my feeders one spring, dressed in his finest livery and bleeding a scarlet wash across his breast, sparked an obsession.

Least Favorite Bird (C’mon we’ve all got one): Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, only because they are so good at setting off my warbler alert: small bird flitting about high up in a tree.

Bird You’d Most Like to See but Haven’t: Gyrfalcon

Wish You Were Better at Identifying: Waterfowl. I need to do more winter birding!

Favorite DC-area birding location: Huntley Meadows

Favorite non-DC location: San Elijo and Batiquitos Lagoons, San Diego, CA

Best DC area Sighting: My best sighting, as far as rarity goes, was the White-faced Ibises at Huntley Meadows in the spring of 2006. That is the only “twitch” that I have ever done. My favorite sighting though is the first time I ever saw a Yellow-breasted Chat doing a display flight in the Woodcock meadow at Huntley Meadows.

Missed Opportunity: Shrimpy. [Note: Shrimpy was the name of the Kelp Gull that was, until recently, found in Maryland. RIP ol' buddy.]

Fondest Remembered Single Day: This past Spring (May of 2006 to be more precise) I played hooky from work and went to Monticello Park in Alexandria. I planned to stay 2 hours, max. Nearly 5 hours later I finally left. The first bird I saw upon walking in was a male Mourning Warbler perched in full view for at least 15 seconds! Breathtaking! As if this was not enough several absolutely stunning male Blackburnian Warblers put on a show. The real highlight though was a bird that I located myself and was the only report of from Monticello all spring. I heard a song that I only knew from bird song CDs, quick-three-beers. I quickly located a large flycatcher that was “wearing a vest” up on a dead tree, Olive-sided Flycatcher; a lifer for me and several others in the park that also got to see it. Totals for the ½ day were 15 warbler species and 42 total species. Besides the birds I met some wonderful birders. Days like that are what make Monticello legendary.
was wondering if this was the same Jeff Clark that use to live in Bradenton, Fl.
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