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May 17, 2021

Return of Bird of the Week: Speckled Chachalaca

Speckled Chachalaca, Eastern Ecuador

Another “cha-cha” bird, this time a smaller member of the Chachalacas, the Speckled Chachalaca. Like a lot of the Cracids, it has consistently denied WC a clear photo opportunity. This species has a fairly wide distribution, from Columbia to Bolivia, along the eastern slopes of the Andes. It’s an easy bird to identify, with the characteristic speckles along the throat, expanding to scalloping on the chest. It has a strong, curved bill and a small dewlap in comparison to its cogeneors. It forages in groups of as many as six birds (possibly families?), eating fruits, flower buds and leaves. The…

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Return of Bird of the Week: Chaco Chachalaca

Chaco Chachalaca, Panatnal, Brazil One of WC’s birding buddies call this genus of Cracids the “Cha-cha” birds. Chachalacas are cousins to the Currasows and Guans featured earlier. They generally tend to be a bit drabber than those cousins, but there are exceptions. Chaco Chachalacas are famous for their dawn chorus; this bird was vocalizing when WC got this shot. The male’s morning call is described as a “bink, ka chee chaw raw taw, chaw raw taw, chaw raw taw” and is very loud, audible for half a mile. You be the judge:

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The Final Shenanigans Before Election Day

  DAVID NELSON (Yes, him again) So, hang on just a second… how long HAS David Nelson lived in the district he’s running in? Good question. The rules are very specific – you have to live in your district for a minimum of one year from when you file to run. Nelson filed on February 27, 2020, which means he had to have resided in HD15 since February 27, 2019. On his own Facebook page he says he moved to Muldoon when he got a job on JBER… in December, 2019. Here’s a handy infographic with images from his own…

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Return of Bird of the Week: Chestnut-breasted Guan

Male Chestnut-bellied Guan, Pantanal, Brazil

This is a medium-sized guan, and in contrast to its tree-loving cousins, mostly forages on the ground. It’s the rarest Cracid – the family of Chachalacas, Guans and Currasows – that WC has photographed, and is likely globally threatened. Birds of the World (paywalled), one of the definitive sources of information on the 10,000 species of birds, says, “Comparatively little is known of the species’ natural history.” That’s an understatement. This species prefers the swampy forests and savannah of the Pantanal, the very large, seasonal swamp in eastern Bolivia and western Brazil, although smaller populations are found in central Brazil….

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We Found the Worst Candidate in Alaska!

Goodness knows, Alaska is a veritable banquet table of bad Republican entrees this cycle. But we think we may have found the worst – the Jell-O salad with liverwurst of candidates. David Nelson May Be the Worst Candidate Ever Just have to say. This 23-year old recent Florida transplant, who has lived in the district the exact minimum amount of time necessary to run for office, is lacking in just about everything but gall. Let’s start here: Lying about military service The Official Election Pamphlet (OEP) is mailed out by the Division of Elections before every election and includes information…

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Return of Bird of the Week: Crested Guan

Crested Guan, Costa Rica

Last week you met your first Guan, the Black Guan. This week it’s a close cousin, the Crested Guan, another arboreal Cracid. Crested Guan, Costa Rica The Crested Guan is much larger than the Black, and is one of the largest of its genus, coming in at more than two kilograms. The bright red dewlap, red legs, black body, white-scalloped chest feathers and brownish tail make it another very distinctive species. And noisiest: not only does it have a loud, repetitive honking call, when it flies from tree to tree its landing sounds like a train wreck. For a species…

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Don Young Touts Phony “Most Effective” Rating

Amid the flurry of political ads this fall – mostly for Alaska’s hotly-contested federal races – one really stands out for anyone who’s more than an election season quarterback. And it is this: “Don Young was recently rated the most effective member of Congress.” Sorry if I made you spit your coffee. So, how does one achieve this coveted “most effective” rating when, like Don Young, one has not even passed one single bill last session, and barely managed to squeak one by in only the House? Good question. Apparently the measuring stick for this phony rating is that you…

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Governor, Senator, & Republicans Caught in the Act

YOU DON’T WANNA BE LIKE MIKE It’s one thing when the “I wanna be like Trump” Governor decides (hours after telling Alaskans to mask up and keep their social bubble small) to show up at a swanky cocktail party fundraiser on the Anchorage Hillside. But it’s another level of irony to be outed by the bumbling ineptitude of your own propagandist. Dunleavy’s blogger, Suzanne Downing/Must Read Alaska, begins this weird video foray into the underground world of unsanitary Republican fundraisers by looking at the sunset and musing, “An orange, orange view for an orange president… although he looked a little…

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Return of Bird of the Week: Black Guan

Black Guan, Costa Rica

While there are many other species of Curassow, WC hasn’t been able to photograph them, so we’ll switch to another clade of Cracidae, the Guans. And we’ll start with the Black Guan. It’s not a bird you’re likely to confuse with any other: black body, blue nares, bright red legs and bright red eye, it’s an arboreal cracid (WC likes that description and worked to find a way to get it into the blog post). It’s considerably smaller than the Curassows; just 69 centimeters long and weights a little over a kilogram. It’s less vocal than other guans, it’s unusual…

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Meet Your Republican Candidates, & Bring the Popcorn

It’s hard to know where to begin these days, but let’s start with something nasty that’s brewing which will directly affect the policy positions of Republican candidates, and tells us exactly what to expect if Republicans manage to take back the majority in the State House this November. HINT: It’s going to look a lot like the horrific beginning of last session only there won’t be anyone to stop it. WHAT AR THEY DUIN? A strained pun is about the best you can get out of the absolute fiscal disaster the Republican Party is cooking up. Remember when Tuckerman Babcock,…

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