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Migrant Season

I love fall migration. Black-throated Green Warbler in one of the cedar trees out back! (Not a lifer, but a nice little bird, and a new one for the yard list.)

The vast majority of the birding I do is out my window—I keep my binoculars on the windowsill, atop my dog-eared Sibley. It always astounds me the sheer number of birds that come through the tiny vistas seen through the windows. While the odds are skewed somewhat by the fact that my yard is generally pretty darn bird friendly—tall trees, lots of water, heavy on the bugs and birdseed, light on the predators and pesticide—there still must be just an unbelievable number of birds streaming south for any given migrant to show up in my little patch. Even my super-casual birding out the window generally turns up two or three new birds a year. (This year it’s the Black-and-white and the Black-throated Green, last year it was the Red-Eyed Vireo and the rather late Yellow-Billed Cuckoo.)

Haven’t seen the vulture for awhile. Wherever he is, I wish him good health and many tasty road-killed deer. I did encounter a massive family flock of black vultures gathered around an ex-deer on the roadside yesterday, so maybe it was a teenage rebellious phase and he went back to his family.

There was a shed snakeskin in one of the flowerbeds yesterday. I’d judge that the owner was about as thick around as a sharpie. The skin was about a foot long, but the head had shredded off or wasn’t attached, so I’m not sure exactly how large he was. At a guess, probably one of the little brown snakes that love flowerbeds.

Meanwhile, it’s raining, the windows are open, things are cool and damp and smell lovely, and I have a check and sales statement from Penguin informing me that Dragonbreath 1 has sold a smidge over 75K books. Even though I pretty much just get to wave at this check before sending it to the IRS, life is good.

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.


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Congrats on the sales!
Look on the even brighter side: you don't need to send more money plus the check to the IRS.


Um. I mean, this is pre-payment, but it's not all I'll owe this year, so the royalties from Ninjabreath (which are supposed to come in sometime this month) will probably go to join their brethren in the federal coffers. With those, I should have made a sufficient dent on next year that I won't get blindsided. (I didn't make any tax pre-payment in the first half of the year because Kevin was out of work, so...lotta catch up.)

when I was contracting, I always hated the quarterly pre-payment system.

I'd forget every so often and end up in the post office on Dec 30th or whatever the last day to mail (without penalty) of the quarter was.

Actually, I did understand what you meant. I have a friend who is a free-lance technical writer. He sends in whatever is the biggest check for the quarter, sometimes with extra to make sure he doesn't get smacked the next year.
That's what I hoped you were doing.

*laugh* It's nice to know somebody else has my accounting method!

Oh well, things were well timed to catch up.

I'm not really a birder, but I do miss a real fall. I live in Florida, so the only real difference here is that it's actually enjoyable to be outside now. The smell of burning leaves, the turning trees. ah, fall!! It always was my favorite season.

The smell of burning leaves will get you arrested here in CA.

The days turned cooler, and we had the first of the fall rains.
The hills might turn that unnatural green color again.

Ive been told that some places get as much rain in a day as we get in a 'wet' year: maybe 20 inches?

When I saw this gorgeous bird I thought of you as I knew you were a birdwatcher. Unfortunately I doubt one would show up in your neck of the woods.


If a quetzal ever shows up in my neck of the woods, birders will beat down my door. I will have to set up a donation box and a little canopy so they don't sunburn.

I want to pet it's (possibly) little head. Love tropical birds.

It's the largest bird in the trogon family, about 14-16" long, not counting the tail, which can be 26" long in breeding males.

The amazing thing about the tail is that it can be completely camouflaged. The Resplendant Quetzal likes to nest in trees with lots of ferns on them. When the bird is in the nest hole, it leaves its tail out to hang down among the ferns and look fernlike.

I should mention that if one is talking about birds, and then starts talking about snakeskin and says the skin looks like the snake was about as big around as a "sharpy", some people think "holy smoke! The size of a Pringles can? That's a BIG snake." Then they realize you meant the marker and not a Sharp-shinned Hawk, which fits very nicely in a Pringles can. Just sayin'.

I saw a trailer for "The Big Year" with Steve Martin and Jack Black and thought of you.
It's a movie about birding. :D

I'm still two KUECs behind.
That is some funny shit right there. :D

75,000 is a comfortable success. I hope the IRS lets you keep some of it.

I know the Dragonbreath books LOOK better than practically everything out there. If I were a kid left alone in a book store, I'd be making a dive for them.

I totally shoved a library copy of Curse of the Were-Weiner for All Hallows Read at a friend. I figured it was very appropriate.

I was reading an article about vending machines, and they linked to the Brodart library vending machine... and I am pretty sure their example depicted loadout of books folks might want on the go features Curse of the Were-weiner. Your distinctive visual style and colors for Dragonbreath leap out even when I wasn't really paying attention and at too low a resolution to actually resolve properly.

Good job spotting that. There's no question, that's Curse of the Were-Weiner, in a vending machine!


Oh my god, that's so awesome! Good catch!

You must live under a flyway. Good for you!

Congratulations on the sales! That is so exciting!

Every time I read a discription of your garden I sigh a little with envy. I wish I had that kind of garden space (instead of a window that overlooks a parking lot) and wildlife here.

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