Tag Archives: lists

Lists, Taxonomy and the Black-capped Donacobius

I have been posting a bird of the day on Facebook, aiming to give friends something attractive to look at amidst the gloom of Covid news. Today’s bird is the Black-capped Donacobius, a rather charismatic bird that resides primarily in wetlands of the Amazon and Orinoco basins.

Lists, listing and the Black-capped Donacobius

Explaining why this bird came to mind involves delving a bit into the obsessive world of bird listing, which I concluded was a bit excessive for the lighthearted intent of a social media post. So for those who might want to increase their knowledge of the eccentric subculture of birding, here is the story.

Lists and Listing

Birders, if they have bitten hard enough on the hook, tend eventually to develop into listers. The most common manifestation is the life list, which is just what it says on the tin: a list of all the birds one has seen. Deeper forms of the obsession manifest themselves in year lists, month lists, and day lists, not to mention country lists, province or state lists, and so on.

I remember in my early days heading out to Somerset in hopes of seeing a Short-eared Owl that had been hanging around a certain field. I arrive at the place and within a few minutes the beast appeared. It was a life bird for me and I was happily watching it for a while when I noticed two other birders down the road who seemed somewhat discontented. I went over to tell them that the views were better from my vantage point, but they were not mollified. It emerged that they needed the bird for their Oxfordshire year list but it was stubbornly staying on the Somerset side of the fence.

Continue reading Lists, Taxonomy and the Black-capped Donacobius

Christmas Books for your Military Partner

Just in time for Christmas, here’s a list of the best of military books for your spouse/partner, or really for anyone who wants to learn more about the world of the warrior. These are the classics, so you will need to check first to ensure that the object of your affections doesn’t already have a copy. All are currently available on Amazon.


Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda – Sean Naylor

Blackhawk Down – Mark Bowden


Tet!: The Turning Point in the Vietnam War – Don Oberdorfer

A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam – Neil Sheehan

The Experience of War

The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme – John Keegan

The Forgotten Soldier – Guy Sager

War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning – Chris Hedges

Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II – George MacDonald Fraser

Continue reading Christmas Books for your Military Partner