This is a personal finance blog, with a special eye kept on taxes and how they affect efforts to build a nest egg.
But as regular readers know, I'm a firm believer in integrating real life into financial life. After all, it doesn't matter how nicely you feather your financial nest if you don't use some of your earnings to follow what makes you happy.
For many people, travel is their passion. And that's particularly true of birders, who take every chance they get to glimpse birds in locales near and far.
So as host this week of I and the Bird #33, in addition to posting bird blog items, I'm noting the spots where they were seen and/or the home base (nation or U.S. state) of the participating bird bloggers.
As you'll soon see, we cover a lot of miles and the itinerary has no real rhyme, reason or logical order. But I can promise you an enjoyable world birding journey with absolutely no jet lag.
We start in Canada, where Dave at how to save the world relates an astonishing firsthand encounter with a particularly tame and personable ruffed grouse.
Down Under, Australia is welcoming spring. To ring in that season, Duncan at Ben Cruachan Blog, presents Back to Bushy, a tale of birds, plus a bit of history about how unintended consequences can shape our world.
Meanwhile, here in the United States, autumn just checked in, signaling annual migrations south. And Mike at 10,000 Birds brings us a report of his first hawkwatch of the season.
With his posting Twitching in Cyprus, Dan at Migrations recounts recent morning birdwatching on the Mediterranean island, taking in the peak fall migration of Honey Buzzards.
Then there's Peregrine's Bird Blog, coming to us from Northern Ireland, where we get to share Peregrine's excitement at encountering new birds.
Stateside again, this time in Utah, we have Rigor Vitae, where cpbvk discusses flocking behavior in birds, as well as the congregational propensities of other species.
Zooming down to Papua New Guinea, David at Search and Serendipity brings us A few birds from Bougainville, where upon a recent trip to this Solomons Islands region he managed to see some nice endemics such as the rusty-collared Pied Goshawk and striking Cardinal Lories.
Another jaunt to Oz, where Trevor of the eponymous Trevor's Birding details a close encounter with some Sulphur Crested Cockatoos in suburban Adelaide in South Australia.
AÖrstan at Snail's Tales calls Maryland home, but his item this week recounts a sighting of naughty sparrows while on a trip to Turkey.
Rob, aka The Birdchaser, is based in Pennsylvania, but his birding travels recently took him to Guatemala for some late afternoon birding in what he calls "a magical place."
Patrick's travels remained in New Jersey, home of his bloggings at The Hawk Owl's Nest. His search for a Gray Kingbird might not have gone as planned, but the venture was still a success.
Over at Thomasburg Walks, named for the small hamlet in eastern Ontario, Canada, Pamela's Season of the Unexpected tells of the surprising birds that fall migration can bring.
Fall migrants also captured the attention of John at A DC Birding Blog, where one of the notable MidAtlantic visitors passing through was a Swainson's thrush.
In closing, I want to add my own report of new bird to my life list that I saw while on my recent West Texas jaunt. As my cousin and I tooled along the region's wide open highways, hawks and vultures were ever present in the high skies over the miles and miles of open country.
On a couple of occasions, the raptors were kind enough to perch atop a telephone pole or take off from one as we drove by, allowing for easy identification. In those cases, the fliers were definitely red-tailed hawks.
But one afternoon, just as we hit the fringes of my hometown, a hawk soared low ahead and I immediately knew it was one I'd never seen before.
However, in my identification efforts, I committed two errors. The first is the cardinal sin of birding: I didn't have any binoculars on hand, so I was forced to take in as much as possible with the naked eye.
The second was a vehicular error. I was so entranced by the hawk's lazy whorls that I literally stopped in the highway, rather than pulling off on the shoulder. Luckily, it was only me, my cousin and the bird along this stretch of road.
Even more luckily, as the hawk glided over the car, I got a perfect underside view. So when I found this photo on the Internet, there was no question as to what I'd seen: a Swainson's hawk (yep, the name comes from the same guy for whom the earlier-mentioned thrush was christened). A check of the hawk's range confirmed it was in the area at this time of year.
I can't wait to head out that direction again, this time with the hubby, field guides and optics. When we do make the trip, I'll definitely fill you in on our birding encounters. Until then, it's more birds by Internet. You, too, can continue your online world birding travels via I and the Bird. Bon voyage!
Photo of Swainson's Hawk (c) George Bernick, courtesy of The Peregrine Fund.