Posted by: atowhee | February 23, 2017


“Everybody has always underrated the Russians.  They keep their secrets alike from foe and friend.”                                          –Winston Churchill, 1942.

The Ancient Mariner would not have taken so well if it had been called The Old Sailor.”
Samuel Butler

Whether it be tweet or novel, propaganda or marriage proposal, what we say and how we say it (or write it) matters greatly.  I will be doing a good deal of talking this spring.  Next month I begin teaching a birding class here in McMinnville.  I will do my best to match words with images and explain what to look for in an image.  We birders all learned that from Roger Tory Peterson.  His brilliant field guide to birds wasn’t just revolutionary because it had good illustrations…he used pointer marks to draw attention to the crucial differentiating field marks for each species.

Then on April 22 I will give a workshop at the Terroir Creative Writing Festival.  That’s here in McMinnville and Chemeketa Community College.   I will talk about “Birds, Words, and What They Mean
We’ll discuss non-fiction writing— how to make the content more than mere lists and superficial descriptions, how to capture the feeling or tone of a location or season, and how to breathe life into your nature writing. We’ll discuss the unique, complex nature of individual creatures, plant and animal.”

I will be at the Pt. Reyes Bird Festival the following weekend in Marin  County, CA.  There I’ll lead one field trip and give a talk on the evolution of San Francisco’s natural history.  It’s April 28-30.

Then at the end of May I will do a talk and walk from Klamath Bird Observatory in Ashland.  The talk will be on the history of American Ornithology: Steller, Brewer, Cassin, Wilson, Anna and all those explorers and naturalists who first described our western birds. The field trip is up into the Cascades where we’ll look for Great Gray Owl, White-headed Woodpecker, nesting Sandhill Cranes. Talk is May 25, walk the next day May 26 (Fri).  If you are interested in this program (fees are tax deductible donation to KBO), email me at:


McMinnville Park & Rec Birding Class is on page 27 of the printed spring catalog or click this link for online registration.

Terroir Writing Festival.

Pt. Reyes Birding and Nature Festival.


  1. I kind of like The Old Sailor, feeling a bit ancient myself and not especially enjoying the pejorative.

  2. […] Click here to see my class and speaking schedule for this coming spring, from Yamhill County to Pt. … […]

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