Karl Overman: Birds and More


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After a career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit, my retired life outside of my family is increasingly defined by my hobby, birding, including time to put together a webpage.  This webpage primarily has two components, trip reports and natural history photographs with an emphasis on birds. I have not included trips reports prior to 2000.  In the trip report section rather than incorporating a few bird photos to perk up the reports, I have linked photos in the text to photo galleries.

I came to photography reluctantly and never acquired technical proficiency.   My initial reaction was that photography would slow me down in my birding and I did not want to miss anything, especially when I was birding outside of North America.  For example, even though I birded Colombia twice in the 1970s, I did not take a single photo on either trip.  In the back of my mind however, I knew that when I finally went to Africa, I would have a camera with me.  That happened in  1979 when I went to South Africa. 

I have indices of hyperlinked photos with the English name, latin name,  where the photo was taken (usually by county for North American photos) and the date of the photo. More specific data on where the photo was taken is on each species page.   I also rated the quality of the photos in the indices using a star system giving considerable benefit of doubt to the photographer (me):

★  Oh no, you shouldn’t have--bordering on Loch Ness Monster photo quality

★ ★ Oh, I know.  Don’t tell me.  It’s a, a ........

★ ★ ★ Ok for an amateur

★ ★ ★ ★ Good enough to take home to mom and dad

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Could you get National Geographic on the line?

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Arthur Morris rejects (none of mine are that good)

fFor some of the species I have commentary, some cryptic, others extensive (See, e.g., Sandhill Crane, Hudsonian Godwit and Lincoln’s Sparrow).  It will be an ongoing project to provide write-ups for more of the photos.  I finally came into the digital age in photography in September of 2007 when I bought a Canon 40D followed by purchasing  a 100-400 Canon  zoom lens the following month. The quantum leap in quality of my photos took me aback. On extensive birding trips I always lugged a tripod around for spotting scope and camera.  I carried two Nikon F-3 cameras and used a 500 mm Nikkor mirror lens plus a 200 mm Nikkor macro lens. It pains me that 25 years of photography yielded so few quality photos when compared to the shots I can now take with auto focus and image stabilization capabilities.

In the “What’s New” section, I generally identify additions to the website that have occurred during the past 6 months after which they are declassified as “new”. Two other subjects are under the “What’s New” section:  A photo of the week and a series of vignettes and essays on birding events over the years under the heading of “Birding Remembrances & Essays.”

Since retiring in 2007, I have added butterflies and dragonflies to my interests in natural history.  I hasten to add that I do not seek consultation on all “bugs” I have included here so the errors, and I know there will be errors, are of my doing only. As for butterflies, a special thanks goes out to Phil Kelly from Kokomo, Indiana whose enthusiasm for bugs is contagious and who helped me with many of the butterflies from Texas.  Also Matt Rawlings, a Brit now living in Switzerland, has repeatedly helped me on the identification of some of my European butterflies.  To see his superb website on European butterflies go to www.eurobutterflies.com

I need to thank the people working at the  Novi Twelve Oaks Apple store in the One on One program, such as Ben Carl, Laura, Alex Balderas, and Jamie for without their expertise and patience, I would not even have attempted a web page. They are so good! But as for Apple Inc., how could you drop iweb? Now will have to completely redo this webpage on some other format and I shudder at the thought of how much work that will entail.

Sometimes when you are rolling down one of the expressways of North America you find yourself behind an RV that has a multi-colored map of North America with all the states and provinces that the owner has driven that vehicle around to filled in.  I found a similar map for the world on the internet and thought I would fill in my countries.  I have not been one to collect countries and islands as some people I know are.  I don’t look down on that collection--virtually any collection enriches one’s life but my main collection is birds through birding and birds are not spread around the world in an egalitarian manner--some countries, notably Latin American countries, are far richer than others.  Keep in mind that South America is a quarter of the world’s land area but has a third of the world’s birds.  So here is my map of countries visited as of July, 2015:


Home Page

modified March 7, 2019

Grayling, Michigan

Pointe Mouillee, Michigan


photo by Peter Kaestner