White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

The White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) has been so plentiful in the backyard but I rarely see them in the wild.

White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) are a common sight at bird feeders but I’ve only seen them in the wild a few times. These small, chunky sparrows have distinctive black and white stripes on their heads, a white throat, and a splash of yellow between their eyes and beaks. Their plumage includes warm brown tones on their wings and back, contrasting with a clean grey underbelly.

Linking Indirectly, No Content Shared (LINCS)

On POSSE by Manuel Moreale (Manuel Moreale)

The point of putting content out there is to connect, to interact with others, to exchange ideas, and to grow.

POSSE is just link sharing.

On POSSE by Manuel Moreale (Manuel Moreale)

The point of putting content out there is to connect, to interact with others, to exchange ideas, and to grow.

I think there may be a trend in some spaces on the web to make moral judgments about how the web is used. Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just reading into it. A recent blog entry by Manuel Moreale about how chooses to allow readers to interact with his "content"1 got me thinking about how I chose to engage via the OpenWeb.

My content lives here, on my site. Everything in here is under my control and it’s then distributed through three distribution channels.

The first—and most obvious—is the web itself. My content is distributed to you via the Internet. You can ask your browser to get this page you’re reading right now and get access to my content.

The second is RSS. You can tell your RSS reader to fetch the content available on my website and you can then consume my content inside your app of choice.

The final one is email. I send my posts via email because some people prefer to stay up to date that way and who am I to prevent that from happening?

While I am sure that some readers have added my blog’s RSS (Rich Site Summary) feed to their reader applications or RSS aggregators, the vast majority of the visitors to my website are people who found me via random Google searches. My SEO-foo must be quite good. 🙂

It used to be that automated Twitter and Facebook link-sharing sent me the most traffic. But after Facebook shut down API access to the personal timeline (April 30, 2015) and Twitter did the same via its pricing model, I was prevented from auto-sharing links to those platforms. Manually sharing links has become a chore.

During the pandemic (maybe even before that), I rarely shared links or interacted on those platforms. In 2019 I created a Mastodon account and started auto-sharing there via the ActivityPub and interact more on that social platform than any other. Maybe over time, Mastodon link referrals will replace Twitter link referrals.

After random Google referrals, the next largest segment of web visitors comes in via WordPress Reader. WordPress Reader is an RSS aggregator for WordPress.com but one can add any RSS feed to it. With the JetPack app, I can read the latest posts from blogs I follow, interact via the comments (if enabled), and discover new blogs or topics to follow. You don’t need to blog on WordPress.com to use it but you do need a free WordPress.com account. In many ways, Reader is a social RSS reader. If it supported webmention it would be (even more) awesome!!

For me, email is tied to work. Corporate America generates a lot of it. After a day of sending and responding to emails, I have no patience for personal emails. My personal email spam filter can barely keep up with the amount of spam sent to my account. I don’t want to invite people to send me emails to discuss my blog posts. Nope. Not happening. Plus, none of those emails will have any historical connection to the original blog post.

I share links to other people’s web posts on social platforms. This brings attention to the topic of their post and fosters discussion. Perhaps an alternative acronym to POSSE (Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere) that highlights the fact that only a link is shared could be LINCS - "Linking Indirectly, No Content Shared".

Given that we agree that "The point of putting content out there is to connect, to interact with others, to exchange ideas, and to grow.", what’s wrong with sharing links to my blog post and enabling my website to allow the interaction to occur via the comments or on the social platform where the link is shared and leveraging technology, aka webmention, to bring those comments back to my website?

  1. I am trying to avoid using the word content but it seems unavoidable. I am not a marketing, media, entertainment, or social media worker. I am just me. ?

Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Until now, all of my sightings have been of the male.

The Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is a common sight in the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge in Princeton. I see at least five individuals each time I visit. However, until now, all of my sightings have been of the male.

The common name for Agelaius phoeniceus refers to the distinctive orange-red badge on the wings that is a stark contrast to the deep black of the bird’s body. But the females of this species are typically brown and streaked, blending well with their marshland habitat. They exhibit cautious behaviour, often staying close to dense vegetation for cover while foraging for insects, seeds, and small aquatic creatures. They are so well hidden when they forage among the reeds in the marsh, that the female bird had gone unnoticed by me.

Male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) · 16 April 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

The focal point of the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge is its open marsh, sustained by natural water drainage and supplemented during dry periods with water pumped from Stony Brook. During summer, the marsh blooms with arrowhead, pickerel weed, and pond lilies. Along the walks, a mix of swamp milkweed, boneset, joe-pigweed, and ironweed creates a mauve and purple colour palette. In autumn, red osier dogwood, elderberries, rose hips, and cattails' tall brown spikes add to the landscape.

Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) gathering nesting material.
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) · 16 April 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

During the nesting season, which typically starts in late spring, female Red-winged Blackbirds build cup-shaped nests low in marsh vegetation. These nests are constructed using grasses, reeds, and other plant materials woven together. Two observation towers offer expansive views of the marsh's main body. I usually visit the refuge in the early morning. With the sun rising from the east I usually visit the Eastern observation platform so I can point the camera west; not directly into the sun.

I think the thing that keeps me hopeful that the world around me is not going to complete shit is how being nature makes me feel. Seeing the bird wildlife in my backyard provokes a deep sense of well-being that helps my psychological health. My senses are heightened as I move into a state of flow where my thoughts and actions focus on spotting, watching, identifying, photographing, and appreciating the wildlife around me. No matter what might be going on in my life, no matter how anxious I’m feeling, when I go out into nature, I always feel refreshed.