Friday, April 29, 2016

A Murder in the Pines

A murder of crows that is.

New Feeder Birds
I looked out the window at lunch time on Thursday and I saw a flock of fish crows, on the platform feeder, the big feeder, and on the ground. At least a dozen, maybe more.

I quick grabbed a camera, but as I approached the window they spooked and flew away. And this was the only usable image.

Bye bye.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Storm Clouds

The view as I approached home after work today.

I like the levels of light and dark in the image above.

I just missed getting a rainbow in this shot, although you can see a hint of it center, just above the tree line.

My friend Terry got this shot as she passed through the area about an hour prior to me:

Image courtesy Terry Schmidt

More storm cloud shots.

We got surprisingly little rain, which is disappointing as we can use some rain (we just planted all that new deer food!) But it did make for nice views out the car window.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Not Fun

In the "There Goes The Neighborhood" post I ended with the line, "It will be fun to watch this unfold."

It turns out "fun not included".

When we came in to work on Monday the nest was empty. The geese, nowhere to be seen.

I have to assume the building management company destroyed the nest. Now, the title of the previous post was a subtle play on the perception of Canada Geese as pest birds. And, like deer, there are too many of them in New Jersey these days.

But this is sad never-the-less.

But all is not lost. Around the other side of the building, right outside the door, we have:

Curiously, dad is nowhere to be found.

Maybe, just maybe, it will be fun to watch this unfold.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Yard Work

In our mini-meadow we had a weeping cherry tree. This non-native species was planted by the previous owners of the property. This morning Patty decided that it had to go. I was already out pulling out other non-native and invasive plants along the side of the front yard, so I added this one to the list.

Image Courtesy Patty Rehn
So after I finished pulling out all of the vines and shrubs that didn't belong, and got myself some poison ivy., I moseyed on over, pushed the tree back and forth a few times and yanked it out.

It was a small tree with short roots. Came out a lot easier than I expected.

I'm making space for all this stuff:

Which we bought yesterday at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance's native plant sale. Hopefully it is not just expensive deer food.

Time to get digging ...

Friday, April 22, 2016

He Has Risen

Magnus, Patty's Three-toed Box Turtle, that is.

Come late fall, going on fourteen years now, Magnus digs himself in for the winter.

And come spring time he digs himself out.

He is a much more reliable indicator of spring time weather than any ground hog.

Patty, fretfully keeps a vigil each spring, worrying if Magnus will once again rise from the earth.

Image Courtesy Patty Rehn
And it was she who first spotted him today, and joyfully texted out the above image.

Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

There Goes The Neighborhood

A glance out my office window on Thursday revealed squatters in the parking lot.


If not, then that's by design. As Patty pointed out when I showed her the pictures, it is surprising how well she blends in

To help us often oblivious humans, someone put up these signs.

And they are.

And unhidden.

Dad was not happy with me getting the above shot (even with a zoom lens).

He came charging at me. And then flew at my head as I walked away. As the nest is directly across from the building entrance dad is quite busy facing off all the 'threats' that pass by. Most of which have their phones out for a picture or two.

It is interesting to watch as they adjust to their new digs, observing how evolved behaviors translate to a more suburban lifestyle. In the image above it looks like they are trying to 'hide'. A no doubt useful behavior in the tall grasses where the species usually nests. Not quite as effective in a parking lot.

It will be fun to watch this unfold.

Kitchen Optics

I made mussels the other night for dinner. And afterwards, as I was cleaning the pot, this caught my eye:

Colors. Colors on the bottom of the pot. And as the pot dried the colors grew more intense.

It was very difficult to get a shot that showed just how intense the colors were. As I noted above, as the pot dried the colors seemed to grow in intensity. So I grabbed a paper towel and wiped the pot.

And the colors went away. Nooooo!

But they came back and I was able to get the shot above.

Of course I went to the Atmospheric Optics site to learn what was going on. As I suspected, and Dr. Cowley confirmed, colors arise from thin film interference. He said that they could be from either something from the mussels or from an oxidation layer on the bottom of the pot. Once the pot had been cleaned and dried completely the colors were gone. So it looks like the mussels were the culprit. Too bad, as it would have been nice to have a psychedelic rainbow pot!

And Dr. Cowley is also responsible for the title of his post. His reply to my email inquiry begins, "I rather like 'kitchen optics' - colours and effects that are seen around the home can give some deep insights into optics and physics.".

So pay attention while cooking, you could learn something cool about the universe.