Monday, January 31, 2011

A Walk in the Park

We've had several nice snowfalls this winter and after the last a friend an I decided to go wandering.

"Where do you want to go?", "I don't know, where's somewhere pretty?", "I'd don't know, you live around here", "Yeah but you grew up here" ...

We eventually settled on Allaire State Park.


The village was snow covered, pristine, and except for us and a mother and daughter sledding, empty.

(Well the daughter was sledding, the mom, just watching.)

Just the way I like it.



We fed the titmice and chickadees by hand. To quick to photo though. We tried.


Sure, you hold still now!

There was beauty all about.





Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

(Can you tell I like snow?)


Not everything was frozen.


Shadows and sparkles.


Should you be inspired to try this for yourself, be aware that the proper footwear is essential to an enjoyable experience.

Have fun!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Promise



The promise of buds
Waiting as the Earth revolves
Winter becomes spring



Sometimes ...


You get lucky.



You don't.



(Ok, so my luck wasn't all bad. Just before it departed.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just Chillin ...

I spent Christmas with my sister and her family, 
and the day after it was nice out. 

(For a while anyways)

So we decided to build a fire.


(My brother-in-law is a bit of a pyromaniac.)


Ah, toasty.


He also likes to cook.

Note the cooler, not really needed ...

(But full of beer!)

((He enjoys a frosty beverage or two.))

(((As do I.)))


Your's truly, enjoying the fine winter's day.

(Time for selsun blue?)

((And another beer!))


The view from the house.

A hardy neighbor joins the party.

(And brought more beer!)

*****

We got six inches of snow here, and were on the edge of the storm. 
Back home snow fall amounts were in the ten to twenty inch range.

We stayed out to the beer was gone.

The fire burned on without us.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bad Bird Photo of the Week

Sometimes, you just gotta blame the photographer ...



I spotted this bird with a kill (a snow goose?) behind a church in Cumberland County New Jersey as I was driving by. So I pulled into the parking lot ... and the bird flew away.

It flew back across the field to the tree line, meeting up with another eagle, his mate? They circled around and flew off.

I waited. And waited.

Ten minutes later it came back. And I was ready. NOT! I had the camera set on the wrong f-stop, so the exposure times were too long. And I got blurry pictures. D'oh!

I hate when that happens.

*****

These posts are becoming much to frequent ...

(A slightly better shot can be found here.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Still Twitchin' 

In my Twitchy post I wrote, 

"There were also red crossbills in the area. So Steve and I headed off to find them.

In this endeavor we were not successful."

Well if at first ...



My friend Greg had never seen either crossbill species, so I wandered up to the so called "North Shore" once again to meet up with him, and we started searching.

First up we found the red, when a birder named Peter who we met in the parking lot that morning called to say he had them just down the street form us. We arrived to find a pair, male and female, eating pine seeds and avoiding the sunlight (making for difficult photo ops).

The white-winged were not there this week, so we headed off to look elsewhere.

In this endeavor we were successful. Seeing two and perhaps as many as five flitting amongst the tree limbs.

It was actually a rather pleasant day out, colder but not as windy, and sunny.

Maybe I'll go back next week to look for the blue ones ...

*****

For those keeping score at home I'm now up to 71 species (times twelve will give me 852, a North American record me thinks ;-).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ephemeral


The incredibly intense colors of this morning's sunrise lasted maybe five minutes. Taken from my kitchen window. Had I gotten dressed and gone outside I would have missed it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Twitchy

The term twitcher, sometimes misapplied as a synonym for birder, is reserved for those who travel long distances to see a rare bird that would then be ticked, or checked off, on a list. ... Some birders engage in competition to accumulate the longest species list. The act of the pursuit itself is referred to as a twitch or chase. A rare bird that stays put long enough for people to see it is twitchable or chaseable. -- Wikipdedia


I, and a number of other folks, went twitching this past Sunday. Clearly a form of insanity. There I was, wandering about a oceanside park on a very cold windy day looking for a small bird, an hour and half form home. While wandering about I ran into another twitcher (one of the other Steves who won in the DVOC photo contest). Neither of us had seem the bird. Bummer. 

A couple of other birders told us of some red-breasted nuthatches and we wandered over to see them before heading off to find other more twitchable birds. And as we were watching a small bird dropped onto the snow, no more than ten feet away.


This was the object of everyone's attention, a white-winged crossbill. It seemed oblivious to Steve and I. While I shot away, Steve went to get his camera. The bird waited. We moved around to get better light.


Umm ... tasty snow!

We waved other crazies over to see. Of course, as soon as we did that, the bird flew. But we relocated it up in a tree. And everyone was able to tick it off their list.

There were also red crossbills in the area. So Steve and I headed off to find them.

In this endeavor we were not successful.


While we watched and waited, there were plenty of these to keep us entertained. Flitting about from tree to tree.


A variety of sparrows also entertained us.


As did a curious fellow who seemed to think diving loons were harbor seals, sparrows where crossbills, and liked to hear himself talk. (I was not as enamored as he was.)


There was also a large flock of barkers that couldn't decide where the wanted to be. Every ten minutes or so lifting off and flying over. Only to go back a short while later. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Not unlike some of the other twitchers going from side street to side street and back again, looking for the red crossbills.


Steve and I wandered about some more, chasing eared grebe and razorbill (success) and pacific loon (nope).  We also looked into a report of an injured penguin ("Imagine that, a penguin. Here." a fellow walking the beach told us). Didn't find that one either.

*****

What you ask, would lead an otherwise sane individual (shut up you!) to wander about in freezing weather to get brief glimpses of often faraway birds? How about TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!

That is the prize in the Bob Billings Big Year Challenge. (A challenge I have no realistic chance of winning, making this even more insane.) My count is at fifty-three right now (and at fifty a month I'll get six hundred for the year!).  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2010

Yeah It's been done. But great minds think alike ...


January: Sunbathing


February: Blizzard? What Blizzard?


March: Oh, Mexico ...


April: Why's Everyone Looking Up?


May: ... It's a Hell of a Town!


June: It's an Adventure!


July: Shadows and Light


August: 27 (?) Years and Counting


September: Water and Time


October: Falling, Falling ...


November: Hey, That's My Spot!


December: Light and Shadows

Monday, January 3, 2011

Can You ...



... see me now?


How ...


... about ...




... now?

:-)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ice Fishing


A forlorn looking great blue heron on the Rancocas Creek today.