Friday, October 31, 2008

Round Valley Roundabout

Round Valley was the scene of the endless Sunfish sailing weekends. Today was a refreshing tramp along the Water and Pine trails, watching the glittering water surface glinting and whipping up with little wind gusts. A few dogs were allowed to splash and zip around. An osprey dove for fish right near the fishermen's lines along the shore. He/she came up clutching empty air. What were those ducks?? Reviewing Sibley was inconclusive, but I think they might have been a couple dozen first-year adult Lesser Scaup. They were all completely black/dark gray/brown with the head a touch darker. The bill was gray, like a Wigeon's. They did seem like they were diving to feed, so they were probably Lesser Scaup. I'm confused. Shoulda had the Canon along...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Niche Social Networking

Just yesterday, as I did a mini-walk near the pond at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Pond House, I thought it would be a great idea to have a way to post your daily bird sitings with GPS coordinates and such. Now, today, courtesy of The Star-Ledger, I see there are a bunch of new niche social networking sites, including Birdpost, which seems to have a lot of the features that I was thinking about yesterday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

White October

Wind and snow galore yesterday! Which weather station is the most reliable? NOAA and the National Weather Service give the best official-sounding info. Weatherbug is nice and local, although I hated the toolbar hog that I once had and deleted it. Not sure if they've improved it or not. Accuweather seems reliable. I like their hourly and 15-day forecasts, especially for travel planning. The Weather Channel feels cozy and familiar because it is like their cable TV channel.

Back in the RAGBRAI planning days, I poured over tornado archives for Iowa before the trip out to the mid-west. Tornados were the most terrifying weather events that might occur during the bicycling trip that never happened. Before going, I religiously monitored the storm spotters on SKYWARN who religiously monitored every little pressure system whizzing by. Every night seemed ominous, and the bulletin boards were full of potential twist and shout warnings. Historically, for RAGBRAI, the last week of July seems to work out OK for avoiding twisters. I made it a habit at each overnight town to look for the signs identifying the temporary tornado shelters (as though I would have enough time and presence of mind to skedaddle. Not!).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Synthetic Fashonista in The Great Outdoors

The Gore bike wear provides great breathability and wind protection when spinning down the road on these cool October days. My first red jersey is set to become a favorite, along with all the Pearl Izumi regalia and an Under Armour t-shirt.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gettin' mapped

ESRI is rolling out ArcGIS 9.3 in seminars around the country. Good stuff. There was a great map exhibition at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD this past summer. Old, spirtual, fantasy maps, etc. Along the lines of old and new, another great collection to see is David Rumsey's historical maps rendered in Second Life. A preview is posted at the Not Possible in Real Life blog.

I love the new GPS travel community contribution pages like Everytrail. I'll need to invest in a fancy GPS like Garmin Edge 705 for the bike to get this thing going for my excursions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Magnificent Menace

The Cooper's Hawk was back this morning. It was perched high on the old willow, which turned out to be a spectacular vantage point to watch the squirrels and birds at the bird feeder. Just a few days ago, it swooped through the leaf cover, scattering and terrorizing all the feeder birds.

Will the Coop thrive or decline with global warming? Tom Knutson from NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory gave a "sobering and terrifying" account of global warming at last night's WCAS monthly program. He was particularly worried about increased summer temperatures on humans and wildlife. (I'm not moving to the southeast US anytime soon.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Prolegomena to Ephemera

This is the first blog post of Tomboy Traveler. It seems natural to take an initial stab at explaining the blog's theme.

There's a place and time for all things. This blog may highlight ephemera from days past or days future. It may highlight today's Interesting Matters. The ephemera are to have a loose association with a tomboy's travels, and may happen in the real, virtual, or imaginary worlds. You decide.

Today's ephemera is about yesterday.

The Central Bucks Bicycle Club hosted its 28th annual Covered Bridges Ride. We did the 50-miler. As always, it was hilly and chilly. NNW winds kept the sunny, flat parts challenging. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were good. Thank you bakers!