Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Baldies in Blackwater

We did the now annual day-after-Christmas trek to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. It was mid-afternoon. A stranger/fellow birder informed me that the pileated woodpeckers and bluebirds were at the visitor entrance drive early in the day. Dang. I really want to see a pileated someday!

The raptor cams seem to be in place, but there seems to be a gap in the updates. The live feed at the center had a turkey vulture perched on the osprey platform and poking its bare head into the camera. There were a couple dozen or so mature bald eagles around, some of which were perching together and courting. My lens wasn't long enough to get good photos, but I did get some shots of them, as well as some of the ever-picturesque Great Blue Heron and even a Northern Pintail! Some of the shots are on Flickr.

There were tons of snow geese. In fact, there were also quite a few "blue geese" interspersed, which I'm told are dark morphs of the snow goose. Throw in the Canada geese and some tundra swans and it was all an idyllic waterfowl experience.

Foxy fin d'annee 2008

The quick red fox jogged down the path with something big and tasty in its mouth. A rabbit? So went the end of the hike at Otto's Farm yesterday. Miss B was oblivious. Just a couple of weeks ago I spotted the fox basking in the late afternoon sun at the grasses edge. She was all blinking and tawny and content to watch me watching her. We saw kits there early this spring. The many fox -- dead and alive -- seen this past year may explain why the number of the neighbor's chickens seems to be decreasing. Or, at least it may be affecting their egg production.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sleepless and Jobless

They don't want volunteers at the shelter this week because the ground is all icy and they are afraid we'll fall (translation: fall and hurt ourselves and sue their butts off). So, the doggies continue to suffer from cabin fever. The people stay at home and suffer from cabin fever. I'm finished doing things around the house (except that tricky grout repair). I finished baking cookies and wrapping presents. I don't feel like I can go to the Internet Archive to volunteer either because I'm sitting around watching for signs that the 13-year-old Miss B needs to relieve herself again. We are approaching three sleepless nights of her inexplicable need to escape into the dark, cold, snowy expanse to unload what must be unloaded quickly. This is the job and the joblessness. Joblessness begets blogging.

The RUWBB gals are winning, but it is hard to take pleasure in the W's until their raw talent translates into execution. Everyone is investing hope into Camp Stringer, which happens between Christmas and New Year's.

This is Christmas week. Hanukkah week. Week 20 on NJUI. There is the pending interview in January. Between the recent sleepless nights and the long hours searching for a job that I can even remotely envision that I want, time keeps a ticking. Time for a long winter's nap.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Week That Was

Rutgers pulled out a W against Temple, but the first half was terrible. Watching Rutgers football against Louisville this past week made up for it. It was gratifying to see Teel nail those TDs in the RU 63-14 rout. I was happy to be watching from the comfort of home despite the ever-frustrating Comcast technical glitches on the digital ESPN channel. It's why I sometimes prefer being a Luddite, even though I'm perfectly comfortable with technology.

So, a great blue heron camouflaged in the reeds in the D&R canal was a nice sighting as well as the unexpected Coop swooping into the bird feeder space again. They say Northern Gannets should be arriving here now.

It was good to get inspired by Phil's digital photography workshop at NJAS and to see all the fabulous shots he has made. I hope someday to get the Canon going again and get some good shots to work with. Stay tuned at Flickr.