Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week Forty-Four - 8 to Go

If you have seen a Jesse Stone TV-Movie Brandman writing in place of Parker will meet your acceptance. The Killing The Blues plot lines come together in the end making this crime-fiction novel worthwhile reading.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hiking - Montezuma Audubon Center

Montezuma Audubon Center

Walking to the Farm for the morning papers encountered a chilly mist. But recalling Jim Teske's weather prediction on Tuesday's late night news left for the Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) believing the overcast skies would eventually clear.

Reaching Savannah and driving east on the Savannah-Spring Lake Road noticed a family of Trumpeter Swans on the far edge of the water at Malone Unit #1. Passing by Muckrace there was a Great Blue Heron in the channel. Entering the parking lot at Martens Tract pulled up along a pick-up track. Standing on the observation deck saw a hunter and his black dog return and get in the truck. With the exception of 3 Red-wing Blackbirds Martens Tract was quiet.
Martens Tract

Since the drizzle remained steady decided to go to the MAC. To my surprise when I got to Malone Unit #1 the Trumpeter Swans had swam to the forefront and were just a few feet off the highway. Looking at the birds saw that they wearing green tags. Could make out the numbers - #206 & #207 on two adults and #204, #205, and either #202 or #203 on the juveniles.

Arrived at the MAC just about 9 AM and met Dave Spier in the parking lot. After assessing the situation in the MAC lobby we decided to hike around the grounds. Discouraged by the wet fields we headed into the woods by way of the cinder path. Just before entering the woods Dave pointed out a double gall.

Bypassed the observation deck. Saw what appeared to be 3 Green Teal on the North Pond. Back in the woods a spice bush with water beads caught our attention.

Further along the trail we became aware of a cluster of beech trees and their leaves.

On the wolf tree Dave pointed out some bracket fungi. Its brown color was unusual. As we made out way up the hill we came across some more beech trees. While photographing them I noted a bug skeleton.

Leaving the woods we found the grassland wet and the rain relentless. To our amazement there was a proliferation of Gaillardia.

While drying off in the center Dave helped me identify some of the creatures that I have photgraphed recently.
Mourning Cloak Butterfly
(on our front porch)
Turtle Head
(in our flower garden)
Eastern Phoebe
(Cayuga College Trail)

Although the weather did not cooperate the sighting of the tagged Trumpeters and the photography insights that Dave shared made this soggy morning's trek worthwhile.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Birding - Cayuga College Trail

When Joan returned home from Sarah's baby shower went for a walk at the Cayuga College Trail. The parking lot was full for a Sunday afternoon. A young couple and their child were seated in the gazebo near the lily pond so made my way into the clearing with the Christmas tree.

Noticed two Downy Woodpeckers flitting in and out of the tulip tree. Approaching the grove flushed out 3 Robins, a sparrow and a Crow. Crossing the bridge to the open field noted a Downy Woodpecker in the shrub.

Standing on the bridge at the in flow of the First Pond observed 5 Chickadees, a Blue Jay, a Cardinal and a White-breasted Nuthatch.

There were 4 Mallards in the First Pond. As I was leaving a Wooly Bear Caterpillar was making its way on the railing.

Resting on the isles on the Second Pond were 6 Mallards. Two Red-tailed Dragonflies landed on the one of the pond bridges.

As I was walking back toward the trail a Clouded Sulphur landed on a yellow wildflower.

Almost tripped over this fellow.

Went by the Wolf Tree. The young Red Oak sapling near the trailhead is doing well. Before heading for the car stopped to snap the fruit on the berry tree near the Science building.

There were several people and dogs sharing the trail with me today. Also saw a small bird with a yellow breast and thin pointed beak near the First Pond bridge that I could not identify and it was too quick to photograph. Will have to return soon and try to capture it with the camera.

Week Forty-Three - 9 to Go

Patterson with the help from his friends continues to crank them out. In his recent pulps Patterson seems to be experimenting with a new plot style. This asks the reader to suspend their belief in realism. But with likable and unlikable characters twisting and turning from beginning to end this book provides an enjoyable ride.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Birding - Montezuma

Wiley Road (South)

Last evening on the eleven o'clock news Dave Longley predicted a great day for today. So after rising early and getting the papers for Joan took off for Savannah. The leaves were still hanging in there as was evident on both sides of Wiley Road.
Wiley Road (North)

Pulling in Martens Tract I drove up on two pheasants.

There were two vehicles in the parking area. As I was getting out of the car a young man get of his and approached me. He stated that his girl friend and he had found a black declawed cat here this morning and wondered if I would like a cat. Thank him for his offer but opted out. Once on the observation knoll my binoculars noted the hunter on the far side of the pond. He must be the owner of the truck in the lot. The area was quiet with the exception of three fleeting sparrows. As I was leaving a gentleman with a canoe drove in. Assume he was scouting the area for the opening of hunting season.
Martens Tract

As I going back down the driveway noted a Woodpecker on a tree.

Several birds were in the tall grass so I stepped in. The thistle that was in bloom just a short while ago has turned to seed. Their stems looked nasty. The birds proved to fast for me.

Cancross Road and Morgan Road were a bust with the exception of a Turkey Vulture on Cancross. Plus I finally photographed the yellow wagon wheel on the Savannah-Spring Lake Road.

May's Point Observation Deck had its usual gathering. Two bird counters in their white truck passed by saying Hello. Walking back to car came noted a flurry of activity on the railings: a Wooly Bear Caterpillar and 7 Red-tailed Dragonfly plus a censored couple.

Stopped at Tschache Pool. Thoughtful of the Refuge to provide a facility. There on the Brochure Return Box was another Red-tailed Dragonfly.

The South Spring Pool area was quiet. But always a nice place to sit for awhile.

Made one last bird stop. Went to the Visitor's Deck at the Refuge. Busy venue with several cars and birders. Among the hundreds of Canada Geese a white bird stood out. Thought it might be a Snow Goose. Chuck Gibson confirmed my guess.

Met a gentleman and his dog, Gus, in the parking lot. He said, "What a great day. But we might not have too many more of them." Could not agree more. Glad I was birding today.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week Forty-Two - 10 to Go

Now we know why Jack Reacher left the Military Police and became a one-man freelance vigilante squad. Also Child establishes the rules by which Jack lives.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Uncle John Interview

This morning at 10 AM John Cameron was interviewed by Eileen McHugh, Cayuga Museum Executive Director and Auburn City Historian. Eileen spent about an hour and a half asking Uncle John questions regarding his youthful experience of viewing Theodore Case's first talking movies.

The full video interview is being processed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Birding - Montezuma

Montezuma Refuge

Today was once the traditional day for celebrating the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus. Although the Auburn skies were threatening decided to give birding a go.

At 8:20 AM arrived at the Montezuma Refuge. The area adjacent to the visitors' center was quiet with the exception of Canada Geese and Ring-billed Gulls and an elderly couple collecting flower seeds.

Along the auto drive were Pied-billed Grebes, American Coots, Canada Geese and a Great Blue Heron. A canal barge was heading north on the Cayuga-Seneca Barge Canal and a Bald Eagle was perched in a bare tree along the canal bank.

At the Spillway were 3 Mallards and 3 Pied-billed Grebes.

At the Benning Marsh were two cars with birders. Birds there were 5 Great Blue Herons, several Mallards and Ring-billed Gulls.

The dense grass at Tschache Pool had only 8 Tree Swallows swooping the fields near the entrance gate. There was a birder with a scope at the Mays' Point Observation Deck. He was very occupied with his viewing and did not engage in conversation. The birds with the exception of the usual Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets were too far out for identification.

Shortly after 10 AM drove north on East Road. Stopping at Knox-Marcellus was able to watch a splendid display by 2 Northern Harriers as they hunted the grass fields along the near waterline. In the distance were hundreds of Canada Geese and several Great Blue Heron. Upon leaving a juvenile Bald Eagle flew over the woods to the north.

Entered the parking area at Martens Tract at 11:39 AM. A birder was coming out of the fields. He shared with me where he had observed 3 Nelson's Sparrows. Followed his directions but was unable to flush out the birds. Upon leaving as I approached the main road 3 pheasants came out of the tall grass.

After visiting with Chris at the Montezuma Aubudon Center made my way home as it began to sprinkle.

Fall Color Seen Today
Martens Tract
Crusoe Creek
McDonald Road