Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week Forty-Eight - 4 to Go

Using the format of a nature journal McDonnell uses a mixed media to create a picture book biography. The inclusion of the iconic photograph of a young primatologist Jane Goodall and a very young primate reaching across to take each other's hand lets the reader know that Jane Goodall is a real person.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week Forty-Seven - 5 to Go

Starts slow. But when the hook kicks in you will find yourself guessing right up to the capture.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hiking - Montezuma Audubon Center

Skies appeared ominous as I pulled out of the driveway. Decided to pursue an alternate route to the Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC). Once passing the Potato House in the Savannah mucklands I drove up over the hill on Rt. 89. Hoped to chance upon the huge flock of blackbirds that we observed on November 2nd. No blackbirds but there was a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree on Rt. 89 just north of the Wiley Schoolhouse cross-section.
 Red-tailed Hawk

Before turning on Messner Rd. and heading for Savannah drove west on Rt. 31 to a spot that I had once visited with Naturalist Dave Spier. Feeling that there were ducks here I approached cautiously. But my stealth was unsuccessful. Seven ducks sensed my coming and took off.

Pulling into Martens Tract put up several sparrows. There was a soccer Mom van in the parking area but no sounds of hunting or of birds.
Martens Tract

Returning on the Savannah-Spring Lake Road noticed ripples on the Malone Unit pond. Once out of the car saw a Pied-billed Grebe. It dove and I could not relocate it.

With the exception of a Great Blue Heron flying near Noga's Blind and 2 Redwing Blackbirds Colvin Marsh was still. Looking across the highway towards Crusoe Creek a Hairy Woodpecker was flitting from tree to tree.

Arriving at the MAC found Dave preparing for Project Feederwatch by doing a bird count at the French doors overlooking the outside bird feeders. Since Dave was called to attend an administrative meeting went outside for solo walk around the grounds.

Before heading into the woods planned to photograph some of the birds at the feeders. But what appeared to be a Northern Harrier flew by the woods and put the feasting birds to flight.

From the Observation Deck saw a Great Blue Heron fly out from the Merganser Marsh (North Pond) and a Red-tailed Hawk fly into the far woods and perch in a tree. The Northern Harrier also made a pass.
Looking East - North Pond & Observation Deck

Taking Trumpeter Trail I went towards the dead wood swamp. In the North Pond were 19 ducks. One was a Merganser but the others took flight before I could scope them out.

Returning to the MAC along the path to the north of the woods saw several sparrows.

Before heading home thought to take a drove to Knox-Marcellus Marsh. Good idea. There at the bottom of the hill were 11 Sandhill Cranes feeding.

Continuing on the loop around stopped at May's Point. A lone sentinel - a Great Blue Heron.

In a tree just before the fishermen parking lot were perched 2 Ospreys.

Since it was starting to rain did not stop at the Refuge Visitor Center.

The Sandhill Cranes made it a good day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week Forty-Six - 6 to Go

J.D. Robb is on top of her game. The backstory involves Isaac McQueen who Eve Dallas took down long ago as well as Eve’s past. Robb weaves this in and out as you read as as quickly as you can to reach the conclusion.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Annual Osage-Orange Road Trip

 Come and pick me up.

At the breakfast table in the Bistro Room Joan brought up our annual trek for osage-oranges and rose hips. Since the weather report was favorable we decided to go for it.

We drove to Aurora and our favorite osage orange tree. The culvert adjacent to shoulder of Rt. 90 was plentiful with oranges and many more were strewn on the lawn under the tree. With this year's bountiful crop we filled a half a dozen Wegmans bags.

We continued south on Rt. 90 and turned down the road to Long Point State Park. Pulling pass the gatehouse we parked and proceeded to gather rose hips. We stopped at one Kinneys bag full since the overgrown berries branches were inflicting scratches.

Heading back to Aurora we stopped to observe a raft of a 1000 Canada Geese on Seneca Lake. We then drove east on to Poplar Ridge Road (County Rt. 43A) and turned left at the Hazard Library in Poplar Ridge. Just north of Scipio on to Rt. 34B we parked next to our other favorite osage-orange tree. As usual the crop here was not as bountiful as the Aurora stop.

Since there are plenty of osage-oranges left on both trees foragers should have success for the next several days.

To reward ourselves for our hard work we went to Doug's for dinner. The food is always excellent here but this evening the fish and fries and gumbo were outstanding.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Week Forty-Five - 7 to Go

Ferns. Lucinda Bromley as Lucrezia Borgia. Caleb Jones as Patrick Jane on steroids. Suspense and romance.

Hiking - Montezuma Audubon Center

Hunter - Martens Tract

Before going to the Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) stopped at Martens Tract. A duck hunter and his chocolate Lab were entering the fields. Heading for the MAC noted the Trumpeter Swans were still at Malone Marsh. Pulled into Crusoe Creek. There along the creek bed appeared to be a duck decoy. But the still bird took flight when I approached.
Wood Duck - Crusoe Creek

At the MAC met Dave Spier in the foyer. After waiting to determine if others would be joining the hike this morning, we walked south across education ponds bridge. There Dave pointed out a new muskrat lodge.
 Muskrat Lodge

We headed west to dike trails and then walked south to overlook Sandpiper Shallow. In the far end of the water were two Gadwalls. There were also several Red-Winged Blackbirds and Red-wing Hawk flew over the woods to the southwest. Heading back north as we entered the woods Dave saw two Red-tail Dragonflies.
Meadowlark Dragonfly

After passing the observation platform Dave told me to stop. My slow reactions stunned another Red Tail Dragonfly. Its stupor gave us another photo opportunity.
 Red Tail Dragonfly

Reaching the deadwood swamp a Downy Woodpecker caught our attention as it entered a dead wood tree cavity. We walked into the swamp along the west side bank. This made for wet feet. Tried to save the misadventure with this photograph.
Note - observation deck in the distance

We made our way back to building through walnut grove. Along the path Dave showed me a buck rub.
Buck Rub

Outside the MAC at the bird feeders were two American Goldfinch and a White-breasted Nuthatch.

While the birds were not out in abundance the walk which may be the last one in pleasant weather was enjoyable.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

70th Wedding Anniversary

Sunday November 6, 2006, it was a grand Scottish celebration. Kilts, swords and bagpipe music. White linen covered tables and crystal wine goblets.
Family and friends had gathered in the Heritage Room of the Springside Inn to celebrate of the November 7, 1941 wedding day John and Zoe Cameron.
Cutting the cake made by John and Zoe's son, Jack.
Sunday November 6, 2011, family and friends gather on Drummond Street at the home of John's sister, Dorothea, to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of John and Zoe. The reason that John's headdress says Happy Birthday is that he will be 95 years old this month. Zoe is 90.
Once again John and Zoe cut the cake made by their son, Jack.
Life is sweet.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Birding - Montezuma Audubon Center 11/2/11

Tim Noga Blind - Colvin Marsh

Woke up to complete darkness. Glad when the clock can get turned back come Saturday. Since the Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) had scheduled birding tour to be lead by photographer-naturalist Dave Spier decided to make my way to Savannah NY.

Made two stops before joining the tour. First, at Muckrace met up with Michael, the DEC worker. Michael gave me some more information regarding the Green-tagged Trumpeter Swans that I saw October 26th at the Malone Marsh. Second, pulled into the Noga Blind.
Trumpeter Swans - tagged at Mulligan Marsh (east of Railroad Road impoundment)

At 8:10 AM drove into a parking spot at the MAC just as Dave was loading the van and 7 birders were taking their seats. In all there were 10 participants, a couple from Ohio, a couple from near Whitesboro NY, a woman from Rochester, 4 others and myself. The Ohio couple and I ended up driving our cars.

The caravan's first stop was on the Hogback Road just south of the railroad tracks. Here we encountered a huge flock of blackbirds (2,000-3,000). Among the mix were European Starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles. The group provided a splendid display when they were put in flight by a Red-tailed Hawk.

Pulled into the Mays Point Pool parking lot. The old fisherman was in his usual spot. Told me that he caught a small fish already. As we were getting out of the vehicles two Belted Kingfishers flew pass on their way to the Clyde River. Light conditions for viewing from the observation deck were not ideal but the group managed to sight a Bald Eagle and 75 Green Teal.

Entering the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge we parked along the wetlands on the west side of the drive before the Visitor Center. There while scoping the birds Dave sighted the "bird of the day". It was the Hudsonian Godwit. Here is my video. A tad shaky due to the wind buffeting the tripod.

From the Visitor's Deck the group noted 12 different species, which included Gadwalls, American Wigeons and an American Black Duck.

Stopped at Benning Marsh to view a Great Black-backed Gull.

Returning to the MAC the group debriefed with a discussion on the Hudsonian Godwit. The day turned out to be most pleasant one.
Montezuma Audubon Center

Made my customary visit to Martens Tract and then headed home.
Martens Tract