Tuesday, July 4, 2006

A couple weeks' worth of posts

It’s been awhile since I updated mostly due to a ridiculous work/play schedule. Jen and I went backpacking a few weeks ago (June 16-18) on the AT from Eckville to Bake Oven Knob. The first day was brutal in its climb and the water runs at the end of the day, however we were rewarded with several species of warblers (Black-throated blue, Black-throated green, Hooded, Black and White, and Common Yellowthroat), woodpeckers, (Red-bellied, Downy, Flicker, Hairy and Pileated), as well as the typical Black-capped chickadees, Tufted titmice, Eastern towhees, Phoebes, Peewees, and Scarlet Tanagers. Most were heard and not seen, but Jen was extraordinarily rewarded for her very bad day by the sighting of her very first Pileated woodpecker! The second night was my turn to be rewarded with a gorgeous male Scarlet tanager who followed me up from the spring and made the end-of-the-day ritual most pleasant.

I drove to Cape May the next weekend to do some birding with my friend Yvonne, however, neither the weather nor the birds cooperated. I went down on Friday afternoon and it rained the entire way down, but cleared in Cape May enough for us to dine at Gecko’s (my favorite Mexican place there). Yvonne and I birded the Concrete Ship, the Meadows, and Higby’s Beach on Saturday morning without seeing anything spectacular. We eventually gave up and headed to Historic Cold Springs Village which was hosting a quilt show. The village is captivating and if you like history (even just a little bit), go. The staff gave us interesting building/ grounds history as well as information about the products made in the area. The printer, the potter and the lace maker were especially interesting. Around noon we went to Cape Orient (my favorite Asian place there) with Ron for lunch. After lunch I followed Yvonne to her new house in Stowe Creek. The house is beautiful and has a great little pond in the backyard. There we heard/saw a Belted kingfisher, Great-crested flycatcher, and several other species under the gray skies before I headed out. Once I hit Philly, it started to rain once again and continued through most of the night. The whole reason I left early on Saturday was to complete a 12 mile run with Kim, but, once again, the weather did not cooperate. It rained most of the day and by Tuesday night there was flooding in much of the area, including my place of employment as shown above.

Although I had scheduled it months ago, my trip to Tucson, Arizona on Thursday couldn’t have come at a better time! I flew with my daughter to find her a job, an apartment, and other relocation-related activities. She’s not much of an outdoorswoman (dressed mostly in miniskirts and pumps), but she tolerated a few short forays into the desert for dear old mom. At the Santa Cruz River path, we spotted Bushtits, Great-tailed Grackles, Northern Cardinals and White-winged doves. On Saturday we spotted a Greater roadrunner in the back of a shopping center (of all places!). He run in back of the car, jumped up on a retaining wall, and displayed his wings and crest for Kat. She was quite impressed, however we couldn’t get our cameras fast enough to get a picture. He was gone before I got the car in park and we ran to the wall. It was so hot there as to be almost unbearable (but I DO love the sunshine), so I didn’t get nearly the birding done as I would have like to have gotten done. I did get some really lousy pictures of Gila Woodpeckers* that I saw at the University of Arizona campus, Pima Community College’s west campus and on “A” Mountain. The trip back to Philly was unremarkable – you know the typical babies screaming and kids kicking the back of your seat the whole way. Why, oh why do people subject the rest of us to their little “angels” on cross-country flights? This particular flight had a woman with three, count them, one, two, three children ages infant (screaming), barely out of toddler (kicking my seat and talking non-stop), and not yet school age (crying because he had to sit alone). What was SHE thinking??? Sorry, enough ranting for today…

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