Who are we? We are our stories.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Long Day

Every four weeks I get an injection in my "good eye" to keep it good. Or at least flag down the aging train one more time.  Up to this point it has been at the Mayo Clinic or the Mayo s
System in Albert Lea.

Today I was introduced to the Gulf Coast Eye Institute. I had a 3:15 appointment; I left a little over 8:00.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

2018 Spring Bird Photos

Cool weather. I have been digging through my photo archives. On May 15, 2018, (my birthday) Lorna was packing for an adventure somewhere. I sat on my garden bench with my camera, coffee, (later an IPA) and took 1000 photos of birds. I had not seen the photos until yesterday. 1000 (really, over a thousand!) is a lot of photos to wade through, so this is just a small sampling. The remainder will just have to rest, waiting for the inevitable computer failure.

- Gunnar

Monday, January 28, 2019

Again, Why Migrate South?

I truly love Minnesota for three seasons. But....

Actual temperatures will be as cold as 30 degrees below zero at 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Photo courtesy National Weather Service
Wind chills are expected to fall to 25 to 35 below zero Monday night and Tuesday morning. Dangerous wind chills as low as 60 below zero are expected Tuesday through Thursday morning.
Albert Lea and much of southern Minnesota is  under a wind chill warning from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 9 a.m. Thursday. A wind chill advisory is in effect from midnight Monday to 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Record low temperatures are possible. The record for Wednesday is 30 below zero, and the record for Thursday is 27 below.
The Weather Service states expected wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as five minutes.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Wandering Off Alone

It was a beautiful day. We went to Estero Llano Grande early and joined the "bird walk". I loitered at the back of the group long enough to talk to John Yocum and Dave Seal. Dave and his buddy have been banding birds since 1967. Over the years they have caught and released 500,000 birds, banding over 200,000 of them (many are banded and re-caught more than one).

Lorna stayed with the group and as usual I peeled off and wandered around solo. Took a few pictures.

After a long lunch with recent acquaintances we went to Frontera Audubon for another crack at the Golden-crowned Warbler. Again we struck out. The bird is still there and seen almost daily ... but not by us. It could be worse, we shared the look chase hope with a couple of guys who had flown in from out-of-state to share our strike out.


Friday, January 25, 2019

Water, Light, Feathers

South Padre Island today.

The light was wonderful. It was a day when you could just point the camera at a bird, push the button and get a decent photo. I did not see anything particularly rare or difficult to get, although Lorna did see a Clapper Rail and she got some nice photos. 

(I would trade all of these photos for one good shot of a Clapper Rail.)

This duck hanging out with some Mottled Ducks really threw me. It turned out to be a Khaki Campbell, an English domestic breed. I have no idea why it was on South Padre Island. Maybe on vacation?

Live well. Life is short and getting shorter every day. Don't waste it.  - Gunnar

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Ani Whisperers

The day started out cool, but warmed up to blue skies. On the way in to Estero Llano Grande we received a reliable report of the sighting of a first-year female Blue Bunting, a terrific rare bird. We went directly to the area where it was sighted, but came up empty. Up the trail at Alligator Lake we met Brian and Jutta Plathe. They had not heard the rumor of the Blue Bunting, so we went back so they could share in not seeing it.In the process of wandering around, sitting on benches, kibitzing and bullshitting, I saw a nice Great Blue Heron on top of a tall tree, a Golden-crowned Night Heron adult with an immature.Then back to the Blue Bunting site we got a Lincoln Sparrow where the missing Bunting should have been. A beautiful sparrow at that.Continung our meandering, Jutta spotted a single Groove-billed Ani in a tree. Groove-billed Anis simply should not be here now, but there have been sightings in both Esterao and Santa Ana this year and I have been stalking them. This one was on the backside of a tree and we were shooting through twigs into the sun. All things considered I am very satisfied. Brian at my shoulder is a far better photograph than I am and I am looking forward to seeing his shots.Brian and Jutta left, leaving Lorna and me on our own to help a couple of young men from Canada down for their first day in The Valley. We pointed out a couple of Ani that had landed in the cattails. I was temporaily distracted by a Sora that popped out into the open. Back to the Canadians - they were looking in the grass at their feet. I asked what they were looking at. "An Ani."  What the hell, an Ani? I slipped over to see what they were actually looking at. Right at our feet the grass was waving from a black shape on the ground. And yes, when there was a slight break in the grass there was a glimpse of an Ani. Absolutely no chance of a photo, but very exciting.  I actually got the chills.

Taking old vine Zin orally to control the goose-bumps, - Gunnar

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Windier Than Old Billy Hell

Reasonably warm and sunny today, but too windy for birding. So we hunkered down with our computers sorting and editing previous year's photos. It was interesting, I have never actually seen some of the photos. Sometimes at the end of the day I just dump them - download them with intentions of viewing and editing later. I guess today is later.

Here is a male Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga (easy name to remember) strutting his stuff on a wall at the Old Hildago Pumphouse. It is the only time I have never seen that pink throat pouch, even in photos. It was a lucky privilege I guess.

- Gunnar