Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Day to Myself

What do you do with your Saturday when it is the only one you have had off in a month, and you have just worked 12 of the last 14 days? You indulge yourself and spend the day doing all your favorite things.

Today was one of those days. It started off with an 8am bird walk at the Cincinnati Nature Center. A group of about 18 intrepid souls gathered in the parking lot bright and early, undeterred by the threat of rain, to see what we could find.

Trip Leader Mike Kravitz, in the center of the photo, with the black pack, strategizes with fellow birder, Bill Stanley.

Bill, blue ball cap and mustache, denies being responsible for any birds we miss. (To his credit, Bill had most of the good finds of the morning.) Don't let Lola, red & white print shirt on the right, fool you. She is a good birder, despite her assertion that she was "only the paper-pusher."

Notice that Susan is not in any of these photos. I would say that it was too early in the morning for her, but in truth, she had another birding commitment, as you will see below.

We had a celebrity in our midst. Dave Jackson, webmaster for the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, and his wife were visiting friends and came out with us. Being a bad blogger, I failed to get his photograph.

It was very humid as we started out, and I was soon dripping with sweat. To add to the moisture issue, we got rained on for about 10 minutes. My eyeglasses, binoculars, and camera lens all got steamed up. I came back from the hike with only one photo worth anything. (The next bird photo is not it.)

Our best bird of the day was a KENTUCKY WARBLER.
image courtesy of Mike McDowell's
Birding and Digiscoping Blog

Of course, this notorious skulker was heard only, not seen, but it was still a great find, thanks to Bill Stanley's ears. While in search of the elusive Kentucky Warbler, we practically stepped on this beautiful Eastern Box Turtle.

What a fine specimen! This brings my total box turtle count to 6 this year.

Trip List: (HO = Heard Only)

Wood Duck, with young
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (HO)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker (HO)
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Acadian Flycatcher
Chimney Swift
Carolina Chickadee (HO)
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren (HO)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush (HO)
Red-eyed Vireo (HO)
Common Yellowthroat
Red-winged Blackbid
Brown-headed Cowbird
Scarlet Tanager (HO)
Northern Cardinal (HO)
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Indigo Bunting
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow

After birding, I went on to the pottery studio for the pit firing. I give you one taste of what went on there. Susan: There was no naked dancing around the fire. Sorry.

More pit firing stories and photos in a later post.

At Scarborough Fair, I added House Wren, Eastern Meadowlark, Gray Catbird, Barn Swallow, Song Sparrow and European Starling to my list for the day.

I had intended on leaving the pottery studio and driving straight to Chilo for my next birding adventure, but I was filthy, so I made a quick pit stop at home, let the dogs out, took a shower, and changed. Then, it was on to Chilo Lock #34 park and a presentation of raptors by our favorite bird lady, Susan. Here, I added American Robin and Warbling Vireo (HO) to my list. The demo birds don't count if you are a law-abiding lister.

Susan and her BBFF, "Best Bird Friend Forever," Lucy the Peregrine Falcon.

Lucy shows off her damaged wing, the reason she could not be released after she was found at the airport at 6 months old. Lucy is five this year, and could live another 10 years or more.

You know how they say that people and their pets grow to look like each other? Is it also true about bird educators and their raptors?

You tell me who looks more disapproving in this photo,
Susan, or Sylvester the Great Horned Owl.

If you ever have a chance to see Susan do a program, you should take it. She puts on a damn fine dog and pony show. Er, make that "falcon and owl" show.

After leaving the park, I made the traditional "post-birding" stop at the Chilo Dairy Bar. Either they have changed hands or the owners have come into some money, because it has undergone some major renovations this year, all of them badly needed.

Then, it was on to Lakeside Winery for their weekend festival. I give the owners credit. They are working hard to establish their business. While it lacks the atmosphere of Harmony Hill, work on the property continues. There still is no lake at Lakeside, but I hear they will be creating one in the future.

The tasting room is open, though unfinished, and features round tables and real tablecloths.

A band was setting up outside, and there were vendors with soy candles, garden ornaments, bird houses, and assorted other crafts.
There was plenty of outdoor seating, and the strings of lights overhead hinted that the party would go on all night.

I sat outside sipping a glass of their off-dry white, "Vidal," watching the black clouds roll in. When thunder started to rumble, I headed for home. I made it before it rained, and settled down on the couch to end my day with a well-deserved nap.

Aahh, this is the life.


nina said...

Looks like you had a nice day for yourself!
I'd thought about going to CNC, but gave myself a lazy day instead!

Mary C said...

A well-deserved day off and full of fun activities. Thanks for sharing your day off with us.

Susan Gets Native said... weren't kidding about your goofy photos. My hair looks like it was about to take flight. But it WAS windy....
Have I grown EAR TUFTS??????

Birds, me, fire, ice cream...that there's a good day.

: )

Lynne said...

What a fun day! You are a wicked friend (the kind I like!) to post a goofy photo of Susan.

KatDoc said...

Yeah, poor Susan. The wind was acting up, and I have several photos of her looking wind-tossed, but the most fun pics (which I was too kind to put up) are of her very animated expressions as she is talking and gesturing, and entertaining the crowd. At one point, Lucy was being harassed by some smaller song birds, and the two of them were both looking up, and it was really cute, but too back lit to be any good.

She is a good sport, isn't she?

~Kathi, in fear of what pictures of her Susan will post

holly said...

Good for you.

Robbie admitted to me the other day that he had to make 2 stops on his way somewhere - to move turtles out of the road. I raised my boy right!