Thursday, February 16, 2006

I And The Bird #17

The Clog Almanac welcomes fellow bird lovers who have winged over from that choice blog carnival, I And The Bird, hosted this week by Wildbird On The Fly.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed
my post and took the time to read what other more illustrious and dedicated birders had to share. Happy birding everyone!

Observed today at or above Chapman's Pond, in Gainesville Florida:

Blue-winged teal
Green-winged teal
Bufflehead (2 females)
Hooded Merganser
Pied-billed grebe
White ibis
Lesser yellowlegs
Palm warbler
Loggerhead shrike
Green tree swallow
Snowy egret
Red-tailed hawk
Sandhill crane

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Glad Cheney Was In Texas

While Vice President Cheney was shooting quail and his hunting partners on the Armstrong Ranch in Texas, my tiny Florida hometown was having a hunting fiasco of its own:

In order to quash a long-standing wild chicken problem in the southwest part of town, the city of High Springs invoked the final solution and sent armed firefighters through the neighborhood shooting chickens. Residents were not informed of the residential hunt beforehand, and not a few were noticeably upset to find men with .22 caliber rifles running through their yards blasting away at feral chickens. Read the full story in its hilarity in the High Springs Herald.

Money quote: "Anything that was moving they were shooting."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Great Flocks Of Robins, No Sh**

For the past two days flocks of robins, Turdus migratorius, have frequented the mature urban forest surrounding Clog-House, Est. 1935. Turdus? Indeed.

Flocks of robins numbering 100-200 birds, are common winter residents in north-central Florida. My first, and let's say
astounding encounter with flocks of robins was in an unlikely (to my northwestern experience) place - a salt marsh/estuary system adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Not the typical solitary individuals of this common American thrush species I'd come to know in lawns and gardens of northern climes.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Cartoonish Muslim Rage In Perspective

The Opinion Journal has a great article that dissects many of the arguments behind the cartoonish Muslim rage at the publication of caricatures of Mohammed.

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United In Death - February 10

Today's Clog Almanac Friday Mashup contraposes a pair of popes, a pair of writers, and a surgeon, all of whom died on a February 10.

1992 Alex Haley – U.S. writer (Roots, Biography of Malcolm X)
1957 Laura Ingalls Wilder – U.S. author (Little House on the Prairie)
1939 Pius XI – Italian Pope (1929-1932)
1912 Joseph Lister – British surgeon and antiseptic pioneer
1829 Leo XII – Italian Pope (1823-1829)

My brother saw Alex Haley in an airport in the 1980's. Upon boarding his flight, he discovered he was seated next to Tom Landry, then coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Landry didn't sign my brother, but they did talk football and the college programs that were courting my brother's talents as a defensive back and fleet kick return specialist.

Pius XI is known for his stance against fascism and Naziism.

Leo XII had 6 first names. He reluctantly ascended to the papacy, having retired years before.

Baron Lister? Among my collection (350+) of antique corkscrews are a few very tiny wedding-ring-sized corkscrews bearing Listerine advertising, either stamped on the flattened wire finger-pull ring or lithographed in red on the narrow yellow metal finger band. My latest addition arrived today, purchased from someone who found it in a box of vintage buttons at an auction. You never know when an object of your affection or interest will turn up. That is why I believe everyone ought to collect something. To a dedicated collector, every day holds promise - you just don't know what might turn up and turn your day into something spectacular, and you always are on the look-out for those things....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Great Big Why?

A web robot from Vulcan, Inc. has been sniffing at my feed lately. Why? Why? Why?

(Note to Paul G. Allen: You’re welcome here any time, and you don't have to answer the question.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sandhill Cranes Away!

Today the china-blue skies over north central Florida were frequented by the rattling cacophony of skeins of sandhill cranes heading north-by-northwest, the first I've noticed this year. Perhaps like me, they've noticed that Spring is suddenly afoot: red maples setting fruit; the soft and wondrous perfume of blooming Carolina jessamine lacing the breeze; the common blue violets or the first zephyr lillies nodding amongst last year's fallen leaves. Whatever their cue, the cranes instictively know its time to wend their way north to nesting grounds and the promises of a new generation.

Today is the first day this season that I've noticed apprehensive flocks staging for the journey north. By 11:00 there were several groups of 10-50 cranes flying over Gainesville at several-minute intervals and one group I observed included at least 100 birds. They flew in broken V's, frequently disassembling to take advantage of invisible updrafts to gain altitude and establish their bearings. Then on cue, the spirals unfurled and the birds reformed into V's and continued on.

If you live in northern climes, its time to alert your eyes and ears for the crane migration.

Meanwhile, on the ground in north Florida, camellias are blooming everywhere, and azaleas are beginning to show their colors. Its nothing short of lovely, and a mark of the changing seasons, despite what the local weather reporter says. No wonder the cranes are nervous in anticipation of the new season upon us.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

I And The Bird #16

The Clog Almanac welcomes visitors who've migrated over from I and The Bird, where yours' truly has a post at that great blog carnival. Thanks for stopping by! And three loud caws for the New Dharma Bums for bringing us such a great and creative carnival this week.

United In Death - February 3

Today's Friday Mashup pairs the founder of the modern printed word with one of the founders of Rock 'n Roll, both of whom died on a February 3rd.

1468 Johann Gensfleisch Gutenberg - printed the first book in Europe
1959 Buddy Hardin Holley - Died in a plane crash with The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens

Gutenberg is credited with the invention of movable type printing. It was a long way from there to here, or here.