Monday, April 30, 2007

A visit to Blendon Woods Metro park

On April 23, Steve and I went birding at Blendon Woods while Meghan was at rehearsal with the Jr Strings of the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra. We hadn't been to this park before, but it's pretty close to the school where rehearsals take place so it was a good opportunity to get a bit of birding in while we waited.

There wasn't a whole lot going on during our walk to the pond. We stopped at one of the blinds and saw a lot of activity in the vicinity of the feeder. Here are some birds spotted there that afternoon.

A Song Sparrow gathering seed from the ground.

Ok, not a bird, but this chipmunk was sure cute.

White-breasted nuthatch.

White-throated Sparrow.

Carolina Chickadee. Chickadee-dee-dee! I love their song.

Eastern Phoebe.

Another white-throated sparrow.

Chipping Sparrow.

The ubiquitous Northern Cardinal.

Female brown-headed cowbird.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Birding and Aisling CD project

Hey, so I finished catching up on the Hawaii, Australia, Hawaii sojourn. This post is about what I did last weekend (April 21 - 22), so I'm only a week behind now. That's an improvement, right?

Last weekend was pretty busy because Aisling, the Irish traditional music band I'm in, started our studio work for our new CD project (The Pilgrim's Road). You can follow our activities on our band blog where I've been posting pictures. Steve and I also have been doing as much birding as my schedule allows, and last Friday evening and Sunday morning we spent some quality time together at Glacier Ridge Metro Park on the northwest side of the Columbus metropolitan area.

The lighting on Friday evening was a bit harsh at times with the sun sinking low in the western sky, but we had some lovely views of birds on the ponds. After seeing a Hawaiian Nene, our Canada Goose looks a bit plain. We have them by the thousands in our neck of the woods.

Speaking of woods, one never knows what one will find sometimes. This must have been a good truck for some family at one time in the past. It's slowly decaying in place, but adds a bit of character to the ambience of the woods.

Pretty soon all the leaves will be out on the trees and the understory will be overcast by shade, but it is good for birding during the early spring migration.

Saturday was our first recording session at Lone Raven studio. Check the Aisling blog for more details. My recording area is a padded room.

I guess that suits me. I feel like I'm going crazy sometimes trying to fit all my activities into my schedule.

On Saturday afternoon we dropped Meghan off at her bass lesson and then went to the neighborhood where the Yellow-crowned Night herons are nesting. There are two active nests in a very large sycamore tree. Here's the pair on one of the nests.

Steve and I got up very early on Sunday morning to drive out to Glacier Ridge Metro Park. I saw a couple of new birds for my list, including the Field Sparrow, shown here singing its heart out.

The wood ducks are now nesting in boxes. I'm sure they're also finding some good trees to nest in by now. Did you know that a day after the ducklings hatch they jump out of the nest to the ground? Sometimes the nest is 50 or more feet in the air. That's kind of a harsh introduction into this world, I think. These nest boxes are fewer than 10 feet off the ground.

Tree Swallows and an American Robin.

A male Eastern Bluebird. In breeding season, their plumage is absolutely stunning.

The females aren't quite as irridescent.

These nesting boxes were put out for the bluebirds, but the tree swallows find them irresistable. You usually see the blue birds and swallows fighting over territory.

Here's a better view of the Field Sparrow.

A female Red-winged blackbird. They sure do look different than the males, and I usually have to think for a second to figure out what I'm looking at when I spot one.

Lesser Yellowlegs.

I followed it with my camera as it took off in flight.

Eastern Meadowlark. They have a beautiful song and are also beautiful in their bright yellow plumage.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Last bit of birding in Hawaii for 2007

Here are my last birding pics from my Hawaii, Australia, Hawaii saga. These are the other new ones that I added to my life list while on the Big Island. All-in-all, I added 78 new species to my life list from this three week trip. Jack Straka took me around on Monday morning to look for more birds on the way to the airport. We saw several new ones that morning. Thanks, Jack!

The Hawaiian Black Noddy. There was a small colony nesting on the ocean cliff and caves across from Elmer Adam's house. I spotted them in the early evening on Saturday, Apr 7th, but didn't have enough light to take a photo. I got up early on the morning of the 8th to take advantage of the low angle of the sun to take this photo of one perching below me on the cliff.

They were flying in and out of a cave beneath my feet and it was really neat to see them from this vantage.

This area had a lava flow most recently about 350 years ago. There's an area only 20 miles from this spot that had a lava flow in the last decade or so, though. Ok, so tsunami and lava flows are hazards, but, hey, look at this view!

The water is crystal clear here,

except where wave meets rock, which is all along the coastline of Hawaii.

Look! a Nene! I really, REALLY wanted to see one while I was in Hawaii.

They hang out just down the road from where Elmer and Judy live.

This isn't a native to Hawaii, but the Muscovy ducks are feral here.

Another non-native is the Yellow-billed cardinal.

Ruddy turnstones are migrants - not native, but also not introduced.

This, however, is another introduced species - a Rice bird.

Big Island Woodturners - Part IV

I can't believe how long it is taking me to catch up on my blog after returning home from my trip to Australia and Hawaii. I'm in Washington, DC right now on business. I'm going to finish off the last posts from my trip over the weekend - I promise!

This posting is on my hands-on class with the Big Island Woodturners, which took place on April 8th.

Everyone was so intent on their work that it was one of the quietest days I've had in teaching.

We had a good breeze moving the smoke out of the shop. I think everyone enjoyed working out texturing patterns on their sampler boards.

The Big Island Woodturners has a couple of display frames showing the woods of Hawaii. I really enjoyed looking at all the variations in grain, color and figure.

All that concentration paid off. Everyone had a beautiful sample board at the end of the day.

Here's my class. After two weeks plus, I've forgotten names of some of the turners I spent time with. Am I getting old, or is it just I'm too busy to keep details straight? I don't know.

L to R as I recall: Russell, Dave, ?, Milly, Pat, and Rick.

Yep, island life could be easy to take. . .

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Big Island Woodturners - Part III, Elmer Adams Studio

I was fortunate to be able to stay with Elmer and Judy Adams while I was visiting the Big Island Woodturners. They have a comfortable guest cottage attached to Elmer's workshop area. I'll post some pictures of the cottage in the next posting or two.

Elmer showed me what he had on the lathe at the moment. This is the start of a Chapter Collaboration for the AAW symposium.

I was surprised that this boring bar system didn't have a captured bar, but Elmer says this system works beautifully. He showed me how easy it is to use.

It's a pretty large boring bar, but with the large hollow forms he does, it's necessary to have that kind of support.

Yep, those are some mighty big boring bars. I'll post a picture of some of Elmer's hollow forms soon - they are mighty big vessels!

Here's the business end of the boring bar. Elmer uses a modified grind that is shaped like the end of a small gouge.

Big vessels need big calipers and big steady rests. One would think that Elmer lived in Texas by the size of all of his turning equipment.