Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snowy Owl Adventure!

A Snowy Owl in southwest Ohio!!! Woohoo!!!

Dave Russell (yes, he's on his cell phone!), Janelle Duncan, Deb & Jim Chagares and Rafael Herrera looking at the Snowy Owl!

You know the times when you realize just how much time your birder spends "thinking" about birding? Like today, Dave calls on his way home from basketball to say that the Snow Owl that's been hanging around New Paris, Preble County, IN has been sighted again this morning. So, we excitedly got dress so that we can go see it too. Last weekend, when the bird was first reported, we had a houseful of company and couldn't get out. We pile into the Excursion and off we head north. Dave starts telling us how he's been on the phone with everyone this week talking about going out looking for the bird and he's been thinking about it all night. Just felt like the weather was right for it to hang around for a while. Well , son-of-a-gun, he was right!

This photo was taken through Dave's Kowa scope with a Canon Powershot. Jim Chagares is a professional wildlife photographer and has absolutely breathtaking photos of the owl on his website: I snuck a photo of Deb & Jim and if you zoom in on the white spot in the field just to the right of the end of Jim's camera you will see the Snowy Owl!

If you can get out, the bird has been seen on the south side of US 40, east of the Interstate 70 interchange in Richmond, Indiana. Take 40 East about 2 - 3 miles to New Paris, Preble County, Ohio (very near National Trails Highschool) and the owl has been seen hanging out in the fields to the south.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Flynn Wedding

We all know that the best laid plans end up with glitches in them, and Katlyn & Matt's wedding was no exception. Not that it did not happen, it just came together a little differently than we all expected! LOL

You see the story really began last February when Katlyn flew out to California to spend a couple of weeks with Matt before he shipped out to sea for 8 months. They spent their time being together and planning their wedding for 8 months later. Well, they found out they were expecting their first child just before Matt left. So, Katlyn came back home, got a little apartment in Liberty next to the library and spent her 8 months hanging out with mom and dad - planning for a baby. The wedding became a lower priority. I must say that these past 9 months with her have been some of the best times of my life. Our relationship as mother and daughter became the friendship we had each always wanted. By August, she was spending every day with us, and by September, she was sleeping on the couch every night -- she just couldn't get comfortable in her bed. Man, I remember those days! Meanwhile, Matt was able to call every few weeks when his ship went into port.

We took pictures every week and posted them to the web, so Matt could see the progress of mommy and baby, and made plans for a baby shower! This was our first grandchild, and we were so excited! But, as with all plans, there are glitches. Matt got back in the States in early October, Katlyn was due November 8th, and he didn't get leave to come to Indiana until October 28th-ish. They could not get married before the birth, because her insurance would cancel. So, they decided to get married by the Justice of the Peace after the baby was born. No problem.

But, of course, there was a problem. Matt could not find his birth certificate, which was needed in order to pick up the marriage licence from the courthouse. He ordered a copy to be sent to his folks house in northern KY. It arrived, but at the same time, his mother was rushed to the hospital and no one was home to sign for the parcel. Matt couldn't get it because Katlyn went into labor and he was stuck at the hospital. Plans were changed to pick up the birth certificate from the UPS store on Friday after Katlyn and Tessa were discharged and then drive back to Liberty to get the marriage licence and get married by the judge at the courthouse.

Well, the judge was not available for 2 weeks! So, here they were sitting in the hospital with a new baby, no birth certificate, no marriage licence and no judge. In comes the OB nurse with the best suggestion yet..... ask the hospital chaplain! A quick flurry of phone calls later, and a wedding was set for the next day, at the College Corner United Methodist church.

Congratulations Mr ad Mrs Matthew Flynn!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The newest Birder in the Family!

After 9 months of waiting for our first grandchild, Tessa Marie made her appearance on Tuesday, November 4th at 11:05pm!

What an historic day to be born in America! She is truly a special child! Weighing in at 8lb 3 oz, and 21 inches long, she came out with a head full of brown hair and a big old "Fentz" head. Yep, she looked just like her mommy and her grandmommy! The nurses commented on how alert and mellow she was! Obviously, taking after her father's side! LOL! The entire time she was being cleaned up and given her APGAR scores, she was quiet and making the most adorable faces!

Daddy gave her her first bath! Then he bundled her up and carried her over to her mommy for their first visit! Talk about an emotionally powerful moment! Grandma was overcome with love and tears of happiness.

By the next morning, her head was back to normal shape, and she looks like a Flynn! She has her daddy's mouth and temperament. Sweet, calm and just beautiful.

Mommy and Daddy are doing great and the wedding is planned for tomorrow afternoon (Friday, November 7th). If you are available, please be at the Methodist church in College Corner, Indiana/Ohio at 5pm. The wedding is at 5:30pm. We will have champagne at our house following the ceremony! Welcome Mr. & Mrs. Matthew and Tessa Marie Flynn !!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Getting ready for the first grandchild

This week has been a busy one around the Russell Ranch! Matt flew in from California, and Katlyn successfully kept baby Tessa in her belly! In fact, we are still - 5 days later- waiting for baby Tessa to come out! LOL! Baby doctor visit is today, so we'll see what he says. Mommy and Daddy are so cute together!

I believe Abuelito is planning on getting the baby her first field guide this weekend! Start them young, right?! I'll even pop for the first set of binocs!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Beautiful West Virginia

We travelled to Virginia this weekend to watch our daughter, Amanda, play volleyball. On the way we saw the most beautiful Fall colors! The darkest red oaks are my favorite! This photo was taken in southern West Virginia. It is amazing to me to realize that at one time, this is what Ohio and Indiana looked like.

They say (who exactly says it, I don't know) that a squirrel could travel from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Mississippi River without ever touching the ground - simply by hopping from tree to tree! Now look at our area. The landscape is a checkerboard of green spaces. As we travelled along the interstate, we came upon a valley just as the morning fog was lifting. Absolutely beautiful! Dave swears he saw a Raven, but of course, it was out his window and all I could see was the roof lining of the truck!

Friday, October 24, 2008

HWBS Banding Oct 20, 2008

It was pretty cold Tuesday when we got to the banding station. My crazy birder husband, thinks frigid weather is just fine for birding and/or bird banding! I on the other hand believe that if it is so cold that you can't feel the snot running out of your nose, then it is too cold to be outside. I believe the truck said the outside temp was about 28F when we got there before dawn. Thankfully, the weather did not deter the birds from hitting the nets. We had a great variety of birds that morning including this beautiful Northern Flicker.

Several Miami University (Miami of Ohio, that is... the real Miami!) students working on research projects and training for banding certification, braved the cold weather that morning to come out and help. With 15 layers of clothing and wool blankets wrapped around them, the crew proceeded to process about 30 birds. Even Baby Mama, who is in her 9th month of pregancy came out to help record data. Now, that is a woman's woman!

Not only was my crazy birder husband happy to be out freezing his you-know-what's, but this equally adventurous group of community members arrived! It was a great opportunity to use the Flicker to discuss aging, sexing and molt limits in woodpeckers. They were fascinated!

One of the ongoing studies at our banding stations is the collection of data on mycoplasma. Mycoplasma are bacteria that do not have a cell wall. They invade cells and cause destruction and disease.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

CBO 10/23/08

It was a little chilly today at the banding station (36F), so Michelle, Sr. Marty and I had a nice leisurely breakfast at the Motherhouse. Corned-beef hash w/ eggs - my favorite!!!

It got light at about 8am, and we had the nets up by 8:15am. Before we even had the first net up, and Tufted Titmouse was in it! We had just recaptured a bird we had banded in January. Very cool! We ended up recapturing 3 Titmice that were banded together in January.

Other species banded today included, Carolina Chickadee, House Finch and American Goldfinch. We had several visitors at the station too! I love it when the Sisters drop by! They have so much enthusiasm for the birds.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Alaska - The Honeymoon Part 1

There many advantages to getting married when you are 40. One of them is that you have already been to the drunken touristy places like Hawaii and Cancun (been there, done that). So, for our honeymoon, we decided to go to Alaska in June/July. We flew from Minnesota (hey birdchick!) direct to Anchorage and picked up our motorhome. This was a birding trip/honeymoon, and we were the tour guides.

What an incredible place, Alaska is. Full of different sights and sounds - nothing like Indiana and Ohio, that's for sure! The first thing you notice is that even in June, there is a chill to the air. A fresh, cool, crisp smell that immediately makes you feel happy to be alive in this gorgeous wilderness.

So, yeah, I married a birder

and, it has been non stop travelling ever since! For instance this past weekend we were at the Audubon Ohio State Assembly in Mansfield. Great weekend with lots of interesting people, including the "birdchick", who got me interested in blogging! Here is my handsome husband at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary getting up-close and personal with a Blue Jay.