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.