Monthly Archives: November 2011

November 30, 2011 – the things I enjoy

Sometimes I sit down at the computer and open my blog, even though I am completely uncertain about what I’m going to write about.  But I just start typing anyway and what appears on the screen….well it is what it is.  And so it is tonight.  I worked 12 hours today.  My alarm goes off at 6 AM.  By the time I shower, have a cup of coffee, a bite of toast and watch a little of CNN to catch up on the current news, it is 7:15 and time for me to go out the door.  My work hours are 8 AM to 8 PM.  The time goes by fairly quickly at work because we are very busy and it is go, go, go.  When I get home in the evening, I make myself a bite to eat.  Nothing to extravagent  —  toast, a bagel, or a muffin.  I sit down here at the computer and read thru the blogs and web-sites I follow and write down”something” in my blog.  Sometimes I watch a television show before I head to bed to read and go to sleep.

Sometimes I ask myself why I have gone back to work.  After-all, I am retired from a long-term (30+ years) job.  I have a pension.  But I still have the ability to work.  Basically, I think it just comes down to making extra money and proving to myself that I can still do physical work and keep up with people a quarter or a third my age.  I don’t think I will keep it up for very long.  I am 63.  I can’t really see myself working past the age of 65. 

But working obviously cuts into my time.  For my first year of retirement I made up my mind that I would not seek employment.  But just do the things that I enjoy  —  read, walk, explore back-roads, take pictures, look for birds and other aspects of nature.  Now I don’t have much time for these things anymore.  I find myself constantly looking at my schedule, looking ahead to what days I have off, watching the long-range weather forecast, planning what to do in the weeks ahead, just trying to make the most of what little free time I have.  I just need to hang in there for a few more years and then I can get back to having more time for the things I enjoy.

Speaking of things I enjoy, I just watched a music video on YouTube by Adele.  This amazing 23-year-old girl from England has a wonderful voice.  I watched her video “Someone Like You”.  Very nice.  And now it is time for me to toddle off to bed.  Goodnight, my friends.

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November 29, 2011 – change

Tonight, the last remaining odds and sods were removed from 212 Southfield Drive.  Well, one of these odds and sods was the hot tub.  The mover kept saying “Don’t worry about it.  We’ve moved hot tubs before.”  But one of the conditions of sale was that the hot tub had to be removed before November 30th.  And talk about last minute moving.  I was getting nervous.  But the movers (two men) showed up at 3:30 PM.  Then a tow truck pulled up.  On the weekend, the men had stood the hot tub up on its side.  Today we lowered it down on a skid and used a skid lifter/puller and just rolled it out of the garage.  It really seemed so simple.  The tow truck backed into the driveway.  It was the kind of tow truck with a ramp.  The wench was attached and it pulled the tub right up onto the bed of the truck.  The process was reversed over at the new house right into the garage.

Such a strange feeling walking around in the EMPTY house.  We moved into that house in 1996.  15 years this past April.  Alot of work went into that house over the years.  And not just the house.  The gardens and yard took up ALOT of my time.  But nothing lasts forever.  And now it is time for a change.

Tomorrow I go back to work.  Wednesday and Thursday.  Then I have the weekend off.  Need to sort out some of the boxes and try to find some things that have gotten buried.  Looking ahead to Friday’s weather.  A little on the cool side, but partly sunny.  Might be a good day to drive the back roads and look for birds.  If that doesn’t work out, maybe I will wait until later in the afternoon and go out looking for SHORT-EARED OWLS.  At any rate, I would like to find some time at some point on Friday to go out and look for birds.

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November 29, 2011 – connected

I was without internet for a few days.  But things are up and running again.  WOW!!  Do the emails ever pile up!  Mostly junk mail of course.  But there were a couple of ONTBIRDS messages of interest.  There were a couple of SNOWY OWLS seen at Kettle Point.  Now Kettle Point is not very far from here.  It is just south of Grand Bend right on the shores of Lake Huron, a traditional migration route (the shoreline) for many birds, including SNOWY OWLS.  

Co-incidentally, yesterday I took a few minutes out of my day to drive down Seed Road to look for SNOWY OWLS, as they can often be found in that area in the winter.  Well I know it is not quite winter yet, but it is not far away.  And the sightings in other parts of southwestern Ontario are beginning to add up.

I thought I would throw in another picture that I took while in Texas:

Meanwhile, almost everything around here is in a box or suitcase or pile up in a garage or in a storage unit.  Went to the lawyers yesterday and reviewed the paperwork for the sale of the house.   The only thing left to move is the hot tub.  And that is scheduled for 3:30 this afternoon.

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November 18, 2011 – an anecdote from my Texas Trip

When you attend a festival such as the one Bob and I attended in Harligen, Texas, you can’t help  but meet lots of interesting people.  One of the “characters” that we met was a fellow named Matt Stenger.  Matt is doing a “big year”.  When we first met him on November 8th, he had 665 birds on his list for the year.  He was hoping to add WHITE-COLLARED SEED-EATER to his list that day at the La Laja Ranch (16 miles south of Laredo).  And he was not disappointed.  He, along with all the rest of us, had great looks at the Seed-eater.

When we first took note of Matt, we had just disembarked from our tour bus at the ranch.  It was a cold (in the low 60’s), windy, dusty day.  And there is Matt.  A t-shirt, shorts and BAREFOOT!!!  He was lugging around a camera with a huge lens, in addition to his binoculars and was ready to walk the trails in search of the Seed-eater.  We got to talking with Matt and developed a friendship that lasted thru the festival, as we ran into him repeatedly at various locations.  One of the things that he shared with us was that he has an aversion to footwear.  He does wear shoes or sandals when it is a must (like “No shoes, no shirt, no service” sort of thing), but otherwise he goes barefoot.  We were just amazed to see him working his way on the trails (and you know there are ALOT of thorny, prickly trees and bushes in that part of the country).

Matt keeps a blog charting his “Big Year” progress.  And it makes for interesting reading.  He has about 6 weeks left in which to build his year list.  Good luck and good birding, Matt.

You can click on the links to the La Laja Ranch and to Matt’s blog if you are iterested in reading further.

And just because I can, I have ended this post with a song by one of my recent favourite songstresses (is that a word??)

Adele has quite the voice.  This is “Make You Feel My Love”   

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November 17, 2011 – a few more pics

Ruddy Turnstone


American White Pelican


Whooping Crane




American Oystercatcher


White-tailed Hawk


Long-billed Curlew


Black-necked Stilt


Common Moorhen


Harris's Hawk


Crested Caracara


Crested Caracara in flight skimming the ground


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November 16, 2011 – Texas Trip (day seven)

It was our last day of birding.  Bob and I drove over to South Padre Island.  It is about a 45 minute drive from where we were staying in Harlingen.  Have to drive over the longest bridge in Texas to get there.  (2½ miles)  There are alot of modern buildings on the island.  And they are very bird friendly.  There was a BIG modern birding centre there, with an extensive series of boardwalks winding around thru a saltmarsh and down to the water.  There birds are all around you.  Walking along the boardwalk it was easy to see LONG-BILLED CURLEW, COMMON MOORHEN, WILLET, WHITE IBIS, CLAPPER RAIL, BLACK-NECKED STILT, lots of ducks and hawks and many smaller peeps (and an alligator).  Right next door is the Convention Centre.  Here too, they have the grounds set up for birders.  Feeeders everywhere.  Nice trails and walks around the property.

We left there mid-afternoon and drove back onto the mainland to check out the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.  This was a really neat place.  We took a 15 mile drive around a very desolate dirt road.  It wanders thru part of the Refuge.  We saw a Coyote and a White-tailed Deer, not to mention a number of birds.  One of the neatest birds along this drive was  WHITE-TAILED KITE.  After the drive, we parked in the visitor centre parking lot and walked some of the trails.  Just before dark about a thousand SANDHILL CRANES flew in to spend the night.  Not sure where they landed, but it was an incredible site to see them fly in.  Saw another coyote and some PLAIN CHACHALACAS.  Finally it got too dark to bird.  As we were driving out of the refuge, we saw COMMOM PAURAQUES fly up from beside the road.  It was a very neat way to end our birding experience here in southern Texas.

We are sitting here at the airport now.  All checked in and waiting for our 9 AM flight. 

One further note:  At the Birding Centre on South Padre, I saw a really neat t-shirt.  It said:

Life is Simple

Eat, sleep, bird

I didn’t get one because they didn’t have my size.  DAMN!!

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November 15, 2011 – Texas Trip (day six)

We travelled north thru Corpus Christie Saturday evening and arrived at Rockport/Fulton around supper-time.  We arranged to have a couple seats on the tour boat that would take us out to see WHOOPING CRANES at 1:30 PM.  Sunday morning we drove and walked around the area.  Basically, Fulton is a sleepy, little fishing village.  We saw a number of shorebirds, gulls and terns. 

Shortly after 1 PM, we boarded the boat and around 1:30 we shoved off and “Captain Tommy” took us out to see the cranes.  I don’t have the total numbers of species for yesterday, but I did get another 4 lifers.  WHOOPING CRANE, WHITE-TAILED HAWK, SANDWICH TERN and LONG-BILLED CURLEW.  The trip took about 3 hours.  We saw lots of birds – gulls, terns, shorebirds, hawks and also dolphins.



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