Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We spent Thanksgiving at Seminole State Park in Georgia. I was a little scared when I was told we were staying in cabins, I was expecting something a tad more rustic. But the cabins were amazing, the area was gorgeous, and the weather was perfect. Here are our pictures. Click to enlarge if you are so inclined.
We stopped at Koon Lake on the way up to do some birding. This is a yellow sulphur butterfly.
Also at Koon Lake, this is a Phoebe.
We also stopped in Tallahassee to get this red-necked grebe. This was a life bird for me, and a bird of the day for David.
Thanksgiving morning, David and I took a hike on one of the trails at the campground. This is a Merlin that was sitting in a tree. We also saw a ribbon of black birds that went on for 15-20 minutes. David estimates there were 35,000 birds in the flock.
This is a Kestrel, also on the hiking trail Thanksgiving morning. 
Near the end of the trail there is a board walk over a swampy area. This flock of Canada Geese flew over us.  
The experts, trying to figure out the oven on Thanksgiving morning. 
Post Thanksgiving meal, the menfolk watching football.  
The womenfolk doing deep and meaningful things post thanks giving dinner.
David and Scott, catching up around the fire (modern-style) Thanksgiving night.
Kathy and Tom, at the fire Thanksgiving night.
Sherm, Nancy, and Dad, at the fire Thanksgiving night.
Beth, Mom, Amy and Sherm, at the fire Thanksgiving night. 
Sherm and Amy resting during our hike Friday afternoon. 
Indoctrinating the family into the joys of birding. We were all looking at a woodpecker. 
Sherm and Mom, taking a break during our Friday hike.
We saw two turtles in the swamp during our hike.
Me, Nancy, Sherm, Mom, David, Dad and Amy, looking like referees. A stranger came by and took this for us. When we asked him, he at first said, "NO!!! I don't do that kinda thing!" Then he laughed and said of course he would. We decided he would have fit right in with us.
A cool bug who joined our group at the campground.
In front of Nancy and Sherm's camper: Amy, Nancy, Kathy, Tom, Mom, Dad, David and Sherm.
On our way home, we stopped at Tall Timbers to go birding. This was kind of sad. This deer was either sick or had been attacked or both. He was walking around in circles drooling and had patches of fur missing from his back.
Also at Tall Timbers, this little toad wasn't feeling too well either . It was very cold, I think he was late getting into hibernation or something. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Please Donate for the Kidney Foundation Walk!


Update 10-Oct-2012: I have the coolest pledge - Alison and Joy are pledging me two dollars for every day between now and the walk that I eat like a grown up (at least 2 real meal a day, and NO junkfood). I'm doing ok so far, and by ok I mean I haven't killed anything yet! So far, I am at $20 with that pledge, and $240 in other donations. Please pass the link to this page along to help me raise money for a good cause!

A while back, my trainer did a run for a children's cancer charity. To sweeten the pot, she agreed to do a burpee for every dollar pledged. Given that I get matching gifts at work, I pledged a lot just because the thought of her doing twice as many burpies made me laugh:-) So, inspired by her, I decided to offer a similar deal. If you pledge me for the "Kidney Walk in Tampa" I will do horrible things for every dollar raised.

$ 1 - 100 - 1 crunch for every dollar
$200 - above plus 100 pushups
$300 - above plus 100 squats
$400 - $900 above and will let a donor decide on each torture (let me know when you pledge your preferred form of torture)
$1000 - Above plus 100 burpies. With the push up. I hate burpies which is why I set the number so high here.

Bonus: For every dollar over 1000, I will perform a minute of interpretive dance and will have someone record the hightlights and post them here.

I know I've annoyed a lot of people with my bad puns and horrible facebook posts. This is time for your payback. Make me suffer! And thanks for your pledges, it's for a great cause and in honor of a great woman, aunt Kathy!

Note - if you get matching gifts at work, please let me know so I can add it to the torture tally.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Very Bad Birder Props

I've expanded my very bad birder talk, and have added some new props. Thanks to Jim Melvin for the awesome Palm Warbler source picture, and thanks also to Carol E. Carpenter for the dowitcher source picture.

video


video

And this is a red-bellied woodpecker puppet that I put way too much work into for what will be a 10 second demonstration of woodpecker flight patterns.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Alaska Vacation Days 1-3

So, we (Georgie, Shirley, Lynn, David and I) took a 10 day trip to Alaska. The first 7 days were on the Radiance of the Seas cruise ship, the last 3 were on buses and a dome train. Here is the first part of the story, in photos. Click photos to enlarge.

David at our traditional
road trip starting point,
Starbucks.

Me, in the bathroom
of the Orlando airport.
I take these photos for the
sole purpose of bugging
Shirley.

David, having lunch
at the MN airport.

Us, waiting for the last leg
of our flight to Vancouver.

Story here: The night before the
cruise I had a dream that when we
got to the ship, it was just a barge
and people kept falling off into the
water. When David and I walked
down to the pier, this was the first
boat we saw. I took this picture and
told Shirley the ship was everything
I dreamed of. She wasn't amused.

David and I at the pier in
Vancouver. This was really
the only day it rained the
whole trip.

Shirley made a new
friend. These were
all over the city, I think
it's a similar project to
the sea turtle one here
where local artists paint
them for charity. 

Waiting in the hotel lobby for
our bus to be called.

The hotel was pretty fancy and nice
until we opened our drapes and
saw a guy peeing in the alley.

Still waiting for our bus to be called.

The pier was only about 1/2 mile
from the hotel, but we had a ton,
you might even say "a boatload"
of luggage.

David looking for birds
while we were still in the
Vancouver port.

Vancouver was a neat
city. Many buildings
had grass or trees
growing on them. Click
to enlarge this picture
to see the forest on
this building. 

Georgie, photographing
Vancouver.

The port building was neat, it
reminded me a lot of the airport
in Colorado.

It took a long time for the boat to
actually leave the port, and a short
time for the Blanchard contingent to
find the alcohol! Here are Shirley
and Lynn with fancy drinks, and
David drinking a $2.00 ginger ale
(surprise! "all inclusive" doesn't
include soda or bottled water)

We finally started moving, here are
David and Shirley giving the
thumbs up.

Lynn and Georgie giving the
thumbs up. I was too, but I was
taking the picture.

This is a big bridge we
went under leaving
Vancouver.

This is my first picture of Alaska.
This is Ketchican, the first port we
stopped in. 

Me and Shirley on deck waiting to
disembark at Ketchican.

Georgie, Shirley and
David on deck.

Georgie, Shirley and Lynn.

It was way colder than I
was expecting. I bought
myself a sexy new hat.  OK,
not really sexy, but it
kept my little ears toasty!

One of the dining rooms on the
ship had a kitty in it that
reminded me of Barty!

Another view of the
area from the ship. Been
a while since I've seen
snow. Haha! Turns out
I don't really miss it!

Our first critter, a bald
eagle.

Our second critter,
a freaking HUGE eagle!

This was a weird little
bar in Ketchican. The
Jack Nicholson in the
window was kinda
freaky.

This was living on the dock in
Ketchican. I don't know what it was.
It had too many legs to be an
octopus. Maybe a squid?
Update: According to Heather and
John, this is a sun seastar.

We couldn't get onto the trip that
Shirley, Lynn and Georgie did, so
David and I took a city bus to
Ward Lake to hike. This was a sign
on the trail that someone defaced
with what appeared to be poop of
some kind.

A townsend's warbler.

A banana slug. This was a life
critter for me. I really liked the
slugs here. I tried to find an ID
guide for them, but couldn't find
one. I guess I'm the only one who
wanted to know!

Hmm. Some kind of sparrow or
something?

Another terrible
picture of a kingfisher.
This is my nemesis bird,
I don't think I will ever
get a good picture.

David, e-birding.

Us, waiting for the bus
back to the boat. 

David, in front of
the eagle statue.

This was kind of cool. Every night*,
the stateroom attendent left our
towels in the shape of a critter.
*Well, every night up until the
"incident" after which, I think she
was afraid to enter our room. What
was seen can never be unseen. I
hope she didn't go blind or insane.