Thursday, March 31, 2016

Happy April Eve


The months March on.


We’re having a touch of summer here.  High today, 98 degrees.  A nice warm morning, air conditioning in the afternoon; but when we do go outside, it just feels good.  It’s not entirely summer though, just a taste.  In a couple days it will cool back down into the 70s.  In the summer, it will just stay in the 90s for months.


Our constant source of entertainment, Donald Trump, did it again today.  He declared, in line with his conservative values, he’s pro-life.  Abortion should be illegal.  And if he gets elected and can make it illegal, then any woman who gets an abortion should be punished.  The crowd went wild.  He not only offended the pro-choice activists, he ignited the anti-abortion activists as well.  Of course, it didn’t take long before he had “clarified” his position.  What he meant to say was that if abortions are illegal, the doctors performing them should be punished, but not the women.  Big sigh of relief.  He walked it back.  He made it right.


But I’m left with a logic problem.  There is no question that women will seek abortions whether they are legal or not.  Not all women of course, but a significant number of women.  If abortions are illegal, then of course the doctors who provide them should be jailed, but shouldn’t people engaging an illegal service be jailed as well?  Don’t we already have a precedent here?  What about drug use?  There is no questions that a significant number of people seek illegal drugs.  If the suppliers of illicit drugs are caught, they are jailed. 
The consumers, people convicted of illicit drug use, are jailed as well.  It only makes sense.  If something is wrong, it’s wrong.  If you punish the people supplying the service, you should punish the people procuring the service as well.


Just like with prostitution too.  Jail the prostitutes and, and, ….and let the johns go free.


Oh, nevermind.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Little Blue Heron


Another year-round resident.


They look like this; little and blue.


Except when they’re young, then they look like this; white.


But as they get older, they start to turn blue, like the white with dark splotch bird, second from the right in this picture.


And then sometimes when they get excited, they just look like this.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

And some birds are residents


Like the tricolored heron.  It’s here year-round.




Monday, March 28, 2016

Migrant birds


Start showing up here around the end of March.  It gets busy in April, then they’re mostly gone by the middle of May.  They’re on their way north to breeding grounds.  The three birds I sent out yesterday, the American golden plover, upland sandpiper, and pectoral sandpiper, they’ll soon be long-gone, not to be seen in these southern parts again until fall.  They winter well south of us in Central and South America.  They breed as far north as the tundra in Canada and Alaska.  They are just passing through.


Here are the range maps:


Upland Sandpiper.  A relative lightweight.  Some of them only go as far north as the U.S. Midwest to stop and breed (although some do go on to Canada and Alaska).



Pectoral Sandpiper.  A pretty serious migrant, even though some of them only go as far south as way north South America.


The American Golden Plover.  A champion migrator.  All the way from way south South America to the far north tundra and back, every year.



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Time for some migrants!


American Golden Plover

(along with a Killdeer)



Upland Sandpiper



Pectoral Sandpiper



We’re ready!


Saturday, March 26, 2016

We sit outside on the deck in the evening


…. listening to great horned owls and paraques calling.  It’s warm.  Fireflies.  Water in the fountain.  Soft Mexican music from outside the park.


It’s nice here.



Friday, March 25, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016




On a mission.


Approaching with power.


Flaps down.


Talons extended.




Empty handed.


And wet.




He rises to try again.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Weather Report


We just watched the television weather.  A cold front is coming through tonight.


Tomorrow’s forecast high.


85 degrees.



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Common Gallinule


A marsh bird in the Rail family.


It paddles around in pond water and has long enough toes it can walk on floating vegetation.


It used to be called Common Moorhen.


Now it’s a Gallinule.


Go figure.



Monday, March 21, 2016

Dates are just dates


They don’t really mean anything; they’re just numbers.  I’ve been thinking and reading about the Civil War.  1865; it’s just a number for something that happened a long time ago.  The date helps us put events in order.  1865 comes after 1776; equally unfathomably distant times.


I also remember talking with a grandmother in the 1960s when I was young.  Grandma was already old.  She was so old she was born in 1880.  That was striking to me then, because I knew there weren’t any automobiles or airplanes in 1880.  Automobiles weren’t really popular until the 1910s.  Air travel didn’t happen until the 1930s.  She went from no cars and no airplanes to rockets blasting off into space and astronauts in orbit in the 1960s, and the moon landing in 1969; but that’s not the point of this thought.  This thought is not about what transpired during her life, it’s about what happened just before.  She was born only 25 years, one generation, after the Civil War.  That close.  In her life she knew, talked to, and lived with people who experienced the Civil War.  She was that close to being alive during the Civil War that happened so long ago it’s just a number in a history book.


How could so long ago be that close to being within reach?


Sunday, March 20, 2016

We turned on the radio news


… and it wasn’t talking about Donald trump.  It wasn’t even talking about the U.S. presidential election at all.  What a delight.



And we had another Wild Kingdom Moment.  The hunter and the hunted.  No photos; it all happened so fast.  We were driving slowly, birding Anzalduas Park, on the south end right next to the river.  We passed a minivan driving slowly the opposite direction.  At that moment two men, probably in their early thirties, came running down the embankment for the dam approach as fast as they could go, across the road in front of us, and dived into the minivan.  That was the dash to safety; to the anonymity of the car.


We pulled over to watch the drama unfold.  The minivan continued the opposite direction from us.  We were no threat, they didn’t care what we saw, but there were at least eight Border Patrol, County Sheriff, and Constable vehicles patrolling the park.  Did any of them see what just unfolded?  The minivan continued around the loop and was driving north now, at a reasonable speed in a park full of families, about a hundred yards west of us.  She was coming up on a four-way stop.  There was a Constable SUV already at the stop sign coming the opposite direction, just waiting.  She pulled up to the intersection, passing a Border Patrol SUV parked pointed the other direction, and stopped.  The Constable sat there at the stop sign and waited.  The suspense must have been killing her.  It was killing us.  She pulled through the stop sign and drove past.  The Constable didn’t light her up.  He paused a little longer, then continued on his rounds.  We watched her continue to the north and out of the park.  They made it.


As we were driving the rest of the way out of the park, we passed the same Constable pulled over in a different spot.  We pulled up next to him and described what we saw.  That made him really agitated, but with good humor.  “I knew it!  I knew it!” he kept saying.  “I knew something was up with that car.  I was going to pull her over for a traffic stop, but I didn’t.”  He pounded on the steering wheel.  “I knew it.”


That pregnant pause we had watched at the stop sign; it seemed like indecision from that distance; at least close scrutiny.  Turned out it was both.


These were not likely drug lords we saw running for their lives to the back of that minivan.  These were human beings, probably looking for a better life; a chance for a job, maybe as migrant pickers, and maybe send some money home.  The Border Patrol; they’re human beings too.  They’re doing their job the best they can.  They hate to see any get away.


This time, the prey ran free.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Isn't it ironic?


The flood of people from the Middle East escaping to the West, Syrian and other refugees fleeing to safety, are coming from exactly the same part of the world as the people who hate the West the most, the terrorists.  In general terms, the people we’re most afraid of are the same people who are looking to us, the West, for a better life.



Friday, March 18, 2016

Alex update


2016 State Gymnastics Competition.  Level 8.  Steamboat Springs.


The videos are a little rough (cellphone) (you’ll have to full-screen them to be able to see him), but his routines are getting smoother; lots of consecutive moves strung together.


Parallel bars




High bar




There is a release move (already) early on in the high bar routine; both hands off the bar at the same time.  That’s a difficult dismount off the parallel bars, and the double back off the high bar is big.  That’s the closest he’s come to landing it.  The coaches are pushing him past his comfort zone, even adding moves to his routine in the middle of the season.  That doesn’t usually happen.


He placed 12th overall.  We don’t yet know if that will be good enough for him to go to Regionals at the Colorado Olympics Training Center in Colorado Springs in a few weeks.  He seems to be gaining momentum right now, so maybe…


We’ll report back.


Thursday, March 17, 2016




Gets her garden growing!




And the secret garden too!




I’m training the mandevilla vine to climb.









Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wilson's Snipe



They’re a secretive bird.


You don’t normally see them.


Unless you get lucky.


And one walks right in front of you.