Tuesday, April 17, 2018
The Avian Variety
For several weeks now I've enjoyed visits from a Baltimore Oriole; a bird uncommon to my feeders. I knew they liked fruit for their munchies so I've been amazed to watch them grub around on the ground for fallen seeds with common ground feeding birds like sparrows, doves, cardinals and a turkey or two.
Click here for some very nice sample photos of this colorful bird.
After several sightings I decided to fashion a feeder for them I hoped they would find attractive:
This is simply a pine board with two long, drywall screws run through from the opposite sides to hold the orange slices with some branch segments attached for the birds to grasp while dining.
For the sake of variety I also bought a commercially available product (Perky Pet Bird Feeders) that I found at my local Elzy, home and farm store:
These birds also are known to enjoy grape jelly. That's an inverted jar of it in the suspended, orange feeder. The jelly oozes into the tray thus insuring a constant supply. The clear dome is a cleaned-up relic from a previous feeder.
Today, my visiting friend showed its first evidence of curiosity about my sliced orange offerings. It flitted about, landing ever closer to that feeder but didn't quite muster the courage to stop for a bite. I suspect it will take a few days for the bird to get used to this strange concoction.
I will be quite proud if my home-made feeder attracts an oriole before the store-bought one.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
BUFFLEHEAD DUCKS, PART II
A couple of days ago I offered a piece on my Facebook page regarding the first-ever observed visit to my pond of these delightful little ducks. Only the male was here on his migration from the deep south of the US where it winters to somewhere in Canada where it prefers to breed.
He spent more than 12 hours during that first visit diving about twice per minute for food. Evidently it was extremely hungry after its long flight.
Wednesday morning he or one of his pals was back and brought his girlfriend. That's the male on the right side of this page from my National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. The female is illustrated closest to my thumb.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
AUSTRALIAN WOMAN, 50-ish,
WALKS AWAY FROM PLANE CRASH--
Pundits were calling this a "miracle" but I see a private airplane that the lady pilot had complete control of as her craft impacted the ground in early April near Sydney. Note the cockpit, in fact, the entire fuselage, appears undisturbed. Evidently she was able to simply open the door and climb out of the wreckage with some assistance from nearby airport personnel.
It also looks like she was able to hit a tree with her left wing, tearing it loose from the airframe and helping slow the crippled airplane to a safe stop. The fact the damaged wing is still attached to the airplane, or at least nearby, suggests she had the plane slowed to its minimum controllable speed just before impact.
At that speed slight heading adjustments are possible with the plane's rudder to avoid hitting the tree with the nose of the plane.
Often times panic-stricken pilots will haul back on the elevator (stick) attempting to keep their craft airborne in this kind of situation. That results in total loss of control (airfoil stall) and often spinning into a nose down impact with the ground and disastrous results.
I believe this lady saved her own life with a dramatic dose of excellent airmanship when she needed it most.
It remains to be seen, however, what happened to put this airplane in this situation in the first place.
I believe the photo was provided by a NSW (New South Wales) ambulance squad and information was published by the Canberra Times.
Finally, once again sloppy journalism was apparent in several articles I read on this crash where the plane was described as "nose-diving" into a ditch. If that had been the truth we could expect to see extensive damage to the plane's nose and cockpit area. Evidently, exciting verbiage is more important to some writers than accuracy in their stories.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
A delightful part of watching springtime birds is seeing the migrants or otherwise unusual avian visitors that wander by. The last few days I've had a Baltimore Oriole visit. Ordinarily they are attracted by fruity offerings at the feeders and I have offered nothing of the sort. In fact the one I've been seeing is grubbing around on the ground with the sparrows and doves and etc.
Maybe I should see about something more traditional to their taste.
And, if we ever get out of the frosty nights it's time to think about your humming bird feeders. A good cleaning of them is a fine way to start and the mix they like is 1 part sugar to four parts water.
One web site makes this additional comment:
"The solution will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Please don't use food coloring, honey, brown sugar, unrefined sugar or sugar substitutes, as they can be harmful to humming birds."
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I've been shooting handguns quite a bit recently at my safe. home locations because the manufacturer of a couple of my new ones recommends a break-in process of 400 rounds or more before they are put to work in your arsenal.
Today I was wrapping-up another segment of that shooting and walked about 35 feet to examine my target. While doing so I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a wild turkey pacing me about 50 feet to the east without an obvious care in the world.
My guess was it had evaluated my marksmanship and decided it was in no danger.