Archive | May, 2009

I get a peaceful, easy feeling

30 May

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A little leg of the Carson River in Nevada at the tail end of the day.  We drove by there after a marvelous dinner at a local casino buffet (although the hideous conspicuous over-consumption and waste of a casino buffet is a bit hard to take).  My mom was feeling pretty good so we stopped and walked a bit.  We could hear the Black-billed Magpies settling down for the night.  There were ducks calling nearby.  It was lovely and quiet and weren’t even any mosquitos biting.  It almost looks like the Shire, doesn’t it?  But no self-respecting hobbit would tolerate it being this wild and untidy.  :)

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Now, go away and let us sleep!

Amazing Clouds

28 May

Looking up in Carson City, Nevada last weekend resulted in seeing some nice skies . . .

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For more gorgeous skies, visit Sky Watch ® Friday!

I love to read.

27 May

I love to read on my Kindle2.

I love to read series fiction.

I love to read series fiction on my Kindle2.

And, I have a new favorite author to add to my list.

Deanna Raybourn writes the Lady Julia Grey series. Raybourn creates memorable, likeable characters who are involved in interesting mysteries with hint of romance.  Set in Victorian England, this series explores lifes of the wealthy in this time period and compares it to those who are less fortunate, including Gypsies, prostitutes, and servants. Lady Julia and her madcap family are thoroughly engaging.

There are three books in the series so far Silent in the Grave , Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor.  I’ve read the first two and I’m in the middle of the third.

Best of all, they are available for the Kindle in an enhanced version.  Love them!  Oh, and there’s a contest on Raybourn’s website where the prize is a Kindle2!  Go get one!

If you find you are loving Lady Julia, you may want to check out her more serious, less romatic cousin, Lady Emily. She is similarly a recent widow who solves mysteries in Victorian England.  These books are written by Tasha Alexander and while they are similar, there are also lots of differences as well — mostly in tone and style.  I have read the first in the Lady Emily series:  And Only to Deceive.  I enjoyed it and will read more but I didn’t have to get the whole series and read it over a long weekend.

Oh, Amazon has given Kindle a new feature: The Amazon Reading List webpage.  You will see a list of your Kindle books.  Oddly, at first, I only saw 7 of my books until I chose the option to show more books and then all my books showed up.  You can give a review.  This feature will also allow you to access your highlights and annotations.  This new web service is synched to your Kindle which allows you to see (but not change) these highlights and annotations.  You can also review your books with star ratings and see the overall ratings of the same books.

To get to your Amazon Reading List, just enter http://kindle.amazon.com into your web browser address bar, then log into your account.

Snipe!

25 May

Driving along a beautiful seasonal wetland along the Carson River outside of Carson City, Nevada, my stepdad (who got me started with birding) yelled out “SNIPE!”  We hung a U-turn and the Snipe was patiently waiting.  We hung another U-turn and pulled up near the Snipe.  It couldn’t have cared less about us.  It sang and called and posed for us.  What a joy!  What a lifer!

Wilson's Snipe

Hello, Snipe!  Aren’t you lovely?

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We just want to admire you.  You don’t mind, do you?

P1200144Thank you for your patience, you gorgeous thing.

A Quick Trip to Carson City, Nevada

24 May

I just got back from visiting my Mom up in Carson City.  Thankfully, she’s doing BEAUTIFULLY!  Healing up amazingly quickly and in generally good spirits! We did a few shopping excursions and ate out for some lovely meals. I was a kind and loving daughter and did not take any photos of her in recovery!  :)

We even got a little birding in.  Just a little, tiny bit.  We didn’t want to tire Mom out but some car birding isn’t too tiring!

Here’s what we saw . . .

2      Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
10     California Quail Callipepla californica
2     Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
1     Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata LIFER!
2     Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
8     Black-billed Magpie Pica hudsonia LIFER!
2     American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
10     Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
2     American Robin Turdus migratorius
2     House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus

The best was the Snipe.  We were driving along this beautiful stretch of road at pastures near the Carson River.  The pastures are flooded . . . perfect Snipe country.

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Isn’t it lovely?  Posed for us for hours, chatting loudly the whole time!  I’ll give you more pics and even some vid tomorrow!  :)

While I’ve seen lots of Yellow-billed Magpies, I hadn’t ever seen (or at least listed) a Black-billed Magpie. I didn’t get a good picture of them but this isn’t a baaaad picture, right?

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The biggest problem is the magpie’s lovely long tail was tipped away from the camera and looks a bit like it was clipped off.  :)   But, I love the look on it’s face . . . sort of a knowing smile!

My newest most very favoritest bird artist

23 May

Melody Lea Lamb is it.  What is cuter than cute little critters done in a teensy-weensy format?  Nothing, that’s what.  This stuff is the cutest!  Check out the bird section . . . I defy you to avoid buying.  It’s cute.  Really cute.  And, it’s inexpesive and nothing – but – nothing is cuter than inexpensive cute little critters done in a teensy-weensy format!

Looking up — A Mixed Blessing

22 May

As I walked to my car, I could hear an unfamiliar song trilling through the trees overhead.  I spotted it right away.  Singing high at the top of the tree, a beautiful sweet singer.

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No chance of IDing it,high in the tree, backlit with a butt view . . . sigh.

For more blessings from above, visit SkyWatch Friday!

21 May

American Goldfinches

I’m heading up to Carson City for a few days.  Not sure what my access will be like up there.  Possibly non-existant.  Possibly borrowed internet.  We’ll see.  I’ll be spending a couple of days taking care of my mom who is having an utterly remarkable recovery from her brain surgery!  She’s evidently just fine.  So, I’ll hang out and chat and watch some movies and get caught up on my grading and hopefully see some fun birds!  Not a bad way to handle the whole brain surgery deal!

Got money to burn?

19 May

Amazon has opened it’s Kindle Publishing for Bloggers site and now for just $1.99 per month, you can subscribe to my blog on your Kindle.  Honestly, I don’t recommend you do that.  First of all, my blog is free on the Interwebs.  Secondly, as the “publisher” I will get 30% of that monthly fee and Amazon will keep the rest.  Thirdly, while I know my blog if utterly fascinating . . . still, paying for a subscription?  I’m not feeling it.    But, if you’ve got money to burn . . .

Update: No longer is the price an outrageous $1.99 a month . . . now, I’m a BARGAIN!  Just $0.99 a month! But wait there’s more . . .

House Finches

18 May

Female House Finch

House Finches are everywhere. But their song is so beautiful that it does not pay to become so used to it that you block i out.  I am often walking down a street, struck by the beauty of a song I hear, only to realize it’s a House Finch.  The male HFs are bold and bright while the females blend in with their surroundings.

Male House Finch pretending to be an ice plant flower

This male seems to be blending in with the ice plant flowers.  “Wrong shade of pink, dude!”  They actually love the ice plant on my mother-in-law’s sandy hillside.  They seem to get bugs there but they also get to drink water from her drippy sprinklers.   This guy is waiting his turn at a sprinkler now.

Oddly colored House Finch

We see House Finches where ever we go.  This one was very orange instead of reddish-pink.  For more on color variation in House Finches, click here.

Sadly, House Finches are susceptible to disease. To learn more and to help, click here.

For more colorful songsters, visit Bird Photography Weekly!

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