Archive | March, 2008

Spring Break Report — The Birds!

31 Mar

I will get to the most important stuff first . . . the birds! What a trip — to be honest, I did not see as many birds as I have on other trips. I should have — the campground we stayed in was right on the water and there was a wildlife preserve near by. I think a large part of the problem was the busy schedule we kept on this trip. (See my FMC blog report for a quick and dirty version!)

I have to break my bird report into two parts — domestic and exotic. Because we went to the San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and SeaWorld, I saw a fair number of exotic birds. They were wonderful and I loved seeing them but they aren’t “countable!”

So, domestic birds. Here are some pictures . . .

Great Heron at the Rookery at San Diego Wild Animal Park.

The Rookery at San Diego Wild Animal Park

Little Blue Heron, San Diego Bay

San Diego Bay

San Diego Bay

San Diego Bay

Raven, San Diego Wild Animal Park

Peahen, San Diego Zoo (Hey, it’s in my Sibley book! 🙂 )

Flamingo, also exotic but also in my Sibley book!

Vieing with the sealions and seagulls for fish!


House Finch fluffed up on a chilly morning


House Sparrow who joined us in the open air restaurant


Crows at the campground — adaptive critters, aren’t they?


Flock of Black Skimmers.

The List:

  • Brant (Branta bernicla) LIFER!!!
  • Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
  • Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
  • Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) LIFER!!!
  • Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) LIFER!!!
  • Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
  • American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
  • European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
  • Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) LIFER!!!
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler (Dendroica nigrescens) LIFER!!!
  • House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
  • House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
  • Great Egret (Ardea alba)
  • Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
  • Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)
  • Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
  • Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
  • Common Raven (Corvus corax)
  • Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
  • Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli)
  • Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)
  • American Wigeon (Anas americana) LIFER!!!

They are at it again . . . .

30 Mar

. . . or more proof that I will do anything to get a free book.  Well, a free GOOD book . . . about birds!

10,000 Birds is giving away an amazing book called The Life of the Skies.  All you have to do is a) promote their giveaway (check!) and/or submit a drawing or photo of a bird in flight (hmmmm!).  I am wondering if anywhere in the 45,000 photos I took this week in San Diego did I get any birds in flight?  Probably not because I’m sick to death of taking shots of blue sky.  But, hey, I’ll check . . . I must have a photo of a raven in flight SOMEWHERE!!!  🙂  Go visit and enter the contest. But, I’ll win.  I always win!  Always.  Always.  Always.  🙂  (Now that I’ve doomed myself to failure by bragging unnecessarily, I’ll go back to uploading the 3 GB of pics I took on my trip! )

PS.  Yes, we’re home safe and sound.  Details (3 GB worth!) to follow!   

Noisiest Campground Ever

26 Mar

Oh, it’s not the people, don’t get me wrong.  And, prepare yourself, oh my devoted readers, for a good long laugh.  The noisy neighbors?  Corvids.  Crows to be specific.  There is a flock of them who live here in the campground and starting about 5:30am, they set up a huge racket.  I watched them fly in to roost last night and there were abou 50 of them.  Thankfully, we aren’t that close to them but I can’t sleep when they start up.  Crazy birds!

Out the otherside of the FMC,  I can hear something singing sweetly — it’s lovely especially when juxtaposed against the raucous racket of the Crows.

Trip Update: We arrived in good shape despite some issues with fan belts on the FMC. Legoland was yesterday. Today, Seaworld.   Great trip!

(I’m “ant blogging” so don’t expect these dates and times to match up!)

Fun Rock Meme from up North

24 Mar

Thanks, Clare!

1) What is the first rock concert you ever went to?

I went and saw Heart with John Cougar (before he was John Cougar Mellancamp much less John Mellancamp).  Greg had been to many concerts and really couldn’t believe that I’d never been to one.  It was amazing.  I’m pretty sure I wore sunglasses with heart-shaped lenses to the concert.  It was in 1982, I believe.  Summer between high school and college.
2) What is the best rock concert you’ve seen?

Indigo Girls playing in Santa Cruz.  Big lawn area, blankets all spread out.  We got their late and found friends who had gotten their early and had a good spot.  We danced and sang and rocked out — so awesome!
3) Tag you’re it.

I’m going to anyone who wants to try.

More fun Bird Products

23 Mar

Please tell me I am not alone in my penchant for odd, even bizarre, products with birds on them . . .

Dressed Corvid from Egg Mercantile

Other cool products there with an avian bent Oiseaux de Paradis, Birdy Snap Wallet II, and Boîtes à trésors – Oiseaux.  Are there more?  Mais oui! Oh, and remember this shop is in Europe so the money is euros and everything will have to be shipped.

Adorn Jewelry — on Etsy, of course — has fantastic jewelry with birds.

The little bird necklace is also an Etsy find by redbench.   Just adorable — love the three little red beads just for fun.


These bird vases by artist J. Mendicino are simply too wonderful for words!  They come in large and small but I don’t see why they are sold individually — how could you not have them together?  They’d get lonely!  I found these in Three Potato Four — a very fun shop.

Happy Spring!  Enjoy the birds — outside on the feeders or inside on the tables.

Meet Tom!

22 Mar

Peeping Tom

Meet Tom — Peeping Tom. Tom is a raven who visits my classroom everyday. He walks on a roof and looks in the window to the classroom. He kronks up there loudly. Walking back and forth in front of my window, kroking. The window is up high in my classroom which is why it’s hard for us to see Tom well.

Peeping Tom

Tom is looking at me here with particular intent because he knows that I totally beat him this time. I have been trying for weeks to get a picture of Tom to share with you all. Even though I’m in the classroom on the other side of the room, he is gone the minute I pull out my camera. Rotten bird! 🙂 But I got him this time and he knows it.

Peeping Tom

Can’t you just hear him thinking, “Drat that woman and her camera!” Tom shows up during Math almost everyday. The kids totally lose focus and point and talk about him (They call him “Peanut Butter” which is just silly — his name is clearly Tom! Sigh!). Their easy slip into distraction is completely my fault — I shared my enthusiasm for Ravens with them and they found that more compelling than my enthusiasm for adding and subtracting like and unlike fractions. I had to tell them that if Tom is too big a distraction that the blinds will have to close during math. It is pretty cool to watch them see him up there, want to point and shout out about it, struggle to stay calm and at least partially focused on their work while still sneaking peeks up to Tom. They are such great kids!

These ravens at school are wonderful. I do worry a little bit though — they are so smart and Tom is watching through the window during Math — what if he’s picking up how to add and subtract like and unlike fractions? Are we really ready for a population of educated Ravens? The mind boggles.


And, while you are recovering from boggled mind, head on over to I and the Bird #71 – The Quotable I and the Bird. Clare of The House and other Arctic Musings did a fantastic job. Lots of good weekend reading — enjoy!

And, we’re off!

21 Mar

Happy sleepy kids

For more on our Spring Break journey, visit The Journey is the Thing, our blog about our FMC motorcoach! We’re off to San Diego for a few days of total fun and relaxation. We’re hitting Legoland, Seaworld, and the San Diego Zoo.  We’re visiting friends and family.  We’re going to relax and sip cocktails and kick back without worrying about anything — not grades, not demanding clients, not unrealistic deadlines, not never-ending piles on our desks, not homework, not anything!  Just good, solid, quality family time!


20 Mar

Cobweb Thistle

Thoughts circle my brain
Options chasing decisions following options
Round and round and round it goes
Where it stops, nobody knows
Money makes the world go round and round in my head
Circling like buzzards overhead on a cloudless day

More Circle poems at One Single Impression.
All content written by Liza Lee Miller unless otherwise noted.
© 2008, Liza Lee Miller. Creative Commons License

Wordless Wednesday . . . things are looking up

19 Mar

Our new truck


They're here!

Ruby Tuesday — The I Hate Home Depot Edition

18 Mar

That's not a good sit, Ruby!

Ruby wants you to know that she hates Home Depot too. (And yes, this is all just a clever way of complaining about Home Depot under the guise of a Ruby Tuesday post.) Ruby hates them more now because tonight they were supposed to call and let us know that our countertops were in and ready for pickup. But, there was no phone message tonight. So, I called the store around 6pm to find out whether or not I should order pizza or just go down and get the countertops and get fast food in the car. The kids were rampaging around whining about not having any food in the house and I was irritated to say the least. Well, the girl that answered the phone was quite helpful but ran out of options when no one in receiving would answer the blinking phone. So, she told me that she’d give my message to a guy who would call me back in 20 minutes. At 7pm – 40 minutes later, I loaded the kids up in the truck and we went into town for pizza — meeting Greg there.

The phone call came in at 7:44 pm. The message was hilarious — I’m sure he thought he was being clear but he said, and I quote, “If your countertops aren’t supposed to have backsplashes, then I think I’m looking at them so if you aren’t sure, call me back.”

Sigh. Heavy, heavy sigh.

As for me, I’m going to go back to grading 5th grade essays where the language is clearer and more definite than a well-paid Home Depot sales associate’s phone messages.

Maybe tomorrow night, I’ll be able to take a picture of Ruby next to our new countertops without backsplashes, thank you very much!