Monday, January 26, 2009
Labels: The Spirit of Awakening
Monday, January 19, 2009
Closer view using the 2x digital zoom with the binoculars. It helps to clean the window, focus the bins, and such. ;-P
Both finches in one frame of a test video.
Two house finches.
Practice, practice, practice.
Labels: House finch
Unknown thrush on branch in sunlight.(possibly a Veery)
Unknown thrush in undergrowth.
Unknown thrush (frame from first video)
Guess I will have to go back and see what species this individual is.
Unknown thrush (frame from second video)
Not much better.
Better luck next time.
Labels: More art than science?
Buddha said: "I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes. I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil on my foot. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians. I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes. I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime. I look upon the judgment of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons."
Are the wise rescuing fools (Wall Street and auto companies), or are fools rescuing fools? Unfortunately, the answer may not be apparent until some time in the future. If the best minds in Washington can't do better than they have been doing, we are likely in big trouble on one level of thought. If we look at it from the Buddha's perspective, it's almost like watching a dream or ants fighting.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Northern Mockingbird (Flip MinoHD only)
Uploading the MPEG-4 files is a bit time consuming. I had trouble with the Robin video and had to start over. Google converts the MP4 files to flash which degrades the resolution. I also lose detail around the edges due to the binoculars. Compare the Mockingbird video against the others. To illustrate the degradation due to the conversion to flash, I'm going to show you two frames from the MP4 videos.
See the red crest. It's a male.
See the hint of yellow in its breast. I went with the first impression, though it could be a an Eastern Wood Peewee. I thought I saw wing bars when it was in flight, but the juvenile Eastern Phoebe can have light wing bars as well.
Overall though, the binoculars allow me to grab video from a distance and capture details I wouldn't normally be able to capture with the camcorder by itself.
Labels: Field Test
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Binoculars, a Flip MinoHD Camcorder, and Birds
Edited video recording of Dark-eyed Junco on my porch railing through the binoculars.
Labels: Documenting birds on the cheap
Friday, January 16, 2009
Labels: Essence and form
Already Missing Them
Sunday, January 11, 2009
December 17th: Northern Entrance of Big Bend
Labels: Big Bend North Entrance
December 16th: Chisos Mountains and Rio Grande Village
We also saw a Black-crested Titmouse hanging around the lodgings. Before breakfast, my uncle and I checked out a trail. We saw some small wrens, a Greater Roadrunner, a White-tailed doe and her fawn. After breakfast, we headed Southeast and drove to the Rio Grande Village. It is a popular camping and boating spot along the Rio Grande River. This is video of one of the campgrounds and a view towards Boquillas Canyon. We saw flycatchers and a Golden-fronted Woodpecker at the campground.
Rio Grande Village Campground
Here's a still shot from my camera.
Rio Grande Village Campground
Here's some shots of the Rio Grande.
Looking South towards Mexico from Rio Grande Village
Looking East on American side from same location.
At the river, we saw a Black Phoebe catching flys over the river from the near bank.
We then went to Boquillas Canyon.
Rio Grande from Boquillas Canyon
Quite a day!
December 15th: Transit to Big Bend National Park
Labels: Onward to Big Bend National Park
Sunday, January 04, 2009
December 13th: Balmorhea, TX.
The Buffalo Trails Boy Scout Ranch Road (FM 1832 according to Google) was more promising. There's a juvenile Golden Eagle that staked out a territory at SH17 and FM 1832. We also saw various small birds, a bevy of Scaled Quail, two Prairie Falcons, Western Meadowlarks, and mule deer.
On FM1832, one can see and hear birds. We stopped and Uncle John recorded the birds singing.
Birds Singing Along FM 1832.
December 12th: Monahans, TX.
On the way back, we stopped by the Odessa Meteor Crater.
Odessa Meteor Crater
Watch for snakes. They make no mention of watching out for bullets.
There's a well behind the Visitor's Center. It has a leaky pipe and essentially, it's now a manmade spring for the wildlife. We saw various sparrows and Western Meadowlarks around the well head. 23 sparrow species out of 30 live in Texas if the bird books are correct.
December 11th: Big Spring, TX.
Labels: Big Springs State Park
December 9th: leaving Corpus Christi
We then drove all the way to Odessa. The trip matched my mood. On Interstate 10, it got cold and rainy midway between Kerrville, TX. and Iraan, TX., where I was born. We saw many Turkey Vultures along the Edward's Plateau between San Antonio and Kerrville. The rain ended before Fort Stockton and the cold air dried the roads.
Labels: Heading North and West
December 8th: Aransas Wildlife Refuge
Viewing Area Number 1 at the Refuge
Adult American Alligator in the middle of the frame.
Shortly, afterwards, I spotted an Eastern Phoebe and a Red-shouldered Hawk. We also saw Javelina, feral Pig, Armadillos, and a Gray Flycatcher within the refuge.
Juvenile American Alligators
Three Juvenile American Alligators sunning themselves. Within the puddle, one can see the eyes and snouts of 7-8 more juveniles.
Crested Caracara with Turkey Vultures Eating Carrion
Turkey Vultures and One Crested Caracara Feeding on a Feral Pig Carcass. The caracara is the faint smudge to the right of the second group of three vultures on the far right. It's between the far right group and the next group of vultures. Unfortunately, it was too far away for my phone's camera to get any resolution.
Here's a better photo.
North Padre Island, Corpus Christi, TX.
Sunset: Moon Rising over the hotel A minute earlier, White Pelicans were using the updraft of the sea breeze as it hit the hotel to gain lift. They seemed to be riding an invisible elevator upwards, then they veered off towards the ocean. My uncle remembers them being Brown Pelicans.
That night, my uncle and I ate at Snoopy's. We spotted a Great Blue Heron, a Black-Crowned Night Heron, and a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron on the walkway next to Snoopy's rear outdoor dining area.
Labels: Aransas Wildlife Refuge
December 7th: Corpus Christi, TX
Unknown hawk between San Antonio and Corpus Christi. It's perching behavior is that of a Rough-legged Hawk, but it looks like an adult White-Tailed Hawk.
A juvenile Broad-Winged Hawk being in the moment perched on an exit sign across from a Rest Area on Interstate 37.
We saw numerous Black Vultures on the roadside. Some were feeding on roadkill. We stopped at the Hazel Bazemore State Park where State Highway 77 branches off from Interstate 37. It was a pretty park. It seems many birds stop there on their migration to and from Central and South America. We saw a Green Jay, a Belted Kingfisher, Inca Doves, a Turkey Vulture, a few small birds, and common waterfowl.
North Padre Island, Corpus Christi, TX.
Smoke from marsh grass fires obsuring the setting Sun at North Padre Island.The view is from the beach looking west towards the Sun. Our hotel is on the left in the distance.
Once we got to Corpus Christi, Texas, Uncle John and I took a stroll down the beach before dinner. We saw a Lesser Yellow-Legs rummaging at the surf's edge, White Pelicans diving for fish, a hawk checking out the marsh grass behind the beach, as well as various seagulls.
December 6th: Austin, TX
Northern shore of Town Lake (Austin, TX) on jogging trail not far from I-35, looking south
That night we visited Sixth Street. Sixth Street is a shadow of what it was when I was a student at UT Austin. Businesses had closed down. Ester's Follies and the Driskill Hotel were still there. There were more older yuppie type couples roaming the streets than students which was a shame in a way. Austin's youth charged, energetic, and cheap, university-driven atmosphere has been replaced by a culture catering to couples with money to spend for the most part. Austin used to be the place to be for Texas musicians. Sixth Street has clearly suffered in some ways. After dinner, we stopped at a bar with live music for a beer.
At a Sixth Street Bar.
December 4-5th: Dallas, TX
Thursday, December 4, was a clear, cold day. A cold front had blown through the previous night and the north wind would cut through you. The first thing we saw upon arriving was a Wild Turkey hen. It seems likely that the hen heard a recorded turkey call that's part of an exhibit for children. The kids can play various recordings of bird calls and this bird was flying by and had heard the recording and decided to investigate. She had decided to stay for the time being because the staff were providing bird seed for dove and other wild birds that inhabit the gardens. You can see squirrels feeding on some of the seed in the above Flip video my uncle made. Besides the Wild Turkey that day, I saw a Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, a House Wren, another wren we couldn't identify, a Pine Sisken, and a Blue Jay. I wasn't writing any birds down, but my uncle sure was. For the most part, I remember shivering in my clothes everytime we passed into shadow where the wind was blowing.
Friday, December 5, was a bit warmer. I took Uncle John, Annie, and my ex-wife, Mori Lou, to the Dallas Museum of Art to see the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit. It was interesting to see the history of ancient Egypt and how the wealthy and powerful lived. The modern day equivalent would be to visit a Presidential museum.
Plano School Bus Parked outside of the Dallas Museum of Art. Dallas Cultural District of downtown Dallas..
At Little Elm Park, in Little Elm, TX., we saw an American Kestrel.
Labels: Ft. Worth Botanical Gardens DMA
Labels: December 2008 vacation