eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - cold)
As you are probably aware from the postings of other Boston-area LJers, we had a bit of snow yesterday and overnight into today. We actually achieved OFFICIAL blizzard status late last night (defined as "3+ hours of sustained 35 mph winds and 1/4 mile visibility") which, as the Weather Channel people never ceased telling us, is the first time Boston has had a REAL blizzard since the infamous one of 1978. We did not, in fact, beat that snow total record. However, we did have a 76 mph gust at Logan Airport last night, and a category 1 hurricane is 74 mph (sustained, granted), so well-played, nature.

I took a bunch of "before", "during", and "after" pics. You can click through and see any of them larger.

Many snowy pics below! )

Neighbors trying to dig out their entire driveway by hand. Mind you, the winds are still VERY strong. I then noticed that one of them (right) had, halfway through, gone and fetched a lawn chair, and just gave up.


I agree, neighbor. I'm not even going OUT there to clear off my car until tomorrow.
eregyrn: (Greenman)
As promised, I selected just 24 photos to represent the year, and hit every month except for April and September, I think. Click any to embiggen at Flickr.

Let's see if I can get one of those new-fangled LJ Collapse things to work...
I think I got it... oh it's just the old LJ Cut... )


Jun. 18th, 2012 11:38 am
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - Spring)
Thanks to all for the birthday wishes yesterday. :) We actually had gorgeous weather here, so I took the opportunity to do something I've been meaning to do for a while, which was get out kayaking again. It surprises me to realize that I probably hadn't been out for 2 years, and as soon as I got back out on the water, I remembered how much I just plain enjoy it. The river is lovely and the feel of kayaking is lovely.

This time, I was excited to get out on a stretch of the Charles River that I'd never been on before. Charles River Canoe & Kayak has several rental spots, all of which I've been to, but I didn't know they'd opened up a new one upriver at Nahanton Park in Newton, on a 12 mile stretch of the river unbroken by any dams!

In a sense, this was my downfall; so was going by myself. Because whenever I go out to do things by myself, I always wind up being over-ambitious. Previously, I think I have not done paddles much longer than about 6 miles round trip. This time, I took advantage of a little canal that cut across a big loop of the river -- at the end of which, I had to actually get out and walk through a waterfall over rocks (in flip-flops, because I'm dumb), dragging the kayak under a bridge to get back to the river and go back the long way, downstream. In my head, this made sense, because paddling downstream is always easier, and I'd noticed on the way out that the wind ought to be mostly at my back on the return. But I sort of didn't do the math in my head to estimate how long a trip that would really be. When kayaking, I tend to manage about 3-3.5 miles per hour. I paddled 2 miles to get to the half-mile short-cut. That brought me back to the river 8 miles upstream, which I then had to paddle all the way back to the rental site. And while I was indeed going with the current on the way back, the current isn't so strong that it carries you at any speed. So, yeah. That was about 3 and a half hours' worth of constant paddling, more than I'd ever done before, and the river was twisty enough that I still had stretches where I had to paddle against the wind.

But it was great, even if my arms are kind of limp noodles today.

I don't have any pictures of any of that, because I don't tend to try to mess around with electronics in a kayak, since it's all so wet. Instead, have some pictures from a few weeks ago, when Diane and Katie and I took a day-trip up to the White Mountains in NH. I was the instigator of this plan, because it has seemed for a while now, to me, that it is ridiculous that I have lived up here for over 20 years and never been up there, and never driven up Mt. Washington.


Many more pictures below the cut, half of cool animals and half of scenic mountain vistas: this way... )

Conclusion: the White Mountains are really pretty. And I want to see more waterfalls.
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - Autumn)
Of course, it is often owl-time around here these days, so what I mean specifically is, it's saw-whet owl-banding time!


More under the cut! )

Tonight is "friends and family night", so I'm going back. We are just hoping like hell any owls show up. There was a 4th owl last night who flapped her way out of the net before we could get to her, so we're hoping she sticks around and gets in the net again tonight.
eregyrn: (Hawk)
Remember the hawks at Harvard? We had all kinds of Drama earlier in the spring, and then the upshot of that was pretty unclear. But my guess has been that the resident pair didn't raise any young this year, because of the disruptions to the mating season.

I will sometimes see one or the other of the adults perched on a weathervane. But a couple of weeks ago I found BOTH of them perched on a steeple around the corner from my office, so I went out to get some pics.


A few close-ups below... )

Meanwhile, in Nature News, we have also acquired bunnies.

More details below... )
eregyrn: (-GHowl - windblown)
First: if you haven't yet watched the video I posted last night, go do so! It is short and very cool. (It's a 100-second retrospective of fashion in the last 100 years in London, illustrated via a nifty dance routine and some extremely good editing.)

Next: as you can tell from the subject line, still playing catch-up. On July 4th, the Constitution is brought out of its berth and pushed out as far as Castle Island and Fort Independence, before being turned around and pushed back into its berth. This is apparently to rotate it so that it weathers evenly, and it's done 4 times a year. On July 4th, they make a big deal out of it.


More under the cut... )

Finally -- It only occurred to me most of the way through the cannonade that my camera has a video function... and then, since it's a new camera, it took me until nearly the END of the cannonade to figure out how to start it recording. So I missed most of it, but here's what I got, including the horn-honking salute from the flotilla of sight-seeing boats afterwards, and at the very end, the sound of the little cannon on the dock being set off.

So there you have it! We may try to go down again next year and make a picnic out of it, as there were some nice places to do that, and it wasn't nearly as mobbed with people as we thought it might be.
eregyrn: (- Saw-whet - Spring2)
Yes, yes, still behind. Have some owl pictures from June!


More owls behind the cut... )

Next time: the USS Constitution (I promise!), and a trip to the Jersey shore. (Not THAT Jersey Shore. I swear.)
eregyrn: (- Saw-whet - Spring2)
So, some of you may remember a month or so ago that I posted to express my doubt that the New England Aquarium's new Shark & Ray Touch Tank would actually -- as billboards implied -- allow me to pet a hammerhead shark. And yet, this turned out to be accurate, inasmuch as their tank truly contains several bonnethead sharks, which are the smallest members of the hammerhead family.

A couple of weeks ago, [ profile] maxineofarc and I went to the NEA in order to check this out for ourselves. And we had an excellent experience.


More sharks this way! )

NEXT: more owlets!
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - orly)

Dammit, New England Aquarium. You are NOT going to let me pet a hammerhead. Not even a very small one. Don't jerk me around.

This was a quick screen-cap I took of one of those annoying, in-your-face animated ads on's homepage this morning. The hand descends and the shark comes up until they touch. Yeah, right. (click to embiggen)

(For the record, I would like to gather folks for a trip to the NEA to scope out the new Shark & Ray Touch Tank. I got to pet some sharks and rays at Monterey, and it was neat. The sharks are usually quite small and really not all that interested, but the rays are into it. You can see a video of it on the NEA website front page right now. But the whole hammerhead picture is silly. THERE WILL BE NO HAMMERHEADS. Phooey. I did get to see a couple of hammerheads at the Monterey Aquarium, and mostly my impression of them is: they like to hang around at the farthest reaches of the tank away from the windows, and harass the school-fish.)

CORRECTION: So that's what I get for ranting without going to look things up first. Apparently they DO have a bonnethead shark in the touch-tank. The bonnethead is "the smallest species in the family of hammerhead-like sharks". There is a little video of it at that link -- it must be like 2 feet long. AWWWWWWW. Well-played, NEA. I stand corrected.


Winter Fun

Jan. 15th, 2011 07:26 pm
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - cold)
Today, I went cross-country skiing for the first time, and did not even kill myself or break anything! This is a minor miracle, because I am not good at ice-skating; I tried rollerblading once and broke my elbow; and I have never been on skis before, at all. (I view the concept of downhill skiing with suspicion. But I always wanted to try cross-country. It's flat! That always seemed much more reasonable to me.)

What they don't tell you (except for how [ profile] my_tallest totally told me) is that cross-country is only MOSTLY flat. There are little hills that you have to learn to go up, and deal with going down.

Anyway, I had planned to go to the walk-in lessons at a nearby ski track, but they were full. And [ profile] katie_m was with me, and she said she'd done it before and it really wasn't hard, so why didn't we just rent the skis and do it? And so we did.

GOSH, those things are slippery. But by the end of the two hours, I was getting around pretty well, the stride felt pretty natural, and I even managed one smaller downhill, and then one bigger downhill (where the wind blew back my hair and everything!) without falling at all. Woo! So yes, I would like to go again.

In a different category of winter "fun", I also bring you, belatedly, some pictures from this past Wednesday's blizzard. It was an impressively sticky snow. And then, at the very end, I bring you video of Emily-cat exploring the snow. (She really likes walking outside, even when it's cold and snowy. Alas, I just barely did not turn on the video soon enough to catch her rolling in it. But then her little feet get cold and she wants to go in.)

Pictures this way... )
Finally: Emily is Adventure-Cat.

(The sky looks blue in the pan up at the end there, but it's not. It's actually a very very dark grey, as this was from the middle of the storm.)
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - cold)
Today, it is frickin' cold here. Winter has settled in. ... Let's enjoy one last look at fall, shall we?


More behind the cut... )
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - cold)
So, as I mentioned, I'm now volunteering doing wildlife care on Sat. mornings at a local Mass Audubon refuge. They have a facility with a bunch of education animals (that get taken out to schools and programs and stuff), and then they have some residents in the public area that people can see as they walk around. They aren't a rehab place. All of the animals they have (with the probable exception of the mice) are wild animals that have either been injured permanently so that they wouldn't survive in the wild, or else they're imprinted on humans and, same thing (or they'd be dangerous or a nuisance, because of the imprinting).

Mostly so far this consists of scraping up duck-crap and goose-crap, making their indoor enclosures nice and neat and clean for them to return to in the evening. I also got to do mice the other week. Eventually I'll get to do mammals (there are some woodchucks - so cute! - and some rabbits and an opossum). I don't know if/when I'll get to take food out to some of the education raptors. But it's curiously satisfying work.

The reward is that after all the cleaning stuff is done, we head across the road to deal with the public-view animals. There are some mammals (a couple of foxes, a rabbit, I think another woodchuck) in one facility, and then there are a bunch of flight-cages with various birds that, I gather, didn't take well to education-animal training. This part consists of going into the flight cages, refilling water, and scrubbing up "whitewash" and picking up pellets, and then leaving food for them -- which consists of a certain number of mice per bird.

So far, I've done the crow; and the cage with the one-winged turkey-vulture and pheasant (who rooms with the turkey vulture because it's not like the vulture is going to bother it; I was pleased because apparent the vulture is very old, and doesn't always take to everyone, but he didn't seem bothered by me and even spread out to do some sunning while I was in there); the broad-winged hawk; the two red-tailed hawks; the great horned owl; and the barred owls. (The only one I haven't done yet is the kestrel -- who is the most forward of them all, starting whistling as soon as she sees lunch coming, and she comes back to the door of the cage and clings to the mesh, begging to take her daily mouse out of your hand.)

I just wanted to share a few pics I took the other weekend of some of my new charges.


More this way... )

Notably, I think I kind of started doing this at exactly the right time of year... so I'm interested to see what the experience is like [a] when it gets really, really cold (I actually recently bought a down coat partly for this reason), [b] when it's raining, and [c] next summer when it's hot and buggy. Fall is really the perfect time.
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - Autumn)
I really enjoy getting out and walking, and I've assembled a pretty big collection of places to do it within an easy drive around here -- a combo of various town conservation land and forests, state forest, and Audubon reserves. Fall is definitely my favorite time -- partly because of the beautiful colors, and partly because the temperature is just right for prolonged walks (and after the first frost, the bugs get killed off).

First, from several weeks ago (on Oct. 30), a brief walk in Broadmoor Audubon sanctuary -- catching some perfect afternoon light through oak leaves:


More this way... )
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - Autumn)
On a more current note... some of you may remember (especially when you look at the icons I've most frequently been using lately) that I reported last year on attending a saw-whet owl banding demo, which completely bowled me over with how excessively cute saw-whet owls are. (And seriously, their pictures have nothing on the owls in person.)

This year, I found out how to volunteer with the owl-banding project. So last night, I had my first volunteering session.


Can you resist that face? No, you cannot... )
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - Peer)
Thank you to folks for the birthday wishes. :) I had a nice, quiet, flobby day.

I also got some long-overdue stuff done, such as uploading some pics for posting. Today, pics from an owl show back on June 6th, at the spring festival at the Ipswich Audubon reserve. The program was courtesy of Eyes on Owls, a couple who care for birds who can't be released back into the wild for various reasons, and who have trained them as educational owls.

The photo quality here is somewhat disappointing, as it was a grey, dark day, and the tent set up for the owl show was made out of yellow canvas -- thus, the strange quality of the light. The few clearer shots are because I was standing at the back edge, and Marcia, who handled the owls, would bring them around for people to get a closer look at, so I was able to get a few pics from quite close, and under more natural light.


Click here for more... )

Tomorrow, update on hawks!
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - Peer)
Aside from the hawk-watching (update posted last night), there has been other Nature to admire and photograph, so let me catch up here...


If you want the story on this guy, you'll have to click through and read... )
eregyrn: (Hawk)
So, the exciting thing I promised on Friday (for certain values of "exciting") was that on Friday evening, I attended a saw-whet owl banding demonstration at Drumlin Farm Audubon Sanctuary. I really didn't quite know what to expect from this, but it sounded kind of interesting. I ended up at the "family night" session, so it was me, some parents with kids, and the Young Birders group.

Well, let me tell you, it was totally cool.


More insanely cute pictures and explanation below the cut... )
eregyrn: (Hawk)
... But leaf-blowers are not conducive to listening for hawks. Also, I have just discovered that it has gotten a wee bit too chilly to rush outside to try to spot hawks, without a coat on. Brrr.

Anyway -- little hawk news, but a couple of pics.

From Monday the 19th, one of the redtail adults on the flagpole on top of the Harvard Coop; sadly, a somewhat fuzzy picture:


And from yesterday, the two adults showed up circling over the Faculty Club and Barker Center, and I got this shot:


That's it for now. It's nice that they're still coming around within ear-shot, though.

Under the cut, some other fall nature pictures... )
eregyrn: (Default)
From [ profile] katie_m:

1. Stop talking about politics for a moment or two.
2. Post a reasonably-sized picture in your LJ, NOT under a cut tag, of something pleasant, such as an adorable kitten, or a fluffy white cloud, or a bottle of booze. Something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS.
3. Include these instructions, and share the love.

Paragon Carousel, Nantasket Beach, Hull, MA - October 25, 2008

The center and inside horses go uppy-down, which is always awesome, and it really does go around at a respectable clip. Yay!

(At some point soon I will figure out how to upload a movie somewhere so I can post here 39 seconds worth of this carousel doing its thing.)
eregyrn: (Default)
Am still running a bit behind in my posting -- these pics are from, respectively, a walk around Monson, NH (a nature reserve encompassing an abandoned colonial town) a few weeks ago with [ profile] jenlev, [ profile] elishavah, and [ profile] katie_m; and the same place approx. 6 months earlier, during a snowshoeing outting. I thought the comparison was fun. :)

This is the entry path/road, with the reconstructed Gould House (the only building on the site) in the distance.

More below the cut... )


eregyrn: (Default)

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