The previous month is:
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1 March 2007
On treatment of customers, pre- and post- sale.
You’ll notice how many widgets are running on this site right now.
From Digital Photography School.
One letter, one symbol. Can be done in any typeface.
Who is geekier than thou?
2 March 2007
(Yes, they’re about horses.)
Post address book cards to the internet. Mac only.
3 March 2007
It was a really beautiful day here in Williamsburg, so we went down to the beach of the James River to have a picnic lunch. I took my camera (par for the course these days) and — surprise — there were a lot of birds along the riverside. So of course I snapped a lot of pictures of them, hoping to get lucky.
I was not lucky. Instead, I took about thirty bad shots, in varying states of awfulness.
But here’s the thing about my new Canon S3 IS — even the bad shots are good enough. They may not be great photography, but they’re valuable in learning how to identify birds.
Take, for instance, these two pictures:
Given the number of Turkey Vultures in our skies, it’s easy to think that every big black bird with fingered wings is one. But this one (of a pair) is not. It’s an American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus), also relatively common, but with a different flight pattern, different wing markings, and different wing shape than its cousin.
While these photos don’t scream “professional wildlife photographer,” they do let me confirm what I thought at the time — namely, that the white wingtips and wing shapes give it away. I’m pretty sure that I can now tell the difference between these two New World Vultures from a long ways away.
(But the photos are still pretty sucky.)
As we were getting ready to leave, we heard a commotion and then saw two raptors flying overhead, one with something in its talons, the other in pursuit. Someone yelled out “OSPREY!”, and I didn’t even take the lens cap off - I just swiveled the camera up, flicked it on (knocking the cap off as the lens extended) and started shooting.
(Oh my, the suckage! I am ALMOST too embarassed to put these on teh internets, they suck so hard. But I endure the shame to make a point.)
First, the pursuer:
Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), light morph. As soon as I applied the enchancement filter I could see the wing patterns and chest band as clear as day. I wasn’t sure of this until I saw the picture, but now I am.
And as for the onlooker who shouted “OSPREY”?
You, sir, know your Pandion haliaetus well.
(Yes; that Osprey is carrying a fish in its talons, which is why the Red-tail was no doubt interested. I do not know what kind of fish it is — I shoot birds, not fish.)
Now, I’ve never (knowingly) seen an Osprey before, so at the time all I could do is watch it and marvel at the sight. It’s really a striking bird. These very sucky photos, though — they let me go back to the bird books and tell my son about the hawks and ospreys fighting over fish at lunch.
You know it’s a good day when even your bad shots are good.
(Now go to Trip’s site to see the good shots, because these are too embarassing.)
The wind was very strong on the beach today, so the kite made a loud thrumming sound as it flew.
Trip wasn’t really sure about the whole kite thing.
Where Jim gets his blog censored for profanity, in the best way possible.
4 March 2007
These two horses are not pulling a carriage (unlike most of my horse pictures), but are rather riding horses carrying two gentlemen down Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg.
5 March 2007
More in-depth explanation on the SQLite vacuum.
On the growing movement to keep kids playing outside.
On “stranger danger” etc.. Also from Boing Boing. (as above.)
Advice on how to handle dromeosaurids.
6 March 2007
They also considered dropping Office for Mac as a bargaining tool. And they punched a clown!
7 March 2007
8 March 2007
Lord knows, it’s about time.
Star Trek: Voyager, to be precise.
On the use of the Golden Ratio in music. Video game music, to be exact.
Oldie but a goodie.
9 March 2007
A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), catching some winter sunshine.
Includes script to initate backup upon drive mount.
I love this line: “As if it were a swarm of bees, you should stay away from the SyncServices folder in Mac OS X 10.4.”
And that’s unfortunate, because my Mac really rocks. I’m glad that I left the switching-distros-solves-problems world of Linux behind, even though I look at Tsiolkovsky with an admittedly covetous eye.
(But if Apple put out a ruggedized subcompact MacBook Pro with an optical drive? I am so there.)
So I thought I’d start by revisiting my original list of software that I’d posted a year ago and see what I’m actually using, versus what didn’t work out for me. A lot of these applications have been good to me. Maybe you’ll find them useful, too.
Here are my standards, the applications that make Hithlum a joy to use:
- Quicksilver remains the only application I run all the time. Every week I learn something new about how to use it. I remapped my Caps Lock key to Control just so I could trigger Quicksilver even faster. Oh, and there’s command line interaction, so I don’t even need to keep Terminal open!
At the time, I said: “Holy holy holy. Quicksilver changes everything.” I stand by that and can only add more emphasis.
- Safari and Camino are currently vying for my affections as web browsers. Safari had speed problems when I used it as a RSS news reader, but the font rendering is incredible. (I’ve since switched to Google Reader for news.) Camino feels snappier and doesn’t bog down after its been open a while, but it doesn’t do as good a job with text. We’ll see who winds up on top.
- Mail continues to be my main mail client. Hawk Wings has been a great resource, pointing me towards all sorts of useful (and not so useful) add ons. I use MacGPG and GPGMail in conjuction with the built-in x.509 certificate support, Mail Stamps, SignatureProfiler, and MailFollowup. That’s actually about it — I don’t use Mail Tags as often as I used to, but I keep it around. I end up using the ⌥⌘T command to file mail quickly and let Spotlight sort it all out later.
- iPhoto. I spend a sizeable part of every night working in iPhoto, processing pictures and whatnot. I’m still on the iLife ‘05 package but will happily upgrade to ‘07… whenever it actually comes out. I have gripes about the ‘05 version that I know are fixed in ‘06, so now it’s just a waiting game.
- I upload photos to Flickr and Zooomr with jUploader. The various plugins and dedicated uploaders just haven’t done it for me. I keep hoping, though…
- Preview. You know what? This simple application is fantastic and is the unsung hero of OS X 10.4. How do people get by without it?
- Emacs is my primary text editor, but I use neither the Cocoa nor the Carbon versions. I, uh, use the default terminal one. Do I lose points for that?
- xscreensaver. What can I say? I love me some GLMatrix action combined with Backlight. Mmmm, green and black desktop goodness.
There are a few other programs I use on a regular basis, just not every day, which I consider essential.
- Address Book. Does what it’s supposed to do. Syncing problems with Entourage, though, led me to resort to manual imports and a lot of backups.
- Adium X is still in the Dock, used fairly often but not every day. iChat didn’t have a chance.
- I wish iCal integrated better with either Google Calendar or Exchange. I love the interface, but not the syncing.
- The Mac The Ripper / HandBrake combo sees a lot of use, as I rip movies to watch on iTunes. I watch a lot of movies in iTunes these days — much more than I listen to music.
Then there’s a large group of specialized programs that are useful in one way or another, but not part of my normal mundane computing existence. Or, I haven’t grokked them yet.
- Audacity for audio processing. I use it to rip old cassette tapes to MP3. (Don’t forget the LAME codec.)
- I’ve only recently downloaded Cocoalicious, a del.icio.us bookmarks manager. Still figuring out if I need it or not.
- Colloquy. IRC client. I’ve used it twice, works.
- Crack Attack, one of Merrystar’s favorites.
- DynDNS Updater, to keep my dynamic hostname associated with my Mac. I haven’t looked at it since I installed it, which is how it’s supposed to be.
- Entourage does all sorts of bad things when I try to sync it with both Exchange (for work) and iCal (to publish my calendar for my family.) Don’t like the mail interface at all, ditched it very soon after I tried it out. There was also an incident that reinforced the importance of keeping work and play separate, so I don’t do anything work-related on the Mac anymore. Entourage’s days are numbered.
- Excel, on the other hand, continues to blow OpenOffice’s Spreadsheet out of the water. Sorry, but until you can do pivot tables, you’re not in the game. Possibly the best part of MS Office.
- Firefox is only installed for those rare occasions where I’ve needed to get into a site that didn’t work with Safari and didn’t recognize Camino. I may discard this one soon.
- Flip4Mac, plays windows media files.
- I finally installed X11 so I can run The Gimp for image manipulation. Works just like I remember, maybe a little better.
- GLTerminal, a full screen terminal. Cool but clunky.
- Google Earth remains very cool, but its utility is debatable. (It was helpful when looking for a house, but that’s over now.) Bandwidth hog.
- I use iTunes XHTML Playlist 4.2.3 to now publish my iPod playlists, although I’ve got an AppleScript that can do it too. Looks like version 5.0 has been a while in coming.
- Every time I try iWork, I like it. But I so rarely use it, it’s not worth buying. (Yet.)
- I like JDarkRoom, a full-screen simple text editor. The fonts are great, it’s easy to write in… but I don’t use it very often anymore. It is a great creative writing tool, something to really focus you down on what you’re doing. It’s also readable from across the room. (Perhaps I’m just shy? I bet that comes as a surprise.) GLTerminal has more old-skool cred with the flicker and arc, but JDarkRoom is a clean, straightforward app.
- I have a PowerBook with a motion sensor. I therefore have MacSaber. It’s inevitable. (It’s also been used exactly once.)
- MarsEdit, tool for offline posts to weblogs. I haven’t decided about this one - I haven’t even really tried out the trial version.
- OggDrop X, for converting OGG music files. I, uh, don’t use OGG anymore. Everything’s MP3 or AAC.
- OTR Proxy might see some use, if I ever IMed with someone who used it too.
- pearLyrics is still around, but I haven’t used it in ages.
- Stellarium, planetarium software. Sweet.
- Think is another one that I’m trying out that I’m not sure if I’m going to keep. It blacks out everything but what you’re working on, which is nice. A separate app to do it, though… I’m not sure about this one yet.
- VLC for those media files that Quicktime can’t hack. Haven’t had many of those.
Finally, we have the discard pile. These just weren’t for me, thank you, come again.
- Growl may come as a surprise for the die-hard Mac readers, because it’s an honestly good program and wildly popular. I’ve simplified my routine, though, and when I’m on my Mac I don’t need notifications about every little event. Mail arrives? I’ll get to it. New song plays? Okay, I’ll listen to it. This is definitely a “good, but not for me” program. <ploink>
- I tried out Flock and liked it well enough (Camino + Flickr + del.icio.us is a good combo) but got a little wigged out by the unknown TCP/IP traffic I saw going out of it. So: <ploink>
- Battle of Wesnoth, still great, I’m still not playing. <ploink>
- Browsejour. Why did I think I needed this? <ploink>
- Disk Inventory X. It was useful when I was searching my old drives. Done now. <ploink>
- Flickr Uploadr, er, uploads files to Flickr. Replaced with jUploader. <ploink>
- iPodDisk. I have a 512 MB first generation shuffle. I don’t need this app yet. <ploink>
- IPScanner. Never used it. <ploink>
- MyTunesRSS. Great idea, not for me. <ploink>
- NeoOffice, the OpenOffice.org port to OS X. A 350+ MB app is not a utility. No need, so: <ploink ploink>
- Yahoo Widgets, too much memory required. I’ll use them on my Windows machine, but not on my Mac. <ploink>
- XJournal, offline posting for LiveJournal. Don’t use LJ, so no need for this one. <ploink>
- XNmap. Never used it. <ploink>
Next up, I’ll have to document my love affair with the command line.
Since I seem to always be forgetting them:
- ⌘ = Command Key
- ⌥ = Option Key
- ⇧ = Shift Key
- ^ = Ctrl Key
- ⎋ = Esc Key
- ⏏ = Eject
- ⌫ = Delete
As you were.
10 March 2007
Terminal hack to speed up the UI.
“The Photographer’s Right: A Downloadable Flyer Explaining Your Rights When Stopped or Confronted for Photography”
Output is a shell script with commented-out rm commands. Nice.
11 March 2007
New photos up from this morning’s walk in the usual spots.
12 March 2007
As promised, I’ve been moving entries from The Blue Lamp Cafe and Flotsam and Jetsam into this weblog. The Cafe posts are complete, Flotsam will take a bit more time. This is mostly due to the nature of the posts, rather than the number (although that certainly plays a part in it, too.)
Honestly, it’s slow going. I’m hesitant to dive into the old posts; there are some that I feel I should bury, and others that I feel were written by someone totally alien, and then there are still others that make me think back to a particular day from years ago, and I wonder where the time has gone.
The oldest published entry in Flotsam and Jetsam is elaborate. from 1999. It was posted to a much different website than the one you’re reading now. I remember what I was trying to create when I first posted it, how frustrated I was when I couldn’t make that happen, and how I had to walk away from it all for a while and grow up before I could be comfortable online again. For several years it was the best post on the entire site. (It may still be, for all I know. That’s a scary thought.)
I’d done all the technical work for the import weeks ago, but it’s sat on my to-do list since then, daring me to attempt to edit my past. The temptation is there, and remains there, to just delete it all and present a blank slate to the world. I am not the same person who wrote those posts. I moved across the country, got married and became a father. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to just delete it all and start over from another point, say somewhere in 2005.
Reasonable, but dishonest, too. I was that person, and there was a lot of good mixed in with the bad. I guess this is what it’s like to come to terms with your past selves? Can’t change what’s happened, can’t unsay what’s been said, move on, there’s more to do. So mostly, I’m only editing the links, correcting the most egregious mistakes, and clicking Publish. It’s slow going, but not as slow as I feared.
Because, you know what? There’s a lot of cool stuff coming up ahead, and I need to get on with it.
Stephen Moore performs at this weekend’s Williamsburg Farmer’s Market.
I’m off to the City early tomorrow morning. It’s no surprise that I miss this town a little more every time I have to leave.
Apparently Trip LOVES this skit. Who knew?
(Basically, axe the originals for edited photos.)
13 March 2007
This one goes out to an old friend who needs help in climbing the Google pagerank ladder on some very specific search terms.
On the length of life, and time.
14 March 2007
Remove OS X localization files, free up space.
Today was a day where every picture I took seemed to be focused on exactly the wrong thing. I’d take a picture of a bird and get the trees 50 feet behind it. I’d take a picture of my wife and get the grass across the street.
For instance, this is supposed to be a picture of my son playing behind a tree. Instead, it’s a shot of some sort of holly.
Some days, it’s best to just take what you’re given and go with it.
15 March 2007
“It’s easy to regret your awkward conversations but hard to regret the ones you didn’t have.”
Research on how people read pages. Whitespace, thoughtful layout, avoid images that don’t contribute.
I think the title says it all.
16 March 2007
Checklist for customer service surveys.
17 March 2007
A Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) takes a peanut from the feeder in my backyard.
This shot was the last in a series taken slowly walking towards the feeder. I was maybe 25 feet away when the wren grabbed the peanut and ran.
I’m really pleased with how this series turned out.
Puts the currently playing iTunes song’s album art in the Dock. Plugin.
I think this is in my web log, but not in my bookmarks. Now with My Little Minions!
Offline Flickr management / uploading tool. After recent builds of jUploadr moved to Java 1.4, time to find something new. Already has iPhoto integration.
From the latest Peeple Magazine. No, I didn’t mistype that.
I think I’m actually with Kathy on this one.
18 March 2007
Sundial in a garden off of Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg.
(Some things don’t need software patches.)
19 March 2007
OpenWRT solutions for your Linux router.
21 March 2007
On turning around when leaving the interstate. No, really.
Transcript of Jon Stewart’s interview of Kermit the Frog.
Elmo: Red Menace? Or not?
Includes some old favorites (like disabling the dashboard.)
A Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) perches in a tree in my front yard.
This Mockingbird sang for quite some time the evening this photo was taken. Unfortunately, this particular bird has built a nest in my yard by my son’s room. I now know who to blame for the singing at 3:00 AM.
(n.b. that he knows, too. When asked who was singing outside yesterday, he said “mock”. The Avalanche of Language continues.)
22 March 2007
In the past couple of weeks I’ve had roughly the exact same conversation with about five different people. Paraphrased, it goes like this:
Me: I’m glad drive prices are dropping. I just got another hard drive for my laptop.
Them: Oh, you’re upgrading?
Me: No, backing up. This will make it three total.
Them: Why not just burn everything to CD or DVD?
Me: Er, because they fail and take your data with them?
I then follow up with my tragic story of how I archived my entire digital life to CD/DVD, but when I got my Mac and started loading everything back, I discovered the sad truth: CDs and DVDs will degrade over time, and you don’t know it’s unusable until it actually goes. About half of the disks I made within the last five years were gone, so I resolved to go with a strategy with visibility, redundancy, and easy access: everything on a hard drive. CD/DVDs are only throwaway backups or installation disks in my house. The conversation would usually end with me talking again about the cost of hard drives coming down, me realizing I’d just spent 5 minutes ranting about the failure rates of optical media, and then a polite change of subject.
Now, I admit, I haven’t handled this conversation particularly well. I feel particularly guilty for having had it with my Mom and not immediately following it with concrete, practical, written advice as to what you should do to prevent data loss. It’s complicated by my running on a Mac, and nearly everyone else I’ve talked to using Windows. It’s further complicated because I think of my Mac as a UNIX box, so I can’t just say “go download X program and set it up.”
Instead, I have to say something stupid, like, “I have a series of interlocking scripts that automatically archive critical files and rsync incremental backups between external and offsite drives to ensure that the data lives in as many protected places as is practically possible.”
In other words, I’m part of the Command Line Ninja Brigade of Mac users, which appears to exist in a different online world than the Sweet Delicious GUI Army of Mac users. I don’t understand why this divide exists in the online Apple community, but it seems like you’re either for the Terminal, or against the Terminal, and never the twain shall meet. The opinions each hold are strikingly different, yet the crossover between the two is so easy. That’s why it’s a Mac!
I honestly don’t understand it. But there it is, Horatio: yet another undreamt of thing.
Here’s my concrete, practical, written advice for backing up stuff, no matter what you run, or how you personally feel about the command line.
- If you run Windows, I recommend Gina Trapani’s excellent Lifehacker article Automatically back up your hard drive for advice in both software selection and how to set up a schedule of backups that will save your butt when Murphy’s Law strikes.
- If you run a Mac and don’t want to mess around with the Terminal, there are a lot of programs out there like Carbon Cloner or SuperDuper that you can use. I’ve not used any of them, but there’s a Mac Observer tutorial on backups that covers them in some detail.
- If you run UNIX, or are a member of the Mac CLNB, perhaps you’ll find my backup strategy useful inspiration for polishing your own data archiving obsession.
I even wrote the backup script in haiku. Just for you.
23 March 2007
Two of the three family Jettas parked for a picnic. JML (‘jay’mull’) is on the left, YAH (‘yaah’) is on the right.
These are fourth generation Jettas. The black one is mine, with the 1.8T turbocharged engine and 17" Long Beach wheels. The silver TDI (my parents in-law’s) is a late model Mark IV diesel.
You can see some of the subtle styling cues introduced at the end of the model run by VW in this picture; note the different trunk lip and rear light clusters. A chrome strip was also added around the newer model to make it look more upscale, though it’s difficult to see in bright sunlight.
The major redesign of the fifth (current) generation Jettas left me cold. I don’t like it at all. Even without the move to the Audi A5 platform, I would not purchase one based solely on the looks alone. It’s now too big, visibility is reduced, and it looks like every other car on the road. I’ll stick with the Mark IVs as the car for me.
(Yeah, I like my car. You’re just now noticing that?)
On the portrayal of working mothers in journalism through the last 60 years.
View of the James River from the Kingsmill resort, Williamsburg, Virginia.
We had a nice brunch there last weekend, but I’m pretty sure it won’t make the weekly routine.
24 March 2007
Basically, move your .gnupg directory to the thumbdrive.
Note to self: move funds out of ING Direct. Investigate etrade account.
I particularly like the one about the fine line between hobbies and mental illness.
On rechargable batteries for digital cameras.
Trip’s Red-bellied Woodpecker finally visits the new peanut feeder, purchased solely for the purpose of luring the woodpecker into sight more often.
This has backfired spectacularly, by the way. I’m telling 2-5 woodpecker stories a day.
25 March 2007
One of several newborn Leicester Longwool lambs in Colonial Williamsburg. This little one is less than a week old.
Other pictures from this morning’s walk are up on flickr. Odd shooting conditions for the first part of the morning, with a visible haze and overcast skies that burned off by mid-morning. This was exactly the reverse of what the forecast called for.
(To see the lambs: go down Duke of Gloucester to Nassau, turn right, go one block.)
On what really happened to Kreutz’s BBQ in Lockhart.
26 March 2007
It’s interesting to see such a wide variety of blooming trees; the DC area is rightly renowned for the spectacular cherry and pear blossoms during this time of year, but they overshadow everything else. Make no mistake: the sheer concentration of those trees (and not just along the Tidal Basin) makes for quite a sight, and shouldn’t be missed.
But it’s nice to see some variety, too.
27 March 2007
On the rise (and rise, and rise) of the Mail-like interface on OS X applications
Software to reskin all of OS X to use mail.app’s look.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking…”
Custom 404 page seen on the twitter site, which is almost always under heavy load these days:
Nice, funny, and to the point.
Photo taken at the March 10th Williamsburg Farmer’s Market.
28 March 2007
After they sent us House Sparrows, is turnabout fair play?
For customizing iPhoto HTML output.
I think we’re safe… until Moore’s Law catches up to us.
“They are virtually indestructable, which is good, because the object of their existence is to knock other planes out of the sky.”
An American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) perches on a thistle feeder in my backyard.
The Canon S3 doesn’t support a remote, so I sat in the shade of a pine tree about 3 meters away from the feeder and waited.
Goldfinches molt their drab winter colors in the springtime, which is why he looks so patchy right now. Soon he’ll be bright yellow with black and white markings.
I’m fond of goldfinches. They’re ridiculously bright birds, with a crazy up-and-down roller coaster flight path. If you see a yellow streak going up and down through the woods, it’s a goldfinch.
29 March 2007
A look at where MSFT stands now (03-2007).
“Nassau Street between Francis Street and Newport Avenue is slated to close late today through the mid-afternoon Thursday so crew members can spread sand on the street to give it a more 18th-century look.”
On the redesign of the Dairy Queen logo. Why, dear lord, why?
Odd. Catal Huyuk and David Rice in the same article? Oh wait, this IS from 1994.
Unfortunately, only 11 of them. But you can get CrustyBurgers.
Congratulations to Matt on his work getting published in this Jimi Hendrix anthology!
Pay attention to the Planet Argon screens.
Photos from the steinhart aquarium.
YAH is back in the shop, this time for a month or more.
I was driving south in the middle lane of I-95 on the evening of February 26th in moderately heavy traffic when I hit an object in the road. This time, instead of deer flesh and bone, it was a sizable hunk of metal, bouncing from where it had fallen off a truck.
There was no swerving, no where to move; I plowed straight over it with a sickening THUNK and a tremendous jolt which nearly wrenched the wheel out of my hand.
It looked like the center part of a truck axle, but that couldn’t be possible, could it? A semi pulled over ahead of us, so perhaps it was. I pulled over and tried to see if there was any damage, but cell phones do not make good flashlights. Merrystar suggested that we go to a gas station and check for fluid leaks, which was a very good idea. We didn’t find anything, so we nervously resumed our journey home.
Here’s what I didn’t see that night:
- The front bumper valence took a direct hit from whatever the hunk was, tearing it up.
- It then slammed into the engine sling, seriously denting it.
- Bouncing right along, it mangled the exhaust heat shield and gashed a hole straight through the floor, exposing carpet.
- Back up into the exhaust system, denting the muffler and gouging a support strut.
- Then it went for the kill, gashing a hole 2cm to the right of the gas tank.
- Foiled, it contented itself with poking a hole through the floor of YAH’s trunk.
The sad thing is that it took two visits to the dealer (Casey Volkswagen, Newport News) to find this out. On the first visit I was assured that everything was fine under there, some scratches, nothing more. It was only after the mangled heat shield started rattling that I took it back and was shown some of the problem, though they omitted the fuel tank and holes in the floor.
It was only by taking it to the local body shop (Ebby’s) and filing a claim did I see the whole extent of the damage. YAH was declared undrivable (fumes from the exhaust could enter the cabin) so I’m now in a rental car.
I’m really disappointed in Casey Volkswagen right now. They had an opportunity to gain my trust, and instead they blew it in the worst way possible.
(Well, love … and dead dinosaur. Mmmm, tasty dead dinosaur.)
30 March 2007
“If you’re going to be idling for more than TEN SECONDS, they’ve discovered, you’ll save gas by shutting off your engine. Ten seconds?! For goodness sakes! Stoplights can take up to two minutes!”
From the Congressional Research Service, March 26, 2007.
The only brown woodpecker in Virginia, the Northern Yellow-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus) is an odd duck among woodpeckers: it migrates and commonly feeds on the ground.
A pair have moved into the area in the last few days. When I first saw them rooting around in the leaves, I thought it was a Brown Thrasher… then a Mourning Dove… then a woodpecker that had lost its mind. (The red chevron on the nape of the neck was what clued me to its true nature.)
This is the male of the pair, with a big black moustache. No, really!
31 March 2007
A Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) visits the lawn outside my window at lunch today. He entertained us while he ate his own lunch.
Half of a plastic Easter Egg deposited in the branches of a tree during our neighborhood Easter Egg hunt.
“Williamsburg and Virginia Beach were among the top 10 localities participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, which was held for four days in February.”
How-to construct a pegboard underdesk system. Very neat.