Background Switcher (Hidden)

Foggy Day, Fiddle Tune

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Every once in a great while we go down to the river just to look for birds. We used to do that a lot. Now we seem to need an excuse, like having Corey here for a New Year's visit. But when we do, we find the birds were out there waiting for us, anyway.

Whipple Flats produced a young red-shouldered hawk. I know, it doesn't look identifiable, but there are obvious clues that might not immediately present themselves unless you've been seasoned by experience. The two species in contention for this buteo ID are red-shouldered and red-tailed. First, it's sitting on a power line, something most redtails are too large to do comfortably. The red-shoulder's small feet and short toes fit better than a redtail's on such a small-gauge perch. Second, those blobby, heavy streaks all down the front of its breast are typical of a young red-shoulder.  A redtail, even a young one, usually has a clear white or buff upper breast, with finer streaking across the middle of the belly. Third, it's got a small, fine bill. Fourth, the tail seems short and the bird overall compact and cobby. A redtail would look more elongated and much more massive. And it wouldn't be sitting on a wire! For those who are wondering, the call between broad-winged hawk and red-shouldered is much closer and more difficult to make. For the purposes of this ID, we are safe in assuming that all the broad-wings are in Costa Rica by January. Red-shoulders stick around, hence their folk name, "winter hawk."

We didn't have to give our second raptor of the day a second look, other than to ogle it. An adult bald eagle beats its way up the Muskingum. Fantastic. I love the impossibly long arms of the sycamore in the foreground. And I still can't take an eagle sighting for granted, no matter how much more frequent they are.

We got out to bird Devol's Dam, only to find it hopelessly fogged in. Waiting around didn't help. The rivers stayed foggy all day. 
Bad for birding, good for photography.

If Corey couldn't find any birds, there were no birds to be found.

I buy Phoebe's outerwear (Eddie Bauer) at the Eddie Bauer Warehouse in Columbus. The really nice stuff that winds up in the warehouse tends to be in wild colors. We're good with that.
I like imagining those colors against her hair when I'm holding up a prospective purchase. 

Corey and Phoebe are standing on the oldest existing hand-operated lock in the country. The system of locks that segment the Muskingum River are still operated by hand-cranking, and I've seen the guy come out and do it, when I've locked through in my Wee Lassie canoe. It's so cool to see a human being turn a crank to singlehandedly open the giant gate to drain the lock chamber. It's even cooler to be in a canoe and sink quickly down along the algae-slimed sides of the lock, or rise up as the water rushes in (if you're going upriver). 

Canada goose tracks in old mud below the lock.

Hey. Act like you're birding, even though the fog's too thick.

We walk across the Harmar railroad trestle to Marietta. Liam looks back to see if I'm still back there. Yes, slow as usual, drinking in the sight of you all.

I'm trying to capture the enormous old sycamore I love so well, that threatens to grow completely over the Marietta end of the trestle, and is succeeding.

Out at the confluence of the Muskingum and the mighty Ohio, a raft of Canada geese shelters one redhead duck, near the right end of the main flock.

Bill stops to read a sign next to an old engine, something my dad would have done. He's framed by crabapples.

I feel so lucky to spend time with these people, lucky that we all love watching birds on foggy days, walking around Front Street, and so many other things.

If they mind being followed around by their personal paparazzo, they haven't said anything. I think they like reliving these moments, too.

Seems like time for another fiddle tune from Corey and Bill. For your foot-stomping pleasure, here's "Coon Dog." I could listen to these fiddle tunes all day, or forever, while the cauliflower burns in the pan.


Thanks for the tour and the tune. Good to see you were out and about. Kim in PA

Thanks to you and all your wonderful family (including Corey, of course) for raising my spirits on a dull, depressing day. Wishing you all more leisure for hanging out together--and cheering the rest of us up--in 2017.

I'm with you on seeing Bald Eagles. I am beyond thrilled when I see them! I'm 63 and when we were kids the idea of seeing a bald eagle in Cleveland was just plain crazy thinking! I love seeing them soar over my town! They still need our protection!!

I've only seen a bald eagle live once, but it was thrilling. I've become an eagle cam addict, streaming the northeastern Florida nest cam during the day on my computer, and checking on the chicks from time to time. And when they are fledged, I have the Hanover, Pa eagle cam to look forward to. It's great that we live in a time when we can bird watch from the comfort of our homes, and see into the nest to get a glimpse of their "home life".

Posted by Anonymous January 25, 2017 at 3:41 AM

You are such a fun family! Love it! I love the music too!

Bald eagles have made their way around here too--what a thrill. On Inauguration Day as I was...expressing some thoughts to myself, an eagle flew right over my head and quite low. I chose to take it as some calming reassurance from the universe. I wish I could get one to sit for a portrait though. They seem to hate having a camera pointed at them more than I do. Thank goodness for sycamores in Ohio. They add so much to the deciduous landscape when the leaves are gone. So glad you're enjoying your concerts! Wonder if it even makes cauliflower taste good...?

[Back to Top]