May 5th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Derby Day

A good Derby.   No horses broke down; no jockeys were hurt.  Top horses took the top three spots.  The horse I was rooting for (Circular Quay, because of my recent visit to Sydney) didn't come in last (I didn't really think he'd win, but I was hoping he'd run a good race.  In a field of 20, from the next-to-outside post position, sixth is quite respectable for a horse that's at double-digit odds.

Hard Spun's rock-solid lead and ability to fight off all but one stretch challenges says to me that he's as good as I thought.  Street Sense was given a very smart ride and also clearly has the quality and the speed.

A good Derby.

  • Current Mood
    relieved
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Misty, Moisty Morning

At 5 am, I bolted out of bed to get ready to leave for a field trip.   I  was going up to Fort Hood, to meet with some other intererested folks and the people who do conservation work there...primarily to see Black-capped Vireos, Golden-cheeked Warblers, and anything else that came along.  For me, the main thing was to hear and see undeniable Black-capped Vireos, in large areas of their preferred habitat,  since a patch of our place has the right sort of habitat.  But is it too small to attract a breeding pair?   First, by hearing and seeing them for myself, I could better tell if we have any, and second, I could learn if our habitat is suitable (in size as well as type.)

It was cloudy, windy, cool only because of the gusty wind (otherwise warm and very humid.)   Sometimes it misted on us, sometimes it actually drizzled, but mostly it was muggy/windy.  Thanks to the wind, we had no insect problems.  Thanks to the wind, the Golden-cheeked warblers were less than happy to come out and be seen.  However, I had a great 4 1/2 hours and am very glad I went.  I saw the Black-capped Vireo, the Golden-cheeked (though not a really good look at him),  a Black-and-white Warbler, a Prothonotary Warbler, a Summer Tanager,  a Grasshopper Sparrow (more than one, in fact), Lark Sparrows,  hordes of Dickcissels,  a kettle of Mississippi kites, a Great Blue Heron on its nest, a Snowy Egret (distant and flying), and various other things, plus lots of wildflowers.  We were in habitats ranging from lakeside inlet with tall trees to high hills with "cedar" all around and a gorgeous view of the distant (at that moment) lake. 

I got back around 1 in the afternoon, and after a brief rest, Richard and I went down to the creek; he retrieved the plank that had gone downstream in the last flood and put it up on higher ground, so if the next rain lifts the one that's there...we'll have a plank.  The only difficulty with this method of bridge maintenance is that the wet boards warp a little more each time they float away and stay wet for days.  But...it's a nice, unobtrusive, very useful, not terribly expensive or hard to maintain little bridge.  Then we hung around Owl Pavilion for awhile.  Then he enjoyed the view from the hammock, while I took the camera and went wandering around hoping to find a dragonfly perched because of the wind.  Fat chance.  The Roseate Skimmers and Red Saddlebags were working busily on the gully system, up and down, threatening each other now and then.  Something with bars or spots on the wings was also there.  I had missed photographing a female ovipositing back at the south pool of the overflow by being slow (you can't be slow with dragonflies...) and wanted something to show for carrying the camera on our land (I hadn't photographed anything at Ft. Hood, since the light wasn't that great, it was so damp, and besides I wanted to concentrate on sound and sight recognition of my "target" birds.)

It got warmer and muggier, even with the wind.  I had sweat trickling down my back just standing still looking into the gully pools for dragonflies.  And my feet hurt.   And I was hungry, having grabbed only a few bites of homemade bread before heading out.   So we came back in.  I took a shower, threw my field clothes in the washer, and settled in to watch the Kentucky Derby. 

And since then have eaten supper, watched the special on Barbaro (couldn't miss that), and worked on my music for tomorrow morning.  And now it's back to the music.

  • Current Music
    Faure & Mendelssohn, to sing