Hey look! A bat!

The basement of my building is, as basements tend to be, damp and musty. My new neighbor downstairs has complained about this, so the landlady decided the best solution to this problem was to leave the outside door to the basement open during sunny weather (as opposed to my solution, which I’ve been pushing for for years. Fix the raingutters so they’re not dumping right against the foundation).

Last night when I went to retrieve my laundry, I was greeted by a bat zooming back and forth across the basement until taking refuge from the light up inside the wall.

After puzzling over the situation for a bit, I decided that the best course of action was to open the door for a while, turn out the lights and hope that my bat left rather than inviting over some of his bat buddies. A couple of hours later I snuck back down, flashlight in hand… no bats. Well, none that I saw anyway. I’m hoping that once the lights went out he fluttered right out the open door and into the night, but who’s to say? Maybe he liked his hiding spot and just stayed there. The crazy thing is, this is now the second time I’ve had to contend with a bat inside this building since I’ve lived here. Also, the second time I’ve had to contend with a bat, period.

Stupid Groundhog

So, the groundhog saw his shadow, which supposedly means six more weeks of winter. Bah!
At least the New York groundhog (Chuck) fulfilled a long-time wish of mine and bit someone (not just anyone, New York’s Mayor Bloomburg!)

Remember when I said that I didn’t much care about the snow and ice that was forecast for us? Well, I lied. We got it, it’s still around, and I hate it. But I am still taking some solace in my cheerful little Shamrock’s reemergence.

Shamrock 2009-02-05 (1)

Close Encounters of the Perv Kind

Perhaps you’ve seen Stan Romanek, the delusional idiot guy with the video of an “extra-terrestrial” peering in his bedroom window.

I have, and I fail to see what’s so special. You can’t look out my window at night and not catch an extra-terrestrial looking back. Goddamned interstellar-illegal-alien-peeping-tom-pervert-sons-of-bitches!
I really don’t get why they’d travel millions of miles just to look at me in my underwear, but whatever….

On a side-note, am I alone in thinking that at one time Larry King was actually a respected journalist, or has he always been an opportunistic crackpot?

Another Perfect Day for a Ride

While the theme for yesterday’s ride might have been “bugs”, today it was wildlife. Two deer (in different spots), several bunnies, all of the birds I would expect to see, plus a Blue Jay. I don’t know why, but Blue Jays and Mockingbirds are scarce in this immediate area. A twenty minute ride to the south and you will find both in abundance, but here you rarely see either.

Anyway, I made my mind up before leaving that today I was doing the ride I intended to do yesterday. There would be no bug-gauntlet/shortcut today, no sir!

I felt surprizingly strong climbing Hilltop Road, and of course I enjoyed the run back down the hill on Fairground. Reaching the rolling hills on Fairground… Bonk! Just like yesterday, I found myself totally spent, riding back home at a crawl.

The legs are strong, but the motor still needs some work.
All in good time, all in good time.
It’s really quite sad, here it is nearly June and I’m in ‘February shape’.

They’re Back!

Today “they” came and mowed the grass. Right after they finished I looked out the back window to see how they’d done and lo and behold, there were my old friends, the three weird ducks, making themselves quite at home. I don’t know what draws them to my yard, but they’ve been visiting from time to time for years.

Hey you ducks! Get out of my yard!

It’s the small things

Back in the middle of March my mother was in town for the weekend of my birthday. While we were driving around one day I spotted (and heard) a Red-winged Blackbird, the first one I’d seen this year. I related to her how hearing them always reminds me of my Grandmother (her mother).

Every summer when I was a kid she (my Grandmother) would rent a cottage for the two of us on Lake LBJ. The cattails at the water’s edge were always full of Red-winged Blackbirds, singing that most-distinctive song of theirs. Anyway, to this day whenever I hear one, it takes me right back there. To simpler, happier times; fishing with Lala.

Well a couple of weeks after that (once it warmed up enough to start keeping the windows open), I was surprized to hear a Red-winged Blackbird right outside my apartment. I’ve lived here roughly 6 years and this is the first time we’ve had any RWBB’s. Apparently they’ve decided to nest here for some reason. There are at least 3-4 males and a few females and every morning bright and early and then again at dusk the air is filled with their unmistakable calls.

Spring Rains — The Good News and the Bad News

Tuesday and Wednesday it absolutely poured rain, at one point Wednesday evening it even started to snow big fluffy snowflakes. For a brief time everything that wasn’t underwater was coated in snow.

The bad news is that my basement flooded and I therefore have no heat or hot water until they get it pumped out and the various pilot lights can be re-ignited.

The good news? There’s a family of ducks who seem to be having a splendid time swimming around what used to be my back yard.

Hey you ducks! Get out of my yard!

Bald Eagle: Endangered no more!

Thursday Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that the American Bald Eagle will be taken off the endangered species list.

Biologists have recorded nearly 10,000 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states, with at least one pair in each of these states*.

This is a remarkable turnaround when one considers that in 1963 there were only 417 nesting pairs*.

This shows how large an impact (positive and negative) we humans can have on other species as well as on the environment as a whole.

Wide-spread use of DDT (among other less significant factors) drove our national symbol to the brink of extinction.

Now the majestic and once again plentiful birds soar as an inspiring testament to Man’s ability to act as a good steward for the environment when he chooses (or is compelled) to do so.

Hopefully, under the continuing protection of the ‘Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act’ and the ‘Migratory Bird Treaty Act’ these magnificent creatures will be around to enthrall countless future generations with their grace and beauty and with all that they symbolize.

* Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Exotic Birds, Part II

Today on my way back from the bike shop I passed a deer; a young doe, standing just off the side of the road (on my side). I turned around and rode back, positioning myself for a photo while she warily watched me. As I fumbled for the camera, I noticed her looking more tense, just then her little fawn appeared from the bushes and nursed for a moment. Now having become much more concerned with my presence, mom began leading her little one away from me. I grabbed a quick picture before riding on, leaving them to their business.

Mama deer and baby
The two barely discernible blobs near the center are the deer
Click for a digitally zoomed ‘Bigfootesque’ view

A bit closer to home, very near where I drew inspiration from the elderly gentleman on his bike the other day, I spot what appears to be a motorized wheelchair coming down the road toward me. As we draw closer, I realize that it is, in fact, a man in a motorized wheelchair, and perched on his shoulder is a great big parrot!

As we pass I say “howdy”, he nods, and the parrot squawks. As I ride away, I can hear the parrot squawking for quite some time, I’m pretty sure he was talking about me, but it’s hard to say. I do wish I had stopped and asked them if they’d mind me taking their picture. Oh well… maybe next time.

Go for a bike ride, or a walk out in the country. There truly is no telling what you might see.