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The Daily Bucket is a place to catch your casual observations of the natural world and turn them into a valuable resource. Whether it's the first flowers of spring or that odd bug in your basement, don't be afraid to toss your thoughts into the bucket. Check here for a more complete description.

Seattle. November 6, 2011.

Mr. Bwren has mentioned from time to time that he should put a note on the dashboard of my car: "No birding while driving!" It's a lost cause. My attention flies to the odd peripheral movements in the trees around me, the shapes floating on the lake. It's a bad habit, I know, but I can't help it.

Driving back from the forest today I couldn't help but notice the little groups of Buffleheads resting on the lake. The light was so right and the lake was so still; their neat little white and black bodies just seemed to glow.

Three of them lifted off the lake and flew north as I passed, their route exactly parallel to mine. How fast can Buffleheads fly? I tried to keep the leader exactly in line with the passenger wing window. 20mph at first, then 25, then 30. The speed limit along that part of the road is 30mph, but there were no other cars so I continued to increase my speed to match theirs. 35. 36. 37. They outpaced me at 37mph. I let them go.

November 6, 2011. Bufflehead flocks on the lake are increasing in number. Some can fly at a speed greater than 37mph.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Recently I was ruminating about how long it (12+ / 0-)

    had been since I had seen our neighborhood Black Phoebe. EBird confirms that I have reported none in my yard in 2011. Then, yesterday at about 4:30 or so, there she was, hawking insects from one of the "composting" structures I have created in the back yard.

    11/06/2011 Black Phoebe in the back yard.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 10:10:11 AM PST

    •  you do have a bird bath right? (8+ / 0-)


      they are so reliably near water, if you have some they'll Occupy it, and tell you all about it.

      There's something so terrific about their busy sqweeking that just makes things better.

      I just noticed a line of poo stretched out along under an overhead pipe in the back lot...sure enough, ten minutes later one flew into that spot and started up...I think he's been after the flies that are around kitty's favorite nearby poo spot, that and the water sound from the fishpond.

      Townsend's Warblers plural caroming around the yard.

           A six bill shootout over hummingbird feeder airspace, in one wrangle I watched they crossed beaks and one bolted, the other chasing, they went over 200 feet almost straight up. still going when I couldn't see them any more...about 10 seconds later the victor landed on the nearby branch and started muttering about it.

      Black Phoebe,  yay!

      sounds like an exotic dancer if I went to strip clubs, I'd tip that!

      ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

      by KenBee on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 12:12:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Timely topic. (12+ / 0-)

    When I am driving i-95 I am always looking for birds sitting on the street lights, or floating in the sky.  Just thinking the other day, I should not be doing this... But can't help myself, its where I see the most ospreys.

    Had a Eastern Phoebe in my yard on Saturday morning,

  •  I'm finally going to post another diary... (13+ / 0-)

    with some updates from my own backyard.

    I've seen the usual Midwestern suite of mammals -- deer, skunk, raccoon, possum, groundhog, various small mammals, and coyote. That last including an enourmous rangy gray animal that was shockingly larger than any I'd seen before.

    We've also had the normal run of turkey, with the youngsters now nearly as big as the adults.

    The most interesting thing going on around my house is probably the barred owl which has adopted us. It seems genuinely interested in what's going on inside the house, often moving to better position itself for a view of us. I suspect it's the same owl I spotted looking in through the basement window last year, but now it's most often parked outside the kitchen. If I walk outside, it does the head-on-a-swivel owl thing to track me, but even when I stand right under his branch, he seems unconcerned.

    •  Sometimes coyotes hybridize with wolves. (9+ / 0-)

      Also, a quibble, but a possum = Aussie, NZ, etc. arboreal marsupial, often with very big eyes. A
      Virginia Opossum = America's only living marsupial.

      No need to thank me, it's my job


      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 11:15:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That little guy's expression (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris

        cracks me up.

        We see Opossum wandering about the neighborhood from time to time. They aren't native and the range maps say they aren't present here. What do they know? Might be that the Opossum hitchhike in on veg trucks.

        I came for the politics and stayed for the science.

        by bwren on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 05:27:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also, once you get them, you've got them. (0+ / 0-)

          They are opportunistic omnivores, adapt at scavenging, they have robust immune systems, have up to 13 kids per litter, and more than one litter per year.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 09:51:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Not much to report today (11+ / 0-)

    shockingly warm this AM in Tallahassee (I'm guessing low 60s at 8 AM) and the winter wear of last week has been exchanged for shorts and t-shirts.  Sunny early and now overcast.  Hoping for rain.

    No wildlife observations today as of yet.

    "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

    by matching mole on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 11:21:03 AM PST

    •  Evening (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      mild enough to sit outside in shirt sleeves.  Katydids, Pterophylla camelifolia are calling vigorously as are at least three different kinds of crickets.  Also a southern flying squirrel is chirping high in the oaks (I hear them frequently but have only laid eyes on one twice).

      I am tempted to put out the black light but I'm feeling pretty tired.  It should still be mild tomorrow.

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 04:36:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm still having regular raccoon visits, (7+ / 0-)

    and on Saturday night, three showed up an hour early, as if they were working on an adjustment re daylight savings time. Didn't make sense to me, but maybe they are onto something. Had a skunk last night, too. The usual winter birds are back, and a robin came by earlier today, so I know the Spotted Towhee will be along soon.

    Morning temps are getting down to the 30s now, so some ice in between the rain showers.
    In the yard, these days,

    "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

    by martyc35 on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 12:42:31 PM PST

  •  Expecting a lot of rain the next 36 hrs in IA. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole, bwren, foresterbob

    So, I ran the mower one last time and got the extra leaves chopped while they were still dry. The yard looks great. I am pooped.

    While I raked up some leaves at the back of the house, a lone Canada Goose honked loudly as it passed. It exhibited the Doppler effect. But, I couldn't tell how fast. If I had a recording, I could do it. I taught physics.

  •  'Ways of Wood' by Wm. J. Long. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the illustrations are the very old fashioned style by

    My thanks are due, and are given heartily, to the editors of The Youth's Companion for permission to use several sketches that have already appeared, and to Mr. Charles Copeland, the artist, for his care and interest in preparing the illustrations.

    Wm. J. Long.

    Andover, Mass., June, 1899.

    I'm very much from the late 1800s in many ways, this book and it's illustrations just resonate with me.

    I think some of you will find you feel this way too. The hunting and trapping are maybe a problem for people now, they certainly are for the animals, but this was a more rural time when we hadn't yet killed off the Carrier Pigeon, and people still thought the Buffalo roamed and the deer and antelope played.

    The Fox:

    Reynard, wherever you meet him, whether on the old road at twilight, or on the runway before the hounds, impresses you as an animal of dignity and calculation. He never seems surprised, much less frightened; never loses his head; never does things hurriedly, or on the spur of the moment, as a scatter-brained rabbit or meddling squirrel might do

    We were looking at our large collection of Advent calenders and comparing modern styles to older styles when the topic of Charles Copeland came up as the illustrator of one of the calenders, and how familiar his work was.

    So I googled him and read up and noted this book, available as an ebook.

    Charles Copeland's illustrations have graced many fine old books, some of which I have, and if not him, someone very similar. I may even have this book...from Gran's library.

    'Ways of Wood' by Wm Long is available as an ebook, I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg (YAY!)as an EPUB with images (since images are what I was looking for) and couldn't open it (windoz, grrr) until I got the Firefox extension 'EPUBReader for Firefox, a Firefox extension.
      I tried to get the EPUB file to open but windows kept trying something that wouldn't, I couldn't get it to stop trying (grrrrbambambam) and finally, doh! 'open file...' from Firefox and Shazamm.

    Works perfectly, illustrations in color and perfect...but the books content is sooooo like some Daily Bucket people I thought I'd tell you all about it, I looking at you MsWren! well not looking, but you know who you are, heh...

    ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

    by KenBee on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 01:11:07 AM PST

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