Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Not My Usual Blog

Well I got transferred again, this time to Port Arthur, and now I'll be doing almost exclusively graveyard shifts. I'll have to get used to sleeping during the day.

The backyard is awash in leaves. Birdwise I don't have much news. The neotropicals are mostly out, the kinglets are mostly in, and things are generally quiet. I saw a Prothonotary Warbler at Tyrell Park a couple of days ago. Like a living flash of gold.

Tonight there were three geckos at my bathroom window. That's one more than I usually see there. I'm sure that means something.

These have been strange days, October days.

Darkness in the morning
Shadows on the land
Certain individuals
Aren't sticking to the plan...

Warren Zevon again. Sounds like a description of life on the graveyard shift.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

More Bird Migration, My Inscrutable Work Situation

It's October, so you never know what's gonna happen next.

Yesterday I had a few minutes to check on the birds in my yard, fortunately a flock chose to pass through right then. Saw Inca Dove, Red-eyed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Tennessee Warbler, a few Black-throated Green Warblers (one was a male complete with the black throat), and an American Redstart...all hopping around in the same big tree.

The Cape Honeysuckles that I planted in the backyard earlier this year stopped flowering as soon as I put them in the ground. I was not happy about this. Both plants put on a lot of new growth, but no flowers. Now their foliage has thinned considerably, but there are bunches of red flowers at the end of the stalks...I have so much to learn about this gardening stuff.

Yesterday afternoon I drove to Houston, and strangely, it wasn't raining like it usually is. Played video games and threw the ball for Spot in the backyard til he was tuckered - happy dog. Troy finally has his dune buggy running again (best not to ask him how much it cost, or why he has more than one carburetor for it...), so we took a little drive "around the block," where we immediately got stuck in traffic. Longest short trip ever. Lesson learned: don't try to eat a whopper with cheese in a fast moving dune buggy. You will need extra napkins. Fortunately I had a change of clothes in my car.

Then I went with Troy & Elizabeth to see Reverend Horton Heat & Southern Culture on the Skids, who were playing at the Engine Room in downtown Houston. Both put on a great show. I've been a fan of SCOTS for a while, but I must say the Reverend really burned the house down. Throw Rag opened for's hard to hate a punk band that features a washboard player (?). Things started late (I mean aside from beer drinking), and we didn't get out of there until maybe 1am, by then I was sobered up but tired. Drove back home, fighting sleepiness with caffeine, loud music, & a chocolate milkshake.

About work, I was about to request a transfer, but I just found out today that I've been transferred...again. Nobody seems to know what's going on, maybe I'll find out tonight when I go in for my first graveyard shift at my new store, located in Port Arthur. I'm hoping that this means I'm going to a seven-days-on-seven-days-off work schedule, which would be really cool. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

No News

I have no news.

Monday, October 13, 2003

"The Big Sit"

Today I did the annual "Big Sit." Actually the sit wasn't so big (I could only spare a few hours before work), and I was standing the whole time, so "big sit" isn't a very accurate description of the event. Of course the action only started to pick up about the time I had to leave! From within my circle I managed to count 31 species, plus an unidentified buteo. As always, there were a few that got away. Some of the tiny treetop birds were frustratingly hard to see - I think I had a Philly Vireo, but I'm not 100% sure about that one. Here's the list:

American White Pelican - Flock of 15, new yard bird!
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Pileated Woodpecker - Twice seen flying across the pond
Northern Flicker - 3; new yard bird!
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Northern Mockingbird
Gray Catbird
Swainson's Thrush - New yard bird!
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
European Starling
House Sparrow
Pine Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1 (2-3 seen away from my circle)
Summer Tanager - 3+
Northern Cardinal
Baltimore Oriole - 2
Common Grackle

In addition I saw White-eyed Vireo and Northern Parula in my yard, but not while I was standing within my circle.

Saw a Swamp Rabbit from my kitchen window today. It did a funny little dance on its hind legs. Strange.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

More Migrants

Yesterday I watched an immature Black-throated Green Warbler flit through the trees in my backyard. Other birds seen around my yard on Tuesday included Inca Dove, 1 Chimney Swift, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebe (first of the fall season), Red-eyed Vireo, a Tennessee Warbler, a Northern Parula, an American Redstart, and a male Summer Tanager. This evening I again observed an immature Black-throated Green Warbler in my backyard, and also saw an Eastern Wood-Pewee.

It was a long day. I went to work at about 6:30am, and got home at about 6pm.

Monday, October 06, 2003

More Birds, More Abuse

Another day of relentless abuse (I mean "constructive criticism") at work. After the cruelty and degradation I went home to my beloved swamp and spent the last hours of fading daylight birding in my backyard. Here's what I saw...

Lots of hummingbirds. A few Chimney Swifts. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker or two (my first returning winter birds). White-eyed Vireo. Northern Parula. Tennessee Warbler. An American Redstart. A Summer Tanager. One Baltimore Oriole.

"Some days I feel like my shadow's casting me" - Warren Zevon.

Must get some sleep so I can go do it all again tomorrow. Yeah, I'm looking forward to that.