Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pileated, I think

If you look carefully, you can see a pretty wide whit stripe on these woodpeckers' heads. You also can not see any white when their wings are folded.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Choctawhatchee River

I hope this map of the Choctawhatchee River wildlife managment area comes out. I have some experience canoing this river. I have been on a segment of it which runs from the bridge above 284 down to the Holmes Creek Unit. It is a swift river and very wild. The Ivory bill likes to eat beatles which feed on old sweet gums and spruce pines and hangs out in old growth cypress swamp. This area is very wild and Washington County is among my favorite counties in Florida. I won't say who I canoed the river with but he's an old river rat. His canoe leaks at the rivets and I couldn't understand why anyone would go out in a leaky boat that could be fixed. But I went. I'm glad I did.

I have some good ideas about where to look along this River and I am going to go very soon because hunting season begins with Archery on October 14th. I think if the birds are in this area they are also all along the panhandle in other old growth areas. I'm going to get a video camera for my trip because I want a record. No one has gotten a good video record yet. I know the sound very well as I have listened to it many times over. The bark around my trees is also stripped in a very interesting pattern that I want some ornithologists to see. I am very excited about this discovery...I hope you can tell! But who would believe I had Ivory bills in my little yard. Stranger things have happened, though. I'm not called the "bird magnet" for nothing. Artemis, help me!

I do think I have heard both the kant-kant and the double knock in my neighborhood but I'm almost certain the woodpeckers I have seen are pileated. I do have some pictures I have not posted and may take them to Jim Cox for a look at the next Irish session. He's the only ornithologist I know.

The Ivory Bill Woodpecker in Florida

I was searching for information on the Ivory Bill last night and I ran across this article. I got very excited because I believe I will see an Ivory Bill Woodpecker sometime very soon. I may head over to the Choctawahatchee in a few weeks for a kayaking trip! I guess I'll need a video camera though. I'm going to get a video of this bird, I just know it. Last spring when I saw three pileated woodpeckers in my yard, I thought I heard the double knock as well and yet when I went out they did seem to be pileated. I have some photos of them in a dustup and the feathers are fanned out but the very tips are black even though the rest of the fan is white. The ivory bill has white on the very tips when the tail feathers are fanned out. I just feel they are out there, many more than we realized and they are coming back! It is very exciting. I saw a snowy white owl once, on a snowy moon bright winter night in a tree below the moon while I was walking in front of my favorite church, St Paul's in Fayetteville Arkansas. Some sights are burned into ones memory and we don't forget, like special birthdays...

More evidence of ivory-bill bird found in FloridaAU researchers say they've seen and heard woodpecker
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
By KENNETH KESNERTimes Staff Writer
A team led by an Auburn University professor announced Monday there is evidence indicating ivory-billed woodpeckers are living in a remote river basin in the Florida Panhandle.
Bobby Harrison, who, with a colleague, made the first "confirmed" sighting of the thought-to-be-extinct bird in Arkansas in 2004, said he was pleased.
"I think it's wonderful," said Harrison, a wildlife photographer and instructor at Oakwood College. "We've got birds in two locations now."
Professor Geoff Hill, an ornithologist in Auburn's College of Science and Mathematics, and two research assistants, Tyler Hicks and Brian Rolek, were kayaking a section of the Choctawhatchee River in May 2005, when Rolek saw an ivory-bill in flight, according to the team's news release.

On that same trip, Hill heard the bird's signature "double knock" sound and the team found numerous large cavities in trees, along with places where bark had been removed in a way consistent with known ivory-billed woodpecker behavior.

In later visits, Hicks got a clear view of the bird; from May 2005 to May 2006, the team has made 14 sightings. And Dan Merrill, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor (Ontario), has recorded and identified hundreds of sounds that match descriptions of those made by the ivory-billed woodpecker.

"It was just to be a weekend outing looking for potential habitat," Hill said. "We really never dreamed we'd actually find an ivory-bill."

Hill published his findings Monday in the online journal Avian Conservation & Ecology (, but rumors have been circulating in the birding community for some time.

Harrison telephoned Hill last week to hear more about the team's work "and tell him I was very excited they had found birds there."

He said Hill invited him to join the hunt in Florida and said the 2004 discovery in Arkansas had spurred his work along the Choctawhatchee River.

Harrison and Tim Gallagher, a fellow photographer and editor of the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology's Living Bird magazine, made the first "confirmed" sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker in more than 60 years in an eastern Arkansas swamp in February 2004.

The large black-and-white bird - up to 20 inches tall from head to toe with up to a three-foot wingspan - is one of a half-dozen North American bird species thought to have become extinct since 1880. It ranged across the southeastern United States until logging between 1880 and the 1940s eliminated many forests.

While he hasn't personally seen or heard Hill's evidence, Harrison said he's talked to others he respects who have, and it's encouraging.

"The people doing the sighting are good birders," Harrison said. He expects to join in the Florida search, in part because his chance of getting a good picture of the woodpecker is better in the 8,700-acre Choctawhatchee River habitat than the half-million acres of the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge area in Arkansas.

"Habitat has been improving for decades and good sightings have become more and more numerous," he said. "Perhaps, we will soon have a third and fourth find of this extraordinary creature as well."

In his statement, Hill said they were confident the elusive bird is living in the Florida Panhandle, but acknowledged "the only evidence that would constitute irrefutable proof is a clear photograph or video of an ivory-billed woodpecker, and such an image has to date eluded us."

Harrison said some doubters won't believe the bird still exists until they actually hold a dead one in their hands.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

More Baby Quilts!

Here are two more quilts I finished today. Kim's daughter Amber will be the recipient of at least one of them!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Latest Quilt for Bethany's second granddaughter!

I just finished this little quilt for Bethany's second granddaughter, Aurora Madeline who was born Monday. Congratulations to Megan and her husband and I'm sure Lily is overjoyed to have a baby sister. Maybe someday I'll be a grandmother, as well.

My mom taught me to sew when I was in junior high school and although I don't do a lot of sewing, when I make something simple which comes out I am reminded of how many wonderful things my mom taught me when I was a child. She was and still is, a great mom. She taught me to swim, to knit, to be brave, to believe in myself and to be hardworking and thrifty. I love you, mom!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lake Talquin in Fall

I camped at Pat Thomas park last night to try out the Chrysler van. Pat Thomas is a little park on the north side of the lake. It is west of Wipporwill Sportsmen's Lodge across the lake.

The van is very roomy and secure. I suppose it doesn't matter for my image at this point that I am now driving a mini-van! Lots of room for gear and I got a mini-van tailgate tent to create air-flow. I still have to make velcro screens for the windows. It will be a welcome addition to the fall and winter camping season. My little fan went all night on four D batteries and I was very comfortable. Not too many lovebugs got inside of the van!

I did take the kayak and spent several hours on Lake Talquin. I have not been on this lake before and I enjoyed it a great deal. It was supposed to be cooler than it was and so I adjudged it somewhat too hot to be camping.

There were lots of birds and I even saw two Bald Eagles. My camera battery went out early tho so not too many pictures.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

September 14, 1923

This is dad snorkeling in the bahamas! He hates swimming!

This is dad reading to his grandson.

This is dad with his buddy Freddy.

This is dad somewhere in Europe or China...

This is mom with Uncle John and Cathy, Jimmy's dad and stepmother. God bless you, Uncle John. We all miss you.

Happy birthday to the World's Greatest Dad!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

James Montgomery Blues Band: My godbrother

This is my godbrother whom I call Jimmy. He is a blues harmonica player and fronts his band as James Montgomery.
I found this picture of Jimmy climbing in one of our avocado trees on Singer Island. Just so he doesn't get too full of himself! But girls, he is a total flat out hunk! Check out his website by clicking the title for more pictures of my godbrother. Jimmy took me down to Plum Street in Detroit in the 60' introduction to the counterculture....

Monday, September 11, 2006

The View from Home

I visited the ancestral condo again this past weekend. Mom and dad and I had fun having good meals together, going to mom's church, and swimming. Mom is out of the hospital and we are building her strength with good food and care. I was the weekend hero because I found the wedding rings...right where she said she left them...

Here is part of the nightly view and here is dad sitting on his throne, surveying all that is good!

And here is mom and Nathan about twenty one years ago!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day Weekend Images

This is a view of the ancestral condo. It's the second one from the left. Can you see my father's American flag waving from the balcony? This is from the backside of Munyon Island.
This is my little niece hanging out on grandmas hospital bed at PB Gardens hospital where my mother is currently residing, hopefully only until tomorrow!

This is a molla my mother bought near Panama by trading with the Indians for some of her stuff.

This is a view of the tidal pools around Munyon Island. I misread the tide tables and went out for a mudbog in the kayak. Not a great trip, I might add. There were a lot of birds but I couldnt' get close enough because I was stuck in the mud!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mom does Adventures with Dad

This is a photo of my mom bargaining for mollas with the Indians of Cape San Blas on the western coast of central America. She took a sailboat trip with dad and friends who owned a big sailboat called Kodiak some years ago. She traded one of her watches for mollas. I've always enjoyed imagining what an adventure they must have had that time.

If I can work the equipment here I'll put up some more pictures of this trip. It sure is nice having DSL. Everything is quick. I guess I'll get to watch YOUtube videos of favorite musicians today! Maybe even take a kayak trip around Munyon Island.

Mom is in the hospital today and I came down to S.Florida yesterday to be with the both of them. She doesn't like the hospital and wants to come home NOW! Hope the docs let her out tomorrow. I'll probably be making more trips than usual down here for awhile.