Thursday, February 27, 2014

Worst Hike Ever

I hiked at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land today at noon.  At least, I attempted to.  The snow was packed hard and slippery, with footprints frozen into it at odd angles.  I made it up the hill without a problem, but once on the "level", I thought I had probably made a mistake to try it without spikes.  I was slipping, twisting and turning, and/or sinking beneath the crusty surface, and I felt pretty certain that I was risking a broken bone or camera.  Luckily, that did not happen.

Mid way through, the winds picked up and a snow squall blew through.  Oh, joy of February!

Bird sightings included:

Black Capped Chickadee 2
Blue Jay 4
Dark Eyed Junco 12
Eastern Bluebird 7
House Sparrow 4
Northern Cardinal 1
Northern Mockingbird (Norm) 1
Red Bellied Woodpecker 1
Tufted Titmouse 2

I was thinking that this was the "worst hike ever" as I drove home in my comfortable car on plowed, paved roads.  I was not cold, having worn plenty of appropriate winter clothing.  My feet were warm and dry.  My hike was short and without injury.  Tom Little flashed into my mind as I drove.  He spent over 30 years in Afghanistan, raised his family there, and brought eye care to a country that offered little services in that field.   He restored sight to many.  He trained Afghans in his field so that they could run the hospitals and clinics and carry on regardless of who was in political power and whether Tom was there or not.   He and his team took mobile eye clinics to the most remote villages in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan, climbing high altitudes, forging rivers, hiking where vehicles could not go and carrying heavy supplies needed to conduct exams, surgeries and more while there.

I met Tom and his wife Libby a few years ago at church.  He was in the US to complete some education requirements in order to keep his licenses up to date.  In 2010, Tom was one in a group of ten humanitarian workers killed by the Taliban as they returned from one of the mobile eye clinic trips.

I'm sure my lunchtime hike and my silly complaints would have made him chuckle (at least on the inside).  A documentary of Tom's life is in progress.  If you click on the link in his name above, you can learn a little more about Tom and the film.  President Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom posthumously.  I personally think he was a saint.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Winter Birding at Mt. Auburn Cemetery

I took the day off from work today, did a bunch of errands, and walked about 2 1/2 chilly miles at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.  It was beautiful to be out and enjoying the birds, but I did have to get my mittens out to wear over my gloves.  28 degrees for a high and who knows what with the wind chill.  BRRR.

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Blue Jay

White-Throated Sparrow

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

This statue hosted a robin's nest last spring, right in her lap.

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker (male)

White-Throated Sparrow

Northern Cardinal (female)

Northern Cardinal (male)


Rocky was here.

Mary Baker Eddy memorial closeup

and from afar

Monday, February 24, 2014

One Potato, Two Potato

 That's what popped into my head when I saw these two mourning doves.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Butterfly Place

Since I had a good birding morning at Wildwood Cemetery, and the afternoon was overcast with poor lighting, I thought I'd spend my free time indoors at The Butterfly Place in Westford, MA.  80-85 degrees, blooming flowers, flitting butterflies and small chirping birds made for a very pleasant afternoon!

Blue Morpho

also Blue Morpho

Zebra Longwings

Green Banded Swallowtail


King Swallowtail

Zebra Longwing

Rice Paper


Owl Butterfly

Blue Parrots

Zebra finch (male)

Zebra Finch (female)


Red Lacewing

Leafwing, Tiger
(should have tails - so this ID may be wrong)

Mocker Swallowtail (male)

Mocker Swallowtail (male)

Mocker Swallowtail (female)

Citrus Swallowtail


Forest Pearl Charaxes

When I bought my ticket, the lady asked me to please watch out for the blue parrots, which had not learned to fly yet.  They were flying from their seed dish up into this plant and back.  I was glad not to see them in danger of being stepped on!