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Baltimore by the Sea

Monday, October 11, 2010

We Gather Together to Bird and Eat Dinner, He Chastens n' Hastens... uh.... not November yet

Quiet Stream near Gwynns Falls

Today Kirk took me to the Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park Trail. We were in search of birds - a yen I hadn't expected to indulge on this trip. I was ticked that I didn't bring my real binoculars. I only brought the little 7X35 pair of Audubon binocs - adequate - for goofing off.

Soon were off down a trail that I bet used to be a creek bed. Birds were rather scarce to start. But soon Kirk pointed out a Gray Catbird. I played a Catbird call and the bird was interested - staring at us with interest.

Happy in Baltimore Wonderland

We headed on further down the trail to a wide meadow, edged by tulip trees. I spotted a Brown Thrasher winging it across into a stand of trees. I played the Thrasher call and the bird returned for a bit. There were loads of Northern Flickers - yellow-shafted - scattered about the meadow, picking a poo-poo platter of tasty ants and bugs from the ground buffet.

Further down the trail, there was a metal bridge under which ran a beautiful creek. I was hoping of course for something exotic like a Louisiana Water Thrush but we didn't spot any birds on that bit of the creek. A bit further along I found several little Tufted Titmouses fluttering about.

Tufted Titmouses bounced about in trees near the creek

Before we headed back up the hill, Kirk found - and photographed - The Old Waterwheel; a HUMONGOUS metal wheel that used to pump water uphill to the Crimea Mansion.

The 'Old Water Wheel' needs a more ambitious name

When we headed back uphill, Kirk was surprised - he hadn't noticed we had gone down hill. I noticed and made the trek back uphill with a bright and sweaty red face.

Back up the will stopped in at the Crimea Mansion. It was once occupied by the Wynans. They were once the Bill Gates of their time, money wise, having in excess of 145 million. I was interested in a cabinet with small individual pictures of Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra, a batiked egg and a pair of ancient Russian dolls.

Porcelain Russian Dolls

The Wynans suggested a railway builder to the Czar. I got to go into the basement of the building to use the rest room - it was cool down there! No photos of the mansion though - my 3 year old mini-canon camera kicked off - just in time for the trip - Bugger!

This photo of the Crimea Mansion - from on-line

Back up, & out, I spotted American Robins and a small flock of white-throated Sparrows. And no birdie photos. Stupid canon camera. Only three years of heavy use, neglect and the occasional drop to the floor and the thing up and dies! Man, they just don't make cameras like they used to...

Next Kirk took me to his old Baltimore neighborhood to visit his friend Keith, who runs a little grocery there. Keith's father was sort of an adoptive Dad when Kirk first moved to Baltimore.

Soon we picked up little James Allanm post naptime at his day care. The Head Start is right next to the church where Kirk & Nicole were married - it's the 2nd oldest Baptist Church in the country, dating back to the 1850s. The building is composed of old black blocks of brick - it looks like it could be in Ireland for the age of it. Cool!

Tonight the lot of us as well as Nicole's mother, all met for an elaborate feast at Jesse Wong's Kitchen for dinner.

Avon and Bea size up the menu at 'Jesse Wong's Kitchen'

Four year old James artfully managed to skip his nap in the afternoon, so after the 15 minute car trip the kid was out cold and soon sprawled across two restaurant chairs while the rest of us chatted and shared exotic dishes of seaweed salads, steamed dumplings and other appetizers. I slipped my iPhone to Sydney for a game of Alice in Wonderland.

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