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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Some Interesting Southern Juju

As I dug into my breakfast yesterday I had my eyes on patio bird feeder and trees. I spotted something huge flying and got excited - a HAWK!  As the bird flew over my cabin, and I snatched up my camera and raced outside. The bird had a broad white band on its tail & it landed in a tree just behind the cabin. Yay! A Broad-winged Hawk!

Looking grumpy from being harassed by the small fry
It sat in a tree, and moved a few times because every annoying little bird on Black Mountain came out to harass it. I got a couple of shots of it in the tree, but almost immediately it took off, bless its pinfeathers, it landed in front the cabin, in a great position for me to get a shot or two. When it flew off it had a long branch in its bill. I imagine it is into nest building, so it can have lots of lovely babies and will feed them with lots and lots of annoying little birdies. Revenge is sweet.

My neighbor, the Eastern Phoebe

Looking around I then saw a little female Purple Finch. The little Eastern Phoebe that hangs around the cabin was present too. I noted the Eastern Phoebe may be nesting across from me, in the cabin's gutters, on the corner. They like platform nesting and what better little platform than a nice sheltered gutter with an eve over it?

A couple of days ago in the cabin, I heard what sounded like a high pitched squeaking wheel that needed oiling and knew there was a Black & White Warbler around. I went outside, and briefly played its call on my iPhone and the bird hurried over to peer curiously at me. Now it is a daily treat as it squeaks and squeaks near the cabin. 

Black & White Warbler, singing it's 'squeaky wheel' song

Today Ila and I painted in the Yonts building which is a dormitory for seasonals who work at the Blue Ridge Assembly YMCA. Our job for today, and tomorrow is to paint bright white dorm room walls a dingy, dirty diaper brown. Each room had a lovely pecan wood paneling, which Ila and I paint over with a sort of drab olive paint. In other words we converting somewhat bright rooms into depressing cells. We wondered who decided on the paint choices, but we weren't consulted on the issue so we obediently paint away.

We finished up for the day around 2PM and came back to the cabin. Dave, a YMCA employee who acted as our supervisor for our painting assignments dropped by. He showed us photos of his children, who turned out to be a pretty pair of dogs, a Lab and a cute brown Boxer mix.

I decided to return the favor and show Dave some of my birdie photos of the past week. I turned on my laptop, but it froze on the opening screen. I turned the laptop on and off maybe a half dozen times, but it refused to start up, freezing up on the first screen. Perplexed and annoyed I grabbed my Canon 60D and pulled up this morning's hawk photos to show Dave. Almost immediately the camera screen went black. I turned it on again, and again it just died, weird as I'd put in a fully charged battery after photographing the hawk this morning. So, I fetched a second freshly charged battery, which also promptly died. Puzzled, I gave up.

We chatted with Dave and the room grew warm as it was in the 80s today. I got up and started to raise the lower windows to get a cross ventilation breeze going. Finally I reached a window on the far wall, and lifted it - WHAM - and it crashed right back down! The glass cracked in front my eyes, forming a big oval crack & making a 3 feet wide solid circle of glass. It popped out of the main glass pane, but did not fall - it just hung in its glass matrix, poised as if to keep me guessing.

Later when Dave took off, I asked Ila if she noticed how nothing worked when Dave was around. I mean, as soon as he left my laptop and all of my electronics started right up again, no problems. She had noticed was as intrigued about it as I was.

As the afternoon drew on, Ila was bored so she drove us into Black Mountain for a little shopping.  We hit the yarn store and I got some goodies at the local hardware store, including an inexpensive DVD of Disney's Song of the South. Shhh! That title is not supposed to be available in the United States! When I saw it you could have knocked me over with 2 choruses of Zip A Dee Do Dah, whatever the heck that is.

a view of downtown Black Mountain, North Carolina
Birding AND window shopping!
Another view of Black Mountain
As we walked around the little downtown, I realized I was exhausted; no clue why. I didn't exactly exert myself at work today, but tired I was. Maybe it was the temperatures which were in the 80s or maybe I was just weary in general. I only wanted to go back to the cabin and lay around. I was surprised when Ila confessed she was just as exhausted as I was. Maybe electronics aren't all that can experience an energy drained, eh?

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