Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Bird? and Broken Marina

One afternoon this week was warm and sunny so I took an hour out of my busy schedule and ran over to Cedar Hill State Park. Wow, the water level was super high, and you can see the damage that last week's snowstorm did to the marina. I imagine several boats were damaged.

I saw quite of few birds, including this song sparrow:

I spent quite a bit of time looking a the gulls that were sitting on the breakwater. There were hundreds of ring-billed gulls, two double-crested cormornats, and one gull that looked different than all the others. It was noticably larger, had a black or mostly black bill, and a soft buffy mottled coloring, with the tail pretty much the same color. I looked hard in my bird book but the only bird that looked like that lives way north in Canada, so I doubt that was the correct ID. Herring gulls are in this area, so I guess it must be one of those, even if the photo didn't really look like that.

My backyard was a bird heaven today--lots of birds and for the first time we've had a large flock of yellow-rumped warblers. Usually I just see the odd one or two in the tree but today they were swarming the feeders and especially the suet. Stocking up to head north, I guess. Gary also put up a birdhouse for me today. I bought it at our church's Christmas bazaar, and I have no idea if any bird will like it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Little Bit More about the Opera

By popular demand (yeah, right), I'm going to say a bit more about the opera.

If you read my family blog, you'll have seen my post and photos about going to the opera last Sunday, Valentine's Day. This outing was pay-back: After making Gary go to a U2 concert with me, he said I had to go to an opera with him. The tickets were actually a Christmas gift from Andrew and Laura--I guess Andrew was in cahoots with Gary to make me go.

I did my homework ahead of time to make sure I got the most out of the outing. I read the Wikipedia page about Cosi Fan Tutte, and we listened to an audio explanation about it from the Opera House's website.

So here are my observations:
  • The building was impressive, worth seeing even if you don't go to an opera.
  • Most of the patrons were older than me.
  • Most of the patrons were dressed better than me, even though I actually bought a new dress for the occasion and wore heels. I had the wrong coat, dontcha know? I left my mink at home.
  • The seats weren't that great. I didn't mind being up high, but we were on the leg of the U shaped seating, so we had to lean over the wall to see the stage, and couldn't see left stage at all. I'm very glad I brought my bird-watching binoculars!
  • I was surprised that the costumes were not from the period like I was expecting. Instead, the costumes were maybe 1930s style. Nice costumes, but not what I was expecting.
  • I really don't like high, high sopranos. These are obviously talented women, but those high notes make me shutter.
  • I really do enjoy musical theater, which is really what opera is, but not having it in the language of the common people prevents easy understanding. Continuing with that thought, I guess we can thank John Wycliffe and his successors for the Bible in the vernacular. :-)
  • I guess I was a bit surprised at how "ungodly" the actual message of the opera was. Its big idea was "reason and balance wins out in all things, including relationships. Don't expect too much goodness from your spouse/intended, because they won't have it, just like you won't. Be reasonable, and don't expect too much." Somehow, I thought that something written 250 years ago would have been less cynical. Silly me.

All in all, it was a very nice outing, but I'm not likely to go again. Unless Gary forces me to :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is This a Coyote?

My photos are not very good, but if I'm not mistaken, this is the reason the birds all disappeared for a few minutes!

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Bird!

OK, it wasn't a fancy or rare bird, and it wasn't the flock of robins in the above photo, but today was the first time I've identified a White-throated sparrow in my backyard. That brings my life list up to 212.

I got too disorganized to participate fully, but I did manage to send in one list to the Great Backyard Bird count today. I cheated just a little by including species I saw both yesterday and today instead of submitting two lists--I hope that doesn't skew the statistics for all of the scientific world of ornithology!