What a special visit we had from a Pileated Woodpecker on our tree stump. He pecked his way up the dead wood. One moment he was on the trunk and the next he jumped over to our bird feeder. There he swung from the side and gobbled up sunflower seeds.
If you ever are honored to hear the call of this woodpecker you will think you just were sent back to prehistoric days. It is so primeval and jungle like you will shake your head & ask what is that?
Pileated Woodpecker raiding bird feeder
I often thing the Pileated looks like Woody Woodpecker the noisy cartoon character from the 40s. Checking this out on-line I found there is a lot of debate about this. Who would think people would debate Woody Woodpeckers origins!
To my surprised, he is fashioned after an Acorn Woodpecker not a Pileated. I found this post by Julie Zickefoose who tells the real story of Woody. Here is what she said:
It turns out that Walter Lantz, the animator who created Woody Woodpecker, had personally given Garrett a copy of his biography, and in that book it says that Walter and his wife, Grace, while honeymooning in a California cabin, were amused by an acorn woodpecker who was poking nuts under the roof shingles. They liked the “little raucous scream” the bird emitted. Grace said to Walter, “Why don’t you make him into a character?”
At the beach today out of the trees on the bluff flew this Blue Heron. It was high tide and fishing must have been slow. He flew right over me.
Then he landed in the madrona forest where I took his photo. He was just hanging out waiting for the next school of fish at low tide.
Madrona trees are lovely to look at. They have this reddish bark that molts in late summer just like the birds do. See the new greenish bark peeking out from under the peel? Their old branches can die off and they have a grey twisted gnarled look. If the heron had not come flying out of another tree, I would never have spotted him. See how well he blends into the branches of the tree?
No nature this weekend! It is all about getting my latest quilt project to the finish line. The baby is due in mid-September, so time is a wasting.
I put the final pieces on the quilt top and started the sandwich process. For those that are not quilters, this is where you put the pretty quilt top, the batting and the quilt bottom all together. First step is get all the pieces pressed and I mean no wrinkles allowed. Next, spread the bottom on the floor and smooth it out. Add the batting on top for the middle of the quilt of the sandwich. Top it off with the pretty pieced top.
Now what do you do? You have to get it into the machine or your lap to quilt it. The trick is to secure it while it is all flat on the floor with hundreds of safety pins. That will keep the three pieces from slipping or bunching while you do the quilting. Hence “All Pinned Up!”.
The cool thing about this quilt is one of the fabrics I found. The pattern is safety pins. Double Pinned Up!!
Once I have all the safety pins in I shift it to my dinning room table to save my back from leaning over. My helper-supervisor Reggie followed me over to make sure it is done correctly. There I basted it both horizontally and vertically about every two inches. Lastly, the pins come out.
We are now ready to quilt. That will be next weekend’s adventure.
Serendipity struck today. I had gone for a walk late in the day. It was hot and the world in my neighborhood was so quiet. Humans, animals and birds were all laying low in an effort to stay cool. The summer rain was coming and the air was heavy and dense.
By chance, less than a block from home, I noticed an Anna’s Hummingbird sitting on a wire in a neighbors garden. I quickly pulled out my camera and captured his buzzing around bright red bean flowers. This short video tells it all. I slowed it down a little so you can really enjoy this guys flower sipping technique.
This last week I had a business trip to Chicago. After dinner I had free time to wander the downtown streets and photograph amazing architecture and sights.
The best of my photos fall into several categories
Bridges, River & Lake
Buildings – a form of art
Eastland Maritime disaster
Bridges, River & Lake
Under the bridge on River Walk
Bridges are a work of art
Many bridges in Chicago
Chicago River bridged with the “L” on one of them.
Shot of the ‘L’ (a now-official name originally short for “elevated”)
At the lake looking back from Navy Pier
Lake Shore Drive and the lake
City by the lake
The lake at sunset between the railings
Under Lake Shore Drive we go – old railing greeted us
Buildings – a form of art
Merchandise Mart watcher
River Walk view
Tower on Wrigley Building
Embellishments on Wrigley Building
35 E Wacker Building
Old Water Tower survived the great Chicago Fire in 1871
Inside the old Pumping station
Chicago Water Tower top
Water Tower and Pump station from 1869
Chicago Avenue Pumping Station in shadow of John Hancock Center
Eastland Maritime disaster
Here in Seattle I read about the 100th anniversary of the SS Eastland accident. It touched home in that it happened not more than a block from our Chicago offices. Of course when I was there this last week I had to walk the few blocks there and give my respects.
The SS Eastland was a passenger ship based in Chicago and used for tours. On July 24, 1915 the ship rolled over while tied to a dock in the Chicago River. A total of 844 passengers and crew were killed in what was to become the largest loss of life from a single shipwreck on the Great Lakes.
Following the disaster, the Eastland was salvaged and sold to the United States Navy. After restorations and modifications the Eastland was designated as a gunboat and renamed the USS Wilmette. She was used primarily as a training vessel on the Great Lakes, and was scrapped following World War II.
Thank you Wiki for this information
Site of the Eastland Maritime accident
Eastland Memorial Marker
Bridges close to where Eastland rolled over trapping hundreds
On my first night in the city I was looking out the window of the place I was dinning and saw this lovely theater sign. After I finished eating I wandered down to this site.
Old and New in Chicago
The distinctive Chicago Theater marquee is often considered an unofficial emblem of the city.
Hanging out in our back yard on a hot afternoon are two of our local murder. They were hot and in poor feather. It is that time of year after the babies have been kicked out of the nest and weaned, when molting begins.
On the Audubon.org web site they give us this little blurb about birds and how they use this open mouth behavior to cool off.
When it’s hot, some species will also resort to gular fluttering. The bird will open its mouth and “flutter” its neck muscles, promoting heat loss (think of it as the avian version of panting).
If you want to know more about molting check out a post I did earlier around this topic. I like to think of molting like getting new school clothes each fall. Birds are not the only thing that molt but they are the ones we notice the most.
Despite the odds of growing up next to a busy freeway, high voltage power lines, a cell phone tower and a large clutch, the three Osprey babies have flown out of the nest. In this picture below you can see two of the chicks on a pole, a parent or baby on the cell tower and if you look close another osprey on the very top of the tower.
find the 4 Osprey
Over the last couple of days each morning and evening drive home I would stop by and take a few pictures. Here is the parent flying over me to make sure I am not going to cause the babies harm.
Parent Osprey checking me out
One of the babies sat on the nest cam post not really sure what to do next.
Osprey chick uncertain of flying off nest
Step back a little and the next picture shows how the camera got a direct poop shot. The picture we watched for the last couple of weeks was hazy but one could still tell what they were up to.
Osprey Nest Cam got direct poop shot
As the nest got full of big babies, the cell tower next door became a popular place to perch and watch the brood.
Parent is watching me
Mom called to babies from cell tower perch
Cell Tower makes great place to guard nest
I leave you with a picture and video of their world. The video is more about the sounds it brings than the picture. Listen to the roar of the freeway off to the left of the picture. Above that din the parent Osprey chirps to the children. It is high-pitched and not what you expect in a bird sound but that is the osprey way.
What an adventure & many thank yous to Mr. Racks for hosting the nest camera.