December 5

For those keeping up with the deer carcass visitor’s survey, we have some new species checking in this week via Lowell’s trail camera:

A ‘possum come a knockin’.

Masked bandit.

Guess who…                                                                        …Le Pew!

So far we’ve enjoyed the whole parade of mesopredators.

Some recipients of this weekly message were unable to open the little movie file, presumably because their media player was not adequate.  If this was the case for you, download VLC media player free here:

This is an awesome little application that will play pretty much anything.  I’ve been using it for years after learning about it from brother-in-law and computer jock, Jarrod.  

If the link to the movie doesn’t work, try going directly to the blog as posted on the web and clicking on The Metamorphosis:

For those who want to know, I created the movie by using a morphing program to link photos of Savannah from newborn to 16 years of age.  

For those who haven’t asked yet, I leave for the Galapagos on Dec. 27 and return Jan 5.  I will ring in the New Year in an Ecuadorian style.  However that works.  Thursday I had two students just hang out in my office for an hour talking about the Galapagos.  They’re really excited.  After my class I went to meet the guy who coordinates the Christmas bird count in Quincy.  I’m going to help out this year and try to get some students involved.  He had lots of interesting stories to tell.  When I left I could have made a meeting on campus, but we were supposed to have a snowstorm coming in.  Nothing was falling as I drove out of Quincy, but as soon as I got on Highway 61, the snow began to fall.  By the time I got into Lewis county, there was a light skiff of snow on the ground.  At one point, there was a snow plow up ahead, and an SUV between me and it.  I couldn’t move over because of a truck next to me.  I had to hit the brakes when I got closer, and the car immediately went into a slide.  I let up on the brakes, righted the car, and had to hit them again.  I decided I had to take the car off the road or rear-end the SUV.  Once I got the right wheels onto dirt, I slowed down plenty.  I never completely lost control, but I got a nice adrenalin rush out of it.  I called Stacey, and she left work early.

We got about three inches of snow overnight, so Friday morning I went cross-country skiing.  I went downtown and got a hot cup of coffee.  It was good.  From there I skied down to the river.  Eagles don’t like people on skis.  Rock pigeons like to use eagle perches though.

When I got home I wasn’t tired, but my toes hurt.  I let Kane out and he helped me with some chores.  We covered the big wood pile with plastic, rehung the suet feeder, and a couple of other little jobs.  After lunch I went downtown to mail off some stuff.  I went to the river again.  Eagles aren’t afraid of the Li’l Egg.  

Looking down on the world.                                           This one doesn’t have a dirty head, it’s just not fully mature yet.  

Savannah’s class earned a field trip to Skateland.  She skated for about four hours straight, and has the blisters and sore butt (from falling down) to prove it.

Saturday Stacey had to go to class.  Savannah and I stayed home.  I dyed her hair (again) to get all the blonde out of it. I worked on a couple of manuscripts, but otherwise didn’t accomplish much.  We’re enduring a three-day ice storm.  It’s not like you can go out and do much.  Savannah shot another bird out the back door.  She wasn’t the only one hunting them.  I was downstairs when she yelled that there was a hawk in the back yard.  I have the camera set up on a tripod out the back window, as I usually do in winter time.  It wasn’t too spooked, and allowed me to get a lot of shots.
Juvenile sharp-shinned hawk.   House sparrow male and female, AKA the prey family.

I think it was three years ago I saw one kill a sparrow in the bushes at the edge of the woods.  This one flew back in that direction, but I didn’t see if he got anything.  

Sunday I cleaned the fish tank.  The filter had been running slow because (I now know) it was clogged with crud.  Stacey had class again.  Savannah’s boyfriend Dustin played the Grinch at a children’s event held at the library.  This is his debut photo in the blog.

I think he looks good in green.  Not to mention hand cuffs.

Monday I had no classes, but I went in to write my finals and stuff.  Savannah had a very bad day, forgetting her backpack at home, then ripping some big holes in the butt of her jeans.  She had to cover them with duct tape.  Well, it’s the Missouri way.


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