February 3 – The Meltdown

Tuesday I stopped at Quinsippi Island again.  There were a thousand birds there, including a ringneck duck.  A trumpeter swan was there too.  I never get tired of the antics of the canvasbacks. 

I finally got the sun at a decent angle.

Dive, dive dive!
When I got back to Canton, I went down to the river.  There were just a few eagles around and they weren’t very active.  There was one low in a tree, and I stopped right near it.  I had the 1.4x teleconverter and the bazooka lens.  It was the first time I got a good result from this combination.

In this head shot, you can see blood on the lower bill and fish scales on the upper.

The over-the-shoulder staredown.

On the other end of things, this is the best eagle poo shot I’ve ever seen.

This is another individual just enjoying the cold weather.

Next week I give a “Town and Gown” lecture on the Galapagos.  In order to get more than the usual, about three, in attendance, I have been attempting to promote it.  This is the QU press release:


Dr. Joe Coelho
            Quincy University’s
spring 2009 Town and Gown reading and lecture Series continues on
Thursday, Feb. 12, with “Darwin’s Galapagos,” presented by Dr. Joe
Coelho. This event will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Quincy University’s
North Campus (18th & Seminary Road), room 208.
            Dr. Coelho, an assistant
professor of biology at Quincy University, teaches a course in the
ecology of the Galapagos Islands and has also guided students in short
study-abroad tours of these islands. His non-technical slide-lecture
presentation will illustrate the unique animals of the Galapagos and
discuss their relevance to Darwin’s development of the theory of
evolution.  Some historical background will also be provided.  The
event is free, and the public is invited to attend.
            The Town and Gown series
is sponsored by the Quincy University English department, the English
Club, and Sigma Tau Delta (the national English Honor Society). All
events are open to the public and free of charge. For more information,
contact the Quincy University office of public relations at

That’s a really old picture–with few wrinkles or gray hairs!  I’m an associate professor now, too, but I forgive them that.

This is Savannah in her nifty work vest and big, tricked-out name tag.  Too bad she’s not allowed to wear any flair.

Later that same night she had a reaction to her makeup and her eyes swelled nearly shut.  This is as far as she could open them. 

With the application of ice and hydrocortisone cream (I suggested Preparation H) to her eyelids, she was back to normal by the next day.

Thursday I saw some swans out in a corn field on my way home.  There were more in the sand pit, and I stopped to photograph them.  I had the long lens with the 1.4x teleconverter.  The light was good and they were fairly close to the road. 

Simon says, “Lift your left leg and tuck your head in.”

Now everybody look to the left.

The only adult in the group.

One felt like stretching its wings.

A trilogy.

Look, Ma!  One leg!  And one wing.

Friday morning I went down to the river in the morning.  There was an eagle in a tree with a big fish, but when I parked under it and rolled down my window, it flew away.  That’s never happened before, but then there were two people on foot nearby.  So I took Route B through La Grange to look for hawks.  I saw one on the power line and pulled over, but it flew away before I could get my window down.  Just before the on ramp to the highway I saw a big, light-colored hawk in a tree.  The light was perfect.  I pulled over, thinking about my camera.  I didn’t even get the car stopped before it flew away.   I went into the office, mostly because of an afternoon meeting.  I did get some work done beforehand.  The meeting was surprisingly eventful, with two factions in a turf war.  Afterward I went to the pet store and got some more gold fish, along with the usual food for our zoo.  I had bought a dozen gold fish last week but a few died off.  One almost certainly croaked after the flask he was in exploded under the pressure of a football player forcing in the stopper.  It has happened before.  Oh, and I had a student show up to my FYE class this week for the first time.  He’s been going to the wrong classroom (and wrong class) the entire time.  This does not bode well.  On the way home I stopped at Quinsippi Island.  It was a record warm day (67) and the birds had mostly dispersed.  There were still a bunch of mallards around, but this is the only shot that turned out.

We three mallards be.  Asleep.

QU has updated a Study Abroad page for the Galapagos trip.  It has a short blurb and 10-pic slide show:


Saturday was Canton Eagle Day.  We had record attendance, with at least 60 coming to my talks.  I gave it 4 times, with short breaks between.  I met some new people, and some friends came as well.  It was really warm, which is great for people but bad for eagles.  There were a few around anyway.  Stacey was gone at fire training all weekend. 

Sunday morning I worked in the back yard a bit.  I was cutting up the limbs from the ice storm, and I was
almost done when I cut through the electrical cord that goes to Kane’s
doghouse and water dish.  Made a nice spark.  I let loose some
colorful language, as I had been trying NOT to do exactly that. I stacked all the wood and retreated to the house.  Savannah gave me a nice haircut and we watched a movie until Stacey came home.

For some reason, the Tokay gecko lets crickets live in her cage until she’s ready to eat them.  This one had just molted.

By request, here’s my full hippie mode.

Monday right after I left the house there was a vehicle that had 180ed on the highway.  Lying nearby was a freshly dead deer.  A few others had already stopped to help, so I continued on to the office.  I saw a flock of snow geese landing in a field right next to the road, which was kind of neat.  Not much happened at work except that most of the fish I had bought on Friday had died already.  I think the crayfish must have eaten the dead, as there weren’t that many floaters.  It has been quite warm here; Lowell says the lake is nearly iced out.  The old groundhog must have been wrong.  At least I’m not burning much wood.

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