December 18 – Eagles ahoy

Tuesday afternoon I picked up Stacey in Hannibal and we went down to St. Louis.  It was our first time to make the MONEP Holiday Show.  There was a nice dinner, then the show.  They put hundreds of excellent slides to music.  It must have run 45 minutes.  I think they used all of the ones I submitted.  I certainly had the only bat photo!  I talked to the people from Shaw Nature Reserve afterward.  They want to have me back next summer.  I’m already looking forward to it.

I got my finals wrapped up on Wednesday.  It sure as a unique semester.  Teaching two courses in double-time was tough, but at least it was only two preps.  Thursday I ran errands around town with the truck.  I had Gretchen strapped into the passenger seat with her harness.  She hated it.  She whined almost the whole time.  I stopped to photograph eagles for awhile, and she really got worked up over the eagle calls.  I cut some firewood down at the brush dump.  I started stacking it in the old dog kennel.  It should hold nearly a year’s worth, once full.  Friday morning I ran more errands.  I had to get the Taurus registered.  First stop: the auto shop for an inspection.  They have a little dachshund puppy there, and Gretchen had a great time playing with her once they got acquainted.  I stayed a little longer than necessary, just to make sure they were both tired.  Gretch didn’t like the big lab as much.  He’s totally harmless, though he was sniffing her private parts a little too much for propriety.  She rode great in the car, I think because I didn’t strap her in.  She sat  in or layed down on the passenger seat.   I took her into the license office.  The guy said, “No killer dogs.”  I said, “She’s hardly killed anyone today.”  She pooped on their lawn, too.  When we got home, she crashed.  All the playing tired her out.  She has lost two teeth already.  Savannah crawled around on the floor trying to find them.  She had no luck, and was more upset that “our little baby is growing up!”

I saw an eagle out in a corn field eating a road kill on the way to the auto shop.  Too bad I didn’t have my camera.  It was pretty close, too.   Here are a few from earlier in the week.

From NewBlogPics

Not bad for an eagle on a stick.

From NewBlogPics

Caught this one in the act of flying.

From NewBlogPics

This is what happens when you give a cardboard tube to a puppy with a chewing jones.

Sunday morning was the Christmas bird count.  I picked up Leo and we drove through our area.  A few bonus birds we saw were the pileated woodpecker and the northern harrier.   We were driving through the flood plain ag lands when we saw a big flock of small birds on the road.  Neither of us recognized them.  After looking hard and consulting the field guide, we decided they were lapland longspurs.  That was a life bird for both of us!  We passed a really cool waterfall right by the side of the road.  I’ll have to go back and photograph that one.  Things got kind of slow until the very end when we found some houses with bird feeders, and we picked up a few more species.  We ended up with 22.  That’s not bad for a winter count, but hardly compares to our >50 last spring.

At home I was getting ready to take Gretchen for a walk when I saw the Japanese yew bush explode, and a hawk flew out and landed in the sweetgum tree.  I grabbed a camera and got a couple of shots before it took off.  It didn’t get a sparrow, sadly.  They usually hide in that bush because it’s next to our feeder. 

From NewBlogPics

A rather disappointed sharp-shinned hawk.

From NewBlogPics

Who’s been naughty this Christmas???  One guess. 

Savannah and I were eating lunch while Gretchen was sleeping in her dog bed.  I said, “Isn’t she cute?”  Savannah said something with a mouthful of food that I thought was, “She’s sainted.”  Turns out what she really said was, “She’s Satan.”  Both are partly true.

Monday morning I took in the recycling on the way to the office.  I met with one of my advisees and we figured out how to get her graduated.  And I went to the optometrist for an eye exam, the first one in about 8 years.  I have been losing visual acuity in my right eye.  I found out that the eyes continue to change in 3% of people who get lasik.  The odds have beaten me.  Why couldn’t I win the lottery instead?  Now, I get bifocals.  Merry freakin’ Christmas.  Since only one eye is really affected, I was hoping to get a monocle, but they didn’t go for that.  At least I can look forward to reading or being on the computer for more than an hour without getting a headache.

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