Friday, November 23, 2018

Pine Siskin

Thanksgiving Day 2018, First Pine Siskin of the Season

Photos combined for comparison with female House Finch. 
Smaller Siskin has yellow on wing feathers, shorter tail and pointier bill. 
I'd say a bit more definition/contrast too. Feisty little fellow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


S'posed to rain tomorrow, thought I'd better cut some grass.

That got me thinking about the divisive political dichotomy (which I try to stay out of publicly). Couldn't help wondering if there might be an inverse proportion of disposition between my (say) musician friends vs the folks who (say) drop cigarette butts and Bud Lice cans at the end of my driveway.
Is it unfair to throw in the unsub who blasted their shotgun at my mailbox?

It's sometimes hard not to rant.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Bluebirds June 2018

June 2, IMG_0604-5.gif
When I was a kid we had chickens (I don't think they were stolen from the rich folks' yard). Anyway it was fun to pick one up and move it from side to side because of the way its head would stay fixed in space. Just like these young Bluebirds, swinging on their tray.

Meanwhile, as of 6pm today all 5 eggs have hatched. Could have crossed the finish line yesterday, I didn't check between yesterday morning and this evening.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Bluebirds May 2018

May 18

One of the Bluebird kids. IMG_0056-c

 Proud Papa. Soon the leaves will make it harder to see the winged ones.

May 13 IMG_9995-9.gif First sighting of the Bluebirds that fledged about a week ago.

May 20
 I must say I've seen a heck of a lot more of this kind of feeding on the part of the male. There were four kids early on but I was reluctant to disturb the nest after the Wren episode. I can't say for sure that four fledged, only that the nest was clear, so I like to think it's possible there's a fourth that I've not seen yet.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Spring 2018

April 23 was eventful. First I found the 4 Bluebird babies (pics on April Bluebird page). 

Second: the first Thrasher of the season. 
Was very patient with me, staying put for quite a while until I got a bit too close.

Third nature event of the day: Eastern Milk snake on stairs, must be spring! I'd rather make this discovery going up the stairs to bed than first thing in the morning going down bleary-eyed (as happened years ago). This is my favourite snake, very pretty I think. Also non aggressive, I picked it up bare-handed and it didn't even strike at me. 
Even though I know they aren't poisonous, reading about it later gave me pause where it said it looks a bit like a Copperhead!

Backing up a bit, the mighty morphing Cardinal wishing us a happy 4/20. 

April 29, Pine Siskin, a combined image to show size with Goldfinch. Those yellow edges on the wing feathers are the giveaway, else I'd have guessed little House Finch.

Was hoping I'd see a warbler soon, then this one showed up as if on cue.
We're thinking it's a Pine Warbler. Top: another comparison with Goldfinch. Bottom: a bit of a mock-up. I had another shot like it (with Cardinal) but liked these two better. Needless to say, that suet feeder didn't stay empty much longer. Hope he comes back!

Carolina Wren in a characteristic pose.  

End of April and still ice on the bird bath, but I put up the hummer feeder in hopes of Orioles. Didn't see any yet, the first customers are Downys. IMG_9511-c
This afternoon began the great Carolina Wren escapade. Gotta clean up the mess I made rescuing this foursome before I take time to explain. Maybe on another post.

May 4, White-Crowned Sparrow, 9740-c.

Cinquo De Mayo and it's hard to get fired up about cutting the grass with all the flowers around. 9833-c.

The orioles have been here for a few days now. 9800-sc.
As have the Grosbeaks. 
My fave is the male that isn't quite there yet, as regards breeding plumage. He'll lose that eyebrow in time. IMG_9826-c. 

May 18. I'm not the only one to close my eyes when singing. IMG_0074-c

May 20, IMG_0177,8.gif
One of those warblers I could easily convince myself was a Goldfinch if not for bill colour.
Nancy: this is that flowering tree your pointed out, that I didn't think was apple. 

I often ignore the more common visitors, like this House Finch. But today this one caught my eye, especially with that background. They have a sweet song.

Bluebird pictures moved to May Bluebird post.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Bluebirds April 2018

April 1, 2018 
The second egg appeared this morning.
I heard or read that she waits until all the eggs of the clutch are laid before sitting on them. That way they'll all hatch about the same time.
April 2, 2018
I've seen many birds passing food to their young. Less often I've seen a male Cardinal give food to an adult female, perhaps a mate or prospective mate? I've heard or read that we think they're saying "Mate with me, I'll be a good provider to the kids". Before this special day I'd only seen Cardinals do that.

April 3, 4 eggs. 

 April 4 - Kitchen Window.

April 5 - Kitchen Window. 

April 22 - Kitchen Window
Converted to GIF from video. Possibly first time photographing them at the window worm feeder with the window open.
A short silent video including a slowed-down segment from which the above was taken, along with some high-speed (slow-mo) bits of other birds coming to the same feeder. 

Later on, in the wonderful light of the diminishing sun I had a narrow window to shoot through (both time-wise and physical window). I was hoping for something good and who should come along but her very self.

April 23, kids!
I noticed Ma & Pa behaving quite differently this morning, making deliveries. 
They weren't acting like that yesterday.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


You might think (fill in the blank) about anybody who'd take time for cereal box repair. You might be wrong.


Sunday, March 18, 2018


Thank you for reading/watching/bidding!

Bob Weir model WY-1 
Alvarez Yairi 

Listing expires March 25 Sunday, 6:57PM (Eastern I think)
 That's today. Winning bidder: hold off on payment until tomorrow when I get actual ship price along with destination.

Measured string spacing at bridge: 54mm (2.129" or about 2-1/8")
Measured width of fingerboard at nut: ~42.5mm (1.676")
Solid Cedar Top - Electric-Acoustic
Guitar alone weighs 4.6 lb
Has been kept in a smoke-free environment

Selling for less than what I paid, let my need for quick sale be your gain!
Listing says $20 shipping which is unrealistic. 
My text states buyer pays actual cost

Q: "Hello, wondering about photo 9; is that a hole that goes clear through top?"
A: No, these are surface dings or blemishes. I caught the reflected light to make sure you could see them. It's just another view of the lower bout visible in the lower right of the first picture.

Q: Is there much fret wear?

A: I'll take some more pictures tonight to ease your mind about fret wear, I never noticed any but will look again. 
Update: Yes there is some visible fret wear, but IMHO it's minimal, not enough to affect playing. My Gibson got way worse than this before I decided to have it worked on.
It was hard to photograph but I tried:

Q: Is neck straight?
A: Not sure how to quantify neck straightness, have you ever seen a picture that was able to prove that? But I'll look and get back to you. 

Update: No, the truss rod is adjusted for some relief as is commonly done. This was even harder to photograph. I am not equipped to try to measure the string-to-fret distance at the moment, but it's easy to play (IMHO, apart from string spacing not fitting my fat fingers).

Next day with natural light, some longer exposures for better depth of field. The 2017 nickel (about .073" thick) fits the low E string at the 19th fret and the high E string at the 7th fret. Easy action, I'm not a hard strummer.

Q: Has this ever been repaired?
A: I am not aware of any repair, other than I once had a luthier remove the nut because I had a crazy idea of trying to change the string spacing. I never followed through, just put the nut back on. Today I found the original listing (I bought it in '07) where the seller claims it is (was) "all orig".

UPDATE 3/23/18: I put a new battery in and the connector broke! So I just replaced that.

Q: How is the intonation and does it stay in tune?
A:  Maybe I can make a recording showing the intonation (but not today). It's been a while since I played this guitar regularly but I certainly don't recall any problems like that. My experience is that cedar top guitars in general hold their tuning noticeably better than spruce top guitars. It's a quality guitar, I don't think you'll have any problems. 
Update: to my ear the 12th fret harmonics match the fretted pitch perfectly. Not that I'm claiming to have perfect ears, but it's better than my old Gibson for sure. 
UPDATE 3/23/18: I made a little recording, FWIW.  
 The left channel is the direct out with the sliders level center, the right channel is the Zoom H4n built in microphone about a foot and a half away from the guitar. I thought that Wilbury's riff might be good to demo intonation (I played it slow in hopes of doing that) but maybe with my bad playing I'm shooting self in foot. Whatever. Like I said, fat fingers, need wider neck than this. (It's a poor workman who blames his tools.) 
Dang - somehow I screwed that up. Here's a new recording:

I believe this soundhole thing is like this D'Addario Planet Waves O-Port

I had question about the above photo (I believe): 
"Hello, wondering about photo 9; is that a hole that goes clear through top?"  
The answer is: No, these are surface dings or blemishes. I caught the reflected light to make sure you could see them.

I thought I didn't know the combination. Silly me. It is what it is (and is evident) or it wouldn't open!

Turns out I bought this guitar in '07 (I found the old listing which you can see here). The seller made a big deal about it being formerly owned/played by someone I'd never heard of. It pleased me to see those lower bout dings in the old pictures. Wasn't me put them there!