A male red-winged blackbird perches on a cattail at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

I got up early this weekend hoping to see blackbirds at Ridgefield and wasn’t disappointed, both redwings and yellowheads were active near the edge of South Quigley Lake. My yellowhead pictures aren’t as good as previous years but it was still nice to see them singing and chasing each other around. I didn’t catch this male redwing singing but I love the colors of the early morning light. Song and savannah sparrows were also out and about and singing their hearts out, those pictures are yet to come.

Visitations Part II

Some more quick thoughts on my web traffic since my last update:

  • I was mistaken earlier when I said that I had been visited by 49 states with West Virginia the lone holdout. It turns out West Virginia hadn’t visited, that part was true, but neither had Delaware or Rhode Island. West Virginia did visit this week, followed by Delaware, and then finally Rhode Island, so all 50 states have now stopped by. Drinks are on me!
  • I am unpopular with the druids. Exactly zero visits from the towns around Stonehenge. Zero! This may hurt my chances at becoming Archdruid.
  • I am also unpopular in Japan (Finland and China have since clocked in, so Japan is the lone holdout of countries I’ve visited). Perhaps the druids have taken over Japan. I need to look into this.
  • Each country has a two letter identifier at the end of their Internet address, except for the US, which is only fair since Al Gore did invent the Internet. Much like two letter identifiers for the states of the US, however, some of them are not for the countries I expected. For example, did you know that Switzerland is ch, so China is not ch but cn, and Canada is not cn but eh?
  • Canada has visited but at a much lower rate than I expected compared to the US. I had planned to run a targeted campaign by blogging about hockey sticks and Pocky sticks (attracting both Canadians and the druid-Japanese), but I no longer believe it will be enough to attract my friends to the north. What we need is an invasion. Fifty-Four Forty or Fight! Who’s with me? Hello? Anyone? Hello?

Barking Up The Right Tree

Patterns in the bark of a tree near the Rio Grande in Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

While in Taos, my wife and I drove out to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area for a little hiking and sight seeing. My wife wanted to touch the Rio Grande so after waiting for some thunderstorms to pass through, we hiked the Little Arsenic Trail down into the Rio Grande Gorge. Following a long and seemingly endless series of switchbacks down into the canyon, we were tired but happy when we finally reached the riverbank. The trees by the water had a beautiful red color and I loved the patterns in their bark. The hike back up was even more punishing, but I was excited to find a tarantula sharing the trail with us, the first one I’ve seen in the wild.

The Black of Night

Our black cat Emma sitting on the stairs

Another picture from New Year’s Day, Emma’s first full day of freedom to roam the house. This was also the time I started carrying a flashlight to bed with me.

When I used to go to bed, I’d leave the lights off to avoid waking my wife and head up the stairs in the dark. We’ve lived here enough years that I can do it easily by feel. Templeton would stay behind in my office to sleep while Scout would wait (oh so patiently) for me to come to bed so she could climb on top of me. When the new cats arrived, however, I found that I was not alone in my climb upstairs in the dark. Sometimes Emma would hang out on the stairs like here and sometimes she’d literally follow me underfoot. It was impossible to see a jet black cat in the pitch black stairwell and I ran into her more than once. So I started carrying a flashlight so I could see my little black shadow before I kicked her.

Now that she’s so comfortable here, she often stays where she’s sleeping like Templeton used to. I’ll rub her head before I head upstairs to see if she wants to join me, and she gives me that “Would you get up if you were in my shoes?” look that my little gray cat used to give me, and then she goes back to sleep. She’s in bed with us when we wake up in the morning, so apparently she just comes to bed in her own time.

The Stare

Our cat Sam sitting on the bed staring into the camera

Sam on New Year’s Day. He was still getting treatment on his ears at this point so some of the hairs in his ears are wet. The drops were cold since the medicine had to be refrigerated, so little Sam was understandably less than happy about his treatment. Despite the intense stare in the picture, though, he was immediately all purrs and happiness when you finished rubbing the drops in and started cuddling with him. Although he had a handful of things he had to be treated for from the time he was at the Humane Society through his first couple of weeks with us, thankfully he’s been healthy ever since.