Monday, November 30, 2009

Shooting Eagles

OK, first of all, if there is a learning curve for taking birds-in-flight pictures I bent it into a sharp right angle of a curve. I drove down to the Conowingo Dam in Maryland this morning to see if I could get some eagle pictures. Well, the birds were there. I overheard a count of 70 - 80 of them, I think this may have been high, but at least 40 - 50 I would guesstimate. Just some quick facts about this area... the dam was built in 1926-1928 as a hydro-electric plant spanning the Susquehanna River. The dam sucks in water (and fish) upstream runs it through the turbines and spits it out on the downstream side (including the fish). Well Bald Eagles like fish and the fact that it's easy picking, hence you get the largest viewable population of Bald Eagles east of the Mississippi. This area also had hundreds of Great Blue Herons and Thousands of Gulls, a whole bunch of Black Vultures and at least a few Cormorants. I took plenty of pictures, none spectacular. When they sat in the trees behind the parking area it made it a lot easier. But the flying shots are best left to all those guys with the big lens'. More, lots more, later.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Birdwalk 11-22-2009

First off, I know these are borderline pictures, I wish I could have taken better but sometimes you post what you have as evidence. That's what today's pictures are, proof. And as stated in yesterday's post correct me if I'm wrong. The first and second pictures are a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker. Unlike most woodpeckers the YBS bores holes and returns to lick the sap and any bugs that maybe sicking around. Notice all the holes in the first picture? When I took these I knew it wasn't a Downy, I was thinking Ladderback Woodpecker. But, my final answer, Regis, is... Yellow Bellied Sapsucker. Possibly a female but I can't tell. The male has a red throat. And the last picture is a White Breasted Nuthatch. Another of those birds that don't sit still for long. This is the only picture I got of him.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Birdwalk 11-22-2009

As always, correct me if I'm wrong. Today's birds are the White Throated Sparrow and the Eastern Bluebird. The first picture was taken 11/15 at Dykeman's Pond the rest were from along the Big Spring last Sunday. The Bluebird isn't a guarantee but I'm pretty sure that it is a female Eastern Bluebird.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's Christmas Time in the City

The big city of Shippensburg. Here are this years pictures of the Vigilant Hose Company's Christmas lights. Several years ago the town changed their Christmas parade to the middle of November, so since the Vigilant Hose is the home of the town tree, we had to start decorating earlier. The Dicken's Day parade was last Friday and Santa said his thing, waved his arms and the tree was lit. But the staff here at the Outskirts of Suburbia voted and decided that we would post no Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Fa La La La La.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Birdwalk 11-22-2009

These are some of the birds I saw on my Sunday morning walk along the Big Spring. Most of these I've posted before at least once. To start things off we have a Belted Kingfisher. I not only have posted kingfishers before but I'd bet I've posted this fellow before. He may be noisy but he's hard to sneak up on. Next is a Great Blue Heron, I think he thought he was hidden in that tree across the spring. Third is a White Crowned Sparrow. This may be a first for me to post. Although I've caught Song Sparrows hanging out on this sign before. Fourth is a Downy Woodpecker. They seem to be all over the place. Next is a Common Crow. They seem to be migrating through right now, too. There was a group of maybe four or five hanging out together. I guess a group of crows is called a murder. I don't know who comes up with these names. And last, right as I got back to the truck, this Northern Cardinal pair stopped by. This guy had hair, unlike the last cardinal I posted. I also got pictures of three or four new birds, stay tuned for those.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Everything for the Home (PG 127)

The last of the Painted Gentlemen that I got pictures of in Pottsville, Pa. I don't remember much about this building, I think it was along Center Street like the others. I think I meant to get some pictures from the other side and got sidetracked.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Some bullfrog pictures taken on my walk around Wildwood Lake in Harrisburg last Father's Day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Faces of the Confederacy, part 3

Another installment from the March to Destiny celebration in Shippensburg this past summer. March to Destiny is based on Shippensburg's involvement in the Battle of Gettysburg in late June 1863 as the Confederates marched through town looted and camped on their way south over the South Mountain and into Gettysburg.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Granite Mockingbird

Another bird from Gettysburg. Found this Mockingbird sitting atop one of the many monuments along Confederate Avenue.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Downy Woodpecker

I've post Downy Woodpeckers before but I got some good pictures of this one so you get Downy Woodpeckers again. I found the guy (male; notice red splotch on head) over on the battlefield in Gettysburg. I think I was somewhere over near the Eisenhower Farm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Capitol and the County

These are just two of a few old style movie houses I've shot recently. Don't know what it is that grabs my attention. Is it the old neon? Is it the rat pack cool art deco? Could be. I remember as a kid going to the College Cinema in town. Saw Rocky, Superman, Animal House, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and many many other movies there as a youngster. Or the Angelica in Coaldale, saw King Kong '76 there and Grease more than once. It was always a fun time. These two have a bit in common, they were both cleaned up and restored in the 1990's. Maybe someone remembers some of the classics they saw there. The Capitol was built on South Main Street in Chambersburg in 1926 and the County was built in 1938 on East State Street in Doylestown, Pa.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Battlefield SkyWatch Sunrise

Well, like I said, I may not have seen many deer on my excursion to Gettysburg Battlefield last Sunday but I did get to see one spectacular sunrise. The lines and shades of orange were awesome. As I drove into and through the town of Gettysburg and turned out Steinwehr Avenue towards Emmitsburg I noticed the fog laying in the low areas outside of town. Yes, I stopped on the road and snapped these from the truck window. I wish I would have investigated which monuments these were but I didn't. I know the top picture shows the New York Excelsior Brigade on the left and the 73rd Regiment of the New York City Volunteer Fire Department Monument (which was part of the Excelsior Brigade) on the right side. The bottom picture shows the Pennsylvania State Monument on the right and I believe the Vermont State Monument on the left.
As always this is the sky where I am, Click on the icon on the right side over there to see the sky around the world.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Hotel Plaza Coffee Shoppe (PG 126)

I would suspect that long before this was the Hong Kong Buffet that it truly was a pillar of Pottsville society where the elite and the working class would stop by for morning coffee and Sunday brunch. Sitting on the corner of East Norwegian Street and Progress Avenue it was a short walk from the courthouse or the brewery and not too far out of the way for the coal crackers coming to town from the mines. I'm sure none of them, all those years ago, figured that the old Hotel Plaza Coffee Shoppe would be the place to go for pork lo mein or some steam table General Tso's chicken.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Egg Rock Light Station

This is the Egg Rock Light located at the entrance to Frenchman's Bay near Winter Harbor, Maine. (Bar Harbor). Built in 1875 and later became automated in 1976 it is actively maintained by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A red flashing light every five seconds and 2 fog horn blasts every 30 seconds. The 40 foot tower puts the light 64 feet off the ocean surface. Most of these pictures were taken in or around the Schooner Head overlook area.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Walking Stick

OK, remember, always have your camera with you. 'Cause you never know. Sitting in the mountain hunting a couple of weeks ago I looked at something moving and, "Hey". Look what I found. I could give you the whole story of the walking stick but there are thosands of different kinds. From a 21" long one to one that's just a half inch long. This guy was maybe 2 1/2 or 3" long. Actually it's probably a female. They clone themselves so no male needed, now what I mean?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Starlings on the Battlefield

Some days start off with a goal in mind. But I've learned to accept defeat and roll with the flow. I started this morning looking for whitetail deer on the Gettysburg battlefield. I only saw three and was not able to get a usable picture of them. I spent some time lurking around in the woods and saw some sign of deer but didn't see any more. I did manage some pictures of some birds. Here is a starling in it's winter plumage. All those white dots aren't there during the summer and the bill is yellow during the warmer months. This one I found near the Angle or the High Water Mark. This is the Union stand where Picket's Charge was aiming for on the third day of the battle. I also got a few sunrise pictures, wow was the sky colorful this morning. I show you those on Thursday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Elkwood Fire Company #2, NCFD

As promised here is the other half of the old school fire houses in New Cumberland, Pa. This is the Elkwood Fire Company #2 on 8th Street. Formed in the Elkwood Section of Lower Allen Township in 1922 it was later annexed into New Cumberland borough in 1931. The original fire station was located at this same location also but in January of 1940 the station caught fire and burned down. Luckily they saved the new 1939 Ward LaFrance engine by driving it out of the station with the hose bed still on fire. In 1966 they merged with New Cumberland's other fire company, Citizen's Fire Company #1, to become the New Cumberland Fire Department. Then in 1980 they built a single station across the street from the Citizen's station. That's where the old cornerstones ended up. You can see where they removed them and fixed the bricks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sheep Meadow SkyWatch

Back to SkyWatch this week. And this time it's New York City. This is SkyWatch so look above the trees please pay no mind to any bikinis that may or may not happen to be included in this picture. This is Sheep Meadow in Central Park. Want to know why they call it Sheep Meadow? Why, yes, Mr. Obvious, please tell. From 1864 until 1934 there were purebred sheep here and they were kept, along with the shepherd, in a building that is now known as Tavern on the Green. This 15 acres of open green was first suggested to be used as a military parade ground but that idea died quickly when they decided to keep the peace and use it just for open relaxation.
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