Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Harmless Little Bunny

OK, I have no lamb pictures to post today. So this year March is going out like a bunny. And I can't look at a bunny without hearing Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail in the back of my head. I apologize to those of you who thought I was a sane and normal person.

Tim: There he is!
King Arthur: Where?
Tim: There!
King Arthur: What? Behind the rabbit?
Tim: It *is* the rabbit!
King Arthur: You silly sod!
Tim: What?
King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
Tim: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit.
King Arthur: Ohh.
Tim: That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
Sir Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
Tim: Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
Sir Galahad: Get stuffed!
Tim: He'll do you up a treat, mate.
Sir Galahad: Oh, yeah?
Sir Robin: You manky Scots git!
Tim: I'm warning you!
Sir Robin: What's he do? Nibble your bum?
Tim: He's got huge, sharp... er... He can leap about. Look at the bones!
King Arthur: Go on, Bors. Chop his head off!
Sir Bors: Right! Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew comin' right up!
[after Bors is killed by the killer rabbit]
Tim: I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little *bunny*, isn't it?

Maybe next time we'll discuss the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Common Grackle

Yes, birds again, These Common Grackles were in the neighbors yard yesterday afternoon. For such a pain in the butt bird they sure do look pretty when the sun hits them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

American Goldfinches in Winter

We found these guys hanging around at Wildwood Lake in Harrisburg earlier this month. We debated on what type of bird they were. Pretty sure they were finches but not positive. Even after looking at the chart we weren't completely convinced. Then we noticed the small print... winter phase. That's right, these pale yellow fellows are the same as these bright yellow gold Goldfinches I found along the Big Spring last summer. Bright or pale they were awesome to watch.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cardinals in My Backyard

I think I've seen more cardinals this year than ever before. Maybe it's just that with a camera surgically attached to my right hand I notice it more. Besides, my hard drive works better than my short term memory. Besides, my hard drive works better than my short term memory. Hey, look, cardinals!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Early Morning SkyWatch

A day late, I know. I've been later to more important things. I posted a similar picture to this a month or two ago, but hey, this is across the farmer's field behind my house. And trust me I'll never grow tired of looking out back and seeing this. This was Monday morning there was a late moon rise. On the eastern horizon you can see the sun starting to chase the moon away. I'm not sure and I don't have time to google it but there was also a planet up there shining bright, I don't know which one it is.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

7 Hundred

Here it is seven hundred posts already. Closing in on 2 years, wow. This guy is Johnny 7, mascot for Fayetteville Volunteer Fire Company in Fayetteville, Pa. Fayetteville sits just off of Route 30 east of Chambersburg.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Clark's Hall (PG XCIX or would this be PG IC?)

Another Harrisburg Painted Gentleman. We stopped to get some pictures of another building a half a block north of this one with a mural on the front. I noticed this one and the fact that the first building had a similar sign up at the roof line. I can't make out all of this sign, it's "something Clark's Hall". It also appears to have an old sign painted behind it. This sits on 3rd Street at Cumberland Street

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Kick

While looking for something other than birds (which I could post for a week and still have some leftovers) I stumbled upon these 4 pictures that needed some work. Since I haven't used this program since last October I needed to relearn it. Again it is simple to take these series' you just need a tripod and a continuous shoot mode on your camera. Getting the shadows to work is an entirely different subject.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Backyard is Alive

While taking robin pictures last week I failed to notice another visitor to my backyard. I snapped a few shots before he ducked behind the garden wall. So, I eased forwards until he poked his head back up. I froze and snapped a couple more. He ducked down again and I low crawled into position on the end of the low wall. Lying flat on the ground, camera resting on the end of the wall he made another appearance. This time just 10 feet away. Awesome! During all this my daughter came home and I'm sure she was thinking of how proud of me she was. Yeah, that's what she was thinking.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mallard in Flight

As I walked around the pond I almost stepped on this Mallard drake before he lit. It's better than stepping on a freakin' snake, but then again you'd have to go around convincing everyone that you actually DID step on a duck.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Trouble with Spring

OK, I'm looking forwards to Spring. The flowers, the birds, the warmer weather, but not everything about Spring makes me happy. Thursday afternoon I drove slowly along Big Spring. I didn't know if it was too late in the day or too early in the evening to see any birds along the Spring. As I drove along a higher part of the road I looked down and saw a muskrat. Cool. I get turned around, parked the truck walked up the road and down over the hill. No muskrat but I did see a cardinal, a heron and some mallards. Cool. I waited a bit and returned to the road. Walking back to the truck I stepped to the side of the road for an oncoming car. As the car passed I heard a rustle and when I looked at my feet I was nearly standing on his tail. Not Cool. Definitely, Not Cool!

Friday, March 20, 2009

How the Vernal Eqinox Works

Happy Vernal Equinox to everyone. Well let's say that at 7:44 AM Eastern Daylight Time it will be the Vernal Equinox or the First Day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. That doesn't necessarily mean that today you will have 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of night, that would depend on where you are in the world. What it does signal is that the sun is directly overhead of equator and will rise due east and set due west. But to explain why it is on March 20th some years and March 21st some years and could someday be on the 19th, lets see what National Geographic has to say to make it more clear...
"Using the Julian calendar, the spring and fall equinoxes and the seasons were arriving 11 minutes earlier each year. By 1500 the vernal equinox had fallen back to March 11.
To fix the problem, the pope decreed that most century years (such as 1700, 1800, and 1900) would not be leap years. But century years divisible by 400, like 2000, would be leap years.
Under the Gregorian calendar, the year is 365.2425 days long [note: the astronomical tropical calendar year is 365.24219 days long. OoS]. "That gets close enough to the true fraction that the seasons don't drift," MacRobert said.
With an average duration of 365.2425 days, Gregorian years are now only 27 seconds longer than the length of the tropical year—an error which will allow the gain of one day over a period of about 3,200 years.
Nowadays, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory's Chester, equinoxes migrate through a period that occurs about six hours later from calendar year to calendar year, due to the leap year cycle.
The system resets every leap year, slipping a little bit backward until a non-leap century year leap nudges the equinoxes forward in time once again."
I couldn't have said it any better. Have a nice day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

SkyWatch over Lake Erie

A little more LakeWatch than SkyWatch this week. Actually this comes from Lake Erie last summer, Headlands Beach just east of Cleveland, Ohio. This was one of my test shots while I waited on the "Good" sunset colors. This then begs the question is there such a thing as a bad sunset? No sunset, maybe. But a bad sunset? It's like pizza, even when it's not that great it's still pretty good.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Saverpool's Clay Sales (PG XCVIII)

Dad told me this weekend that he saw a Painted Gentleman I didn't have. So he whips out his cell phone and shows me the picture he took. My response, "Been there, done that." But as always anyone local to my locality is welcome to direct me to something I may have missed, overlooked or forgot that I have it on file. Thank you in advance.

R. C. Savercool's Clay Sales in Millerstown, Pa. has it all... Facing Tile, Glazed or Unglazed, Brickface and Common in Reds, Buff or Greys , Fire Brick, Fire Clay, Structural Tile, Flagstone, Building Stone, Flue Lining, Drain Tile, Sewer Pipe, Floor Brick & Fireplace Accessories.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick

This is St. Patrick and another picture of my City at Night series in Harrisburg. A little history... St. Patrick was born sometime around AD 387 in Britain and died on March 17, 461. At the age of 16 he was kidnapped from his home in Wales and forced into slavery in Ireland. After six years he escaped and returned home. Years later as a Christian missionary he returned to Ireland. Today he is known as the Patron Saint of Ireland. Read more here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Squirrels at Wildwood

As anyone with bird feeders will tell you an added bonus, or freeloader, to having a feeder is the ever presence of squirrels. These guys, there must have been about 4 or 5, were hanging out at the feeders at Wildwood Lake in Harrisburg. Trust me, no matter how ingeniously the feeders were hung these thieves found a way to not go hungry.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dove and Geese

Today's picture are more birds. The first a Mourning Dove and the second are Canada Geese (Not Canadian Geese, well the could be but I didn't check their passports). On another birding note the unknown bird from two weeks ago was incorrectly guessed as Shrikes by MamaClep and Cincy Bill (No black cheek stripe). My go-to-bird-guy at first glance said, "Mockingbird" He was fluffed up because it was cold and the angle of my picture you can't see the tail. But thanks for playing along.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Central Booking

Taken at an abandoned LAPD Station. The color version was just to beige, thought I'd try black and white.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Harrisburg Wagon 3

Hey, this could be a return to Fireday Friday. Or it could just be a fire engine. While ramming around the city last Sunday we heard the sirens and made our way to the scene. The emergency turned out to be nothing major but we were able to add some unexpected fire ground pictures to our day of shooting.
Wagon 3 is a 2008 Pierce with a 1500 gallon per minute pump, with a telescoping light tower and a new Amkus Vehicle Rescue System and is housed at the Uptown Station with Tower 2. The wagon cost $570,000. These things aren't cheap, people.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SkyWatch over the Chincoteague Drawbridge

Another Sky Watch for me. For those who have been coming around for a while are saying to yourselves, " Oh, another sunset with the Chincoteague Drawbridge." Yeah, this is the third time I posted this bridge from one weekend visit, four if you count my January header.
This was the view from the balcony of my hotel when the family and I went down to Chincoteague Island, Virginia over the after Christmas weekend. I like it and that's what matters. I hope you all enjoy it, too. This Sky Watch thing is difficult because I've always posted beautiful sky pictures when I see them and I don't want to start repeating myself. So I need to start stocking up on sky pictures.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This is the best of the day. Ray was on the side of a house at the intersection of the 600 block (oops... 500 block) of Seneca Street and Brensinger Street, in Harrisburg.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hope Fire Co. #2, Harrisburg

O.K., lets start the whirlwind tour of old fire stations. Lets start at the beginning. Harrisburg at one time or another had 16 volunteer fire companies operating within the city. Company 1 was the Friendship Engine Company and it was located on Chestnut Street at the corner of Third Street. It was closed in 1937 and sold to the Chestnut Street Market Company. This station no longer exists. That take us to the Hope Fire Company 2. Hope sits at 606 North Second Street. Although the Hope station closed in 1980, the building lives on as the Fire House Bar and Restaurant. It's nice to see it is being preserved so well. Here is the sign across the street, read more...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is just one of the birds we spotted and got pictures of out at Wildwood Lake in Harrisburg. These birds just won't sit still for too long. All of us got some nice pictures of empty branches, just missing by, "That much." This, like I said, is the Downy Woodpecker. it is one of the most abundant woodpeckers in the east. It is similar to the Hairy Woodpecker (I'm not making these name up) only it is smaller with a shorter, stubbier bill. The male is easy enough to spot flitting through the woods with the red patch on the back of his head.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Broad Street Market and Harrisburg

This is, obviously, the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg. I spent most of today out shooting pictures with Bradley and his son Shane (both fellow bloggers). Our goal today was taking pictures of the Old School Firehouses in Harrisburg. Well, by the end of the day and with that lost hour of sleep starting to take its toll I had racked up 380 shots. Among other things I got pictures of 14 old firehouses (9 in the city, 5 on the West Shore), 6 active firehouses (1 in the city), 10 Painted Gentleman and nearly 100 pictures of birds and squirrels at Wildwood Lake on the north side of Harrisburg. I've known about Wildwood but have never stopped by, hopefully today was the first of many more visits. So, Bradley, thank you, thank you, thank you I had a great time and I may have even learned something.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Pink Schwinn

Sometimes when you're just walking down the street minding your own business something screams at you to take it's picture. This was one of those days. Not the perfect set up (I wish the car wouldn't have been there) but I think I got it as good as possible. This was right in front of the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. And yes, that bike was that pink.

Friday, March 06, 2009

the alley 9:15 pm

This is my March edition of the alley. I should have tinted it green for March. This one didn't require a long walk from where I was. And it just doesn't seem right out at night taking pictures and not freezing my butt off. But I guess I'll get use to it. This time the winner get my eternal respect to have and hold... until next month.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

No Such Place as the Middle of No Where

This seemed like the right picture to start up with Sky Watch Friday. Hope I get everything posted right. This was the scene I had from the Flat Tops Wilderness Area last November. At the time I was between 9,000 and 10,000 feet up into the Rocky Mountains.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Poles of America (PG XCVI)

Another Painted Gentleman from Cleveland. I think this one was also along Broadway at Forman Avenue. The Alliance of Poles of America was established in Cleveland in 1895 by dissatisfied members of the Polish National Alliance (PNA), who disagreed with the PNA's decision to admit as members Poles who were not Catholic. This building is their National Headquarters built in 1926. The organization has 17,00 members in 83 branches in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


These Great Blue Herons were wading and fishing in Snow Goose Pool on Assateague Island, Va last Christmas. It's amazing how different the same bird can look.