It's time for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count!

February 15-18

The GBBC is a cool citizen-science effort where tens of thousands of bird watchers from around the world get outside (or even just look out their windows!) and start counting the birds in their communities to help inform scientists and conservationists on how best to protect bird populations. It takes as little as 15 minutes, or you can count all weekend long. And it's fun. If you're unsure about identifying birds, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology has a fabulous online reference site. In past years the counters were limited to North America but I believe this year they have gone global.


(Ok, why is it that it works fine when I view it on my own journal but it looks like a different video entirely is embedded when I look at it on my flist?) It's this:
kelliem: Leverage: the cast (leverage)
( Nov. 6th, 2012 03:57 pm)
This is me with my fingers in my ears singing LA LA LA at the top of my lungs to drown out the incessant media coverage/speculation about the election. At this point, I don't want to know anything about it until it's settled. I just can't handle the stress.

So, in the meantime have something pretty to look at - this handsome bird is a Stellar's Jay (Rocky Mountain form).
Stellar's Jay at corn feeder
Just this weekend a pair of Stellars made themselves at home in my yard- it's the first time I have seen any in my yard. They usually prefer to live higher up on the slopes. I guess this year's drought and fires have taken their toll on the food supplies in their normal range- which probably also accounts for my recent sighting of a Red-naped Sapsucker, also not a usual denizen of my area.  I'm happy to have them, though!  As opposed to the bear. ;'D
A few more Stellars pix are available on my Flickr stream.

kelliem: owl w/ head cocked (say what?)
( Oct. 15th, 2010 04:01 pm)
(Wow, two posts in two days? A recent record!)

Just now as I was in my office working, I kept thinking I was hearing a cat meowing outside in the amphitheater (which the wings of my building embrace), so I got up and went to look. I didn't see anything but a crow sitting on a light stanchion wire near my window. After a few moments, I realized that every time I heard the 'meow' I could see the crow's beak and throat moving. It was the one meowing!

I wonder what on earth made it decide to learn to meow?
kelliem: old-skool TV (tv)
( May. 26th, 2010 12:33 pm)
Wow, have I really not posted for two months? Ack!

Part of that is computer issues at home, part is that I broke my foot a few weeks ago and have been feeling remarkably hermitish, and things have been pretty crazy at work too, so when I get home mostly all I want to do is watch TV. So that means I have to post about a few season finales! Not really spoilery, mostly just a few opinions, but I'll cut them just in case because I know even opinions can be spoilery to some folks. Read more... )

On the birding front, my winter juncos have migrated to wherever it is they go in the summer, and a bunch of my summer birds have returned! I'm seeing goldfinches, red-winged blackbirds, and we already have hummingbirds even though we don't usually get them until June! Our Northern Flickers have re-occupied the nest cavity they used last year and are incubating a new brood. Twice now I've seen a male Bullock's Oriole, and a male Lazuli Bunting. I want both of them to come back and hold still long enough for me to get photos, they're both gorgeous! Of course, warmer weather means that the grackles are back and eating me out of house and home, too, but you have to take the irritating with the good.

Oh, and if you're a US citizen and like me, think it's a shame that our military does not allow gays and lesbians to openly serve their country, please take a few moments to go to the Human Rights Campaign website and use their form to encourage your representatives in Washington to vote in favor of repealing DADT. It's quick and easy. Of course you can always do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper, too.
kelliem: fall leaves & lamp (fall)
( Nov. 7th, 2009 05:42 pm)
Last night as I was just getting ready to leave work, one of the faculty came in to tell me and my co-worker to come look out the window in his office, as a hawk had just caught a pigeon and was chowing down on it atop a kiosk out in the outdoor amphitheater my building surrounds. So we did, and it was. I ran back to my office and grabbed a camera and got a video and a few still shots. The quality isn't the best, I was fairly far away shooting through a dirty window, but I am still pretty amazed that this was taking place right outside my office!

After I got home I checked my birding books to ID the type of hawk, and I'm pretty sure it's a Cooper's Hawk though it could be a Sharp-Shinned, they look a lot alike. I think this is a Coopers because it doesn't have the rusty cheek-feathers that the Sharp-Shinned seem to have.

Warning! These shots may be a bit graphic for those of you who don't like to see things being eaten by other things.

cut for the delicate )
kelliem: pumpkin (pumpkin)
( Nov. 2nd, 2009 02:47 pm)
Wow, time gets away from me. I haven't posted in quite a while! We had two feet of snow last Wednesday/Thursday, but it was mostly gone by Saturday. Which does not explain why we had NO trick or treaters at all. Even with our porch light on and our decorations out. It makes me sad that the tradition appears to have mostly died out. Everyone's too scared they'll get a razor blade or poison in their candy, I guess, even though those things are pretty much urban legends. Here's a blurry cellphone pic of the jack-o-lantern my son and I carved:

You get a gold star if you recognize the source. ;D

I have a bunch of new pix up on my Flickr stream, mostly birds, including goldfinches, various woodpeckers, a hummingbird, a white-breasted nuthatch, and a bunch of photos of my thrilling back yard. Here's a preview of downy woodpecker:

and a goldfinch:
kelliem: tree & lawn (green)
( Aug. 13th, 2009 08:02 pm)
Have I really not updated since July 23? Wow.

Has anyone else caught Defying Gravity? It's a Canadian-made SciFi show-- a little soapy but interesting so far. ABC seems to be trying to kill it, as I haven't seen a single promo for it. Ron Livingston, who played Nixon in Band of Brothers is in it, as is Cristina Cox (Blood Ties) and Laura Harris (who was the pixieish blonde in Women's Murder Club). And the guy who played Sherrif Andy a couple of eps of Eureka ago is also in it. You can stream it at ABC's website or on Hulu (I hear).

Our front porch and back patio have been sinking for years. This year, the only year since we moved in (1991) that we decided to plant some flowers around the back patio, the landlord decided to have the concrete leveled. That involved pouring concrete over the old porch and patio. Even after we specifically asked the concrete contractors to be careful with the plants, it was apparently too much trouble to do so. They stepped on them, knelt on them, dropped rubble on them, broke them, and in some cases poured concrete all over them. We are very not happy campers. I think they ruined or almost ruined over $100 dollars worth of plants. That might not be much to them, but it is to us! Here's one of the few plants that survived and seems to be doing okay, it's a mandevilla:

And here's our slightly-the-worse-for-wear clematis jackmanii (I keep wondering if it's named after Hugh...)

Speaking of things flying, we've had some new visitors to the feeders. Pix behind the cut. Read more... )
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
( Jun. 18th, 2009 03:12 pm)
I won't inflict all the pix on you, but if any of you are interested in the ongoing saga of my yard, I have more photos of flickers and other birds and wildlife up on my Flickr photostream here: and I have some videos of the flickers up on Youtube:

Dad feeds the girl:

Boy Flicker sticks out his tongue:
(I've nicknamed him Gene Simmons!)

Mom & Dad Squabble:

Mom vs. the Squirrel:
kelliem: juncoes & a cardinal (snowbirds)
( Apr. 6th, 2009 09:15 am)
Any of you guys birders? I'm a very casual one, but I've just found a site where you can record your observations on a regular basis. It's My Yard eBird, and the data will be available to birders, ornithologists, and conservation biologists. Looks like it's North America only, at least at this point. I got a new feeder last weekend after rescuing another little finch that had gotten trapped in my old one. The new one is a Brome Squirrelbuster Mini, we'll see if it does a better job of keeping the squirrels off without being a problem for the birds than my old one! I can already tell the birds like it better, I've seen a gorgeous male goldfinch in full mating yellow plumage at the feeder regularly over the past two days, and I think I'd only seen one once in the whole time I had the old one. I also saw a female hairy woodpecker at my suet feeder twice yesterday, and that's the first time I've seen one there.

In TV news, Sarah Connor Chronicles kind of blew me away on Friday. Did Not Expect That!! Wow. Dollhouse bored and disappointed me. I actually fell asleep during it. Flashpoint was good, though. Supernatural... not sure quite what I think about this week's ep yet. Still mulling that. O.o (Though on the shallow side, I have to say Misha Collins is hot. ;D) On the non-US TV front, Primeval is back! Yay! Love that show. I'm a bit surprised, though that spoiler behind the cut ) Am also very much enjoying Murdoch Mysteries this season, though the tension between Murdoch and Dr. Ogden worries me a bit. The show is usually very good about not having any really obvious anachronisms, but last week's had a fairly glaring one. I really don't think they had full-color glossy mugshots in 1895. ;D
kelliem: cat licking window (lick)
( Jun. 9th, 2008 10:50 am)
Just some rambling...

I was disappointed to watch the first ep of the new Ice Road Truckers season and find that neither of my faves from last season are back this year. On the other hand, it's cool that they're based out of Inuvik this time. I found myself looking for Ray and Fraser in the background, then I remembered... they're fictional. ;P I'm continually amused that IRT has been lumped into the History Channel's "American Originals" series. I suppose if you take "America" to be "North America" not "United States of America" it works.

In Top Chef news, I am absolutely disgusted that Antonia is out and squinchy-faced black-cloud Lisa is still in the running. Gah. Why her? Other than that she makes a good bad guy? ETA: Tom Colicchio explains it all. I guess that the "lucky-dog-who-keeps-skating-by-effect," in which a chef of decent, but not stellar, skills gets lucky and doesn't screw up at precisely the moment that one of their more gifted opponents does." makes sense.

I've watched the first two eps of Next Food Network Star. I am not impressed with any of them. Also, is it just me or does Lisa Garza (another odd chef named Lisa?) bear an uncanny resemblance to Sandra Bullock? (separated at birth, I tell ya!) I keep wanting tell her to step away from the spray tan... yikes! Sometimes she looks like a reverse raccoon.

My Flickers have apparently been chased out of their nest by squirrels. This bums me out muchly but there isn't anything I can do about it. Nature red in tooth and claw and all that. :( In the backyard the feeders are attracting a wide variety of pretties though. Cassin's finches, house finches, house sparrows, chickadees (mountain and black-capped), goldfinches, blue jays, black-throated sparrows, mourning doves, and once I saw a red-headed woodpecker. Oh, and there is also the usual assortment of greedy grackles. I have to move my main feeder to a hook up under the eaves every evening at sunset or the raccoons come and raid it. I could just leave it there, I suppose, but it's much harder to watch the birds there.

I tried a new recipe last night. It was supposed to be an asian pork roast cooked in the crock pot but by the time I got to the store to buy ingredients and then prepped it was too late to do it in the crock pot so instead I cubed the pork and used the sauce recipe with a few additions and just cooked it on the stove for an hour. It actually turned out quite well-- sort of a cross between teriyaki pork and curried pork-- nicely mouth-warming but not painfully spicy. I served it over rice with steamed broccoli and it was yummy! I don't want to forget the recipe so I'm posting it here behind the cut )
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
( Apr. 25th, 2008 08:48 am)
This morning I *finally* managed to get a shot of the male Flicker-- sort of. He's much shyer than the female and usually flies off the second he sees me, but this morning I managed to catch him just as he poked his head out of the nest. If you look closely you can see the red 'blusher' on his 'cheek.' (I enlarged it a bit so it's kind of pixellated, sorry.)

Also, since I'm picspamming, here's an absolutely gorgeous early morning view in the courtyard between Hellems and Education on the CU Boulder campus, looking north toward the Theatre building. (Please to pretend you don't notice the edge of my finger in the lower right corner of the pic.) There's a the bright pink flowering crabapple tree on the right, an orangey flowering quince beneath it and I'm aiming through the branches of a tree I can't identify but right now it has deep burgundy-red buds about to break into bloom, and it has orange berries in the fall. (It's not a bittersweet, though.) I have a pic of it in the fall showing the berries >here< if anyone wants to try to ID it for me.
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
( Apr. 18th, 2008 09:32 pm)
I managed to get a pic of the lady Flicker this afternoon, hard at work on her main bore. :) (sorry about the cheesetastic highlight box but it's hard to tell her from the tree without it!) I can tell it's the female, because she's better camouflaged and lacks the bright red 'blusher' the males sport. She regarded me warily with her beady black eye the whole time I was trying to get a decent shot with my trusty cell-phone camera.

Then this evening I saw a new bird at the feeder, another woodpecker, this one I think was either a Downy Woodpecker with rather more red on his head than the fellow in the exemplar, or a Red-naped Sapsucker, which supposedly prefers higher elevations than Boulder, but the pic looks more like the guy I saw.
The weekend was gorgeous-- in the fifties both day, clear and sunny. And today we've got snow! Again. Good thing I decided not to put the hummingbird feeder out yet. Ah, Colorado, one never gets bored with the weather here. (Well, that's not true actually, but most people don't find sunshine boring...).

I had a really nice weekend. It actually started on Thursday night when the kidunit did some foils for me (he's in cosmetology school) and then Friday I got to go in and be the guinea pig for his hair-cutting test. So I got color and a cut for basically the cost of supplies. Not bad! Also, the cut came out fantastic so we're both really happy about that. His teacher said that if he can cut my hair (which is ultra-fine, curly, and has at least 3 cowlicks) well he can probably cut anyone's hair well. :) Friday night we tried a new place for dinner-- Pasta Bozza. They are primarily a fresh pasta vendor but they also do a variety of home-made Italian dishes. Their 4-cheese ravioli in pink sauce daily special was very good, as was the fettuccine with chicken, sausage, artichokes and grape tomatoes. Their mascarpone berry tart was absolutely fantastic. I'd like to try some of their other dishes. They could use some real china rather than paper plates to serve on though-- that's just a tad too casual for me. At least they had real flatware, not plastic.

Saturday, [ profile] ardent_muses came over, and much fun was had! She brought me a present of the 1968 Zeffirelli Romeo & Juliet which we'd been talking about in email recently. It was the R&J of our youth and we both had the original cast recording (yes an actual vinyl LP!) of it which we played it over and over again, and memorized the entire thing. It's really neat to have my own copy of the actual movie now! I can still quote most of it word for word. I had a present for her, too-- I'd found some NASCAR Harlequins at the grocery store and so I picked one up for her (I blame her new NASCAR fixation squarely on [ profile] celli and her SGA/NASCAR AU, Fireball!). I can't wait to hear how it is!

We watched most of (everything but the first 3 which we already watched a few weeks ago) Band of Brothers which is a favorite of hers. It's really an amazing piece of work-- the cast is absolutely terrific. Why is it that so many British actors can be so convincingly American, but the opposite is not usually true? Odd, that. I kept trying to place the guy playing Sgt. Muck (Richard Speight Jr.), and failing, but I looked him up on the IMDB just now and had to headdesk. He's Deputy Bill in Jericho, and The Trickster in Supernatural. No wonder he looked so familiar!

About 6pm we called a time-out from the TV and went out to a local favorite restaurant, Turley's, for dinner (they had some great Mexican specials: she had the sopes and I had the rellenos). Ardent hates to shop, but has been saying for two years now that she needs new clothes so after dinner I dragged her over to the local Coldwater Creek store to check out their 70% off sale. Fortunately, we both found several great deals. Ardent even got something 'artsy' instead of preppy. The folks at her office are going to faint. :) Finally we took our booty and returned to my house and watched the rest of BoB, staying up until an unprecendented-in-recent-history 2am to do so.

Sunday was my productive day-- did laundry, ran errands, etc. Bought a new double-ended shepherd's crook for the yard to hang a hummingbird feeder and a suet-block feeder from to supplement the standard seed-mix feeder I already have. Also I saw two new birds this weekend! Saturday I saw either a Western Kingbird (though he seemed a lot yellower than that picture) or a Yellow-Headed Blackbird. I didn't get a great look at him, so I'll need another sighting to make sure. Then on Sunday I saw a gorgeous male Red-naped Sapsucker. Both are new to my backyard birdwatching experience. Also, the grackles appear to be back for the season, which does not thrill me because they are pigs and keep the smaller birds away from the feeder. Grr.


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