Saturday, June 23, 2012

Birds, Blackberries and Beer-Just your usual Saturday.

Week number three of June birding and it already feels like my own  version of Groundhog Day.  It's always this time of the year where reality sinks in and you realize your chances of getting a FOY bird is close to zero so you either accept it or dive into other hobbies to keep summer boredom at bay, but right now the birds will do so off I went to check on my blocks hoping I could at least pick up a new species.

My first stop would be Dunkin Donuts for a Turbo and then my usual drop in at St Philips hoping for a Black  Crowned-night Heron.  No night-heron but plenty of Great-blue as you can see in the photo above.  I'd be amazed that the juves haven't left the nest yet as I'd go crazy living in such cramped quarters but it seems to work for them so who am I to say anything!

Nothing else of interest here except for a Downy Woodpecker feeding from a weed vs. a tree which was a 1st for me (except for my suet of course).

I'd head over to another local spot I like to bird and all would be quiet except for the pair of Gray Catbirds who wouldn't know silence if it hit them over the head.  Not sure what it is about this time of the year but catbirds always seem to be more vocal at the end of June than they do May.  It's something I've noticed and based on my experience it's due to them protecting their nests and instead of remaining quiet, they scream when something they fear gets too close.

There'd be others there as well including the Eastern Kingbird above.  Was still holding out hope for an Orchard Oriole here, but once again a "no go".  I'm at the point where I'm not sure if I'll see that bird this year given my track record thus far.

I'd make another quick stop nearby knowing I wouldn't get anything out of the ordinary, but figured it would be a nice place to drink my coffee and just be.  Many blackbirds would be out including this Red-winged who appeared to be drying off from the rain we had this morning.

Looking out at the many Barn Swallows who hit the lottery bug wise over the small pond.

The only other thing of interest would be this group of Mallards relaxing in the grass.  It seems as if the hot and humid weather has made them as lazy as me as they wouldn't even move even as I got closer.

I'd then head on over to Cross Street and the usual's would be out including the many Field Sparrow's (including some recently fledged) as well as the Song Sparrow above who was following me around with its alarm call in full gear.  This would be the 2nd week in a row this bird would do this with me so don't know what the deal is as I'm not loud or intimating, but from what I gather it doesn't like me on its turf.  The highlight of my stop would be getting a Savannah Sparrow nearby as this would be a first in this location.

I'd head on out to South Main and the place would be alive with bird song which was nice on the ears given the silence I've been experiencing with the recent unbearable temps we've been having and I think it impacts the birds as much as it does us.  There would be quite a few Rose-breasted Grosbeaks out including the female.  I'm at the point in my birding where I prefer to see the females vs. the males as they are so plain it makes it more challenging.  It forces you to look at shape, size and behavior vs. colors which helps to relieve some of the June boredom and makes you a better birder in the long run.

A Red Squirrel would be nearby and appeared to be paralyzed by my presence which allowed me this killer shot above.

Lily'a spotted along the way.

Come 11:00 or so, I'd decide to call it a day and head to Goretti's Supermarket to pick up a few things for meals next week.  The place would be mobbed and I'd notice a line of foot traffic near the deli and I'd find out the reason for it were samples of mini pastrami sandwiches.  Gary the manager would offer me one but I'd scoff at it of course but then he'd offer me a sample of beer or wine.  Beer I'd think at this hour, but I'd take it anyways.  It would be Smuttynose IPA which is my second favorite beer second to Tank and would be reminded of that as soon as I finished the sample.  Gary would see I liked it and happily told me the sampler 12 pack was on sale for $12.99.  Now normally, I'd grab it without question but decided to forgo beer this weekend given the fact that my pants are getting a tad  snug and vowed to get back to cleaner eating but crap with a price like that who was I to refuse!

So I bought the 12 pack for $12.99 as you can't beat the price and besides Sunday's are a much better day to start a semi diet and this will last me three weeks so it's not like I'm going to consume all of it at once, despite how tempting it may be.

The blackberries in my yard are ripening a week earlier than normal which causes me a dilemma as I'm not in the mind frame to can yet.  They also seem to be ripening only 2 or 3 cups at a time and you need far more for canning so decided to make a cobbler instead considering I'd already blown my clean eating for the day so why not do it in style.

The secret to the recipe is all in the butter (as in 1 whole stick, not low fat to say the least!)

But so good straight out of the oven with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I'd go outside and eat it near my garden where the male American Robin would be gorging himself on worms and realize the reason we get along so well is due to our mutual love of food.  While there may not be many new birds around in June, you can't beat the berries, and the birds in your yard are like family by now so it's all good!

Now back to the Smuttynose sampler as what the hell else is there to do in June.  Being the curious type that I am I had to sample them all at once to figure out which one I preferred most and I can tell you I enjoyed them all which surprised me considering I like the lighter ales normally.  My favorite hands down is the Robust Porter which shocked me considering how dark it is.  I'd take my 1st sip and sit there and try and figure out what it reminded me of and then I'd figure it out.  Coffee!!  Coffee and beer, who would have thought of such a thing.

And one last note.  Remember my previous post and my guess that the juvenile Peregrine Falcon yet to fledge would be over at City Hal with its siblings by the time I make it into work Friday.  Well I'm happy to report that I was right!  A great way to end my work week and start the weekend.

Take care all.

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