Monday, October 27, 2008

2 posts in 12 hrs

So I just got record from the USGS that a Mourning Dove that I banded in our yard on 24 Aug 08 was shot by a hunter on 6 Sept 08 n a National Forest on the NORTH CAROLINA coast! It left my yard and flew ~640 miles in at least 13 days and got shot. Poor bird, but this is an unusually fast recovery of a banded bird. Most birds never get recovered, let alone that fast. I am banding doves to see where they may turn up around town and on local areas where hunters could shoot them. The eastward migration is weird and we think it may have flown south and got blown north by a hurricane. The spot where ti was shot is basically on an inlet from the Atlantic ocean. Very strange, but very cool! Out of the 5000+ birds I've banded, this is the first ever that was recovered anywhere!!! Sorry it had to die though.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Race weekend

This weekend was a pair of cyclocross races in Fayetteville, TN, which is about 5 miles from the AL line. Small fields of racers (9 on Sat and Sun). Either way, Bec went down with me on Sat and took video, which I'll post someday or show on a computer when we see you. I finished 7th of 8 on Sat and 8th of 9 on Sunday. Small fields, but the fast guys showed up. I never got lapped or anything, but had to get my legs to ride hard for 30 min. Tough to do when you haven't raced all year and I was off the bike most of Sept.

Saturday highlight was chasing down my teammate (Don) in the race with 1/2 lap left. I knew he was suffering, so I caught him, passed him, put 10m between us going into the "sandpit" which is a deep pile of sand. 3 of the 4 times through the sand to this point I made it out on the bike without getting bogged down and having to dismount. I knew I had to get through the sand on the bike and I could hold Don off. I, predictably, almost crashed in the sand. Had to run out and of course Don was right on me. After the sand, we had ~120m to go to a 180 turn and sprint to the line. I ride as hard as I could and got a 5 m gap on Don at the turnaround. We sprinted our hearts out (Don almost threw his up) and I swear that finish line was a mile away. Don slowly pulled closer to me, we were going all out, threw our bikes forward on the line, and the officials say he nipped me at the line. I don't know. I was too far in oxygen debt to look. I didn't know we were fighting to not be last. I dind't care. We had an absolute blast in this race. It was probably the most fun I've had on the bike, ever. Neither of us cared who won. It was pure fun at its best. Bec had the camera going, but didn't get the finish.

Sunday's race was less eventful as Bec stayed home and studied cancer stuff for a test. The race was fun again as I tried to chase a different teammate down at the end, but couldn't. At least other teammates that weren't in our race and friends were cheering me on, yelling things about "doing it for the birds," and "searching for a big woodpecker." Made me ride harder, if not just made me a little irritated. The motivation tactic worked. I felt better on the bike and did better in some aspects of the race I wanted to improve on, like getting a better warmup, riding super hard at the start and not getting dropped for a lap, cornering better, taking more risks on corners (being more aggressive), etc., however I didn't really improve on my finish position. I have to remember that most of the guys in our race have been racing all year, have coaches, train right, and are in a lot better shape then me. I have fun, so who cares.

After Sunday's race I moved some plants and put in the arborvitae that I got to replace the holly's. Now I'm tired!

Go Phil's!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We voted!!

So we voted today. Took advantage of the early voting opps here in TN. We drove by the place at 10:15 and they opened at 10. The line was about 40 people. We ran errands and went about about 10:55 and the line was the same. It took us 50 min to get out of there. This was EARLY voting. Good thing I took a manuscript I need to review. Got in a good read. The weather was nice too.

The postcard I sent Bec in mid-Sept from Mexico arrived today. Talk about snail mail!!

This evening I walked the dogs. Bec has to be here to get the harness on Goldie since I can't ever get within diving distance of her. The walk was a disaster. Well it was ok until the end when both of them started zigzagging and I stepped on Goldie twice in trying not to fall down. It works better when Bec doesn't go.

Gotta love working at home!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Antsy, antsy

Since Bets was antsy, and I've been lazy, here's a quickie:

So we've been married 2 whole years already. Holy Moly. And to make it better, Brian and Kelly got baby Ha today as well. Extra special day. And to make it even better, Bob and Jane Austin are celebrating 63 years today!

I finally got up pictures from Mexico here:

I'm also going to ask the Mayor of Nashville if he'd be interested in starting a "Lights Out" program. Basically during spring and fall migration you get all the big buildings to voluntarily turn off most of their lights at night, saving a lot of electricity and probably 20,000 birds or more a year. The mayor is dying to make Nashville "green" and we've got some good things going for us for him to like say, "heck yeah," so I feel pretty confident we can pull this off. It's a win-win for everyone. The building managers save a lot of $$, birds have a better chance of not killing themselves at night, and all the partners in between look good (plus I look good and would probably get on TV for something positive). Good thing this has happened in several big cities and that the Building Managers Association is fine with contacting local building managers and getting them to turn off thier lights on certain ranges of dates that we give them. Keep your fingers cross.

Just another day on the job:)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bye bye Holly's!!!

2 posts in 2 days, it must be going to rain! No rain, but you get 2 posts.

So in my first free weekend day (Saturday), I decided it was time to destory the holly bushes that framed our house. I got 2 arborvitae from Andy in GA the week before I went to Mexico (I was in ATL for a meeting that week) and we'd planned this destruction. Doesn't take long with a good chainsaw!!

The process. Good times!!

First one almost gone.

All gone. The house looks completely different. I love it! We love it! Plus we cut out 2 spirea bushes that were next to the holly's. We didn't plant the new stuff yet, but will soon. Amazing! What a difference. Like a whole new house.

So after I cut the holly's, but cut the "big" dogwood in the backyard that was as dead as Reagan. We had a fire in the pit that night and burned much of the dogwood. We toasted to the tree. Sad it died.

After I cut that I decided to split a lot of the wood that I had gathered (trees around the block were cut and I loaded up my truck back in the spring) for firewood for our fire pit and for someone at work who has a fire place. Anyway, the wood is super dry since it hasn't rained here since 2003. All went very well. Didn't need much effort to split the logs. I was 80% done when the large chunk of one log came flying at me like a 100mph fastball. It hit my hand (which was fine) and my shin (not fine). I instantly had a knot that stuck out about a half inch. It hurt bad. We iced it a couple times and some McDonalds ice cream later and all is well. I will likely have a nasty bruise for weeks to come though. I can't remember the last time I was in such pain. Good thing I will never have to give birth, because I'm a wimp. Bec gave me credit for not passing out. I think I'm insulted. It wasn't that bad. Well for 5 min it was awful.

Bec and I went for a hike on Thursday morning at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Saw holes in the ground to an underground stream, which is dry since it hasn't rained here since 2003.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mexico pictures

So I hear rumors of people wanting to see picts, however I haven't gotten any comments or complaints. In the end, mi esposa made me put up pictures before I get out the chainsaw and cut down some trees this morning. The picts are in no order, but I'll put a slide show together to show cool picts from many places we went and orient you guys on where I was.

Yup, wild flamingos in NW Yucatan near Progreso.

Uxmal (pronounced Ush-mal) ruins. I got sent there one afternoon with a tour group. It rained, but I did spend the afternoon birding, hearing stories about the ruin, and had dinner and saw the evening light show (in pouring rain) with 4 Japanese women from Buenas Aires, and an old couple from Argentina. Only one of them spoke a tiny bit of English (all spoke espanol). Made for an interesting afternoon and evening.

Brown Pelican. Just an awesome shot. What do you think Brian?

Ball fields at the Coba ruins. There was another one of these opposite this one. The teams here fought for the Sun god and the Moon god. Whoever put the ball through the hole first (which could take a couple days as you couldn't use your hands and the slope is ~50%) was sacrificed. It was an honor to be killed for your god.

The view at Pez Maya, where we stayed for 5 nights. Really cool place. Plus we had fresh fish (and beer) for lunch that day!

The only decent picture of us releasing baby Green Sea Turtles (and one Loggerhead).

Yucatan Vireo.

Here is el palacio. It had 4 walls, a thatch roof, and occassional electricity, but we did have to put up with a lot of stupid foreigners, I mean tourists.

The view from el palacio wasn't bad when the beach wasn't covered with tourists and local fisherman's boats.

Caught this Royal Tern tossing a fish he'd just caught. Sweet!

Pict from the "canal" the Mayans dug that connected freshwater lagoons. This is what we floated down for an hour before we drank some beer.

Everyone knows this bird. Great Blue Heron on the beach.

I have about 4000 more pictures, but will post some on my pbase site eventually. Lots to go through.