I spy.

American Kestrel.  Commons Ford Park in Austin.  Sometimes this is the best shot you can get.

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First lifer of 2018.

I went for a hike today around our neighborhood greenbelt and pond.  I came across this white-throated sparrow, who posed just long enough for me to raise the camera, focus and press the shutter.   It’s a rare thing for me to have the sun at my back when I try to get an unexpected shot off.

It’s a pretty bird, with an even prettier song.

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By the way, “lifer” just means it is a first in my lifetime sighting of the species.

Some Christmas Eve eve lights.

After dinner last night we cruised by some Austin neighborhoods that light it up during the holidays…37th street, Clarksville, and a few in between.

Enjoy a bit of Austin weirdness:

An homage to a scene from the movie Stranger Things:

Now, THIS is weird:

R2D2 lights:

Sock-monkey nativity scene:

Just a mess-o-lights:

Not weird:

Merry Christmas!

It’s a thing!

We watched the Seahawks game at a bar downtown today. Our Hawks won! On the way home we stopped in at Mozart’s coffee house to check out their Christmas light display. I’ve never been. But it definitely is a thing to see this holiday season. 🙂

A beaker of wine.

Last night we stopped at a new place, for me, Parkside, right on 6th street.  They have a nice happy hour Monday-Friday from 5-6:30pm, which we missed by 2 minutes.   😦

But we didn’t let that stop us.  Their appies and burger were great.   Check them out.

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Humble.

I joined Laura and Ann downtown tonight to help serve an early Thanksgiving dinner tonight for homeless Austinites and others in need of some extra care.  We dished up over 400 plates of food before our shift was over.  There were many more that were served before the night was through.

The event was lovingly orchestrated by Mobile Loaves & Fishes.

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It’s not much.  Just a tiny drop in the sea of need to help our brothers and sisters.  But I hope it brought a bit of cheer and fellowship.

Peace to you and yours.

 

DOWO.

With the Cooper’s hawk flying through regularly, my backyard bird activity has dropped significantly.  But the resident Downy woodpeckers are not phased by it.  I have at least one male/female pair.  They frequent the feeder all day, every day.   This is a photo of a female downy woodpecker (DOWO) on the finch feeder.  They love to pick the sunflower chips out of the mix.  Downy’s are notoriously difficult to ID versus the similar looking, but larger, Hairy woodpecker species.  In this photo, though, you can see a couple of the markers that confirms it is a downy:  the relatively short beak, and the black flecks on the outer white tailfeathers.  Here’s a link to Audubon guidance on differentiating the two species.

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Second chance.

I was sitting on the back patio today when four beautiful warblers decided to take a bath in the fountain, about 10 feet away from me!   I was treated to a yellow warbler, two black-throated green warblers, and a mourning warbler.  I had my binoculars so I enjoyed a nice long look.  But of course, the camera was in the house.   After they had moved on, I went back in for my camera.   The earlier photo opp didn’t repeat, but I did get a shot or two of a beautiful yellow warbler that dropped down to the fountain for a drink.   Fall migration is on!

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Who’s here?

Keeto often asks us, “Who’s here?”   Well, this morning, when I opened up the blinds to look at the back yard, I was excited to see a flock of baltimore orioles in the bird bath/fountain that I put out in the spring.  There were many more in the trees above, taking turns bathing.   The orioles are currently migrating south for the winter.  In the spring, on their way north, I only got a moment’s glance at a single male baltimore oriole.  Today though, I got to enjoy them for about 15 minutes.   And then, poof, they were gone.   I hope they remember to stop here on their way back next spring.

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Back to black.  

We returned last night after our extended Eclipse 2017 trip; we took the opportunity to visit family in the area while we were up there.  We drove 19 hours straight across five states, and got home a little after midnight.  We wanted to get home to check on things, given Hurricane Harvey’s arrival the night before.   I’m thankful that the only bad thing so far is that our power is out.  I’ve no idea how long it will take to restore.  But it’s not a big deal for us; it’s nice to be home. 

This is a view of the sunset from the highway outside Dallas last night.  I’m praying for the folks on the Texas gulf coast and southeast part of the state.