Monday, October 31, 2005

A Sunny Day at the End of October

Yesterday there were ladybugs everywhere--every description, landing on every warm spot, including me, all over the yard and the outside of the house. First time this year I've seen them in any numbers. Were they here in anticipation of the Second Edition of the Circus of the Spineless?

Just a few lazy wasps around. This one doesn't seem to be bothering the ladybug any.

Last edition of Circus of the Spineless I submitted a couple of posts, and Tony G nominated a couple more. So yesterday the Circus was on my mind, although I am only an incidental spineless writer and photographer.

This month's edition is up today at Snail's Tales. It's a veritable feast of the spineless: from a choice of appetizers, including box elder bugs served on passion vine leaves, to a fine selection of desserts, including spider jello flavoured with staghorn sumac. Have a taste of everything--it all sounds delicious!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Hermit Thrush

Very mixed day yesterday--first sun we've seen here in several days with dark clouds rolling through, periodically dumping a little more rain. We had some frost last week, enough to kill off the tenderest of the garden plants (morning glories and dahlias, in particular), and it's rained ever since.

Morning Glories, not so glorious after a touch of frost.

Others survive the night.

Out in the cedar bush I heard a gentle call, and finally located the source. Thrush. I like thrushes because they look so thrush-like. I don't see enough of them often enough that I always know which one I'm seeing, but for thrushes I do have some idea of which fieldmarks will come into play. There are hard cases, but I was pretty sure that this was not one of those, and I thought it was probably one I'd seen before. Turned out it was a hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus) is a nice clearly marked little bird. White belly, good strong clear spots on the breast, dark markings under the chin. The bird I saw was not only calling, it was also dropping its wings and flicking its tail. I don't know what that was all about, but I did happen by Ben Cruachan Blog where I found a link to an Icelandic Birding Diary. As luck would have it, there was an illustrated report of a hermit thrush--the photo there (much better than mine) also shows a bird with dropped wings. The bird was seen in Iceland around the middle of October. I wonder where it was going.

The thrush: you might just make it out.

After I'd been in the bush a while, I circled back to leave close to where I'd come in, and where I'd seen the thrush.

Mushrooms under cedar

I saw it again, and this time there was a robin in the same tree, also calling. A while ago I read about a mixed flock of thrushes (robins, and a veery and Swainson's) at A DC Birding Blog, something I've never seen. What I saw yesterday looked like a robin who'd broken away from its flockmates (I could hear them further out in the field) to gently harass this thrush. I don't speak robin fluently, it seemed gentle to me, but whatever was going on was enough to keep the thrush on its toes, and slowly moving away from the robin.

I reported the hermit thrush to Terry Sprague last night--just missing the deadline for this week's bird report (I must remember: 6:00 p.m. Thursday). But, he wrote, the thrush was interesting enough that he would include it in next week's report. Late migrant perhaps? I'm not sure. I know that it's a breeding bird in the area, at least in the northern reaches of Quinte (i.e., Municipality of Tweed). Even though I had to consult a field guide to identify the thrush, I am pretty sure that this is the same species as the thrush I saw one day (fall or spring--I can't remember) sitting on a big rock in the backyard. Atlassing has taught me to keep notes, but has also inclined me to focus on recording breeding evidence. My notes of other kinds of observations are sketchy at best. There is nothing about the earlier thrush in my notebook, and nothing in the weather journal (where some bird sightings are kept--mostly the spring firsts). Oh well, this one has been recorded now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I and the Bird #9

It's here, the 9th edition of I and the Bird is up at Living the Scientific Life. In spite of hardships, both virtual and material, GrrlScientist has put together another wonderful collection of blog posts of the birding kind.

This edition is what you might call "bipolar." Included among the posts are stories from Anchorage, Alaska and Arctic Bay, Nunavut, as well as a fantastic emperor penguin post from Antarctica, and everything in between. Check it out!

Next edition, I and the Bird #10, will be hosted here at Thomasburg Walks on November 10. Send your submissions to me or Mike at I and the Bird central by November 8.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Little Brown Birds--Part 3

Will it never end?

This summer I made an attempt to organize my knowledge of sparrows (in my brain)--really learn the ones I knew, and begin to learn the ones I know are common here but am not familiar with. As I endeavoured to do this, I realized that I wasn't entirely sure which sparrows are common in my area, so I set about to learn that too.

(I talk about some of this process in a couple of posts: Little Brown Birds and Little Brown Birds--Part 2.) By the end of the breeding season I was deep in a little-brown-bird muddle.

But it didn't stop there. Mike at 10,000 Birds recently posted an appeal for help in identifying a bird he thought was either a song sparrow or a Lincoln's sparrow. I was game. The picture he had taken didn't quite look like a song sparrow to me, so I investigated the Lincoln's sparrow, a bird I don't know. I took the investigation too far and discovered that the Lincoln's sparrow is recorded as a breeding bird in many squares in my Breeding Bird Atlas region, including two just one square away from my square, 18UQ11 (i.e., 10 km), to the north (here's a link to the Lincoln's sparrow data in my region). Seems possible it was a breeding bird in my square too. But that boat has sailed--the breeding season is over and so is data collection for this particular Atlas.

A few days ago I saw my first tree sparrow of the season (see Feeder Birds). The tree sparrow is an easy sparrow to identify--rusty cap, mark in the centre of the breast, and big, like the northern breeding sparrows tend to be. I've heard that a number have been seen to the south of me, moving south over the last 10 days or so. I haven't seen one again here since that day, so I think that bird was just passing through. Later some are bound to come that will hang around for the winter, as they do every year. I've been keeping an eye out for them ever since I saw that first one.

Then today I glanced out the front door and see a group of juncos feeding on the seeds of some weeds that grew up between the paving stones of the front walk, in the company of a big sparrow. Tree sparrow, I hope. No. So what is it?

The other big sparrows I see in the spring and fall are the white-crowned and the white-throated. I think of both of these as "flashy" sparrows, not just little brown birds. The white-crowned has a quite striking black-and-white-striped head; the white-throated, a white throat, and heavy white eyebrow. This is not what the big sparrow hanging around with the juncos looks like. (I saw it a number of times throughout the day.) It has something of the look of a white-throated sparrow, but no white eyebrow, and not much flash. However according to Sibley's guide, "adults range from drab (tan-striped) to bright (white-striped) regardless of sex and age." And thus the white-throated sparrow enters the ranks of the little brown birds.

My only hope is that this muddle of sparrows will settle itself into some sort of order in my brain over the winter, and by spring I'll actually be able to at least separate the ones I know from the ones I don't.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Driving at Dusk

I was coming home from a meeting yesterday, just as it was beginning to get dark, along the back roads, through fields and forest. Small flocks of birds flew across the road, making me think of the very impressive Bird Lists at Crows Really are Wise, a list of birds Wise Crow has seen as he commutes to and from work. Even in full daylight I know I couldn't identify all those birds; at dusk, I think I saw juncos once, robins another time yesterday, the rest were mystery birds of the small and medium variety.

But dusk is mammal time.

In one field three deer were grazing, and glanced up as I stopped the car to watch for a moment. They were in winter coats (so soon?), the red is gone, and the thicker fur around their heads give them a cartoonish face, compared to the elegance of their summer pelage.

A dark lump in the middle of the road in the distance turned out to be a very young raccoon, who only reluctantly got off the road to let me pass. It was wet, skinny, and slow-moving; probably an orphan: not a good candidate for surviving the winter.

A long, thin, dark shape coming down a tree.. By the time I'd stopped it was out of sight. Grey Squirrel (black morph)? Looked too big, didn't seem to be moving quite right.

I've never seen a fisher and I'd really like to. I've seen sign occasionally, and I know from the stories around the neighbourhood there are fishers around to be seen--and I've had second-hand reports of fishers trapped by the few trappers operating in the area.

Recently my friends and neighbours Wes and Nancy Newman sent me these pictures taken by their son Bill, north of Thomasburg.

Coast clear?

Why did the fisher cross the road?

To get to the other side.

I wish I knew that what I saw sliding down the tree and off into the bush yesterday was a fisher, but I never will. Except maybe this way. A strange phenomenon, related to attention perhaps, or a mystery of the universe: once I see a creature once, I see it again and again. So, perhaps mere superstition, but if I see a fisher before the turn of the year, I'll tend to believe that I saw a fisher yesterday too.

Thanks to Bill Newman for the fisher images!!!

Friday, October 21, 2005


Interesting story from September, out of Scotland: A millionaire wants to create a wildlife preserve inhabited by species native to Scotland, but long extirpated, including wolves, lynx and bears. He promises to surround the preserve (50, 000 acres) with a three metre high electric fence, to protect the public. But "Dave Morris, director of Ramblers Scotland, said: "We believe that such a fence would be contrary to the land reform legislation and the right of access."

The Ramblers have no problem with the introductions, even of the large predators--but they can't abide a fence. That they can argue that the proposed fence would be illegal demonstrates the profound difference between attitudes to land use and land ownership in Britain, and the attitudes in North America. There is a story at Sphere (A Victory for Public Access in Old Saybrook) about a fight to reclaim public land for public use.

Beyond the far edge of the far field is about 40 acres of mixed field and forests, hardwood and soft, deciduous and coniferous, with a trail running through it. The trail hooks up with an unopened road allowance (a public trail) on the other side. The land I walk on, including the far field, is privately owned. The owner has given me permission to walk there. The owner of the land beyond the far field has asked me not to walk there, so I don't. Oh, to be a Scottish rambler with right of access.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Feeder Birds

I dropped by Bootstrap Analysis this morning and read an elegant and informative post about the American tree sparrow. A couple of hours later I stepped out the front door and saw my first American tree sparrow of the season! In her post Nuthatch writes that she expects to see this bird in Michigan soon. Looking at the map I guess that I am on the same latitude as the middle of the lower part of Michigan, so I expect she will.

I was surprised to see the bird because I had just been thinking that we are usually at least a little ways into the Feederwatch season (starts in November) before we start getting visits from this sparrow. But perhaps my feeling has more to do with the fact that the leaves on the Norway maple where the feeders hang are still green. Looking around to see if I could find out if American tree sparrows are turning up in southern Ontario in October I ended up at eBird. Going to "explore data" and plugging in my parameters I got to this page. I didn't entirely understand how to interpret the information, but it seems that one is unlikely to see a tree sparrow at all in the Great Lakes Region before October. Whether migrants are settling in southern Ontario now, or it's more likely the one I saw today was passing through I couldn't tell.

The tree sparrow didn't hang around, but as I stood out there I noticed that there was a great deal of activity in the yard. A chipmunk was loading its cheeks with fallen seeds under the feeders and taking them off to storage, coming back for more every few minutes. A kinglet was feeding in the snowball bush--is this bird settling in here, or is it a different bird each time, I wonder. Chickadees, so bold they almost flew into me a few times, were gathering seeds voraciously. A pair of purple finches turned up. Then a pair of red-breasted nuthatches (first I've seen at the feeders since spring--they breed in the area, but don't hang around the hamlet in summer), a pair of white-breasted nuthatches, the missing goldfinches, and the juncos came in. Once I was safely back in the house the blue jays resumed their visits.

Feederwatch is a Citizen Science project at the Ornithology Lab at Cornell. It's easy to do--just a matter of counting the birds that come to your feeder over two days every couple of weeks through the fall and winter (November to March), using a pretty straight-forward protocol to make the counts, and submitting data online or by mail. And not only do you contribute to knowledge of the wintering birds, but you learn things you might not have noticed about your own feeder birds, e.g., who really comes every winter (e.g., chickadees) and who just comes now and then (e.g., evening grosbeaks).

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mother and Chicks Doing Well

I stepped out of the house yesterday afternoon and there they were, the Guinea fowl family returned, scratching on the lawn, just in front of the last of the firewood waiting to be stacked.

Vigilant chicks survey the scene.

I wondered again if I should've tried to catch them and return them to wherever they belong. I don't know how long the chicks take to mature, or how much protein they need to do it, but in spite of the continued lack of frost, winter is coming soon, and the available bugs are diminishing quickly. But so far, so good. I was surprised to see them, that she had gotten them through a couple more nights and days without losing them to predators.

Foraging with mom.

I was only a few feet away, but they seemed relatively calm.

And off they go....

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Tasty Treat in the Cedar Bush?

Windy today, after foggy, and the thunderstorm, and now sunshine, surrounded by big fluffy clouds, dark in places.

I got out after the world had dried up a little. There was a ruby-crowned kinglet in the snowball bush again this morning, but gone now. The juncos weren't around, and I realized that I've scarcely seen a goldfinch in the last week or so. Goldfinches are year-round birds here, but go scarce periodically. I don't know if the same flock stays here all winter or if flocks are moving around a larger area--different ones dropping by.

The flock of yellow-rumped warblers of last night were not around. But there were some sparrows--little brown birds one might say. They were large and rusty, like the fox sparrow, but not behaving like fox sparrows, who I most often see foraging on the ground. Nor were the streaks on the breast rust--juvenile maybe?

Saw this living tree topped, by the recent winds I guess.
Gave me pause being in there on this windy day!

The other critters on the move at this time of the year are the frogs and toads. The other night I barely missed many, many crossing the highway. Today I saw these guys.

This has to be an American toad--it's the only one we've got around here.
But doesn't that look like more than two warts per spot?

Too close to the edge--but at least you can see an eye.

Blurry leopard frog

Also in the cedar bush, a jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), almost faded away, but with this very showy clump of fruit. Sweet and tasty too! But left a little stingy, burny itch in a few places in my mouth. I've heard that if it's sweet it's probably safe to eat. I only identified the plant after I came home, so I only sampled one berry. A quick Google search turns up quite a few poisoning advice pages, though the focus seems to be on the leaves, stem, and roots and not so much the ripe fruit. Probably a good thing I didn't make a meal of it though.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Evening of the Yellow-rumped Warbler

This place is just chock-a-block with birds the last few days. I might have a detailed explanation of the pattern of the migration if I'd paid more attention to the relationship of when the birds are numerous and the recent hot, muggy weather, cold, rainy weather, winds from the west, winds from the south, winds from the north, and soft days like today. Soft, i.e., not windy, not sunny, damp without being terribly chilly. High today was probably only 15 or 16 C, but without wind that's pretty nice-so nice in fact that I was bitten by a mosquito.

It's hard to get out in the mornings this time of year on days with morning appointments, and what have you. It's not really light until almost 7:00 a.m. now. Evenings, much the same thing. Come home tired at 5:00 or 6:00, I've got to move pretty fast to get out before I lose all the light at around 7:00 p.m. (you'd think we'd just passed the equinox!). And it moves so quick, no more lingering dawns and dusks.

But when I saw another kinglet (all on its own) visiting the snowball bush this evening, and could hear all kinds of calls, even though the light was quickly vanishing, out I went.

Tonight it was all yellow-rumped warblers. They were feeding apparently at all levels, ground to treetop, and moving pretty fast, so I didn't get a good sense of how many there might have been. I saw as many as 8-10 at a time, and could hear more, so possibly 20 or 30. As it grew darker I also heard a song sparrow really belting out a song; a mystery bird, singing a crazy medley of the catbird genre, but somehow it didn't sound like a catbird; a huge flap and resettling of wings in the undergrowth, grouse, maybe; and the ever-present robin, along with many other chips and chucks and contact calls of various birds, unidentifiable by me. As they settled to roost or gathered their strength for a night flight over the next leg of the journey, or whatever they were doing, I had the sense of more birds around me in the far field than I have ever had.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I and the Bird #8

It's here! Another great edition of I and the Bird is up at Science and Sarcasm. The brainchild of Mike at 10,000 Birds, I and the Bird has been steadily growing as a blog carnival, attracting posts from all hemispheres, and at least 3 continents. This 8th edition, a great collection, highlights blog posts from around cyberspace touching on many aspects of birds and birding.

My favourite things about the carnival: I get to reread some of my favourite bird posts (e.g., The Sphere's Hooting Back at Owls), I get a second chance to catch up on birding posts I might have missed from the bloggers I follow (e.g., Bird TLC's The Most Common Owl and Rurality's Warbler neck), and I get introduced to nature bloggers I haven't seen before (e.g., The Blurry-eyed Birder). And at this time of the year the posts from the south provide news of the safe return of the migrants who breed around here to their wintering grounds. Not the far south you understand--not the strange and wonderful world of Ben Cruachan Blog's Red-capped Robin or Charlie's Orange-headed thrush, an exotic pleasure all their own. Charlie's thrush pictures are wonderful, the bird is both splendidly exotic to an Ontario birder, and yet clearly a thrush like the thrushes I know!

Thanks to TroutGrrrl for putting together this great collection in a great presentation!!!

For information about the carnival and future hosts click on the image below.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Exotic Chicks

Lots of birds through the yard in the last couple of days. A flock of now about 20 juncos is a constant. We always have a few dark-eyed juncos in the spring and fall. We don't tend to see them in the winter, although they are supposed to be year-round residents of this region. Maybe this winter? Also present again today: yellow-rumped warblers, feeding and hanging about for a bit before continuing on their way. Yes, this time I'm sure. Resident chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches are working the feeders, along with the blue jays and occasional downy and hairy woodpeckers. Yesterday four or five ravens flew by in big lazy circles--unusual to see more than one or two at a time overhead here.

This afternoon I saw a guinea fowl.

All summer we were seeing a couple of these guys in the yard and on the road pretty regularly. Rumour has it that they belong to a hobby farmer a couple of kilometres outside the hamlet. I was always glad to see them again, assuming it was the same pair every time, because it meant that they had not yet been eaten by foxes, coyotes, fishers, perhaps harriers, red-tails, maybe a weasel, and the list goes on. The first time I googled "guinea fowl" more recipes came up than natural history, or animal husbandry, suggesting human beings as another possible predator of this bird in the wild, or at least, on the loose.

This afternoon's bird hung around and hung around. So finally, when I had a quiet moment I went out to try to take a picture of it.

Heading into the lilac.

It ducked into the big lilac and I could hear all kinds of noise.

The lilac.

Just as I was wondering who this bird was talking to I noticed a flurry of movement: chicks, eight or nine at least. I circled the lilac, the hen circled inside with the chicks following; I circled, they circled, and so on, and so on....good strategy on her part, for dealing with an awkward creature of my size.

And there she goes....

Finally I backed off and she lead them away up into the field and along the row of young spruce at the edge, also pretty good cover.

The shot that missed.

But the chicks are pretty small, and though quick, they don't exactly turn on a dime. Tough gig, mothering precocial chicks.

Small, and cryptically coloured as well.
There really is a chick in this image.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Deadline Tomorrow!!

I and the Bird #8 is due out this Thursday at Science and Sarcasm. Tomorrow is the deadline for submissions. Send in your bird and birding posts pronto!! Here's the link to this week's hostess. Or click on the image to go to the I and the Bird homepage for more info:

Rain, So to the Book Meme

A misty, cold rain is falling this morning. It's a good thing--there are still wells gone dry in the area as a result of the drought conditions of just a few weeks ago, but it makes it hard to walk with glasses on. I wonder about trying contacts again (and then reading glasses strong enough to compensate for them?). Meantime, I was tagged with the Book Meme by Cindy at Woodsong a few days ago:

TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS I OWN/OWNED: My books are in three places right now(four if you count the bag of paperbacks in the trunk of my car destined for a used bookstore): the shed at the back of the yard, my brother's ex-wife's basement, and with me. My guess is that the total is up around 1,000. Lifetime total is probably twice that, with all the comings and goings of me and of the books themselves.

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: both are examples (each in their own way) of the kind of writing I'd like to be able to do someday.

Hope Ryden, God's Dog, a field naturalist's adventures studying the coyote in Yellowstone (back when the coyote was top dog in the park, before the reintroduction of Canis lupus). This book influenced me both as a cautionary tale--the author's dedication to her study landed her in some very tricky situations: snow so deep she had to more or less swim out; elk herd so vast there was no possibility of swimming out--and simultaneously as an inspiration not to let a little risk keep me from getting out there (in my own small way).

Willard Van Orman Quine, From a Logical Point of View: This collection of essays was my first exposure to Quine, a great twentieth-century philosopher (though I don't always agree with him), and a great stylist--proving it is possible, and desirable to be both at once.

Lafcadio Hearn et al., Japanese Fairy Tales: I've had my copy of this book for more than forty years, and have never relegated it to the shed or someone's basement. I reread and tell these two stories most often: "The Boy Who Drew Cats" and "The Old Woman and Her Dumpling." Why? For the rules to live by. From "The Boy Who Drew Cats": "Avoid large places at night--keep to small." From "The Old Woman and Her Dumpling": Nothing so specific, but something along the lines of "laugh and the world laughs with you."

Some kind of genre fiction, of the murder and mayhem variety. I've passed it on and can't remember who the author was, or what the title was.

THE LAST BOOK I READ FOR THE FIRST TIME: Oh dear, as above, but borrowed, and not yet returned, so I have the author and title handy: Bartholomew Gill, The Death of an Irish Lass.

Tags: So many memes--I won't tag. But I will say this to encourage others to take this up if you haven't already: I wasn't looking forward to doing this, but when I started thinking about the books that have been important to me I started having fun.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

WildCam Africa

After several days of heat, humidity and smog we have been plunged suddenly into fall. the house plants are all still outside, and all need a bath before they come in for the winter (should have three over the next ten days, but they never do). No real frost yet, none really expected, but soon, yes, very soon.

Hectic running around--driving into one town or another every day for the past ten has kept me from walking. Kinglets continue to visit the yard so I get an occasional glimpse. And a flock of juncos is hanging out here too, but around the house is just not the same as being out there.

Then I heard about the WildCam at National Geographic. A camera focused on a watering hole, Peter's Pond in Botswana, sending images of all who stop there for a drink up to a sattelite and down into anyone's computer. I clicked on the link, spent some time downloading the update for Real Player I was told I needed, and then tried to go there. Computer freeze-up.

Well, as I'd feared, this is yet another treat denied to those of us on dial-up. One disadvantage to living in Thomasburg is no highspeed internet service.

But for those with highspeed (or maybe just a newer faster computer) click here, and enjoy the view for me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tag Team Meme

Last meme (and first for me) I caught I just picked up for myself at Pharyngula (Twenty-third Post Meme). But now I've been thrice tagged (Woodsong, The House, Snail's Tales) for the Personal History Meme, so I'll give it a shot:

10 Years Ago: I was in my third year as a doctoral student in philosophy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. That year I was a TA for a service course in Environmental Philosophy designed (well, at least intended) for environmental science students. It was my third time with this course, this time being team-taught by two young professors for the first time. (Later I taught this course a couple of times myself.)It was a conversation with one of these guys, a post-doc from Georgia, that first piqued my interest in the eastern coyote. I made some reference to the coyote's being a predator of the white-tailed deer, to which he responded that coyotes in his part of the world didn't go after prey that large. I don't know if that's true of Georgia coyotes, but it is true of some western coyotes, which, I was to discover, are significantly smaller than the coyotes of the east.

5 Years Ago: I had been living in Thomasburg for three years by then, and while I had passed my candidacy exam the year before, I think by this time the possibility of my actually finishing my thesis was starting to fade. Meantime, I had started to walk the fields, and was continuing to research the eastern coyote, the red wolf and the eastern wolf, and all in between, in books, on the internet and by following the spoor in the neighbourhood.

A Year Ago: Just finished the second-last, and for me best--until this year, year of collecting data for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. Best, because it was the year I really started to hear bird song, thanks to some much more experienced birders who spent some time with me in the field.

Yesterday: Regretted the fog and smog (result of a strangely humid fall heatwave) that made my morning walk impossible.

5 Songs I Know All the Words To: This is a toughie. I know many songs in a sing-along kind of way, but songs I could stand up and sing on my own? "Born to be Wild" is one that springs to mind--when I lived in Toronto I bicycled everywhere, and found this song to be an excellent accompaniment to pedalling.

5 Snacks: old cheddar cheese and stoned-wheat thins; honey-nut cheerios; homemade oatmeal cookies with raisins; pepperettes; ovaltine.

5 Things I'd Do with $100 million: pay debts (and give some to family), buy land, build an off-grid or partially off-grid house--which would use hardly any of it, so donate to, or create restoration projects to improve wildlife corridors and protect wetlands and other threatened habitats, and donate to international charities that focus on helping women start small businesses.

5 Places I'd Run Away to: I like where I am, but I'd visit Australia, New Zealand, Africa, down the Amazon, American Southwest.

5 Things I'd Never Wear: "Never" is such a strong word. Only thing I can think of is high-heeled shoes, because I've never worn them and if I started now I'd just fall.

5 Favourite TV shows: North of 60, Grey's Anatomy, Survivor, This Life, Davinci's Inquest.

5 Greatest Joys: Out in the fields, when I can really feel my feet on the ground and can stay still, in the moment, in one great spot indefinitely; writing, when the flow is working; reading a mystery curled up in a cozy chair by the woodstove--and I notice writing this that all three are the same thing--achieving that state of being in the moment, so really one would have been enough.

5 Favourite toys: digital camera; Canadian Geographic photographer's vest I use for field gear; headlamp; squeaker that came with a backyard bird guide that only occasionally elicits a response from a bird, but is fun to use in any case; my new bright yellow knapsack.

5 People I'm Tagging: I haven't been at the computer much in the last few days, so I'm not sure who all's already been tagged, nevertheless, I hereby tag: Roundrock Journal, the mysterious Modulator, Duncan at Ben Cruachan Blog, John at A DC Birding Blog, and the IBWO sceptic, MW Blogger at My Thoughts. And once I got started I realized that there are many, many more I want to know more about--so spread it around!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

At the Big Top

Circus of the Spineless #1 is here. Ringmaster Tony G of milkriverblog puts on a spectacular three ring show of invertebrate posts scientific, photographic and from the field. From giant squid to larvae of the braconid wasp, this circus has it all!