The good news is that hurricane/tropical storm “Sandy” has blown through with hardly a whimper. For that we are extremely grateful. But, in the birding world it means that something better is in store. There is a chance that we may see some other than ordinary migrants being blown in on the pending nor’easter. A shearwater(Sp) was reported along the Hudson River at Cornwall, NY. yesterday.
Already a weekend tally of seabirds at Race Point in Provincetown, MA included 550 CORY’S, 13 GREAT, and 30 MANX SHEARWATERS, 13,000 NORTHERN GANNETS, 110 BONAPARTE'S GULLS, a BLACK-HEADED GULL, 142 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, a BLACK TERN, 1750 COMMON TERNS, 18 FORSTER'S TERNS, 27 PARASITIC JAEGERS, 120 DOVEKIES, and 52 RAZORBILLS. A sea watch at Manomet Point produced 520 COMMON EIDERS, 885 SURF, 200 WHITE-WINGED, and 135 BLACK SCOTERS, 132 COMMON LOONS, 3 LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS, 300 NORTHERN GANNETS, 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS, and a RAZORBILL.
Herrick’s Cove Eagles
Saw two bald eagles this afternoon at Herrick's Cove, one with a live animal in it's talons. Also three buffleheads who flew in a big loop & decided to stay around.
Dead Creek Parasitic Jaeger
One Parasitic Jaeger was chasing a Ring-billed Gull in circles about 50 feet over my head while I was kayaking on Dead Creek, just north of the refuge this afternoon around 3pm. I got excellent looks at the bird, which alerted me to its presence after the gull it was "Jaegering" wouldn't stop squawking. Other birds of interest were one Northern Pintail, two Peregrine Falcons, one Merlin, and a few thousand Snow Geese, along with the typical assortment of waterfowl. For the first hour of my trip (from 2pm-3ish), there was a constant stream of gulls flying south along the creek. I wouldn't be surprised if there were other interesting birds mixed in with them.
Pine Siskins have been a regular visitor at our feeders for the last three days and a lone Fox Sparrow made an appearance this morning scratching with both feet beneath the pines. Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows are common visitors now along with the Tufted Titmice and hoards of Black-capped Chickadees that have a waiting line at the feeder. At the water treatment plant in the Retreat Meadows were N. Mockingbird, White-throated Sparrows, many Song Sparrows, and a few White-crowned Sparrows. On Upper Dummerston Road, in a cornfield were 28 Wild Turkeys and a flyover by 2 Ravens.
A final note from Lerna and Bill’s adventures in Perugia:
Italy & Home > 2012
We are home now but our last week was very busy so here are some of the places we went. One night Renato and his friend Donatella took us to a great restaurant that served Kansas steak - we don't usually order that but boy was it delicious! Franco took us to another hilltown, called Todi, 1200' above sea level. We couldn't believe they had put up a Christmas tree in the piazza already. They are as bad as the US rushing things!!! Franco pointed out an interesting plant called Acanto, which is what Corinthian columns use as a model for the leaves on the capital. He is a wealth of interesting information. We then stopped in Deruta for lunch. Deruta is famous for its distinctive ceramics and every other shop was filled with it. Then we explored (it took all of about 5 minutes) the smallest hamlet in Italy with about 10 living spaces all contained within the walls of Castle San Gregorio.
Renato invited us to his family home in Bevagna, about 40 minutes south of Perugia. The whole town was surrounded by a medieval wall next to a feeder stream to the Tevere (Tiber) River. The Tiber begins north of Perugia in the Appennines, passes in the valley below Perugia, and eventually through Rome and out to the Mediterranean Sea. Renato's mother and Nonna made a delicious dinner for us and there was a lot of animated conversation after dinner. Poor Nonna was covering her ears in response to a barrage of Renato's expletives! Bevagna was so quaint that we asked Franco to take us back there the next day. We saw the mosaics on the floor of an ancient Roman bath, and a medieval paper-making factory which used huge wooden gears to break up cloth (early recycling). To end the day, we went out to a nice restaurant/pizzeria with Franco, Peppe, and Paola.
Friday night the Chocolate Fest hit Perugia-streets thick with people and booths with chocolate in every shape and form. Saturday we had our last private Italian language lessons and invited Alberto to visit us in the US. That night we had dinner in Spello with Renato and Donatella, followed by a midnight walk through the narrow streets of this perfectly preserved medieval hilltown. Sunday we had pranzo with Peppe and Paola before visiting Sandro and Papi for tea and cafe on their veranda.
Monday we took the train to Milan, the business and fashion hub of Italy (no, we did not outfit ourselves with the latest designer fashions). We did get to see the beautiful Gothic Duomo, walk through the famous Galleria (upscale shops) and visit the Teatro alla Scala opera house and its museum filled with fascinating antiques - instruments, music boxes, victrolas, jewelry worn in operas, paintings of opera stars and conductors, playing cards found in the loges, and even Franz Liszt's mid 19th c. Steinway. Later we dragged our tired feet through a plethora of rooms in the museums housed in the Sforza Castle (fortress). We saw Roman sculptures, statues, columns, and carved stone sepulchers (oh no! more Roman stuff!) as well as exquisite carved and inlaid wooden furniture, carved ivory objects and an interesting folk lute made from a turtle shell.
Wednesday we took our Delta flight homeward which, of course, we prearranged to arrive before hurricane Sandy.
Arrivederci, Bill and Lerna
W. Brattleboro, VT
A friend is someone who reaches for your hand
and touches your heart.