Saturday, November 22, 2008

Winter cometh

View of my dorm from the top of the sledding hill, the expert sledding hill that is.
the roads were not so conducive to cycling, or walking for that matter, nothing like some sledding-cross training.  
Michelle and I, post-sledding. Needless to say it was cold, 12 degrees-ish

Thursday, November 13, 2008

more bird watching...

Another poor quality shot, because this guy was on the opposite side of a pond, roughly 75m away. I got an ID on him, turns out it is a Rusty Blackbird, supposedly a rare find in the highlands now. Their population has declined 90%. We observed a family group of 10-12 at Valle Crucis Park

I took a quick trip home on sunday and took the opportunity to do some bird watching in a different area, so we dropped by Bent Creek Experimental forest. I think it was the first time I've ever been there without my mountain bike. Here is a shot of lake Powhatan, which turned out to be a nice spot for water fowl.  
Pied billed Grebe
Bufflehead pair (female left, male right)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bird Watching

We spotted these White-tailed deer while in route, I shot this picture out of the window in my truck.
The sunset at Valle Crucis Park.
The park has a nice pond with mudbanks and cattails which makes a great habitat for migrating and wintering shore birds. 
We spooked these Red Winged Blackbirds out of the corn field and into these Black Cherry trees, the flock was 75-100 birds. 
Red Shouldered Hawk, also seen in route, picture was taken through the window of my truck.
This little guy was the highlight of the trip, a Wilson's Snipe, not common but they do winter here. He was probably 50m away, this picture was zoomed in 15x on my camera and then cropped extensively to get this poor quality shot. You couldn't see him with the naked eye but I spotted him through the binoculars. I was mesmerized by him for at least 20 minutes haha. 
We saw quite a few species, but taking even poor quality shots is difficult, thus the relative few pictures I came away with. Valle Crucis Park is actually a great place to go bird watching, if you're into that sort of thing, collectively we've seen over 40 species there in Ornithology lab. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bass Lake

In Ornithology, we have to do bird observations in the field, so we cruised over the Bass Lake, off of 221, near Blowing Rock.
Bass Lake is a protected area, primarily due to the water fowl that reside there

American Robin chilling in an Eastern Hemlock
Mallard
Wood Ducks
so studious 
the sunset was nice later in the evening


Monday, November 03, 2008

recent happenings

You'd have to go back quite a way to find a cycling related post, but here are some updates. 
I got a new handlebar, Bontrager Race X lite riser. I had to cut my old grips off, and per Michelle's suggestion I went with the pink bar tape. It clashes pretty badly but I sorta dig it. I started base training November 1, so I'm three days in and it feels really good to be back into a routine and back to "training" instead of just riding. I am sure i'll have more updates to follow.
Contemplating studying is a nice way to pass some time around the dorm. In Ornithology we're covering the bird skeleton and feathers... tough stuff. 
My Geophagus sp. "tapaj√≥s orange head" finally had babies again, that's $400 worth of infant fishes swimming around in there. I haven't been able to raise any yet but this batch seems to be doing very well so far. As far as I could count, there are about 30 of them, approx. 2 weeks old.