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8BY4: Quarterly Report and Summation January 2, 2020

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In this odd and frustrating year, my bird count dropped a bit. I just wasn’t out enough. Despite the banner year for them showing up at feeders, I didn’t see a single indigo bunting. This is the first year it’s eluded me since starting these lists.

I only added three species in the last quarter. I didn’t include that odd warbler I saw in the woods in October (Nashville?), but I did count the unlikely pine warbler at my feeder last month.

The three additions: Cooper’s hawk, merlin, pine warbler.

My total is 139. Tim’s? 153.

This year’s list: downy woodpecker, house finch, white-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse, mourning dove, Carolina wren, American crow, mallard, rock pigeon, red-tailed hawk, turkey vulture, herring gull, great black-backed gull, European starling, red-breasted merganser, common eider, common loon, long-tailed duck, bufflehead, common goldeneye, black scoter, northern mockingbird, great black hawk, harlequin duck, wild turkey, Canada goose, hairy woodpecker, great blue heron, northern flicker, blue jay, northern cardinal, black-capped chickadee, red-bellied woodpecker, American goldfinch, dark-eyed junco, house sparrow, white-throated sparrow, American robin, common raven, pine grosbeak (my first ever), cedar waxwing, bald eagle, rough-legged hawk, northern harrier, pileated woodpecker, barred owl, hooded merganser, common redpoll, eastern bluebird, snow bunting, red-winged blackbird, killdeer, belted kingfisher, wood duck, song sparrow, black duck, Wilson’s snipe, American kestrel, fish crow, black vulture, eastern phoebe, common grackle, ring-billed gull, green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, great egret, snowy egret, yellow-bellied sapsucker, ruby-crowned kinglet, field sparrow, fox sparrow, brown-headed cowbird, purple finch, chipping sparrow, eastern towhee, red-breasted nuthatch, ruffed grouse, palm warbler, American woodcock, double-crested cormorant, sharp-shinned hawk, glossy ibis, greater yellowlegs, yellow-rumped warbler, pine siskin, barn swallow, tree swallow, eastern meadowlark, yellow warbler, Baltimore oriole, ruby-throated hummingbird, rose-breasted grosbeak, blue-headed vireo, black-and-white warbler, gray catbird, magnolia warbler, black-throated green warbler, ovenbird, hermit thrush, northern waterthrush, chimney swift, house wren, warbling vireo, blue-winged warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, bobolink, broad-winged hawk, northern parula, black-throated blue warbler, Blackburnian warbler, common yellowthroat, white-crowned sparrow, brown thrasher, eastern kingbird, eastern wood pewee, great-crested flycatcher, scarlet tanager, cliff swallow, red-eyed vireo, American redstart, least flycatcher, blackpoll warbler, spotted sandpiper, wood thrush, white-eyed vireo, eastern whip-poor-will, osprey, willet, common tern, little blue heron, Bonaparte’s gull, American oystercatcher, mute swan, peregrine falcon, solitary sandpiper, green heron, Cooper’s hawk, merlin, pine warbler.

(139 species. 2018: 147. 2017: 147. 2016: 118. 2015: 125. 2014: 118. 2013: 173. 2012: 115.)

A Birthday Limerick December 29, 2019

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Alas, I missed her party in September, which I desperately wanted to attend, but I sent this limerick along, and today is her actual birthday:

Congrats go to fabulous Gladys
on her nonagenarian status.
Her vast progeny
and her friends—A to Z—
know that Gladys is there when it mattahs.

153: Just Sayin’ December 22, 2019

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From today’s New York Times:

In light of Mr. Murphy’s long-awaited homecoming, we plotted the tenures of all 153 comedians who had been officially credited as [SNL] cast members — those who lasted, and those who flamed out.

Happy Text December 20, 2019

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From April. One of my walking buddies, who runs the food cupboard, wrote, “Sharing because I can’t get this out of my head this morning. Yesterday a fantastically Irish gentleman in his 80s was here volunteering. In his brogue he says to another volunteer who is in in her 90s, ‘’Tis not a bad thing to be doing with our last days on earth.’ Hope everyone has a great day today!”

153s December 20, 2019

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I clicked on a fly-fishing video called “John Gierach’s Secret,” which clocked in at 1:53.

On the season finale of Survivor (yes, it’s my guilty pleasure), Jeff announced that Boston Rob had played the game for a total of 153 days.

Still in Hiding/153s November 22, 2019

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Clearly, the writing thing is not happening in 2019. Sorry, blog buddies. I miss you. I miss me. So that I put something up this month, no matter how dull, here are more 153s:

  • In October, I added up interrupted time logged on a job over the course of the day and once again came up with 153 minutes.
  • When I was shopping for an iPhone 11, I watched some promo video that clocked in at 1:53.
  • The other day Tim told someone that his bird species count for the year so far is 153. Really, dude? First, so far ahead of my count; second, 153.
  • Two days ago my work-notes log for the year hit page 153.
  • According to a recent TV Guide, the show Gilmore Girls made 153 episodes.

Riveting, I know.

8BY3: Quarterly Report October 28, 2019

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My birding life has taken a nosedive, not only because things always slow down as the year progresses, but also because I have generally disappeared as life’s distractions take over. (E.g., I meant to post this 27 days ago.)

I did not see an indigo bunting this year. Everybody saw indigo buntings this year. I saw so many photos of buntings at feeders and never saw one on my own.

I added only ten species in the third quarter, six on a July work trip to Portland, where not only did I see the rare-and-much-sought-after little blue heron but also, for the first time in many years, American oystercatchers. Another highlight was a pair of peregrines hunting above the skyscrapers of Philadelphia, which we saw from a rooftop before heading off to the Rolling Stones concert.

This quarter: osprey, willet, common tern, little blue heron, Bonaparte’s gull, American oystercatcher, mute swan, peregrine falcon, solitary sandpiper, green heron.

Year-to-date count: 136. (2012: 110. 2013: 173 [which turned out to be that year’s total]. 2014: 116. 2015: 124. 2016: 113. 2017: 141. 2018: 138.)

Cool Gray Khaki September 14, 2019

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That is the name of the color of the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek I ordered. The thing is, I’d never seen one in person, at least not one sitting still. They didn’t have that color on the lot. In fact, they didn’t have an unpurchased 2019 on the lot, so I couldn’t even test drive one.

In some photos online, I liked the color. In others, I wasn’t so sure. You know how that goes.

I did the paperwork and put down a deposit that gave me right of first refusal, as it’s apparently a difficult color to get. If I didn’t like it, I’d get a dark gray.

I rented a car for a week, went to Maryland, visited my mother (out of the hospital, back in rehab), went to Mary Helen’s funeral, went to church. Made some connections and reconnections.

Dropped off the rental and headed to the dealer on a day when I was having strange dizzy spells. I hope that doesn’t turn into a real story in my future.

I think I like the color. I thought I did enough to buy it. But Tim had to drive it home. Those dizzy spells scared me.

Cool gray I get. Khaki I don’t get. In the bright light, it’s bluer, but I think it’s a blue I can live with.

Now I have to learn how everything works. It’s like a computer in there.

Brown September 13, 2019

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That was the color of my beloved 2008 Subaru Outback. With a new clutch and brakes, it could have easily lasted a few more years (despite the not-nice things its own dealer said about it at trade-in!). I worry I let that car go too early. I didn’t even get a proper goodbye. I was attending to an appointment when it was towed, and I never saw it again. This makes me teary. Eleven and a half years.

 

*And some of you were here when I bought that car.

Black September 2, 2019

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Things I am mourning:

My days of manual transmission. It’s a long story, but when my 11-year-old, 128K-miles Subaru Outback needed a new clutch, I opted to try get a new car so as to avoid the possibility of two car payments (Tim’s car has many more miles). And I’ve let myself be talked into my first automatic transmission ever (admittedly, Tim’s car is automatic). This is a tough decision for me. But there are practical factors to consider. Sadly, I had to get my clutchless Subaru towed last week. I didn’t even get a proper goodbye. And I don’t know when my new car will arrive. This in-between time has its own complications, on top of my sadness.

My mother’s health. She’s back in the hospital. I got word of that ten minutes after my car broke down. It wasn’t a good day. She appears to be stable, but school has started, so my sister can’t head south with me unless things are dire. I can’t wander down there at the moment because I don’t have a car. There may be a rental in my near future, but I’m trying to hold off on that until it becomes truly necessary.

Mary Helen. My best friend’s mother is actively dying, in our hometown. I imagine that the timing of my trip south, barring a rapid downturn on my mother’s end, will be to see Mom when I go to attend MH’s funeral. (MH died this hour, before I had a chance to post this.)