Pete's Stuff

Meet Millie

This robin is about at home in an urban environment as a bird can be. A couple of weeks ago she built a nest in the crook of a drainpipe at my parents' house, and proceeded to lay her eggs.


But four days ago they hatched, and now there's three ugly floppy, voracious little babies.


Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel. Or Something.

I was at Riverbend Nature Center today for the second MNOC event of the season. It's a great venue - it has a large, well appointed visitor center with a variety of inside displays, most oriented towards kids. Like many similar locations, there's a whole raft of bird feeders hanging just outside the window, and several chairs and set of binoculars just inside. So it wasn't hard to break out the latest camera gear, kick back with my feet up (well, that was partially to be able to steady the camera against my knee), and start taking pictures in ease and comfort.

A male cardinal.

More pictures behind the link...


Behold, The Mighty Albatross!

The Laysan albatross, that is (Phoebastria immutabilis), also known as not-so-mighty "gooney bird" thanks to its short legs and consequent ungainly look on land. They are surely masters of the air, however.

A bird sweeping low over the dunes; both sexes incubate the egg, so it's not clear whether this one is male or female.

On Saturday I hiked to Ka‘ena Point, the westernmost tip on the island of O‘ahu. A few hundred acres at the very tip have been made into a fenced nature reserve that preserves a coastal dune ecosystem frequented by plover, shearwaters, green sea turtles (honu) and Hawaiian monk seals (‘ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua).

I spent a quiet hour and a half there, but only saw a couple dozen pairs of this relatively common albatross, and none of the other species (late afternoon into sunset might have been a better time.) But it was still a great opportunity.


Two Hundred Millimeters

The second lens I bought for my SLR (other than the one that came with it) was a 200 mm fixed telephoto lens that opens up to f/2.8 for those low light situations. I've been slowly learning how to use it over the last few months, and here are some of the results.

Juniper seeds are yummy.


Pete Meets Bear

Don't you want to just hug him?

I've been a little quiet on the online front lately. Annie was in town from Saturday through Thursday before her big move to Hawai'i, and we spent Sunday and Monday canoeing down the St. Croix from Rush City, camping at one of the canoe sites on Sunday night. On the way down, we surprised a large animal on the west side of the river, and based on the noises it made back as it fled into the woods, it was probably a black bear. So I guess it's appropriate to follow up on my previous post and talk about my bear encounters!


Pete Meets Moose

Alces alces

Well, that's an ambiguous title - actually it was two moose; a cow and calf, in late spring. It could have been a lot more dangerous than it actually turned out. I think I ended up doing the right thing.

This happened several years ago, one afternoon in May, I think, when I was up on the North Shore. I drove up the Gunflint Trail, stopped various places along the way, and was at the Magnetic Rock Trail in mid-afternoon.