Saturday, April 9, 2011

Birds have featured in my reading

 I was rather interested in a couple of articles in two different newspapers on two different continents this week. Both items of "news" took my interest because they were about birds I have seen.

The first I have put here appeared in the Saturday (today) New York Times. I have interspersed my photos of the bird in question. I took the photos on one of my walks through Central Park. The red tailed hawk appeared when I was walking out of the park near the Plaza hotel.


  Meanwhile, Pale Male Is Taking His Cues From Hefner 


 Enough of Violet and Bobby, live from the nest — you know, the red-tailed hawks at New York University with the video feed. Inquiring minds want to know what’s with Pale Male and all the girlfriends.
The Ann Landers of red-tailed hawk sociology, as John Blakeman calls himself, cleared his throat and talked about mate-swapping.
Apparently Pale Male, the red-tail with the Fifth Avenue address, has been doing that lately, Mr. Blakeman said, even though it “violates everything we know about red-tails.”
Ah, yes. It’s spring, and you don’t have to be Tennyson to fancy that some New Yorkers’ thoughts will turn to Pale Male’s love life. 
There is a lot to report.
Lola, Pale Male’s mate from 2002 to 2010, is out of the picture. She disappeared during the winter. No one seems to know why. It might not have been pretty. Consider this: “One of Pale Male’s former females was found dead on the side of a highway in New Jersey,” said the author Marie Winn, who has been keeping tabs on Pale Male since the 1990s.
Let’s leave “The Sopranos” out of this, O.K.?
So what has life after Lola been like? Pale Male was not down in the dumps for long, unless he swooped by a landfill for dinner, but this is about his hunger for the opposite sex. “As ever, because Pale Male is a real stud, a new female showed up almost instantly,” Ms. Winn said.
That was the one the Pale Male-watchers called Ginger.
But just when things seemed as steamy as that sex club on “Law & Order: S.V.U.” the other night, Ginger became an ex, or so the birders speculate — suddenly she was nowhere to be seen, and there was someone new: Pale Beauty. (Some birders called her Paula.)
Then she, too, was gone, replaced by “the one there now,” as Ms. Winn described the female that has been keeping company with Pale Male. Some birders call her Lima, but others wonder if she isn’t really Ginger. Pale Male’s girlfriends are not banded, Ms. Winn said, so there is no way to double-check their identities.
For his part, Mr. Blakeman has enough experience in the advice-for-the-lovelorn business to anticipate the questions. Like Ann Landers, he is a Midwestern oracle. He lives in Huron, Ohio, “halfway between Cleveland and Toledo, at almost exactly the same latitude as New York City.” But he has followed red-tails from Alaska to Maine, and he can guess what question is coming next.
“You’re going to ask whatever happened to Pale Beauty, why she disappeared so quickly,” Mr. Blakeman said. “There’s a 99 percent certainty she passed. She crashed into something and died, or more likely she consumed a poisonous animal, and that did her in.”
“All the textbooks say, and all we raptor biologists believe, they’re mated for life,” Mr. Blakeman said. “We know, especially with red-tails, they pick up a new mate with the passing of a former mate.”
The birders have an eye out for eggs in the nest atop a 12th-floor ledge at 927 Fifth Avenue, at 74th Street. With all that activity, there must be some eggs by now. But so far, no.
“They are trying,” said Rik Davis, a photographer who keeps an eye on the Fifth Avenue lair. “It’s late in the season already, but it can go late. It did last year over at Riverside Park. Two hawks there had babies that hatched but the nest blew out in the wind, and they mated again and had babies. So it can be late and turn out fine.”

The second article isn't so pleasant and it has haunted and bothered me during the week. It is an awful incident that occurred in the park around which I used to walk with Rosemary. Rose and I would meet at 6am three times a week and  we would walk around the Park three times- it is nowhere as big as Central Park but it is home to a variety of bird life including the native Australian black swans. Many morning in spring we'd see the grey fluffy piles that were the cygnets of the two black swans that called the park home.  The story is from The Age newspaper.

Swan grieves after teens' callous brutality

A lone male swan is keeping a mournful vigil on a nest in Melbourne’s north this morning after its partner was killed in a brutal attack in a park yesterday afternoon.
Six teenagers are suspected of throwing rocks at the female swan as it swam at Queens Lake Park in Moonee Ponds about 3.40pm in an attack the RSPCA described as "abhorrent".
A group of passers-by who heard the distressed swan squawking and flapping its wings came to the bird’s aid and discovered it had a large gash to the top of its head.
Senior Constable Rob Hanger from Moonee Ponds police said the bird then fell unconscious, and one person held the bird’s head out of the water until police arrived. The swan died about 20 minutes later.
The swan was nesting at the time, and Senior Constable Hanger said its partner was now sitting on a nest of eggs beside the lake.

"He’s obviously waiting for her to return," he said.
He said he hoped the teenagers would feel guilty enough to turn themselves in.
The surviving swan guards its nest today after teenagers killed its partner.
The surviving swan guards its nest today after teenagers killed its mate
"Maybe they’ll have a think about their actions and how stupid it was," Senior Constable Hanger said. "It will only take one to come forward." He said he was sure the offenders had spoken about the attack and encouraged people who knew them to call Crime Stoppers, stressing that it could be anonymous.
RSPCA spokesman Greg Boland said swans usually mated for life, and there would be harsh ramifications for the remaining bird.
"This will impact upon rearing the young," Mr Boland said. "This swan will have to try and raise the cygnets alone which is going to be quite a concern from an animal welfare perspective.
"The swan is a mother doing what all mothers would do, and that’s protecting its young, and for these people to come along and allegedly throw stones at it and then cause it to actually die is abhorrent.
"Not only is it extreme animal cruelty, but there’s a strong link between people who are involved in animal cruelty, especially at a young age, and later on in life moving on and becoming involved with quite serious crimes against humanity."
Senior Constable Hanger said the offenders - four males and two females aged between about 15 and 17 - were on a new boardwalk over the lake when the attack occurred. They were only a few metres from where the swan was swimming, he said.
"The witnesses didn’t see what was thrown but obviously heard the commotion when the swan became distressed," he said. "We arrived very quickly, we were only three minutes away, and one of the witnesses was holding the swan’s neck out of the water. It was still alive at that point but it died probably 15-20 minutes later.
"It may have only been one object thrown, we can’t say, because we don’t have any witnesses to what was actually thrown or how many objects were thrown.
"The object hit it fair in the head. We couldn’t see any other wounds on it so I’m tipping it was a direct hit."
Moonee Valley Mayor John Sipek said he could not understand why anyone would hurt an innocent animal. He said the dead swan had laid two eggs in its nest, and its partner now appeared to be caring for them. "Council rangers will keep a close eye on the swan and its eggs to ensure their safety and wellbeing," he said.
The teenagers are thought to have run from the park when the bird was injured.
Mr Boland said the maximum penalty for aggravated animal cruelty was two years’ imprisonment and a $25,000 fine.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The long way home

It has seemed a long week and when Friday arrived it was most welcome. The idea that there was time to relax and make the most of enjoy and savour the changing weather.
 I decided to make the most of the opportunity of only having to go a few stops to the end of the 6 line in the Bronx- one more thing of my 60 things I am working on.

Spring is in the air with some warmth and definite colour in the previously bleak surroundings.

The walk from 59th and Lex takes me across Park Avenue at some point depending on which way the lights are running I may merely cross Park Avenue but in this case I walked a long a little.
The florist near 59th Street has entered into the spirit of the flower art installation that is on Park Avenue (just been going back over my blog and found the post I did of the art installation).

The yellow-ness of it all is so cheery.

I meandered around and ended up walking along the edge of Central Park. The daffs are out but not huge plantings of things that I remember from previous years as yet but perhaps early in the coming week I'll find my way to the park and see some more flowers and signs of spring. The much photographed bridge was clearly in view from the street level.

 You really have to peer at this photo to notice it I realize but it is there.

My wandering took me along 57th Street and this wonderful planting of daffodils.

Andrew (brother) and Lynne (SIL) will miss the major blooms when they come here in June- a pity as Lynne's favourite flowers are daffodils.

Thursday night we went out for dinner with Marie and John. As there were five of us (not easy to get a cab or we'd need to take two so..) I chose to walk to and from the restaurant. It was pleasant out and it is not too arduous a walk so I enjoyed it. When I got to the corner of 48th there was this guy standing on the corner.

It is not unusual for people to be standing holding signs and poles with advertising for businesses but this was the first time I had seen someone with a neon sign around their neck. My immediate thought was "Aren't there enough lights in Times Square already?"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting something here

 I am rather pleased with my ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). The challenge was "April" broad enough for any interpretation and only five so not too arduous. I decided on "April showers bring forth May flowers" as it applies here but not in Australia and we have been having lots of showers of late.

I learned my lesson in the Halloween challenge and made an extra one so that I have one of my own and once they have been distributed I'll have five other interpretations of "April"

The group of them

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A bit wacky on Wednesday

The day didn't start out wacky but then I guess wacky isn't planned.It was an ordinary day like any other. Up early headed for the station and then lo and behold m"moustache" had struck again! Love the wackiness of this person- not sure if a man or a woman... it does seem like a boy sort of thing today and it is done with such flare. 
The MTA doesn't appreciate it much as the previous entries done by this graffiti artist (or is is a social commentator?) the ones I have posted here in the past, they have all been removed- the removal on one poster has given the man a very bad 5 o'clock shadow.

 Having snapped the shots of these fine art works I continued on my usual way to work and headed up the hill to the school I was working at and "he" was all his glory...keeping the traffic flowing and managing the time for everyone- the time keeper of this part of the Bronx.
NB -the matching pattern of pants  top & clock
I managed to get a photo of him because I took pity on the school and came home- I have to make up the day some how but it was going to be an absolute waste of my time and theirs if I stayed. Thus on the way back to the train I was able to get a "decent" photo of the time keeper. Just after I crossed the intersection he lifted the clock and checked the time and announced to a driver passing by that it was almost time for him to clock off.
It took ages to get home and I completely wasted the day but managed to get a little online shopping done- spending the money I didn't earn!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

I was going to use the blog list that I have used in the past but it is all about dates and how long it takes you to get ready- 50 minutes?! How do people do that!

So I decided I will list 10 things I did today...
1. Went to work- major effort!
2. Read/ finished the first of my 60 Young Adult books- War Horse- loved it.
3. Went to the other end of the 2 line four stops down, photographed the sign and then came home
4. Stayed on the train that was going on a different line because there was another train on our line with faulty brakes.
5. Cooked a new pasta recipe for dinner from the cookbook Michele gave me for Chirstmas.
6. Almost finished my 6 ATCs for the Manhattan group challenge- just need to label them really, photograph them for my on records and then post them to Cheryl.
7. Remembered my umbrella so didn't get wet in the downpour.
8. Gave Mary her flower that I bought her yesterday
9. Spoke to Leonie about some of our work we'll be doing back in Melbourne this summer/winter.
10. Remembered my notebook for today- forgot the one yesterday even with my new elaborate system of putting things together.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday and the week begins

All day in a school in Brooklyn.
I really liked this piece of art work- each square is one students representation of the icons of Brooklyn. Lovely colourful representation of the area.

It was a thwarted trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens- I thought I'd walk through them to the other station on the other side of the gardens- the idea that I could enjoy the beauty of spring in Brooklyn was thwarted- the gardens are closed on Mondays- darn!

It's not uncommon for such signs to be displayed in schools. Today I was in a room and a phone rang and there was little done by the teacher but a  member of staff appeared at the door having heard the phone and the teacher merely named the student who got out of their seat and headed to the door and handed over the phone.
Unlike a place where another consultant was and kids used their phones to plague the replacement teacher by setting their phone timers to ring at various times throughout the poor teachers class. The phones being only one of the things out of control in that lesson.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The first of 600...

The day has dawned beautifully and now is nearly over and so is the first day of the countdown I have taken on...
I have set up a blog which is going to be done differently (I hope) so that it counts down the 60 things I am going to do in the 600 days before I turn 60. Check it out (it is in its infant stage- unlike moi!)
My Sunday has been the usual- washing, shopping, preparing for the week... writing stuff for work...printing things off and getting my head ready for the next five days.
Now to rest perchance to dream... in time for Tami's new class tomorrow and my week of work.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday in the sun

A walk up 8th Avenue to Columbus Circle- brief stop in Duane Reade (drug store) to check out if they had Bonine travel sickness pills- yep they do so will try them out on our cruise in two weeks.
The sun shining, the daffs in the garden beds at the base of Columbus statue, nodding in the breeze. A breakfast meeting talking about work things and catching up on news.
Home via Duane Reade, again, the time to buy some socks for the "Socks for Japan" charity and then lunch with Mary.
The afternoon and evening spent creating some pages using my photos of Brugge- in short a lovely day!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A new month a new chance...

... to try and blog a lot!

Okay for a photo I took of myself!
Sunday is the day I am launching my only personal countdown- so perhaps if you are interested call in here and I will lead you to it.

Having thought about what I might chat on about today- having not chatted on for quite a while I thought I'd go to the list thing but in the process of doing that I thought ten things is too much to think about on a Friday afternoon so perhaps I'd do Five Fings on Friday but better still why not stop butchering the English language for my own conveniec of alliteration and find my "Five Favourite Photographs". Too hard!

So I have "Friday's Five Favourite Photographs of Friends"

A weekend away a few years ago

My mum saying farewell to the bush

Sue trying to get her computer fixed

Ah the Juicy Lucys

Online in line