Archive for January, 2012

Birding at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

We spent 3 and 1/2 hours along the trail this morning & afternoon.  It was chilly and partly cloudy, but overall a very nice day out.  Some pics (as always, click to enlarge):

Bald Eagle in flight

A majestic bird!

The eagles are nesting.  Here you can see (if you squint) one bird on the nest and the other keeping watch in the tree below.

Again, look hard and you can see an eagle in the nest.

Besides the eagles, we also saw plenty of gulls of various sorts, red winged blackbirds, cardinals, a red tailed hawk, a cooper’s hawk, lots of mallards, a great blue heron, tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, robins, sparrows (including a couple fox sparrows), as well as these two:

Brown Creeper

Golden Crowned Kinglet


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Life all around us

Yesterday, as a legend succumbed to death, we were out enjoying life.  Yesterday, before the disappointments came that must come to one side or the other in the contests we set for ourselves, we were out accepting the free gift of nature.  Some photos from the Tyler Arboretum:

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker (male)

Wheeee! A Tufted Titmouse in flight

Slate Colored Dark-Eyed Junco doing calisthenics

[as always, click photos to enlarge]

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Joe Paterno R.I.P.

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An apology for philosophy (and “slacking”)

DEAR FRIEND: Your letter gently but unmistakably intimates that I am a slacker, a slacker in peace as well as in war; that when the world war was raging bitterly I dawdled my time with subjects like symbolic logic, and that now when the issues of reconstructing a bleeding world demand the efforts of all who care for the future of the human race, I am shirking my responsibility and wasting my time with Plato and Cicero. Your sweetly veiled charge is true, but I do not feel ashamed of it.

Read more [.pdf], from December 3, 1919.

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Another Beautiful Morning Birding

This morning, Ridley Creek State Park was crisp, clean, and cool (okay, even cold).  A great morning for a hike and for communing with nature.  I got to see Red Tailed Hawks squabbling over luncheon of small mammal, a Pileated Woodpecker being choosy about which tree was worth a peck, and, among many other species, a fairly large number of Eastern Towhees.  Here are a couple pics:

Here’s the female Eastern Towhee. Note the brownish hood.

And here’s the male Eastern Towhee, with his black hood.

[click the pic to enlarge]



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In praise of imperfection

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

— G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong With the World

The relative perfection which we must attain to in this life if we are to live as [children] of God is not the twenty-four-hour-a-day production of perfect acts of virtue, but a life from which practically all the obstacles to God’s love have been removed or overcome.

One of the chief obstacles to this perfection of selfless charity is the selfish anxiety to get the most out of everything, to be a brilliant success in our own eyes and in the eyes of other men. We can only get rid of this anxiety by being content to miss something in almost everything we do. We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us – whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need.

Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the “one thing necessary” may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we need.

–Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island


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Great Blue Heron

Here are some shots of a Great Blue Heron at Okehocking Preserve this morning.  Click to enlarge. Enjoy!

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