Bird’s Eye View

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Bald Eagles’ Nest along the Delaware River in Delanco, NJ.

Found a new bald eagles’ nest today. I stopped by to see, perchance, if the Pen Ryn or Herringbone Lane ospreys might have made it back early. They’re expected this week sometime.

Usually the fish hawks arrive on their migration north from South America like clockwork around St. Patrick’s Day, which is next Saturday. Last year they were delayed for a week by a winter storm that struck the region. The weather forecasters are talking about maybe a third nor’easter for this March may develop on Monday. We’ll see. I hope not, for the past couple of storms so far have reeked havoc, power outages, floods and even death.

Many people in Bensalem Township, Pa., had their power turned back on yesterday from the first storm’s outage, and other parts of Bucks County had been without electricity since Wednesday, the day of March’s second winter storm.

“In like a lion, out like a lamb,” as the saying goes.

Anyway, the ospreys haven’t returned yet. Pen Ryn’s range marker, atop which the birds always roost, is empty. Apparently the Coast Guard cleared off last year’s nest. The same goes for the Herringbone marker; however, a cormorant was present today. Both Delaware River towers are seen below.

 

While standing on the river-access boat ramp at the public park there, which is in Bensalem Township, PA., I happened to see a bald eagles’ nest in a sycamore tree across the river in Delanco, NJ., as seen in the lead-in photo to this essay.

It’s hard to believe the birds nested so close to that house. Usually they’re off by themselves, isolated from encroachment. These raptors are part of the neighborhood. I wonder if the citizens know the eagles are there, and do the eagles know a family lives in the house that’s only a backyard away?

While I was taking some photos, a PA Game Commission warden said hello and was looking around with his binoculars. I pointed out the bald eagles’ nest to him, for which it was his first time seeing it too.

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Bald Eagles’ Nest in Delanco, NJ, as seen from Bensalem, PA.

The above photo is a faraway shot, farther than all the other bald-eagle nests I monitor around the area; but at least there’s no obstruction in front of it. We’ll be able to follow their progress this spring and see how many offspring are produced.

I mentioned to the game warden that I was thinking about running over to the NJ side of the river in Delanco, to see if I could get a closer vantage. He offered to look up on his phone for me, the names of the streets nearby the nest. Using Google Earth, we found the spot, which I’ll not divulge to protect the privacy of the birds.

Besides, the tree and nest are on private property.

The officer asked if I would post any photos I get of the birds onto the PA Game Commission’s Facebook page, for this nest isn’t known to them.  I said yes and posted a few before starting on this week’s blog entry.

Also, I made up a Pinterest board dedicated to the Delanco Bald Eagles, on which one can find the full-size photos taken today.

Heading over to NJ via the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, traveling southerly through Burlington Township, Beverly, and into Delanco, I probably could have paddled across the river faster, but not in the wintertime.

The neighborhood in which the nest resides is a quiet riverfront community, with only a few spots on the street where I could take some photos of the sycamore tree. Once spring arrives, the birds will be totally hidden by foliage, which is great for them, but not for this bird-watcher.

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The bald eagles’ nest is on private property. The Delaware River is in the background.

The street that runs parallel with the river afforded a clear shot into the nest, where one of the adults were seen roosting on eggs, I presume, as shown below:

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It bald-eagle-Delanco-03-10-18-s

It almost looks like the bird is smiling:

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A Proud Parent-to-be!

Although we may not be able to view the nest from the neighborhood in Delanco, NJ, later in the season, at least, from the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, we’ll be able to keep an eye on them, however small.

Burlington-Bristol-Bridge-03-10-18

Burlington-Bristol Bridge from the NJ Side

Returning back to PA, I crossed over the Burlington-Bristol Bridge again, and headed to Bristol to check on the Burlington Island bald eagles, and found that their nest is occupied by a roosting female and a wandering male, both of whose photos will be posted later on their own Pinterest board.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for stopping by to read this, and, as always, thank you for your continued support.

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Internet Blowhards

Pearls-Before-Swine-emily-Guskin

From Twitter

Like most folks addicted to the Internet, I get a large percentage of my contemporary news from that medium, reading totally from reputable sources like major-newspaper or published-magazine Websites, not your everyday blogger and far-left- or far-right-leaning sites whose twisted versions of the actual facts are taken out of original context to serve the writer’s own prejudice views, containing stories that can be classified as fake news.

Seems like politicians throw around that illustrious term whenever bad press is about them, and their minions believe it, passing on the same expression in their postings on Social Media, or in comments at the end of various articles. Their cantankerous spewing is like listening to an original tape recording of their political poo-bah.

Everyone has a right to their opinions, but what raises my ire is reading some of the comments made, posted by smart-aleck trolls who slant everything into a political rant, regardless of the subject matter.

It’s liberal this, conservative that; who gives a shit about political leanings when reading about astrophysics, space exploration, medical breakthroughs, philosophical merriment, whatever?

Then there are those who spew hatred in all of their responses, whether it’s bigotry, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, etc. Prior to the Internet, such trolling was not widely prevalent as it is today, which brings up Stephan Pastis’ cartoon displayed at the top of this essay.

Found it on my Twitter feed earlier, re-posted by the cartoonist, originally tweeted by Emily Guskin, a writer for the Washington Post. The spoof illustrates a good point: the anonymity of the Internet does bring the worst out in people. I bet the trolls who post all that vitriol are like timid animals in real life: harmless lambs, sheep following their flock.

This .GIF found on the Web exemplifies these blowhards:

dogs

I’m so sick and tired of reading political rants and raves, and yet here I am posting about them in my weekly diatribe. It’s horrendous the way everyday conversations lead to someone’s political leanings, preached while standing upon their own Social Media soapboxes or platforms.

March sure did come in like a lion on the East Coast with Winter Storm Riley, a nor’easter that turned into a bomb cyclone. That’s another thing that cracks me up: how every storm now has a name, like hurricanes did only in the past. And whoever heard of bomb cyclones before? Seems like the expression is new to our vocabulary.

I doubt we’re going to use up every letter of the alphabet during this winter season with storm names. March should go out like a lamb, according to the old saying, but hopefully not a political one as aforementioned.

Spring is less than three weeks away. Major League Baseball season starts on Thursday, March 29th, which is the official start of spring for this fan. Bring it on! I’m ready for it.

I need to get back to recording some covers again. Who cares if no one likes them? In lieu of something new, allow me to post this old-time favorite, recorded with my good friend, Rie Waits, who, incidentally, is celebrating her birthday on Friday.

Happy birthday, Rie.

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Another Saturday Night

Snow-02-17-18

Winter Storm Noah

Another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody;
I’ve got some money ’cause I just got paid;
Oh, how I wish I had someone to talk to;
I’m in an awful way.

Was looking for a way to start my weekly tirade and couldn’t think of anything except the preceding stanza from Sam Cooke’s “Another Saturday Night.” Seems apropos, however, since I’m sitting behind my keyboard, typing away, with no one around except in my memories.

That’s nobody’s fault but mine anyway, so I’ll just change the subject.

Winter Storm Noah is passing through the region. We’re supposed to get 1-3″ before it ends, which looks like it has. The above photo is what’s accumulated in Andalusia at around 10:30 p.m.

Was at Lake Luxembourg this afternoon. Figured I had better get out and do something, having been housebound for the past week with the flu. Finally got over it. Spent the time while fighting the virus, reminiscing about my glory days at Mardi Gras, back when I was working before retirement and could afford such frills.

Like music, photographs bring back the nuances from days gone by. I made several videos from leftover pictures and clips, stored on an external hard drive, posting them on Youtube, reliving the fun and shenanigans at one of my favorite cities in the world; but no one on Social Media seemed to care, except a couple of friends I have on there.

Maybe it’s because of the #MeToo movement, which seems to have dampened any such activity that might be construed as objectifying women. One of the offshoots of Mardi Gras is the nudity that’s displayed by fun-loving individuals, letting loose during that annual festivity.

It seems as if we are living in such a confining era of political correctness and puritanical imprisonment of thoughts and actions. Even Twitter enthusiasts stayed away from acknowledging Mardi Gras, as it didn’t trend at all throughout that day.

Getting back to Lake Luxembourg and another topic in which only a few of my Social Media compadres seem to be interested, the resident bald eagles there appear to be incubating eggs.

Upon my arrival, I notice one was perched in the tree and the other was in the nest, as seen in the photos below:

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Lake Luxembourg’s Nesting Bald Eagles

I had presumed the bird on the limb was Louie, while Lucy was in the nest, but was surprised to find out the opposite:

Out of the nest, the roosting bird flew up and landed on the branch next to its mate.

Notice the green band on its foot, determining the eagle is Louie. He had been sharing the task of sitting on the eggs while Lucy took a break; and the eagle looks to be telling her he had enough.

Shortly thereafter, the male took off, as if on a mission. I didn’t see him again for the rest of my time there. I took some video which I’ll post here as an update when available, if it came out OK.

In a month from now, St. Patrick’s Day will be rolling around. Not only is that festivity a harbinger of spring, but it signals the arrival for my beloved ospreys, who are back along the Delaware River by then. Last year we had a major snowstorm that kept them south for an extra week or so. Hopefully, the worst of winter is over.

March can be a tricky month, so I better not say any more and jinx us.

Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.

Here’s the update, which isn’t as clear as I would have liked. I captured the footage with an old cam to see how the digital zoom compared with the Nikon. No contest there, although I thought it was OK:

 

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Happy Mardi Gras in Advance

Take Me to the Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Honeys

“Why bother? You’ll never win.” That’s what I keep saying to myself after buying lottery tickets, entering sweepstakes for money, giveaways for sports and fan paraphernalia, seeking literary and photography awards, prizes from other cockamamie contests found on the Internet or sent to me as junk mail, etc.

However, I did win a photo contest recently, which was quite uplifting for once, giving me encouragement that my work doesn’t suck that bad after all. Here’s the winning photo entered at the DRCC Monthly Photo Contest:

I’d like to thank Trevor Taylor and Patty Beaman, two of my loyal followers, for offering their congratulations, along with the good folks at DRCC, who sent me a $25 gift card from B&H Photo, a nifty DRCC polo shirt, sundry pins, pens and tokens from their organization, including a handful of wrapped, delicious chocolate candy which was gobbled up by the end of the day I received the morsels in the mail.

The contests that irk me the most are those found on Social Media which read, “Follow and Retweet” or “Share to Win” whatever freebee they’re offering to give away. I’ve stopped doing it, period. Not only is it annoying for me to see it on my timeline by those of whom I follow, but I’m sure it’s annoying for them as well to see it all the time on their news-feeds by others.

Never have, or never will I win something from that type of competition. It’s all a nuisance, a ploy to get more followers and exposure on the part of the contest-holders.

I wonder, how do they pick the winner anyway? Methinks it’s fixed, seemingly always to be a good-looking girl, or a fashionable guy who takes home the prize.

Another photo contest struck my fancy: the “Delaware River Means Beauty” contest,  which I just entered today with the following picture and inscription:

The Delaware River has always been spiritual for me. While at Bristol Basin Park, Bristol, PA—also known as Lions Park—at the terminus (or beginning) of the former Delaware Canal, I spotted this basket stuck on the rocks at low tide, reminding me of the bible story about Moses, and also about the tale of Romulus and Remus at the foot of Palatine Hill prior to the establishment of Rome. I checked inside to make sure it was empty and found just a leaf.

If you feel so inclined, I would appreciate your clicking here to vote for my entry.

PCH-Prize-Day-Info-Card

Received this today, requiring my sending back another entry form by the deadline to win.

Then there’s Publishers Clearing House (PCH) Sweepstakes. Since the last time I complained about it in this journal, which was two weeks ago, the conglomerate informed me through the mail that I had sent in 31 entries to them during this past year.

If I wanted to keep my SuperPrize Number: XXX XXX 0215, and not release it to the alternate owner who had sent in 29 entries during the same period, I had to lick some more stickers and place them on yet another entry form to be mailed and received by PCH on, or before, February 23rd.

Afterwards I’ve received separate correspondences, listing me on their President’s Loyalty List, Final Winner Selection List, Imminent Winner Selection List, Declaration of Entitlement List, Sworn Statement of Final Winner Selection List; received my schedule of delivery by the Prize Patrol, should I hold the winning SuperPrize Number; got my Owner Papers, another Report of Progress, and Inside Information for Prize Day, all requiring my licking more stickers, signing, sealing, stamping with postage, and mailing each return envelope with enclosed entry form to be received by PHC before the final deadline, while ordering something from their vast assortment of bric-a-brac occasionally along the way.

That’s probably why they continually send out more packets filled with flyers. Like a nincompoop, I’ve spent close to $20.00 in postage and about $200.00 for merchandise since the beginning of this wanton insanity, all for the desire of winning something, anything.

Before DRCC’s prizes, the only items I had ever won in a contest were a chocolate cake and a small replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà from a church raffle. That was when I was in grammar school!

Wait a minute; I take that back. The t-shirt in the following photo was graciously awarded to me by The Rolling Stones during one of their Twitter giveaways. I still wear it proudly.

Stones-shirt

Here’s Slickster, vying for a re-tweet by the Stones’ Social Media person.

OK, so I backslid on my New Year’s resolution about not complaining so much. You have to admit I’ve been good thus far this year, making it to almost the middle of February before lashing out with a major tirade.

Thanks, as always, for your stopping by to visit, and for your continued support. Again, please vote for my entry in the latest attempt to win something by clicking here.

Happy Mardi Gras in advance. In honor of that, allow me to share a cover I made last year for Fat Tuesday:

Update:

PCH-FINAL-NOTICE

February 14, 2018 – Happy Valentine’s Day from PCH

Received this today. Tempted to throw it out, but will send back the enclosed form. The giveaway is nine days away. Guaranteed, if I don’t win this, any future correspondences will end up in the trash!

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Searching For Andrea Cronk

St-Marks-ChurchBeen having crazy dreams. Don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’ve thought a lot about the past lately.

Just the other night, I dreamt about going to Sunday Mass at my hometown church. The Pope was presiding.

I had fallen asleep during the service and was stretched out, laying across the pew when the usher woke me up; and he told me to leave immediately! Imagine that, falling asleep while asleep, and getting thrown out of church because of it. Man, I must have been really tired.

Maybe it was a result of my having taken NyQuil™ before going to bed, trying to knock out a cold that’s been pestering me. Seems to have done the trick, thank goodness. Glad it wasn’t the flu, which is quite virulent and widespread this year in the U.S.

Chicken soup helped as well, and drinking a few glasses of orange juice throughout the day always works for me.

Back in high school, I was dating a sweet girl named Andrea Cronk. On New Year’s Eve of my sophomore year, she babysat for some family friends and invited me over ahead of time. Since the place was several towns away, rather than taking the bus, I absconded my father’s old telephone truck he had bought secondhand and used for his side business.

Putting on a fedora and sitting on a pillow to boost my small frame up for looking old enough to drive—having been short for my age at the time—I ventured over to Fort Lee, NJ, where my girlfriend was at. We had a wonderful time necking and celebrating, bringing in the new year; but both of us fell asleep and were awoken by the people for whom she was babysitting.

Rather embarrassed, happy that we both had our clothes on, I bid everyone goodnight, telling the adults I had my license and a vehicle outside to take me back home. Andrea stayed there overnight. Don’t remember why I didn’t bring her with me.

Getting back to my crazy dreams, the one last night was about the time she called me at work where I was a clerk in a drug store after school and on weekends. Andrea said goodbye, that she and her mother were moving to Ohio, leaving that day; and she would write to me when settled.

My sweetheart didn’t give me a reason why. I had asked. She said she’d explain it all in her letter, which I never received, nor heard from her again. In the dream her arms came out from both sides of the phone’s receiver and hugged me tightly for a moment before I heard the dull moaning of the dial tone, fading away.

Of all the girls I had loved, Andrea was the one, methinks, that got away. I often daydream about her, wondering what she may be doing now, probably happily married and living the high life. Who knows?

Tomorrow’s Super Bowl Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles are facing the New England Patriots at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Here’s hoping our hometown heroes bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy back with them when they return.

Fly, Eagles, Fly!

Fly-Eagles-Fly05

Go Birds!

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Doing the Hokeypokey

Bald Eagles Mating

Hi-ho Silver, Away!

Don’t know how I always seem to witness these things. It’s as if they wait for me to get there before doing it.

Having just pulled up to my bird-watching spot at Pennypack Park on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, I noticed one of the resident bald eagles had landed on the ridge before me, on the other side of the fence at the end of the soccer fields’ dirt parking lot. By the time I had hopped out of my car with the camera, the bird had taken off with a clump of mud and grass in one of its claws.

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Bald eagle with a clump of mud and grass for its nest.

Not knowing which one it was, I followed the bird with the Nikon as it flew back to its digs with the organic mortar for shoring up the nest’s stability, as seen in the following series of photos.

The raptor flew into the nest from the backside, and I wasn’t able to get any photos of its approach; but I did notice a white head and eyeball, looking at the camera from inside the middle of the nidus. Look closely at the next photo and you’ll see what I’m talking about:

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Got my eye on you!

In doing so, the eagle’s hormones must have gotten stirred up; for the next thing I knew, the bird flew out of the nest and ended up doing the hokeypokey on its mate’s back atop the Philadelphia Men’s Jail-yard lamp, as seen in the photographs below:

In other polite terms, the cloacal kiss—avian nomenclature for copulation—took place on 27 January 2018; and we expect the eggs to drop by Valentine’s Day, how apropos. After that, a five-week incubation period for gestation should take place, and a brood of eaglets will be expected toward the end of April.

Of course, the birds mate several times before the eggs land in the nest. I’d like to think this was the one that did it.

Last year, I caught the Lake Luxembourg bald eagles doing it, as well as the Burlington Island birds. My beloved ospreys will be returning at around the second week of March, and I seem to catch them all doing the hokeypokey as well.

I just wish my luck for observing birds’ copulating would morph into winning the lottery, or the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Last week two more entries for the latter were signed, licked, sealed, stamped and mailed out for delivery. Two more are awaiting in my snail-mail inbox to be completed and sent out. It never stops.

Not to mention that on last Sunday, the price of stamps went up another penny to 50¢ a clip for first-class postage.

All of the aforementioned entries are for the big Forever Giveaway on February 23rd, when the grand prize of $5,000.00 per week will be awarded to some lucky dingbat like me, until death do them part.

As they say, whomever they are, you can’t win if you don’t play. “One of these days my ship will come in,” I keep saying to myself; although, if the Prize Patrol doesn’t visit me on the 23rd, which is a Friday, that will be it.

If that’s the case, to end on a poetic note:

No more dad-burned stickers’ residual glue and nasty taste on my tongue for me,
In the trash those future entries all will be!
Nevermore shall I place another first-class postage stamp,
On a PCH Sweepstakes return entry’s envelope, about which I’ll never hear back.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by to visit, and for your continual support.

 

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