7/31/2009

Great horned owlet "dancing"


The really funny stuff starts at the 3:30 minute mark!

7/30/2009

Northern Mockingbird - new nesting garden bird!

I finally managed to get some photos of the Mockingbird family that is nesting in my garden after an unsuccessful nesting attempt in my neighbor’s Japanese maple. The new nest is very well camouflaged and it looks like its part of the dead branches.

Tough to see the nest from here isn't it?


The nest is impossible to see from here, even though it is located directly above the ladder


I didn’t want to spend too much time taking photos and it turned out to be almost impossible to get a decent shot without disturbing the nest. I ended up shooting a couple of photos from the side which netted a rather fuzzy photo. Trust me, these are baby mockingbirds…





These guys can't be more than a few days old. Congrats on surviving the storm!



Favre again, off again

Looks like Mr. Favre has decided (or not...) not to come out of retirement (or not...). After months of speculation and then almost certainty (or not...) that Favre would definitely (or not...) join the Vikings, it seems that Favre is staying home - for now.

As a huge Favre fan even I'm tired of his off season flip flopping, but my main reason for being happy that he's not coming back (for now) is because I don't want to see another end of season crash like last year. I think Favre was a great player and he needs to sit on his tractor and enjoy his retirement. He had MANY great years in the limelight and he even has a Super Bowl ring - now it’s time to step away from the game and let the young guys have their fun. Based on the online poll the majority of people agreed that Favre shouldn't go to the Vikings although I'm sure your reasons may be very different to mine.

7/28/2009

NJ storm aftermath

My dead pine tree lost a major branch which led to some clean up activities for me


This was nothing compared to the job that waited for my neighbor!


7/27/2009

Was that a tornado or just a funnel cloud?

We were camping at a camp site VERY close to home this weekend. The weather was awesome and we did some tubing and fishing on the South Branch of the Raritan river. While fishing I saw an osprey hunting along the river and later we saw it while tubing down the river. The river was littered with Waxwings hunting for bugs and they were constantly zooming over my head - awesome!

We had booked our campsite until Monday and the plan of action was for us to pack up on Monday afternoon. Saturday night we were hit with some rain and it appears that a few of the seams on our new tent are leaking. Luckily we didn’t have a lot of water in the tent but we did have to move the kids around a little to avoid water damage – can kids rust? Sunday we put tarps over the two windows on each side of the tent hoping to stop the water leaking in from the windows. We knew that there was a thunderstorm predicted for Sunday night, so we decided to jump in the car and go out to a local diner for dinner – I know that’s cheating but we have small kids. That’s my excuse and I’ll stick to it.

We were just getting ready to leave when the storm hit. The wind was whipping through the trees and then it started raining. By the time I got both kids into the van I was soaked. As I jumped in the car it started hailing! I’m used to hail as we used to get it all the time in Johannesburg, but it’s been over 10 years since I saw hail like THIS! We sat in the car getting pelted with massive hail and wondering whether this was the end of the world. After the hail cleared we left the site and drove through the neighborhood. The roads were littered with downed trees and people were trying to clear the roads. We managed to get home and luckily we were pretty much spared the wrath of the storm. My neighbor across the road wasn’t as lucky as he had maple and pine branches all over the place. Miraculously none of the huge branches landed on his house. My neighbor next to me had the top of one of one of this trees knocked clean off. The top of the tree that was severed was at least 16 feet tall – wow. After helping to clean the roads and driveways I headed to the back of my property to see what was down.

My dead pine tree lost a pretty major branch and I was surprised to see that the Mockingbird nest survived the storm. The Mockingbird has moved into my yard after losing a clutch of eggs in my neighbor’s small Japanese maple tree. I have yet to take pictures of the new nest and I will check up on it this week. My veggie garden looks a little beaten up but I’m hoping that the plants will recover. Our gazebo cover was ripped to shreds but it wasn’t going to make it through the season any way.

Last night after putting the monkeys to bed and leaving them in the care of their grandmother, we headed back to our campsite to pack up the tent and its contents. Of course it ended up raining and our tent is currently on my lawn drying out. All in all we were very lucky compared to many of the resident in Hunterdon county. Here are some links to news stories related to the storm:

Freak storm cuts swath across Hunterdon County with hail, high winds, destruction
Severe storms rip through north and central New Jersey
Funnel cloud reported in Hunterdon County

Incredible photos shared by the Flickr community group - Owls of North America. Click on the play button to begin the slideshow - ENJOY!