Saturday, January 22, 2011

Green Island and Nature

Dorothy and I just came back from a walk through the wilds of Green Island.  Cool (10 degrees),  clear (bright sun), crunchy (lots of cold, cold snow underfoot) and crisp (not sure how to characterize crisp...maybe it's the pleasant, fresh feeling I get inside my nose when it's really cold).

 One of the highlights of the circuit we regularly walk is going to the River Park (home of the famous GIG Green Island Gazebo) which overlooks the Hudson River just below the Federal Dam in Troy.

Dorothy skiing through River Park, river and dam on the right

Looking south from park after an ice storm.
  This is a very interesting portion of the river for several reasons related to the dam.  The dam prevents most fish from going further upstream.  Some go through the lock but most are stopped.  This makes for great fishing in the spring when herring, striped bass and shad are on upstream mating runs.

Mother's Day fishing mayhem 

American for this fish was called off last year because it's numbers are down.

The other thing the dam does is that it's turbulence keeps some water open during the coldest part of winter This attracts birds who feed on the fish and plants in the river (ducks) and birds that feed on fish and ducks (Bald Eagles).  It is thrilling to see Bald Eagles and we often do on this walk.  There is an active eagle nest on the north end of the Island.
I actually saw this pair copulating after taking this picture.

One of my favorite winter ducks that frequents the open water on the river is the Common Goldeneye

I didn't take this picture
We saw five males on one female today diving in the frigid Hudson. We also saw some Common Mergansers.

Three male and two female Common Mergansers in Hudson by River Park.  
Female's rusty red head  plumage is very cool (borrowed  image)

Both of these species are diving ducks and nest mainly in Canada.  They are welcome visitors in the heart of winter.

My special affection for the Goldeneye probably is because I was lucky enough to see several males wooing a female a couple of springs ago.  Here's a video of their dramatic courtship display. and if that's not enough excitement for you here's an "extreme closeup" of a pair copulating in Norway in 2009.

More bird porn in upcoming posts!

Stay warm!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sickness, Friends and Teardrop Trailers

Hello faithful reader(s).  I know I've been remiss.  It's been far too long since my words of wisdom have graced the screen of your lap top.  You see, life's not easy.  Things happen.  Excuses abound.  I've been sick.  Lost interest in most things for the last two weeks of December. I had a cold that had me coughing so hard a pulled muscles in my side and then I spent two weeks trying to prevent gravity from making the sharp side pain worse. I ended up hooking two velcro based knee wraps together and wrapping them around my stomach.  Cheap and effective.  I'm pretty much back to normal now except for my ongoing struggle with obsessiveness.  My current obsession is the teardrop trailer Dorothy and I decided to buy.  It's a flashy little number custom made by a guy in Toledo.  We'll be driving out there to pick it up in April.

Pretty snazzy huh?  I sent a picture of it to my brother-in-law Jim and he called it a "pimp mobile."  I guess the chrome sides are a little over the top but I'm not sure I want my retirement years to be understated.  I wanna shine man!  

The friend's part of this blog has to do with the trailer.  Dorothy and I are planning on moving to Binghamton in May to be closer to our daughter Joanna and Dorothy's brother Jack and his wife Ellen.  I was initially resistant to the idea of moving because I've developed important friendships here, especially with the people I golf with.  So we came up with this plan to find a way for me to travel and live around Albany two or three days a week to golf and maintain relationships.  Hence the pimp mobile.  Just how it will all work is still being worked out but I'm excited about the options this trailer opens up above and beyond making a Binghamton move more palatble..  Adirondack campgrounds,  traveling south in the winter, etc.  Plus we'll pull it with our Sentra.  Cheap and effective.  Do you see a pattern here?

My daughter Katie and her husband Brian continue their world-wide jaunt.  You can keep track of their exploits at   They seem to be having the time of their lives.  We've been having video chats via Skype. An amazing cheap and effective tool.

Next blog I'll try to get back to deeper stuff.  Right now I'm focusing on how I'm going to go to the bathroom and change my clothes in the teardrop.  C'est la vie.