In between morning walks, household chores, and other everyday routines, I find myself in the middle of two very good reads!! On my sidebar I have Pioneer Girl as my most recent book. Well, let me tell you, it's a very LARGE book...and very heavy!!! I needed something to read at night when I am laying in bed before falling asleep. And this aforementioned book, being too awkward to handle in bed, I read that only at the times I'm up and wide awake, sitting! LOL [By the way, it's a very good, interesting book!!!] But, my second 'new' book, I found on the birding shelves at the book store and convinced myself it had to come home with me!! And I'm soooooooooo glad I did buy it. The "Grail Bird" is the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. One of the largest in the world!! And tho considered extinct...no sightings that have been proven with photos or nesting cavities actually found since 1944. Yet, there have been reports of them sighted as of 2005 but no proof. At least not until I finish reading...that may change....The species is listed as critically endangered and possibly extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The American Birding Association (ABA) lists the ivory-billed woodpecker as a Class 6 species, a category the ABA defines as "definitely or probably extinct". All my bird guide books, and I have several - have them pictured, but listed as 'probably extinct'. This book is a treasure of stories related by the author from Cornell University's Ornithology Lab, and his own quest for the elusive bird; throughout the south and what little is left of 'virgin' forests, where the woodpecker inhabits. I find myself, turning the pages swiftly hoping to read that he spots one....yet, in all honesty, if he DOES spot one, I hope the location is NEVER given. If there IS one perhaps there are TWO and hopefully of the two sexes and the elusive bird is not, afterall, extinct and even low on surviving a species...I can say to myself, they WERE around when I was still alive. And if there ARE any around, I would dream of going on a search myself....EXCEPT the swamps and snakes and alligators and other human haters would keep me home, tucked away in safer birding territories. At my age now, it would be a pipe dream of actually finding one on my own and getting a photo of it. I'll just sit back, and enjoy Tim Gallagher's quest for the Grail Bird....the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.
IN OTHER NEWS
Our two movies this week have been nixed for mini series that we have on DVD. One is Horatio Hornblower [sea faring stories] and the other is one of my all time favorites!! The Thorn Birds. How often have I said to myself, about Richard Chamberlain....what a waste of human flesh for us females who drooled over him in the 60s and 70s...he coming out with his autobiography admitting he was gay. I saw him jogging once, on the island of Oahu...my heart skipped a beat!! I'll never forget that. I was speechless...and to this day even, I wish I would have at least said "Hi" to him as we passed on the walkway. My mouth just stopped working at the sight of him. Dang. Anyway, the love story that evolves in the Thorn Birds still haunts me as to why he "loved God more"!!! Some of you who are devout, maybe you'd understand...but to have a love of the opposite sex willing to live together for eternity would make me settle for the love of the human flesh and heart. And I've read the book over and over.
With the extreme heat of summer bearing down on us this past few weeks, our walking has been very sporadic and shortened by several hours ... we have been going mostly to the mall where it's air conditioned inside and getting our mileage there. But Sunday morning, even tho the temp and humidity was high at 7:30 a.m., we still drove to the Oso Bay Refuge and walked in the heat. I was glad to see our car at the end of our 2 hour trek!! Even very few birds were seen. Lots of joggers who were huffing and puffing along the trail...but the bird song was mostly from mockingbirds and doves. They seem to cherish the inferno!! At one point about to the end before we had to make an 'about face'...a wonderful song from the Painted Bunting high in the tree serenaded us. I took a couple of photos of it, but the sunlight was all wrong for the pictures of the Bunting to be pixel perfect, but I'll still share...
Painted Bunting [male...the female P Buntings are lime green, with no bright mixture of the colors of the rainbow like the male of the species]
Tho very little water in the pond, since they've drained it to begin a clean-up job, I still enjoy this bronze sculpture in the downtown area along the seawall and near the T-head/yacht club!! I tried to capture it so their reflection would show up somewhat...
The Young At Heart [I guess that's why I like it so]
Another bronze sculpture I like is found in the local gardens here on the outskirts of town. I like the weathered fencing in the backdrop along with the wildflowers that bloom AND the fact that it collects rain water and sometimes I've seen it frequented by birds and once a squirrel!!! Kinda like a female version of the St. Francis of Assisi sculpture. :-)
Nearby, another kind of fence...weathered and the wildflower landscaping gives a good opportunity for the shutter release button---
...this upcoming week, I'll be busy so won't be online much. Among so many other things happening, I have a check up scheduled with the cardiology surgeon who performed the stent operation on my heart in the ER back in March. Gonna be an anxious week for me 'til I see him and get a report on my progress.