April, 2006

Busy Day

Today was graduation. I usually go every semester. It’s bitter sweet really. It’s nice to celebrate the achievements of the students, but it’s sad to see them go. Tracie, Susan’s sister also graduated today. We had Susan’s parents, Susan’s sister Rose, and Rose’s children up for the weekend.

Ethan, Kevin, Heather, Kaitlin, and Jared Eating Pizza Friday Night

After graduation we came back home for lunch. We barbequed marinated chicken and vegetables that were coated with olive oil, lemon, and salt. It was my first time using the grill this year. It sure tasted like summer.

Veggies on the Grill

We have a big pine in our front yard that is a little out of control. I mentioned to Keith, Susan’s father, that I’d probably get around to thining out the bottom part of the tree sometime this summer. He said “I’ll go get my gloves”, and then he went for it. He got in there with the loppers and hand saw and proceeded to clear out the bottom 6 feet of branches. The rest of us jumped in and before you know it we had it done. We ended up with three huge piles of branches and 32 bags of pine needles when it was done. The city picks up yard waste through next week. I think they’re going to hate us.

Pine Tree After (sorry I don’t have a before)

24 (of 32) Bags of Pine Needles

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Burrowing Owl

I did my second set of point counts at Mud Lake this morning. There were a few signs of spring’s progression. Willows are starting to leaf out, insects (including mosquitoes) were more abundant, and birds are arriving. I had my first Orange-crowned Warbler, Marbled Godwit, Barn Swallow, Least Sandpiper, and Red-naped Sapsucker for the year. It was a pretty nice, but windy, morning to be out. Great-horned Owls were hooting, Vesper Sparrows were singing, Loons and Grebes were calling on the lake, and hundreds of swallows were wheeling overhead. While I was in one area doing a count I startled a Moose, which of course startled me. It turned and shot me a look, a lot like the look my mother used to give me when I misbehaved in church, before wandering off through the willows. On the way to and from the lake I photographed this little guy.

Burrowing Owl (early morning), Mud Lake, ID 2006

Burrowing Owl (late morning), Mud Lake, ID 2006

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Stormy Skies

The wind blew all day today. It started out sunny, but around 5:30 the temperature dipped and storm clouds blew in. The cloud formations were pretty spectacular, so I headed out to the farm fields south and east of town for relatively unobstructed views.

Stormy Skies, Walker, ID 2006

Oh and happy birthday Dad, I’ll call you soon (something should arrive in the mail shortly).

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Point Counts

I was approached a few weeks ago about doing some bird counts to help monitor spring migration for songbirds in the Upper Snake River Valley. I agreed and did my first counts yesterday. The procedure is as follows: There are seven points (locations) near Mud Lake and for ten minutes I stand at each point and count the birds seen and heard. I’m to write down the species, the numbers of species detected, the distance from the point the bird was detected, and the habitat in which the bird was detected. Migration for songbirds is just getting underway so the diversity of species was low. Since this is the first time I’ve done point counts it’s probably good to start before too many birds arrive. The most common migrant songbirds were Tree Swallows and Robins, followed by Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Dark-eyed Juncos, White-crowned Sparrows, and Spotted Towhees. My friend Cliff and I will be doing ca. 2-3 counts per week through early June.

Point Count Sheets

Mud Lake Point #3 (of seven), Mud Lake, ID 2006

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Coolest Mailbox Ever

I found this sweet mailbox near Hamer, ID this morning.

Mailbox with Antlers, near Hamer, ID 2006

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Student Work

In the history of photography course I taught this semester, students are given the choice between a paper or a project. The project consists of making a few prints demonstrating a historical process, emulating an important historical photographer, using modern technology to emulate a historical process, or some combination thereof. The work is always a lot of fun to see. Here are some examples:

Cassie – Steiglitz Portraits of O’Keefe

Danielle – Gum Print

Jake – Montage

Karen – ManRay Photogram

Michaella – Muybridge Motion Study

Sally – Imogen Cunningham / Palladium Print

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Rexburg Area Potato Cellars

Here are a few more potato cellar photographs I made over the weekend near Rexburg.

Collapsed Potato Cellar, Walker, ID 2006

Partially Collapsed Potato Cellar Interior, Rexburg, ID 2006

Badger (I think, or maybe Skunk) Den in a Potato Cellar, Walker, ID

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Eastern Phoebe

I know most of you don’t check my blog for information on bird sightings, but a good one was found this weekend. I got a call Friday night about an Eastern Phoebe (the 2nd or 3rd for Idaho) that was found at Mud Lake. I had the Rexburg Easter Egg Hunt to attend at 10:00 sharp (it only lasts about three minutes), so I got up early Saturday morning and drove to Mud Lake. I found the bird at 7:30, spent a little time talkingand birding with some friends, and made it back at 9:45. Here’s a mediocre photograph of a great bird.

Eastern Phoebe, Market Lake, ID 2006

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Snow Ughhh

So we woke up to six inches of snow this morning, and it’s still coming down.

Snowy Morning, Rexburg, ID, April 17, 2006

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Sorry About That

For some reason blogger deleted my blog. Thankfully I had it hosted on the same server as my website, so I didn’t lose any of my files. I’m going to keep the blog going through blogger for a little while, but I’m in the process of finding a better solution. In the links section you can find the old blog posts by clicking on My Previous Blog Posts. You won’t be able to comment on any of the older posts, but they are still there. I would really suggest backing up your posts somehow, my blog has become sort of like a journal and I would have been slightly ticked if I’d have lost the entries permanently. Also, a big thank you to my friend Jon for helping me out with this last night.

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