Friday, September 30, 2011

The Wrack Line is up on the refuge web site

Check out the Fall 2011 issue of The Wrack Line, the newsletter of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge:
wrackline fall 2011.pdf (application/pdf Object)

There's a nice year end wrap up by biological staff and a profile of my favorite fellow volunteer, Big Steve, by Jean (the unit formerly known as 3 for old time readers). I still can't believe 34 chicks fledged. That's the second highest total since I've been volunteering there. It's also nice to see refuge staff appreciating the volunteers. The way the Daily News portrayed our efforts this year, you'd get the impression that staff, especially Matt, did it all. The hard part is explaining to beach goers why the refuge closes the beach -- because the mission is wildlife first. The plover wardens are on the beach explaining that to individual visitors, some of whom are angry, some of whom don't understand, and some of whom are supportive. We may not be as heroic as the pepperweed pullers or as essential to daily operation as the info desk volunteers, but we are out there in the cold and the heat and the greenheads doing the hard part of communicating with the public.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Working Waterfront Festival -- Day 2

Sunday in New Bedford was slightly less humid and much less gray. There were far more visitors. The Foodways stage with its Seafood Throwdown outdrew all the musicians, authors, and demos.  We enjoyed Portuguese fado, folk songs from Maine, sea chanteys from Virginia, humor, and more poetry. I regretted that we had to choose between fabulous music and a panel discussion on navigation from dead reckoning to GPS. So much good stuff, so little time. We did manage to visit the Baker Books tent and pick up a few books.

Ana Vinagre Ensemble

Dave Rowe

Chopped Clams

Northern Neck Chantey Singers take their turn at the Humor and Hardship song circle

So much to say about such a wonderful festival, but there's this whole Red Sox Yankees Rays thing to shift my attention to.

Sky less gray over the tug Jaguar

Working Waterfront Festival -- Day 1

New Bedford Whaling National Park Visitor Center

The Working Waterfront Festival  showcases the fishing industry and the cultural traditions of America's largest commercial fishing port. There's music and food and boats and poetry and oral history and all kinds of activities.
Model Boat at Big Boats, Little Boats demo in Coast Guard Park
We were particularly excited to hear Geno Leech, a fisher poet from Washington, whom we heard a few years ago at the festival and loved. He did not disappoint! He drew a smaller audience than either the survival suit demo or the presentation on the two parlor lobster trap, but he fully engaged with those few of us who came for the poetry.

Geno Leech at the Contest Stage

Rhode Island's own fisher poet and singer songwriter, Jon Campbell, was also fun and also failed to outdraw survival suits and lobster traps. No, nobody could explain the coat hanger hanging over his head. Maybe it had something to do with the survival suits. Campbell had the second best line of the day:  "I ate so much salt cod awhile ago, you could lay me down in the road next time it snows."

Jon Campbell

Most memorable line and life lesson of the day came from the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association guy who was demoing the traditional two parlor trap (he called it the parlor and the kitchen) when asked about the famous UNH video showing how many lobsters passed in and out of a trap when only 2 got caught: "We're trying to outsmart an animal that has no brain."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wildlife and Nature Photography Weekend at Parker River NWR October 7, 8 & 9

This isn't up on the Parker River NWR web site yet so you, my lucky readers, are among the first to know. PRNWR is hosting an awesome Wildlife and Nature Photography Weekend in October in celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week. Mark your calendars now for October 7, 8, and 9.

A photographic print exhibition from the 2011 Parker River NWR Nature Photography Camp will be on display all weekend as well as photo contest prints.

On Friday, October 7, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM, join Jim Fenton for a narrated slide show at the PRNWR visitor center. This is a great opportunity to see Jim's fantastic work and learn about his image making process. You've seen Jim Fenton's photos of the birds of Plymouth Beach on display at Plimoth Plantation . Don't miss this chance to see Jim and his photos at PRNWR.

Saturday, October 8 has a full schedule of great workshops:

  • 8:00 – 9:30 AM: Bird Photography 101: with Nancy Landry. You may have seen her annual Plum Island bird calendar. She'll take you on a bird photo walk at Hellcat. Pre-registration required.
  • 10:30 – 11:30 AM: Point &Shoot Nature Photography: with Matt Poole. Matt's the refuge visitor services manager. You may have seen his photos on the PRNWR Facebook page. Pre-registration is not required. 
  • 1:30 – 2:30 PM: Connecting Kids & Nature Through Digital Photography:  with Matt Poole. Learn about last July's digital nature photography day camp and see images taken by and of the kids. Matt provides an overview of the camp, its purpose, structure, and future. Pre-registration is not required.
Sunday, October 9 offers a chance to catch Nancy Landry's workshop if you missed it on Saturday and to learn all about photography gadgets and thingamajigs with Jim Fenton, and see a film about ANWR, all building up to the announcement of the photo contest winners.
  • 8:00 – 9:30 AM: Bird Photography 101: Join Nancy Landry at Hellcat. Pre-registration is required. See above.
  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 Noon: What’s in the Bag?!: Jim Fenton talks  about the equipment he considers most necessary for his type of image-making and answers audience questions.  Pre-registration is not required. 
  • 12:30 – 1:30 PM: Moving Pictures Are, Well, Moving!: Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week by watching a wonderful new film about Arctic National Wildlife Refuge(ANWR). Pre-registration is not required. 
  • 1:30 PM: Winners Announced for the 1st Annual Parker River NWR Nature and Wildlife Photo Contest!

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    remembering good times birding with a friend

    Long time readers of previous incarnations of this blog may remember my tales of birding with Hungarian friends: Peteri Lake, our search for Otis tarda, and the Tisza River. Maci, with whom I shared those adventures (and others), passed away last week.  She was a remarkable lady and I will never forget her. She was already 80+ when we shared these adventures. That Otis tarda was a life bird for both of us, and the last time I saw her in Budapest, she lit up remembering it.
    So, in remembrance of Maci, here are some links to our adventures:


    total eclipse -- in which we watch a total solar eclipse from her garden at Lake Balaton.


    endurance birding -- in which we deliver an ornithologist to Peteri Lake, go birding there, eat fish soup on the puszta, and see our life Otis tarda.

    extreme birding -- in which we fail to find black woodpecker and pygmy cormorant and I fall off a cliff looking at a ferruginous duck.

    francia krĂ©mes -- in which we bring Maci pastries, meet her pet turtle, and admire her evergreen oak.


    hello -- in which I have coffee with Maci and reminisce about our birding adventures. This was the last time I saw her.

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    the dunes

    Looking back over the dunes from the top of the lot 5 boardwalk...

    Looking south along the beach...

    Looking north ...

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    a bug

    some kind of grasshopper
    This grasshopper landed in front of me on the Lot 5 boardwalk. Alas, my grasshopper/cricket/bug id skills are rusty.