Ruthie made me do it

I don't work Wednesdays. I haven't since about the beginning of the year. I like a 4 day work week. I'd rather have a no day work week, but that's just not in the cards yet. This past Wednesday, Cindy and I went out to the flight center to get an eagle that was getting released that night (flight center photo's to follow soon). After we were done I had a presentation with Ghost at the Eagle River Campground.

When it was over and I was leaving, I turned my cell phone on just in time to take a call from Ruthie. It was slow at her work so she took the rest of the day off and wanted to go for a long ride. I took a little convincing, but I said OK. So back to the house and I put Ghost in his mew. Ruth already packed a late lunch, snacks and drinks. There was little waiting time when we were on the road to Hope, Alaska and all points in between.

First stop was Girdwood. It's a land that's stuck in the late 60's and early 70's. It's also the place to go skiing during the winter. We checked out the flowers and the bakery. Had a good break and then headed off to Hope.

Hope is an old town dating back to the early 1900's. If you have a strong arm you can throw a rock from end to end. Be careful not to hit a building or you may knock it down. They had a lot of fishing going on and the campground was full. After checking things out for a while it was time to head back. We felt like we knew where to find something that would really struck our interest.

Our next stop was in the Turnagain Arm area. I don't want to get specific. There we found a very active eagle nest. I took the picture at the left and submitted it to Channel 2 and it made their Weatherpic of the day. It made our day just seeing the nest. We hiked back to the truck and headed to Portage.

Portage is the home of Portage Glacier and a couple dozen people. It's also the only land link to Whittier. To get to Whittier you must drive through a train tunnel. The only other way is by boat. We didn't go to Whittier this day, but remember this part for a future story. Portage is also where Ruth and I picked up a Great Horned Owl with a broken wing a couple of winters ago.

On the outskirts of portage we saw Ma and Pa Swan with their youngsters. We enjoyed watching their outing for a while before it was time to head back home. The weather was great and it was a welcome break in the middle of the week. I sure like having Wednesday's off.

Photo credits: Dave and Ruth Dorsey / Bird TLC

In a writting funk

I didn't miss the 4th of July. I just didn't have my head together to write an appropriate post. I did have a good time though. We had a neighborhood bbq. We haven't had one since the summer before last. It was way overdue. We also had some new neighbors joining us. Nice couple, but I'm not sure what he thinks of me. I keep screwing his name up.

After the bbq I fell asleep on the couch for a while. I woke up at the time I usually go to bed, so needless to say I'm wide awake. I'm also hungry but still stuffed from the bbq. I answered a few emails and then I started reading post I did on the blog from this time last year. Man, what a difference. I got into reading them. I can't say I can with what I've been writing lately. The information is good, just not the writing.

So what to do? Maybe a brain enema. There's a bunch of stuff up there that needs to be cleaned out for sure. My heads innards have been through a lot in the past year. I won't get into telling everything, but it needs a overhaul.

I've been putting in extra time at TLC. When I'm there, any and all other issues take a back seat. Actually I forget about them all for the time I'm there. A good bird rescue or exam or even a good paint job or mew repair makes the brain cramps go away. I enjoy the work and the people at TLC, so it's a good trade off.

The blog is also a part of my work for Bird TLC. I put out what I consider valuable information. The more people that know what we do at TLC the better the support we get. Also, hopefully the information I put out helps educate people. Maybe it will help them change things that cause birds to get hurt. Maybe they'll also learn about different species of birds. So, I need to make that information more interesting to our readers. I'm not meant to be an answer for sleep deprivation.

So look out and be prepared. Also, let me know if you see a difference or I've slide back into my funk.

In the Anchorage Daily News

On Monday

There's no link or article online, but in todays ADN there's a picture of Bird TLC Volunteer Dr. Mike Riddle and Gary Bullock, AFD Battalion Chief and new Bird TLC Board Member releasing an eagle at the Eagle River Nature Center. You'll have to buy the paper for that one.

On Sunday

The Evolution of Potter Marsh (click for story)
Silting alters avian population even as managers plan new visitor facilities

What's going on in the neighborhood

Anchorage is feeling the affects of wildfire. This morning, the city awoke to a smoky haze that turned the air an amber color. The smoke blew in from the massive fire on the Kenai Peninsula. And amber-colored air isn't the best to breathe, so the city health department issued a health advisory for Anchorage residents. Check out story on KTUU Channel 2. We can use some rain. Photo borrowed from Mike Nederbrock/KTUU-TV .

Ghost is doing awesome. He has been doing his mating calls for the past 2 months. He usually starts about 4:30 AM. The neighbors haven't complained. He's in a full molt right now also. I'm picking up feathers everyday. He's been doing a lot of presentations and he does a great job too. He loves an audience. He has also casted a pellet at 3 presentations now to the surprise of the audience. He doesn't know what all the fuss is about. July should be an easy month for him.

Baby Junco's and baby Magpie's are everywhere. No, we aren't throwing them away. Even though there's lots of noisey construction going on, they are all around.

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers and dads out there. Like the old saying goes "Any guy can be a father, but not anyone can be a dad". That saying is so true. I know guys that almost act like they are scared of their kids. I don't know if they are afraid of growing older or what. Some of them don't even know their kids.

My father was a dad. We called him "Dad" but referred to him as "Big George". He was a big guy, he was a fireman and he was the head of the household. When I was 16, I thought he was the dumbest man in the world only to find out a few years later that I was the dumbest and he was the smartest.

His dad was a Baltimore City Fireman. He drove 10 Truck, a hook and ladder truck. He died at the young age of 33 from a heart attack. He left behind a wife and 5 kids, my dad was the oldest.

After my dad was discharged from the Army after WWII, he joined the BCFD and was assigned to 10 Truck. He started out as a tillerman. That's the guy who steered the back of the truck. He retired at a mandatory age of 55 Spending most of his career at 10 Truck.

When I was a kid he would take me to work with him on his off day when it was time to pick up his paycheck. He would put me behind the steering wheel of the reserve engine and I would play while he went and visited with his co-workers.

My dad was my hero. I miss him everyday. There's not a day that goes by the I don't think of him and he's been gone almost 15 years now. I was lucky to have a dad like him. I could go on for pages talking about him.

Happy Fathers Day!

Mew Renew for #3

Which mew looks a little more cheerful and brighter? Well they both are the same mew. In February, Dr Michael Riddle, DVM, paid $350 to have his own mew. Well for $350 we can't build a new mew, but we can rebuild an old mew. So that's what we did.

We started at the Mew Yard Spring Clean Up. With all of that help we were able to tear off all of the dungeon looking old material, remove and replace the old rotted roof and add a slant for snow run off, replace the door with a more friendly looking one and do a little painting.

However, the mew wasn't done. It still had places a talented bird could escape through. It had to wait a couple weeks. The weather wouldn't cooperate. Rain, what else. Then the other stuff, presentations, the paying job, etc. Finally I got off my duff and went in on Wednesdays to finish it off.

So, you tell me which one looks better. The old one or the new one? For $350 we got a nice clean updated mew that will last quite a few years longer. Thanks Dr Riddle.

Also, thanks to all of the talented volunteers who helped out during MYSCU.

Turn on the vacancy sign.

Photo's by Dave & Ruth Dorsey / Bird TLC

Don't call me Norman

It's Norma.

Our education Lapland Longspur that's kept in our lobby for all to see, showed us. Didn't she? Her name is no longer Storming Norman.

Here's a video of a Great Horned Owl and her 2 chicks in their nest not far from the Bird TLC propertyat Potter Marsh. Click here.

Video credit: The video is courtesy of Todd Hardesty with Alaska Video Postcards and KTUU 2.

Memorial Day

I have mixed feelings for Memorial Day. I do enjoy the extra time off to work in my garden, ride the Coastal Trail on my bike, do a little birding and play with my new camera, or just taking it easy at home. We generally don't go out of town for the holiday. We let everyone else leave.

I do start thinking about the veterans in my family who are no longer with us. That list is getting bigger since the majority of them are or were WWII veterans and age is taking it's toll. My Mom's brother, my Uncle Len was the last one to pass away just two weeks ago. He was a proud WWII Navy veteran. All but one of the WWII Veterans in my immediate family has passed on. Uncle Joe is the youngest and he's still with us. My dad was Army. His desert training did him well going all over Europe in WWII. He's been gone almost 15 years now. I have a picture of him and his brother Buck on my desk. Both in uniform. I miss my Dad everyday.

The next big war (police action) was Vietnam. My two brothers were Navy and my brother in law Mike was Army. Mike was the only one to go to Vietnam. They are all still with us and doing well. I'm considered a Vietnam Era Veteran, but the war was officially over while I was still at Lackland AFB, Texas. I was lucky to stay out of harms way in my 20 year career.

Veterans are the ones that provide for what we cherish the most, freedom. Freedom to live, work, worship, disagree and so many other things. They protected us when we're awake and asleep. In my career I worked many holidays, birthdays, days and nights. I've been to places that were awesome and places I don't want to even think about again. My own safety was in the hands of others, white, black or yellow. Didn't matter. You watched out for them and they did for you, not thinking of your own safety over theirs.

I think it's right to remember these people with a long weekend enjoying whatever we want to do. They made it possible. Thanks Veterans!