Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tiercel Video

This past weekend I enjoyed spending some time with the local male Peregrine. He was enjoying a sunny afternoon on his perch. For the most part, the falcon preened, all the while constantly surveying and protecting his territory. At one point, he quickly flew off his comfortable limb so as to intercept a passing RED-TAILED HAWK. He flew over to greet the much larger raptor, flying directly at the hawk. To put an emphasis on his 'move along please' message, the PEREGRINE quickly flew vertical and dove down on to the Red-tail.

video

The hawk flew off, this time just a bit faster than normal. Message received.

Best,
Dan

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Big Year

2010. So far, so good. Declan is becoming a handful (the good kind).To see the joy he gets from going to the B&O Railroad Museum, or to watch a helicopter fly, or even to spot a Bald Eagle flying ; ) well it fills me up good with all sorts of delight.And Isla? She is, between her cries and slumber, nothing but a bundle of giggle and smile. Oh and is she cute.Don't forget Oiseau.He and I have some jogging to do this year.The Ois also enjoys kayaking the Severn and chasing cats and squirrels.That leaves my wife and I to come up with some goals, and maybe a few objectives to strive for over the next 11 months. What to do? What to do?-Count birds in Maryland?
Done it. Loved it. Worked it like a champ.

-Count birds in Anne Arundel County?
Yep, I did that too.

-Book a ton of music gigs, actively self-promote the band, write loads of songs, do some recording?
You guessed it... I've done that and enjoyed every bit of the journey.

For a goal-oriented person like myself, I'm left wondering what I should strive for this year? Don't get me wrong... my work with the schools will continue to be crushing down upon me. The stress, goals and objectives that need meeting (if not exceeding! seem to get bigger every day. But I'm talking about the stuff where true passion lives.

And so I've come up with a few ideas...

IDEA 1: BIRD-RELATED. See every species of falcon in North America.

video

Being a fan of this family, I think this is something that might actually be attainable. It would require a few things like luck, travel, money and luck. A visit to South Dakota and Southwest Texas would be vital to completing this goal. I've seen American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon and most recently Prairie Falcon. That leaves the two more (three if you count Crested Caracara): Aplomado Falcon and Gyrfalcon.

IDEA 2: MUSIC-RELATED. Write and record a new record with the band.I've been singing and playing my guitar more than ever lately. Declan loves to sing and play his little guitar while I rock out to some classic (that I make up as I go along). Classic hits and timeless favorites like 'Let's Go Poo Poo in the Potty', 'Don't Cry And Whine And Your Mommy Will Be Fine' and 'Eat All of Your Noodles Or I'll Turn Oiseau Into A Poodle'. I throw in a little 'Jingle Bells' every now and again too for good measure. Isla loves it. Declan goes nuts. It's a hoot. It's a party. And maybe making a record for kids might be just the thing for my Big Year?

Then again, making a record for adults might also be the ticket. Difficulties of this goal are: scheduling, expense, getting the musicians lined up and oh yes... writing the songs! Benefits: making music is like nothing else in this world.

IDEA 3: ART-RELATED: Finally finish my bathroom mural.It's been neglected the past two years, but a long time ago I began painting the birds of Maryland all over my bathroom walls. On one side is my depiction of the Coastal Plain. On another side, vaguely resembles the Atlantic coast. And on yet another side, I've yet to even begin to paint some of Maryland's forest-dwelling species. Not to mention the Michelangelo portion: a kettle of more of raptor silhouettes flying on the ceiling! Only downside would be when my wife needs something done at night and I'm in the bathroom with my brushes and paint.

IDEA 4: Make no goals and just do stuff.

The benefits with this are endless. But, if I know me... and sometimes I do... this isn't an easy goal to set for myself. Having no goals is like sailing without a tiller. Like texting while driving. Like peach cobbler with no vanilla ice cream. You get the point.

I do have goals of course that are not tied to any particular year.

I want to try to do some traveling with Emery. I'd like to get more regular haircuts. I'd like to eat healthy and exercise. I'd like to continue enjoying chocolate, garlic, red wine and coffee.

On a more serious note, I'd like to work with Annapolis' new Mayor Josh Cohen to help our city continue it's leadership in protecting and preserving the environment. There are so many local things that can be accomplished that could make a big difference. I've whittled down my commission responsibilities to just the Annapolis Environmental Commission, so with that change comes greater focus.

And of course, I will continue to look for new county, state and life bird in 2010. I will continue to monitor and enjoy our local falcons. No doubt that fixing up our home will be in the mix.Taking my kids to visit the National Zoo, the Smithsonian, the National Aquarium and the B&O Museum, etc. will be many a weekend activity. Sculpting cool objects out of Play Doh will always suffice on rainy days.Oh, and I've already got my wife and I tickets to go see Bob Schneider at the Ram's Head in March. In other words, date night will be a regular 'thing' for us.

So to all of my friends who I didn't see much because I was chasing birds: I look forward to seeing more of you in 2010. To all of my friends who I didn't see because I wasn't gigging as much in 2009: I look forward to performing a little bit more for you in 2010. And to everyone who has been asking for a new CD (all 4 of you!): that might just be coming soon to a stereo near you.

I'm just making plans you see.

Meantime, enjoy some more iPhone images and video of our local Peregrines.

Her.Him.Her.Him.Her.

Now I know full well that this blog and my goals aren't the least bit important to you! But I certainly enjoyed writing it all down.

What are your goals for 2010? As for me, I plan on deciding soon. Until then, have a great 2010!
-Dan

Monday, January 18, 2010

Big January and Big Help

As I wait to go onto a Monday morning conference call for work, I thought I'd post a new blog. First off, how've you been? I trust that you are enjoying your year thus far. I am.

2010 has been busy with family and work, but of course I've seen a precious few great birds. And that got me thinking about my goals/plans for 2010, but more on that in later post.Here is one sighting worthy of a report: the Shippensburg, PA wintering PRAIRIE FALCON. Declan and I drove up there for a falcon visit last weekend.That PRAIRIE FALCON flew in at 12:30 from the rock quarry where it is thought that the bird likes to roost. This stunning falcon bolted right over our heads and landed in a distant tree.Both Declan and I were thoroughly impressed with this life bird. Inspired, I paid our local Peregrine Falcons a visit recently. It's not often, but sometime I luck into finding both the male and female Peregrine (as evidenced from the tricked-out photo below).The only thing bird-related that I've REALLY been following as of late is a "BIG JANUARY" competition that the Bird Couple and Ross Geredien have been engaged in this month. As I type, Warren is at suffering through work in DC, while the blonder-half of the Bird Couple (Lisa) is out in the field looking for new month birds. And Ross? Well, he is doing a big day on the Eastern shore. It's very exciting indeed. My role in their adventure? Well, I might be bolstering their totals by adding a Peregrine (or two) to their list.

video
A SHORT VIDEO TAKEN WITH MY IPHONE PRESSED AGAINST MY SCOPE.

Anytime one birds the Eastern Shore of Maryland, one adds loads of bird species. So to Ross... good thinking. Bird Couple... time to pay that Bay Bridge toll and get over to the coast! Just start in Worcester County and bird your way home.In the meantime, whilst I was enjoying Thomas Point the other day, I felt quite honored to observe this floating life-saving vessel speed past our famous lighthouse on it's way to Haiti. Tears were in the eyes.My bands and I are currently working on an idea to help with the relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

-Dan

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bookends

Have a look at the last bird that I observed in 2009: the local female PEREGRINE FALCON. I thought it fitting that I stop by on December 31st to wish her a Happy New Year.When I arrived she was on the tree right above my head. I was scanning the bridge and didn't even notice her perched a few feet above my head. To correct my poor observational skills, she took off and flew over to buzz the bridge. She then proceeded to fly immediately back into the big, old dead tree. It was as if she was wishing me a Happy New Year too. Here's hoping she and her mate have nesting success this year.And so, after finishing my afternoon coffee on New Years day (that's right... afternoon coffee! Did I mention that it was late night on NYE?), I decided to run some errands. I thought what better way to start of 2010 than to go say hello to the falcon? Well, I'm sure there are bazillions of better ways to start a decade, but I have enjoyed my time spent with the local Peregrines and errands needed to be run. So why not?

And there is another pair that I REALLY loved spending time with... these two!! Declan and Isla. FUN is most certainly on our 'to do' list this year.Oh the plans that I have for us in 2010! I am very excited about the memories that are soon-to-be created.

Happy New Year!

Dan

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