Saturday, February 23, 2013

Slow Progress, February 18

I completed the paperwork, made copies and sent them in the mail for the pension matter.  I converted as many bill payments to automatic pay as possible.  One still remains for my bill for gas and electric power.  Unfortunately, the website for this company is not compatible with Windows 8 and Explorer 10 at this time.  When I bought my new laptop and set up to have access while mobile I bought a laptop with Windows 8.  I did not realize that this could be an issue.  In January I spent four hours trying to pay my bill and get this resolved by talking to three different technical support people.  I had to wait two days for a response to an e mail request to find out why I could no longer access my account on-line, which I had done previous to retirement.  Fortunately, I finally found a way to pay this bill through Western Union at a cost of $1.50 per transaction by the due date.  I need to renew my passport to be able to go to Canada for some rarities and soon.  I have three original passports but could not find my most recent one, which was obtained for a business trip in China in late 1998 or 1999.  It has expired, but if it is less than 15 years old, it can be used to facilitate renewal.  In the last week or so, I tore through my house looking for that "safe place."  This is part of getting chronologically more gifted.  I finally found it after a three to four day off and on search, and will now try to use one of the fast modes of renewal to give me a shot at getting to BC for the Red-flanked Bluetail, Brambling and the Citrine Wagtail.  All have been seen again recently.  The Bluetail and Wagtail are life birds for me so this is high priority.  Another high priority is to get this blog up and running and complete the previous entries.  I decided that I would not go on another longer distant chase until this blog was setup and all old entries completed.

Today, February 18, I was outside talking to two neighbors from across the street, Dianne and Kurt, who were walking their new poodle and taking a walk for exercise.  I heard a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker giving its mewing call and found it on the trunk of my next door neighbor's oak tree.  This is a new bird for me.  Encouraged by this new bird, I decided to try for some additional local birds.  I drove to western Hamilton County to look for American Pipit, which was reported at Simonson Road in January.  By the time I arrived the wind had picked up from the south;  therefore, hearing calls was difficult.  I scanned the large open field to the south and east.  In previous years, I had found Lapland Longspurs, Snow Buntings and American Pipits in this location in January and February.  I saw a very long distant flock flying briefly and landing over a slight rise.  However, the birds were too far to identify, and impossible to find at that distance on the ground.  I did find a cooperative pair of Horned Larks very close that were behaving like they were setting up territory.  Horned Larks start early.  I did not find a pipit.  There is still time to do so. 

The cloud cover had also increased, and the light was getting dim.  I headed to nearby Miami Whitewater Park at the wetland area off Baughman road where an early American Woodcock had been recently reported.  As I walked along the bike path to the observation platform, I met Frank Frick walking toward me.  As we chatted briefly, I heard the distinctive wing "whistle" of a American Woodcock flying over and then the distinctive "chirping" noise made when the displaying bird returns to the ground.  This bird was not "peenting" from the ground, possibly  due to the early date.  Maybe no females were in the area, and this was an early male searching.  Frank saw the bird flying the second time.  The total is now 142.

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