And the next day

Clarksburg, West Virginia, 23 November 2018

After our Thanksgiving visitor, word of our bird feeders seems to have gotten around. The next morning we noticed this guy watching over our patio from the big maple tree by the garage.

Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus).

Interestingly, the goldfinches, and the titmice, and the chickadees, and some others of our usual mixed flock of “backyard feeder birds” seemed unimpressed. They continued to fly back and forth between the nearby trees and the feeder as if there were nothing to concern them. But I noticed that none of them approached the big maple, and there weren’t any woodpeckers or doves in evidence.

Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus)

Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus)

After a while the hawk apparently grew bored and flew away, revealing its lovely reddish shoulders as it glided behind the trees. A few minutes later we heard the characteristic thump of a bird hitting our window. We didn’t see anything, but I think the hawk must have frightened some inattentive bird enough to make it fly in panic without regard to walls and windows.


A Thanksgiving Visitor

Clarksburg, West Virginia, 22 November 2018.

Today was Thanksgiving in the United States, our annual harvest feast which we celebrate on the fourth Thursday of every November as a reminder that each of us needs to be grateful for the harvest, grateful for all that we have.

As we sat at the table finishing our meal, I happened to look out the window onto the patio. There’s a place on the patio where we put our bird feeders, and it is often crowded with seed-eating birds.

No one was visible.

Then I saw this guy sitting on the rail a couple of feet from the feeders.

Sharp-shinned hawk on the rail

Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus) on the rail

I think it’s a male Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus).

For a little while we just sat quietly, not wanting to scare him away. But we wanted to check the bird book, and when Lisa quietly got up to get it we realized that he wasn’t terribly concerned about our movement. He did watch us a bit, but he was much more interested in gazing out into the trees, or at the bird feeders, perhaps meditating sadly on the absence of birds and small rodents.

After a while he decided to move across the patio, stopping for a few minutes next to the bird feeders. Then, surprisingly, he suddenly flew from the rail to the patio furniture.

Sharp-shinned hawk in flight

Sharp-shinned hawk in flight

He seemed to think that since we hadn’t filled the bird feeders with birds, he should just go sit at the table and wait. Maybe he was expecting his share of the Thanksgiving dinner.

Sharp-shinned hawk at the table

Sharp-shinned hawk at the table

But we still didn’t provide him with a meal, so after a bit he just flew away. Well, not completely away. He sat for another ten minutes or so in a tree overlooking the feeders. I think he wants me to refill the feeders.

The Friendly Policeman

Budapest, ‎21 September ‎2018

A police officer in a uniform of the period 1909-1945 patrols the neighborhood of Szent István Bazilika (St. Stephen’s Basilica) in Budapest.

Budapest policeman, by András Illyés

Friendly Budapest policeman, by András Illyés

At the intersection of Zrínyi utca and Október 6. utca we found this extremely tolerant police officer with his shiny bronze belly, polished by the hands of many passersby seeking to gain a bit of good luck by touching him. He’s the work of the sculptor András Illyés, who says that he used his grandfather, who had been a police officer, as his model.

Stop Here

Budapest, 23 September 2018

Stop Here

Stop Here,
Appreciate Life
For a Minute
And Smile
#Oraculo Project

A reminder from the Brazilian street artist known as Oraculo Project that we should appreciate life. In this case, we should pause in the midst of city hurry and appreciate this view of the Danube, facing upstream from the pedestrian walkway of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge (Széchenyi lánchíd). In the distance is the Margaret Bridge (Margit híd), and beyond that we have a tiny glimpse of Margaret Island (Margit-sziget).

We did pause here despite a chilly, damp breeze and the flow of people. And we did smile, because, well, why not?

Madonna of the Trail

Vandalia, Illinois, ‎18 April ‎2016,

The Pioneer Mother

The Pioneer Mother

US 40, The National Road, crosses US Route 51 at Illinois’ second state capitol in Vandalia (the first capitol had been at Kaskaskia, until the Mississippi River tried to move it to Missouri; the third was in Springfield, after Abraham Lincoln and the rest of the “Long Nine” successfully moved the seat of government to Sangamon County). We were driving north on US 51 from near New Orleans, Louisiana, on our way to the Wisconsin/Michigan state line when we found this.

The statue, “The Madonna of the Trail” by August Leimbach, commemorates the women who participated in the great westward migration European settlers in the nineteenth century and their endurance through a difficult and dangerous passage. It stands on the southwest corner of the grounds of the old Illinois state capitol. But it’s not unique; it is one of a dozen copies of Leimbach’s statue that stand along the westward road from Bethesda, Maryland, to Upland, California.