Category Archives: Video

A Crow Pontificates On The State Of The World

Same, crow, same!

I wish I had the option of flying away when no one paid attention to me.

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Fine Feathered Friends – May 12th

Well, “feathered-ish” at least. Perhaps “potentailly feathered.”

We’re at about the time when I would be expecting Lucy & Ricky’s eggs to be hatching – but there are a lot of variables. We don’t know exactly when they were laid, the gestation period is 12 to 16 days, etc. But soon. Very soon.

One thing I would note is that I’ve seen Ricky hanging around the nest more than usual and twice it looked like he was feeding Lucy. The article I read on finch gestation said that for a few days just before hatching and the first week or so after hatching the female will sit on the next constantly wit the male feeding her. So, maybe it’s a sign?

Also this evening we got a huge racket going on out in the trees out back. (See yesterday for a picture of the trees.) The crows were sounding the alarm, and the red-shouldered hawk pair that live down in the canyon below us were up shrieking in our trees.

Seeing and hearing the two of them up close (maybe 20-25 feet away) didn’t suck.

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Unusual for a Friday, but the Condors were out doing maneuvers and formation flying practice near our house this afternoon.

As is usual when they’re near, the blaaaaaaaaaaaaat of four big, old, radial engines makes a very loud and distinctive sound, so I yell, “TEXANS!” and run outside to watch. (The planes that the Condors fly are Texans, also known as SNJ’s, or Harvards if they were of British manufacture – all the same type of plane, a WWII trainer.)

Today I didn’t have time to grab the good camera, but I always have my phone, so…

One note about last night’s post – the uncommon bird that was hanging out was a White Crowned Sparrow. It was pointed out that someone (i.e, ME) somehow forgot to include that key fact.

Oops! Story of my life…

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Reprise From Sting

One of my all time favorites from Sting, I do truly love this song:

And now he’s got a live version for the people of Ukraine. As he says, he hasn’t played this very much recently because he didn’t think that it would be relevant again.

Cry your way through either, or both.

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Filed under Moral Outrage, Music, Video

What Does A Hummingbird Sound Like?

I don’t know about all of them, but the local male Anna’s Hummingbird sounds like this:

I tried to catch it once before, with minimal success, but tonight the little bastard (that’s actually what I call him, he’s VERY territorial and has chased off most of the other hummingbirds) was right outside the back door and going like crazy. I never did quite see him in the video – turns out he’s in those vines along the post on the left hand side.

I sort of hate what YouTube does to the audio, overly emphasizing the base and wiping out the higher frequencies where the hummingbird’s clicking away. But to me he sounds a bit like the mouse click on my old Logitech trackball, a really rapid staccato, like you were scrolling one page at a time, really fast, through a really long document.

But I might have just been sitting at the computer for way, way too many hours.

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When The Crows Start Screaming

It was warm again so I was outside, Skyping with my son, watching the birds. There were a dozen or more juncos out there, along with finches, hummingbirds, towhees, and mourning doves.

Sort of all of a sudden, all of the birds on the ground vanished into the bushes and three or four crows up at top of the pines went nuts.

The problem was obvious.

While this red-tail hawk had perched and was facing off against two crows, its mate was circling above being chased by a couple more. After this one left and the two hawks met up they did a few passes overhead just over the top of the pines, maybe fifty or sixty feet up. It was STUNNING to see them right overhead, soaring so close.

They sailed off down the canyon with the crows following to make sure they stayed away. A looked like a win for the crows – but tomorrow’s another day. The hawks did not seem to be poorly fed.

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The Second Lizard Of 2022

I suspect that yesterday’s “first lizard” wasn’t one of the “tree lizards” from last year. For one, the tree lizards seemed to only be seen on the tree, where the ground lizards didn’t seem to ever be on the tree. But who knows? I never could get them to wear ID bracelets.

Today’s guest lizard was on the tree and looks to me to have different markings and be a bit smaller.

At the 0:17 mark, just after he moves, you can see him “doing push ups.” This is not an uncommon activity to see. I asked Dr. Earyn McGee (who runs the wonderful “Find That Lizard” contest on Twitter on Wednesday evenings) and she said that it was a territorial display, meant to warn off competitors. I didn’t want to harsh any lizard mellow, so I backed away and let this guy have his sun and tree.

Of course, as I backed away I almost stepped on the third lizard of 2022, a teeny, tiny little dude about an inch long who probably just hatched in the last day or two. We all survived, wiser for the experience.

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ISS Sailing Past The Moon

A nice, bright ISS pass tonight (there’s an extremely spectacular one tomorrow night at 17:52 over Los Angeles, horizon to horizon, right through the zenith!) and I didn’t have time to set up the camera, but the iPhone 13 does amazing things…

The thing is, without a reference point, video of a bright dot on a black screen doesn’t give the viewer any information on how high and how fast that football field sized spacecraft is going. Tonight however, for about a minute in its nine-minute journey across the sky, the ISS was quite close to the quarter moon. Which gives you a great reference point.

Check Heavens Above to see if you’ve got an ISS pass in your area. If so, go wave at the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard. It’s awesome, you can feel the awe.

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Filed under Space, Video

Groundhog Day Launch

Well, sorta.

It is Groundhog Day. And yes, as always, we watched the movie. It’s one of my all-time favorites. Sooooooooooooooo much to love on so many levels.

SpaceX did launch out of Vandenberg, 116 miles as the crow flies to our northwest. And the booster came back and landed at the launch site, which was spectacular. Watch the video!

For most Vandenberg launches they take a southerly route off the California coast, and particularly for evening or night launches the booster comes into sight, climbing up over the hill to our west about a minute after launch, and then being visible through first stage shutdown and separation, second stage ignition, and first stage boostback burn, with the second stage sometimes (at night) being visible all the way to the southern horizon where it’s all the way down past Cabo San Lucas.

So today, I decided to go out, climb up on the roof so that I could get a better view, and see if I could do a Facebook Live video to show the world the glory of a Vandenberg launch as seen from the west San Fernando Valley!

That might not have worked out so well.

Yeah. So windy. I had no idea that most of the time the wind noise was drowning out every word I said.

And given that it was a day launch it was hard to see much. Given the Return To Launch Site (RTLS) nature of the launch (as opposed to landing on a drone barge at sea off the Mexican coast) I suspect this wasn’t a southernly launch. (Given the security and secrecy around this launch of an intelligence agency satellite, they won’t be confirming.)

And what you probably can’t hear (I couldn’t when I watched) is that at some point there was a loud crash behind me as the wind blew over the ladder that I had used to get up onto the roof. Oops!

Fortunately, the Long-Suffering Wife was at home and able to lift the ladder back up. All was well.

Except for the fact that we didn’t see the rocket.

Later in the year will be more Vandenberg launches. Maybe I’ll get up to see one in person this year, or maybe I’ll climb up on the roof in the wind and the dark for EXTRA excitement.

Stand by!

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Filed under Castle Willett, Space, Video

ALWAYS Make Time To Watch The ISS Fly Overhead

Life’s too damn short. It’s bad enough that we can’t watch rockets take off and land any time we want, not to mention all of that COVID and politics and other nonsense. But when you know that the ISS is flying overhead and it’s nice and clear, stop what you’re doing and go watch!

Of course, you only get to see about half of the pass when you’re out there just starting to record and the pizza guy pulls up and hands you dinner.

Priorities can be emergent and fluid. Just sayin’.

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