At the park: 116

The report for last Sunday:

Box #68 hatched out — Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus). This was the box with 10 eggs on 7 March that I suspected was a carryover from last year. But 15 of the 16 eggs hatched, so it would seem the bird just got started very early this spring.

We’re watching 9 boxes with active clutches. I expect that many of them will be hatched by our next work day on 9 May.

We saw an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) carrying nesting material to the new platform, and several incidents of Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) chasing off crows.

C has reported wet chips in box #67. We’ll take a look to see whether we can improve the waterproofing for that box.

We’ll work again on 9 May and then 23 May. Depending on what we find, that might be all for the season.

The weather looks peachy this weekend! Take an hour and snap some pics for the City Nature Challenge.

I’ve seen a few exit holes, but no cicada adults yet.

I know a guy who knows a guy

I found myself reading this piece by Jack Nicas in the Style section… because words, I guess. Anyway, I’m glad that I did, because I found this candidate for pull quote of the year:

There appear to be three main men behind Astoria Enterprises, and two of them are ex-convicts.

Mr. [Ralph] Frengel, the salesman, was convicted in 1992 for stealing a $100,000 pearl necklace from a jewelry store. “It’s not as bad as it sounds,” he said.

Father forgive all of us

Coventry Cathedral keeps its doors open.

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, straight, gay, confused, well-heeled or down-at-heel. We especially welcome wailing babies and excited toddlers…. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down their throats as kids or got lost on the Ring Road and wound up here by mistake. We welcome pilgrims, tourists, seekers, doubters and you.


What a great idea: there’s a growing movement (partly imported from Japan) of sport fishing to maximize the number of species caught, rather than the size of the individuals. Anglers go after shiners and darters rather than bass and trout.

Micro-fishing, you’re using the smallest-size hook you can find at your local tackle stores, so your fly fishing hooks and things like that,” [Michael] Moore says. “And instead of casting, like you would with regular fishing, it feels really weird, but you’re usually just dangling the bait in front of fish that you can see.”

Some successful fishers have a species list that numbers in the 400s. There aren’t a lot of birders that have a list that long.

I like it

Already widely linked, and even parodied, Jonathan Franzen’s op ed piece, adapted from a commencement address, is still highly linkable. Franzen’s like/love distinction reminds me of another excellent piece from the Times, Russell Baker’s “Why Being Serious Is Hard.” (My clipping of Baker’s column has, alas, gone missing.) Baker made a similar distinction between passionate commitment to something, even to the point of looking silly (“being serious”), and merely going along with the flow (“being solemn”).

I get confused: 2

(With some help from Leta.)

  • William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies and several other books less well-remembered. No matter, he received a Booker and Nobel for his work.
  • William Goldman writes screenplays, including the magically popular The Princess Bride and the Penelope Ann Miller vehicle Year of the Comet. He is the source of the catchphrase “Nobody knows anything.”
  • James Goldman made the stage play The Lion in Winter and collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on Follies and Evening Primrose.

Still confused about the Goldmans? It’s not surprising: they’re brothers.

Some links: 42

A few weeks ago, Bas Bleu retraced the track of a bicycle trip she took across France 30 years ago, this time en voiture. I’m reading her reports completely out of order, chronologically and geographically, but I don’t think it matters. You could pick up the thread with her in Bordeaux, perhaps.