At the park: 111

First time back in Huntley Meadows Park since mid-March. The parking lot was already hopping by 07:30. The big Red Maple by the “phoebe bridge” came down. I chatted with P.J., who was working an improvised contact station at the boardwalk entrance. No nest box work today, just birds and botany. Not much happening out on the water, but I still listed 25 bird species. Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza sp.) has already gone to fruit. The summer bloomers are popping open: Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) and Purple Milkweed (Ascleapias purpurascens) with its non-exserted horns. I keyed out Enchanter’s Nightshade (Circaea canadensis) and Fringed Loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata).

Ready for another GoToMeeting

maximum isolation coifAt my desk away from my desk, 12 weeks since we started working remotely full-time. I’ve added a larger work table, a second monitor, and a rolling desk chair since I moved in. The overhead lighting is actually flattering in this case. But that’s the end of the shaggy hair: hair salons in Montgomery County reopened this week.

What’s that I hear?

Antonio de Luca, Dave Taft and Umi Syam have assembled a very good primer on birds that you might see in the New York metro (or any eastern city, for that matter). The integration of Donald Kroodsma’s sonograms with the audio playback is a great touch, especially for those of us who really haven’t learned how to use sonograms effectively.

And anyone who reminds us,

And as for that iconic cry: As impressive as bald eagles look, their high-pitched chirps can be underwhelming. When an eagle cries in a car commercial or a cowboy movie, you’re probably hearing the dubbed scream of a red-tailed hawk.

has won my heart.

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.

Mason Neck State Park

I had a quite pleasant out-and-back walk in Mason Neck State Park along the Dogue and Meadow View Trails: about 3 miles in 3:00. A little muggy, but ample shade in woods of beech and holly. I (mostly heard) detected 25 of our usual species, with visuals on Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) and Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) (seen but not heard?!). At the observation mini-tower at the (more or less recently) restored wet meadow, I heard (just once!) a King Rail (Rallus elegans).

I pulled a recording of what must be amphibian activity, but I can’t pin it down.

It’s always nice to stop for some cloud ears. The Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) in this woods is very white, showing not much pink at all. This is the first time I slowed down to look at the flowers of American Holly (Ilex opaca).

Some assembly required

A Fairfax Master Naturalists project that I could work from my desk: I cleaned up the automated transcription of a video presentation on climate change, presented by Rachel Licker to Master Naturalists in 2014. Dr. Licker speaks softly, and the AI performing the transcription often made a hash of things. My favorite machine blunder was pursue potations for precipitation, followed closely by 4 percent the patients for for precipitation.

Don’t worry

Yes, Asian Giant Hornets are big and scary, but they’re not here in the mid-Atlantic, and present no cause for alarm.

Toni Burnham, the president of the D.C. Bee Keepers Alliance, says that, actually, “everyone should chill the hell out.”

* * *

While the murder hornet concerns may be less irrational than calls over putting toxic chemicals into a human body, Burnham says bee experts and entomologists in Washington are on the case, and that there’s no reason for those in the region to worry.

“Let [Washington state] handle it, and everyone calm down,” Burnham says. “Have a beer.”

Chain

Voice actor Jan Johns nailed it:

Artists spend so much time alone to create. But then the goal is to collaborate and connect and to finally be in that room with the other artists and creators to be able to come up with something together. And that is the joy of it.