Sunday, July 20, 2014

Turn Back The Pages - More Notes On Ellie Bogardus

Race for Your Life Charlie Brown poster
I received a comment on the blog Letters From France - More About Artist Ellie Bogardus from a gentleman who remembers Ellie when he was a child - his mother and her were friends. As usual, when I get a message, I make the ask for copies of her artwork. These messages are just as important as the art images I receive from patrons, because they fill in personal details of her life. I knew of the French connection through the son of her husband, but now  learn that Jean-Marie and Ellie spent time in Italy as well.

I was used to know her and her husband , the time they lived in Italy, my family still owns some of her works. Few days ago I've found some candles (quite hippy looking!) she had crafted with my mom around 1966!! Lovely person! I remember she was letting me play whit inks and colours (I was 3/4 y.o.), and also with Mammut, their dachshund I loved. Cheers!

I did a quick Google search for "Ellie Bogardus Artist," today, and came on a posting by Cima Balser: Annecy, 'Au Revoir'- Longtime Annecy attendee Cima Balser shares her memories of the festival's Golden Years. The post was from June 2008 in Animation World, a Website for... well, ...... animators, was looking back on the golden years of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Ellie's name was mentioned in the memoir.

Ellie was a background scenery artist for Charlie Brown, Garfield, and other cartoons are easily found when using her name in Web searches - her name is even cited in press kit photos that are for sale on eBay from Race for Your Life Charlie Brown. Other than colors, there seems to not be much of a resemblance between the animation art, and her art art.

Hopefully, there will soon be more art by Ellie Bogardus to reveal on-line. Maybe more to learn about the dachshund Mammut, too.

Suburban Addendum - Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush
Another bird I saw today, but hadn't identified was a Hermit Thrush. It was hanging out with the Black-billed Magpie and Northern Flicker. A little on-line exploration showed this video of this thrush singing its song - will need to pay attention. I am finally getting to see a number of new birds in this area - seems like every time a look, something new pops up. A good write-up is found here - not a typical source of specifies information.

Larger Than Life - Suburban Fort Collins Summer Birding

Black-billed Magpie
I remember the first times I drove through the northern San Joaquin Valley and saw Yellow-billed Magpie for the first time - I just knew they were magpie, never mind what species. I probably identified it with what is now an old copy of the a Peterson's Field Guide that I still have. On a work trip to Pullman, Washington a few years ago, after I started birding, I saw Black-billed Magpie on the Washington State University campus - I had looked them up and saw that the California Central Valley kind of magpie are distinct to that area, while the black-billed are found in the remainder of their range in North America. I hadn't gotten a good picture of one until this afternoon.

Cherry tree along side the ditch
A couple of weeks ago when we returned home from vacation in California, we found the remnants of cherries all over our patio. A neighbor's cherry tree was loaded with fruit, and the tree was weighted down with Common Grackle, lots of other birds, and as I could make out, Black-billed Magpie. I grabbed my camera to try to get some photo's, but the battery was dead - so much for the hunt for a first shot. The common grass way that extends from the back of our yard between a couple of neighbors' houses on both sides leads to the back of our housing development and comes to a T with the Mail Creek Ditch.
Northern Flicker
The large field further back hasn't been developed, but is posted that time will come soon. There is another large cherry tree beside the ditch, and the ecosystem back there is completely different than the space between our and our next door neighbor's house where we have our bird feeders. The times I have walked back there, all kinds of birds - small and large - are active: smallish sparrows and finches, as well as American Robin, European Starling, Western Meadowlark, Common Grackle, Black-billed Magpie, and a new one for my blog list, the Northern Flicker.

Grass hay baled from the open field
The wildlife seem tamer here, than back up the lane towards our house. They still take flight when I approach, or try to hid out deeper into the cover of the cherry tree, but the open field must give them a lot of comfort knowing they could escape unhindered in that direction. The wild and tame grasses have been made into hay following swathing, baling, and stacking along side the field, just the other side of the ditch. The haze in the air is not as pronounced today as yesterday. the tooth of Horse Tooth Mountain is clear to see today, as the sounds of the bird songs or the noise their wings make as they fly away from my camera.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Teddy Roosevelt Would Say Bully - Again

Theodore Rossevelt
A good editorial penned by Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus appeared in the Boston Globe on June 30th making the case for the Navy's need for alternative fuels. Mabus appeared earlier in the year on The Colbert Report during Fleet Week in New York City - he handled the interview well with good facts and a little humor.

There is still disagreement about the need for Navy use of biofuels, but the facts point for the need:

Each $1 increase in the price of a barrel of oil results in a $30 million bill for the Navy and Marine Corps. In 2011 and 2012 price fluctuations added an unplanned $3 billion to the Department of Defense’s fuel expenses. The potential bills from that “security premium” can mean that we will have fewer resources for maintaining and training our military.

Three Pinocchios
I think a good topics course for graduate students would be to do critical analyses of opinion pieces on merits and demerits of biofuels, and then publish their findings using a Fact Checker format as often published in the Washington Post newspaper, and give ratings as to how well the "facts" are presented.

The reality of a realized vision for a time when biofuels are priced competitively with petroleum fuels will soon be at hand. Teddy Roosevelt would say Bully - another innovation for the Navy.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Long Ways From Baltimore - Bullock's Oriole

Bullock's Oriole
Ten in-the-morning seems to be a peak time for bird activity in our backyard here in Fort Collins. We normally at church on Sunday's at 10:00 AM, but today we were sitting out on the patio sipping coffee and talking. I saw streaks of yellow flash by that were definitely not American Gold Finches, and several were burrowing into a juniper that grows between the neighbor's and our yards. I snapped several photos, but as it turned out, the auto focus keyed in on the juniper berries on the branches in the foreground. This one image, which is pretty poor, was good enough to make an identification this evening - a Bullock's Oriole. For our seven years in Maryland, we only saw one Baltimore Oriole, and that was a less-than-showy female. To see five Bullock's Orioles traveling in a pack, that was a little bit special today. I am starting to enjoy seeing some new birds here.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

O Say Can You See - Say's Phoebe

We are sitting in our kitchen having just gotten off the phone talking with our son and daughter-in-law - there is thunder in the distance with a dark sky - a slight drizzle covered the patio a little while ago - the summer monsoon season should arrive within a couple of weeks - it's a typical Front Range Saturday afternoon in July along the west edge of the Great Plains.

Say's Phoebe
Last week before taking off for a week of meetings in Nevada, Jan and I were sitting out on our patio, and I got my first picture of a bird I hadn't seen before. I shot a good number of photographs while it was perched on our next-door neighbors' house. I could see it was a bug eater by its narrow beak - like robins - but couldn't figure our what it was with my Merlin bird identification application from the Cornell Ornithology Laboratory, the only thing closely resembling it was an Orchard Oriole, but I knew it wasn't that. I sent a picture to a now retired cereal extension specialist at Kansas State University who I knew was a birder (he was really bummed out a year ago when the drought caused the wheat harvest to be moved up and that cut into his vacation time when the migratory birds make their trek from South America up through the Plains States to Canada), so sent him a shot asking for his opinion. In the meantime, I pulled out my National Geographic Guide to North American Birds, and settled on it being a Say's Phoebe. About twenty minutes later, my KSU friend replied - he thought is was one also.

I got back from Nevada yesterday evening, and today did a little poking around on the Web looking for links between a Say's Phoebe and the Great Plains. I came across a nice wildlife site posted by Michael Forsberg Conservation Photography titled, Great Plains: America's Lingering Wildlife Exhibition. There is a plein aire shot of a Say's Phoebe hovering and framed by an abandoned window frame. The Cornell Ornithology lab posts a nice background page on the Say's on their Website. If you want a little more technical information, go to the on-line journal posting here.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

After Burner - After Thought

Fourth of July sprakler
It turns out my youngest grand daughter was fearless of fireworks. She would vigorously stomp on the whippersnappers - repeatedly picking them up if not spent, and almost dancing over them like she was after some moving bug on the ground. When it came time for sparklers, again, no fear and right in the middle of things. I texted my daughter and commented, "She will be the one to go to the Naval Academy. And will be a Super Hornet pilot." Jill replied, "Totally!" In a side text conversation, my wife and daughter were exchanging comments on the same topic - my daughter figures her son will probably live with Mom and Dad - the four-year-old older brother is not at all adventuresome like his little sister.

F-18 with afterburner
It seemed like summer arrives in western Oregon the day after the Fourth of July. We had many a fireworks display with our kids bundled up in the winter coats, and the pyrotechnics viewed streaming horizontally from the device. The picture above looks like that - a strong wind blowing the sparks from a lit sparkler - kind of like the look of an engaged afterburner on a F-18.