Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Over And Under The Bridge

 I recently watched a program on the History channel called "The Men Who Built America". One of the segments was a dramatization about the enormous challenge of building the Eads Bridge . The Eads bridge which was completed in 1874 was over a mile long and made almost entirely of steel. That was a huge accomplishment at the time!

  It gave me a new appreciation of our own bridge here in Portland. The Arrigoni Bridge (above photo) crosses over the Connecticut River connecting Portland with the city of Middletown. It was completed in 1938 and was voted as the most beautiful steel bridge that year. I'm guessing that I've crossed this bridge over 20,000 times in my lifetime so I can only imagine how many cars, bikes, and pedestrians have traveled across this bridge since it was built.
A walk across the bridge you walk across the bridge gives you views of areas that are otherwise hidden from view like this old railroad line which I believe is still used on occasion. I wonder what the trains and buildings in this area looked like when they were new?
This is a view of Saint John's cemetery and church from the other side of the bridge.
This is an old structure below the bridge in Middletown. I'm wondering what is it and what happened to it?
 I took a walk over to the site of the old Middletown landfill. I don't think we used the word landfill back then, it was just a dump. They would just bury trash under a mound of dirt. Since the dump was closed that mound of trash has reverted back to habitat which is appealing to some birds. I found this Red-tailed Hawk perched on a pole there the other day.
On the other side of the bridge there's a road that leads you past oil holding tanks and the old Brownstone Quarries.  A walk over and under the bridge is like a living museum with local examples of history and industry.
 There's a nice little park along the river in Portland not far from the bridge. That's where  I found a flock of  Dark-eyed Juncos. I  spent a few minutes trying to get a picture of one. I think they have a nice, clean look about them.

When I saw this ship sailing by I wondered if all my daydreaming about history might have caused me to time travel or if I was having some sort of hallucination. This ship looks like something from the 1600's.  I sent my photo to Mathew who has a blog called Soundbounder.  He has a lot of knowledge about Long Island Sound and the ships in the area. It turns out that it a replica of a ship sailed by Henry Hudson in 1609. You can read more about this ship in this article from the Soundbounder Blog.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Used Up My Free 1GB For Photos On Picassa!

I was getting ready to upload a post and wanted to add one more picture when a warning came up that told me I had used up my free 1GB of space on Picassa. I've been blogging since 2006 and this is the first time I've encountered this problem. I found out that if you re-size your photos to 800 pixels it won't be applied to your 1gb limit but I'm not sure if that will affect the image quality. I tested one photo and it looked okay. I have a few questions for anyone who has experience with this situation.

1) If I re-size images to 800 pixels will the pictures still look okay on the blog at the x-large setting?

2) What is a safe way to free up space?

3) If I delete my old blog posts will that free up space?

4) Is there any easy way to re-size images that I've already uploaded?

 I wouldn't mind paying the yearly fee to add space but if they are unable to automatically renew your plan because of a change in credit cards you won't be able to go back to your original plan (whatever that is).

I'd hate to stop blogging because of this issue. Any advice would be helpful. -thanks-Larry

Monday, November 19, 2012

Early Christmas Crossbill Gift From Canada

The forecast for a winter finch irruption this year has been accurate so far. This Fall I've seen dozens of Pine Siskins and Purple Finches. On Saturday,  I had a close up look at dozens of White-winged and Red Crossbills at Hammonasset State Park. The top photo shows the male and female White-winged Crossbills.
The crossed bill on these birds allows them to extract seeds from  pine cones.
Sometimes they seem to argue over cones like kids arguing over a bag of potato chips.
I had a little more difficulty getting close to these Red Crossbills.They would suddenly take off then circle around a few times before landing in a tree again. There are several different types of Red Crossbills which care best distinguished by analysis of tape-recorded flight calls. That's not something I'll be trying any time soon.

It's nice to have the crossbills visiting Connecticut this winter. It seems they are running low on food sources up north. Those crafty Canadians must have used up all the pine cones making decorative baskets!
click to play -click right corner for full screen

Monday, November 12, 2012

Where's A Safe Place For Deer To Hang Out?

I did a double take when I recently found several deer roaming about in a cemetery in the Middletown, Connecticut.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New Birding Movie, Comets, and Winter Finches

I'm passing along a couple of links from other blogs which had some interesting information.

1) New Birding Movie-The first one is from the Kaufman Blog. A new birding movie titled: "A Birder's Guide To Everything" (IMDB website) is coming out in 2013 starring Ben Kingsley. I have a feeling I might enjoy this movie because it isn't being over hyped the way The Big Year was. Here is a sizzle reel from Vimeo. I first learned about the movie on the Birding with Kenn & Kimberly blog.

The next two links are articles written by Patrick Comins for

2) Comet may be brighter than originally expected in March 2013  (Note that there is an even brighter comet expected in November 2013!)

3) Winter Finch Warning in Effect for All of New England
It looks like winter birding should be exciting this winter in Connecticut! I've already been seeing lots of siskins, Purple Finches and Red-breasted Nuthatches.

Fooled By Piping Plover Bumper Sticker!

 I stopped by a local patch the other day to survey the birds but noticed that the parking lot was full of vehicles for hunters so decided to come back on another day. I was surprised to see what looked like an I Love Piping Plovers( marking seem a bit off?) bumper sticker on the truck but was brought back to reality when I took a closer look. I'm guessing this sticker was made for people who feel inconvenienced by areas of shoreline being closed off to protect  Piping Plovers during nesting season. I agree with protecting Piping Plovers but wonder if stopping and reversing development along shorelines might be a better long term solution.