Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Links After Charlottesville -- "Make America Reality-based Again"

 One anti-hate organization to follow -- Note its map for locating hate group centers:

Southern Poverty Law Center

The cover story by Kurt Andersen in the September issue of the Atlantic examines the history of extreme views and alternate (un)realities in America and shows how fringe groups and phony news sources gained infrastructure and a following on the internet:

How America Lost Its Mind

Charlie Rose Interviews Kurt Andersen

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ancient Osage; Young Flycatchers

Osage trees along what was once the approach to Oakland Manor; near Lake Kittamaqundi

Young great crested flycatchers nearby

One of the parent great crested flycatchers (ruffled while preening)

Related to great crested flycatchers: eastern phoebe with fresh catch

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Recent Lake Kittamaqundi Scenes and Developments

The red-roofed building at the Lakefront is another Columbia Town Center structure which was designed by Frank Gehry. Are we going to lose it in new plans for Town Center development? It's missing in an artist's concept of the Town Center plans, replaced by a less picturesque four-story building. Below, the other Gehry-designed building at the lake was refurbished and now houses the Whole Foods supermarket and the Haven health club.

Above, Clyde's has dropped its Tomato Palace affiliate and plans to replace it with a music venue....Other views of the "red-roofed building"....

A new rain garden remedies a regularly flooded lawn on the east side. The two photos here show work in progress and almost completed.

An osprey fishes at the lake.

Above, this belted kingfisher shows the markings of a young individual probably born this year -- rufous patches sticking out from under the wings; collar of blue mixed with rufous coloring.

Nice to know that we can find butterflies of the gossamer-wing group around the lake -- this one is a gray hairstreak, spotted just yesterday during a walk in this weekend's friendly weather.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Walk in the Park: Guilford Downs, Thunder Hill

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk

Earlier this week, I made another visit to one of Columbia's Open Space areas in the Thunder Hill neighborhood. Some maps indicate it as Guilford Downs, and it is labeled with that name as a hotspot on eBird. (A 2008 edition of the ADC map book for Howard County indicates a Guilford Downs neighborhood adjacent to Thunder Hill but on the other side of Route 29.) It's a beautiful park with a variety of wildlife habitats. On a previous walk, I heard wood thrush and eastern wood pewee and saw a pair of great crested flycatchers, all species that thrive in a generous patch of woods like what this park offers. The pond here is very small but picturesque, attracting lots of dragonflies and butterflies and supporting marsh and water-loving birds like green herons and red-winged blackbirds, and there is at least one good-sized snapping turtle in residence.

For visitors from outside the Thunder Hill area like myself, I've found it best to park at the Thunder Hill Neighborhood Center on the corner of Thunder Hill Road and Log Chain Road, then walk southward on the path system starting from near the community pool. A pizza place at the center might be a good stop for lunch in a future visit.

On this walk, as everywhere else at this time of year, recently fledged birds were a feature in the bird-watching. I have indicated young and adult birds in my photo captions.

Young Red-bellied Woodpecker

Green Heron -- immature to adult? -- at the small pond in the park

Another Green Heron at the Pond -- heavy streaking indicates a younger bird born this year

Young Cardinals

American Robin, Adult Male, Bathes in a Stream

In a Stream at the South End of the Park (with litter, sadly)

Monday, July 24, 2017

July Around Lake Kittamaqundi

Northern Rough-winged Swallows

Northern Rough-winged Swallows -- probable family group

Great Blue Heron at the Lakefront

Barn Swallows and Water Weed Mower

Barn Swallows

Least Skipper

Spicebush Swallowtail

An Uncommon Cloudless Sulphur Tries its Luck on Begonias at the Lakefront

Oakland Manor

Tiger Swallowtail on Bottlebrush Buckeye, Oakland Manor

American Lady on Mountain Mint, Oakland Manor

Across Little Patuxent River next to the Lake

The Woods at East End of Route 29 Pedestrian Bridge

Sachem (another skipper species) on Black-eyed Susan

Red Admiral


Mallards -- The males are in summer eclipse plumage, almost indistinguishable from females.

Female Tiger Swallowtail, Dark Form