Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Micropasts adventure

One year ago today I happened upon a facebook link to an article that started with this paragraph:

Ever wonder what it's like to work at one of the best natural history museums in the world? (And we're not talking about taking lessons from Ben Stiller.) Or do you really just love the fine art of transcribing documents? If so, London's renowned British Museum would like your help.

The rest is history, pardon the pun.  The link was posted on facebook on April 23, 2014 from a CBC website for the now defunct George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight tv show. It immediately piqued my interest so I clicked on the Micropasts link in the second paragraph and started contributing to transcription applications that same night.  Since that day I've spent countless hours enjoying  volunteer transcription work - helping to contribute to this worthwhile project.

Here's how this crowd-sourcing initiative is described the Micropasts site:

So, today I'm celebrating a year of time well spent and my enthusiasm hasn't waned - it's great fun and for me it's a great adventure that I can participate in from the comfort of my own home, thousands of miles away from the British Museum.

I hope you're lucky enough to find something to do with your spare time that even half as interesting as the Micropasts project.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

This weekend in birds

A pair of Toulouse Geese doing their morning yoga at Southside Park.

Sorry for the grainy shot, but this pair of Buffleheads (foreground l-r male, female) weren't inclined to come any closer to the shore at the Southside Park pond

A serene moment on the shore at Southside.

And finally, (l-r) Clarke and Lois surveying the neighbourhood while they do some housekeeping at their London nest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Adrian's awake

We actually have two Adrian Chipmunks in our backyard and both are now on the move and visiting the bird feeders again.  Here's one of the little cuties.  We call them both "Adrian" as  a salute to the TV detective "(Adrian) Monk" as played by Tony Shalhoub from 2002-2009. 

Osprey update

Geoff and I have been keeping an eye on the Osprey nest at the corner of Clarke and Fanshawe Roads in London through the winter.  The nest stayed solidly in place through all of the storms and we always thought ahead wistfully to spring when, we hoped, Lois and Clarke the nesting adults would return to raise more chicks.

Last Saturday, April 11th,, we observed the still empty nest as we drove in to London to see Woman in Gold at the movies (excellent movie, by the way).  Sadly we did see a dead juvenile Bald Eagle on the side of the road near the bridge on the section of Clarke between Huron and Fanshawe.  On our return trip we had better luck.  As we drove east on Fanshawe Road we could see the nest in the distance and I noticed that there was a bird perched in the nest.  From the distance it  was difficult to determine if it was an Osprey but as we drove up to the traffic lights at the corner the bird flew off and, sure enough, it was an Osprey!  It then joined it's mate in a leisurely flight above the adjacent field.  There's no way to know for sure if the pair are Lois and Clarke but I'm will to bet they are.

So, stay tuned for more on Osprey Nest 2015 over the coming months.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The view from here

There's a pair of Red-tailed Hawks in the neighbourhood around our office but, of late, we really haven't seen them much.  Mostly what we've seen for weeks on end has been snow, more snow and crows, lots of them.  Today we made up for the dry spell.

This morning one of the pair showed up and spent about 30 minutes on a gate near the office parking lot and I took a couple of shots.  And alerted interested co-workers that one of our feathered friends was looking for breakfast.

We were quite please with the sighting and the amount of time he or she spent so close to the building.

However, about 4:10 the cry of "there's the hawk again!" went up and we spotted it fly from one of the parking lots up to a light standard right at the edge of the building.  We couldn't believe our luck.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Jetson moment

If, like me, you're old enough to remember the Jetson's cartoons you truly appreciate the wonder of Skype, FaceTime etc.  Last night I got to FaceTime with my niece Sarah and her daughter Alenka for the first time.  Apparently Alenka things I'm pretty funny.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Our great-niece Alenka Rose Thepen, daughter of our niece Sarah Osmond and her partner Mark Thepen, was born at 8:30 am on December 31st.   At 22 inches and 11 lbs. 5 ozs. she could put on a backpack and head off to kindergarten!  Thanks go to the proud parent for the lovely photo.

I'm in love.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In Remembrance and sorrow

Thinking of the families and loved ones of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and those injured and impacted by the horrific events in Ottawa yesterday, October 22, 2014.

Click here for Rex Murphy's reflection on the day.

And listen to Peter, Paul and Mary for some hope.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Leaving home

Look who's out of the nest!  This is one of Opsrey chicks - identifiable by the light coloured tips on the feathers on it's back. Looking big and strong on a hydro tower about 500 feet away from the nest.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Renovation day at the Osprey nest

The chicks will be fledging any day now and Mom is adding new branches to the nest, with any luck, she's getting ready for next year.