Saturday, August 12, 2017

Surprise! Suprise! Surprise!

Lots of interesting stuff happening around here this week.

First was a surprise visit from a Eurasian species of bird: a White-winged Tern. Seldom seen in North America this little guy showed up in a small lake over near Wellsboro on Thursday morning. It was identified by members of the Tiadaghton Audubon Society and was confirmed by some folks from Cornell. It helped that the person, Rich Hanlon, reporting it to Cornell had pictures--and is the minister of the Wellsboro Methodist Church. The two folks with him are among the top birders in Tioga County according to eBird.

As one might expect from the appearance of such a rarity, folks are flocking in from all over to get a glimpse of this super cooperative bird. This morning there was one guy who had flown from Texas to Philadelphia and rented a car to drive out here just to see the bird. There have been folks from Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey and New York (Long Island and West Point area so they weren't just hopping over the state line). Even folks from PA drove from Pittsburgh and Philly area just to add this bird to their life lists. TV news crews and the local newspaper showed up and did  interviews with Rich Hanlon and some of the birders.

I've been over to look at the birds and to meet and talk to some of the visitors  a couple of times--Friday afternoon and again this morning. I might go back tomorrow morning to see if it's still here. Rich Hanlon will, of course, be occupied elsewhere. ;-)

White-winged Tern at Nessmuk Lake, 2017_08_11
My second surprise was finding another yellow jackets' nest. Remember the nest I said was under the cover to the septic tank? I thought I might have to wait until we had some cold weather to take care of that nest, but when I got back from Quebec, I found something--probably a bear--had shoved the cover aside enough to reach in and rip out the wasps' nest. The paper from the nest was torn apart and there was precious little left. I watched the area just in case and saw only one or two bees flying around. Nothing special--or threatening. Today I went out to cut the grass and even pushed the cover back into place without raising any wasps.

HOWEVER, as I was cutting the grass I happened to glance up at the awning of our travel trailer. A small stain on the white of the one awning drew my attention and that's when I saw it--and them.

The damn wasps have built a paper nest between the two awnings not far from the door of the trailer. It's above the white awning for the kitchen bump out and below the black awning that would create a shaded patio.
Wasp nest between the awnings

One of the b*st*rds exiting the nest.

*Sigh* I guess I'll have to get out there with some spray after dark when every bee should be home. I'll soak it good with Spectricide from a safe distance and hope for the best. Then, when the spray has worked overnight, I'll hit it again. THEN I'll knock that bad boy down using the garden hose.


Third: While cutting the lawn, I noticed the sky was darkening a bit but thought little of it--until I ran out of gas when I was about 5/6ths done (just the area behind the house to do--maybe 10' x 40'). That's when I heard the rumble of thunder off in the distance. There wasn't much of a breeze and I could barely make out any movement in the clouds overhead, still, I figured, I had better hurry up and finish! And so I refueled the mower and proceeded to double-time my efforts.

Just as I finished and was putting the mower into the shed, the first drops fell. They were soon followed by more and more and even more. As I sat and watched on the covered porch, the sky opened up and torrents of rain fell straight down while thunder pealed about two mile away. (See the lightening flash. Count "one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two...." If you get to one-thousand-five and then hear the thunder, the storm is about one mile away.)

This lasted just about 30 minutes and then, suddenly, it stopped as if someone had turned off the faucet. And the sun came out. I'm sure someone, somewhere got to see a beautiful rainbow. Unfortunately, it wasn't me. Too many trees--and a mountain--in the way.


Four: Terry has gone south for the week. She'll be attending an EGA Seminar down in Ashville, North Carolina, right after she goes and visits her cousin in Columbia, South Carolina. So it's just me and the cats (four indoors and four outdoors) for the week.


That is all. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and don't forget to look skyward tonight for the Perseid Meteor Shower. It's supposed to be a good one and the moon won't rise until after 11 PM.

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