Sunday, April 17, 2005

Great Horned Owl Nest

Three posts in a month is a lot for me, so three in a weekend is easily a record. My wife works for a wildlife adventure travel company and is really into animals. The baby foxes next door were a big treat, and during the progressive dinner last night, a neighbor mentioned a great horned owl nest within walking distance ... so we ambled over there this evening with the boys. Wildlife is often hard to see, but the nest was fairly obvious as can be seen in the first picture below. In the second picture, you can see a parent above the nest, with two babies below it - one in particular is checking us out - be sure to click on the picture to see a larger image. Great horned owls can be over two feet long and they sure looked big through the binocs. I shot these with a Sony F828 digicam using the full 200mm telephoto - I needed about 2-3x that to really get in tight.
Update: Added (with permission) an impressive (different) owl picture shot by Paul Beiser - click on it for a larger image. Shot with a Nikon D2X with 300mm F/4 and 1.4x TC14 II tele-converter using mirror pre-release and 2 second self-timer to minimize vibrations - check out more Paul Pictures.
2010 Update: After some Red-Tailed Hawks took over, the Great Horned Owls returned to the nest - perhaps the next generation?!? ;-)

The Biggest Martini

Our neighborhood has an annual progressive dinner, which is a ton of fun. 58 people signed up this year, and we start at two houses for appetizers, then 8-10 people per house for dinner (the Bickels did an awesome New Orleans theme for our group), and then a final house for desserts. We hosted the appetizers, and since I have a lot of christmas lights, I was able to spare a few from my basement (since it's off-season ;-) to make a martini glass in the front lawn. For those wondering, it is 14' tall with a 6' base. The top is 10' across and 5' deep (130.9 cubic feet) which means it would be a 1,000 gallon martini! The olive is 18" in diameter and the swizzle stick is 8' long - gotta be the biggest martini ever ... Hulk-sized!

Was a heck of a lot of fun last night and nice to catch up with people we haven't seen for a while, plus meet some new folks. Perhaps not surprising, a number of folks talked to me about my christmas hoax and they hope that I'll continue my christmas spirit. It certainly would be possible to do the internet controlled christmas lights/webcam for real ... although remains to be seen if anyone would believe it! ;-)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A dinosaur ... and my boys

Craig Newmark (from CraigsList) "allows himself to pontificate" from time to time on his blog and it's an interesting mish-mash of stuff. He posted a picture of a dinosaur while speaking at the CU World Affairs Conference. I've lived in Boulder for over 15 years, but hadn't seen memorable display, and since my two boys like dinosaurs, I asked Craig where this was. He was nice enough to write back, and my friend Art Smoot help provide more info about the CU Paleobiology/Geology Museum. So after Dirk's soccer game this morning, we wondered over there to check it out. Dirk and Kyle thought the Triceratops was pretty cool, but didn't think too much of the rock collection.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Foxy Neighbors!

As widely reported in the national news, Colorado got a bit of snow this wekend that shut down the roads and the airport for a day. But this 1-2 foot dump of snow was a typical Spring snowstorm, and believe it or not, was basically all gone less than 2 days later as sunny skies and 60° weather followed. For those wildlife fans out there, many animals blend into the surrounding grass,, but with the white snow, they are a bit easier to see. We see foxes periodically go through your backyard, but this time, we noticed a new family of foxes next door playing in the new snow. We have counted at least 7 Kits (including two that are noticeably smaller (younger?) than the other 5) and, as expected, they are most active in the morning and evening hours. Mom and Dad show up periodically, often bringing home some ... uhhhh ... food. The first two pictures were in the morning, but notice how fast the snow has melted 4 hours later.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Christmas Lights Webcam/Webcontrol for REAL - will anyone believe it?

My christmas webcam (where people on the Internet could turn my lights on and off) was a huge hit in 2004, even though I finally had to disclose it was fun little christmas hoax. Bazillions of people seemed to enjoy that aspect even more and in the first 3 months of the year, many have written asking how will I top this? So with it being April 1st, I'm considering doing it for real in christmas 2005 - i.e. people on the Internet really will be able to turn my thousands of christmas lights on and off via the Internet - do you think anyone will believe it?!?