Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Oh, my gosh! Bathing Beauties

How would you like this bird bath? I was amazed at the diversity of birds at it! It was created by Dave Tiller, who lives in the woods near Iron River, Michigan. I spent a big chunk of yesterday taking pictures there, so there are a bazillion more at my bird bath gallery.

Weird weather

I drove home from Iron River, Michigan this morning, with a stop in Manitowish Waters to check out the Powell Marsh (photos later). It started out in the 70s and rose throughout the morning, and was 93 by the time I got to Ashland at about 1:45. And that's what it was in Iron River, Wisconsin, and then it started falling to the 80s. But suddenly, drawing close to Superior, it dropped to the upper 60s. And then it dropped again--drawing into Superior it was 59, and here in Duluth it's 56! That's a 37-degree drop, thanks to living on the shores of the world's largest air conditioner.

I filled up in Watersmeet, MI, on the way today, and my gas mileage when I got home (over 200 miles) was 59 mpg! Anyone who says Priuses aren't that good is just plain wrong.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Madame Jeanette

This post is not about birds. When I was in high school (class of '69), one of the popular songs being sung by high school and college choruses was "Madame Jeanette," music by Alan Murray, lyrics by Edward Lockton. I first heard the song, sung by the West Leyden Choir, at my elementary school in 1965--the high school choir performed at an assembly to sort of let us know what high school was all about. And I was blown away. Because of how exquisitely they sang that song, it was my fondest desire to get into that choir.

When I made it, I pestered Mr. Roth until he pulled out the music so we could sing it--now that I think back on it, he probably preferred to change music now and then so he didn't have to deal with the exact same songs year after year, but he kindly gave in. I loved singing it as much as I loved listening to it, but it was an a Capella arrangement with tight harmonies that a single voice just didn't do justice to, so once choir was over, that was the end of my lovely song. My sister-in-law gave me the music for it one Christmas, but that didn't work to reproduce my lovely singing experience, either.

I've so wished I had a recording of it, but now, thanks to the miracle that is Google, I just found one! This recording of Madame Jeanette is sung by the Dartmouth Glee Club, a men's rather than a mixed choir, but is lovely nonetheless. It's on the Dartmouth Class of '65 webpage.

Now I'm going to have to actually go get Stephen Jay Gould's book Bully for Brontosaurus because, also thanks to the miracle that is Google, I just learned that in it he discusses this amazing song. I read an excerpt at Google Books.

Monday, June 18, 2007

That toddlin' town

Wow--Chicago's really, and literally, humming these days! I was only four years old when the 17-year-locusts made their first appearance during my lifetime in 1956, and living in a neighborhood of the city where there were few trees, so they didn't make an impression on me. Next time, 1973, I was 21, married, living in East Lansing, so I didn't experience them then. Next time was in 1990, when I was living in Duluth. But this time I just happened to be visiting my sister in Elmhurst, to take part in the annual Relay for Life, and WHOA! They're way cuter and more innocuous than army worms, that's for sure! But also way noisier--it was almost deafening at times.

And here she is, the bravest woman I know, my sister Mary. And that is all I have to say about that.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Photon at the Wichita Mountains!

Here are highlights of the Photon Goes to Oklahoma photo gallery.
Here she's resting in our camp site.
When we got evacuated to the Environmental Education Center during a fierce storm, she had fun exploring.
Pup tent!
Our first night in the tent, she went to some lengths to pull over one of my pillows and set it up just the way she wanted by her bed. She's never done this before.

Swimming at the boat launch at Quannah Parker Lake.

Amy, the director of the Doris Campground, kindly babysat Photon one day. Photon had been very scared that I wouldn't come back. She doesn't mind being left places where she can see all my luggage--I guess I should have brought my suitcase to Amy's!

The rest of the Photon photos are here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Milwaukee book signing

Tomorrow I'll be in Milwaukee, at the Barnes and Noble Booksellers in the Mayfair Mall from 6:00 - 8:00 PM, giving a little talk and signing books. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop on by!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Audubon Center of the North Woods Birding Festival

I got home from Eagle River Friday night at 1:30, and headed up to Sandstone Saturday morning. I LOVE this birding festival--it highlights the many wonderful breeding birds up here, and the Audubon Center of the North Woods is such a wonderful spot that you never know where you're going to spot a tree frog or a cecropia moth. Great field trips and lots of programs make a well-rounded and fun weekend, and it's a guilt-free one if you love good food and lovely surroundings but want them to be produced in bird-friendly ways. Kate Crowley and Mike Link do a great job!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Cool birding day!

We went out to the Little Turtle Flowage in Manitowish Waters this morning, took a real, bona fide field trip this afternoon, and chanced upon a fawn outside the dining hall this evening. Nice day!