Thursday, September 30, 2010

Theme Thursday - Fence

Well, this was an easy one for me. Newport is full of interesting decorative fences, and enough are within easy reach for them to be the focus of my morning walk. So here are some fences along my usual routes.

Along Dearborn St.

Marble House, Bellevue Ave.

The Flower Cottage, Bellevue Ave.

Music video time! Of course, the first thing that popped into my head when I saw the theme was Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In". And my favorite version is the late great Ella Fitzgerald's!

And here's the trailer for one of my favorite movies: Rabbit-Proof Fence. It's about the government program in Australia in the first half of the 20th Century to take mixed-race children - half Aborigine and half white - away from their Aboriginal mothers and place them in a school to bring them up to be servants to white Australians. They became known as the "Stolen Generation", and the movie is based on the memoirs of one of those stolen children. I first learned of it through Peter Gabriel's website; he composed the score to the movie. By all means find out if your public library has a copy of this; it's well worth watching!

Don't forget to take a look at the other Theme Thursday entries this week!

Photos & text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Morning Walk

I was down in the wharf area below Memorial Blvd. again. There's always something scenic on the wharves!

A boat docked at Brown & Howard Wharf

Lulu's Gifts & Antiques on Lee's Wharf. I've always paused and admired this storefront; this time I paused and shot!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Theme Thursday - Stretch

A tad late, I know. But I didn't get an idea for this until this morning, when I was looking at the pictures I took on Sunday again.

Great Egret youngsters squabbling amongst themselves. The stretch their necks and croak at each other.

Only one video this time. It immediately popped into my head when I saw what the theme would be. Yup, Kate Bush's "Rubberband Girl". Gotta love it!

Don't forget to visit the other Theme Thursday entries.

Photo & text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Gloomy Day at the Beach

Yesterday slowly but surely clouded over, and we got some fairly heavy rain in the overnight. Today has been solid overcast with some drizzle and mist. And of course my thoughts went right to Easton's Beach, which can really have a lot of character on a gloomy day. So I stopped by on my way to do some errands.

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Constitutional

Today's walk photos concentrate on Gooseneck Cove and the salt marsh at Hazard Rd. Mama Gaia has had her paint brush out and has begun to decorate the Cove for Autumn.

And of course there were birds. The first I saw was this immature Double-crested Cormorant, who let me get within 5 feet of it. It was nervous at first and shuffled its feet, but settled down when I made no threatening moves. After a while it actually started making "feed me Mommy!" moves, spreading its wings a little, shuffling its feet, and opening its beak. Obviously I had no fish to give it. When I saw some Mullet break the surface a little later I pointed and said, "There's food, dummy. Go get it!" Believe it or not, it looked where I was pointing, walked off the rock into the water, and swam in the general direction and dove. You just never know!

There were a lot of Egrets around. On the flats to the east of the road I counted 12 Great Egrets and 5 Snowy Egrets. Here are two shots - the top one a group shot of a bunch together, and the bottom a shot of a single bird to emphasize the salt marsh's first blush of Fall color.

But the coup of the day was the fact that I was able to get some decent shots of one of the Belted Kingfishers who hang out at the Cove. There were two there today, a male and a female, but it's the female who tends to hang around the area of Hazard Rd.; the male tends to hang out down around where the dam used to be up from the Green Bridge on Ocean Drive. I got two usable shots of the female on both of her preferred perches - on the Osprey platform on the flats and on a wooden split rail fence down at the bottom end of the flats. I've been trying for years to get a decent shot of these people-shy birds who never sit still. Success at last!

And that's my Sunday constitutional!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Just one image from this morning's stroll - the outdoor dining area of Asterisk, a restaurant on lower Thames St. The color scheme has always fascinated me!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Gray Morning

Today's morning walk was a tad gloomy - overcast and some fog. I went up to the area known as the Point, largely populated with some of Newport's oldest colonial-era houses and overlooking the upper harbor, Narragansett Bay, and the Newport Bridge.

The view from Battery Park

A backyard wishing well along Bridge St.

The "secret garden" at Bridge and Second Streets

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Morning Walk by the Harbor

I took a walk down lower Thames St. this morning before heading in to work. I figure I get up at 6 every morning (no alarm, I just naturally wake up between 5:30 and 6:00) and it only takes me 2 hours (or less) to get fed and ready and my morning emails and blog-reading done, so I might as well make the hour and a half I have left useful. So this morning I did a brief harbor walk.

M/Y High Tea, a classic 1930s motor yacht.

High and dry! It was the name of the boat that caught my attention.

Firehouse Pizza, a Newport institution. Their pizza's nothing special; it's the funky (and beery) ambiance that has made it legend in the memories of college students past and present (at least, for those who have any memory left after all the beer).

And just around the corner and a whole world away, the entrance to the Ida Lewis Yacht Club.

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumnal Equinox

Miantonomi Park, 11/21/2007

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.
- Edwin Way Teale

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." - George Eliot

"Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?" - Hal Borland

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe;
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruit and flowers.
- William Blake, To Autumn, 1783

Photo © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Potpourri

Today was errands day, so there was no grand trek or anything. You got that yesterday. Since I didn't have any bird photos from the bird walk yesterday, I thought I'd make up for that by posting some bird shots from Gooseneck Cove that I'd shot earlier and for some reason hadn't posted yet. These guys tend to be the dominant sight in the Cove in the Summer months - a Great Blue Heron (left) and a Great Egret (right).

Meanwhile, today while running around on errands, I decided to pop down to Ruggles Ave. again. The surf is still up and I wanted to see if any of the gang was out on the waves. Yeah, I know it's Monday, but a lot of the surfing crew are self-employed carpenters, house painters, fishermen, etc., who make their own work schedules and seem to magically show up when the waves get high. And those who are working for somebody else try to pop down on their lunch hour if the surf warrants it.

Today there were only about four guys out there, and three of them left the water soon after I got there. The one guy left just sat there on his board gazing out to sea, riding over waves that anybody else would have hopped on. I waited, and waited, and waited... After about 15 minutes of watching this guy just sit there, almost exactly on the stroke of noon he hopped on a wave and rode it in to shore. It was a long ride, and I got about 5 shots of him coming in, but this one works the best.

While waiting for this surfer to get on the ball and jump on a wave, I got some shots of some of the good waves he turned down. They make a nice dramatic finish for today's post!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Today was bird walk Sunday, and we did see some great stuff today - a Sharp-shinned Hawk trying to get a Kildeer over water, Ospreys catching fish, immature Little Blue Herons chasing each other with crests raised, and a Black-bellied Plover and three Solitary Sandpipers in the salt marsh behind Third Beach. But when we got to Brenton Point and saw what the ocean was doing. I knew my next stop was going to have to be Ruggles Ave.

What we're seeing is the effects of Hurricane Igor, about to descend on Bermuda. Hurricanes out to sea off the East Coast, especially those fairly far off the coast, create good surf here. The interesting thing is that we had a high surf advisory up all day Friday and until 6 PM Saturday, and nothing happened. But today the surf was up! It's not been a good year for decent surf, and 2009, except for the big 20-footers kicked up by Hurricane Bill being offshore in August of that year, wasn't much better, so the surfing community has been aching for some decent waves. We got 'em today; granted, they weren't Bill's 20-footers, but they were consistently around 6 - 10 feet high and had some push to them. I kid you not, I saw guys literally running down the ramp at Ruggles Ave. to get in the water.

So now, without further ado, surfing off Ruggles Ave. At last!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Theme Thursday - Reveal

In close-up mode Mama Gaia reveals her secrets.

Orchard Orb-weaver Spider, Leucauge venusta

A Milkweed floret

A Purple Coneflower with visitors

A Ladybug climbing around in some Water Hemlock

Videos were a little tough for this one. I couldn't find any songs dealing with revealing, and couldn't think of any that might be at least related to the subject, so I went in a different direction - I picked songs that reflected some of the stuff in the photos used. I started off withthat beautiful Orchrd Orb-weaver, and the first song that occurred to me was "Itsy Bitsy Spider", but I refuse to inflict that particular earworm on you guys. My second thought was a classic - John Entwhistle's "Boris the Spider". Here it is, performed by him and his mates, The Who, in concert in Toronto in 1982:

Now, if you look closely at that picture of the Purple Coneflower you'll notice the little critter on the left side of the central cone, looking like it's about to climb up. You got it! An Inchworm! Which immediately brought to mind the Danny Kaye classic "Inchworm", from the 1952 movie Hans Christian Andersen. Here he is performing it with the Muppets on a 1978 episode of The Muppet Show. (Please excuse the lengthy tag on the end; I couldn't find a shorter clip with just the song.)

Please note: The people who run the Theme Thursday prompt have changed the format somewhat. Now the theme is announced on Thursday, and participants have until the following Wednesday to come up with a post based on the theme. Seems a bit awkward not showing up right on Thursday, but it gives us more time to come up with something, I guess.

Photos & text © 2007, 2008, & 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, September 17, 2010

Puddle Fun

It rained hard overnight. I tried to get some shots of wet Belgian Block streets with puddles, but this Cardinal taking a bath in a puddle stole the show for the day.

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Après moi le déluge

Today was the first day of the annual Newport International Boat Show. It was busy but not yet crowded this morning, but by Saturday morning you won't be able to see the streets for the feet walking on them.

And an added little treat... Last night I watched Pirate Radio (in its American release; in its UK release it was called The Boat That Rocked); my public library has a copy of the DVD, and whenever it shows up on the shelf I snag it. I love that movie! If like me you were listening to lots of music back in 1966 and '67, then you'd recognize all of the music in this movie: The Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks, Smokey Robinson, Otis Redding, the Who, The Box Tops, Dusty Springfield... The story is fictional, but it's based on a real situation: despite the rock explosion of the mid '60s, especially in Great Britain, the BBC was stupid enough to ban the music from its airwaves. So entrepreneurial souls anchored boats on the North Sea and broadcast rock and pop music to the eager listening public of the British Isles. It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, and Kenneth Branagh. My favorite clip from the DVD wasn't part of the released movie, but writer/director Richard Curtis loved it so much that it's the centerpiece of his deleted scenes extra feature. And I found the whole clip on YouTube. So listen and watch as Rhys Ifans as super dj Gavin Cavanaugh explains how rock & roll makes sense of a crazy world!

Yup! That says it all for me. I think I need to go listen to some Kinks now!

Photos & text © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On the Beach

I stopped by Easton's Beach while running errands this morning.


Remains of the Feast


© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Seasonal Note

This past weekend I updated all my calendars for sale on to 2011. So if you want to get those next year's calendars in a timely manner, please visit. They've improved the browsing experience since last year,and the preview function is really excellent now, so you get a better look at the pictures.

Bird Portraits

And don't forget my Winter Solstice/Christmas/Yule photo book - On a Cold Winter's Night - Images of Yule. The Winter holiday season isn't far off, and this would make a great gift, or maybe a little festive cheer of your own on your coffee table.

Okay, sales pitch over! You may now return to your regular programming.

© 2009 & 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger