Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

War's a joke for me and you, 
While we know such dreams are true. 

Out there, we walked, quite friendly up to Death,---
 Sat down and ate beside him, cool and bland,---
 Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.
We've sniffed the green thick odour of his breath,---
Our eyes wept, but our courage didn't writhe.
 He's spat at us with bullets, and he's coughed
Shrapnel. We chorused if he sang aloft,
We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.

Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
 We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
No soldier's paid to kick against His powers.
We laughed,---knowing that better men would come,
And greater wars: when every fighter brags
He fights on Death, for lives; not men, for flags.

This year's Memorial Day post is all about the damage done to young men (and these days women as well) by war. So many young lives are damaged or lost to settle old, fat men's disagreements. It's time we wrote laws that make the people who disagree be the ones who have to fight it out. If that were the case, we'd have world peace overnight! As Herman Wouk had one of his characters say in his epic War and Remembrance: "Either war is finished, or we are." How true that is!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Another Gorgeous Day

I took a walk in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park today. It's drop-dead gorgeous again, and warm with low humidity with a nice breeze out of the northwest, so the walk was pleasant. I didn't take a lot of photos this time; I was mostly just enjoying the day. I saw some Baltimore Orioles but they were staying out of camera range. A lot of birds were doing that today; I heard a lot of recognizable birdsong but just couldn't see them. Here's what I did see.

A tiny snail on a large leaf in the wetland section
A Northern Bluet damselfly in the wetland
Walking on the Meadow Trail
Looking across the meadow toward Blue Mountain
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Scenes

I'm off for the weekend, and as usual this day was errands day. A little busier this time, because my uncle Tim was up visiting my Mom, and they came here for lunch. We bought Subway stuff and went over to the duck ponds picnic area in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park to have a little picnic. I finally got a chance to go grocery shopping in the afternoon, and there really wasn't a lot of time for photography, but I did manage to get the shots posted below on Baltimore Rd. near the grocery store. Enjoy!

A patch of Philadelphia Fleabane in a field near the grocery store
A view of South Mountain from Baltimore Rd.
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mugging for the Camera

I was getting supper ready this evening when I happened to look out the window to see two Bluejays at the feeder station, one foraging on the ground and the other up on the sunflower seed flat feeder. The one on the feeder saw me and started mugging for the camera. These are the best of the series of shots I got.

Yeah, I see you there behind that window.
Well, if you must... Just make sure you get my good side.
Okay, this is boring. I'm going back to eating.
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Short Visit to the Rail Trail

I took a short walk on the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail this morning, from Shippensburg University up to around the 3 mile marker. I got some pictures, but mostly I was just up there to enjoy the day. Lots of birds - the constant soundtrack was made up of the songs of House Wrens, Catbirds, and Cardinals, with generous contributions from Baltimore Orioles, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Wrens, and Wood Thrushes. I also saw most of these, as well as some Brown Thrashers, but they weren't singing, at least that I could hear. As you can see from the photos below, there were also a few wingless critters around. All in all it was a good walk. Enjoy!

An Eastern Cottontail near the beginning of the undeveloped section of the trail
A Canada Violet along the trail
A Chipmunk picking up a little late breakfast along the trail
A view across the valley from the Rail Trail with Blue Mountain in the background
Another farm in the Cumberland Valley with Blue Mountain in the background
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, May 19, 2014

What a Day!

What a drop-dead, knock-yer-eyes-out gorgeous day! Bright blue skies with fluffy white clouds, a nice breeze out of the northwest, dry air with night temps around 40º F (4.4º C) and daytime high around 70º F (21º C), with a similar forecast for tomorrow. And I have both days off! Today was errands day of the two, so I did my usual wander through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on the way to the grocery store. In the wetlands section I had two Hummingbirds zip past me and heard lots of birdsong. The upland meadow was full of Chimney Swifts and Barn Swallows swooping around, all way too fast for me to get a shot. I also saw a pair of Brown Thrashers in the brush beside the Meadow Trail, but they were very camera shy and never came out from behind the foliage for a good shot. That's okay; I still got some good shots that emphasize just how gorgeous the day has been. Enjoy!

A male Red-winged Blackbird scolding me from a tree in the Dykeman Spring wetlands
Daisy Fleabane growing in the Dykeman Spring wetlands
The entrance to a side path off the Dykeman Walking Trail
A view from the upland meadow towards Blue Mountain
The view of the meadow from the eastern end. The meadow grass is now knee high, and even taller in some spots
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May Flowers... and Ducklings!

I went walking in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park today. I'd been hoping to get some good shots of migrating Warblers, but there's a front coming with a lot of rain, and the advance of the front is kicking up some wind, so small birds were pretty much hiding in the thick leaves to stay out of the chaos. I did manage to get some shots of new Spring flowers, and then there were these two little ducklings on the shore of the north duck pond (Mama and Papa were a few feet away making sure I didn't make any threatening moves). So it was worth the walk.

Dame's Rocket along the nature trail
An unknown flowering tree; it smelled somewhat like Honeysuckle, but it obviously isn't that
Lesser Celandine growing in the park's wetlands
And here are the promised ducklings
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Misty Mountain

Two days off, and I used today to run errands. I got these shots to illustrate how South Mountain dominates the landscape here.

From Penn St.
From Baltimore Rd.
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, May 09, 2014

Advancing Spring

Another single day off, so I had limited time for photography. I got these shots in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on the way to the grocery store. The biggest surprise was all that Wild Mustard in the upland meadow. Glorious!

Common Speedwell along the nature trail
A baby Painted Turtle in the wetlands
A male Red-winged Blackbird in the wetlands
Wild Mustard in the upland meadow
A view of the upland meadow with Timber Hill in the background
Another view of the meadow
A panoramic view of the meadow taken from the east end
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Around Town

I have today off, but it's just a single, so I've been running around town on errands. These are some shots taken while doing so; as you can see, Spring is marching right along!

Dandelions brighten up God's Acre cemetery
McLean House
The creek-side cottage behind McLean House
Dogwood blossoms along King St.
A female Cardinal at my feeder
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger