Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Walk in the Park, with Birds

I had a two hour gap between errands this morning, so I decided to pop over to the Dykeman Spring Nature Park. It's another mild, Spring-like day here, and there was plenty of avian activity - lots of Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Grackles, and Red-winged Blackbirds about. I managed to catch a male Cardinal keeping a wary eye on me from way up in a tree, but the prize find of the day was a male Red-bellied Woodpecker making a nest hole up in another tree. Come with me and I'll show you today's sights.

A view of the Dykeman Spring wetland with the new bridge in the background
A pair of Mallards in the creek
A view of the creek looking north from the new bridge
A male Red-bellied Woodpecker making a nest for his lady love and future children
A male Northern Cardinal giving me the wary eye
© 2017 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Bach - Quinquagesima Sunday

South Mountain, Shippensburg, PA
Today is Quinquagesima Sunday, the Sunday before the start of Lent. Bach wrote 4 cantatas for this Sunday in the liturgical calendar: BWV 22, Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, 1723, one of two cantatas composed as his "audition" for the post of Kantor at St. Thomas' in Leipzig; BWV 23, Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sons, the second composed for that Leipzig audition; BWV 127, Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott, 1725, a chorale cantata; and BWV 159, Sehet! wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem, 1729, a solo cantata. Enjoy!

Photo © 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Turkles! And a New Bridge

I've photographed this particular scene many times over the last 5 years, so look closely. What's different about this photo? Yup, that's a brand new bridge on the right. And what's missing? The massive Norway Maple that used to be behind the bridge. That Maple has been dead longer than I've lived here, and I'd always been more than a little paranoid walking under it. Well, a couple of months ago it came down in one of the big wind storms we've been having this past Winter, and shattered the bridge as it came down. Now they've finally cleared out the remains of the fallen tree and built a new bridge. I'm predicting that within the next month the Boy Scouts will come and paint the bridge red.

This was what greeted me as I walked through the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on my way to the grocery store this morning. We're having some unseasonably warm weather this week, and it's gotten into the 70s (21º - 26º C) yesterday and today; it's February and I've been sleeping with the windows open! In any case, I wanted to see how the warm weather was affecting the park, and I got an eyeful. There were Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds everywhere, chip-chipping at me as I walked along the trail in the wetland. Unfortunately none of them would sit still in camera range. But surprise, surprise! Something I didn't expect was a bunch of Painted Turtles in various parts of the wetland out sunning themselves. Below are shots of 3 of the 5 I saw on my walk. Enjoy!

A closer view of the new bridge
The view north toward the red bridge. This view was previously blocked by the massive Maple that blew down.
Two Painted Turtles sunning in the bog pond next to the north duck pond
A Painted Turtle sunning on a rock in the north duck pond
© 2017 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It's Been a While

I haven't visited the Spring Hill Cemetery in a while, so I went up there this morning. I've taken a lot of pictures there, so today I went for an aimless ramble and waited for something to catch my eye. And what did grab my attention were two graves for infants and an excellent example of Art Deco carving. The infant graves were similar in shape but different in carving, and that leaves me to believe that a granite cube topped with a lamb was the area standard for infant deaths. The gravestone for Alonza, Maudie, and Jessie, children of George and Emma Wallace is considerably older than that of C. Gregory Ott, which is dated 1951. The Wallace stone is considerably older, given the wear and the style of lettering; plus the only references to a George and Emma Wallace I could find in the public record pointed to the 1890s, which fits with the lettering style. But the similarity of the style of the stones themselves suggests that this was a standard template for children's graves. And I chose George W. Cramer's stone because of the Art Deco design and lettering style; I'm such a sucker for Art Deco!

© 2017 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Bach - Sexagesima Sunday

Today is Sexagesima Sunday, the second Sunday before Lent. Bach wrote three cantatas for this occasion: BWV 18, Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt (1713 - 1714), with an interesting introductory sinfonia; BWV 181, Leichtgesinnte Flattergeister (1724), a solo cantata; and BWV 126, Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort (1725), a magnificent chorale cantata. Enjoy!

Photo © 2013 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Kitchen Cupboards

It's a warm, sunny, Spring-like day out today, and it's also the weekend of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, and I went out to get shots of birds in their natural setting. Unfortunately, while the weather is Spring-like the landscape is still Winter dull and bleak. And the birds were fleeing my camera, hopping around and hiding in the underbrush. So no luck outdoors.

When I got home I went to make lunch, and when I opened one of my cupboard doors I thought that maybe my cupboards would make a good photographic subject. And by golly they do!

And this song was running in my head while I was shooting these and putting this post together. It's called "Julia's Cupboards" by a group called Bungarra from Western Australia back in the '70s. My friend Kate Daniels, from the same area, sent me about 5 songs by Bungarra 10 or so years ago; she used to hang out with these people and was around when they made their one and only recording, which included this song. I've always loved this little folk gem, a husband's love song to his wife.

Photos © 2017 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Bach - Septuagesima Sunday

Today is Septuagesima Sunday, the third Sunday before Lent, which begins the pre-Lenten season known as Shrovetide. Bach wrote three cantatas for this Sunday - BWV 144, Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin (1724); a chorale cantata BWV 92, Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn (1725); and a beautiful gem of a solo cantata for soprano, BWV 84, Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke (1727). Enjoy!

Photo © 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Birding on Burd Run

I went out to the Burd Run Riparian Restoration park this morning intending to get shots of the creek in a route that started at the park and then went on to Fogelsanger Rd. to get some shots of barns and cows. But right at the beginning two little guys stole the show. Right as I arrived at the park a male Eastern Bluebird flew into a tree just in front of me, landed on a branch, and proceeded to pose and invite photos. How could I resist? And farther along, following the creek-side trail in the park, I came across a White-throated Sparrow feasting on some fallen Staghorn Sumac, so concentrated on eating that he totally ignored me, allowing for a lengthy shoot. I still followed the route and got shots of the creek and barns and cows, but these two little guys didn't give any other shots a chance at all of making it to this blog. So without further ado, here are the two stars of the day!

© 2017 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Thursday, February 09, 2017


We finally got a decent snow, only about 4" (10 cm) but it was wet and stuck to everything, turning all the areas with trees into magical landscapes of fine, shimmering lace. And of course I went out with the camera to try to capture it, starting with a shot of Branch Creek at King St. by McLean House and then moving on to the Dykeman Spring Nature Park.

© 2017 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Wetland In Winter

Scenes from a walk in the Dykeman Spring wetland this morning. Hopefully this will look entirely different this time tomorrow; we're supposed to get 5" - 8" (13cm - 20cm) of snow overnight. And you know I'll be back here with the camera tomorrow!

© 2017 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Monday, February 06, 2017

Mourning Doves

This pair of Mourning Doves decided to give me some poses along the Dykeman Walking Trail while I was on a morning walk.

© 2017 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Sunday Bach - Feast of the Purification of Mary

Today is the 5th Sunday after Epiphany, but Bach didn't write any cantatas for that occasion. However, the Feast of the Purification of Mary is on February 2 (just 3 days ago this year) and Bach wrote several beautiful cantatas for that celebration. I chose three of the loveliest, a chorale cantata and two beautiful solo cantatas for bass voice - BWV 125, Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin; BWV 82, Ich habe genug; and BWV 158, Der Friede sei mit dir. Enjoy!

Photo © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger