The Albatross’ cathedral

Posted in nature, worldweary by paulie on April 12, 2010

We had come more than three thousand miles and we’d seen them in their twos and threes – then we found this place. It’s their cathedral.
A birder told me we were seeing Black-Browed Albatross, and sometimes the all-dark Storm Petrel.


Posting vacation video on Youtube (Samsung HMX-H100)

Posted in social network by paulie on February 12, 2010

Here’s the problem: during my vacation I shot a ton of videos that I want to post on my youtube. But there will be so much material under a new subject it will completely shift the character of my ‘channel’ away from the themes and tags I’ve established. After some thought I decided to open a second account. Why not? It’s free and there’s no rule against it (that I’m aware of). Here’s the link:
Just the videos from my trip all together in one place. The most recent are at the top. These are meant to be seen full screen and in high def! And check in often since new films are arriving daily. Cheers!
video window help:

White Pelicans: a rare sight

Posted in nature by paulie on December 28, 2009

For me at least.  I’ve seen them four times, that’s once for every two or three years that I have lived in peninsular Florida.  Once I saw a hundred of them form a wheel high in the air, moving south on the wind faster than I could drive my car – without a one of them ever flapping a wing.  I thought they were Storks but thanks to my Audubon friends I learned that I had seen the White Pelicans.  On this blustery day they were fighting turbulence to make their transit altitude.  They could not make a distinct formation but, spotted by us while still at low level, you can see what they look like as they soar.

swans at peace

Posted in nature by paulie on December 17, 2009

To my surprise no humans were mauled in the making of this film. I waited all day to record a swanny smackdown but it never came. The lakes of downtown Lakeland, FL are loaded with swans and I saw them put up with unruly children, friendly ducks, clumsy Ibis, joggers and curious naturalists, even while sitting on their nests. BTW it has been English law for five centuries that all Mute swans, wherever in the world they dwell, belong to the Regent.

Google real time search: fun I can have at work

Posted in worldweary by paulie on December 14, 2009

…men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead. but if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show now.

The Scroogy IT guy has warned there will be no social networking, video or even streaming audio. No personal webmail either.  But now Google has real time search that updates just like friendfeed and it incorporates friendfeed and twitter posts! The feature is new this month and it was very entertaining at work today.  The IT guys will not get around to caring that amuse myself this way for a long time to come.  They never even finished chasing the myspace users.  Learn more here:

All my best, merry Christmas and happy holidays,
p.s. I love the wordpress snow!

Coots, Moorhens and Purple Gallinules

Posted in nature by paulie on December 13, 2009

This film highlights these three Rails. You can see them together when you visit downtown Lakeland, FL which our local Audubon did yesterday. Here’s their website:
The stars in order of appearance:
Ringneck duck
Am. Coot
Mute Swan
Purple Gallinule
Am. Alligator
White Ibis
The lakes visited were Wire, Mirror and Parker.

walmart does it’s own bad PR

Posted in worldweary by paulie on December 10, 2009

These stately Live Oak trees were crudely cut for no apparent reason and then left in that state for months along US19 where they are seen by thousands of people each day.  Can it be other than a deliberate statement?

Palm Warbler at the plant table

Posted in florida garden by paulie on December 2, 2009

Video proof! I first photographed the Palm Warbler who fed at my table in late 2007. This is unusual because, of course, the bird is an insectivore and not a visitor to any feeder. But among the seeds I put out are a kind of engineered nutrition pellet for domestic birds and this warbler has learned to eat those. I believe this is the same individual that learned to eat the pellets and who has wintered with me since at least 2006. He returned about a week ago and will be with me until mid-March of 2010. I am happy to contribute to the life of this formidable bird for as long as we cross paths. Here’s what I wrote about him in 2/08.

And, yes those are flower spikes on the Black Aloe in the picture. I am aware this is often referred to as a nonblooming kind of Aloe. Mine blooms regularly with long rests. The flowers are large and coral – orange.

shuttle launch as seen from my street

Posted in worldweary by paulie on November 25, 2009

Shuttle Atlantis launches as seen from my street at a distance of 120 miles. I’m working on my edit process to retain more of the cam’s original sharpness.

hundreds of Herons

Posted in nature by paulie on November 22, 2009

Dawn at Safety Harbor municipal pier with hundreds of Tricolor Herons, Little Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets leaving their night roost. Local people thought the roost would be at a place called Alligator Lake. Also two Spotted Sandpipers and a Yellow Crowned Night Heron were found at Philippe Park. Thanks to Clearwater Audubon. Here’s their site:

Additional: here’s the trip’s bird list, thanks Jo:
Clearwater Audubon Phillipe Park, Safety Harbor, Fl, Nov 21,2009 Merle Hubbard, leader.
Belted Kingfisher
White Ibis
Spotted Sandpiper Lesser Scaup
Brown Pelican
Bald Eagle
Forster’s Tern
Laughing Gull
Common Loon
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Snowy Egret
Great Blue Heron
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Black and White Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
House Wren
Hermit Thrush
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Gray Catbird
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue Jay
N Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Fish Crow
Red-tailed Hawk
American Goldfinch

Red-Shouldered in this yard

Posted in florida garden by paulie on November 13, 2009

I scrambled to get a camera on him but he stayed for several minutes and the encounter became one I’ll never forget.

fiddler crabs are coming

Posted in nature by paulie on November 10, 2009

The Fiddler crabs at Key Vista are coming out en masse. Each of then has a unique pattern on it’s shell. Many look like faces.

hurricane Ida

Posted in worldweary by paulie on November 10, 2009

Glossy Ibis at Holiday recreation complex

Posted in nature by paulie on November 7, 2009

Glossy Ibis can be seen seasonally at the Pasco County Holiday recreation complex.  A pair has been present for the last few days and I shot some video.  The Ibis’ presence upset a juvenile Moorhen whose parents got involved.  The Moorhen family bothered the Ibis until they left.  I was very amused by the Glossy’s brief attempt to threaten a Moorhen.

The Glossys flew toward the TV towers where there must be a substantial roost.  I have not figured out how to get to it but in the evening you can see hundreds of birds heading in.

Long-Billed Curlew

Posted in nature by paulie on November 1, 2009

Clearwater Audubon visited Ft. De Soto, 10/31/09, halloween. I read there was a Long–Billed Curlew hanging around and by watching some birdwatchers we found it! What an elegant bird. I could not see what it was getting 10 or 12 inckes under the sand.

View the video:
Video window basics:

I also saw my first-of-season Coots, Redhead Ducks, Ruddy Ducks and Scaup and a flock of around 20 Magnificent Frigatebirds. Also in the video are Oystercatchers, Terns, Plovers, Marbled Godwits and a mysterious and beautilful feathery-flowered plant that enchanted me. Please tell me if you have a clue what it might be. The stick insects were mating despite the papparazzi. One shorebird remained unidentified, might be a Short-Billed Dowitcher.

wildlife around here: video

Posted in social network by paulie on October 31, 2009

Clearing the memory cards, I made a late summer wildlife video compilation:

Only a youtube member can write a comment on that site. Anyone can post one here. yt is fighting to put music ads on my videos and they have muted my soundtrack.

On the local radio they have been saying time change is tonight. That is wrong, of course. The time always changes on a Sunday at 2am. Tomorrow is Saturday. Halloween. So tonight is Gate Night. Beware.

a youtube primer for an occasional visitor

Posted in social network by paulie on October 25, 2009

When you visit youtube you land in one of several types of video window. Here is how to take charge of the settings.

Start the playback and toggle the ‘HD’ button in the lower right of the video window to make sure you are watching in the best definition. All my videos are shot in 720p wide screen format because I don’t have a program to edit anything higher. The button resembling a flag next to ‘HD’ makes the video window full screen. You should try it. My video approximates TV quality. You have to press the ‘esc’ key on the keyboard to leave full screen mode when you are finished with it. Also next to ‘HD’ is a handy mute button though I am sure you will always find my musical choice tasteful.

If the video pauses and resumes by itself it means the data is loading over your internet connection too slowly to sustain playback. Pause the video and let the data stream arrive as observed on the progress bar along the bottom of the video window. If the data’s progress is ahead of the palyback the video plays smoothly. In any case on the second run through the video will always play smoothly.

You have the option of visiting youtube to see my page and a selection of other films by me. You will be presented with ‘related’ videos. These are not my videos and may be commercials or stupid things that just happen to share tags with my film. If you go there you are leaving the safety of my world to surf the deep blue youtube, which can be fun but takes some getting used to. A good way explore youtube is with my “favorites”, a collection of things I think are emblematic of a good youtube.

my own invention, the Angry Candle

Posted in florida garden, social network by paulie on September 25, 2009

One of my creative outlets. The video has more information. It is high quality so don’t watch it in this little box. If you click the yt logo the site will open in a new window. You can even fullscreen it and it should look fine.

paulie is big in the Old Empire

Posted in social network, worldweary by paulie on September 23, 2009

According to Youtube’s “insight” function there is a definite trend in my popularity. It seems my humble videos are most popular not in the US (where my English captions can be read and my music, obscure and unpopular, can be appreciated) but in Russia. Not the real Russia of today but the old Soviet Union of my Cold War youth, according to youtube’s map. I can’t say nobody was hurt in those days but wer’e all comrades now! So I say to you, my friends in the old Empire whom I love: поздравления!

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Social network for birders: whether to sign up for Twitter?

Posted in social network by paulie on September 2, 2009

Recently I said the listserv is old fashioned and as a result I was reminded that it has it’s defenders. But there is a conversation among birders about how to continue to network. Not so long ago birding communication was dominated by newsgroups with thousands of users, now those are all but forgotten because no one invests time learning to use them anymore.

The listserv is difficult to use and it leaves birders on the table. Only a few hundred are involved in all Florida, a major birding area. I am barely able to grasp the technology and participate. So what is the direction of things? I’m not sure but I am keeping an eye on the protocol known as XMPP. Twitter would seem to be a preview of this. Yes, you should try it. It’s easy to figure out and birders are already well represented there.

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