Friday, May 24, 2019

Scenes of May

Here are some springtime odds and ends:

In Amherst recently I stumbled upon this unusual bumpersticker promoting the notion that the Democrats should nominate a ticket consisting of Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Stacey Abrams, the failed Georgia candidate for governor.

That ain't goin' nowhere. Meanwhile, a mob of Mayors were seen at the Delaney House last month doing a selfie with TV dude Dave Madsen.

How many Mayors can you name?

Here's a hint, one of them is in the picture below taken at the Northampton Bike Day celebration.

Because it had to move across the street because of renovations at the courthouse, Bike Day was a bit of a dud this year.

Meanwhile, early one morning at the UMass pond I came upon a mother duck sleeping by her ducklings.

A little further on I came upon a crane, but it burst into flight just as I touched the shutter.

Yesterday morning I listened to the the John F. Kennedy Middle School Jazz Band performing in Pulaski Park in Northampton. According to the their website, the JFK Jazz Band is "for 7th and 8th grade band students who play saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass, piano and drum set that are looking for a new challenge and are interested in playing jazz and some pop music." As you can hear below, there is considerable talent in that band.

Hey everbody, have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

UMass is for the Birds

The first rays of the rising sun appear around the bend on the woodland way into downtown Northampton.

With all the rain lately, the UMass ducks have puddles big enough to play in.

The big bird news on campus is the birth of the first falcons born to the pair that live on the roof of the UMass Library.

However, a different bird story is unfolding at the opposite end of the building, down in the courtyard in front of the library, where campus bands sometimes perform for people eating lunch.

At one such concert recently that I watched from indoors, I was intrigued to see caution-tape on one of the doors leading to the courtyard.

Imagine my surprise when I realized the tape was intended to keep people from using those doors and disturbing a bird's nest that had been built resting on the bar to open the door!

Sure enough, checking back after the concert, I saw there was a red-breasted Robin sitting in the nest.

The Robin must have been a first time mother, who in her inexperience did not realize what an unsafe place she had chosen to construct her nest. I decided to check the courtyard each day to see whether the attempt to nest on a door entrance bar would be successful. Two days later, I saw the first pale blue egg had been laid.

The next day there were three!

What on Earth! The next day there was four!

The weather was not co-operative, with rain and wind almost daily, but without fail each day I would find the Robin dutifully protecting her eggs.

Finally, a few days ago the eggs were gone, replaced by a pink, pulsating blob of baby birds.

They have changed markedly in just a few days, acquiring feathers and moving around. This morning I saw this seemingly smiling beak looking up at me. Looks like the Robin family is gonna make it. Congratulations Momma Robin, despite the weather you did it against all odds!

Elsewhere on campus, a giant puppet marched past the Old Chapel on Founder's Day.

In downtown Northampton, Jimi rocks the window.

Also seen in a Hamp window - who is buying these obnoxious votive candles?

Finally, keeping with our avian theme:

Bird on a wire over King Street by Dann Vazquez