Monday, July 9, 2018

Benedeluxfra Biking Trip: Day 2

Here is the second of two posts I tried to send from my mobile phone that Blogger didn't like. I then gave up longer posts and made only a couple single-photo posts.

15 June, 2018

Andrew and I were tourists today, covering less than 40 miles. In Sint-Truiden we visited a well-preserved church founded by women in the 15th century. Then in Hasselt we went to the genever museum (genever is the original gin, though it no longer requires juniper berries, and is usually lower in alcohol content). We then tried a more scenic route along a canal, but it was fraught with detours and unmarked construction projects, so we ended up going along the N2 into Maastricht. There we visited a book store in an ancient cathedral.

Beneduluxfra Biking Trip: Day 1

Here is the first of two posts I tried to send from my mobile phone that Blogger didn't like.

14 June, 2018

I’m on vacation! I’m trying something very different—biking every day for eight + days with my friend Andrew Broan, who has been enjoying this sort of travel for decades.

Yesterday’s route was just under 50 miles through lovely countryside and charming Belgian villages.


We ended with a superb dinner and a night in a nice hotel in a 608-year-old building.

I am noting birds mostly by ear, but I’m going to have to review my Sylvia warbler songs. Eurasian Curlews in a field were a highlight, as the songs of Blackbirds everywhere. But this isn’t a birding trip, hence the big departure from my usual travel.
Handsome and huge Woodpigeons are everywhere, even competing with feral Rock Doves for dropped fries.

 Another photo that might need explanation is this wood bee home installation that doubles as art.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Benedeluxfra Biking Trip Comes to an End

My ninth a final day of biking with my friend Andrew last Thursday was a big one, in fact my longest bike ride ever: 82 miles from Soissons to the 13th arrondissement of Paris. There were busy highways, quiet back country roads, and a very nice bike path along a canal the last few miles that took us directly into the heart of Paris, "the city of light and poodleshit" as Andrew calls his temporary home some 30 years ago. But there was also some nice habitat along the way with lots of birds (such as Greater Whitethroats). In one such area I took a photo of what looked a lot like an elderberry, but wasn't really woody and shrub-like. It turns out to be Dwarf Elder, Sambucus ebulus, the last of the photos above.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Some French Bugs

Biking from Florenville, Belgium to the village of Thugny-Trugny, I paused twice to get some bug photos. iNaturalist identified them as Aglais urticae, Small Tortoiseshell and Rutpela maculata, Spotted Longhorn.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Biking in Benedeluxfra

Blogger isn't allowing me to make posts with several photos, so I'll try just one from my ongoing 9-day biking (non-birding!) trip through Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and France. More later, I hope! The photo is of the massive cathedral complex in Aachen, Germany.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

California Gulch Birding

I was home just 4 full days after Gambell and was lucky to coincide with my friend Marc Passmann, who had been traveling with friends and family in the state for the previous week.

I suggested we look for birds in California Gulch, camping one night to see the Buff-collared Nightjars. We had resounding success, even watching one sing at close range in my flashlight's beam.

We also saw Western Screech-Owl and a pair of this tiny yet ferocious looking Elf Owl.

WINGS Tour to Gambell, Alaska: Chef For a Week

Before I get too much farther behind, I thought I'd post something from my phone. From May 28-June 4, I was the cook for the WINGS tour to Gambell for the 10th year. It went really well. Above is the Tartine's Country Bread I made from starter I brought with me from Tucson.