Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pickle Ball, Air Show and Lots of Birds in the Yard.

On Top of the World (OTOW) is a very active 55+ community. Everyday, there are so many activities, it's hard to choose which ones to attend. Last Thursday, we went to a Get-Acquainted Coffee and heard a presentation on Pickle Ball. Neither of us had ever heard of it before - but we decided to go to the beginners class in the afternoon. Pickle Ball is a cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis. It is played on a badminton court with a tennis net. The balls look like plastic wiffle balls and you hit them with a wooden paddle - slightly larger than a ping pong paddle. We had a great time, got some exercise, and met some very nice couples. This morning we were back to practice our serves and volleys.

Yesterday, the OTOW RC Flyers held their annual air show. The turnout was phenomenal. Golf carts from all over the complex were parked in nice neat rows facing the flying field. Some of the flyers have built racks on the back of their carts to transport planes - but Bill will have to make do with his ManVan II for now. (ManVan I lives in Colorado.)

After about 3 hours of watching the giant (wingspans over 80-inches) gas-powered planes fly, they allowed the spectators onto the field to see the planes up close. They were amazing!

This bi-plane was one of my favorites.

So far, Bill flies only electric (battery powered) planes, but now that he has such a nice work space, maybe he'll try one of the gas-powered ones. His Delta needed some repairs after a not-so-smooth flight.

His other planes are hanging from the ceiling of the garage. Please notice the toilet to the right of his workbench. We replaced the toilet in the master bath and this is as far as the old one got. I kid Bill that now he has everything he needs so he can work out there all day.

The bird population here is very different than that in Fort Myers. We don't see the shore birds, heron, egret and ibis, but we do see - and hear - lots of beautiful smaller birds. Love is in the air and the males are sporting their colorful breeding plumages.

The Bluebirds are regular visitors to our feeder in the backyard.

This Bluebird looks more like a hummingbird here. Usually, they look for seeds on the ground under the feeder. His dinner companion is a finch.

The Goldfinches are also regular visitors. Sometimes we have dozens on and around the feeder.

This male is further along in his spring breeding plumage and is showing the black cap. Click on the image and you can really see how the bright yellow feathers are growing in replacing the duller winter colors.

At first, I was sure this was a Chipping Sparrow - but they don't have streaks on their breast, so I looked at Song Sparrows - but they have a central spot on their breast, which this bird lacks. One of my pictures shows yellow on his belly - which led me to the Palm Warbler. He should have more yellow on his face and breast - but his markings are closer to the Palm Warbler than any of the other birds I checked.

Next week, we head back to Fort Myers to spend time with my oldest grandson, Zachary, over his Easter vacation. We are really looking forward to it!

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