Wednesday, July 7, 2010

ANA Summer Seminar

Son John was in town last week to teach a class on Colonial Numismatics at the ANA Summer Seminar at Colorado College. His co-instructor was Erik Goldstein, numismatic curator at Colonial Williamsburg.

The boys look like they could be brothers. Despite their casual look, they are very professional and extremely knowledgeable. I attended a couple of sessions and the class couldn't get enough. It was fascinating! I'm very proud of them both.

During the week, Johnny joined us for dinner several times and brought friends from the seminar with him and we all had a great time.

The weather has been beautiful, so we spend a lot of time outside. Mr. Robin had just taken a bath in the pond.

The juvenile Robins have fledged. Look at his speckled breast - it almost looks like a different bird.

We've seen a couple of Black-headed Grosbeaks at the feeders.

The Lesser Goldfinches are plentiful and there are always several at the feeders or getting a drink from the birdbath. The Lesser variety is smaller than the American Goldfinch and has more greenish-black on its back.

A butterfly stops to enjoy the yellow flowers.

I love the colors in this shot.

On one of our walks over in the park, we saw a large group of these tiny non-descript grey birds flitting around in the pine scrub. I've decided it is a Bushtit. I'm sure we've seen them before, but this is the first time I've really identified one.

We hadn't been out geocaching in a while, so decided to locate a couple of new caches that have recently been placed in Palmer Park. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt where someone hides a container then publishes the coordinates ( and other cachers try to find it. Inside the cache, there is always a paper log to sign and date. Some of the larger caches have trinkets you can trade or travel bugs you move along to another cache. Everything gets recorded on the website. World wide, there are over a million caches. This is a very popular, family friendly sport that gets you outside in the fresh air.

This is a picture of GZ (geocache talk for ground zero) the place where our GPS unit indicates the first stash is located. Once there, it can be anywhere up to about 25 feet from GZ - and can be on the ground, in a tree or hidden in a hole in the rock ledge. They cannot be buried. I was down to the right with the GPS indicating I was within 5 feet - as the crow flies. Elevation is not part of the formula - so we had to climb up on the rocks another 15 to 20 feet to get 3 feet closer.

Then we look for something out of place - or a likely location to hide a very small container. We found a small pill box behind the rock. Inside was the log where we signed our geocache name (gailandbill) to show we found it.

While walking, we found another geode - a rock that is hollow inside - perfect to hide a cache in. We took it home and Bill made the hole a little wider and we put a small pillbox that I covered with camouflage-colored duck tape inside. We named it Bublenut (the GPS unit only has space for a 7 letter name, so we dropped the other "b" in "bubble") and hid it in plain site just off a trail in Palmer Park - on the ground with a couple of other rocks. The hollow rock is the one on the upper left. Inside is the log and instructions - just in case someone finds it by accident. Non-geocachers are called "muggles" like in the Harry Potter books. Bublenut was published after dark on July 4th and the FTF (first-to-find) located it at first light the next morning.

Back in the park, the hummingbirds are thick. My challenge is trying to get a picture where the light is at just the right angle that the iridescent colors show.

This little guy has a bright red gorget (throat) but it looks black unless it is reflecting the sun.

I also saw another Violet-green Swallow perched in a tree begging to have his picture taken. Beautiful bird!

Son John left yesterday to fly back to New York City where the temperatures are over 100 degrees and the humidity is just as high. Here in Colorado Springs, today is cool with highs around 60 and humidity at 15%. A cold front came through last night with hail the size of golf balls and lots of rain - but today the skies are clear and blue. I think I'll take a hike!

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