Sunday, March 6, 2011

Winter #22: Philly

March 2-5, Boston/Philadelphia

March 5
6:20am-7:20am, Bella Vista neighborhood, Philadelphia, PA
overcast murk morphing into gorgeous moving clouds

One way streets are the norm here, and they are very convenient for open-mouthed gaping at birds from the middle of the road: if you face traffic, you have plenty of advance notice when a car is coming.

My initial disappointment at having forced myself out of bed for a grey sky is allayed when the clouds clear and there is an incredible, humongous golden-white sunrise.

Why does the sun seem bigger here? It's probably something to do with how the clouds blur its edges, but the sun just seems to have no end, and stretches its brilliant, blinding light over a vast piece of sky, rippled gold clouds in its wake.

Lots of birds this morning, and I enjoy the reduced car-load of Saturday morning. I hear cardinals, and a mourning dove in addition to the plentiful city sparrows and starlings. '

The parking lot of a Rite-Aid turns out to be quite a draw, and I get my bird of the day here. He's a feisty, trill-y one, and takes off play/fighting with another bird. I kept the postlude because I like the other birds at the end of this clip:

March 4
6:35am -7:15am, Bella Vista neighborhood, Philadelphia, PA
cool, wispy clouds

I saw a gorgeous chunk of sunrise this morning between buildings, a generous, huge gold swath.

My bird of the day was right on the corner of the house where I'm staying (perhaps a house finch?). Lovely song!

After checking out the river (too noisy from the highway), I headed back and got to see a fantastic cloud-scape: tiny, linked, silky puffs that reminded me of those tiny shirts (only a few inches across) that can stretch to adult size.

March 3
Bella Vista neighborhood, Philadelphia, PA

I'm in Philly to rehearse and play a chamber music concert at Ben Franklin (and George Washington)'s church! Pretty cool!

It was a late night, so I'm up late. The folks here are friendlier than in Boston, it seems, but still the urban birder is a suspicious character.

As I attempt to record some birds on a busy residential road, including today's bird:

the carpet-store employees eye me curiously, and I surprise one resident when he emerges from his apartment to find standing right next to his front door.

A few seconds later, he comes back to suggest a honeysuckle bush around the corner. Nice folks in this town!

Not so much luck there, but I meander back through the alleyways that are so charming to Philadelphia, and discover a pretty, mosaic-tiled backway with these fun birds:

March 2
Copley Square, Boston

En route to Philly, I catch dawn at Copley Square, with a scenic fresco at the Public Library: arcs of pigeons perched on the curved balustrades above the front entrance, while straight lines of starlings run the length of the building above them.

It's too windy and traffic-y to record any sounds, but I do capture a nice mental image of a pigeon being chased by four tiny birds. The scene ends up being an illusion - the pigeon goes one way and the tiny birds go on theirs - and I enjoy being faked out.


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