May 17, 2011

Happy Tues. Nice day here. Sunny, birds chirping. My day started off with one of those strange experiences you remember long afterward. I was just letting the cat out onto the deck when I saw her suddenly focus with laser attention on a spot nearby and begin her cat sneak routine. I looked over and saw a young junco sitting on the deck, apparently stunned, probably from banging into a window. I strode ahead of the cat and scooped up the bird in my hand. It was blinking its eyes, which suggested it might recover its senses, so I cupped it in my hand against the cold morning air and moved to where it would be warmed by the rising sun. After about five minutes, it fluttered from my hand to the top of the rain barrel. When I looked out about 20 minutes later, it was still sitting there. The cat was napping inside. Another 20 minutes and it was gone, either flying free or snatched by some predator. Perhaps one day a junco will return the favor, peck through the ropes that detain me or something. While standing there I heard a flycatcher in the woods, among the calls and songs of robins, yellow-rumped warblers, juncos, chickades, and redpolls. Sadly, no hermit thrushes are nesting nearby this year. We had one several years running on the next lot, one of the best singers in the bird community.

Local news is hopping, with stories about two high school graduation ceremonies, a bear mauling, an estate theft, a standoff in Juneau, a mountain climber who fell to his death, and three Stryker brigade soldiers from Ft. Wainwright killed by an IED in Afghanistan. Also two “wounded” with what could be life-altering injuries. Remind me why we still have troops in Afghanistan after 10 years? Oh, and I understand there are valuable mineral deposits there.

On the whistleblower front, check out Jane Mayer’s piece in the current New Yorker on how the Obama administration has cracked down severely on whistleblowers. Mayer is the journalist who won prizes for her reporting on the US torture program. This war on terror has had a nasty effect on freedoms here at home.

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