Raptor chick?

While visiting Pine Grove at Lake Monroe, I walked up a ravine about 50 feet, and was surprised by a rather large bird on the ground. It was mostly white, with some black trimming the wings. It was the size of a chicken, maybe a bit larger, with fuzzy fledgling feathers. When it saw me, it retreated under a stone ledge. It made an incredible hissing sound with two distinct tones, I at first thought there were 2 animals there, the other hiding deeper under the ledge.

I ran down to my bike and grabbed by camera, and came back. I turned off the flash so I would not scare it, so these pictures are not very clear. I could see that it had three claws in front and one is back. It’s beak was not long like a heron, which was my first guess, but rather curved like a raptor’s. But who knows I could not make out the legs well enough to tell if it was a wading bird. We had seen an adult blue heron fly away from this area ealier, which made me think this was the important clue.

We were afraid that critters would get the fledgling that night, so we biked up to the Paynetown ranger office, and told them about it, they said Rex Watters would look into it, I hope he did. After talking to several folks there, we thought perhaps it was a baby osprey! But again, I just don’t know, so anyone has a clue, please leave a comment.

Pectinatella magnifica, freshwater Bryozoans in Lake Monroe

It was the longest day of the year Sunday, and Jojo and I took a ride to Lake Monroe to cool off. As we were walking along the shore line, Jojo spotted several colonies of Bryzoans (Pectinatella magnifica) in the water. We had found them two years ago, but last year the water was high all summer, and we found just one small colony.

These animals filter water for bacteria and clay, and although they look very strange, but they actually help water quality. Pectinatella magnifica is the fresh water version of the bryozoan family, which has been on earth since the Ordovician period, nearly 486 million years ago. This means they are one of the oldest animal familys, along with their cousins the corals. The colonies are gelatinous, with the creatures living along outside. They have retractable tentacles that grab tiny particles in the water. We lifted one out of the water, and it seemed to be filled with water. They are reputed to have and oder that repels fish, but we did not smell them.

Here are a couple of videos of them bobbing in the water, and here are some photos.

Farmers' Market, Spring 09

Hoosier Hotcakes at the Market
Hoosier Hotcakes at the Market
The Farmers’ Market has always been home for the Hoosier Hotcakes, and this is our 30th year playing songs about farming and food. So infants we played for in the 80’s are bringing their babies to see us here in the aughts.

We began playing regularly in 1980, when the Market was at Third St. Park. From there it moved to the Square, and we went with it. But the merchants on the north side of the square felt their business was being hurt by all the people there, so we moved again, to the parking lot between the old and new Libraries. The time here was a golden age, there was organic produce, great crowds, and it was here that other musicians started showing up to share the space.

For several years we played with Mary Dart, who like Lotus Dickey, showed me many of the old popular songs of the 20’s and 30’s. Brad and Linda played at this location, as did Pete Sutherland and Karen Billings.

Hoosier Hotcakes at the Farmers' Market
Hoosier Hotcakes at the Farmers' Market
When the Market finally moved to Showers Plaza, we found a corner distant from the amplified stage music. I guess we should be flattered the city has found that music should be part of the scene, but we find that stages keep people at a distance, we just feel more natural in a crowd rather than in front of one. So for the past 29 years we’ve played tunes on Saturday morning, IMHO it is Bloomington’s best to community event, where meeting with our neighbors is casual yet meaningful ways.

Since moving to Showers, other great musicians and dancers have since set up at the Market, including Curtis Cantwell Jackson, Sarah Flint, James Yang, and FiddlenFeet.

We enjoy this place and time for music, I hope others do as well, and that we keep acoustic music in public spaces as part of our cultural heritage.

The Pirate Flags WFHB Street Dance

The Pirate Flags flew Friday nite at the WFHB Street dance, with the sun setting at one end of 7th. St. and the moon rising at the other. Max Harstein’s jazz band played a mellow swinging set, but they seemed to play just a few songs, and we were on before we knew it.

The street was packed with families and dancing ensued. We had a great time, our best show so far, no doubt about it. The kids were running around, friends were meeting and talking in the street, folks were singing along to songs they knew, and we all had a sunset to remember.

Photos by stv johnson