Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bummer. It's Still Winter.

With the warm temperatures and melting snow cover the Chest Creek runs several feet above normal as it passes through Patton on it's way to the ocean. At this time of the year you can canoe from here to the Alantic on one creek, on two branches of the same river and a bay.

Officers James McGough and Allie of the Cambria Township PD.

Office security Cambria Township Office.

I did this wallpaper as a "Thank You" for a friend of mine.

Old shed along the road between Loretto and Chest Springs.


Over the weekend I moved the suet feeder to the right hand side of the feeder frame. Before the move most of my light was coming from the left side or back as the sun moved east to west. Now that the light is coming just from the east, along with the new space around the feeder and a different background, I have a better shot at the birds as they go to land on the feeder.

Titmouse in Motion.

Saint Francis University's Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity held the third annual Polar Bear Swim on Thursday, 19 February 2009. The first year this event raised $500, last year they raised $3,100. The funds are raised for the Nancy Reagan Alzheimer's Foundation. At the time of the event, over $4,000 had been raised. This year, several faculty members volunteered to have their names be eligible to win the "honor" of jumping in the lake. The faculty member who raised the most funds won the honor -- Dr. Richard Bargdill. The weather did not cooperate this year. The temperature and wind chill provided the experience of being in -1 degree F.

Students, faculty and staff and members of the local fire department showed their support.

To prepare themselves, some member of the fraternity wore their shorts and t-shirts all day long.

Getting the fire started to warm up the swimmers after they took the plunge.

I'm almost sure that the shirt is not as warm as the hat.

The faces of determination.

Jason Burkett of Mineral Point, PA gives a last minute pep talk.

Dr. Kay Malek provides a degree of sanity. Dr. Malek, Interim Chair of the Physical Therapy Department at Saint Francis University provided some background information on Alzheimers to the crowd while the fraternity members got themselves psyched up.

This photograph was taken thru the flames of the fire. The heat reflection makes Dr. Malek and some of the fraternity members look like they are reflected in water.

Dr.Richard Bargdill (Associate Professor of Behavior Sciences) third from left, Dr. Pat Fitzgerald (Dean School of Health Sciences) in red hat and Dr. Frank Montecalvo (VP for Student Development) were some of the faculty members showing their support.

The Loretto Volunteer Fire Department members were on hand to assure the safety of the swimmers. I think that the fire department is somewhat unique in that it is staffed by towns people as well as faculty, staff and students of St Francis.

The Moment of Truth.

About to step over the abyss.

I guess if you are gonna do this, you might as well do it with a flare.

The muddy bottom near the shore is good and stirred up now as Ray George of Cassandra and Steve Curl from Mechanisburg try for a speedy exit from the icy water of Lake St Francis .......Oh Yummy...Cold and Muddy.

Curling up into a cannonball isn't going to keep this guy any warmer once he hits the H2O.

Beak to beak, two male woodpeckers fight for the feeder. To get one frame like this is why I spend a lot of time shooting the birds. It might take hours, but in the end it's worth it. Besides getting a shot I like it also works as mental exercise. It keeps my mind alive and active, concentration and timing is everything and on a sunny winter day you can really get into feeling at ease with what you want to do with the rest your life. Most of the pictures are shot at 1/1600 of a second or faster. A bird can be gone in 1/1600 of a second. I've missed shots because I blinked my eyes.

Early Sunday morning in the parking lot of the BiLo Food Store, Northern Cambria.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Great Backyard Bird Count 2009

This past weekend we took part in the 12th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count. We are dedicating this week's whole blog to the birds that make our time at home so worthwhile. The Pine Siskins are at our feeders for the first year. We are told this is because of the lack of pine cone seeds in their normal feeding area to the north of us in New York state.

Black-capped Chickadee



Purple Finch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Downy Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Pine Siskin about to take off from a raspberry branch.


Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskins fight while a Purple Finch waits it's turn at the feeder.

Purple Finch about to take off from the raspberry branches. If you look closely at it's right claw you can see it's just barely open enough for the bird to prepare to leave the branch.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Ruffed Grouse

Mourning Dove

Purple Finch and Titmouse


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Girls' High School Basketball

The only pictures we are using this week are from a girl's high school basketball game played Friday night in Patton. The Cambria Heights Lady Highlanders played the Penn Cambria Lady Panthers from Cresson, Pennsylvania. These pics were all taken in the first half of the game using a 200mm Canon L lens without a flash.

Penn Cambria's Chelsey Garret goes against Cambria Heights' Kristie Malloy for the jump ball to start the game.

Penn Cambria's Jess Delic and Cambria Heights' Miranda Zeanchock chase the ball down the court.

Cambria Heights' Abby Stanek and Kristy Gwizdak face off against Penn Cambria's Jess Delic.

Penn Cambria's Olivia Urbanek works around the defense of Cambria Heights' Maria Pompa.

Penn Cambria's Kelsey Creehan pulls up short of the basket.

Cambria Height's Kristie Malloy pulls down the rebound.

Cambria Heights' Kristy Gwizdak moves the ball down the court.

Penn Cambria's Jess Delic moves past some Cambria Heights defenders.

Penn Cambria's Jess Delic looks like she's in the open.

Cambria Heights Alyssa Anna tries to move past Penn Cambria's Jess Delic while Penn Cambria's Jackie Secrisky moves in from behind.

Penn Cambria's Jackie Secrisky looks to pass the ball off while under the guard of Cambria Height's Alyssa Anna.

Cambria Heights' Miranda Zeanchock breaks for the basket while charging around Penn Cambria's Kelsey Creehan.

Penn Cambria's Kelsey Creehan and Olivia Urbanek along with Cambria Height's Kristy Gwizdak go for the rebound.

After getting inside the Penn Cambria defense, Cambria Heights' Lynsey Bodek sets herself up for the basket ...

and takes the shot.

Miranda Zeanchock of Cambria Heights goes for one of three free throws on a technical foul.

Penn Cambria's Jess Delic is prepared to stand her ground against the Highlander defenders.

Penn Cambria's Kelsey Creehan tries to block the shot by Cambria Heights' Miranda Zeanchock.

Cambria Heights' Kristie Malloy goes for the block.