Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some Things to Crow About

An alarm went out for a fire at Emma Jean's a local restaurant in Northern Cambria, PA on May 14, 2011.  Fortunately the restaurant is within 400 feet of  Hope Fire Company in Northern Cambria and what could have otherwise turned into a full blown structure fire was quickly snuffed out because of the location and rapid response by not only Northern Cambria's two volunteer fire companies (Hope 50 and Spangler 58) but also Hastings 55.

Deputy Fire Chief of Station 58 pulls exterior wall away from the building in an effort to find the source of flames.

A firefighter from Station 55 Hastings is seen after exiting the rear of Emma Jean's.

Spangler Fire Departments' 58-2 rolls into the alley behind Emma Jean's Restaurant as members of Station 55 prepare to enter the building.

With no further need for it's aerial platform, the Spangler Volunteer Fire Company crew prepares to leave the vicinity.

Hope Fire Company's Unit 50-4 reducing the water being pumped from the fire hydrant located next to the fire department station.

Fire fighters leaving the roof area of the restaurant.

For the last several months I've been trying to get some nice closeup pictures of the American Crow. For some unexplained reason all of a sudden this pair of crows has decided to visit our suet feeder. This is a first for us.

With a wing span of nearly 33 inches the crows don't normally land or feed from a 5 square inch suet feeder that swings like a pendulum.

After getting its fill this crow heads directly towards the camera before veering off to its right.

A wider shot of a crow as it takes off.

Back view of a crow with its wings nearly extended full width.

A nice profile shot of an American Crow.

Although not a raven, someone who has seen this picture used the quote "Nevermore".

Rarely seen as an individual, crows have their own "social network".

The majestic American Crow, one of the largest song birds in North America.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

After the Storm

After being stuck in the house for a couple days of torrential downpours, I ventured out and captured the positive aftermath of all that rain.

Female Purple Finch.

Chipmunk checking out the best approach to find more food.

Interrupted ferns in the shade garden.


Of course, all the rain makes the weeds grow faster and taller as well.

These Day Lillies will soon be showing shoots and buds for the flowers that will appear later this summer.

Common Blue Violet.

Yellow Milkwort.

Lillies of the Valley growing under the deck steps.

These saplings are used by the birds to launch themselves at the feeders.

The Mountain Flamingoes are being overrun by the vegetation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just Hangin' Around

I stopped to see a friend of mine while I was out riding around on the motorcycle.  I was about to leave when I looked across the street and saw this cat in a window and figured it was worth the time to take a picture.

This hasn't been a good year for track and field meets in the area.  This is only one of five for the season that wasn't rained on or rained out.

A Northern Cambria competitor in the 100 meter dash crosses the finish line.

100 yard dash.

Up and over.

110 Hurdles 

No matter how often people are warned about starting fires when it's dry and windy some folks just don't have enough sense to heed the warning.  The next four pictures were shot Friday evening on a neighbor's property.  The fire was across the road about 100 feet from our property.

One of our old porch swings now sits in the shade garden surrounded by lillies of the valley.  The frog lawn ornament has found itself a new home on the swing.

First there was this abandoned building along Municipal Road on the way into Northern Cambria borough.  Several years ago it was joined by this abandoned car.

Farm fields also along Municipal Road.  This was shot just before a thunder storm.

This week's final photograph is an Eastern Cottontail munching on the fresh shoots of a blackberry bush.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Monsoons in May

We are finally through all the April showers, but unfortunately they've been replaced by the May Monsoons. About the only crop that I think will do well this year are watermelons and giant pumpkins. 

West Branch of the Susquehanna River at Mahaffey, PA.  From here you can canoe the whole way into the Atlantic Ocean.

Coltsfoot -- Tussilago farfara
Low dandelion-like plant with a single flower.

Chest Creek
The overflow from our spring runs downhill to Brubaker Run, which runs into Chest Creek, which runs into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, which runs into the Susquehanna River, which runs into the Chesapeake Bay which runs into the Atlantic Ocean.


A small flock of Purple Finches wait in a tree for their turn at the feeders.  The males are the bright red birds, the females almost blend in with the background.  We've cut back on the number of feeders since spring has arrived.   

Female Eastern Towhee

Male Eastern Towhee looking for insects among the rocks. 

Male Red-Bellied Woodpecker.

Male Cardinal. 

Two male Purple Finches 

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. 
Don't you just love those yellow buds in the background!

Chipmunk with its jowls full of seeds peaks out from its hiding place between the rocks. 

Blue Jay 

I captured this cat looking out of a window in an alley in Ebensburg.