Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sharp-shinned Hawk and Squaw Creek for Snow Geese

Last week while I graded here here at Walnut Hill, a Sharp-shinned Hawk missed one of my feeder visitors and slammed into the window three feet from my face, knocking itself into Bird Lala Land.

The bird's daze allowed me to snap a few photographs. After half an hour or so, the hawk recovered its dignity and balance and winged away beyond my lens' reach.

My daughter visits for Thanksgiving, and this Tuesday late afternoon, we drove to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge to check out the birds.

We saw six or seven Bald Eagles and a thunder of Snow Geese.

You can hear the roar on the video I made, especially in the final couple of minutes when clouds of the birds arrived for the evening.

And you can enjoy a slide show from the trip. The sights and the sounds at this time of the year make the area memorable.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall 2010 PSC Choir Concert

On Sunday afternoon, November 14, at 3:00 in the College Theater, the Concert
Choir, Madrigal Singers, and the Misty Blues Show Choir performed for a large crowd. Once again, always good news, the music folks ran out of programs.

As usual, I posted a group of photographs from the three groups of their much-applauded efforts.

Enjoy the slide show and then download whatever photographs appeal to you.

Under the direction of Dr. Tom Ediger and accompanied on piano by Dennis Plutalov, the Peru State College Concert Choir performed first.

I recorded on You Tube two pieces for everyone's enjoyment, "Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears" and "Russian Picnic." Enjoy these moving and exciting pieces.

Next, Dr. Tom Ediger's Madrigal Singers took the stage and performed a number of pieces they will feature again at this year's Madrigal Dinner--indeed, you must get your tickets early for this feast of food and fanfare.

I recorded three of the group's numbers that you can enjoy on You Tube: I will add the titles later.

To bring the gala evening to a fitting conclusion, the Misty Blues Show Choir took the stage. For the first time in many years, someone new directs the group, Ms. Charlotte Shields.

I recorded part of "Eye of the Tiger" and all of the two pieces that followed: "Celebration" and "Burning Love." Enjoy the video.

I look forward to the next concert and hope that you like the images from and the video of the performances.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Auburn Public Library: Feathers, Petals, and Verses

On Saturday morning, November 13, the Friends of the Auburn Library--and many on campus know Heidi Welsh and Deb Clopton--gave the the opportunity to talk about birds with a group of interested folks, including a lot of children.

Heidi made the arrangements, and the library folks did a splendid job.

As usual for these presentations, I showed a series of my photographs of favorite and local birds and helped the youngsters AND ADULTS learn some familiar bird songs.

As the following photograph indicates, the enthusiastic audience colored and enjoyed the bird photographs I provided for them.

I uploaded pictures from the fun for folks to enjoy and, if they choose, to download. Watch the slide show and join in on the fun with Feathers, Petals, and Verses.

This time around, I also showed some slides of the Wild Flowers of Nebraska and Wisconsin that I began collecting over the past year, thus the inclusion now of "Petals" in the title of the program.

I enjoyed the interaction at the Auburn Library and thank the organizers and everyone who attended.

College 101 for Langauge Arts and History and Social Science Students

Final day of class, December 10, 2010

On Friday, November 12, my College 101 class--Language Arts, History, and Social Science Majors--traveled on the Bobcat Bus to the John Neihardt Center. 

Students read some Neihardt, and Dr. Dan Holtz visited the class to discuss the author's work.

College 101 at Neihardt Center

Each of the sections of College 101 goes on a field trip, and the John Neihardt Center worked well because Neihardt wrote both Fiction and Nonfiction, including the famous Black Elk Speaks.

The class also read the award-winning  White Sands, Red Menace, a novel by Ellen Klages, who visited the campus and the class. 

This work of fiction, a sequel to Klages' Green Glass Sea.

Check out the blog entry dedicated to her visit--the site also contains links to recordings from Ellen's readings on campus.

And the class also visited the college president's house for an elegant reception; you can view and download photographs from the visit to the president's house, the John Neihardt Center, and images from the class presentations from the semester's conclusion discussed later.

For the nearly six hours in the bus, Sean "Gator" Lawler provided DVD entertainment. No one much cared to watch the movies I brought along--smart students.

Students completed final projects for the class that make connections with issues and concerns connected with White Sands, Red Menace and material students read about John Neihardt coupled with our visit to the center in Bancroft.

Students learned about blogs and then created two, Women in Science and  Weapons of Mass Destruction.  

For another project, some class members took part in a discussion of  White Sands, Red Menace.  I filmed this twenty-five-minute exchange and created three separate and short videos on You Tube.

The fourth group worked with a program that allows users to record directly over individual images in a slide show about our visit to the John Neihardt Center.

Enjoy the completed project.

Again, you can view and download photographs from the activities in which the students took part over the course of the semester

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

11th International Conference on Caribbean Literature

This year, the Eleventh International Conference on Caribbean Literature took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and featured in addition to excellent academic papers, a keynote address by acclaimed author Earl Lovelace, a literary tour of Trinidad, and an excursion to Tobago.

Owing to a terrible rain storm in Dallas, I missed my flight to Trinidad on Tuesday and so did not arrive at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain until late afternoon on Wednesday.

And while I missed academic sessions, I did arrive in time
for the exciting opening ceremonies that included in addition to greetings from a variety of people steelpan music, dance, and slam poetry

The evening also included performances by stunning Hindi dancers, for the convention took place during Diwali Feast, the Hindu Festival of Lights.

Enjoy a slide show of the opening celebrations from Day One in Trinidad.

Earl Lovelace

As the photographs from Thursday, Day 2, indicate, the conference activities moved from the hotel in Port of Spain to the beautiful University of the West Indies--St. Augustine campus just outside the city.

In addition to afternoon academic sessions, the day's schedule included the conference keynote address by award-winning author Earl Lovelace.

Circumstances allowed me to sit in the front of the auditorium to record the author's
talk with the HD camera. I posted the thirty-five minute talk in four installments.

Anyone interested in Caribbean Literature will find what Earl Lovelace has to say of special merit. Make sure to watch on the highest HD level:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

After the conference schedule concluded, my wife and I and five others--we called
ourselves The Hyatt Seven--made arrangements to take a taxi to the Caroni Bird Sanctuary to experience the evening perch of the magnificent Scarlet Ibis, the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photographs from the adventure appear with those linked previously for Day Two.

The staff at the Hyatt and the people at the sanctuary worked wonders to get us to the tour on time, ferrying us to the lead boat.

We also thank Sherman--pictured on the left--whom the five of us who drove with him and back have decided is one of the World's Greatest Taxi drivers.

In addition, to photographs of our adventure with the beautiful Scarlet Ibis, you can also watch a video of these birds' coming in to perch for the evening on a mangrove island in the swamp not far from Port of Spain.

Five of the Hyatt Seven

Day Three of the conference featured the first excursion, a literary tour of Trinidad that featured places associated with Earl Lovelace, V. S. Naipaul, and Michael Anthony, from Port of Spain to Toco.

As the slide show for the day indicates, Michael Anthony--pictured on the left--greeted us in his studio at his home in Port of Spain.

The group also visited two homes important to V. S. Naipaul.
We also stopped at the house about which Naipaul writes in A House for Mr. Biswas, a book I must read.

Rain fell, so we did not get to swim in Toco, but we did dine outside despite the downpour at an excellent Guest House in the country. I must get information about the owner, who I think is the father of a famous Calypso singer.

The Nylon Pool

Well, our final day in Trinidad took a group of us via the airlines to a day in Tobago. The highlight of the day: a plunge in the famous Nylon Pool near Pigeon Point, a white sand area of shallow water protected by Buccoo Reef.

As with the other slide shows, you can download all of individual photographs from Day Four--the files are large enough to make excellent 8 X 10 or larger prints.

Enjoy the videos and the photographs from the Eleventh International Conference on Caribbean Literature. I look forward to returning to Trinidad and Tobago.