A few of these guys will stick around as long as there is open water.
Very little open water left on the Potomac River as the arctic air has settled in hard in northern Virginia. But this little strip of water had three common mergansers on it, two females and a male. Here is one of the females shaking off her wings after a session of preening.
The bluebird is always pictured with scenes from Spring and Summer, but they are remarkably tolerant of cold. It was below freezing out when I took this photo in northern Virginia.
I have come to believe that it is impossible to photograph a brown creeper that does not look blurry. Between the bird being a very twitchy sort to start with and the odd nature of the back and wing feathers they just never look sharp.
It has been darn cold around here lately, and this Carolina wren shows it with all its feathers puffed out and huddling near a tree trunk.
One of the New Years birds we saw on a walk today along the Potomac River at River Bend in Virginia. Brisk but nice out.
Just checking to see what doubled die and/or error coins might be for sale on ebay today. Gonna have to wait a very long time for this one to come up...
So I had to do the math. Yes, that is one year and 1 hour 39 minutes and 03 seconds from when I looked at it. Maybe there wasn't a big Y2K thing ever happen but it would seem eBay is having a bit of confusion here on the last day of 2017.
And yes, the "ends" time and date is correct down below in the listing.
Transnistria is a non-UN recognized country that is too complicated to fully explain here. It calls itself Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, but even as it has it's own government and all, it is considered part of Moldova which calls it the Transnistria Autonomous Territorial Unit with special legal status.
Most of their coins, yes they issue their own money, are in kopeks and roubles (or rubles) but in 2005 they joined a long parade of countries that have done such and issued a "trial" Euro coin. This is not a legal tender coin and is considered a Fantasy Issue.
The coin is bi-metal and just larger than a US quarter, coming in at a 21.8mm diameter and 7.2g weight. The outer ring is made of nickel-brass and the inner part is copper-nickel. With a mintage of just 1,000 coins it is not particularly common.
The obverse is somewhat sparse, showing the date at the top and the word TRANSNISTRIA at the bottom, with a stylized bat in the middle. The bat would appear to be a characterized flying fox of some kind, but not a particularly good looking one. While I like the basic simplicity of the design, the tail looks much to much like a plane rudder and not bat-like at all. But the killer for this design is that the bat's left wing (the one on the right on the coin) has one too many fingers! Look at the difference between the wings and it is quite obvious.
The reverse of the coin is quite nice, showing a blind Lady Liberty holding her scale and a sword (in case the scale doesn't balance I suppose). It also has the 2 Euro denomination in the center.
The outer ring has the words "probe - essai - trial" along with two series of four stars each. The words are essentially the German, French and English words that designate a "pattern coin" which sorta helps note that this is not a legal tender issue.
Every winter a few snowy owls come down out of the north and find places to settle in for the winter in the eastern US. One of the most famous sites to see this magnificent bird is Dulles Airport near Washington, DC, but it is not the only place.
This year a snowy owl has taken up residence near the towns of Bridgewater and Mt. Crawford in Virginia. And unlike at Dulles where the owl can be extremely far away, the Mt. Crawford owl can be seen relatively close without disturbing it.
It is known to roost in several places, mostly centered on the 7-11 and McDonald's at exit 240 off interstate I-81. We found it sitting on a giant light post in the Walmart terminal complex on December 22, 2017. Pretty good viewing but note that public access stops at the Walmart property so please do not trespass if you try and go to see the owl (and no parking on the public access road so you may have to walk a bit. I estimate we were no more than 200 yards from the bird and it gave us a very nice look as it was awake and just looking around while we were there (late afternoon).
Yes, I will get back to the bat coins, but I took this photo today over at Greenfield, a little park and lake just north of Roanoke, VA and kinda liked it. Hope you do to.
Keith Christenson - Wildlife Biologist