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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Lizards, Hummingbirds and What?

Even though it has been a tad cooler in the mornings than having the 80 degree F temps to start, it's been a couple of mornings of 78 with a that old Texas summertime friend----h-u-m-i-d-i-t--y still stuck in oppressive mode. The biggest problem has been no wind! Nothing to stir the air up. Five MPH just ain't cutting it this time of year.

The good news is that on Saturday, the average daily high temperature begins its descent toward wintertime levels. It starts out with a drop of only 1 degree but by end  of September, the drop will be 13 degrees less than it is now--97 degrees F. So, for us Texans, that Saturday event is always a major mile stone in activities as fall festivals and the like gear up for the State Fair at Fair Park.

With a major section of roadway on both sides of the lake closed, albeit East Lawther's water line work in its present state will not be ongoing much longer, the closed section near Fischer Road and West Lawther is going to take a while. And with that, the East Lawther section from Garland Road (highway 78) is nearing its completion, having been closed to Winfrey Point for almost two years.

The down side of that is that the closures have the bikers frustrated and the park goers that use the park regularly and have the attitudes of some bikers (not all, thank goodness) raising tempers from those that never complain about anything. The pressure on City Council, State Game Wardens, Park Rangers, and Park personnel to start enforcing the codes that are displayed on the signs that the city has posted before the situation gets out of hand. And, the stress is growing much faster than even I had realized.

I try to take it in stride and to tolerate the worse offenders that don't want to share the park with anyone else. It has always amused me that the city spent $42 million on hike and bike trails and 90 percent still use the roadways for both. In fact, posted on the information boards is the little subtle suggestion by city parks:

If your speed or style endangers other users,seek
alternative routes better suited to our needs..
Selecting the right location is safer and more
enjoyable for everyone. 

Bicyclists are required to follow traffic laws---City Code  9

Signs that Stress Is Building with this Sticker on a Stop Sign in more than one place as even the Park publishes the rules that are city ordinances and yet won't enforce those rules and ordinances.

City made a point and tickets were issued for about a week. They stopped and everything has returned to the way that it was before.

Today, I had to laugh. In front of this sign was a Mercedes and a Grand Cherokee  parked  off road, in the grass. The same that got others tickets a few weeks ago, but it seems that the there are those that can pretty much do as they wish and not be held responsible. Oh, My!! Can it be?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Time Stamp This Morning:8:46AM,08-11-2019

Because of the heat, it was out the door very early this morning. After a quick stop at Micky Dee's to grab a senior coffee and a sausage biscuit, it was to my favorite spot at Dreyfuss Club and the picnic tables where the length of the lake can pretty much be see looking toward the dam. It's a great place to put down the camera on the wood picnic tables and drink my coffee and eat the sausage biscuit, while watching for the osprey and the eagle.

Much to my surprise, as I came down the drive from the hilltop and made the shoreline drive on the way out toward the stone picnic tables, there was already three photographers lined up at the eagles most favorite tree to perch. I pulled into the parking spot, walked over to where the guys were not even shooting so they had been there for a while already. Sure enough, there he set with that big white head and white outline around that beautiful black and grey body. I didn't even give the auto focus a chance to set before I clicked off three shots, wished the guys good shooting and headed back to the car. After all, I had seen this eagle and his mate when they first got here from the hatch release center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My brother had given me a heads up on the release and within a month, I had spotted them some five---now more like six--- years. I'm more interested in the osprey than the eagles. But, to each, their own.

American Bald Eagle at Dreyfuss Club, White Rock Lake at 8:46AM 2019-08-11

Damselfly laying eggs
I like these little guys better than the eagle, actually. Eagles eat Salmon. I eat Salmon. Damselflies eat mosquitos and I want them to eat all they want.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

It's Bound To Have Happened

Up until yesterday, there had only been one day of 100 degree temps in the Dallas Metroplex this year. For the hottest time of the year for us (last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August) that is a good thing. Today, brought in the second of those 100's and for the next 7 days, it will be 100,102,103, with heat indices of 105 to 110 (That is just bite the bullet and get through it) .

The way we handle that is like most people of Australia---you close up the house and stay inside until after sunset, then you venture out. The only problem this year is that the over night lows are stuck at 80-81 degrees F. Not bad, but, with dew points in the 70s it's still feels like 100 at 10 o'clock. That heat index is a killer, especially from 105 to 110 degrees F and the weather service has posted warnings.

That big High is moving back over us for the weekend and the hottest days of the summer will rule this weekend before it slides on out of here. It has blocked the Jet Stream and all the storms that can bring rain and cooler temps is running all across the Great Lakes latitudes.

This morning, I made one lap of the lake and birds and butterflies were trying to stay cool and a couple of ducks were fishing under the docks of the marinas where it was cool shade. On the lap out of the lake, it was a quick stop at Aldi's for some Moose track ice cream and a water melon (my second of the season). So, it's inbound and down while this heat cooks every thing from tires to pavement. The water trucks were out watering down the runways at DFW to keep them cooler. When plane tires hit that 140 degree surface at 135-50 MPH, rubber is left on the runways in greater amounts and besides that, the plane weights and hot surfaces can cause buckles that can shut down runways. Therefore, spraying water on the runways is not a waste of water by any means. It is something that must be done. I watched the web cam of the the 18's being sprayed as I cooled down in the AC with an ice cooled drink of water in a glass bottle that I keep chilled in the freezer. It makes a difference on the length ice cubes stay solid in the glass.

It looks cool.
He seems cool.

His first summer in Texas

Friday, August 2, 2019

How Things Fit Together In Life Is No Accident.

This morning's news announced another curse that came to pass for the  Kennedy Family yesterday. And this one was at  the family compound  in Hyannis Port. The compound is both large and small as the main house is not the only large house on a 6-acre plot. It faces Nantucket Sound. 

I first saw the compound in October of 1975 from Marchant as it makes a turn from Hyannis. It's one of those places that is very visible from the air with that view being the most recognizable. But, coming by land, its one of those places you can easily miss. Never-the-less, having passed it going out and beyond Hyannis Port to Chatham that land view is in my memory forever. That glass gift had come from friends of my then in-laws and it was with them that we stayed while in Chatham.

My oldest son was 5 then. Later on that same trip, he and I would be splashed by a giant wave as we were leaving Ogunquit, Maine. He passed away 22 years later (1998). That year, being two locations where presidents had spent summers and holidays was interesting, but the connection that linked the two  were the most odd of all things. One was a wedding gift that was an enormous piece of glass that raised much discussing as to how that gift would be displayed. The other was a college friend who was from Kennybunk Port, Maine--who also died from  something strange that I cannot recall at the moment but I remember the girl as one of the sweetest human beings that I have known.

Staying in Ogunquit, our place was actually facing the Bush Compound at Walker's Point. George W. and I share the same birthday.  I live only miles from him that can be counted on one hand. It was there that  on our last day there, my son, KP and I got baptized together by that wave that hit that tall stone rock we tried to hide behind. I recently checked out the place where we had stayed in Ogunquit. It had changed don't you know, but it brought back a flood of memories from that trip. That day. It was also there that I had taken a picture that would  one day cause me to do photography as a hobby more than I had done in the past. And that goes back to Junior High days.

Yesterday was the 67th anniversary of my maternal grandfather's passing. The same day that Saoirse Kennedy Hill passed this year (August 1,2019).

Colonial Flag of the original 13 states.
. There are even more stunning comparisons but that would be most revealing so it is most prudent to not list those on the web, given all the breaches of late. But, I find it most interesting now.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

1980 Vs. 2019. I'll Take 2019 Thumbs Down

In 1980, July recorded 100 degrees F. every single day of the month. This July, We went 29 days without a single 100 degree day. Yesterday, it finally hit 100 degrees. Today, being the last day of the month the official temperature at DFW was 97 degrees F. 

While it has been plenty hot with thick humidity, we did get a cold front that gave several days  of low dew points, low humidity and temps only reaching 89 to 90 degrees. It almost felt like fall. That got me thinking and that is always a fun trip. So, I started early looking for signs of fall. They were everywhere! I can't remember seeing so many annual signs showing up so early and in such numbers.

Then, at the end of search, I found a pod cast that keeps watch on the El Nino and La Nina. El Nino is back but in a weaker state. But, I'm still remembering the massive snow falls in the Sierra Nevada and the 8-inch rain falls in California, too. I'm thinking that we must might get a big snowfall this winter and that is why the early signs of fall are showing up. I'd like that, in fact.

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Hummingbirds Are Back!

Migration this far north is right on time.
The first hummingbird of the season for me was spotted on July 12th. Yesterday, the little one played peek-a-boo over the Mexican Sage Bush. He would disappear behind the bush. After a couple of minutes, he would rise like a helicopter and hoover about a foot or two above the bush, always facing me in the car, then he would disappear again.  This routine kept happening for ten- minutes. Just as I would raise the camera, he would disappear again. Animals are jokers, just like some of the humans I know. And that---is not a bad thing!

Update To Last Post, Especially Paragraph 6

Sadly, since that post, three people have been killed going the wrong way on roadways. Two, were former city councilwoman, Carolyn Davis and her daughter. The third was a gentleman from Arkansas. Paragraph 6 from yesterdays post Fire Department Puts Down Its Foot (7-14) and (7-3).
Actually, I hate it when I see  my post warning  becomes reality. May these individuals rest in peace. 

Switching gears here. The hummingbirds have now reached Dallas on their northern migration. I saw the first one on the 12th and again this morning. 

The middle of July already and the amount of dumpsters being filled with storm felled trees is just unreal. I ran into a photographer that shoots red dumpsters and he is having a field day. At flag pole hill recently, there were 9 on the ground filled with much more material to be added. 

Moss Park had them lined up every hundred yards or so and I counted 6 being filled. I also have spotted two storage areas where all the material is being dumped after being picked up. The chippers will be making mulch for months to come. 

Then, I drove through a cemetery and saw 6 being filled and it was not making a dent on what had been collected and moved to their collection point. Over the years, I have seen some pretty severe storm damage to trees but never have I seen what I have seen the past 6 weeks. It is just hard to wrap my brain around the amount of wood on the ground that has been hauled to the big chippers and what is still to be picked up from neighborhood streets.
Even Cemeteries Do Not Escape Storm Damage, especially where old growth trees are the majority of the landscape.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

And Now, The Fire Department Puts Down It's Foot

In my post of June 3, I  started out the post with the words---Dallas Has A Problem. When users of the park speak up, it seems that the only solutions come with the great big tag that says," Run Around". But, when it has the power backed by the Fire Department, the tag reads differently. It reads,"JOB DONE".

Ironically, the past few years I have mentioned to others that where one sees the wood poles with the top painted red---even with years of weathering--- why the poles are painted and what it means. These poles were painted like a fire lane---which means , no parking. The reason why no parking was selected for that space was because the fire department needed a place to put in their boats for water rescues, searches, etc.,etc.

Last year, the fire department needed to go up White Rock Creek for a water rescue and could not put their boat in under the Mockingbird Bridge Lot because cars were parked where the poles could be pulled and a boat put in. The Fire Department had to go up past the first marina to the concrete boat dock.

Only a few weeks ago, the call came in again for a water rescue and even at that boat dock (where the SUP rentals call home) the Fire Department could not gain access again. So, the next thing to happen is that the parks and recreation  crews are drilling and inserting post into the gravel lot at the boat ramp. In short, they cut up the parking lot, created a fire lane and that is that!!! Anyone parking there will be issued a ticket.

The issues are part of the same issues that I have been addressing the past three years with little or no help from the city. Yet, when the city needs something---or has an issue with something---it gets resolved instantly. At least, it lends support to the growing number of park goers that are frustrated at seeing the  growing number of runners and bikers write their own rules to suit themselves.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned to an official that someone was going to get killed. A week later, a biker was struck by a DART train as he tried to access the Santa Fe Trail. So, it's not just White Rock, yet, White Rock is having some very close calls with bikers nearly hitting kids getting out of the family cars, animals being hit by construction crews and bikers alike. Having mentioned the fire lane issue, signs posted are ignored and not  where one way traffic is posted but not clearly marked as it should be. The city has a responsibility to educate the park goers about traffic patterns with proper signage, especially since Texas has a problem with people going the wrong way on turnpikes and expressways as it is. Other states don't have half the problem that exist in the Lone Star State.

Just last week, one guy ask me "where's the signs?" My point exactly!! There are common traffic patterns that are national when signage isn't in place. It's universal traffic pattern flow---like when you enter a split and don't know if you should go straight or to the right---the rule is based on the same approach to a traffic circle---you always go to the right. But, in current time, when kids can't read an analog clock and get the correct time, knowing the rule of thumb of traffic flow just isn't cutting it. I am still waiting for a return call from Public Works on  some of these issues.

Fire Department Just Created New Fire Lanes

It seems that People Had No Clue that the Fire Dept.needs access to the lake for water rescues.

Half a Lot has now been Lost because of a few who were self-centered.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Saw The Two Newest Monk Parrots Being Fed

The monk parrots at White Rock make a lot of noise but in a way that's good. You know they are in the area. I pulled up on the parking lot at Winfrey Point this morning looking for the red shouldered hawk that hangs out there but heard, then saw the little green birds that look so much like the ones that were sold in the five and dime stores as pets. There are, however, a bit larger and there are some noticeable differences. However, seeing them in action is always a delight.

You might try enlarging them after you click them on for the default enlarging. At 100 percent, they are clearly cute to see.
The chick is on the left. Mom would drive the other bird away when she came back.
Here, she feed from her beak to the chicks beak.

There are two chicks and mom and dad.
It started out with shooting a couple on the sidewalk, then they flew off to the other side of Winfrey, then to the gang lights at the ball diamonds. Then, I noticed in the big tree at the edge of the circular drive that going around the side and front of Winfrey, two parrots sitting on a dead branch of the tree canopy. It wasn't long before I figured out that these two were fledglings and then came mom and dad to feed them. Then, it happened. I got to see mom feed the baby. To me, that was a rare shot. After a number of years trying to get a really good shot of them, I was able to get a couple of good shots of the feeding.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Catching Up With Depeche Mode

In Loving Memory of my son, KP who passed away in the early morning hours on July 4,1998 at 27 years of age. 

I listen to Depeche Mode in your honor, KP. I miss you so very much.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Dallas Has A Problem For Sure

This car is correctly going to right direction, including making the required right turn at the stop sign. However, a black SUV came down the road today going the other direction and nearly hit me head on. The very point that TxDOT could learn from  about why vehicles are going the wrong way all over the Metroplex and lives are being lost.

The park is posted with signs that read:" You must Obey Warning Signs. It is a state law."

One thing that I have noticed about Dallas is the number of people who go the wrong way on the Toll Roads, expressways, and streets. One thing about going to the lake on a daily basis is that over a period of time, it begins to point itself out to you that people don't read signs---especially road signs and/or traffic signs. The Texas Department of Transportation could do a study in a high use area where this very topic could be studied in concentration. After all, it is state law to obey warning signs!

In talking to various departments and people from inside city hall on down, it came to light that one of the reasons why there are so many violations at White Rock Lake is because the park and recreation division are short on parking spaces in out-of-ratio comparison to the number of people using the park in comparison to the numbers just a few short years ago---like 5 years. Also, White Rock is a big Public Relations Platform for the city and its parks. Having passed that information on after being told to me, it's also the age old story that the genie isn't going back into the bottle once it's been let out. So, I ask one of the police officers that at the time, was new to the park beat from the old guard that has gone on to better jobs, retired and left the force or otherwise moved either up the ladder or up the food chain. The question was since you know about the parking situation being on the the reasons some of the signs had come down  why aren't the city codes enforced? His answer to me was," Thank God--next question!"

Loss Prevention finally got a good number for me to call about the signs which have caused more confusion being down than up. Since the storm hit the park, now is not the time or the place to bring up that question at the moment. However, since then, I have counted 6 armadillos, a red should hawk, a pelican and several pigeons that have been hit by cars or bikes. Surprisingly, the number is growing by bike hits on the wildlife and migrating birds. Cars, being what they are, have nearly hit kids on bikes, older adults and a few hikers. With the number of cars going the wrong way on one way patterns while others, not knowing the basics of transportation flow when "signs are not present" (i.e., when approaching a "Y" where so sign is present at where to enter,  always go to the right as if you were entering a traffic circle). State law requires that bikes observe stop signs the same as cars. That just does not happen at White Rock Lake.Images of cars going the wrong way on marked "do not enter" or 'begin one way" are into the hundreds while bikes running stop signs as if the "Tour De France" trophy was on a finish line somewhere at the lake is only going to get some one killed before that trophy is ever awarded in Dallas.

Lizards, Hummingbirds and What?