Saturday, June 29, 2013

City of Light One

Have to be brief because of time constraints and uncertainties of hotel internet connection.  So, we'll just conveniently ignore the Dulles experience.  I don’t have to spend much time on the trip over, went on Air France again, with the only nuance being the aircraft (It isn't Boeing, but I'm still going!)

You get the idea of how many folk there were from the seating plan, both “upstairs” and down..  we were in the second to last grouping on the left hand chart.  Food was well, processed, pre-packaged airline food (there was penne pasta under the foil - glutinous). 

Many pieces of paper generated on a small tray, and some oddities.  See the little (blue) Nanton container of water?  It came from that noted French region of Wisconsin!  And the little triangle of “cheese” by the cup and bottle.  Quick reminder that this is Air France, where fromage is one of their most prized products.  A (bad) close-up of the “Brie” label:

Read the top line and the word under Brie.  What is this world coming to?  I must say the service was gracious and you weren't hurried to finish the "food".

Anyway we finally survived the two hour weather delay at Dulles and the seven hour trip over in quite small seats.  I will say that the 380 wasn’t a bad aircraft, it was fairly quiet, but I will just add that Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones:  Worth.  Every. Penny!!!.   All the difference in the world.  And the audio programming on the plane did have a classical channel.

We arrived about 7am (local) at a rainy Charles De Gaulle Airport and walked seemingly miles, and several passport showings before we finally got our luggage. I am not sure why countries welcome you by treating you like cattle. After that, a mere 80 euro taxi ride in rush hour got us to our hotel.  Unfortunately our room wasn’t available right away so we had to do a little sitting and walking before getting to our lovely room.

Overlooking Rue Duphot in the Madeline District.  Despite advice to “tough it out” the first day, we did take a little nap.

Okay, end of travel worries and woes.  And you might not believe this out of the mouth of the feeder, but since then it has been a glorious trip.  There is just something enchanting about Paris.  A little bistro or brasserie on almost any corner, filled with interesting people, traffic and motorcycles everywhere, but all adding to the atmosphere.  On our post walk nap we discovered a place called Fauchon

I am not sure how to describe it.   I guess it would be a combination of Dean and de Lucca and Sutton Place Gourmet, but this place puts them to shame.   Glitzy, presentation and display to knock your eyes out


They actually have two stores on Place de la Madeline, the one shown is devoted entirely to candy, coffees, and the other has a wonderful selection of charcuterie, cheeses (pictures to come), seafood, patisserie, and so forth mostly for take away.  It is astonishing.  And there are helpful clerks everywhere. 
I was going to describe our lovely (just right) dinner of last night, but time marches on and I have a lot to say about that.  A teaser:

And courtesy of a French couple a rare if not unprecedented shot of the travelers:

Tonight we are dining at a former (?) Michelin One Star famous for seafood.  And it is getting time for me to


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Quick Update

Why is it when you are going to be away everything in the world happens?  Like maybe a balky toilet in the master bath?  Or perhaps the "fence guys" show up to repair the tornado fence, and the (expensive) Bose noise canceling headphones that are supposed to be delivered today (at more expense) are nowhere to be seen (yet). Oh, and let's throw in a visit by the stump grinding team to finish the tornado tree job.  Just stuff to deal with when your mind is elsewhere

We keep playing "what about?" or "have you,,,," for all the little million things that have to happen before you leave home for a somewhat extended period of time.  Another decision I have made is to leave the bulk of the camera gear at home, and depend on the Elph for photos.  With my ever expanding inventory of camera gear (still small by some of my friend's standards) the old Domke bag is getting pretty heavy, and I am tired of schlepping it through airports, customs, etc.  So the Rebel will remain here along with lenses, chargers, etc.  I will, however be taking this laptop that also weighs a ton, but at least it will be the only bag to keep track of.

Clothes have been assembled but not packed (tomorrow).  Hardware will be sorted out this afternoon.  Passports located, etc.

Oh on my morning trip this morning, I stopped by the (now "old") Monterey place in San Souci.  Sign in door:
No doubt we're not dealing with chains here!!  I did have one stringer report from somebody who had lunch at Azteca, and he reported fewer choices and smaller portions than he remembered at the original place.  We did a take out the other night, and as noted here (ad infinitum) it could have come from any of the many places offering Mexican fare.  Not great, not bad, okay.
And I have no sympathy for Paula either.  Now maybe we can buy a Smithfield product without that gooney stare..
Okay back to bags.   only two more nights to DFD

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Try as I might, I am unable to totally eliminate angst over the upcoming France trip.  What about this? What about that?  Shall I take my … or should I leave it??  With the result that the feeder may be short and sporadic for the next few days..  and when we are actually IN France, who knows..

So for a Friday, just some random bits and pieces as they whirl around in my brain

Apparently Plaza (Plaa – thuu?) Azteca (Athh - techa?) is now open (Old Damon’s) it’s quite the building from the outside..  More Mexican food, yeah, that’s just what we need!

And also Behind The Bookcase (Old Brewing Grounds/Leonardtown) did an opening last night.  The “speakeasy” concept is working.  Had a verbal report this morning, but I think one would have to see it in person to understand it.  Coffee in front, booze in back with light fare.  Interesting.

Tomorrow is the BeerFest at Historic St. Mary’s City..  looks like we have great weather on tap (get it? On tap… beer fest?)  Should be a great event… one to six… twenty bucks which includes your first four tastes.  Expecting over 25 different brews from real brewers like Ruddy Duck, DuClaw, Raven, Flying Dog, and Brewer’s Alley, plus some of the best nationally available specialty beers.. Come see us!!  Check this out: Beer

Oh, this morning as I was delivering posters for the fest, I ran into another observation on our drivers around here.  This is not new, but it never ceases to amaze me about the lack of understanding of the use of a “merge” lane.  As most know, I usually enter Rte. 235 from Millstone Landing, and when heading north there is at least a half (?) mile of a right turn/merge lane before the Chancellor’s Run stoplight.  I find it fun and challenging to manage safely and unobtrusively merging into the traffic lanes.  First within the merge lane, you gradually increase speed with left blinker on until you just about match the flow, then adjust your pace to enable you to slide courteously into that slot that inevitably appears.  Even more interesting is navigating across all three lanes which is pretty much done by the same technique.  I always try to be sensitive to not “cutting off” anybody, and even if I have to take a somewhat shortish slot I usually give the emergency flashers a couple of blasts to say thank you.  It is not hard, and it can be rather easily done.

Or, you can SIT at the start of the merge lane and watch two or three minutes of traffic flow by (with many obvious of those “slots”) until the demons in the light stem the flow of steel.  Only then do you cut directly across the merge lane into the right hand traffic lane and continue your journey.  Besides, sitting for that time allows you to check emails, send texts, and so forth.

Okay back to food stuff… Ruddy Duck South will open sometime next month, as will Striped Rock (Catamaran’s) perhaps earlier.

Season’s first River Concert tonight..always a gathering..

Potomac River Festival

Downtown Tunes in Leonardtown (Saturday evening)

Nothing to do…. Eh?

Don't forget to

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Do you read the Washington Post?  In the Sunday weekly magazine there is always a page with a quiz, consisting of two images of the “same” thing, except there are a dozen or so “differences” that the reader is invited to identify.  They are at best subtle, and sometimes almost inscrutable.  Usually I try to find one, and satisfy myself that if I really wanted to, I could find the others and move on to the Sietsema restaurant review (which have been fairly charitable lately).  So here is my version:  Find the differences between these images:



One clue is they might be taken in different seasons (if you can’t get that one, quit reading and contact the Senior Center).  Another difference can be found if you look just to the right of the garage door.  Cedar tree?  No Cedar tree…

That is because after I thought I was in the clear last Thursday (when I posted the “coming soon” stuff), the radar man on TV began to talk about a suspicious storm in the northern neck of Virginia that engendered a Tornado Warning there, and was projected to move into Southern Maryland, Leonardtown, California, and Pax River..  Yeah, right buddy.  About a half an hour later: in front

And on the water side


Of course I stayed inside when it "hit” and my lasting image will be of the patio table on the deck (which I left because it was anchored by that massive weight and the pole through the middle) about fifteen feet in the air twirling like a Frisbee disappearing over the edge of the hill, along with the two chaise lounges which have never been affected by storms before.  After MFO retrieved one of the lounges and the umbrella, all we had was:


Amazingly, since the always proactive MFO got on the phone with the “tree guy” immediately they arrived the next morning to tackle the job

It is really intriguing to watch them surgically remove limbs, guiding where the fall, always mindful of people and the use of the right equipment

Chippers, saws, grabbers, and labor all worked together so in about three hours, we had

Such a beautiful thing that nature took so many years to create, that then she took it back in minutes.  And the interior of the wood was equally marvelous with a wonderful Cedar aroma..

So we move on, as always


Thursday, June 13, 2013

More Opening Soons....

Waiting for the storm to arrive, a couple of things of local interest.

As we have commented before, the world of chefs and restaurants is an ever changing and evolving phenomenon.   Sometimes places open with “newcomers” that have never owned/run a restaurant before (“I’ve always dreamed of opening my own restaurant”) and other times people that have been associated with other ventures open new horizons.  The first set usually go broke, but restaurateurs (note there is no “N” in that word!!!!!) with some experience have a better chance.

So lately I’ve learned of a couple of places that will have new lives with “old” people.  First, the coffee house in Leonardtown that was known as The Brewing Grounds will be morphed into the BTB Coffee Bar.  Also apparently it will also serve adult beverages, and hopes to create a “speakeasy” format of some sort.  Supposedly they will build a bookcase and “Behind The Bookcase” will be where you can purchase those adult beverages (along with caffeine I’m sure). And the new owner is not new to food service nor Leonardtown, it is none other than Brad Brown whom you may remember came with CiCi’s Pizza and then did a stint at the Front Porch, and more recently at the Hilton Garden Inn on the Solomons  So we will see how it works out.  Will be interesting and maybe something different.

The other news is that there are new developments down on St. Georges Island.  The place that was the legendary “Evan’s” has over the years undergone several changes and renovations.  Somehow (IMHO) no matter who, they never quite caught on, but now I have reason to hope, because the new occupant will be called the Ruddy Duck Seafood and Ale House.  The first two words should give you a clue!   Ruddy Duck (Brewery and Grill) is the successful brewpub over in Calvert and the new Seafood and Ale House will be run by the same experienced team of the Kelley’s and the indefatigable Carlos.  With Michael Kelley’s hand guiding the kitchen, I am sure the food will be excellent, and Lisa knows what service can be.  They have a track record of excellence in both.  I am told the emphasis will be on seafood (duhh) and there will be some of the same brews available from the original Ruddy.   Watch for information on opening and so forth.

So there’s a couple of new things to watch!  No Chains involved …


Two weeks from this day, MFO and I will again get in the giant silver bird, and head for France.  This will be the year of foreign travel for us, with a couple of ventures to France, and another to England.  We’ll  take ‘em one at a time, but this first one will be with French Country Waterways, a travel company that specializes in luxery barge travel on the extensive canal system in France.  While that doesn’t sound exactly exotic, they are small capacity (ours will have 12 travelers) beautiful barges, have a chef on board, a wonderful cocktail hour daily and are “just right”.  They are built around enjoying the French countryside and good food and wine, and travel through wine regions.  Our first trip was through the heart of Burgundy, from Dijon south.  The second journey took us through Champagne country.  Each time we visited the legendary vineyards and houses that produce some of the greatest wines in the world.  The first trip included what remains the best (in this case the word is accurate) meal of my life (yes, nosing out Inn at Little Washington) at Lameloise in Chagny.  This trip (through northern Burgundy) will also include a Michelin Three Star dining experience at Restaurant Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu in La Côte d’Or.  Real food nuts might recall that Bernard was the chef who committed suicide ten years ago when he felt his third star was in jeopardy.

Anyway something to look forward to, just have to get through the angst of preparation first.  We’ll be spending a day or so in Paris to decompress before meeting the tour group in the Hotel Regina.

Okay, back to check the radar for the one hundredth time today..  not sure today will be a day to


Monday, June 10, 2013

Foolproof? .... not for the feeder..

Do you believe in pre-cognition?  I will swear on whatever you want me to that I AM NOT making this up..

In Thursday's posting about shrimp, to make a point about Cook’s Country, I drew what I though was a clever analogy to illustrate my point. I tried to pick something exaggerated (or should that be “eggs-agerated”?), and somehow the simplicity of a seemingly trivial task of frying an egg came to mind.  Completely out of my demented brain I wrote: As we all know, that is typical of the Christopher Kimball empire of Cook’s Illustrated, featuring the “forget everything you ever knew about frying an egg” approach to (mostly scientific) cooking”. 

So fast forward a few days, and this arrived in the mail:

In case your eyes are like mine, notice the second entry on the cover:

I couldn’t believe my (failing) eyes!  I turned to the article on Page 12 where it was entitled “Perfect Fried Eggs”, noting that they had already used up “best” and “foolproof” on the BBQ chicken.  The article followed the formula, whine a bit about how creating a perfect “diner” (meaning the eating place) fried egg at home was hard, “so I started out to…” same stuff.  One little nugget of knowledge was that they claim the white will set at 158°, while the yolk won’t get going until about 180, and therein lies the problem. The difficulty lies in getting the white and the yolk to be done without over or under cooking either one.  I kind of go along with that, is that your experience also?    Again he tried several schemes including basting the egg with hot oil (attributed to José Andrés), cold pan slow, hot pan fast, etc..  Finally he came up with the following technique (for four eggs):

·       Heat a nonstick skillet over low heat for 5 (!) minutes with 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil

·       Increase heat to medium high until oil is shimmering

·       Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter which have been cut into 4 pieces, quickly swirling to coat pan.

·       Add pre-cracked eggs (two in two bowls)

·       Cover and cook for one minute

·       Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 15 to 45 seconds for runny yolks, longer for different degree of viscosity.

Sounds easy enough, eh?  Only question(s) in my mind were:  use hot or cold eggs to begin with; and my typical quandary of what is “low” and “medium high” heat.  So yesterday morning I set out to try that procedure.  Left eggs out overnight, and in the morning assembled the stuff (mise en place) including the last of our WAG Canadian Bacon:


To follow the recipe exactly (it’s science, see) I used the timer to assure the correct time for pre-heating the pan

(Note there are no more images of the actual cooking due to a frightening labor intensive couple of minutes as follows)

Set the pan over "low" heat ... waited the exact five minutes, and then....
Increased the heat to whatever I thought “medium high” might be, and then MFO and I watched the two teaspoons of oil, trying to determine when it was “shimmering”.  When we saw some motion on the surface (a couple of long minutes on "medium high") We finally decided okay, let’s go!

I took the butter, threw it in the pan where it basically exploded into bubbles and steam and almost immediately turned brown (and you know what that means...).  Crap!  No turning back now, I grabbed the little dishes of egg, poured one in one side of the pan and the other across from it.  Once again huge amounts of hissing and bubbling from the whites and the edges quickly began to brown.  Started the one minute timer, slapped the cover on the pan which muted the hissing and popping some.   After a minute more, I yanked it off heat, and let it set for another 65 seconds (yolks supposed to be runny but set).  Finally, hesitatingly, I removed the cover hoping to see the “perfect fried eggs” and Voila!  I got:

Yikes! this is not exactly what I had envisioned.  a disaster!  Yolks were “blown out”, completely cooked, and the whites were well, unappetizing.  But what are you going to do (electing not to just pitch them), I plated up the best of the bunch

And we ate them.  The interior of the yolks of one were not completely hard


And, of course the bacon was just fine.  So with all that fuss, effort, and meticulous timing, they were pretty much a failure.  I ascribed that mostly to too high of heat all the way around.  Plus any time you cover eggs, you lose the “sunny side” to a veil of white.  I think I will try it again sometime with a little less of the “shimmering” part, but there is a little voice somewhere that says:  why bother?  It’s just a damn egg..

Of course we were


Andrea’s Contribution



Thursday, June 6, 2013


Well, since we kind of diverted off into demons and such things, maybe it’s time to return to our main subject of foodie things.. and I know you’ve all been waiting for that discussion of…..Shrimp!

I really like shrimp, but I have never lived in a place where you could get fresh caught shrimp at the dock such as I have heard you can do in places like the Carolinas, Louisiana, and Texas.  Somehow, I rarely am satisfied with shrimp you run into at various functions and most restaurants.  I don’t know why that is, but they never seem to have the flavor I imagine they should.  All they have is texture (usually on the rubbery side). Hence I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve them, so naturally when I saw an article in Cook’s Country called “Best Ever Shrimp Cocktail – New Foolproof Method” it caught my eye.  First, for the use of the damn word “Best”, let alone in conjunction with “ever”, and second, a “new method”?.   As we all know, that is typical of the Christopher Kimball empire of Cook’s Illustrated, featuring the “forget everything you ever knew about frying an egg” approach to (mostly scientific) cooking.  To be fair (as I always am) they do occasionally have some good ideas.  This article started out with a little rant about how on every Christmas Eve, the author’s uncle brought a plastic tray of shrimp cocktail: “the cooked shrimp arranged in concentric circles around a tub of cocktail sauce”.  Well, we’re all certainly familiar with that and also would agree that:  “the party vibe evaporates at the first bite of rubbery, watery shrimp” another experience we have all had.

So then he goes on to yak about how he set out to….yadda yadda.  Within all the hoopla I think he did come up with a way that at least helped what we would refer to as typical cocktail “boiled shrimp”.  Here are the basics of his “new foolproof method”:

·       First of all (after various unsuccessful attempts), he ended up eliminating the “boiling”.  The final process was to put “shell on” (more on that in a minute) shrimp into a pot of cold liquid, bring the temperature up to 170 degrees, take off heat, let set covered for five to seven minutes, uncover and pitch in a whole lot of ice, let cool, and voila! Perfectly cooked shrimp that were not wound up like a clock spring.

·       For the poaching liquid, he called for fresh thyme, lemon juice and zest (added after it comes off heat), bay leaves, celery seeds, peppercorns, salt (two and a half tablespoons!), 4 cups water and 8 cups ice, all for 2 pounds of shrimp.

·       For the shrimp themselves (again after trying shell on, shell off, E-Z Peel, etc.) he used shell-on Jumbo (16 to 20 count) Shrimp (was it George Carlin or Steven Wright who pointed out the term “Jumbo Shrimp”).  He asks you to use some scissors to cut the shell along the back and devein them before cooking.

·       After the ice bath has cooled them completely you shell them and put them on ice until you’re ready to serve.

I tried this method for the second time the other day, and was fairly happy with the result.  Still not OMG, but better than average.  I followed the intent of his recipe if not the exact instructions.  For instance with a nod to my cardiologist l left out the salt (with probably a hit to the final product).  I suspect I had a much greater ratio of liquid to shrimp; I had only about a dozen (close to a pound) and used a 6 quart sauce pan.  I did include the bay leaves, peppercorns, lemons, and thyme, but left out the celery seeds..  they always wind up in the dish and then your teeth.

And just a little diversion here, I am skeptical of the whole concept of “flavored” poaching liquid.  I never think it has much effect..  done it with chicken and fish, and well, after poaching they taste pretty much like chicken and fish.  Anyway, it isn’t hard, so suit yourself.

I also found removing the vein by cutting the shell was a bit difficult.  Where do you stop cutting?  Did I get that entire vein or is there some still in there?

I used an instant read meat thermometer (an essential in the kitchen) to monitor the water temperature and that wasn’t hard.

In the end, shelling the shrimp was fairly easy and that is where you can clean up any residual vein missed before cooking.  And speaking of finishing for serving, there is another thing you can do however you prepare cold shrimp that IMHO vastly improves their presentation.  You know that little ridge of fat that runs along the back just to the sides of the vein split?  REMOVE it.  Nothing says cheap and low life to me like picking up a shrimp from a tray and have those ugly little white ridges on the back.  It shouldn’t be hard to remove them.  Do it.

The article also included a recipe for cocktail sauce, usual stuff, catsup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, plus Old Bay and Cayenne..  sort of the usual custom cocktail sauce recipe.  I have both as a document if you would like a copy, just email me.  And be careful eating shrimp cocktail, the sauce can drip on your shirt when you are


Which reminds me of another aggravation:  Reception; passed appetizers.  One hand has drink, server approaches with a tray of shrimp cocktail.  Other hand takes shrimp.  Napkin?  Third hand?  Dip the shrimp in the sauce (prior to drizzling on new shirt) with fourth hand.  One bite, now you have a shrimp tail (and a soiled shirt) and of course the server is in the next room at this point..  Social graces…


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I've got ramblin' OF the mind...

Which is a little play on words on that legendary blues piece, most notably and hauntingly played by…… (figure it out)

Anyway the weekend is over and while I don’t have a lot to offer I do have some off the wall ramblings when there isn't any foodie news to speak of..

Worst hour(s) of the day

As I sit down to write this it (was) approaching what I consider to be one of the worst hours of the day:  the hour (that seems to take days) between five and six.  And I don’t care which letter comes before the “m”, both are awful.  Chronologically we’ll start with the “a” portion. 

I’m sure you don’t have this problem, being healthy well adjusted people.  My night is usually fitful at best, with demons (I’m sure they are related to the ones who inhabit the light at Millstone/235) flying through my brain, magnifying any little nagging concern into a life altering fear.  To ward them off somewhat I have a little battery powered radio with a pillow speaker that I listen to.  Programming ranges from talk shows like “Coast to Coast AM” , rife with conspiracy theorists, alien abductees, reincarnation folk, and so on.  They still hotly debate things like Roswell, and the Kennedy assassination.  Some are entertaining, some not.  Other choices are sports talk shows, reliable old WTOP, and very occasionally music.  The vagaries of reception sometimes force the selection.  Anyway, at five o’clock in the morning, “live” programming ceases: one of the local sports stations goes into an hour of the “Sports Junkies” that was recorded anywhere from two weeks to two years ago, and if it isn’t live I don’t listen.  Or our ESPN radio continues with its “Sports Center All Night” which is a compendium of sound bites from all the sports centers, which they repeat over and over.  Ditto don’t listen.  WTOP, which stays live, gets repetitive.  So there I am half awake, nothing to divert my attention, and these days to make matters worse, the rising sun begins to pound on the windows of the digs.  After an eternity, six o’clock comes along and things go back to “live” broadcasting.  At that point I suffer maybe twenty minutes of “Mike and Mike” the pair on ESPN who talk about (depending on season) the last NFL/NBA game, and manage take longer to yak about it that it takes to play the game.  Plus Golic is a high priest of Notre Dame. Golf? Baseball? Hockey?  They may get a mention if there was a fight or bad call.

Whew, I got carried away there!  Sorry.  Okay that’s why I hate 5 to 6 in the morning.

Five to six in the evening is much simpler.   Our evening cocktail hour begins at six or a bit later, and although “it is five o’clock somewhere” is famous, it does push it a bit for us.  So I spend that hour developing a thirst and clock watching.  Five o’clock News is usually kind of vapid, saving the “best” news for six, and don’t get me started on that buffoon Pat Collins..

So there you have my nomination for the worst hour(s) of the day.

Music in the Sky (?)

The other night, after six o’clock, we were enjoying cocktails on the back porch when I gazed across the water and over the Solomons appeared this cloud formation (I think aided by contrails – or maybe “chemtrails” for those midnight radio folk).

If you don't think to hard, does it not remind you a little bit of a Treble Clef?  If it does not, have a cocktail and look again.

Fliers of the Sky

I saw a posting on a bird listserv the other day about a Peregrine Falcon who had built a nest under the Solomons Bridge and the possibility of a chick.  Peregrines may be slowly returning to this location.   The person who posted is a friend who suffers me to help him bird occasionally, and he was kind enough to give me directions on finding the nest on the northern side of the bridge, nearer Calvert County.  So Sunday I loaded up my scope, bins, camera in the back of the MOMSTER II and headed across the bridge.  Local folk will know that on the Solomons side under the foot of the bridge, there is a boat launch facility, largely used by fishermen.  It being Sunday afternoon in Rockfish season, the parking lot was pretty full of pickups with trailers, some who already launched and others who were waiting with their boats on trailers in the “staging area”.  The parking there is geared toward those vehicles and in fact the huge majority or parking places are marked with “Vehicles with Trailers Only”.  There are a few that are not so marked, mostly under the bridge supports where the rigs can’t fit.  I had to take a couple of turns around the lot, being very carefully monitored by the czar of the boat launch since I had no trailer and was obviously not a member of the clan.  So finally I found a spot at the far end of the lot where I felt law abiding enough to park.  I wanted to do a recon of the area before getting out the scope, so I put the binoculars around my neck and took off for the vantage point.  Well, that meant I had to parade past all the fishermen waiting to launch their boats.  Most were hard core fishing boats, bristling with rods with those fluorescent green things, you’ve seen them.  The captains of the vessels were sort of hanging together, some smoking and telling fish stories, a lot with cami clothing on, their war torn ball caps, real men of the sea (well, river).  So here was this guy with shorts and black socks, binoculars around his neck parading by.  Have you ever felt stares burning into you?   Anyway I nonchalantly went to a little by the foot of the bridge, scanned the bridge and found the nest, but couldn’t discern any occupants.  Okay, time for (sigh) the scope..  back through the gauntlet, get out the scope,  parade by the speechless anglers again.

I finally set up an observation site near a picnic table and trained the scope on the nest, and really couldn’t see anybody home.  I spent about 20 minutes waiting to see movement, and nothing.  Eventually I saw a little “lump” just outside the nest, near one of the supports, but the wind was such that it caused the scope to jitter at high magnification so I couldn’t get a real good look.  Finally I decided it wasn’t alive as it didn’t move.  At that point I gave up, and went back again to the car for the camera.  I have a loaner 100 – 400mm big boy lens so thought I would try a shot.  One more time past the boys, this time with a very expensive looking lens and camera.  I was glad I couldn’t hear any conversation.  I took a couple of documentation shots of the nest, went through the gauntlet for the last time and came home.

Much to my surprise, when I downloaded the images and “zoomed” in, the “lump” was not where I saw it first by the support right by the nest, but was further under the bridge (to the left of the pipe, you might have to look hard).

So although it still isn’t clear, it could be the little Peregrine, whom I shall now call “Lumpy”.  We'll keep and eye out for them

Another Passing

Although I did not know him I just heard that “Charlie” of Charlie’s Deli has served his last customer and passed recently.  Too Bad.  Another reason to be