Monday, February 19, 2018

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great  Backyard Bird Count was this past weekend.  Birding for me was tough! We had a very gusty system come through, and it just made it hard to locate birds.  Most of the birds were hiding out of the wind.  As for my yard, the regulars showed up I got 15 species.  So I sent in that count.  I wish the Backyard count had been on Wednesday I had a better day of birding then..and I had a Fox Sparrow in the yard.  I watched him through the window for a while before trying for a better shot. This was taken through the glass...but he was gone when I got outside. 

I hit 2 locations on Friday but came away almost empty handed...Like I said, It was better on Wednesday.  I had some cemetery looking to do up in Marlboro county so I stopped at Lake Paul Wallace.  
Last time I was here it started to rain this time it was threatening...but just remained cloudy.

The walking trail is 1.3 miles one way and splits the lake into 2 sides...the ring billed gulls hung out about half way...

                             check the guy in the center..wa wa

Tons of Ruddy Duck were around,  hanging out in small groups of  10 to 15,  

I made a count of about 50 altogether.  They're getting into breeding plumage.   I spotted one female Bufflehead in the group. 

..and a couple of fish crows watched from the light post...

I made this a video of the call.

fish crow calling

This heron was funny he waited while I got close to him he didn't move a I gave him as wide a berth as I could, as you see the walking tail is not very wide.  He watched me as I went around behind him and once I actually got past him he started honking and screeching and make a huge leap and took off in a tiff!


Lots of Double Crested Cormorants hung out in the dead trees in the water...

Then on the stumps to dry off...

Up near the edge I saw a merganser fishing with a couple of the gulls..only she was doing all the work...I think they had a plan to steal something from her but they never got a chance she was so fast. 

She finally swam out a bit away from the edge and I took this shot of her before she swam out of range...

red breasted merganser 

That bit of white on the upper beak is a reflection... I haven't seen one of these in a long time so I was happy to watch this lady...Sure wish one of the gorgeous males would have been around.  I ran out of time I had intended to drive to the other side of the lake and see what was happening there, but is it just me or is a day way shorter than it used to be? 

Friday I had some good counts but no good photos...except this pair of Mallard...I felt his emerald green head was just beyond awesome!

This was at Sandhills NWR...many sparrows were around, but it was almost impossible to pull them out of the deep cover where they clung to branches to keep from being blown away! 

Savannah sparrow in deep cover

Saturday I was exhausted and stayed home to catch up on household chores..and then Sunday...showed such promise in the morning it was sunny and blue sky,,,so I made an impromptu decision to drive about 2 hours south to Dorchester County I had seen 2 reports of birds I need to see! Again I chased the long tailed duck and dipped and I dipped on the LeConte's Sparrow too! Before I even crossed the county line, the clouds came in the mist developed and the weather quickly deteriorated.  But I was committed so I carried on.  Trying to see through fogged lenses is no fun. 

I came away with very little to show for my time, but I still enjoyed myself. Quite a few floaters there... I came away with 11 species at this lake, Ruddy duck, Hooded merganser, Ring-necked duck, Greater scaup, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Red Winged Blackbird, Double Crested Cormorant, and American Robin to name a few.  

ring-necked duck

red-winged blackbirds

This pond is part of an estate that is for sale, so of course restricted access...(I found out this morning that a male and a female were spotted at 3:50 pm that was exactly 45 minutes after I left I rechecked the pond at 3:06 before heading back home...*SIGH* Maybe I'll try again....I'm rather frustrated at t his point)

Next I hit a new not yet fully open Audubon  Sanctuary and it had restricted access too.  I had to stay on the Sanctuary road and was not able to explore the habitat.  They had a sparrow workshop there the day before I should have gone... but had to be there at 8:30 am meaning I had to leave home at 6:00 am and I just wasn't feeling in on Saturday.  Wish now I had that's when they saw the 2 LeConte's Sparrow .  I heard one, they have a very distinct call so I listened to it to get familiar with it.  I wonder if they played the call on the sparrow walk?  Since it's a new bird for me, I only count sightings, once I've seen it then I count a heard only.  The drizzle continued and I ended up in the van for a while waiting it out.

red bellied woodpecker

Came away with very few photos...but ended up with 30 species here...mostly woodland birds...

Saw 4 red-headed woodpeckers, got this one yukky shot, up in the white sky.  Remember when I used to see so many  in my own neck of the woods, not so much anymore...I think it's the pine tree farming, the old dead trees were pushed down and that whole area, about 40 acres planted with yellow pine.  So no snags no red heads!

red headed woodpecker

All in all I had a good count 48 species with 688 individuals on 6 checklists.  for my weekend GBBC!  

Every day is a new Adventure.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Clemson Experimental Station

So far February has been cloudy and rainy.  Some days complete wash buckets of on the sunny breaks I'm ready to get out and go someplace! I took a short ride over to this spot called the Clemson Sandhills Experimental Station.  It's a pretty cool spot to hike, dog walk, and bird! I packed a sack lunch and drove over, its not too far away like 18 miles. There's 2 ponds and a lake.  I hiked the lake trail it's about 2.1 miles, outlined in blue... 

The trail meanders over the dam, over an eagle scout project boardwalk and 

through the woods....

Lots of American Robins up high picking berries I ran into them throughout my hike....maybe 50 in total

They did have some competition the cedar waxwings...saw about 10 darting in and out of this tangle of brier. 

In the woods area I saw 2 pair of Northern Cardinal, and they appeared to be searching for a nest spot...just the way they called to each other and the way they behaved made me think of Amor'e.

Near one of the smaller ponds this Eastern Bluebird was hunting in the Sycamore trees...

In the water I spotted 4 Pied Billed Grebes,  and 8 Double Crested Cormorants...all pretty far from the edge, 

 I found a bench to sit down and eat my sandwich this Carolina Wren started to have a fit...

carolina wren

I enjoyed his antics, and he stirred up a few more birds in the woods.  A Hermit Thrush  in the edge gave me a quick peek and higher up the Red Bellied Woodpecker squealed his displeasure too!  

Hope this one gets put back right before nest building gets  underway
Love the white bark on the tall Sycamore Trees. 

The bark...

After the lunch break I finished the lake hike and stirred up the interest of this Myrtle Yellow Rump Warbler.  

There is a young Pecan Orchard on the grounds and a few Northern Mockingbirds were patrolling the branches... 

There is an open area where they experiment with sod of various kinds, about the time I got over there an Eagle flew over way up high...and down on the fence line another Eastern Bluebird...

a heavy crop to pull this one out of this shot...

I would def go around here again...there is enough hardwood to make some pretty fall color behind the lake, so I must make a mental note! 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

I did it myself!

to learn how to take your dryer apart search it up on You Tube  

Most of the time I use a clothes line.  It's cheap! But when it's humid in summer, you can hang your wet clothes out for days and it will never dry it will however sour and mildew! In Winter your wet clothes will freeze I have had this happen, it's really funny when you can stand your pants up in the corner.  LoL. 
So that means a clothes dryer comes in handy.   This is the set I purchased in the 90's so they are kinda old. For the most part, still working. Except the dryer got soooo hot I couldn't even touch it. Needless to say I couldn't use it.   (tumble drum---->)
(<----thermostat compnent)

A dryer is a very simple machine.  It has a control center at top...mine has 3 switches the temperature selector, the start button, and the cycle timer switch. Then the cabinet on mine is like one piece of metal bent to a 3 sided configuration, then the front with the door attached, and the top...inside you have the drum it simply sits in there is turned by a motor and a belt much like in your car only smaller. 
There's 2 thermostats in the dryer one in the door, and one on top of the heating element this big round thing. So the problem according to my research could be the heating element is broken somewhere along the way and touching the cabinet and being grounded...or the thermostat is stuck open and not working. There's 2 of them I replaced one with a used one I found for $2.  I hope it works..and the other I ordered a replacement on Ebay. I made some notes to remind me what wire goes where and I took photos.  The heating element was not broken so I think it's the thermostat stuck in the open position, such a silly thing it has a bit of metal in it when it reaches 250 F it opens to cool the tempt down, then it cycles on and off in this it can get stuck...and I believe that is the problem.  You can not see this piece of metal it is sealed in the component. 

(control center ------->)

This is the control center from the back (top photo) showing the 3 electrical components, I had to replace the one on the end the shaft was broken off the temperature  selector knob, I accidentally broke if off when I was moving the dryer out of the house...I got a used one at the appliance store downtown for $10.

Wish I could repaint this control panel but then all the graphics would be gone, so it looks okay and will have to do! I probably could find a replacement one but that is simply cosmetic. 

the heating element 
The heating element of this Hotpoint Dryer (General Electric) is attached from the inside in the very back you have to completely disassemble the unit to get at it! Some have the heating element right at the back for easy access.  

                        the motor                                                                                the belt tension pulley

I decided to paint it while it was apart, the almond color does not go well in my quirky Laundry/Solarium Room so I wanted stainless steel.  I didn't do a perfect job on the paint but it's not bad looking either.  Here's the top getting it's second coat.  I cleaned out all the dust bunnies of which there were many!! I took the cabinet outside and actually used my air compressor with blow off connection and blew it all out! 

Painting the top & cabinet 

This is the fan, its sucks the air down through the lint trap, and then out through the vent pipe, and then out to the outside.  I gave it a good cleaning out.  Once I got the cabinet painted and while waiting on the thermostat to arrive I began the reassembly.  I can get to the top thermostat with the top of the cabinet off.  So I put the drum back in you simply sit it in and on back of the drum is a spindle, and it fits into the hole in the center of the heating element.  The belt goes around the drum then onto the shaft of the motor and the tension pulley keeps the belt taught so the drum is pulled around by the spinning belt! I tested it by rotating by hand, it glides around smoothly.

the drum back in place

I didn't take a before shot! But I intend to paint the washer too so I'll do a before on it they look identical.  That is the washer in the background, it will be moved when everything is done in this room.  

the front panel with door reattached 

Once the thermostat arrived it took me 2 seconds to install it!  I then put the top back on and fed the wiring harness up through the top and attached the wires in the correct place to the back of the control center.  

The control center attaches to the top and now it's ready to test.  Not one screw was left over but honestly there is very little holding these things together, all you need are a couple of screw drivers one with a star head a straight, and a phillips, and then a couple sizes of nut drivers.   I used a small battery powered screwdriver, and just changed out the bits as needed.  


IT WORKS! I dried a load of sheets...the only problem is some black marks got on the sheets..I hope that goes away in time...I had to re-level the drye it was not sitting Another $80 saved in this case more like $180.  My estimate. (service call probably $100 he wanted to charge me $40 for a $12 component, and the other parts he would have gouged me for those too... My cost was $10 for the used selector switch, $2 for the used door thermostat, I got the main thermostat for a bid of $12.50 free shipping, 3 cans of stainless paint $15.  So I did it for about $40 give or take....And some of that paint goes to the washer.  I probably should of waited till I had the washer done too before posting this but one Appliance make over is about like any other...the washer is only getting a paint job. 
I will try to remember to take an after photo when it's all back in place, that could be a while! 

Every day is a new Adventure.