November 17, 2004 [LINK]

Sharp-shinned hawk!

Sharp-shinned hawk One of the Sharp-shinned hawks that has been menacing the small birds in our back yard returned this morning, and this time it posed for a long enough time that I was able to get my camera ready. It was only about 20 feet away, stalking the bush where Goldfinches and a Pine siskin were taking refuge, but the overcast skies and the window screen made for less-than-ideal photographic conditions. The other photo I took was blurrier but shows the squarish tail tip, the main feature that distinguishes Sharp-shinned hawks from Cooper's hawks. The latter are bigger, but since female hawks are usually bigger than the males, it is often hard to tell male Cooper's hawks from female Sharp-shinned hawks. (The third species of the Accipiter genus found in North America, the Northern goshawk, is relatively rare.) You can tell this is an adult by the mottled orange and white plumage on the front side and legs; immature Accipiters are streaked brown and white in front. Jacqueline shooed this predator away as soon as the camera clicked. I'm sure it will be back for further photo-ops in coming months...

Cool tunes at Apple

Apple Computer has been very busy and very successful lately. In September they brought out a third generation iMac that has a rigid stand supporting a slim chassis/monitor, rather than a base and separate pivoting screen as before. In October they released a Photo iPod and a U2 Special Edition iPod, as part of a TV ad campaign featuring Bono and his crew. Apple's stock has soared into the middle 50s, four times what it was three years ago. (D'oh!) Thanks to iTunes and Apple's Music Store, I've belatedly learned who sang some of the best rock songs over the last decade, as I've gradually lost touch with the "hip" sounds of the Younger Generation. For those like me who are getting "Too Old to Rock and Roll, but Too Young to Die" (the title of a Jethro Tull song), here is a primer of some of the finest Classic Rock of recent years, the first five of which I've purchased, and the last four yet to be downloaded into my iTunes library. (This list literally expanded as I was writing this, as I located a song in iTunes while hearing it being played on the radio.)