Archive for March, 2008

Grounded Eagle Sent to Rehab….

March 29, 2008

The Seattle Times reported on Wednesday about this young (4 year old) bald eagle found sitting on a Federal Way WA sidewalk. The eagle’s appearance drew a sizable crowd of onlookers before a state game warden arrived and netted the bird. Warden Bruce Richards said the eagle appeared undernourished and would be taken to a specialist for rehabilitation.

Photos: John Lok, Seattle Times

Meeting 3/25:Community-Senior Center Vets Park

March 24, 2008

Reminder: Meeting on the proposed Community/Senior Center in Veterans Memorial Park. Tues Mar 25 at 7 PM at First Church of Christ, 190 Court St, Middletown.

A Jonah Center bulletin reports:

“Architect Tom Arcari from Quisenberry Arcari Architects in Farmington will discuss conceptual drawings developed over the past two years. The feasibility study committee hopes to have a referendum question on the November 2008 ballot. The total project costs are estimated to be about $25 million.

Veterans Park is located to the west of Washington Street, behind Palmer field. The urban wildlife habitat along the Coginchaug River between Veteran’s Park and the North End Peninsula and the Floating Meadows has been a focus area for the Jonah Center for the past several years.”

The short video below shows the Coginchaug River where it flows between Palmer Field and Veterans Memorial Park.

Animal Abuse in China: An Olympic Disgrace….

March 24, 2008

A few weeks ago I wrote to a friend:

The ChiComs care only for how they appear to a global audience. Hence their obsession with baby pandas and their present purge of cats. This on top of the routine abuse of animals in China’s fur industries where animals are skinned alive or tourist attractions where unsuspecting cattle are released into a den of lions for the amusement of spectators. I say boycott the China Olympic Games.

In addition to the dispute over Tibet another shadow falls over the upcoming Summer Olympics in China: The blot of extreme animal cruelty displayed in the Chinese treatment of domestic cats and dogs. The Salon blog today features an article by Ted Kerasote depicting the gulf separating our Western view of hearthside pets from the Chinese indifference to the plight of such pets which are routinely tortured and slaughtered for food and/or fur. From the blog (not easy reading!):

Undercover videos taken for Swiss Animal Protection, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Humane Society show Chinese dogs and cats trucked to market without food and water, pulled from their cages, sometimes disemboweled, sometimes bashed on the ground to stun them, then hanged by wires, and skinned alive. These investigations led to a ban on the importation of dog and cat fur from the United States, Australia and a few countries in the Europe Union in the early 2000s. A full EU ban will take effect on Jan. 1, 2009

Easter Sunday on Indian Hill….

March 23, 2008

The video below was made today at Indian Hill Cemetery in Middletown. The brownstone 1850 chapel is a hidden architectural gem tucked away on this hillside. It was very windy there today so some segments of the video are marred by a roaring wind sound.

Climate Facts to Warm To….

March 22, 2008

Read our new posting today on the page Global Warming Hoax (see sidebar)

Excerpt here:

“There’s been a lot of talk about the impact of the sun and that maybe we’re going to go through or are entering a period of less intense solar activity and this could be contributing to the current cooling.”

Duffy: “Can you tell us about NASA’s Aqua satellite, because I understand some of the data we’re now getting is quite important in our understanding of how climate works?”

Marohasy: “That’s right. The satellite was only launched in 2002 and it enabled the collection of data, not just on temperature but also on cloud formation and water vapour. What all the climate models suggest is that, when you’ve got warming from additional carbon dioxide, this will result in increased water vapour, so you’re going to get a positive feedback. That’s what the models have been indicating. What this great data from the NASA Aqua satellite … (is) actually showing is just the opposite, that with a little bit of warming, weather processes are compensating, so they’re actually limiting the greenhouse effect and you’re getting a negative rather than a positive feedback.”

Duffy: “The climate is actually, in one way anyway, more robust than was assumed in the climate models?”

Marohasy: “That’s right … These findings actually aren’t being disputed by the meteorological community. They’re having trouble digesting the findings, they’re acknowledging the findings, they’re acknowledging that the data from NASA’s Aqua satellite is not how the models predict, and I think they’re about to recognise that the models really do need to be overhauled and that when they are overhauled they will probably show greatly reduced future warming projected as a consequence of carbon dioxide.”

Duffy: “From what you’re saying, it sounds like the implications of this could be considerable …”

Marohasy: “That’s right, very much so. The policy implications are enormous. The meteorological community at the moment is really just coming to terms with the output from this NASA Aqua satellite and (climate scientist) Roy Spencer’s interpretation of them. His work is published, his work is accepted,

Falconry in Connecticut….

March 17, 2008

DENNIS SANTANGELO, a sophomore in Middletown’s Vocational Agriculture Center, examines the bone structure of a 3-year-old hawk held by falconer John White of Southbury.White and Jon D’Arpino, of West Hartford, holding his year-old hawk,gave a program on falconry to sophomores at the center. (BOB MACDONNEL Photo)

A little known aspect of hunting is the ancient practice and art of falconry which, yes, is legal in Connecticut as in most states. A recent Hartford Courant article reported on a visit to the Middletown Vocational Agriculture Centerby 2 of 16 Connecticut licensed falconers.

MIDDLETOWN — – Jon D’Arpino and John White tend to their red-tailed hawks as lovingly as a pet owner looks after the family dog. They provide the birds with de-worming tablets, vitamin powder and a special spray to get rid of feather lice. When the raptors are unable to hunt for their own wild prey, they feed them a diet of thawed quail and day-old chicks, ordered frozen on the Internet. And when their tail feathers break, they patch them with small pieces of wood. As two of only 16 licensed falconers in the state, D’Arpino and White are members of a very small circle. Falconry, the use of wild raptors to hunt, was legalized by the legislature in 1998; it took another seven years for the state Department of Environmental Protection to approve regulations governing the sport.

Falconry is closely regulated by the state and federal governments. In Connecticut there are 3 levels of practitioners: Apprentice Class Falconer, General Class Falconer, and Master Class Falconers. Some quotes from the CT DEP on the subject follow:

Allowable Raptor Species to be used for Falconry in Connecticut
NOTE: No raptors may be taken from the wild in Connecticut.)

  1. Red-tailed Hawks, Prairie Falcons, Merlins or Harris’s Hawks taken from the wild in another state:
  2. any captive-bred raptor species; and
  3. any species of hybrid raptors, provided that the hybrid is sterile and unable to breed with wild native raptors.

Is Falconry for You?
Falconry is the sport of hunting small game species with trained raptors. The sport of falconry has a rich history throughout the world and the basic components have changed little over time. Falconry requires a considerable amount of dedication, knowledge, skill, time, and resources. If you are interested in becoming a falconer you must be prepared to provide for the day-to-day needs of one or more raptors. These needs include feeding, housing, training, exercising, and ensuring that the bird has appropriate veterinary care.

Permitting Requirements
To participate in the sport of falconry you must obtain a Connecticut and federal falconry permit (PDF 330k 5 pages). State and federal falconry authorization must be attained prior to obtaining a falconry bird. Based upon your experience, knowledge and ability, you may apply for a federal and a state permit to practice falconry as an apprentice class, general class, or master class falconer.

More information is available at the Falcon and Raptor Educational Foundation.

The video below is a somewhat humorous look at the history of the activity from a U.K. production:

Finally, a view of a Harris’ Hawk, a bird only coming into use in falconry in the last 30 years or so. The image is from the interesting web site

Reminder: Coginchaug River Cleanup Tomorrow…

March 14, 2008

The Jonah Center’s John Hall reports that river levels have subsided enough that the cleanup scheduled for tomorrow (Mar 15) will go ahead as planned. 10 AM to Noon; rubber boots a plus but not essential. Below scene is from last July’s cleanup:
The Metal Pile

The Coginchaug River: Today and Tomorrow….

March 9, 2008

Today: Above video is record of my weekly walk along and around the Coginchaug in my neighborhood.

Tomorrow: (well, actually March 15) Coginchaug River Cleanup at Middletown North End Peninsula (recycling center) Saturday March 15 –  10 AM to Noon; Jonah Center’s John Hall reports:

The Jonah Center needs volunteers to help remove a lot of junk (fishing camp debris, old tires, plastic bottles, etc, ) from the bank of the lower Coginchaug adjacent to the recycling center. It is important to do this now, while there is no poison ivy growing, and before spring floods carry this stuff into the river.

Directions to Site: Go through the gate into the Middletown recycling center (at the intersection of North Main and Johnson Streets) in the North End. Bear to your left and park near the brush and wood chip piles.

If you plan to help with this effort, we suggest that you let John Hall know by visiting the Jonah Center web site and emailing from there or call (860) 346-6657 x 13, so he can inform you in case the event needs to be postponed due to weather or high water conditions.


Here’s a photo showing just a sampling of what was collected in the cleanup in July ’07:
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