Thursday, January 31, 2008

Good Stuff

I lost another House Sparrow today, courtesy of the Cooper's Hawk. Hooray!
I glanced out the kitchen window and noticed the hawk under the evergreen tree. I sprinkle some seed on the ground there for birds and bunnies.

I could see lots of gray feathers floating around and worried that it might be a junco. But after the hawk flew away and my hounds were out for a bathroom break, I slipped on my snowboots to run out for a closer look. Once again there was enough of the head left to positively ID a House Sparrow (male).

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The great new combination monopod/walking stick that I purchased on eBay last week (my first eBay purchase, by the way) was delivered by UPS late yesterday afternoon. Richard recommended I try one of these to help me with more camera stability for my night-time pictures. I told him I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money and he was kind enough to send me the eBay link he used for the monopod he purchased. The "Buy Now" price was very reasonable and even with shipping, my total cost was less than $25!

It has a cushioned hand grip with a wrist strap, 3 telescoping sections (with locking tabs), and fits into a neat little 22-inch zippered carrying case. It's very lightweight aluminum (under 2 pounds, so that will make it very easy to carry along anywhere.

The other neat thing about it is that I can also use it for my spotting scope. My spotting scope came with this little table-top tripod which limits my viewing opportunities somewhat.
Now I can just attach my spotting scope to the monopod, which is going to give me a lot more flexibility and opportunities for using my spotting scope at home (in fact, I used it this afternoon to watch that Cooper's Hawk out my kitchen window).


Meggie said...

Looks like a nifty little gadget, Ruthie. Glad your first ebay purchase was a good one. Most of mine have been....

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Isn't it fun to get new toys?? And one less House Sparrow. I wish I could send about 100 House Sparrows over to Shirl. They don't have many in her country.

nina said...

Uh-oh...first ebay purchase. Now I know what you'll be up to if you're not knitting!

Mary said...

Never visit E-bay. Maybe I should. Spotting scopes? Please...I have a lot to learn. That's a nice set-up you have, there, Ruthie. And I'm so happy you are short on one house sparrow. My Cooper's Hawk is sleeping on the job.

Lynne said...

Cool stick thingy!!!
I want one!!jejre

Jayne said...

Smart, smart hawk! :c) Love your nifty monopod!

Richard said...

Even this old guy has a good idea once in a while. I like mine because you can adjust if so it's always at the right height to use.

April said...

you must have a huge number of sparrows. I guess the hawk has to eat too.

KGMom said...

Oh my--another bird sleuthing mystery. All you brave souls, inspecting the remains!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Meggie,
I can see where people end up spending and lot of time (+ money!) on eBay. There's not a lot of stuff I really need, but I think this monopod/walking stick will turn out to be pretty useful for me.

Hi Lisa,
I do love getting a new (& useful) toy!
I've read where the House Sparrow population is declining in some overseas countries. My flock numbers have gone down a little bit from what I saw earlier in the winter, but I still have plenty th share with hawks.

Hi Nina,
eBay could be a dangerous place for me to spend extra time--they have lots of yarn for sale too!

Hi Mare,
Usually the bluejays sound the alarm so most of the birds escape, but I've seen the hawk fly in really fast from around the house and this slow sparrow must not have been paying attention.

Hi Lynne,
It is a pretty cool item (with a little pick on the bottom for icy conditions)....I'll be bringing it along to Sax-Zim and you can try it out and decide if you want to get one too.

Hi Jayne,
I'm glad the hawk is smart enough to concentrate mostly on house sparrows (which I have plenty of).

Hi Richard,
The adjustable height is an excellent feature! I can see this item getting a lot of use in the future. Thanks again for the tip!

Hi April,
I have an over abundance of house sparrows, which I think is odd because I live out in the country. Some weekends when I'm doing my Project Feederwatch count, I have counted over 100 in my backyard. The numbers will go down a little once winter is over, but as far as I'm concerned it's still too many--especially once the bluebirds get back and competition for nesting boxes begins.

Hi Donna,
My curiosity usually gets the best of me. Fortunately this ID was easy and I didn't have to pick up any body parts.

mon@rch said...

Keep us updated on the monopod as I have been thinking of getting one! Also, very cool with the coopers and glad you were able to get those great photos! Thanks for sharing!

Windyridge said...

Hmmm, that's a good idea.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Eeeeew! I know, "Circle of Life" and all, but eeeeewwwww.

I see it's pretty cold and snowy up your way. I hope you're keeping warm and counting birds. Do you also count the dead ones?

--Robin (Bumblebee)

Cathy said...

I have a guilty little wish that my Cooper's Hawk would pick off my House Sparrows rather than the sad hapless female Cardinal he chased into my front window.

That walking stick is so cool. May you have many wonderful ambles with it close at hand :0)

Larry said...

Cooper's Hawk takes anotherHOSP -Nice! I've been meeting to try one of those monopods-My B-in-law told me about them.-Let us know how it works out.

Susan Gets Native said...

Gotta inspect the remains!!!! One less HOSP to bother us.

Hey, is that stick/tripod thingy compatible with any camera? I totally need one of those.