Thursday, April 17, 2008

Staying Closer to Home

Here's a shocking sight we saw on our way home from work today:
I can already tell that other than a trip to St. Paul in May and a trip to North Dakota in June, most of my birding adventures will take place much closer to home this summer.

Fortunately we have fairly diverse bird and wildlife habitats within 20 miles of my home, so seeing a variety of birds shouldn't be too difficult. Why, just this afternoon after stopping to top off the fuel tank, I spotted a Bufflehead (my first ever!) swimming on a storm sewer retention pond near a major shopping center. Mr. Johnson was kind enough to pull over so I could get out of the car for a better look at this striking black and white duck.

Plus, there's no shortage of good birdwatching opportunities right outside my window. This bright yellow goldfinch caught my eye right away on this gloomy, rainy afternoon.

And look at how popular this little safflower feeder is:

So how about the rest of you: do you think your summer plans will change minimally or drastically based on the fuel prices?


Anonymous said...

I almost choked when I saw the price of gas on the evening news, WHOA! Where will it stop, at $4.00 or higher? I better start walking to get the mail again.
Thank you for the stunning bird pictures, no thrashers yet. Our gold finches are still mottled, none all yellow.
Leroy E. came and dethatched our lawn today with the Lawn Genie, boy does it look nice and now with the rain it will really green up. It took him a few hours to do the whole yard. So what's next, mow, mow, mow.

Anonymous said...

We have spent this week of vacation close to home, doing our birding at nearby spots rather than traveling any distance. Gas was 3.56 when we headed out in the morning, and when we passed the same station later in the day it was 3.61

Ruth said...

Gas here in S. Ontario is $1.17/litre. That translates to $4.44 a gallon. I am visiting trails close to home this spring. Even a trip to the shores of Lakes Ontario, Erie or Huron...all within 1-2 hours of our home, are expensive. And there is lots to see around home.

Jayne said...

It's shocking to see the pump tell you that you just spent nearly $50 for a tank of gas. I was thinking the other day... how would my driving habits truly change if I had to stop every 18 miles or so and hand someone on the side of the road almost $4? It's really mind boggling, isn't it?

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
I heard predictions of $4/gallon by May. I'm going to cut back more on lawn mowing this summer to save more gas this summer too.

Hi Jan M,
Thanks for stopping by and welcome to my blog. My husband keeps complaining that the government needs to step in and control these gas prices, but I think we as individuals need to make responsible decisions to conserve also. Sounds like you're already going in the right direction!

Hi Ruth,
We shouldn't be complaining too loudly in the US, should we? I feel bad for the people whose work involves having to drive though (truckers, taxi drivers, delivery people, etc).

Hi Jayne,
Mind boggling is right. I used to drive a Suburban with a 30-gallon tank. Mr. Johnson and I were just talking about that on the drive into work this morning....and how glad we were to have sold that truck years ago!

Mary said...

Ruthie - I'm shocked! That's the highest gas price I've seen - ever! We are paying 3.27 for regular, for now...

Yes, it will affect our travels. The prices already affect mine because I'm combining all of my errand running into one trip instead of popping in and out of the garage all day long.

We really don't need to be driving all over the country to see the birds. Heck, I've found plenty on my way to the grocery store! LOL!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Our summer plans were cut short when the trees blew down this winter. We are still working to fix up that area. All is slow with insurance companies etc. Plus we are two of the best procrastinators you might know. I have a bad case of I wants for this area. We have noticed the gas prices though. How can a person that drives any not notice the rise in prices. Our gas went to $3.55. I can see that it will easily hit the $4 mark this summer. Just unbelievable. We might not go too far unless forced to. Like to get a state bird or lifer that is reported someplace drivable. Like you we have some nice birding places within driving distance.

Meggie said...

I've been driving all over my county watching softball and track meets...I feel the pain of high fuel prices loud and clear. I, too, will be staying close to home most of the summer. The bunny from your yard is a handsome fellow!

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Shocking, yes. I hope ND is in the cards for me too, but I just had not one, but TWO projects fall through because of client budget cuts.

What's next?

Robin at Bumblebee

Anonymous said...

We're paying more for gas in Canada as well - shockingly more! And it could go even higher once the summer tourist season begins. I'm not sure if it's having much of an effect yet on people's driving habits, but time will tell. It will be hardest on people who absolutely need their vehicles for work purposes. We'll probably still go camping but perhaps not as far.

KGMom said...

While it is true gas prices are rising to unprecedented levels in this country, the fact is many other places in the world pay far more. We have been living too recklessly where gas is concerned--just look at our choices in vehicles! So, while I too feel the gas price pain, I also drive a fuel efficient car.
Oops--I answered the wrong question. Our summer plans won't change, but they didn't include long driving trips as it was.

Deb said...

Congrats on seeing the bufflehead- one of my favorites and I have not seen one yet this year.

I mostly limit my birding to my commute to and from work, and what I see at home, so fuel prices are not much of an issue with my birding. I do think it's a harbinger of things to come, though, so I'm getting used to the idea of a way more local economy. And local birding.

NM High School Sports News said...

Here is New Mexico we are hovering around $3.29. I will still travel this summer...but obviously it will affect the spending budget.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
The gas prices are crazy! We had two jumps equaling 17 cents in the last 10 days.
I find it amazing too how many birds a person can see with just a little variation in the route doing the usual errands.

Hi Lisa,
There are things around the yard I'd like to spend more money on too instead of paying for gas. Maybe if I'm staying home more I can work on the multitude of unfinished projects in my sewing & knitting room too!

Hi Meggie,
After being cooped up all winter, it's nice to be able to get out and about. I'm sure your nieces and nephews appreciate your presence at their events.

Uh-oh Robin, that doesn't sound too good!! So far I haven't been affected by any of the cuts (fingers crossed), but I'm sure before too much longer I will see an impact too.

Hi April,
Sounds like Canada is much higher than us! I hope you get a chance to enjoy some camping--at least you'll only be using gas to get back and forth from there, right?

Hi Donna,
What you say is exactly true. When I got rid of my gas hog it was more about the bite in my pocket book and I didn't really think about how much fuel I was actually using. A few years later and now more knowledgeable, I realize how wasteful I truly was, and have been trying to make a better effort to conserve and preserve.

Hi Deb,
You're fortunate to live in a fairly rural area that's bird-friendly too (although it makes your commute and shopping errands a bit longer). Plus you've got that nice, new fuel efficient vehicle too!

Hi Ron,
I've missed you....thanks for stopping by! Sounds like (at least for now) New Mexico and North Carolina have the lowest gas prices.