14 January, 2018 Ricotta frittata
All my years of loving both food and talking, often at the same time, I’d never crossed paths with a “ricotta frittata” – before yesterday, that is. It’s a real thing, I’m not even kidding. Evelyn and I ate yesterday for the second time (today was the third) at Galley Market in Stratford Hills shopping center. What I refer to as “ricotta frittata” is in truth a “ricotta, spinach and sausage frittata” but I wasn’t about to pass up that title for a blog post. It was as much fun to eat as it was to say. It’s almost as much fun (almost) as saying “bufflehead.”
I don’t have a ton of great content for this post (title is Exhibit A) but I spotted a Pileated Woodpecker in decent light this morning at Pony Pasture. I didn’t get the picture I’d hoped (I almost never do) but this isn’t awful. It’s a bit difficult to tell (the image is regrettably not crisp) but you can tell this is a male since he has a red stripe just behind his beak. Females look just like this except no red streak. Both genders have that remarkable red crest:
I am interested in the excavating that bird is doing. I’d always thought they only went in rotten wood, but that looks fresh. This was around twenty-five feet high. I got a reasonably good (not terribly shaky) fifteen second video of him working on that spot. Have a look if you’re inclined:
It was 25º when we got to the river today, and that’s cold. It’s warmer than it has been, but it was frigid. This was the river a bit before noon today:
Monday afternoon my friend Sam and I went for a hike and it was a comparatively balmy 45º. But if you’re a Richmonder you’ll recall that was the tail end of several days of single-digit low temperatures. Sam took this picture at 12:45:
When we got away from the river, there was a small herd of whitetail does close to Charlie’s Bridge. It’s still overgrown back there; this was the clearest image I could get:
I’ve gotten pictures of either Red-tailed or Red-shouldered hawks nearly every day this week, but none have been great. It’s been a challenge to get good light, and I have not lived up to it. Here’s a little Red-shouldered Hawk in Glen Allen, peering out at me from the tentative buds on a Red Maple:
This time of year, you will be rewarded for looking at “footballs in trees” – but often by squirrel nests. You’ll tune them out quickly, their sides are rough, unlike raptors. But I was hiking with another buddy of mine at Deep Run Park in western Henrico Friday and saw a different sort of “football”:
That, as my friend Kim taught me a few weeks ago, is the nest of a Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata). That link is to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Department of Entomology page. They note that the Bald-faced Hornet “…is not a ‘true’ hornet – it is a yellow jacket.” Which some people also call a wasp, it’s all quite confusing, but it’s fun to learn. And to find those footballs. If you want to see one in slightly better light, and in Pony Pasture, revisit this post from Christmas Eve of 2017, You can’t buy this on Amazon.
I’ll close with an imprecise picture of Mackey and Yuki at the river this morning. Turner doesn’t mind the cold even a little bit, but he is steadfastly unfond of any water for any use that is not related to drinking. It was, as noted earlier, 25º degrees, and Mackey had just cracked through about a quarter-inch of ice. The water was only four inches deep so all that happened was wet feet. I watched him closely for signs of distress, but in less than a minute he was sprinting down the edge of the river behind Yuki, bounding falling logs and tearing through the undergrowth. He couldn’t have cared less. I think it made him run faster.
Have a great week!
PS Almost forgot – went to Tredegar Iron Works with another train loving buddy on Wednesday around lunch and got a rare (for me) “double” on CSX freight trains. The train on the left was all coal; that lead locomotive (#3438) is a GE AT44AH (4,400 HP). The train on the right was covered hoppers, so probably corn or grain or something like that. Locomotive #435 was a GE AC4400, also 4,400 HP):
Great post, as usual. Always enjoy them.
I watched the woodpecker video several times. I appears to me that about half way through the bird seems to lick at the wound. Could it be acting like a sapsucker?
I often seen Pileateds around here but not this activity. It’s always been on dead stuff as you suggested. Interesting….
And thanks for the note. It does look precisely at the half way point (at 7 seconds) as if the woodpecker flicks something out of the wound. It looks like a scrap of bark but maybe a dead insect or something – hard to see but it’s interesting. I’m going to see if more are visible this week. It’s pretty out this morning! Thanks again and have a great day,
What I was talking about is immediately after the bird flicks the dark spot off of the tree. It appears to me that he then extends his tongue slightly and “licks” the wound on the left side. Perhaps he is getting sap, but I can’t be sure. At any rate, it’s an interesting scene.