Where to begin.  We got to Maumee Bay State Park (near Toledo, Ohio) on Sunday afternoon – arriving to sunny skies.   After four days of rain it was a nice break.  We went to the Maumee Bay Lodge (at the state park) and picked up our registration packets for the Biggest Week in American Birding.  The event is actually a little longer than a week, starting May 5th and running through May 14th.  We have registered for events from May 8th to May 14th.

Day One

My first event was a Field Sketching course.  It was suggested we have watercolors, which I stopped and bought before arriving.  We didn’t get past basic sketching, let alone into painting what we drew.  However, I enjoyed the teacher and would love to take a class from her lasting longer than four hours.  Maybe I can…

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Upcoming programs offer insight into birds and birding

Our Fine Feathered Friends

Fall migration has begun. The pace may be a trickle at present, but the floodgates will open in September and October as a multitude of neotropical migrants — birds that spend the summer nesting season in North America — make their way back to warmer territory in Central and South America.

GREENHeron-Aug26 Photo by Bryan Stevens • Upcoming programs in the region will focus on topics such as songbirds, raptors and the basics of beginning birdwatching. Plan to attend one or more of the programs to learn more about birds, such as this green heron.

A few of the “early birds” are already well on their way. At home, I am already seeing evidence of the increasing pace of migration as hummingbird numbers increase daily at my feeders and thrushes and warblers make stopovers in the surrounding woodlands. In the coming weeks, I fully expect to see even more of these…

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A friend’s ficus

Nebari Bonsai

Here is a Ben that belongs to a friend. I don’t think he has any other bonsai trees, but has had this one for a very long time. I repotted it for him a few years ago, and he mentioned last week it was looking weak and maybe it needed to be repotted. Last time, it barely came out of the pot, but it did, and I managed to trim it back enough to get it back into the original pot. Here is how it arrived today. Unfortunately, the pot broke this time as I was working to extract the tree.

So I played around with a few pot choices as a replacement…

Deep-sided Koyo (he must be a really good friend, right?), it is a bit constrictive, too deep, and the glaze is not a fit

Production-grade Japanese unglazed rectangle, around 14″ wide and 2.5″ deep:

DaSu “fossil” special…

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Kishu or Shimpaku?

Nebari Bonsai

Over the years, this post discussing differences among Itoigawa, Kishu, and Shimpaku junipers has consistently one of the highest-viewed of the nearly 350 posts over the 5-year history of the blog. Kishu and Shimpaku are tricky to tell apart by their foliage, so here is a refresher…

Kishu left, Shimpaku right.

Kishu is plumper in texture, tighter in growth pattern, and brighter green in color.

Shimpaku is slightly thinner in texture, “ropier” growth pattern, and paler green in color.

Here is another look at the runners. Kishu first:

Shimpaku next:

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Hurricane bonsai prep when you’re not prepared

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

Well now. That looks ominous. Don’t worry, it wasn’t the leading edge or the eye wall (if I hear the phrase “the stadium effect” one more time I’m going down to Miami and punch Mr. Cantore in the nose) of a hurricane or rain band, that’s just a regular old shelf cloud last Sunday.

But, amazingly, here comes Irma.This is the forecast at 11 am on Friday 8 August. It’s been very stressful watching the spaghetti models and the “cone of uncertainty” graphics that the elite talking heads of the meteorological world have been effusively drooling over for the past week. I think that, when the hurricane finally arrives, there will be people so weary of the words and pics and video, that they won’t believe it, and they’ll get hurt.

But I’m not here to criticize the 24 hour news cycle (there’s a fine line between making sure…

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