Sunday, March 29, 2020

Socially Distant at Gallup Park

It was a fairly nice day in between the raindrops today.  The sun was out for a little bit, so I decided to head over to Gallup Park.  I haven't been there in a while and I was hoping it wasn't too busy so that I could practice social distance and get some pictures.

As I've said before, our state is currently under lockdown.  There is an exception for going outdoors though and I decided to use that.
 First up is a Canada Goose.  I don't consider any of these as cool birds but it was nice to actually get out photographing.
 A female mallard.
 A mallard drake.
 Another shot of the Canada goose.  I kind of like this shot with the reflection in the water.  It was a little on the windy side, so the water wasn't as smoothe as I wanted.  I was kind of amazed how high the water was at Gallup.  I think it may have covered the road for a period of time because the road was a little rougher than normal.
 Another shot of the Canada goose.
 The drake headed back in the water.  I just wish it were sunnier.
 Still a pretty nice looking bird though.
 He was looking at me.
 Again, I wish the water were calmer.
 As I was heading out of the park, I saw this guy.  I really like this picture.
 And a picture of his mate.
 I think this is a mute swan and is not native to the United States.   I think it was brought here as part of zoos and farms and escaped and is now pretty much wild.
I still prefer the trumpeter swans to these guys.

Well it was nice to get out and take some pictures.  Especially pictures where I didn't have to use maximum zoom and still have to do some cropping to get decent pictures.

I hope you enjoyed.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Walk Between the Raindrops

I decided to go for a brief walk after dinner tonight.  It was a little on the rainy side today though so I didn't go out for long.
 I didn't see too much in the way of bird activity but then again the sun wasn't out and I don't think the birds are stupid.
 Another angle of that sparrow.
 And then I saw this robin.  Unfortunately, these pictures were horribly backlit.
And then I saw another robin.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Socially Distant Wolverine

As I was about to upload my pictures from the last post, I decided to take a look at the Amtrak map.  I saw that the Wolverine was leaving Ann Arbor, so I decided to head over to Depot Town to catch it.
 I was amazed at how empty Depot Town.  Usually it is quite busy on a Friday night.  There was nobody around.  Granted, the state order might have something to do with it.  Since the state order allows for outdoor activities not around anyone else, I decided it would be okay to catch some pictures of the train.
 I kind of like this shot with the grain elevator in the background.  I think they are planning on demolishing that soon though.
The train gets a little closer.
One more shot of the train before heading back home.

I will have to admit all of this is uncharted territory for me.  I've had to work at home for the past two weeks and it looks like I will have to work at home for two more weeks if not more.  And even that doesn't mean when I go back to work this wont start again next year.  However, I might take advantage of the outdoor activity part of all of this.

Another Day of Birdwatching

The sun was shining for a brief moment after dinner, so I decided to take me and my camera outside.  Again, maintaining distance from anyone.  I guess I didn't realize the variety of birds in the area.
 I think this is a finch but I'm not sure what kind.
 I took a couple more angles of him.  I thought he was a pretty nice looking bird.
 One more shot of him.
I think this was a 737 taking off from Detroit Metro.
 A robin.
 One of our community cats.  We have a group of cats that live around our apartments.  That might be one of the reasons why I don't see many birds near the ground.
 A CRJ-900 taking off.
Another 737.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Jones Act and Bailouts

I hate to delve into politics on this page but sometimes the situation warrants it.  Unfortunately, it is looking like one of those situations.  As you may know, the Senate passed a two trillion dollar bailout yesterday by a 96-0 vote.  I think one of the reasons that it wasn't 100-0 was because 4 of the Senators were either sick or quarantined.  I think I read somewhere that if you put the Manhattan Project, Apollo Project, the Hoover Dam and the B-29 costs in 2020 dollars, this would dwarf that.  I mentioned those because they are often used as example of big engineering projects.  I suspect that if you put the costs of the New Deal in 2020 dollars, this would probably dwarf that as well (and as suspected it does).
So how did we get here?  Back in December, there was news of an epidemic in the Wuhan province of China.  It was caused by a coronavirus now called COVID-19.  A coronavirus is a type of virus that has little spikes on it and that makes it look kind of a crown, hence the name.   The cold is a type of coronavirus.  At any rate, this particular virus is highly contagious and fairly deadly compared to other types of viruses.  Another thing that makes this virus dangerous is that it is transmissable even if people are not exhibiting symptoms.   The virus attacks the respiratory system.
When it was determined that this thing had a chance to be deadly, travel from China was banned but that did not apply to American citizens.  Judging by what I said above, that was probably too late.  It didn't help that the Chinese weren't forthcoming with information about this but it also didn't help that one of the groups that was supposed to deal with this proactively was shut down.  The first case appeared in the United States towards the end of February.  By the beginning of March, it looked like the virus was spreading to other parts of the United States.  As of the writing of this post, there are 80,000 cases in the United States and looking at information from other countries, that number is going to go up.
Around the middle of March, many of the infected areas started to implement stay at home orders and because of that, the US economy tanked.  Which led to this stimulus bill.
As you guess, this has hit the cruise ship industry pretty hard.  It sounds like it is the President's opinion that they should be helped.   In normal circumstances, I would say yeah that's probably a good idea but there is a snag.  Most of the cruise ships are not flagged in the United States.  One reason for this is so that they can pay lower taxes.  Another reason for this is so that they can hire non-American workers.  I think another reason is so that they don't have to make them in the United States.
So Cruise Ship companies don't pay US taxes.  They don't use US workers (for the most part).  They don't use US ships.  So why should the get US taxpayer money.  Save that money for American companies that are in trouble.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Sun and Walk and Keeping My Distance

It was a nice night.  The executive order on my state does not preclude going out and getting some exercise.  That is as long as we keep our distance.  It was a very nice night (maybe a little chilly), so I decided to take myself and my camera for a walk.
 I saw this plane flying over my place as I was walking out.  I didn't have time to check FlightRadar but based on pattern, it would have been an A220 coming in from Dallas.  Flight traffic has taken a huge hit.  Well, I know it's an A220, just not sure of origin.
 I know this guy is a robin.  I'm glad that I have a lens with the reach to get these guys but I still had to do some blowing up.
 Same robin looking in a different direction.
 I think this is a sparrow.
 Same robin.
 This is a male house finch.
 I will have to say he is a pretty nice bird.
 Not quite as regal as a cardinal but still pretty nice.
 Just another view.
 This is a 757 and I think it would have been heading off to Seattle.  If what I'm reading is true, it is probably at about 20% of capacity.  I can't imagine flying in those conditions, but at least the plane isn't crowded.
And this is a Chessie looking at her crazy human.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Trying to Find Normalcy in the Midst of Craziness

As promised, here are the rest of my planes.  I only stayed at the airport for about a half hour.  Normally, I would have seen a couple of the foreign planes and a couple more 757s but quite a few of the flights were cancelled.  It is my understanding that many of the flights I did see were way under capacity.  Anyway, pictures.
 First up was a CRJ coming in from Erie, PA.  It is my understanding that will the bigger planes flying below capacity, the regional airlines might see more business.
 A 717 coming in from Baltimore-Washington International Airport.  Washington DC has three airports.  Baltimore-Washington is a little further out but I think quite a few people use it because it's easier to get in and out of.
 Another angle of that plane.  I really like the DC-9 family of planes.  I've heard that Delta may end up retiring their MD-88s and MD-90s because of this.
 An A319 coming in from Jacksonville, Florida.
 Another 717.
 This particular one was coming in from Raleigh-Durham.
 An A321 coming in from Boston.
 Another angle of that plane.
 An E170 coming in from Columbus, Ohio.
 Another A319.
 This one was coming in from LaGuardia.
 A 737 coming in from Atlanta.
 Another A321.  This one was coming in from Sarasota, Florida.
 I was going for another plane, but I could deal with a bonus A220.
 This plane is growing on me.  I think it is a pretty nice looking plane.
 I couldn't pass up on a beacon shot.
 And one more.
 A Spirit A320 coming in from Orlando.
 And it was followed by the plane that got me to go down to the airport.
 It was the lone 757 flight I think.  Normally there are three at this time.
 It was coming in from Orlando.
One more shot.
Another shot of the A350 coming in from Narita, Japan.  I have a feeling this may be the last heavy that I will see for a while.

That being said, I'm sure everything will bounce back but I don't think it will be over as soon as we'd like.