First Snow

Great Blue Heron in a Snowstorm

Great Blue Heron in a Snowstorm

After Friday night’s extravaganza, the rest of our weekend was rather low key, but we didn’t just kvetch, we got out. On Saturday, we walked to the high school for the annual pancake breakfast. Anne was of course the belle of the ball there. There was a dusting of snow later on Saturday, but there was no real accumulation. When we walked again on Sunday, the snow was more vociferous. We drove to Forest Park and then hiked from there. My colleague, Timothy, jogged by us while we were playing iBird calls on Owl Hill. He was running his buns off. We were looking for Charles and Sarah, all to no avail. It was the middle of their night and there were still too many leaves on the trees. Charles and Sarah are two Great Horned Owls that have inhabited that portion of park for many years. Do two owls make a parliament? We did see this Great Blue Heron. After tromping around in the wet snow for an hour or two, we stopped in at the Boathouse for some raspberry hot chocolate. The raspberry flavoring came via a liqueur, so it really warmed you up. We also split a dish of bread pudding, which was smarter than each of us ordering one, because there was a lot of it.

Riverlands Conservation Area

I went to the Riverlands Conservation Area today.  I was able to photograph half a dozen different species of birds.  The Riverlands is located in Saint Charles County, Missouri, on the western end of the Alton bridge.  It was under this bridge that I met Matt Shellenberg, an avid birder and a way better nature photographer than I.  Checkout his website here.

There were plenty of  Bald Eagles roosting around the Riverlands.  The individual above is one of two that I got good pictures of.  He/she seems to be keeping an eagle eye on me.  I suspect that they were all just hanging about, because this is their nesting season.

Most of the Trumpeter Swans seem to have departed the Riverlands.  I did find one small flock (less than forty) in the wetlands area that Anne and I had gone bushwhacking for them a month ago.  I spooked them as soon as I got out of the car and only got a couple shots of them as they flew away.

Anne and I have seen Common Goldeneyes all winter long, but this pair are the first that were close enough to get a shot of, that I was willing to publish.  The female is to the left and the male is to the right.  You can’t tell it from this shot, but their eyes are really golden.

Pictured above is a pair of Common Mergansers.  Again the female is to the left and the male is to the right.  These birds seem much larger than the Mergansers that I see in the summer on Lake Superior.

I was shooting pictures of a line of Mergansers and caught this Male Bufflehead.  This is only the second Bufflehead that I have seen.  I posted a picture of the first one that I have ever seen, just a couple of days ago.  I saw that one earlier this month at Crissy Park in San Francisco.  Even though I was closer to that one than the one pictured above, the above picture is a better shot.  Chalk it up to better light.

The sixth species that I saw was a Great Blue Heron.  It is featured in today’s header.  Check it out here.

It Was Sad When the Great Blog Went Down …

Oh, they built the blog RegenAxe, to sail the internet blue.
For they thought it was a blog that spam would never go through.
It was on its maiden trip, that a virus hit this blog.
It was sad when the great blog went down.

It was sad, so sad.
It was sad, so sad.
It was sad when the great blog went down
Uncles and aunts, little children lost their pants.
It was sad when the great blog went down.

OK, it is Thursday night, what should I blog about?  Oh I know!  Wait my blog isn’t working.  What’s going on?  [An hour later]  Hmm, it’s still not working.  I know, I’ll check for news on Google … Ah, per The Huffington Post

During the service outage, WordPress sent out the following tweets:

  • We are back running at full capacity now. Closely monitoring services for any aftershocks. – Matt Mullenweg
  • We’re investigating the source & most expedient fix. I hope to have everyone’s blogs back & running as soon as possible. – Matt Mullenweg
  • is down, we’re working on restoring service now.

RegenAxe has been up and running on WordPress for about twenty-one months now.  This is the first service outage that I have experienced.  I think that is pretty good service.  Just so long as it doesn’t happen again.

The bird pictures with this post are all from San Francisco.  The Thayer’s Gull was photographed in Fisherman’s Wharf.  Go figure.  The Greater Scaup, pictured above, was seen in Crissy field.  Actually, it could be a Lesser Scaup, they have the same coloration.  There is only a size difference and there is interbreeding between the two species, anyway, Greater Scaup sounded better.  The following photo of a Great Blue Heron is also from Crissy Field.  Today’s header shows a pelican silhouetted against the sky.  This picture is from Moss Beach.

Even before the service outage, I had planed a technology themed post.  I had googled RegenAxe and beyond this website and the associated YouTube, Flickr and Vodpod accounts, I found an interesting (at least to me) collection of sites.  They all refered back to this site.  They were broadly speaking statistical in nature.  Some of them rate the value of RegenAxe.  Their various estimates of the value careen between a high of over a thousand dollars to only forty-six dollars.  More importantly though, some seem to have rather detail knowledge of the traffic on this website.  Even better, you can look up your friends and family member’s websites too.  😈

Hear is an update on the service outage from WordPress:

Today was down for approximately 110 minutes, our worst downtime in four years. The outage affected 10.2 million blogs, including our VIPs, and appears to have deprived those blogs of about 5.5 million pageviews.

What Happened: We are still gathering details, but it appears an unscheduled change to a core router by one of our datacenter providers messed up our network in a way we haven’t experienced before, and broke the site. It also broke all the mechanisms for failover between our locations in San Antonio and Chicago. All of your data was safe and secure, we just couldn’t serve it.

What we’re doing: We need to dig deeper and find out exactly what happened, why, and how to failover more gracefully next time and isolate problems like this so they don’t affect our other locations.

I will update this post as we find out more, and have a more concrete plan for the future.

I know this sucked for you guys as much as it did for us — the entire team was on pins and needles trying to get your blogs back as soon as possible. I hope it will be much longer than four years before we face a problem like this again.