White Throated Kingfisher Up Close

2017 Annual Report: Jim and Linda

Now That's a BIG Tree. This was the third big tree we photographed in Vietnam, each larger than the previous one.

Many Happenings[0]

About the Move to San Francisco

Although this move arose suddenly, we have been looking for an opportunity like this for some time. Linda and Claire are the instigators: both think the idea of living in the same location a great one. The advantages are obvious: They get built-in nannies and we get pet sitters in compensation.

The good features of this location are many. The building has been renovated recently. Indeed, the Google Street View, taken in 2015, shows scaffolding up on our building. You can see it in the photo by rotating the image. Across the street is a nice, dog-friendly, park with a children's playground.

The building is a Condo, not just a plain ol' two unit building. We hope to exploit that to the max. Already, we have arranged for the HOA to provide internet access (more below) and TV. Claire, Ron, Scarlet and Nico have the upper unit, as in upper class. We have the lower unit where the previous owner had stashed his mother. The upper unit is fabulous, even by San Francisco standards. The kitchen has a Wolf range, for example, if that means anything to you. It is a full 4BR, 3.5Ba apartment. The lower unit is a 2BR, 1.5Ba cozy apartment. This has presented us with the problem of deciding what to take and what to leave. If you need something for your house, you should let us know. At least we hope to reduce our carbon footprint, which due to our travels is Sasquatchian.

Claire and Ron showed the place to a friend. He said, “Wow! This is set up for WebPass .” We contacted them thinking we could get a fiber connection, but had to be satisfied with a high speed system similar to WiMax. We get speeds up to 500Mbps, which is great compared to what I am used to. Even better, ethernet ports, some operational, are scattered throughout the building. There is one happy camper eager for the move, despite earlier misgivings.

The one big downside of the building is the driveway, a steep, narrow, precipitous plunge into a cavernous garage. The latter holds our three vehicles easily and could probably handle one more Prius-sized car. I am still trying to master the backing out onto the street maneuver. Well, we all need a challenge from time to time.

Birding and Other Travels

Of course, we still traveled to see the marvels of wildlife on Spaceship Earth. Here are some of our favorite photos:

Spotted Wood Owl, 3rd Owl in 3 Mins
Two Black Crested Barwings Displaying
Humboldt's Hog-nosed Skunk

This year we completed the twin prime 71-73 [1] birthdays and celebrated with several birding expeditions. Linda doesn't care, but Jim would like to see half of the species of birds in the world. The taxonomic gurus keep moving the goal posts; the number of species is expanding faster than we can see them.

Cambodian Tailorbird, Final Cambodian Species
We covered parts of Southeast Asia that we had avoided 50 years ago: Cambodia and Vietnam. Both areas showed the ill effects of the American War, but in Vietnam the wildlife seemed to have suffered more. Still, we managed some nice views, such as this Cambodian Tailorbird, one of the most critically endangered species on the planet. Discovered in 2012, its only known range is a small area on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. It was the last bird added to the list in Cambodia.

The Spotted Wood Owl shown above, Jim's favorite bird of the trip, was one of three species of owls seen within three minutes. A report on the trip (PDF) is on the web site, with pictures and anecdotes.

Pair of Crested Treeswifts
From Phnom Penh, we flew to Vietnam. We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in the late afternoon, which provided us an opportunity to see the city lit up, if not like a Christmas Tree, at least like a TET Celebration, a dazzling sight.

These two Crested Tree Swifts provided one of the best photos of the trip. The female on the right had just finished preening the male. Late as usual with the camera! The two Black-crested Barwings pictured above represent a great find. Click on the photo for the story. A report (PDF) on the Vietnam trip is also available on the web site.

Diademed Sandpiper Plover

Finally, in November we joined our super-birder friends, Lorna and Dodge Engleman, for a private tour of Chile, a country that we had never visited before. Many people think that we are serious birders. I tell them, “No. We know some serious birders.” With the E's setting the agenda, we scoured Chile from top to bottom in a series of 12 hour days. Dodge and Lorna missed a couple of their desiderata but we had a large haul of lifers, 93 or 96 depending on which taxonomy we consult, out of more than 250 species and identifiable subspecies. A report on the trip will appear sometime, after all the broohaha of moving in while planning yet another trip abates.

The Diademed Sandpiper Plover shown above is one of the most sought after birds in South America. We were lucky to have three different 5-star sightings, one of which provided a chance for a photo. We also saw many Andean Condors, a jinx bird for us that we have missed on several previous trips. The cute Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk, a fun, late addition to the list, but not a bird, was Jim's favorite mammal of the trip, and maybe the year. Some Photos are online.

Harris Antelope Squirrel

Along with all the foreign expeditions, we sandwiched in a Road Scholar Intergenerational trip to the Grand Canyon with Kai and Kiera. Kiera had just turned 9, the minimum age for the trip. The kids had a super time with many others their age. Kai as usual showed that he is still a chick magnet. Linda and Jim enjoyed the natural areas near the Grand Canyon. This cute squirrel was foraging near the area where we waited for a helicopter to take us out of the canyon.

The raft ride down the canyon was cold! We decided that once was enough and are looking for something different for the younger pair of Grandchildren. See the Photo Album.

Solar Eclipse Viewing in Woming
In August, Linda left Jim back in California for a Moorman-Dillon family outing to see The Great 2017 North American Total Solar Eclipse. They gathered in a rented house near Dubois, WY, in the path of totality. For some whimsical reason, never adequately articulated, they all dressed up in animal costumes for the event.

A photo album of the occasion is online at Google Photos.

MS Found in a Bottle

One side benefit of downsizing is the opportunity to find forgotten items in the process of “throwing junk away.” We found Jim's diaries from 1977-1980. Most of this is barely decipherable, boring discussion of work, but attached to the back we found two items that we liked:

  1. A poem entitled April 1980 (PDF)
  2. A note about Mamaw's 80th Birthday Present. (PDF)

One More Item of Note

Jim discovered that the BPH he had been treating for 7 years was not completely "B" after all. Fortunately, UCSF is one of the premier centers in the country for prostrate ills. He had radiation treatment with few side effects. It won't slow down the birding.

On to 2018

Best wishes for 2018.

Visitors are welcome Chez Hargrove. We have a high tech wallbed in the second bedroom that has to be seen to be believed.

Stay in touch. You can always reach us using the contact form on this website. You can also find Jim, and now Linda, on Facebook. Jim is on Twitter also, as @Neoscona.

[0]: Ignore all the footnotes as usual, even this one. Go Back ↩

[1]: 71 and 73 are both prime. As they are only 2 apart, they are called twin primes. You don't have many of those in a lifetime. The next ones will occur when we are 101. See this Wikipedia page for more info. Go Back ↩