Writer’s Block: Feathered Fallout

first_imgIndigo bunting. Dina Arévalo | Staff photographerBy DINA ARÉVALOPort Isabel-South Padre [email protected] had a bit of a cold front pass through the area this past weekend. Now, for you and I, the temperature drop was fairly mild. It wasn’t even worth grabbing a sweater, but the drop in humidity sure did feel nice.And though the slight dip in the mercury may have meant little to us, it meant a lot to various species of songbirds that had been traveling northwards from their winter homes in Central and South America. When the air got colder and the winds flipped and began to blow from the north, it was just too much for these little guys to keep going.Seeing the green spaces around South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista must have looked like an oasis mirage in the desert for these exhausted birds who suddenly found themselves flying directly into a headwind. By the dozens they began practically falling out of the sky to take shelter from the strong winds, rest a while and hopefully find some nourishment before continuing on their way.It’s not the first time an event like this has happened. These birds travel for hundreds, even thousands of miles, during their annual migration. Usually, they make the trip with the wind at their backs, but when a weather system moves in and causes the wind to change direction, causing the birds to momentarily suspend their travels, it’s called a fallout.Hooded warbler. Dina Arévalo | Staff photographerThe last really good one I can remember was around 2013. I remember heading down to the South Padre Island Convention Centre and seeing my very first painted bunting. With its rainbow color scheme, it quickly became one of my favorite species. This weekend’s fallout wasn’t as big as that one, but it sure didn’t disappoint, either.Just as I did back then, I made my way down to the Convention Centre, this time after work. I was a little worried that going so late in the day meant I’d miss most of the action since I knew the birds would be settling down to roost near sunset. But, when I finally got to the north end of the Island, the driveway by the Whaling Wall was chock full of cars — a definite sign that other birders were still around.I found a parking spot and made my way to the little gazebo that overlooks a small waterfall where birds often bathe. Sure enough, there was a crowd all around. Folks holding cameras, binoculars and high powered scopes stood around, chins upturned, their focus on the trees and shrubs that make up the garden. Everywhere was the sound of birdsong. I wasn’t too late.Indigo buntings. Dina Arévalo | Staff photographerNot even a minute after I got there I heard someone calling my name. Turns out it was one the rangers from our very own Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Marion Mason. She and some volunteers from the refuge had come to behold the spectacle, as well.Up near the Whaling Wall a flock of indigo buntings and a pair of painted buntings stood pecking at some birdseed someone had scattered along the ground. A lazuli bunting, uncommon in Texas, had been seen flitting in and out among them, Mason told me. The little bird was far from its normal migratory route and news of its presence had attracted lots of local birders trying to add a unique find to their “life lists.”I stood around hoping he’d peek back out again, but I must’ve missed him by just minutes. Nonetheless, I enjoyed seeing the indigo and painted buntings, some tanagers, a black and white warbler, Altamira orioles, and one of my very favorite birds, a hooded warbler.Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here. Share RelatedOver 170 ‘stunned’ sea turtles rescued from frigid watersBy DINA ARÉVALO Port Isabel-South Padre Press [email protected] Several local agencies sprang into action this week as temperatures began to drop. Staff and volunteers from Sea Turtle Inc. (STI), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and even local residents, all pitched in as over 170 cold-stunned Atlantic green sea turtles were rescued…January 5, 2018In “News”Probable Zika case found in Laguna HeightsBy DINA ARÉVALO Port Isabel-South Padre Press [email protected] Officials have announced a probable case of the Zika virus has occurred in Laguna Heights. “We were informed by the (Cameron County) health department,” Port Isabel City Manager Jared Hockema said. According to the city manager, the unidentified woman “presented with symptoms consistent…October 13, 2017In “News”City, school board hopefuls sit for public forumBy DINA ARÉVALO Port Isabel-South Padre Press [email protected] Candidates running for seats on the Port Isabel City Commission and the Point Isabel Independent School District Board of Trustees gathered at the Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center for a Candidates’ Night. The event, which was co-hosted by the Port Isabel -…April 29, 2016In “News”last_img read more

Track mentors developing ambitious plans for Japan’s runners before 2020 Olympics

first_img Hiroyasu Tsuchie, Japan’s Olympic development director for sprinting, speaks during a news conference at the National Training Center on Friday. | KAZ NAGATSUKA GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES KEYWORDS Tokyo 2020, 2020 Olympics, Yoshihide Kiryu, Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Kazunori Asaba, Tadasu Kawano, Yuta Shitara, Hiroyasu Tsuchie Japan’s track and field athletes have enjoyed some notable achievements in recent years, including medal-winning feats by the men’s 4×100-meter relay team and Yuta Shitara’s recent national marathon record-breaking performance.But with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in just over two years, the sport’s leaders here do not want to waste time and hope to have further success with firm development plans for its athletes.center_img “Having observed the Pyeongchang Olympics and how our Japanese athletes had success in it, it made us reacknowledge that we’ve got to have proper development strategies,” Japan Association of Athletics Federations development director Kazunori Asaba said at a news conference at Tokyo’s National Training Center on Friday. “And they need support from both inside and outside.”There won’t be a global tournament like the Olympics or world championships this year, but the JAAF intends to pour full energy into the Aug. 18-Sept. 2 Asian Games in Indonesia as this year’s flagship event for its athletes.Last year, the men’s 4×100-meter relay team, which earned the silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, captured another medal (bronze) at August’s IAAF World Championships in London. Also, Yoshihide Kiryu broke the nation’s 10-second barrier in the men’s 100, clocking 9.98 in September. Those feats have clearly captured the attention of fans and the general public.“The overall individual level in the 100 and 200 has risen,” said Hiroyasu Tsuchie, who’s serving as Japan’s Olympic development director for sprinting. “We’ve won the silver at the Olympics and bronze at worlds last year. We only have gold to win left.”Tsuchie, a former Olympic sprinter who has coached Kiryu, said that the JAAF would hold more training camps for the relay teams and have them compete at international meets more often this year.“We intend to have trials and errors to develop our teams, while we also want to find new talent for the future,” Tsuchie said.The marathon-crazed country also pays attention to long-distance running and the JAAF intends to do its best to live up to the pressure two summers from now on the world’s largest sporting stage.Tadasu Kawano, the Olympic development director for long-distance disciplines, stated that the 2018 season would be “the most important year” toward the Tokyo Olympics.Last year, the JAAF introduced the Marathon Grand Championship series format with the intention of developing its runners and providing more fairness in the selection process for the Olympics. The runners with the best marks and places in the selected races will compete at the series finale in 2019 to determine the representatives for the 2020 Games.The series seems to have worked so far. The most noteworthy evidence was seen at the Tokyo Marathon in February, when Shitara broke the 16-year national record with a time of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 11 seconds. Twelve men and six women have qualified for the series’s final competition so far.“We have reached our original goal to raise the level for our long-distance running,” Kawano said. “But we still have a long way (to go) to compete on par with the world’s elites.“We are going to have to keep working hard, and if we keep raising our level in 2018, we could see their backs.”Kawano added that the JAAF would concentrate this year on training marathoners who have already qualified for the MGC final race, while it would also work out measures to cope with the heat, which the participants will have to deal with at the Tokyo Olympics.“We would like to collect some data so we will be able to take advantage of them going forward,” Kawano said.Meanwhile, Asaba said that the JAAF would cautiously have to come up with strategies to adjust to a new global ranking system.This year, the International Association of Athletics Federations will introduce the new ranking system, which will serve as the qualification criteria for IAAF-organized global tourneys like the world championships and Olympics. The rankings will be determined based on points that the athletes earn.Previously, athletes could compete at global events once they have qualifications marks provided by the IAAF. But with the establishment of a new system, athletes will have to accumulate points by competing. RELATED PHOTOS IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5last_img read more

F1 ONLINE: Scary moments at the Italian Grand Prix! The…

first_imgDefending champion Lewis Hamilton will attack the jubilee 90th victory in Formula 1 in today’s Italian Grand Prix from pole position. The six-time world champion will be joined in Monza by a teammate from Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas. The race starts at 15:10, the live broadcast is broadcast by Sport 2, you can watch the continuously updated text report on Sport.cz.last_img