Month: April 2016

2015-16 NHL Playoff Predictions

As is tradition around here, it’s time to embarass myself by attempting to predict the NHL playoffs. So herewith is my official bracket. Over time, if you exclude my tendency to pick the Sharks to win things out of loyalty, my success rate is between 60-70%, which isn’t bad, but a good reminder not to put real money down on these choices — I sure don’t. Now some quick thoughts on why I picked the way I picked…. Over in the east, I really like both the Capitals and the Rangers, and I think Tampa has a team that can make it interesting as well. That said, no team in the East has impressed me for their professional attitude year as the Caps, which feel to me like they’ve put it all together. I expect that to carry them through the pressure of the playoffs and barring injury they should win the Cup this year. If anyone can beat them, I think it’s the Rangers and Lundqvist. Washington needs to watch out for Philly in the first round, but if they play to their potential, the Flyers won’t be able to stop them. Detroit, unfortunately, both barely squeaked into the playoffs and won’t stay around too long, not against Tampa. And I like the potential the Islanders are starting to show, but they’re not yet in the class of the...

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Out with Old Friends: Acorn Woodpeckers

(Check out all of the images) Last Friday I took some time to get out into the hills behind Milpitas and do some birding. This is an area I’ve been exploring and visiting for years, and we’ve had a bald eagle pair nesting on Calaveras reservoir since at least 2007. I’d done a quick look in early February to check the nest and it seemed empty but this was my first chance to go back and check again, and unfortunately, it seems they’ve abandoned their nest there this season. In doing some checking with others it seems there is an eagle pair that is likely nesting in the Sunol Wilderness area further east (which would be Alameda County, not Santa Clara) but the location of the nest isn’t identified by anyone I’ve talked to, and we don’t know if that presumed pair is the same one relocated or if this is a new pair. The eagles aren’t the only attraction in that area, though — the area overlooking the nest has long been home to an Acorn Woodpecker family, and that was a good reason to hang out and spend some time renewing my acquaintance with them and working on getting used to the Sigma 150-600. I continue to really like that lens, but it’s not without challenges out in the field because of its size and weight. The...

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