Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Astoria, Oregon, weather report . . . and birds

After a number of bright, sunny days all in a row, the weather report is 51 degrees at nearly 9 in the morning, and heavy overcast. I guess it's more the way Astoria is "supposed" to look. The sun was nice, but it actually got a bit warm here. Most buildings have no air conditioning, and something strange (?) that I noticed the year I arrived - most businesses also have no cross-draft - i.e., no two windows you can open anywhere in the building that let the breeze air the place out and disperse the muggy heat that tends to build up indoors on nice days. (After a couple of warm days, you might as well be in Florida.) In many cases, this is because there is no air space between buildings. They have common walls on the sides and the back, so there's no opportunity for windows even if they had been considered. In our building here on the water, there are plenty of windows - most of them simply don't open, or if they do open, they don't create a cross draft with any other windows. This was partially remedied this past month when all of the windows were replaced, but there are still areas where there's no draft. A couple of us here are heat-sensitive (which is actually why I moved to the North Coast). Our air conditioner was also removed during re-modelling, and has no place in the new facade. This next summer, we're going to have to get creative with fans. Referring back to the photo, I've always loved the coloring on this ship. It's fun to see the variety that come through here.

Part of the building-wide renovations included a new deck. The coloration is not a mistake - the materials are supposed to fade to matching colors with a little time. It's nice to see it without clutter. I'll probably bring the potted herbs back from the front, but since we now have a covering over the whole deck, I'll have to remember to water them.

This morning I saw small birds feeding on the pilings. I don't remember these birds, and I'd like to find out what they are. Below is an enlargement - a poor photo, but you get the idea - a brown bird with white spots. It's always fun to see animals I haven't noticed before. (UPDATE: The birds are starlings - thank you, Tom Means! I see on Google that many of the photos show starlings with spots. I somehow grew up thinking they were only black with yellow eyes, and then gave it no more thought. Tom says that the winter color and also the coloring of females and juveniles is spotted. I'll be on the lookout for them now!)

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