Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Man-Made Good Thing!

Cliff Swallow Range Map
 
 
 
  Well sometimes with all the bad things the hand of man does every now and then something good comes along....of course its usually totally by accident!-LoL but here it is! 
This Map shows the range(in grey) of the cliff swallow through 2003.  Note that my state SC is almost completely white--I live in the central part of the state and look what I found last last week!
 
  YES these are Cliff Swallow nests from last year!  SO that means they were nesting here last year and will probably return...they have successfully pushed their range Eastward using the thousands of concrete overpasses as colony nest sights and that's good news for us as they keep the mosquito populations down!..SO come late March I want to visit this bridge over the Wateree River again!  The Swallows return to Capistrano (San Juan Capistrano, California) March 19th and leave in Oct...but some literature says they begin to leave in late August...You can see some of the nests have fallen, probably due to vibration of the heavy traffic over this bridge--I'M so psyched about this!!  There is a boat launch ramp right beside this bridge and parking is under the bridge... I hope none of the fishermen will even notice the swallows. The birds and their nests (while in use) are protected by law--!

the gourd shaped mud nest of the cliff swallow is made up of about 1,000 dabs of mud, then lined with soft down and grasses.
The next photo was taken on Old Route 66 as it runs through the state of Oklahoma this past spring when I was traveling--I love to pull under overpasses to look for swallows and sometimes bats! This time I was rewarded to find this colony of cliff swallows doing very well!
Here you can see the mud nests and an adult at the entrance they were feeding young, but the young are so smart and with all the warnings of the parents that Danger was about (that danger being me and my camera) they kept way to the back of the entrance--I did see a few heads pop out but not when I had the camera up and ready!

adult Cliff Swallow- it takes 44-50 days from nest building to fledging the young-
barn swallow nest
It's easy to tell a cliff swallow nest from a barn swallow--the barn swallow (left) will also attach a nest to the underside of eaves, bridges etc, but the top is Open--not enclosed like the cliff swallow. Also the barn swallow nest will have bits of vegetation mixed in with the mud--Swallows winter in South America -and now it appears to me their breeding range is all the way East!! 





So now we have all these man-made "cliffs" and the swallows are following them eastward! I think that's pretty cool! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

The fish that spoke to me...


I have to digress away from my normal blog style to share this story -- this is my opinion and not trying to force my ideas on anyone--
Recently I read a blog and in it was this statement that animals don't have souls--I say Says WHO???  Just using the word soul brings up religious belief and why should it?  Personally to me whatever one believes is their religion--it doesn't have to be indoctrinated--I have a belief system made up of bits of knowledge drawn from various sources--some of it are conclusions drawn completely of my own accord.
In order to find the answer of is there a soul you have to first of all figure out what a soul is, then separate indoctrinated religious belief from science and etc...It cant be done--you cant dissect and find a soul--unfortunately!  IF you could dissect to find the souls of some I think it would be a black slimy murk-BUT

I did some research and found out the reason this belief of animals not having a sould exists due to certain religious doctrine-and religious teachings and is believed by some religious fanatics-surely there is no scientific evidence to the fact that animals Do or Don't have souls.  There is no evidence that Humans Do or Don't have souls..if there is show me the proof, and dont show it to me in the Bible, the Quran, the Torah-- regardless of whether there is a soul or not animals have feelings, emotions, they are living beings, and they deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

I don't eat animals or use products that come from animals or that test on animals because to me its hypocrisy!  My love of all the creatures of the earth means I am with them, equal to them, in support of their existing along with me.  I guess that's kinda what Buddha was saying, but I am not a religious person-- Yes we are all of varying levels of awareness in order to live out the lifespan of the body we are in! Humans 80-90 years mice 3-4 yrs!  So that's my belief system and I and show my support of that by not harming or eating animals or FISH!.... MY burning question is do trees have a spirit?  I have a long way to go to become the person I wish to be!  In an online  personality test I was most like Ghandi and Karl Marx..so go figure-LOL

Having said all that I have a story to share, this is an absolute true story  from a personal experience and if it doesn't at the very least make one question their belief of the life force of animals then--well-- there may be no hope left.

We are all familiar with dogs n cats and some of us have interacted with other animals of the world.  When I was growing up it was dogs, cats, and HORSES!  I spent my childhood having adventures astride the backs of these great animals and while gazing into those huge brown eyes I saw a spirit/soul and my own was reflected back to me-

So as I moved through life I became more aware of how animals are exploited I worked in an industry that did that and when the realization hit me I got out of it asap. ( I worked with racehorses for about 5 years)
Animals are not meant to be bought and sold, raced, showed off, and forced into labor for profit...that's why at this point of my realization of the rights of animals, all I have are 2 rescued dogs!  The only reason I would pay money for an animal is-- to save its life-

So on with my story...before I reached this point in my life and while I was raising my son he also had this love of animals.  He loved horses but didn't ride them he preferred small animals. hamsters, rabbits, lizards, snakes, fish, birds etc. and you get the picture. So we had one of everything--and as is with most children he did some of the taking care but as often happens most of the work fell to Moi-We had a small 10 gallon fish tank and he stocked it with fish and due to our limited skills on keeping fish we were not always successful at recreating the right habitat and they would die off.  Finally when he decided to buy only goldfish it was easier (and cheaper).

The fish were all different colors and sizes.  Over the period of about 3 years the gold fish died off  except for one large calico one.  The tank had been moved into my bedroom and I got into the habit of feeding "Goldie" the minute I got out of bed in the morning.  (yeah I know not very original, and we had a young stallion named Browne...lol).  If I was laying on my side when my eyes opened I could see Goldie treading water in the side of the tank that faced my bed watching me...and waiting for me.  So I would sit on the side of the bed, yawn and stretch get up and walk straight to Goldie's tank and sprinkle his little "fish flakes" while he swam in happy circles then ate with vigor.  I went about my day and completely ignored him the rest of the day till he was fed again before the sun went down.  Such was the life of Goldie-

I had already told my son NO MORE purchasing of ANIMALs by this time I had began to develop the opinion that buying animals was not right and I didn't want to support the industries any longer and my son agreed...his rabbit "snowy" had passed away and along with the hamsters Louy and Duey was buried in the back yard.  Ever so often I had to clean the tank and Goldie waited in a glass mixing  bowl while I cleaned his tank, but other than that feeding him was his only interaction with humans since my son had long ago lost interest in Goldie-and Goldie lived alone in the tank.--I should have given him to someone else who had a tank full of fish... thinking back on it now.

So while I slept Goldie watched me...I had no idea how to communicate with a fish--but I did speak to him when I entered the room and said good morning and goodnight and that was it.  So one Saturday morning when there was no work or school I slept in a bit and I was awakened by this little sound...."tink" I looked around to see what it was and saw nothing!  I got up fed Goldie and went about my day.  Next weekend the same thing "tink, tink, tink", looked around nothing!

Then one Sunday morning I opened my eyes head still on my pillow not stirring yet, and I saw Goldie in the tank looking right at me, then he reached down to the bottom of the tank sucked up one of those small blue pebbles that lined the bottom  and then he spit it against the glass of the tank- "tink" and then he did it again..."tink". 

Realization came over me with a flush...GOLDIE had not only, all on his own, figured out a way to wake me but to communicate with me! There he was in his tank watching me and he was thinking and planning, and he was successful at getting my attention!  He came to these conclusions of his own accord problem solving, and he had put a lot of thought into it---
  1. I was a living creature who nourished him & would not harm him- he trusted me
  2. That when I was laying in my bed I was sleeping and could be awakened
  3. That I was a creature of routine
  4. He knew it was past his normal feeding time
  5. That if he could figure out a way to wake me up he would get his breakfast
  6. I responded to sound
  7. He wanted to communicate with me
  8. Tossing a pebble onto the glass made a sound
  9. He could use that as a way to communicate with me NOW I don't know about you, but that went way beyond what I had been able to do in the reverse...I was not able to tell him anything!  I never figured out a way to talk to him other than to feed him.  He figured out how to communicate with me!! Dont try tell me that creature was not a sentient being!!!  When Goldie passed away he had a proper burial in the back yard that any creature of this Earth should get, I said a few words to show his passing meant something to ME he gave his entire life-his spirit-his soul- to me there in my bedroom in the small tank and he had an impact on my life--I will never forget him!
  10. I believe animals have souls and they can speak, how do you know they dont, just because they've never spoken to you? I hope you enjoy this wonderful song-

                     

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WBW-10 Waxwings

I wanted to finish up the bird photos I took in Greer, SC the week we had snow--Like I said the snow brought so many birds into the yard there and in my last WBW I showed you guys the blue birds and the hermit thrush...well these birds didnt come in for the seeds but for the berries on a large tree right by the house..It was a pretty big flock of The Cedar Waxwing.  I've seen some really great posts n photos of these birds on the World Bird Wednesday, but I still wanted to share the shots I got of this very co-operative bird, who seemed to be getting as good a look at me as I was of him.  The flock swooped in very nosiely---and a few slammed into the windows of the house--I went inside and put some "things" in the window so they could see it was not a clear path..thankfully none suffered an injury--So here are my Cedar Waxwing Shots


Bombycilla cedrorum

The markings on this bird is exquisite, his black mask, soft  buttery yellow chest and tan breast....


The waxwings are after these little berries on this tree--the shot shows the white streaks around the beak...


this shot shows that cute little red dot on the wing!


The tip of the tail has a bright pumpkin orange stripe...with some yellow


IT was so much fun trying to photograph these birds, I spent an hour under this tree while they stripped the berries and then Swoosh--they were gone!

Clicking this icon will take you to the Pine River Review link & all the participants of World Bird Wednesday-


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thrusday Outing--

Since returning from my sister's & the dog sitting Ive been getting itchy to travel! I GOTTA Go somewhere soon or I'll break out in hives or something--once you get that itch you have to scratch it, or I sure do- otherwise I make me and everyone around me crazy..BUT right now ITS COLD everywhere! I'd have to drive hours to find warmth...If I go hiking Ill freeze and Ill have to wear bulky layers and keep putting them on and taking them off and its muddy from the melted snow--so I gotta cool my wheels around here for now-
So I drove up to Wateree Lake its a fairly local lake, it was COLD tho in the upper 30's with some wind chill...brrrrr--and there was not much going on-- these ringbilled gulls were trying to get a lake cruise together but couldnt find a willing captian so they waited at the dock..




Somebody is gonna have a surprise waiting for them when they come by to check on their boat at the marina--yuk! Lesson Learned--take the TOP OFF when not using the boat...
Then I checked out this house that's for sale-- sits right on the water its a beauty...no idea how much$$ it's going for--this is the front of the house, this facade faces the water...I peeked in the windows the main room has great looking hardwood floors!


and this is the private fishing pier and the view of the lake, only thing is-- this house is right next to the marina--so in summer that would mean lots of boating noise--


It was quite tranquil when I was there but its the dead of winter...not one boat came by--Saw plenty of these guys they wanted a handout; I had nothing with me "note to self" throw some bread in the car next time OR Popcorn,. these gulls will catch it in the air if you toss it to them..this is a ring billed gull giving me the evil eye-and flying right at me--


Some other freeloaders came by looking for a handout



Then this old fellow came bouncing from the neighbors yard, he was friendly but I used the "Ssssttt" sound that I learned from watching the dog whisperer, to stop him dead in his tracks a few feet away from me-- JIC he had "taking a chunk outta me" in mind...all I could see at first were those huge chompers----but he was quite sweet and he has an old injury to his hip..He didnt give me time to get a better shot of those beautiful pale blue eyes...cause even tho his master next door, allowed him to run over to surprise me...she called him back after she saw I had taken control of the situation...geeze some people! (thank you Cesar Milan)



I also saw a bald eagle up SO High that I nearly passed out from holding my head at a 90 degree angle and this horrid photo..but when you go for it sometimes you come up with fuzz..oh well back to the drawing board!! Ill post it small so its not quite so fuzzy--at least I can tell it was def. an Eagle!



over by the marina I saw this cute little shell, what a view this shell was enjoying too!  I call this photo--
- Small Shell Big World-


One last look at the lake before I head back to home...I hear the Eagles do nest on some of these small islands...wish I had a boat--



On the way back I saw a couple of deer milling around by the road ....then Zip they made a run for it-

     

that was how I spent my Thrusday, and Friday I went in the Other Direction so ill save that one for another time!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WBW-9 Even A Hermit Eats Out!

I've already shown in the previous posts the Red bellied woodpecker, the Downy woodpecker, Northern Cardinals and the Blue Jays that were drawn to the feeders here in upstate Greenville, SC when the SNOW came so this post will continue with some of the other birds that I saw.  One thing some people may not be aware of is that Eastern Bluebirds will & do eat at feeders!!
 I saw as many as 5 bluebirds out there waiting to get at it...an entire family-you know bluebirds live in small family groups and they share everything with each other..the young will help raise the next brood and so on--



The seed mix is 3-D Pet Products Nuts N Berry and its available in Walmart and probably other places like Wild Birds Unlimited!  They seem to pick out the shelled pumpkin seeds, the dried raisins and the dried cranberries as well as maybe the pistachios in the seed mix.  The other thing in there are the soft, small, and pea sized suet pellets.



SO I went to Walmart yesterday to get some for my house--came home and realized I FORGOT to get it...can we say scatterbrained???  SO next time
Here is yet another this looks to be the female--



This was a surprise to me to see the Hermit Thrush come to the feeder!! I'm not sure what seed he was after but It was from that same mix, it has all kinds of seeds n nuts n dried berry I didnt see what he was picking up but he came around everyday!  Love this spindly pink legs and his perfect little feet- not to mention those brown throat stripes!



Here he is giving a Dark Eyed Junco the stink eye..



He was giving me a quick glance backwards...



Such a beautiful bird I just couldn't get enough of him!  Notice the eye ring--





I am saving the rest of the birds that came to visit for the next series of World Bird Wednesday, please click this icon to go and take a look at other  photographs taken by people who love BIRDS of the WORLD

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cabin Fever....

Yesterday cabin fever forced me out of the neighborhood (and the need for bread and dog food!)  Figured the sheet of ice would be slush by 2pm  and I was right so I took my sisters Saturn dont you love that word ....Saturn, it turns my mind to the Cosmos... it has front wheel drive and its a HYBRID (a cross between 2 things a clone sort of)

 I do enjoy driving it when you stop it goes into battery power and its dead quiet..as if it came from outer space or something...it can sneak up on you for sure, if you go under 40 mph it runs so quite you can hear a pin drop...sssssshhhhhh sort of spooky almost!

So of course I took my camera with me, you never know what you're gonna see on the way to or from the grocery store...I've been getting my photog on (thanks Joyce for that terminology) with the birds since I could get them to come to me...but yesterday after I left the Bi-Lo parking lot and headed back with my $60 worth of bread n dogfood (why is it you go for bread n dog food and while you're there you spend $60?--talk about impulse drive) I went in search of  something to photograph!  Guess what I found--

ALIENS

NO you heard me right and I got photos to prove it, Im forwarding these to NASA as soon as I share them with my blog friends!!!! Here it is the final proof of an alien invasion!! At long last all the questions have been answered--They've been hiding right under our noses!!! YES they came right down out of the sky and with a little help they took on form..

Snowman 1

----see the huge blue glass eyes thats what gave this one away he is NOT human Im telling ya!
And there were others trying to disquise themselves as Humanoid -Earthlings but check this one out it's at least 7 ft tall NOW what human is that tall?

snowman 2

Some of the alien beasts pretended to be Females with false eyelashes? I saw the deception right away...

SnowGirl

This one was dressed in formal attire as if he was on his way to the ballet or something...he stood dead still when I came upon him...tried to hide behind that lampost but I got a shot of him anyway....they are not fooling me for one minute---



So I kept driving thinking- I have to contact the FBI or Janet Neopolitan Ice Cream -and let them know about this invasion....I mean I've never seen these creatures in this neighborhood before...and check this-
--now if this isnt over the top...how can they think they are fooling us?  I know its a long way from area 52 and Roswell but I think they have arrived!  They rode down from the sky on the snowflakes that fell--they FELL right OUTTA THE SKY--IM TELLING YOU THESE ARE ALIENS...



OMG just look at them pretending to be an entire American Family? Hmmmm thinking to myself - I like those pink dotted scarfs!

I know they came from some distant planet made of ICE--I mean DUH just look at 'em--and their arms are made of WOOD--commmeeee ON-- and a Carrot in the center of the face-- thats just WRONG on every level!  I followed the trail of snow they left behind and I think I know where they parked the space ship they have hidden it here. ---- NO Tracks but see I figured it out ----they dont walk they levitate----I saw HUMANS under their control  throwing balls of the stuff around it flew right thru the air.....I'm forwarding this info to the CIA so they can map it and surround the place asap...



Well cabin fever can and does hit people of all ages and ethnic groups...no Studies have been done, but I think just getting out and enjoying the outdoors is the cure!!
---oh wait a minute the dogs are barking, someones at the door let me see who it is.....


OMG ITS THEIR LEADER-----HELP ME I'M being Abducted By Aliens---
I hope they take me someplace Tropical....
---
Cabin Fever --ITS REAL-They are OUT THERE!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

WBW-8 Feeder Birds-USA-SC



BOY... I almost forgot about WBW since Im away from home...this post is a contribution to the meme about birds of the world, click the icon to see more posts of birds of the world...many birds are coming to the feeders due to the snow and IM snowed IN...(no snow plowing of secondary roads here in the south) so Ive been watching the birds at the feeders and here's what Ive been seeing--
I posted some shots yesterday, and here's some more of the same birds..

We placed some seed on the deck rail to get them in a bit closer to a window to shoot thru..
And the Red Bellied Woodpecker came in for a snack...the rosy chest down feather is what gives these guys that name...no I didnt clean the window--its too cold to try that now!

Woodpeckers - Melanerpes carolinus

This Northern Cardinal shot is not so sharp shooting through a window is not the best thing...but this red bird as we call them had such brilliant color, I tried to sharpen it but over did it a wee bit...


Grosbeaks  - Cardinalis cardinalis

and here is the female, these birds mate for life....



 Blue Jays that came for the bread I threw down for the squirrels and then picked out some of the best seeds on the rail..


from Crows and Jays - Cyanocitta cristata

and a few more of the gang..



The Brown Thrasher with his striking yellow eyes was lurking nearby....

Thrushes and Thrashers- Toxostoma rufum


Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Snow Day!

dawn is breaking
WE made it up to my sisters house they got off just in the nick of time, the airport closed last night after the snow started...I like snow if I have 2 skies strapped on my feet otherwise its not what I had in mind..I hated those winters shoveling snow in NY to get my car out only to have the plow come around and rebury it while I went it to change my clothes!


And poor Indy she had surgery on her hip before Christmas and WOW what a long recovery she is enduring she has to be kept confined, and when she walks which is only 3 very short outings a day for bizzness and not really for exercise she has to have the sling thingy placed under her belly to help take some of the weight off that leg and having to do all this while muffed to the brim with winter clothing and 8 inches of fresh powder does not make for a happy camper!..My dogs had a blast running around in the snow then they resembled frozen dog cycles with a snow coating--


Even the squirrels didnt come out of the nest today--they got the memo--Take a snow day---but the birds  all decided to come here for Lunch! So I tried to get a few photos of them---which was not so hot considering the windows are not exactly Windex worthy...I went out with my camera and the birds-- flew away so back inside I got a few hand held shots of backyard birds. 


The jays loaded up on nuts


snow jan 168


The red bellied woodpecker and the cardinal put a nice splash of red against the white snow...


excuse me, look this way plz


This little Junco was all puffed up against the cold...





This little downy Woodpecker was poking around....we usually see some chipmunks here but Im thinking they are cozied up in their dens waiting on a thaw...




this is the gazebo at the neighbors house (this is where little Poco now lives), and she is quite the squirrel chaser, I went to speak to her at the fence and she didnt remember me, oh well no matter she looks great when the snow melts I hope to get a shot photo of her


I took my dogs out back they had a run thru the powder
then it was a walk out front and a chat with the neighbors who always think Im my sister...I could pretend to be her I guess...lol the family resemblance is very strong! I would do that but heck that girl is a workaholic so I dont think I want to trade with her....So then back inside to wait out his cold gloomy day...reading blogs and watching the birds at the feeders...if the electricity stays on all will be good....

I never realized their house was yellow till now!