Friday, December 5, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Angles





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Crow Days



The apartment building next to our condo is one floor shorter than our own. Our windows look down on its roof, which is in such a sad state that deep puddles collect during any rain and remain for days afterwards.

This is a shame for the buildings’ tenants but a boon for birds. Almost every morning starlings gather on the roof to drink from and bathe in the puddles. One afternoon I saw a whole flock of robins doing the same, their bellies in the falling light as russet as autumn leaves.

Today I saw a crow bending to the surface of a puddle and was able to get a couple of pictures.

The pictures weren’t terrific, but they did let me see that the crow, unlike the other avian visitors, wasn’t just drinking: it was dipping a piece of something—bread, popcorn, or some other scavenged food—in the water, presumably to soften it before eating it.


Crows are smart.

They’re also fascinating. I love the way they move, the calls they make, and the challenge they present to photographers. This time I was at least able to capture more of its plumage than unyielding blackness—this time I was able to see the beautiful pattern on its back, almost like iridescent scales, and the metallic charcoal color of its beak.


It was the only crow I saw, but I’m sure I heard more of them. I regularly see a murder of five flying from tree to tree or harrying a red-tailed hawk. Once I counted 20 of them flying by, to what destination I couldn’t say.

If I had a lot more time, I would make it a year’s project to just photograph and draw crows. I don’t think I would get tired of them.

What animal do you think you could devote a year to?


{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, November 21, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Shy






{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Full Moon Sinking



The moon set into the sunrise, and as the light grew stronger the moon dipped towards the horizon, growing larger yet ever more insubstantial, like a sphere made of gauze stretched thinner and thinner.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, November 14, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Bring your beak OVER here...





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Thursday, November 13, 2014

One Good Shot: Happiness





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, November 7, 2014

Flamingo Friday: A fading rose





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Natural World




A post I wrote for my Tumblr site about being (admittedly briefly) shaken out of my post-election misery. Read it here.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, October 31, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Bashful





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Fine feathers





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Creepy crawly



I spotted this bright beetle in the courtyard of my building today and made use of my new fisheye lens to take some close-ups. It was only later that I discovered that it's an oil beetle, also known as a "blister" beetle because, when threatened, it can release a chemical so irritating that it causes skin to blister.

Luckily, it didn't find my lens or me to be a threat. It must have known I was planning on taking photos from flattering angles.


{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, October 17, 2014

Flaming Friday: White bows





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's Oscar Wilde's birthday!



In honor of the excellent writer and wit, I give you one of my favorite of his quotes:

"Only the shallow know themselves."

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, October 10, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Anger yoga



This bird may be mad, but look how flexible it is!

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Big Orr-Orrs




I can't claim I came up with this term myself as the descriptor for seals, sea lions, and other noisy pinnipeds--Annie gets the credit for that--but I have enthusiastically adopted it.

That's why I was especially pleased to encounter such a noisy pack of sea lions last December when I was in San Francisco. I don't think the video clip below is worth much aesthetically, but it gives a great sense of just how noisy these guys are.

video



{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, October 3, 2014

Flaming Friday: So many necks






{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, September 26, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Pretty much how I'm feeling



(But in my case without the feathers.)


{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, September 12, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Distortion





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, August 29, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Foodie





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One Good Shot: bowing



The wasp curved into the flower as trying to become a part of it.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, August 22, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Generations





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bouquet of Caterpillar: or, The fennel of youth



I had come to photograph the fennel wasps again: the yellow blossoms seem to exert an irresistible force over the insects, and on my first afternoon visit the whole garden had vibrated with their buzzing.

This time, however, the wasps were sparser, and I had the leisure to observe these subtle soft-bodied creatures clinging unobtrusively to stems.


For such dramatically colored animals they blend into their surroundings remarkably well. It was luck when I found the first, and the result of much effort to find two more. For all I know there were a good dozen (at least) that I didn’t spot.

Their heads were tucked down as if they were bashful or playing a game of hide-and-seek.


Perhaps they’re hoping that they can camouflage themselves even against metamorphosis: that if they conceal themselves cleverly enough, the summer will go on forever, an eternity of long warm days and drowsy twilights and ripe green plants to gorge on, and they’ll never age or change or lose themselves to the betrayals of the flesh.

Each day that the light dies earlier, I understand that hope a little more.



{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, August 15, 2014

Flamingo Friday: With a twist





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Look



Sometimes you share a moment, however brief, with another creature, and it reminds you of why you value the natural world.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, August 8, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Nose Dive





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bright ideas



It was the morning after a strong rain, and as the sun crested the houses on the hill it turned the droplet-studded leaves and flowers into a maze of sparks and diamonds.

Dazzled, almost blinded by the light, it took a minute to realize that the tall fennel plants in a front yard were hung with spider web: long rainbow strands looped across several plants, and tighter nets glittered around the heads of single flowers.


The spiders, always acrobats, became magicians—traversing lines of light, their own bodies blurring at the edges into incandescence.



Did they think anything was out of the ordinary as they rappelled alongside gems of dew or spun strands of flame along the fennel stems? Were their many eyes struck as mine were by the unending sparkle? Did it lend a new radiance to their work?


Or is this common-place to them: to begin their work in this unearthly early brilliance; to navigate an effulgent world; and to weave their deadly snares with threads of fire?



{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, August 1, 2014

Flamingo Friday: The Bend





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One Good Shot: Heroic





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flamingo Friday: 29





{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Thursday, July 24, 2014

One good shot: caught in the act



Unlike Blake's "invisible worm," this one is all too blithely apparent.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Snail Graffiti

Wildlife stories from a vacation in Maine – part 3


I like periwinkles. They’re plump, hardy little snails that can withstand all the hardships that a rocky shore has to offer, and when I was in grad school they never tried to commit suicide in the lab the way my research subjects did.

[look at (part of) that sweet face!]

It’s only recently, however, that I discovered—or perhaps rediscovered—another one of their charms. As they crawl over the rocks at low tide to graze on seaweed and films of algae, they leave little brine-and-slime trails behind them.


The trails aren’t the magical, glittering lines that land snails and slugs leave—these are subtler and more watery—but they tell a wonderful story about where the snails have been and how they’ve come to arrive where they are.


The stories, admittedly, lack motive, but that’s what science—or creative writing—is for.



{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flamingo Friday: Ballet






{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mink don't sink

Wildlife stories from a vacation in Maine – part 2

We had paused in our travel along the fern-fringed trail to sit on a rock and admire the view: the pearlescent water, the deep, bristling green of the firs and spruces, the granite shore seamed and fissured like wrinkled hide.

And there it was, gliding over the rocks and tumbles of seaweed, sleek and sinuous and unexpected. “I think I see a mink!” I hissed to Annie—and then added, “It dove!” as it slipped into the sea with barely a ripple.


After we had stared at the undisturbed surface of the water for what seemed like a very long time, Annie voiced my concern: “Can mink swim…?”

-But, in fact, they can, and soon this one reappeared, shaking itself so thoroughly that in less than a minute it looked perfectly dry (and illustrating why minks’ fur has been so coveted by coat-makers).


We only had a second to admire its quick change, however, before it noticed our interest and disappeared into the woods, leaving us with a fleeting impression but a lasting admiration for its amphibian agility.



{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...