Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday: Bison and the Lakota

 [Bison, a big bull, left, and a cow. Rutting is starting. Custer State Park, SD, July 29, 2015. Click to enlarge photos.]

[The modern white man's view.]

[Crazy Horse Memorial, SD, July 29, 2015.  Breathtaking.  On private land, with private (non-federal, non-state) funds. When completed, it will be the world's largest sculpture.  The four presidential heads at Rushmore would fit where Crazy Horse's head is. The completed sculpture will show Crazy Horse mounted on his horse, pointing as if to say, “My lands are where my dead lie buried.” This photo was taken from approximately one mile away with 420mm worth of lens, uncropped. Note the people at the right side of the photo for scale. When I first visited Mount Rushmore ten years ago, it had a surprising impact on me (in part because Teddy Roosevelt, my hero, is one of the four presidents on the mountain.) Crazy Horse Memorial impacted me perhaps even more.]

[What the memorial will ultimately look like.]

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Vision Quest, Part One

[Prairie grasslands north of Belle Fourche, SD, July 27, 2015.]


[Metaphorical haystack, somewhere on the South Dakota/Montana border where there sure as hell is no cell phone coverage....]

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday: Children

[Orca, Kenai Fjords, AK, June 8, 2011.]

“Collecting data on human learning based on children’s behavior in school is like collecting data on killer whales based on their behavior at Sea World."
- Carol Black

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Talons Down

[Great Black-backed Gull and Osprey escort young Bald Eagle, near Ocean City, NJ, July 20, 2015. Click to enlarge.]

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday: Advice From a Parent

"The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom."
- George S Patton 

Wordless Wednesday: Snowy

[Snowy Egret, Stites Sound, NJ July 5, 2015. Click to enlarge.]

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July: Thoughts and Pictures from Here and There

[Wait, it's fall on July 9? This Ovenbird at Cape May Point State Park thought so. Vince Elia, who birds the park almost every day, told me he hadn't had one there since the second week of May, so this bird was a migrant. Click to enlarge photos. . . and for the photographers, this one was at ISO 6400, 1/200th . . . Nikons can do a few things pretty well.]

There's been a lot of chatter over the airwaves (jerseybirds, Cape May Field Birders, Keekeekerr) about fall migration. Jeesh, it's July. But even I am rushing the season - or not.  We can long for and love the migrants, but the bird residents are doing cool stuff right now, raising families, molting. . . a lot to be learned, and not just about birds.

[Southbound migration of Eastern Willets is pronounced in July, e.g. this group, part of a 22 bird flock, over Stites Sound back of Avalon, NJ on July 5, 2015.]

On the summer resident breeding birds, I saw my first fledged juvenile Forster's Tern of the season at the South Cape May Meadows, well away from the nearest breeding colony, on July 9, and flying juvenile Laughing Gulls can now be seen in the back bays, and soon will be appearing farther afield.

[This juvenile Great Black-backed Gull, right, with attending parent, has mostly fully formed feathers, but look at the back end - no flight feathers yet.  Part of a colony inland from Townsend's Inlet, NJ, the young GBBG's could not yet fly, and began escaping by swimming when I landed my kayak, prompting me to leave the colony right away.  No sense disturbing these birds, though one could easily argue that the world be better off with fewer GBBG's - if one were a tern, coot, migrating flicker, duck, or anything else that these predacious gulls attack. July 5, 2015.]

[The Herring Gulls in the same colony are behind the Great Black-backeds' schedule, with only downy chicks on July 5, 2015.]

[I was seeing what I though was an unusual number of Common Terns west of Avalon/Townsend's Inlet on July 5th, until I came upon a new-to-me nesting colony next to the Herring/Great Blacked-backed colony. One might worry about how the terns will protect their offspring from the big gulls, but there were over 30 terns, and I watched the group kick the snot out of a few passing gulls. . .]

[We interrupt this butterfly count for. . . I participated in the annual Cape May butterfly count on July 7, working a section of the bayshore north of my Del Haven, NJ home.  Didn't find many butterflies (due to mosquito spraying? Lack of habitat?), but there were consolations.]

[Black Racer on High's Beach Road during the butterfly count.]

[And the rarest thing I've found lately, an albino Gray Squirrel on High's Beach Road during the July 7, 2015 butterfly count. Fascinating, and fun.]

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday: Tenacity

[Eastern Kingbird pursues Osprey with nesting material over the South Cape May Meadows, NJ, July 5 2015.]

“I tried to abandon my tenacity, but I just couldn't let it go.”
― Tim Fargo

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Jealous Fisherman

[Osprey with Summer Flounder, or Fluke, Stites Sound, NJ July 5, 2015. Click to enlarge.]