Well I managed to get a walk in today up around Boomer Lake (so I have quite a few new photos to start going through, once I get them onto the computer). But as I was leaving the house, I noticed the way the sun was hitting one of the wind chimes and I liked their shadow on the house.
This particular wind chime is a set of bells, and from the bottom two there are “shells” that dangle from them. They make a very enjoyable sound when the breeze is passing through the front yard. I also liked how the shadow of the bells looked on the house along with the shadows from the tree that shades the front walkway towards the porch.
Wind chimes have been
around since ancient times (Rome, Egypt, India, China) and are considered to be
a type of percussion instrument (due to how the suspended objects clank
together due to the wind). The shapes of the wind chimes can vary from the
average tube or rod to objects such as bells or ornaments. The shapes and
spacing of the objects from each other allows for them to have different sounds
daily (again depending on the wind blowing that particular day).
Wind chimes can be found in people’s gardens or being hung outside the home. We have several hanging in various spots and it’s always interesting to see if they will chime on the really windy days (when we see the trees blowing in the breeze). I’ll have to keep an eye open to see how often their shadow is casted in an interesting way on the side of the house.
So one of the 30 day challenges that I think were in both of the books that I read last month was a photography challenge. Though I’m going to try to take it out to a full year (if not longer). One of the big tips from one of them, was to have taken more than one picture per day–just in case you come across a day that you either run out of time, or can’t find the inspiration for a photo.
So now I am trying to find inspiration for several photographs a day–this will probably work best on the weekends when it warms up and I’m doing my morning walks & outside more than what I am during the winter months.
So today’s photograph is of two of the fish in our large aquarium–the shubunkin and one of the algae eaters (I think it’s Cletus as it looks a little small to be Jaws). That is the only way that I can tell the two algae eaters apart (well also when I feed them–Cletus heads into it’s log to munch on the algae pellet), is their size. Jaws is just a little bit longer than Cletus. I think the fifty-five gallon aquarium is just the right size for two good size algae eaters and one decent size shubunkin.
One of the things that I will be investing in when I move is going to be an aquarium so that the cat can have her fish tv again–the algae eater in the smaller aquarium doesn’t swim around as much as these guys.
So today I decided I’d look up to the sky again for inspiration for today’s photograph. Since it is also just a few weeks until spring (hopefully), I decided to get a picture of the clouds through the branches. These trees will hopefully soon be covered in leaf buds, though the hackberry is always a late bloomer in terms of leafing out in the spring.
I’m hoping that the winter weather that we’ve been having lately won’t have done that much damage on some of the plants that started to bud out already–namely flowers, but there are some bushes that also look to have some flower buds on them. But at least with the bright blue sky–there is hope that spring is around the corner (and hopefully not hiding behind any more winter storms).
Today’s double post (photography challenge and science
Sunday) is moss.
Moss is one of the more primitive plants, where they don’t have flowers and actually reproduce via spores. There are about twelve thousand species in the group (which scientifically is called the Bryophyta). Though they play an important role in various ecosystems—especially when it comes to erosion control.
I took this picture of moss a few weeks ago on campus, as moss generally grows in the shade and where it’s moist—and we’ve been moist the past couple of weeks with all the snow, ice, and rain we’ve been getting. There is one general area that is fairly shaded and in the path of runoff water that allows for the moss to grow in late winter and early spring.
It may go on my bucket list—getting out into the national parks/forests and getting some more photos of moss in different elevations and areas of the country.
So today marks the sixth year of recognition for World
Wildlife Day (as it was established on December 20 2013 by United Nations)1.
The theme for 2019 is “under the water”. This makes sense,
when you think of the fact that approximately seventy-five percent of the earth
is covered in oceans, and I’m sure all the fresh water makes up another five to
ten percent in covering the earth as well. But the main focus is on the
seventy-five percent—or the oceans.
While currently there are approximately 200,000 identified
marine species, the actual number probably is at least two or three (if not
more) times that—especially since some of the deepest trenches in the ocean
haven’t been explored, and also some species can’t survive being brought up
(they actually thrive under the extreme pressures found at the bottom of the
oceans) to the surface.
In terms of the oceans and gulfs, I’ve been to the Atlantic
Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. I’ve
got pictures of some of the unique wildlife one can see from most of them (I’m
just lacking pictures from my trip to the Caribbean—that was before I got a
digital camera, so none of them are digital and I know I didn’t get any of
aquatic life while we were there).
So what types of animals did I get pictures of?
When I was out in Boston, I did one or two of the whale watching tours. I enjoyed doing this, though they were crowded (and at times I did get sea sick). So I managed to see whales coming up to the surface to breath. I’d still like to go on a whale watching tour up in Alaska to see the killer whales.
Also during one of my many walks along the freedom trail, I decided to sit and basically stare into the water for a while—and after awhile I noticed that there were numerous little jellyfish swimming around.
When we took a mini vacation down to Padre Island, I managed
to get some pictures of probably hermit crabs in different shells, and what I
think was a nautilus. This was the first time using a digital camera that could
actually be submerged in the water.
Then from my solo vacation to Hawaii years ago, I managed to get several pictures of a sea turtle (probably the green sea turtle), crabs, and different fish.
One of the things that I would love to do, is find a good snorkel mask that I can wear over my glasses (since I don’t wear contact lens, and I think it’s silly just to get contact lens for that possibly one time I’m trying to snorkel), and make it back to Hawaii, the Caribbean, or even Australia and see what type of pictures I could possible get of the marine life.
But things aren’t all sunshine and flowers for the oceans
The oceans face numerous threats today from over-fishing, hunting (there are still some countries that hunt sharks and whales), climate change (warming of the oceans; coral reefs bleaching, melting ice bergs), runoff of agricultural wastes into the rivers which feed into the oceans, and then plastic garbage finding its way into the ocean. There is a patch of plastic garbage between California and Hawaii named The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, covering roughly 1.6 million square kilometers2, and while one would think that we could just head out and clean up the area—we’re (and I’m referring to all humans) are allowing between 1 and 2.5 million metric tons of plastic to enter the ocean each year. These are things that make it into the rivers and watersheds and find their way to the oceans. This is why there has been such a push to get rid of straws and single serving plastic utensils, and a better drive at plastic recycling.
I know that where I live there are only certain plastics
that are taken in recycling—and they’re the ones that company can make the most
profit off of with their contacts. That leaves about half the plastics not
being taken and winding up in the trash. If we’re lucky—it makes to the trash
dump and hopefully gets buried. If not, wild animals might rip open the bags,
and then some of the plastics could find their way to different water areas and
become a problem.
So what I’m going to start doing to help the oceans, is
declining straws at restaurants, saying no thank you to the one serving plastic
utensils, and figuring out a better way to dispose of the silica gels packs
that come with various things instead of allowing them to be tossed in the
garbage (and possibly winding up in the oceans). What will you do to help the
oceans and it’s inhabitants?
So today’s photo is a slightly throw back to earlier this week and the cats, since it is #caturday after all.
So Pye has rediscovered a enjoyment of boxes (be they intact or the remains of one). This is the remains of a box that we were using as a fire starter during one of the many cold snaps that we’ve had–but once it got to a point where the cats could “hid”–they took over the box.
Pye in particular has marked the box as hers–she will sit in the corner of it in mornings, or the evenings (or basically any time that she wants). The other cats will sniff the box, but they usually won’t sit “in” it, like Pye does.
But it is nice to see that all three of them have their own little personality quirks–Pye is boxes, Waffles likes sticks and leaves that the dog brings in from the outdoors, and Pancakes likes hair ties and the crinkly plastic that wraps around things (she can beat them up for hours).
So yesterday was a mildly short day at work, due to yet another minor winter storm blowing through the area–which meant that it was a slightly late start for today.
Now I usually don’t mind winter all that much, it gets rid of the major insect pests (mosquitoes and flies) plus gets rid of the ticks. I can even put up with the colder temperatures (that just means one has to layer the clothes).
There are times when I don’t even mind the winter storms that come through. But what is really starting to get tiring is the yo-yoing of the temperatures and then a winter storm hitting. It can feel like it’s in the fifties one day, and then all of a sudden there is a cold front and a winter storm is threatening to dump ice and snow on us. But at least I’m not currently in the northern states where they are getting exactly that–ice and snow and more than they know how to deal with.
It will be interesting to see what March brings in terms of weather–I think they’re talking snow for the first weekend of the month. The spring equinox is less than three weeks away and then in theory we’ll be in “spring”. I wonder how many snow storms there will be during the first month of spring?
So it was another cloudy morning during my walk at Boomer Lake, though I can’t complain about the temperatures (it was in the fifties). Since the temperatures have been up and down for the quite awhile, it doesn’t seem that there as many birds up at the lake, compared to early last month.
But of course I’m not going all the way around the lake, so there could be more birds on the other side of the lake (also there are little coves that are harder to get to, and there are probably numerous birds in those locations).
This morning, while there weren’t numerous birds at the lake I did manage to see three different great blue herons. I saw the first one at the beginning of the walk, and then I saw two basically back to back close to the first little bridge. This one was standing under a tree among the roots and other brush looking for small fish (or other small critters) for breakfast. The third one was actually walking up from the lake and I did manage to capture a picture or two of it taking flight and flying off.
I am going to continue doing my weekend walks, but probably only in nice to slightly warm weather (mainly because cold weather makes it difficult due to cold weather fogging up my glasses–which makes it difficult to see what I’m trying to take a picture of; and then thick gloves makes it difficult to actually focus and get the good photograph). Cold weather photography is something I’m going to work towards, but it may not be this coming week.
So today was the first weekend in quite a few weeks that I was able to get up to Boomer Lake for my weekend morning walk. The past three weekends, it was either way to cold and chilly (temps in either the twenties or teens, with wind chills even lower), or it was raining/sleeting and I don’t enjoy walking in those types of weather conditions. Though I know I probably could have gotten some good pictures, but oh well. Maybe by next year I’ll work up the fortitude to be out and about in less than ideal weather conditions for doing nature photography.
So this morning, was a dreary, cloudy morning and not that many birds were actually out and about. There were the usual Canadian geese and mallards, but not that many other birds. That was why I was very happy to spot this guy/gal on my way back home. I’d just looked over towards the lake and noticed it’s beak.
The great blue heron won today’s award for best at hide & seek (though I know it wasn’t aware that the game was being played). I’ve noticed that these birds are great at blending in with the brush at the edge of the lake, and if you aren’t careful you can scare them out of their hunting grounds (if there is tall grass next to the walking path–been there and done that several times this winter).
These tall majestic birds are actually the most common heron to be seen in the United States. I’ve actually seen them catch and eat fish a few times on the walk, though I was amazed to also learn that they will catch and eat mice and other insects as well as fish.
I wonder if I will be able to get a picture of a young great blue heron this coming spring/summer? New goal……..
So I have been trying to do a walk up at Boomer Lake in the morning on the weekends (basically having my “zen” time when I don’t really have to deal with other people). One of the birds that I try to get pictures of is the great blue heron.
There are between four and six great blue herons living up at Boomer Lake (and I will be sharing more pictures over the next few weeks/months), and I try to see how many of them I can spot during my morning walk.
This one I spotted twice (at least I think it’s the same one), and in two different poses (and areas). Earlier it was hunting (or just waking up), and now I think it was hunkering down to get out of the wind for awhile. But if you look closely–you can’t see it’s legs–it has the low squat down to an art form. Which is why I’ve declared it the winner of the low squat.