Humans are not the only species that steal. We are not the only bullies on the planet, either. The natural world is neither idyllic nor peaceful. Check out this little scenario for an example of the Might makes Right philosophy. The Black-bellied Plover has a worm bigger than he is! But catching a worm may not translate into eating a worm in the avian world.
The plover has to work very hard just to get enough to eat. The competition for food is fierce.
Getting a fat, juicy worm (or whatever) will keep him going for another day.
But the bullies are never far away on the beach. They steal from everyone; including each other. You have to use it or lose it! Eat it or beat it! It is a bird-eat-bird world at the shore; just as it is everywhere on earth.
I've long suspected that I write this blog for my own benefit rather than anyone else's. Since I haven't had time to think about anything but my mom's situation for weeks, I've neglected my photography and my blog, which has had a negative effect on me. I realize that I have to spend some time on what make my life meaningful pretty soon, or I'm going to lose it. (That won't help Mom's situation at all. If I blow, things go downhill fast. I know this from personal experience!) Starting now, I've vowed to at least spend a few moments each day taking pictures outdoors. I'm also going to ease back into regular blogging by completing some unfinished posts, etc. Maybe it will help my sanity and improve my concentration.
These pictures were taken in early November by my husband. He used the Sony H50's 'night-shot' option. Personally, I am not a fan of Opossums. To me, they resemble massive rats. In the above picture, however, the possum looks cute.
Here he is not so cute. The tail (shudder) is not cute even in the most flattering image.
The night-shot images are fuzzy and impossible to clean up, but this photo would reveal his MASSIVE and SHARP teeth if it weren't so noisy.
Here's a baleful stare! The opossums I've seen are completely unafraid of humans. I have looked up and seen them on the deck, peering through the door at us. Knocking on the glass and yelling has no effect whatsoever. I'm more afraid then they are!
I haven't been taking any photos lately. I haven't posted anything to my blog, either. All my attention has been focused on my mother's health problems. A series of small strokes has taken some of my mom away from me; and from all of us. It is a bad time for the family, but a good time to celebrate the gift of birding and love of nature that she gave to three generations so far.
This picture was probably taken in 1924. Mom was six or seven when the stock market crashed in 1929. Nonetheless, she called herself a depression baby, which probably had a lot to do with her sense of values. Money was not something she sought in life, and she never confused wealth with happiness or good character.
Her family was a mix of Irish and German stock. Some of my cousins look exactly like the unknown relatives in this old photo. I am not actually related to anyone here - I'm not even related physically related to my mom, since I'm adopted. But this is my heritage and family anyway.
This is mom at about 12 years old. Her baby sister, who is ten years younger than mom, is now her only living sibling. From the five kids in her family came twenty something grandchildren and god knows how many great grandchildren. I would estimate that almost all of us know that she and my dad were passionate birders for as long as anyone can remember - and very many of us are passionate or casual birders ourselves.
Mom probably wouldn't thank me for posting this picture, but it was the best likeness I could find on short notice. Today, she looks pretty much the same but she doesn't know her birds anymore. She can't see them very well or hear them at all. It hurts me more than I can say knowing that life has stolen something so precious away from her. But the rest of us will hold her in our hearts whenever we see or hear one of her special feathered friends - forever.
I went to Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick last weekend to see the Grebe that had been there all week, but I never saw him. I saw lovely mallards by the dozen, however.
The sheen of a male mallard's head is gorgeous in the sunlight. The sun speckled water was pretty, as well.
Late fall colors are far different than the riotous hues of peak foliage season, but the muted colors are lovely in their own right.
There were mallards all over the place. All the vegetation at Broadmoor provides great cover for water birds; even male mallards are hard to see. If there was any other species of duck around, I didn't see any sign of them.
One the other hand, who could complain about seeing too many mallards? They are beautiful, after all!
Canadian Geese are lovely in their own right, too. Even lovelier if they are perfectly reflected in sun dappled water, like this one.
This image was taken at Broadmoor in Natick minutes before a terrible fracas began, yet the goose looks wary and alarmed, as if he knows trouble is coming. Maybe he sensed some sort of danger, or maybe he saw or heard something I didn't notice.
A very loud chorus of honks drew my attention, and I saw what looked like a torpedo heading for a pair of agitated geese. The underwater projectile was moving fast and headed straight for one goose, who panicked and tried to escape.
In his panic, the goose squawked and stumbled across the water with something in the water following at high speed. I was trying to convince myself there were no crocodiles or alligators in Natick, even though that's what I seemed to be seeing.
By then a small crowd had gathered. I was still taking pictures of the goose, but most people were watching the wake of the still invisible assassin. Whatever it was traveled at lightening speed, and sometimes skipped along the surface like a skimming stone.
The goose finally managed to get airborne.
He was still honking at the top of his lungs as he flew.
His mate was right behind him, making quite a ruckus herself. I didn't look to see the predator until the birds were safely in the air. (I am as curious as the next person, but I also have a thing for taking pics of birds in flight.)
It turned out that the "attacker" was a pair of cavorting otters! The otters were playing - and they played a great trick. They went right underneath the goose - and I think they goosed him! The otters were adorable and agile.
I only got one blurry picture of a sleek little otter's head breaking the surface of the water, but you can clearly see that it is an otter and not a beaver or muskrat. What a show they put on for us!
These Wild Turkeys visited us last fall, only a few months after we moved in. They were one of our first encounters with The Nature of Framingham. I may have posted their pictures previously, but I find the images delightful and very appropriate for Thanksgiving day.
Today, I'm very thankful that I can look out my dining room window and see a face like this one - even if it happens only once in a great while. What marvelous creatures share this corner of the world with us!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
I was lucky to catch a flock of American Robins at the Sudbury River last Saturday. In the spring and summer months you see one or two at a time, but at this time of year they gather in large groups. I think this is a great picture because it captures the "essence" of an American Robin. You can clearly see the broken white eye ring, the striped throat, and the ruddy red breast.
Most of the Robins were eating from what I think is some type of cherry tree. I recently noticed the same tree at my mothers house, but not a soul is eating those berries yet.
A good view of the black striped throats shared by both sexes.
Unlike the flock of robins I saw at my house last December, these birds looked well fed and healthy.
I got a series of shots of this vibrant individual.
Here he is vocalizing. He may have been warning me off, but I don't think he was.
A very handsome fellow!
This typical robin's pose makes the bird appear cheerful and alert. Even their call is a happy one; it is usually described as sounding like "cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up."
I think this particular bird is a female. The female American Robin has the same coloring as the male, but is slightly duller overall.
The head of a female robin is more gray than black.
Robins are abundant, but that doesn't make them common. Seen up close and personal, their striking features add up to a very beautiful bird!
Saturday I went to the Tennis club on Edgell Road around 9:00 AM. There was NO ONE THERE! That has never happened before - even at dawn! I snapped a picture of a Downy Woodpecker who seems VERY INTENT on his work based on his facial expression!
How do you like the look on his face? In a human it might be interpreted as anger. Frustration? Annoyance? Or just intensity?
This is a female Downy Woodpecker. Females lack the red patch at the nape.
Males have a red nape patch. Male Hairy Woodpeckers also have the red nape, but they are larger and have bigger bills.
I also saw Red-bellied Woodpeckers on the river bank. I believed this was a female Red-bellied woodpecker, based on the lack of red on the forehead.
This is a bad photo, but the lack of a red forehead is much more noticeable here. Definitely a female.
I love how Great Blue Herons can assume so many different shapes.
The S-curve is my very favorite.
This is a modified, angular S-curve
With his necked fully tucked, you would never know just how long this bird can get!
Sometimes, a heron can look more like an Ostrich!
And at times, Great Blue Herons actually appear more red than blue!
This heron fished from inside a boat - and caught a little something!
He looks pretty happy to me.
Most of the time, I get lousy shots of Great Blue Herons. This picture was taken the day after I went to Charles's pond.
These last two were taken from the woods near Salem End Road bridge in Framingham. In the old days, I would have been happy just to see a GBH.
This was taken last week at Amputee Veterans Park on Lake Cochituate. The Great Blue Heron and a family of Mallards took off as I approached.
This was the best I could get today, at the same location. In my defense, I have had little time for birding or photography this month. But I will keep searching for Great Blues whenever I can!