Sunday, May 31, 2015

FLORIDIANS....

I am on vacation and might not get to moderating your comments, so please don't think your comments are disappearing. I just haven't had time to publish them and I am also having a hard time getting on line.  I will eventually. It will probably be on my return in three weeks time. 

These are from my archives and are birds we saw when we went to Florida in January 2014.  I remember it being a very rainy day when we visited Corkscrew Swamp.  I am still very much a novice at identifying birds, so if I have made a mistake on any of them, please let me know.

Ibis



Great Egret.....



and now taking off.



American Bittern



I am not quite sure what kind of hawk this is but he had caught a hapless frog who.....




 was soon on its way.....





to become dinner for his family.  There were three other hawks on that branch.  Not sure what kind he is.  I thought perhaps a Red-Shouldered Hawk and I would be very happy to know for sure. 


It was an amazing place.  I thought I would also show you a little of what the area looked like.  Even in the rain it was incredibly beautiful.














I usually try to find out about plants I am not familar with.  Sometimes I am successful, other times I am not.  The plant growing here on the cypress tree may be a Cardinal Airplant, or Bromiliad.  They are members of the pinapple family.  


Instead of being in the ground like most plants, their roots act as anchors to keep them firmly in place, so that it can resist wind, rain or contact with other branches or animals.  Many of them grow in dark locations deep in wetlands.  The added elevation can mean more access to sunlight. 









For my last two photos I am sharing ones you may have seen before on this blog, an owl.  He was way high up in a tree and I would not have spotted him if it had not been for a Park Ranger who had set up a spotting scope for all to take a look.  If you look very carefully you can just spot him in the center of the photo below.


He is a Barred Owl, the only one I have ever seen in the wild, up to now.  I am always looking for another on our trips out. 




I am sharing with the following links.  Thank you Anni, Michelle and Stewart for hosting these very enjoyable memes. You can see other participants by clicking on their blog names below.  

Anni at Bird D'Pot
Michelle at Nature Notes


Saturday, May 30, 2015

TODAY'S FLOWERS # 345

Today's flowers are also from my niece in Germany.  She sent them to me a couple of weeks ago.  We both enjoy sharing our photos with each other....  



and we both enjoy taking photos of pretty flowers.
















Aren't they all lovely?




And to top it off here is one of the furry family member.  He is a little darling West Highland Terrier.



Thank you for these super photos My Sweet.  


Luiz Santilli Jnr created Today's Flowers and asked me a few years ago to take over his role as host.  I was very happy to do so.  He occasionally pops in to say hello, so "Hello Luiz and thank you!"


Today's Flowers' home page can be found here.


I am also linking with Laura's iHeartMacro here.  
Thank you for hosting Laura.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

CAMERA CRITTERS AND SATURDAY'S CRITTERS

I have my niece to thank for these lovely photos and she gave me permission to use them on my blog.


She and her husband inherited some sheep when they moved to their new home, some time ago now.  The previous owners have a small herd but the place they moved to did not have as much land to be able to take care of all of them.  She asked if they would be willing to let a few stay.   



They happily said yes.



At the top of their property there are another two neighbors who gave their permission for this lady to use part of their land, so the sheep live quite comfortably in quite a large area.  



They have their own 'house' and a fresh stream that courses through the property.  It is a very happy existance, especially as my niece and her husband visit them often, and supply them with lots of tasty hay during the wintertime.  They have become quite fond of them and now consider them their pets, each already having their own names.  They are loved and well taken care of.  



Recently my niece's husband, with the help of his father, sheered the sheep and their new haircut is just in time for the much warmer months.  



One of them had an opinion about his haircut but they were smiling afterwards, and not quite as hot!



Those horns are really something aren't they?




I am sharing with the following and I would like to thank Misty and Eileen for two very enjoyable memes.  

You can see other participants by visiting their links.

Misty at Camera Critters 
Eileen at Saturday Critters

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A VERY TALL STONE MAN.....

that reminds me of those found on Easter Island, except this one is wearing a crown of some sort. I found him standing outside the Kon Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway last June.  It is a very tall statue towering over everyone.  There was a beautiful sky above him.



I am in a quote kind of mood lately.  I love my quotes.  Here's five for you.


1) "One of the pleasantest things is going on a journey."
~Author Unknown~

2)  "Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is a home."

~Matsuo Basho~

3) "A journey is a person in itself, no two are alike.  And all plans, safeguards, policing and coercion are fruitless.  We find that after years of struggle we do not take a trip, a trip takes us."

~John Steinbeck~

4)  "A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving."

~Loa Tzu~

5) "Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."

~Ernest Hemmingway~

~~~~~~


Today I am linking up with Willy-Nilly Friday Five.
You can click here to visit other participants.  

I am also linking with SkyWatch Friday where you can see other skywatcher's photos if you click here.

My thanks to our hosts for these two super memes.


GOOD FENCES

While driving through The Plains, I noticed the fence in front of a shop, making a mental note that I'll check it out next time I am in the area.



Time to link with Good Fences. Thank you for hosting Theresa.
You can visit other participants at this fun meme if you click on the name above.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Budgies


When I was a little girl we had a pet budgie.  She was an albino, snowy white with pretty pink eyes, and we would let her out of her cage every day so that she could fly freely.  I loved her dearly, she would sit on my finger and chirp to me and I would try to chirp back at her.  We also had a Ginger Tom called Binkey.  Amazingly Binkey and Kim, although never great friends (and yes we always made sure our cat was out of the room when we opened Kim's cage), coexisted for the extent of Kim's natural life span. Kim crosses my mind every now and again, and even more so when we found the budgie aviary at Reston Zoo.


My in-laws were visiting.  Gregg and his Dad were in a different area while Celia and I went to look at a few of the exhibits.  I found the aviary on our last visit and knew she would enjoy it as much as I did.  It was busier this time, a very popular place, with lots of parents with small children.  At the entrance you could buy little sticks with seed stuck on the end of them.  We didn't know about the budgies at the time, and therefore didn't look for the food we could have given them. 


 It was entertaining watching the children feeding them.  Some were very excited and had to be coaxed to stay calm so that they wouldn't frighten the budgies away.  Others had this look of complete and total awe on their faces.  You could tell they had never fed a little bird from their own hands.


Budgies originated in Australia.  (How wonderful to see them flying around freely.  I can only imagine how noisy they would be in the trees.)  The normal color for them is a bright green with a yellow head.  These are and were always the only color budgie ever found in the wild.  These colors help them camouflage in the leaves. 


I also read online that budgies have two subspecies, the American budgie and the English budgie.  The American budgie is slightly larger than the wild budgie, but that is the only real diffence between them, other than the fact that the American budgie has more color mutations.  The English budgie is much larger than the other types of budgies.  Firstly it has a larger forehead.  Also these live from five to seven years with good care, instead of fifteen or more.  But both the American and the English budgie make very good companions.


The word "budgie" is a shorter version of the actual name "budgerigar", which is an ancient Australian word meaning "good to eat."  The Latin name of this species of parrot is Melopsittacus unduiatus.  


Budgies are found all over Australia, mostly deserts, farmlands and woodlands.  There are no actual threats, though large numbers of wild budgies die during drought.  But budgies can very easily reproduce and that makes up for the drought loss. 


They are sometimes found in huge flocks, flocks that can cloud up the skies.  Budgies like to gather in even bigger flocks near or at watering holes and are normally very active during the day.


I found all this information from a great site which you can find here.


One last shot, a close up of Celia's hand feeding this cute green and yellow one. A very nice gentleman heard me say that we would have to remember to buy some of those sticks next time we came.  He gave me one of his, a kindness that was very much appreciated by both of us.