I’m Not Dead Yet (See? I’m writing a blog.)

I found this little orange fruit growing on a tree nearby. (Not a great picture – my camera broke and I had to scan it. :-() I was convinced it was a tiny nectarine at first, but not enough to eat it and find out. Plus, I don’t think too many people grow nectarines in MN. After a lot of scouring the web, I began to suspect it was an apricot tree. Weird, since the little fruit was absolutely not fuzzy. But, it had an apricot-like pit, it smelled like an apricot, and, it tasted like a rather unripe one. Yes, I finally worked up the courage to try it. Hasn’t killed me yet. Probably not a super smart idea, though. Anyway, I’ll have to watch and see if they really do turn into real-looking apricots in a couple of weeks. On that note, I’m going to be heading to the east coast soon, so you probably won’t hear too much from me. But maybe when I return I can write a post on great white sharks. If they don’t eat me first.

Gossamer

I found all of these cool, mostly-decayed leaves lying on the ground.  I don’t know if they were only in that spot, or if I’ve just never noticed them before, but they caught my eye and I thought they were really beautiful, like gossamer, even though they’re decomposing.  I’m pretty sure they’re created when leaves fall and start to decay, but since the leafy part decomposes faster than the veins, you get this cool leaf-skeleton. Voila!

Feathers

I found this red-tailed hawk’s feather yesterday when I was sweeping the sidewalk. Pretty cool, eh? I guess there’s a new visitor in our neighborhood. I haven’t seen any red-tails around, though. Earlier this spring there was a Coopers hawk hanging out, and though I haven’t seen him in a while, I s’pose it could have been his. It’s hard to tell with just a single feather. I also found a blue jay feather right near it. I don’t know that they were related, but if they were, it was probably a red-tail — I don’t think a coopers is big enough to go after a jay. 

Hey!

This rather ugly critter was so weird-looking I wondered if it wasn’t some sort of duck-goose hybrid – an ugly guckling?

Looking up from a Metro station in Washington, D.C. 

The jellyfish at the National Zoo are amazing. You can actually see electricity coursing through them.

This orangutan made me sad. She looked right at me, and her eyes were so human – she doesn’t belong in a cage.

Coming out of Mammoth Caves. Located in Kentucky, it’s already the largest cave in the world, and only a tiny fraction of it has been discovered.

Magnolias

I’m Back, and better than ever!

This last month I was on vacation all over America. Here are a few pictures:

Surprise!

Just when all the nests and baby birds and new young things were starting to lose my interest, I learned something amazing: a pair of bald eagles are raising chicks right down the street! There’s a tall pine tree in someone’s backyard, and the eagles have built a huge nest (5 or 6 feet across) up in the highest crook. I got some pictures, but it’s so many feet in the air they’re pretty fuzzy. A little point-and-shoot zoom lens can only be asked to do so much. 😉

Anyway, I’ve spent a couple of days watching the birds, and they are just amazing. (I am wildly jealous of whoever’s got them in their yard!) There are two huge eagles and (presumably) a nest full of chicks. Generally, one eagle sits on a branch and stands guard, while its mate is out hunting. Sooner or later, the other eagle will fly into the nest, and then the guard takes off seconds later to go hunt/fish/stretch its wings/etc. It’s incredible to watch. Last night I got to see the parent tearing up whatever it caught (probably fish) and feeding it to the chicks.

The yard has become a sort of neighborhood camp ground. People are always there trying to catch some action. It’s amazing how after so many years of worrying about these great birds and trying to save them from extinction, they’re raising their offspring in our backyards.

More to come….

 

Neon Leaves

One of the first trees to change its leaves from bright, lively green, to deep oranges & reds, during the fall the sumac bush is one of the most eye-catching plants around. It has red, fuzzy berries, & though it is technically a tree, it grows low to the ground & appears more like a bush. It must be more sensitive to light & air changes in the autumn than most trees; not only is the difference between the bright neon colors on the top leaves & the lighter colors on the bottom leaves obvious, but in some places, where the leaves overlap, the parts of one leaf which are sheltered by another one haven’t yet turned green.