Weekly Puzzler #148: A Bird That Uses a Lure

So last week’s puzzler was a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron–a bird commonly found at the edge of ponds, lakes, marshes, swamps, streamsides and other bodies of water, where it hunts fish, crayfish, frogs and other aquatic animals. I thought I would feature another bird commonly found in the same habitats as the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. Chances are if you knew the last one, you will know this one too.

This handsome, yellow-eyed bird has the unusual habit of standing on a branch or in grass hanging out over water and dropping sticks and other objects into the water with the intent of luring fish, which it then snatches from the water with its dagger-like bill. This is amazing to watch! Who said animals don’t use tools?

Here are two photos:

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Do you know the identity of this bird? Have you seen it in a body of water near you? If so, use the comment box below to offer your guess. All correct responses will be entered in a drawing to win a photo prize.

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Have a wonderful weekend and see you again soon! (I will show you a video of this bird using a lure next weekend–it is an amazing display!)

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1 Minute Meditation: Time Lapse

I saw a video recently that I thought was terrific so thought I would share it with you–it was done by National Geographic –a fabulous time lapse featuring various flowers opening. It is amazing! I hope you enjoy your one minute of beauty immersion!

Watch it here:

What do you think? Fabulous, right?

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Posted in 1 minute meditation, For My Soul Tagged , , , |

Weekly Photo Challenge #5

Hey there! Happy Wednesday to you. I hope you are having a fabulous week and getting to spend lots of quality time outside. Isn’t this a great time of year?

So did you send it any images for our last photo theme of Sky TV? Here is a collection I put together with this theme.

Rays from HeavenNC sky, by BarbaraSky TV looking Down, by ArdenHeron and Sunset by Lloyd, FloridaAt Carl Sandburg by Barbara, NCNC Sky TV by BarbaraSky trailsWestern NC by BarbaraPerfect eveningThe Blue Ridge ParkwaySky in AlaskaClouds over the French BroadGeese heading southWow, what clouds!Rainbow in WNCTogether Drama in the sky!Spectacular sunset in New ZealandFollowing the sunMore from the Blue Ridge ParkwayFire in the Sky!While picnicking on the BRPWIn Great Smoky Mountains National ParkAlgonquin CanadaSunSunset in New ZealandAdirondack SkyBlue sky and pinesWinter is comingSunset to rememberSky TVFiltering lightSea of blueA sunrise in WNCReaching into the HeavensClouds in NZColored cloudsAspens

Our next theme is:  Water Art. How can you portray this in an image? What comes to mind when you hear the words water art? Have you ever looked closely at plants after a rain? Or on a dewy morning? Ever notice the way the tiny drops cling to everything, creating ephemeral works of art? Have you noticed how they hang on silk like suspended jewels? Then, as they sunshine pours through the air, the drops fall silently, a wordless music to those who know how to pay attention.

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I can’t wait to see what you come up with for our theme WATER ART! Happy photo hunting. See you again soon!

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What Ants and Farmers Have in Common

If you’re like most people, you probably only think about ants when they get into your house or find your sweet crumbs during your picnic in the woods. Ants are truly amazing creatures… for instance, did you know the average ant can carry 10-50 times its own body weight? Consider this for a moment–that’s like a 200 pound man carrying two large cars or 10,000 pounds! And they are fast too, able to run 300 meters per hour. Another amazing fact about ants is their relationship with aphids and mealy bugs. Did you know some ants keep livestock just like farmers?

Here’s a video you have to see to believe–ants tend their flocks, move them and even protect them from the rain. Imagine!

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Posted in Animals, Did you know..., Insects, Spiders and other Invertebrates, It's a Wonderful World! Tagged , , , , , , |

Weekly Puzzler #147: Handsome Red-eyed Bird

Since we’ve been featuring birds for our puzzlers, let’s roll with this theme and do another. This next bird is a favorite of mine, found in wet woods and swamps throughout the southeastern United States.

Check it out:

cbird-3125Do you recognize it? If so, or if you want to guess, give it a try. All correct guesses will be entered in the next drawing for a photo prize–on the first day of summer. The more times your name is entered the better chance you have to win. Good luck!

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And see you again soon!

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Weekly Puzzler Answer #146

Did you know the answer to last week’s puzzler? Did you recognize the “meow, meow” calls in there that are distinctive to the Gray Catbird? Is this a bird you’ve seen before?

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The Gray Catbird, as you can see from its picture, is a plain, dark gray bird with a black cap and a long black tail, that it often cocks, allowing you to see the chestnut under tail coverlets. They are common throughout most of the United States.

Notice the black cap

Notice the black cap

Like Northern Mockingbirds and Brown Thrashers, they are great mimics. Northern Mockingbirds repeat the various sounds for 4-6 times, Brown Thrashers for 2-3 times and then Gray Catbirds, who repeat the different songs in a much less organized fashion, with plenty of their characteristic mews in between.

Here you can see the chestnut under its cocked tail

Here you can see the chestnut under its cocked tail

Ready for another puzzler? Here’s the next one.

Have a great weekend. I will see you again soon!

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Posted in Animal Sounds, Animals, Birds, Weekly Puzzler Tagged , , , , , , |

Quote of the Week #81

So I think it’s safe to say that if you have children, or have been around children for any length of time, you know that as an adult, it’s important to monitor their exposure to certain things: TV shows, movies, internet sites, etc. Not only do you want to protect them from physical harm, but you also want to protect them from other “bad” things, many of which can’t be seen. Protecting them from seeing or hearing something that you deem not appropriate for them, for whatever reasons and however you define harm is of the utmost importance. Everyone is different and likely has his or her own ideas of what is okay and what is not.

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I was thinking about this the other day because I have done the same thing to myself, for myself. Surely this isn’t unusual, but sometimes as adults I think we might forget we can. We might forget we have that power.

As you likely know I have had a long absence from my blog posts–from December until now.  This break felt essential to me because (after November) I was not able to function normally. And even after all this time I can’t say I am great, but I at least don’t break down crying several times a day. I am better, and this, because I have changed my habits and limited my daily exposure to things I know only sadden, cause anger, make me feel hopeless and just generally depress me.

In the beginning I felt guilty for not keeping up with things, for “sticking my head in the sand.” But now, all of these months later, I am accepting this as reality. My new reality. In the same way parents limit a child’s exposure to harmful or dangerous “things,” I too must limit my exposure to things that are guaranteed to have these negative impacts. It doesn’t mean I care any less. It doesn’t mean I won’t fight for what I believe in. It doesn’t mean that I accept the changes I see or that I have given up. It just means I understand myself and put my needs first.

And so, this week’s quote:

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What do you think? What ways do you make sure you are healthy and happy?

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Posted in For My Soul, Quote of the Week, Wisdom for your Wednesday Tagged , , , , |