Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It's kind of hard to see the ants surrounding this opening to their underground nest. I took several pictures of them running in and out, and the little stinkers were so fast that this is the only picture that had more than one ant in it! Can you find five? Click on the picture for a better view.

Cliff Swallow Nests

Do you see what looks like holes in the side of this cliff? They really aren't holes, but they are birds' nests built from mud! These nests were built by Cliff Swallows. Click on the pictures for a full screen view.

Here is some information that I found just for you about Cliff Swallows!
There are four very important things to consider if you happen to be a Cliff Swallow looking for a place to build your nest.
(1) an open habitat for foraging,
(2) a suitable surface for nest attachment beneath an overhang or ledge,
(3) a supply of mud of the proper consistency for nest building, and
(4) a body of fresh water for drinking. {Thank you UC Davis for this information}

Swallows kind of like to return to the same nest year after year, not always, but often. I think that's pretty interesting. Don't you?
Swallows feed on insects and spend a large part of each day in the air catching flies, beetles, and mosquitoes. Their long, pointed wings give them great speed and maneuverability.

Cliff swallows build mud nests attached to cliffs, bridges, buildings and other structures. This is particularly true of the cliff swallow—the swallow of San Juan Capistrano—which nests in large colonies of up to several hundred pairs. {UC Davis}

I wish I could have managed to get closer to take better pictures, but the river is really quite wide right here. I did find a site with wonderful pictures and even a little video that I'm sure you will enjoy. Look at The Birder's Report for more information.


This lizard did not want me to take his picture! Either his head or his tail, but not the whole guy.

This link will take you to a really cool site where you can view California Lizards, and see if you can identify this guy's variety for yourself!

Painted Lady Butterfly

An antenna is a sensory appendage that is attached to the head of adult insects. Antennae are used for the sense of smell and balance. Butterflies have two antennae with clubs at the end. For an even better look, click on the pictures.

Look at the butterfly's fuzzy body! Click on the picture to enlarge it for a better look!

All adult butterflies have six legs. The two forelegs of some butterfly species are tiny.
For Butterfly Activity Pages, I found this cool link!
This is a page that I especially like, for an activity sheet labeling the parts of the butterfly anatomy.
For more information about the Painted Lady Butterfly, just click on the name and it will take you to Wikipedia.

Colley Girl

“There's an old female collie down at the shelter with infected eyes and really bad skin, possibly mange.” Evelyn's message on the answering machine was loud and clear. “I doubt you'll want to get her,” she finished.

We didn't have anyone representing collies in our all-breed rescue group, and I have always loved them. Like every little girl in the fifties, I wanted a dog just like Lassie.

But we didn't have room for a big dog, and my mom didn't like dogs anyway. Maybe I'd just go to the shelter, look at the collie, and confirm that she was too old to rescue.

The next day I went down to see her, and she looked pretty awful. Huge wadded up mats the size of baseballs hung off of her. Her third eyelid was covering most of each eye, and both eyes were oozing green pus. She barked endlessly, along with all the other dogs in the kennels. 

But when I took her out, she was quiet and friendly, wagging her tail and rubbing up against me. If her owners didn't come to claim her, I told Leah, the shelter officer, I would take her out and foster her till we could find her a home.

I had never fostered a dog, and was eager to help the rescue group. I called the president, Lyn, and told her what I wanted to do, and she said okay. The following Tuesday I picked her up from the shelter, and found out she had been a stray on Tiger Mountain, right near my home. What was her story? Had someone been hiking and lost track of her? Had she been dumped? Did she just wander away from home? Were they still looking? How could anyone NOT be looking for her?

Obviously I was new at this, and very naive. The shelters are full of dogs that no one comes looking for. Just because she was a collie wasn't anything special.

I took her to the vet, who pronounced her spayed, and healthy, and only about 5 years old. She had trouble climbing into the car or getting up on the table at the vet's office. It appeared she had bad hips, or arthritis. Her teeth were also badly in need of cleaning. He gave me medicine for her eyes, and we went home to start our new adventure.

Since I wasn't going to keep her, I didn't name her. I just called her Collie, and pretty soon that became Colley Girl. In the meantime, we got a collie rep, Sharon, who started telling people about my dog. While Sharon worked on finding homes, I worked on brushing out all those awful mats. I ended up cutting them out, leaving a few bare patches. I couldn't bear to shave her, so we just did a little brushing at a time, until she'd get fed up with all the tugging, lumber to her feet, and walk away. As the excess fur came out, I discovered the end of her tail had been blackened by frostbite.

Once the eye infection cleared up, her inner eyelid was still showing, so I went back to the vet. He decided that her eyes were too small to push the eyelid back into the proper place in her eye socket, and that she was probably born that way. She had bad scars around her eyes, so I thought maybe she'd had surgery or been injured. He sent me to a specialist, who decided she wasn't in any pain, agreed with my vet that the problem was congenital, and there wasn't much you could do about it. Her field of vision was limited, but she seemed to see well enough to get around.

Colley Girl adjusted beautifully to our home, ignoring our four cats, and getting along famously with my two dogs, Sherman and Tank. Within two days she was following my husband everywhere off leash, and never wandered away. I never forgot that she had been a stray, so I kept a pretty close eye on her. Chew toys exercised her gums and started to clean the tartar off of her teeth. Her gums bled a lot at first, but soon they looked good enough that the vet said I didn't need to get them cleaned.

Sharon called several times, and came to take Colley Girl to meet potential new owners, but they always turned her down when they saw those funny looking eyes. I didn't even notice them anymore. What I saw was the sweetest, most gentle, loving dog I'd ever known, who slept by my bed each night, and moaned with happiness whenever I rubbed her tummy. She had been well-loved at one time. I wondered if her family missed her.

Each time Colley Girl went out to see new potential adopters, it got harder and harder to say good-bye. After about a month of this, I told Sharon to come get her while I wasn't at home. She called me that morning at work.

Colley Girl had come out of the yard easily enough, but when she saw Sharon was going to take her away again, she took off and wouldn't let Sharon catch her. After about a half hour of keep-away, Sharon gave up and called for help. I drove home, 25 miles, frantic that Colley would disappear in the meantime.

Silly me. When I drove up the driveway, there was Sharon, arms folded, looking totally disgusted up at Colley Girl. Colley was standing by the dog run, barking defiantly at Sharon, daring her to come after her. Of course, she came straight to me. As I knelt down, Colley Girl tucked her head under my armpit and wagged her tail slowly, as if to say, “Please don't make me go.” 

Tears in my eyes, I loaded her into Sharon's car, and away they went. I sat in bed crying that night. My husband tactfully ignored me. He's no fool; he knew what the problem was. I was deciding I was too soft for rescue work.

The next day, Sharon called. The latest family wasn’t keeping Colley Girl. “They didn't like her funny eyes,” she reported, “Everyone wants a perfect Lassie.”  Sharon offered to keep her at her place so we wouldn't have to transfer her around so much. “Fat chance,” I said. “Bring her back and she's not going anywhere again. She's perfect to me.”

That night my husband came home from work and arched his eyebrows in surprise as he recognized Colley Girl coming to greet him. Then he saw two giant cardboard ‘license tags’ hanging from her neck. One said “I love you Dennis,” and the other read, “Please keep me.”

He looked up at me and smiled. “I think it's already been decided.”

Colley Girl was with us 4 1/2 years. To others, her eyes looked strange, but I saw the perfect pet and companion. She loved children and senior citizens, cats, and horses. I found my Lassie. Those other people didn't know what they were missing. 

Hide and Seek - FAIL

from Disapproving Rabbits

Can you tell a book by its cover?

The cover of a book is very important. When I go book shopping, the first thing I see is the spine. I prefer books that have a prominent title. The next thing I do is look at the picture. Does it portray the contents of the book? Lastly, I read the synopsis on the back. If a book's cover makes it through my scrutiny, then, and only then, will I open it to explore the inside.

Recently, I went to Cozy Corner Books and Coffee in Bellingham and a book caught my eye. It was The North Runner by R.D. Lawrence. First, the word "north" sparked my interest. I'm always looking for books about Canadian adventures. The cover pictured a man and his dog hiking through the snow covered forest and with a description that said "set in the majestic wilderness of British Columbia." I was hooked even before I made it to the back cover.

RD (Ronald Douglas) Lawrence lived The North Runner in the late 1950's and put it into print in 1979 (reprinted in 2004). RD immigrated to Canada to experience a more natural lifestyle. I can relate to that! He purchased a homestead in Ontario and that is where the story begins. He purchases an abused half dog, half wolf from an Indian to become the lead for his sled team. He names him Yukon after the wild, rugged, exciting northland of the Yukon Territory. The story follows man and dog as they build trust in each other, become partners in life, and have adventures in the Ontario woods and the British Columbia wilderness. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time.

RD Lawrence was a renowned naturalist. He learned by observing plants and animals in their natural habitat. His extensive knowledge and research are woven throughout his books and stories in such a way that you feel you are following in his footsteps. RD passed away in 2003, but his writing focusing on Canadian natural history will live on forever. You can read more about RD at the website Cry Wild. His wife, Sharon, has a guest book there and will answer any questions you may have. I hope you enjoy his books as much as I do. -- Margy

What's that in your pants?

Photo: emily

Get a room!

Many bird populations in trouble, report says

Just as they were when Rachel Carson published 'Silent Spring' nearly 50 years ago, birds today are a bellwether of the health of land, water and ecosystems.

From shorebirds in New England to warblers in Michigan to songbirds in Hawaii, we are seeing disturbing downward population trends that should set off environmental alarm bells.

The declines can be traced to a variety of factors, depending on a bird's particular habitat. But the causes most frequently cited in the report are agriculture, climate change, development and energy, and invasive species.


Monday, March 30, 2009

The cutest baby elephant

Take your insulin now,
there are 12 more pictures

(via My Modern Metropolis)

Just wanted a pizza and a beer

Three people in the central Arizona community of Cottonwood were exposed to rabies after being attacked by a wild bobcat.

It all began when the animal attacked and scratched a woman who had gotten out of her car after thinking she had hit it.

A short time later, Cottonwood police got a report of a bobcat acting aggressively toward a woman outside a Pizza Hut.

Then, about an hour later, the bobcat wandered into the Chapparal Bar on Main Street forcing patrons up on their barstools.

Two men who were bitten before police shot and killed the animal in the parking lot.

Test later confirmed it was rabid.


(via Perez Hilton)


I received the following story in today's email ... (Thanks, Lois)

In 2003, police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. It had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished and had clearly been abused.

In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a Greyhound female, to the nearby Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, run by a man named Geoff Grewcock and known as a willing haven for animals abandoned, orphaned or otherwise in need.

Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims..to restore the dog to full health and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved.

They named her Jasmine and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home.

But Jasmine had other ideas.. No-one remembers now how it began, but she started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It wouldn't matter if it was a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or any other lost or hurting animal, Jasmine would peer into the box or cage and, where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.

Geoff relates one of the early incidents. "We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier Cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman Cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the centre and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them."

"But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them and it helps them to not only feel close to her, but to settle into their new surroundings.

"She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs. She licks the rabbits and guinea pigs and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose."

Jasmine - the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary's resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, 15 chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and 15 rabbits.

And one roe deer fawn. Tiny Bramble, 11 weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm and then went into the full 'foster mom' role. Jasmine, the greyhound, showers Bramble, the Roe deer, with affection and makes sure nothing is matted.

"They are inseparable," says Geoff. "Bramble walks between her legs and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary.
It's a real treat to see them."

Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse.

From left - Toby, a stray Lakeland dog; Bramble, orphaned Roe deer; Buster, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; Sky, an injured barn owl; and Jasmine, with a Mothers heart, doing best what a caring Mother would do.

Cute or not? Visored bat

Photo via Ugly Overload

Great White Egret - Gatorland

If you have never been to Gatorland in Kissimmee Florida then you are missing out on a lifetime experience!
Gatorland is located in Kissimmee Florida just outside of Orlando
and close to all the Disney World attractions so if you plan on Disney you should DEFINITELY make time for Gatorland!

You will witness not only more Alligators & Crocodiles in one place then you will probably ever see in your lifetime you can view one of Florida most stunning Rookeries where Egrets & Herons Court, Preen, Mate & Nest a mere few feet from you! You will see nest so close you could pick up their eggs!

If you are a photographer bring extra Cards/Film & batteries.
If your are just a "picture taker" then your point & shoot compact camera will still get you images that will leave you breathless!

If you are just simply a nature lover then plan to spend a few hours because the sights are many.

Koala tongue

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Body Art Painting Fashion Festival Kiev Ukraine

Body Art Painting Fashion Festival 2008 Kiev Ukraine held on February 7,2008 in the exhibition center "KyivExpoPlaza" of Ukraine within the framework of the exhibition starts InterCHARM IV Open Championship on the Body-Art Fashion Festival-2008. The main theme of the festival was "Peace, love and beauty". Each participant in the contest for the body-Art was given six hours to create their works of art on the model's body.

body art fashion Festival 2008 Kiev
body art fashion Festival 2008 Kiev
body art fashion Festival 2008 Kiev
body art fashion Festival 2008 Kiev
body art fashion Festival 2008 Kiev
body art fashion Festival 2008 Kiev
body art fashion Festival 2008 Kiev
body art fashion Festival 2008 Kiev
body art fashion Festival 2008 Kiev
Open Championship of Ukraine on the body-Art 2008 in Kiev. (Photo by Konstantin Chernichkin / Reuters)
The work of the jury, composed of a sculptor Oleg Pinchuk, singer Vitaly Kozlovsky, Dmitri Kolyadenko choreographer, painter Eugene Gapchinskoy and other.

CCGC Cape Caution

On Saturday, Wayne and I came to town. That afternoon, a storm front passed through with lots of strong wind. From our condo we watched the building swells and white caps and heard the loud clanging of sailboat tackle from the marina. I looked up just in time to see the Canadian Coast Guard heading back to port in Powell River's north harbour. I grabbed my camera and got some video of the men and women on the CCGC Cape Caution having a rough (but probably fun for them) day on the chuck.

The Cape Caution is a 15 metre self-righting lifeboat used for search and rescue operations along the Strait of Georgia. She went through a commissioning ceremony when it arrived on Powell River on September 15, 2005, and is a regular fixture in our coastal waters. She can travel up to 100 nautical miles with a top speed of about 25 knots when needed. The men and women of the crew stay in one of the condos in our building and have their headquarters out front. It's good to know we have such wonderful neighbours.-- Margy

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