Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No tomar mi foto, imbécil!

Geese. For some they are wonderful friends that give us special pictures that we treasure forever. For others they are unforgivable pests that litter every inch of the ground around them with their foul droppings. I guess it all depends on where you meet these interesting birds.

I usually meet them at my local nature parks, so I don't mind the droppings. What I really like seeing are geese with a bunch of babies. Baby geese are known as goslings, just in case you didn't know. I met these two geese and their whole gaggle out in front of this viewing platform by the lake.

One thing before I go on. I dropped everything I've been doing to write this post. Time seems to get away from me lately. The hours of the day seem to be much shorter right now. I need to figure out how to stretch them back out. Maybe I should eat different meals or something... Back to the story.

They quickly decided I was not counted among their friends, so they waddled into the water and swam away. It doesn't matter if they liked me or not, because I liked them. They could even swim away, and I still liked them. Why? Because of the pictures they left with me.

They may have been calling me all sorts of bad names in goose language, or telling me not to take their pictures. But I was oblivious to all of it because I don't understand goose language. I wonder if that would work with people who's language I may or may not understand. "No tomar mi foto, imbécil!" Click!

And then the geese, or the people, swam far away from me. Honestly, I felt a little embarrassed because I chased them away from where they were when I discovered them. They may have stayed and enjoyed themselves if I had not approached them.

But then I remembered something. That platform and the trail I was on was made for me. If not for people like me who don't mind their poop, these geese would only have enemies. These geese need all the friends they can get. I pay their goosey little salaries! I'll do what I want!

Okay, so I'm only joking. Seeing the geese was fun, even if they weren't too sure about that. That's how it works. I'll keep doing what I do, and they'll keep doing what they do. And we'll all have fun.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Early Bird

I liked being out early so much the other morning that i did it again. It doesn't show up very well in my pictures because the camera makes adjustments, but it was still half dark out here. Everything was covered in a layer of mist that made everything seem mysteriously fun.

And I wasn't the only early bird out there. This American robin got her worm just like early birds are supposed to do. I followed her around as she proudly displayed her prize to the world. Maybe she thought I was trying to steal it because she kept a very close eye on me the whole time I was there.

I actually wondered why she stayed so near watching me. She moved to three different places while I was near, and never went far. I finally left her there when it was time for me to go. This series of black fences you see are there to surround the dam and to direct people where they can walk in safety.

There she is with her worm still in her beak. You can see that the railing for this walkway looks a little wet. that's the residue of Moon mist that is covering everything out here. You can even kind of see it in the air here in the background.

Oh, I almost forgot to say, this post was intended for yesterday. I had the idea to write it, but then I got wrapped up in reading other blogs so much that I completely forgot. I checked today to see if it came up okay, but then found nothing. That's when it all came flooding back to me that I didn't even write it. It was a strange feeling.

And another thing.  I temporarily altered the commenting forms on my blogs because of the problems that Blogger has been having. I know some of you have had trouble, so this should fix it. The last time Blogger had problems like this it was because they were secretly making a few major upgrades. Hopefully this will become something as good as last time.

Now back up to the top of the guard fence for the dam. the robin was still watching me. It was here that I decided it was time to see some other early morning sights. I just wish I knew what she was protecting. It would normally be babies, but I would think they would be up in a tree somewhere.

I keep calling her she, but this bird might really be a male. It's kind of hard to tell unless you see them together. They look the same, except the females coloring is a bit duller, and with more white on the underbelly. A male's head is also darker than a female's. Which one would you guess?

So now we come to the end. I wonder what I might find next in between rain storms. Maybe it'll be some sort of stinkasaurus or a snoot jiggler or maybe just a common forest goat. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just Me And The Mosquitoes

Sometimes I like to be completely alone on my short hiking trips. That means that I don't want company, and I don't even like the idea of other people anywhere on the trails that I'm visiting. I'm not being mean, I just want to be alone sometimes. But how can I do that?

There is one way to do it. My most recent adventure took place at 6:00 in the morning. I went out right before the Sun came up. It's a little dark out there, but I can just about be sure that nobody else is out there. Most others don't begin showing up until about 10:00 o'clock.

There are other times when I go out and it's kind of fun to have people warmly greet me when we pass at the nature parks. People are more polite and happy at these places. But I've felt the need to be alone recently. It's kind of strange, but I can sometimes sense when another person is in a park while I'm there, even before I see or hear them. I always wonder if others can do this.

I told you a couple of posts ago that I have a big new story coming up on my Rat Tales blog. Today is the day! The story is called "A Haunted Soul." It will come in 9 episodes, with each one coming every two weeks. I keep them short. The first one is called "Waiting For Heaven", and it's up right now.

This tale is a ghost story, but it's a very different kind of ghost story. There are so many legends and stories where people see ghosts. But what might the ghost be thinking? "A Haunted Soul" follows one particular ghost to find out his thoughts and feelings. This is not exactly a horror story, but it is a dark tale.

I guess my need to be alone would be like living as a ghost sometimes. I sometimes wonder what it might be like to be invisible to everyone, or to exist completely alone. That's why I was out so early in the morning. it's a relaxing experience, but only for short periods of time.

I was out here at the park all by myself with no sign of any other people. It was just me and the mosquitoes. This park is full of those little vampires, especially in the swampy areas. The mosquitoes can get so big there that their bites hurt. I had to walk fast to avoid them. But I still had a good time.

Itt seems kind of strange that not many animals come out that early. There were only a few birds. I found evidence of a coyote or other predator. A hideous piece of a dead rodent made that clear. When morning gets a little later I would never find a thing like that. I quickly moved on from that depressing sight.

I remember preparing myself to pass back through the heavy mosquito area. I began walking faster and faster. I still gave myself time for pictures, but the bites would come every time. I had a good relaxing time so early, but I was glad to be back in my truck.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature! ...And unicorns!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Something Bugging Me

The bug you see in my pictures today is a Six-spotted Tiger Beetle. I found this little friend of mine on the trail in front of me. It's a pretty big bug. It was about 1/2 inch (12mm) long. I don't usually get a chance to take pictures of bugs because I'm not looking for them, so I don't know why I even looked down.

This little tiger beetle just stopped on the trail in front of me and sat there. Why? Maybe he wanted to be famous. He saw the rat suit coming from pretty far away. On a side note. What would you think if you found out I really do creep around in the forest in a white rat suit? Here's a clue: I've never been on the local TV news... maybe.

The real reason I was looking at the ground is because this time of year these trails are full of tiny little toads that are the same size as this bug. Some are a lot smaller. There are usually so many that I have to watch my step. Splat!

So much for the toads. This little bug was lucky he didn't meet that fate. I remember the last time I stepped on one of those toads. I felt horribly guilty for the next two weeks! I still have to constantly remind myself that wild animals die sometimes, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Another thing I have to watch these trails for are snakes. If I'm out in the mid-morning, there might be a few snakes out sunning themselves right in the middle of the trail. I've almost stepped on a few of those as well. That's not a fun thought.

I think that's enough for today. I think I need to get out more. I don't have enough to post about every day right now. Maybe I'll get lucky one of these times and spot a Bigfoot or something. Ooh, or a lake monster! That might be fun. How 'bout a ghost squirrel. Or maybe a...

Nature Center Magazine - Bring out the charge of the love brigade. There is spring in the air once again... - Queen

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A New Old Bird

You never know what you might find if you just look. I have a small program that randomly uses my archive of photos as my desktop wallpaper. It's called John's Background Switcher. Anyway, this photo above came up recently. I took it two years ago, and then I quickly forgot about it.

When I saw the photo I realized that I had no idea what kind of bird this was, and I don't remember taking the picture. I have to admit that I was only just beginning to learn about birds as late as then. it's hard to learn much unless you have equipment that can really help you see something. This was about the time I got my new camera.

But when I found this bird on my desktop I was intrigued. What was this bird? I did a little checking and narrowed it down to one type of bird. I still may be wrong, but it appears to be a Gray Catbird. Follow the link and see what you think.

I find it so amazing that I've taken so many pictures over the past several years that I've forgotten some, and I'm still learning from many of them. I probably took this picture and never believed I would find this little bird's identity. At the time it was impossible. Now I only had to do a quick search.

I've also accomplished a little goal of mine recently. It may excite some of you, and others not so much. I have just finished a short story I've been working on for a long time. the first episode of nine will be posted to Rat Tales next Monday. I'll share more information at that time right here. I think it's my best story yet.

You know, I always wondered what a catbird looked like. I've seen them posted recently on other blogs, but you can't really pay attention well enough until it's something you did on your own. Now I'll never forget the catbird, even if I'm wrong.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Dead Forest

I came across this dead forest at the new nature park I discovered recently. There's no indication that it is even there until you cross the covered bridge I showed you a few weeks ago. I don't know what killed all of these trees because I'm not knowledgeable enough about the situation for that yet.

It could have been the stagnant water that covers the forest floor here that killed the trees. The sour smell of the water permeates everything, but not so much that it chokes a person. But maybe it did choke the trees. I wonder how it got here.

The forest is dead here, but it has its own odd beauty anyway. It probably looks very creepy at night though. As I walked through this area I wondered if the trees will ever grow back here, or if a new system will develop here.

Something else that has been concerning me recently has been my style of writing. I sometimes feel that since my car accident that maybe I lack some of the humor I used to have. It could be because of that bad experience or it could be just an evolutionary change in me. I sometimes bring it back, but it doesn't stay as often as it did.

Maybe this is all really because some of that old humor was based on my inexperience with nature. I'm finding it harder now to claim that I've had a crazy mishap in the forest because I know it would be too much of a lie. Before, those stories were just fun exaggerations. Some were totally true.

Over at Nature Center Magazine I have posted one of my old fiction stories that I did here quite a while ago so you can compare my old style with the way I write today. It's called A Big Goose Egg. Go take a look and see what you think. I've been reading through my old archives to see if I can recapture a little of that old magic. It's a shame that Alice seems to have outgrown her love of nature.

Back to this dead forest. Can you see the beauty in the smooth trunks of these dead trees? They look like the bones of giant animals, and maybe they are similar to bones in more ways than even that. Such a sad beauty that seems to be lost forever unless it is somehow revived.

Maybe new life will be born out of the old, and then something even more wonderful will be here in its place. It's a shame that nothing lasts forever, but we have to make way for the new thing that is coming next. We can only hope that it will be just as good.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Taking A Bath

I found this robin while she was right in the middle of her bath. I never interrupted her because I thought I'd just hang back and be polite. Animals like it that way much better than if I went charging up screaming, "Hey, can I take your picture?"

This robin seemed to really be enjoying herself in the water, so I just stood there and observed. I could see how happy she was, and a little of that happiness rubbed off on me. That is the kind of thing I like about nature.

This one little bird didn't have a care in the world, and as a good side effect, neither did I now. What a wonderful result of just taking a walk outside. Just thinking back on this little incident gives me a great feeling inside.

As you can see, I haven't posted anything in a few days. All I can say is that I simply forgot. I've been doing that a lot lately. One of you asked me if my forgetfulness was because of age or my accident. I don't remember who. I only remember that you are one of my favorite bloggers. It'll come to me one of these times.

Anyway, it is definitely because of the accident. I'm not really very old yet. My memory isn't totally lost. It's just that things, sometimes very important things, seem to routinely slide right out of my mind now. It's actually not always a bad thing. It gives me plenty of rest sometimes.

Don't take any of that wrongly. I don't feel too bad. It's just a bit of a status report and an answer to a question from an important person, and I just barely happened to remember it. Losing a bit of memory isn't too bad because you don't really remember what you've missed. And people can come up with good jokes to share with you. I just can't remember any right now. :D

Splashy splashy, little birdie!

Go read Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Oh, and Rat Tales too. There are little bits of me splattered all over that place.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Random Fun

Today I've decided to do something I haven't really done before. I have some pictures from my last short hike that don't fit into my typical posts, so I decided to write a post about them.

This first one was a picture I attempted several times to get right. The only problem is that when I do something like this I'm never satisfied. How do you think it turned out?

I took this picture above of this old dead tree because it is full of woodpecker holes. I kept thinking that it looked like a woodpecker apartment building. I wonder how many of these birds lived here at one time. I've read that they are very territorial.

This one above is of the covered bridge I've shown to you before. I've already told you how much I love bridges. This one has become one of my favorites. I've taken pictures of this bridge from every possible angle.

I took this picture at the back end of the trail at Berry Lake park, the same place where I got the others. I liked the way the clouds looked. I've had the image of this one in my mind all day, but I couldn't remember where it came from. Then after looking through these I finally found out.

So how did you like this kind of post? I usually try to write about the story, with the pictures just being illustrations. This time its all a little random fun about the pictures.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature! Copas has now explored all 50 of the United States. Even though his project is finished I'm hoping he'll stick around for awhile for some all new adventures. Please visit him today and offer him some encouragement.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Great Blue

I knew I was going to find this great blue heron even before I actually did. I don't know how I knew. I just sensed that it was going to be there. I began looking for this big bird as soon as I could see the lake through the trees. And I was a little disappointed that I didn't see it right away.

but then as soon as I walked down to the fishing platform I looked to my right and there it was on a little island where most of the birds like to visit. I never thought for a second that I wouldn't see it somewhere. I just wasn't sure where it was that I would find it.

I've had this kind of odd premonition happen to me several times before. And I'm sure most of you have had this kind of thing happen to you as well. I wonder if this is a real hidden sense that we all have that surfaces from time to time, or if it is just a sort of coincidence that we remember because it seemed remarkable at the time.

It's something I wonder about every time it happens. Maybe in this particular instance it is because I'm getting better at knowing what to expect from some aspects of my local areas of nature. I do know I'm very far from an expert on nature though. I'm just an explorer and mini adventurer. But I have learned so much over the past several years.

But I would rather believe that this bird was waiting for me all along. Maybe it knew I was coming. Did it have the same premonition as I did? Did it know I would quietly observe it? Did it even know that I was there at all? Sometimes I wish I knew the answers to all of those questions, but I think knowing would take all of the fun away.

What do you think? Premonition or coincidence? I'm not sure of the answer to this last question either. It's just fun to wonder sometimes.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!