Tag Archives: fish

“Aves” is Latin for Birds

For the purpose of this post, I looked up the Latin word for “birds.”  I know about “flora” and “fauna” but never thought about Latin for “birds” until I started thinking of writing this post.

As you all probably know by now, I live in South Florida, and there is a small lake (Bob used to call it a “pond”) out back.   The aves (birds) scenery changes with the seasons.  The best time is during the winter, when many different species make their appearance.  I’m very much looking forward to that aves show.  And I have a front row seat right on my patio!

When Bob and I moved into our new home back in 1997, we discovered a resident large white duck that presented himself, strutting around on the grass and enjoying the clean lake on the property.

Donald Duck in back of our house.

Donald Duck in back of our house.

Some people on the other side of the lake thought Donald was lonely, so they bought another white duck to keep Donald company.  Donald was visibly happy with his new companion.  Unfortunately, one morning, after a couple of years of all of us enjoying our resident friendly white ducks, they disappeared.  It was later discovered that they must have been attacked and killed by a roaming bobcat, which was sighted in the neighborhood on occasion.  We were all very sad that our ducks came to such a terrible end:  the gloom was palpable around the lake.

Our nextdoor neighbor moved in about a year after we did, and she loved feeding bread to the birds around the lake.  Everyone was warned there’s a Florida law forbidding the feeding of wildlife:  they have to be left alone to hunt their own food.  There’s no lack of enough food here in South Florida:  there are plenty of insects for them to feast on!  And, since the lake was stocked with fish and turtles by the state, there’s a plethora of dining delights for all!

I have to admit, even though I felt uneasy seeing the birds being fed bread, I enjoyed the activity of the birds running to get their “treats” thrown by my neighbor in back of her house.

Common Moorhen - male [courtesy of Bingdotcom]

Common Moorhen – male [courtesy of Bingdotcom]

Female Common Moorhen in back of house.

Female Common Moorhen in back of our house.

Most winters, a pair or two of Common Moorhens make their appearance.  They are recognizable by the red streak running down the front of their faces onto their bills.  They are funny, aggressive birds which make me laugh when I see them.  They run like someone is chasing them – with their necks stuck out far (which makes them look like they’ll lose their balance and fall on their faces); actually, it’s the other way ’round.  They are usually chasing other birds, no matter how big, who are unfortunate enough to meander near the Moorhens’ “camping grounds” in search of their own all day insect feast.

It becomes more special and entertaining when there are babies that have recently hatched.  Mom and Dad are teaching them where delicious snacks and treats are available, courtesy of my neighbor.  So, you can see why I feel somewhat uneasy when I see these wild birds are being taught to eat things that are not good for them.  When I first saw this happening, I did speak to my neighbor about it, but she didn’t want to hear of it.  You’ll have to excuse my wandering a bit about this, but I am an advocate for animals (birds included, of course).

Over the course of time, I’ve photographed other birds that appear in my sights.  I dug up a few more:

The shy, endangered woodstork in back of my house.

The shy, endangered woodstork in back of my house.

 

Woodstork finishing up his grooming.

Woodstork finishing up his grooming.

The woodstork is a loner, as most large birds are, and is a big, tall and not elegant bird; in fact, he is very gangly, and has a walking gait that looks like someone who is hobbling.  It could be due to his very large, incongruous, heavy beak.  There was one, several years ago, which my sister described as looking like a “rumpled bed.”  His feathers never seemed to be neat!  BUT, when this bird is in flight, he soars and glides and NOW he IS elegant.

Great Blue Heron in back of my house.

Great Blue Heron in back of my house.

The heron in this photo was a young adult; the older adults are larger and have more body mass and are taller.  There are some that we call the “grandpas.”  These herons are magnificent birds, and, in contrast to the woodstork, they are so elegant when they walk.  Of course, when flying, they are exquisite gliders, and their wingspans must be around 5 or 6 feet when mature.

Soon after I moved to Florida, I was driving and slowed down to turn into the apartment complex in which I was living.  Suddenly, a low-flying Great Blue flew right in front of my car.  He had evidently taken off from the clumps of bushes that were near.  My heart stopped at the sight.  I remember that experience as one of the most exciting and exhilarating in my life.

 

This photo shows the Great Blue Heron trying to swallow a fish from our lake.

This photo shows the Great Blue Heron trying to swallow a fish from our lake.

Caught in the act.  I had to run to get my camera, hoping that I would get back in time to snap this.  I didn’t have to rush, as it turned out.  It took this persistent heron at least 5 minutes to finally get that fish down into his gullet.  He was very patient, and kept tossing it, trying to get the angle just right.  He also let the fish down onto the grass and then picked it up again in his attempts to swallow it.  Bob and I watched in spellbound silence.  We were so sure that fish was too big.  We were wrong.  He finally got it into his mouth, and as he swallowed it (with difficulty), we watched it slowly move down that narrow neck.  We shouted after his triumph.  Amazing!

Great White Egret in back of house.

Great White Egret in back of my house.

Sorry about this photo.  Couldn’t find a better one.  But, I didn’t want to leave out this regal bird, who also has an elegant gait when slinking on his spindly legs.  He is slightly smaller than the Great Blue Heron, and has less body mass.  If you can believe it, his neck is even thinner than the heron’s.  I certainly can’t imagine him even thinking of trying to swallow that fish.  The Great White is also a super sight when sailing overhead.

 

Hello To My New-Found Family

Scientists looking across human, fly and worm genomes find shared biology

According to a report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

“Researchers analyzing human, fly, and worm genomes have found that these species have a number of key genomic processes in common, reflecting their shared ancestry.”

Lately, I started wondering why, as I progress with this aging thing (it’s just my body, not my mind!), I’ve been noticing changes.

Have you ever paid attention to how fastidious a fly can be?  (Not that we usually sit and watch a fly – we look around for a fly swatter, and hope the fly hasn’t flown away in the meantime and, if it’s still there, hesitate to smash it into our food.)

fly 3

When it isn’t buzzing around, looking for some crumbs to steal off your bread that you have meticulously slathered with butter, it always takes the time to give itself a fantastic grooming, starting with its legs and then carefully rubbing its wings.  Is that why I am progressing in my OCD?  I seem to be spending more time cleaning and grooming than I used to.  Also, like the fly, I won’t leave a crumb on the plate.

Now, it’s a very disagreeable thing to think that we have anything in common with a worm, of all things!  Just thinking of a worm, squirming in the dirt, getting away from the rain-soaked soil, is more than enough to never look in a mirror again.  And especially staying indoors when it rains.  Related.  Indeed!

I like fish, but I can’t imagine a relative of mine being bait on a fish hook, to reel in the unsuspecting fish.  Ugh!

worm

You know what?  I’ll just make believe I never found the article.

 

 

[images from bingdotcom]

Kindness is Contagious

I follow the Kindness Blog and kindness really can be inspirational and contagious.

I went out late this afternoon to do some shopping in (where else?) Publix.

My favorite market.

My favorite market.

My first stop was at the Deli counter.  Ordered my regular chicken and cheese, and then, since the rotisserie chickens had just come out, I thought, “It’s been a long time since I had one of those.”  So, on the spur of the moment, I decided to ask the person behind the counter to pick one out for me and cut it into 8 pieces.  I was told that it was too hot right now, and it needed to stand for a while so that it could be cut; otherwise, it would fall apart.  OK.  I said I would come back after doing my other shopping.

The best rotisserie chicken ever!

The best rotisserie chicken ever!

Went into the produce area and as I ventured over to the fresh mushrooms, I noticed the produce clerk taking great care in moving packages of carrots around on the shelves so that the shelves and carrots, and all the packaged veggies were calling out to shoppers to “take me.”  The young clerk seemed very intent on his task, and I told him that I thought he was doing such a good job; the shelves were looking great.  He beamed and thanked me.

Beautiful whole mushrooms.

Beautiful whole mushrooms.

There was a new “fish man” behind the (you guessed it!) fish counter.  He was very obliging and even came out around and helped me pick something out from the freezer where the packaged shrimp were stored and showed me that it was the best buy – better than what I had originally decided upon.  He packaged some fresh fish with specific instructions from me, and did a fine job.  I thanked him profusely – he really took great care!  And he had a big smile.

Perfect shrimp for salad or cocktail.

Perfect shrimp for salad or cocktail.

I was almost finished with my shopping list, when I ran into an employee who I thought would be able to answer my question about how I can find out the name of the Produce Manager.  She said, “I’m the Store Manager, so I could answer any questions you may have.”  I told her about that nice clerk in Produce, and what a great job he was doing, and I always like to give credit where credit is due.  I asked if there was a form that I could complete so that it would go into his personnel file.  She said it wasn’t necessary, and that she would make note of it.  I believed her – she was a lovely person and very sincere.  All the people working there are the friendliest and most helpful people I’ve ever encountered in a market.

I finished getting all the items on my list and went to check out.

Got home, put everything away, had a light supper and got a call from daughter.  General chatting away, and I happened to ask her, “What did you have for supper tonight?”  Her answer, “Chicken.”  Guess what?

 

Good Vibes in the End

The last few days have not been the best.  Neighbors sick, neighbors dying!  I’m not kidding.  I don’t have many days when I find it difficult to smile; these last few have been that.  Who else can I talk to, but my friendly neighbors on WordPress?  Yes, this is Sunshinebright speaking.

A different type of blog, veering off a little bit from my usual.  I’m thoughtful – these types of flashes of news does that, especially at this time in my life.

So, I decided to turn to my computer and see what’s up – chose not to read or watch TV.  Finished one book; ready to start another – not in the mood to watch weddings on TLC or scientific studies of monster snakes and fish on NatGeoWild.

Found The Chicago Files’ “This Is Hockey Night In…..America.”  Cher’s description of the difference in the announcers’ methods of giving “play by play” commentating is funny – truly.  So enjoyable – and, I’m not even a hockey fan!!  Here’s the link:  http://tinyurl.com/mfjk74l

Couldn’t help laughing, Cher.  Thanks so much for your great sense of humor!!  Sunshinebright is back!

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