Sunday, April 30, 2017

SOON IT WILL BE MOTHER'S DAY!


In two weeks time, it will be Mother's Day! Therefore, dear reader, if you still have your mother, or have a sister who is a mother, an aunt who is a mother, a niece or a cousin who is a mother, a daughter or daughter-in-law who is a mother; this is a good time to think about a gift that you might want to give these special people!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Hippo Ballerina isn't the first NYC hippo!



It's been nearly three weeks since Bissera Antikarov posted an image on her FB Page of NYC's hippo ballerina featured in the photos atop this entry which I took this past Thursday, when I went to visit the statue.

The first image of mine features a view of the hippo ballerina that is similar to the photo that Bissera Antikarov posted. And the following picture of the dancer,


features her gazing at the Lincoln Center building where the ballet is performed. I imagined her to be wistful about opportunities to perform there, but the sculptor, Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, had a different character in mind,

Friday, April 28, 2017

It's Arbor Day!


Since my posting an entry re the eyes of Northern mockingbirds this morning, it has been brought to my attention that today is Arbor Day. It always falls on the last Friday of April, which is today.

Remembering Author Harper Lee' s Birthday (With A Cool Fact Re Mockingbirds' Eyes)


Every time I see a Northern mockingbird in my rooftop garden (which is what is featured in the picture atop this entry), I think of Harper Lee, for her writing the book, "To Kill A Mockingbird."

Ms. Lee was born on this day of April 28th in 1926 and died on February the 19th in 2016. In honor of Lee's birthday, I'm featuring a cool fact regarding this bird type, who as you can see appears to have eyes on the side of his head. This a trait other bird types also have and it is described in a page from Quora.

According to Sam Greydanus, a contributor to the aforementioned page (who addressed a question re the fact that most birds have eyes on the sides of their heads, not on the front), "Birds, insects, and many mammals that have eyes on the sides of their heads actually depend heavily on motion parallax, which is one of these types of depth perception. Motion parallax is when you move your head from side to side and objects close to you appear to move more than objects in the distance."

I have also read that "most birds that have eyes on the side of the head have only one fovea. Fast flying biers have a temporal fovia. This temporal fovia allows them to see light from in front of them through each eye. This in turn helps with depth perception. Birds without this have to turn their head to get the same light in both eyes."

And because the mockingbird pictured above and below, is turning his head, I would assume he does not have a temporal fovia, however I am waiting to hear back from a few naturalists regarding my assumption.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Some never get a chance to be May flowers! (This is due to April showers.)



In mid April of this year, I was thrilled to see that the Prairefire crabapple tree (AKA Malus 'Prairfire') which I bought in March of 2016 was flourishing (as evidenced in the photos atop this entry.) And it continued to burst with blooms for a few days as seen below.




However, fifteen days after my tree produced such lovely flowers, NYC, where I live and have my rooftop garden, was the target of heavy rainfall. This occurred for a little over two days in a row with nonstop showers. And April showers took away my potential May flowers!







Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday's Wisdom: Writer's Block Insights


Today, is the eighty-seventh anniversary for The New Yorker publishing UNWRITTEN, a mini essay by E.B. White. I've posted a copy of it atop this blog entry, and it is a piece of writing that you may recognize from prior entries here on Blogger, as I have referred to this in a few posts; but never on the anniversary of the publication.

If you follow any of my cyber-venues, then you probably have realized that E.B. White's writings are something I truly appreciate. This essay speaks to me in terms of my unwillingness to write about things "that stand out clear as pictures in (my) head." 

For me, some of those pictures in my head are the actions of an American robin visiting my rooftop garden who looked as if he was doing the hokey-pokey (as evidenced in the photos below).





And I even researched the hokey-pokey where I discovered the following image (on Mental Floss);


which accompanies a number of interesting facts regarding the origins of the Hokey-Pokey. (Please check out the aforementioned link if you are interested.) Also in my research for information related to the Hokey-Pokey, I found a number of videos on You Tube including the one posted below.



But even though I saw another American robin in Central Park, who looked to be doing the hokey- pokey (as evidenced in the next picture),


I kept my robin-doing-the-hokey-pokey observation in my head and did not share it via writing. I'm not sure if this was because I thought doing so would "prove to be embarrassing," as White suggests (in the essay atop this entry) to be a reason for an idea to remain in one's head and go unwritten, or if it's because I felt who cares about my equating a bird's movements with the hokey-pokey.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The 40th Week: Honoring World Penguin Day




Welcome to week forty of my Tuesday's Truths series with a post dedicated to the bird type known as penguins.

Today is World Penguin Day. This event is always celebrated on April twenty-fifth. And, as my way of paying homage to this creature, I am including images of my penguin figurine atop this entry.

Another holiday, dedicated to penguins is one known as Penguin Awareness Day, and that one is always celebrated on January the twentieth, which is a topic I've discussed in prior entries here on Blogger, including one that you may reference by clicking here.

But getting back to today's holiday, World Penguin Day, Holiday Insights (HI), explains that it falls on this date because "it coincides with the annual northward migration of penguins. This happens each year on or around April 25th." 

And HI reminds their readers that "penguins do not fly. Rather, they walk, or waddle their way to and from... (They) are found in Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, the Falkland Islands, and the Galapagos Islands. Elsewhere, they are only found in zoos."

Monday, April 24, 2017

One Reason that "April is the cruelest month."



The sweet dark-eyed junco seen in the images atop this entry where the creature seems to be eyeing me from atop the ledge which surrounds my rooftop garden, is one of the reasons that I think the poet, T.S. Eliot, may have been correct in saying, "April is the cruelest month."

As you may know, dear reader, that particular line comes from Eliot's poem, The Waste Land, which I've referred to in bygone years in entries here on Blogger. And indeed, April can be cruel for those who live in the United States, as that's when taxes are due.

But for me, the main reason this month is cruel, at least in the area where I live (NYC), is that it is the month when the dark-eyed juncoes, after spending every day in my garden since the prior November, leave town, and do not return again until the following November.

The pictures posted above as well as the one directly below,


were taken on the first of April, which the last time I saw a junco at my place. Not a nice April Fool's joke — this bird type usually stays until the middle of the month, but I had a feeling based on their behavior that they might leave earlier than is their standard.

And even though they have returned in November (sometimes they even do so in late October), for the past four and a half years, I always have a fear that they won't survive their journey and I might not see them again! In any event, the reason I had a feeling that the juncoes were going to leave early this year is that they spent the last two days of March doing some serious flora-ing in my garden.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

IN HONOR OF EARTH DAY


The photo featured atop this entry is of a tufted titmouse who is taking in the sights of Central Park. I took the image this past Saturday, April 15th 2017. I have posted a very similar one here on Blogger, in a recent blog post, where I wrote about this sweet bird type.

In any event, on the day that I witnessed this bird, watching, I had come to the park to distract my mind, from the sadness I was feeing over having been blown off by someone who had planned to meet with me (which I subsequently blogged about this past Monday).

Therefore, I was honored and humbled to see this tufted titmouse, as well as to meet another bird type; who can be seen in the pictures below.



If you have been following me here on Blogger and or on Facebook, you probably know that after some research, I had thought the creature was a Savannah sparrow.

And, you may also know, that I have recently learned that this creature is a White-throated sparrow, which I discussed in one of yesterday's entries here on Blogger.

In any event, last Saturday when I encountered the tufted titmouse as well as the White-throated sparrow, I saw a number of bird types, including an American robin, who can be seen in the next set of pictures.



As you can see, this creature is doing some flora-ing (what birds call the act of observing flowers, a habit which is discussed in the book Words In Our Beak Volume One.)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Not Fake News: A Case of Mistaken Identity! (This bird is not a Savannah sparrow!)




Last Saturday, while walking in Central Park, I came upon the bird featured in the photographs atop this entry. I had never seen this fauna type before and the creature truly fascinated me! I took a number of photos of my sighting, and in the days that followed my chance meeting with the bird, I included my images in posts here on Blogger as well as in my entries on tumblr and Facebook.

However, prior to any of my postings, I reached out to wild life experts to see if I was correct in determining that the sweet looking creature I had met in the park was a Savannah sparrow. Everyone that I contacted confirmed that my assessment was correct and I began to publish my entries on the aforementioned social media platforms, as well as on Cornell's Lab of Orinithology's FB Page.

A few days later, I received a comment (on my Cornell posting) from Jennifer DeSelle-Milam, stating, "Looks like a white-throated sparrow to me. They also have yellow lores." 

My Encounter With a Tufted Tit Mouse


Yesterday on TLLG’s FB Page, I mentioned that on the afternoon that I encountered a Savannah sparrow in Central Park, I had also come upon an American robin playing with a piece of string.

There were other bird types that I saw on that same day including a tufted tit mouse, who can be seen in all the images accompanying this posting.




According to Cornell, a tufted tit mouse is “a little gray bird with an echoing voice, the Tufted Titmouse is common in eastern deciduous forests and a frequent visitor to feeders. The large black eyes, small, round bill, and brushy crest gives these birds a quiet but eager expression that matches the way they flit through canopies, hang from twig-ends, and drop in to bird feeders. When a titmouse finds a large seed, you’ll see it carry the prize to a perch and crack it with sharp whacks of its stout bill.”

I first met this bird type in 2012 when I was graced the creature visiting my rooftop garden, and if you’d like to read about my encounters with a tufted tit mouse during that time, please refer to my blog clicking here.

It's Kindergarten Day!


It's Kindergarten Day! Here's what Holiday Insights (HI) has to say re this event: "The first day at Kindergarten is a memorable, exciting, nervous, and anxious time for mother and child. Most children and mothers will never forget the first day at Kindergarten. Hopefully, it was a good experience for all!

"Kindergarten Day is celebrated in honor of Friedrich Froebel. He was born on this day in 1782. In 1837, he started the first Kindergarten in Germany. It became popular quickly. Kindergartens were originally a 1/2 day to get children acclimated into learning, social interaction, and school, in a fun, yet educational manner. Kindergarten has evolved in most areas into a full time program. This is partly the result of increasing pressures on education, and partly due to the increase in working mothers in America."

HI suggests that one "celebrate today with a trip down memory lane. Pull out the old pictures of you and/or your child's first day at Kindergarten." 

And that's what I'm doing, as evidenced of the photograph above featuring me as a student with my kindergarten class.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

On E.B. White's "DRESSING UP"



The same afternoon that I encountered a Savannah sparrow (seen in the first image atop this entry) in Central Park, I came upon an American robin playing with a piece of string (as seen in the second image above). My seeing the robin doing this prompted me to think of an essay by E.B. White which I've posted below.


As you can see the essay was published seventy-one years ago today on April 20th, 1946. And like the sparrow who was playing with a small length of confetti, in White's essay, the American robin that I came upon spent a bit of time with the piece of string (another photo can be seen below).


But also like White's sparrow, this American robin, became bored. Indeed as White surmised, "It is a wearisome thing to be overdressed  in the early morning." Only in this case, the time frame was not early morning, but mid to late afternoon. The sun was hot which is another circumstance when being overdressed is "wearisome."

Remembering Monsignor Robert B. O'Connor (B: 12-20-30 D: 4-20-2016)


Today is the one year anniversary of the death of Monsignor Robert O'Connor. He can be seen in the photo atop this entry, which is an image I included in a comment to someone re my FB entry honoring the beloved man. In my comment, I reiterated what was written in Monsignor O'Connor obituary: "He was a passionate advocate for social justice, championing the poor, the homeless, the elderly, and all who were vulnerable in any way. But it was his extraordinary ability to minister to people individually that was his true gift. During his 60 years as a priest, he helped countless people, offering some comfort during difficult times, bringing some back to the Church they had lost, and providing others guidance when they had lost their way. He did it all with love, compassion and mercy without judgment."

This evening, at 5:30 PM, The Church of the Blessed Sacrament in NYC, will hold a memorial mass for the monsignor. See details (from the church's bulletin) below:


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday's Wisdom: Dandelion Ousting (Time's limited re crayon drawing Savannah!)


The Savannah sparrow pictured above in an image I took of the creature when I saw the bird in Central Park, tells me that he still on the fence as to where to stand re Crayola's recent ousting of the color known as Dandelion, which is a topic I discussed in a recent entry here on Blogger.

Although this Savannah sparrow knows Crayola still has other shades of yellow, this creature's concern is that those who make a crayon drawing of this bird type, will not be able to capture the bird's unique trait  which is a "telltale yellow spot before the eye."

As I said, this Savannah sparrow is on the fence re Crayola's decision. A reason for the ambiguity is while the bird is aware that Crayola will continue to offer other hues of yellow, the question is for how long. For according to one of the Savannah sparrow's sources, "previous colors that were discontinued were maize, raw umber, and orange yellow. In other words, less job security when you’re in the yellow family."

I can understand the Savannah sparrow point, for this bird is proud of "telltale yellow spot before the eye," and with good reason!