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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Rare Disease Awareness Day

It was brought to my attention (through a Facebook posting) yesterday by my acquaintance (Catherine C) that Rare Disease Day is being observed on February 28th this year.

According to a number of sources, including NORD (The National Association for Rare Disorders), "In the U.S., any disease affecting fewer than 200,000 people is considered rare. This definition comes from the Orphan Drug Act of 1983 and is slightly different from the definition used in Europe. There are more than 7,000 rare diseases affecting 25-30 million Americans. In other words, one in ten Americans are suffering from rare diseases and more than half of them are children."

She advocates for this cause due to the fact daughter has a rare disease (Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome AKA Fibro-Adipose Vascular Anomaly OR Kawasaki Disease). As it happens, before I saw Catherine's posting, I had a very unpleasant experience re my rare disease (Neurofibromatosis).

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


It is rather common knowledge that "birders who hope to see hummingbirds often plant nectar-bearing flowers to attract them, but hummers aren't the only birds attracted to flowers."

This truism (or wisdom) is certainly evidenced by the photos directly above (taken in my garden a few years ago) where a male house finch seems to be enamored by my blooming Crabapple Tree while a female Baltimore Oriole is spending her time in the midst of my roses.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Kermit THE Frog & An American Coot (Tuesday's Truths WK 115)

Welcome to segment 115 of my Tuesday's Truths series. The photograph atop this entry is a partial view of a Macy's Ballon (which was in one of their Thanksgiving Day Parades in bygone years) rendered in the likeness of Kermit The Frog. In this image, he is "flying" high above the treetops along CPW (Central Park West).

I thought of their ballon when I was by The Pond in Central Park yesterday.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Remembering "my" Mockingbird Visitor

There has been a Red-Tailed Hawk looming near my garden so visits from songbirds to my place have become infrequent. I truly miss seeing them at my bird feeders and am consoling myself with  the advice of E.B. White's aunt, who evidently said, "Memory is sufficient for the beauty we have seen."

While that is great wisdom, photographs, such as the ones of Harper, the Northern mockingbird seen here certainly help full the void of their absence.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saturday's Sequel (to 2-21's Blog Post)

This past Thursday, I published a post re it being a month after 2019's Squirrel Appreciation Day and in it one of the things I stated was this: "... A squirrel’s bushy tail actually serves a couple of purposes. For one, it helps them balance when they are walking along branches." 

Today I came upon the image that's posted above and indeed even though this squirrel is hanging on to a branch belonging to one of Central Park's trees by his/hers hind toes, it certainly seems like their tails assist in the balance! Pretty nifty...

Friday, February 22, 2019

Birds & Baseball

According to the FB Home Page for the Charles M. Schulz Museum, where the PEANUTS comic strip atop this entry is from, Spring Training (for baseball) began yesterday. I confess I don't follow the sport now since Julia V has died in 2002 (seven years before my first post here on Blogger) Julia was a homebound woman who lived on the UWS and I visited her on a regular basis through a program sponsored by The Church of the Blessed Sacrament.

Julia was a baseball fan (understatement), therefore, in order to have something to talk about a topic she would enjoy I listened to coverage of the sport on the radio, followed the newspaper headlines and watch a few games with her. I didn't keep with the the sport after she passed, but, I do know that a few teams have a bird as their mascot.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Squirrel Appreciation Day was 1/21/2019 (Throwback Thursday)

It is has been one month since the official date for 2019's Squirrel Appreciation Day occurred but it's not necessary to wait for such a holiday or for it to be Squirrel Awareness Month, which occurs in October) to appreciate this animal! These creatures are fascinating to observe at any time of the year.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Snow Day

We had a snow day in NYC today, but the accumulation wasn't much as evidenced by the snow atop my "water cooler" for birds (featured in the photo atop this entry). But the snowfall was enough to deter most birds from visiting my garden! Therefore, it was especially nice to have the company of a lone downy woodpecker on this snow day and his singing in the snow all the more cheerful for your truly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

It's the 3rd Anniversary of Harper Lee's Death


I posted something early this morning for my Tuesday's Truths series, but don't want the day to pass without paying homage to Harper Lee on this third anniversary of her death. The photo atop my entry is from one of her obituaries. Rarely is the time I encounter blue jays or mockingbirds and not think of her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. 

Some Facts Re Male Wood Ducks (ETC) Tuesday's Truths WK 114

Hello and welcome to Segment 114 of my Tuesday's Truths series. In this post I'll be telling you (along with other points of interest) some cool facts re Wood ducks, the bird type featured in the image atop this entry, who seemed to be giving me the stare (or glare) when I saw him in Central Park this past Friday.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Monday's Memo: It's Presidents' Day 2019

This is (for the most part) a repost of an entry here on Blogger from a Presidents' Day in bygone years sand it includes is a "copy" of an excerpt from a letter that the writer E.B. White wrote to Gluyas Williams in 1971, the year the holiday of celebrating George Washington's birthday with Abraham Lincoln's was created.

Prior  to this both president's birthdays were celebrated on their days of birth, February 12th and February 22nd. In 1971 GW's celebration was moved from 2/15 to the third Monday in February (as was Lincoln's). E.B. White wrote a letter (as mentioned in the first paragraph) in response to this, an excerpt is posted below.

"I am not used to celebrating Washington’s birthday on the 15th of February (or in today's case Fenbruary 18th), so I walked up early this morning and deposited letters in our mailbox. Then had to return and retrieve them an hour later when it dawned on me the mails weren’t moving today, even though George is still locked up tight in his mother’s womb and won’t emerge for a full week. This country is nuts. The only date I would like to see shifted is December 25th, which I would like shifted to February 29th, so that occurs only once every four years. This would have a profoundly beneficial effect on the nation and would set me back even course again." (The letter is included in an anthology, "Letters of E.B. White," and a picture of that book accompanies this entry.)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Mary Oliver died one month ago today...

.... and in honor of this extraordinary woman, who reminds us (in her poem "Flare")

"....When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,..."

I'm dedicating this post to her. I will confess that it doesn't take "loneliness stalking" to make me "Notice something (I) have never noticed before;" because it is in my nature to notice so called little things, but sometimes it takes a pair of eyes other than mine due to my challenges (understatement) with eyesight.

For instance this past Friday when I was in Central Park, where many were gathered around The Pond to snap pictures of the now famous Mandarin duck (he can be seen in the pictures atop this entry), I was talking with a woman (who identified herself as Becky) about the Mandarin and how his presence has brought so many people — from all walks of life — together.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Mandarin Mania Continues (Saturday's Sequel)

In one of yesterday's entries here on Blogger, I featured a few of my photographs of the "famous" Mandarin duck who has been spending a lot of time by himself in Central Park (CP) since October of 2018. Because it was Single Awareness Day, I spoke about this duck's "willingness" to not have a mate/partner/significant other. After publishing that post, I was able to take a walk in CP.

Much to my joy, I came upon the Mandarin again (he was in The Pond near 59th/60th) and I was able to take more photos of him that highlight his other physical attributes. A few of my images are featured atop this entry.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Today is Single Awareness Day.

This morning of the day after Valentine's Day, I posted an entry re "wuv having no time," now here's another fact about the date of 2/15: It's Single Awareness Day! The aforementioned holiday is for those who are unattached, and without a significant other. It is celebrated the day after Valentine's Day. Additionally, HI (Holiday Insights) states, "... if you are in between relationships, and without a significant other, you may feel left out."

I'm not naming names, but I do know of one who seems to be VERY OK without having a partner/mate/whatever and that is the Mandarin duck (the bird type featured in the pictures atop this entry) who has been spending time alone in NYC (mostly in The Pond within Central Park) since October.

Some of my images of this duck are in my collection on Fine Art America. All of them can be printed on an array of surfaces and make great gifts to remind folks that (among other things) it is ok to be alone.

"Wuv knows no time."

Today is the day after Valentine's Day and if you haven't had a chance to get the one you love a gift or send a greeting card, no worries! Earl's (the sweet pup in the Mutts comic strip atop this entry) has got this: "Wuv knows no time."

Thursday, February 14, 2019

It's Valentine's Day 2019!

Today is Valentine's Day 2019 and in some ways the holiday is for the birds because they take time to show their affection by giving total attention to one another; as evidenced by this pair of house finches who are atop the string lights which hang over my rooftop garden.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Ophelia's (and a Northern Cardinal's) Note: "To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day"

I observed a pair of Northern cardinals this past weekend when I was walking through The Ramble in Central Park. Now, as I look at one of the pictures of them, I let my mind wander as to what they might be telling each other.  Perhaps because tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I thought of Ophelia's (from Shakespeare's Hamlet) quote upon studying the expression on the female's (bird at the top of this photo).

"To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day, 
All in the morning betime, 
And I maid at your window, 
To be your Valentine. 
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes, 
And dupped the chamber-door; 
Let in a maid, that out a maid 
Never departed more."

I think you must admit, dear reader, that this female bird's non-verbal communication could be interpreted as a reminder/warning/hint for her mate to do something.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Charles Schultz died 19 YRs ago today. (Tuesday's Truths WK 114)

The cartoonist, Charles Schultz, died nineteen years ago today on February 12th in the year 2000.

He was 77 years of age. Now, as a small way of paying homage to him, in this 114th segment of my Tuesday's Truths series, I've posted a comic strip (Red and Rover) by Brian Basset.

Monday, February 11, 2019

In Memory of Ellen

Today marks the one year anniversary of the passing of Ellen Rachel McConnell Blakeman who I met when we were both in the third grade, she can be seen in the image directly above which was taken several years ago.

The last time she and I spoke by phone was late January or maybe early February 2018. While we were talking I heard a lot crash and so did she. The noise was from gutters falling off of the building where I live and to this day they are still in the "yard" of a fellow tenant (as seen in the next picture).

I can certainly imagine what Ellen would say re that! I miss her very much, but I guess going forward, it is far better for me to focus on how Ellen lived her life than on the date of her passing.

But on this day, my thoughts are certainly with her mother (Bonnie); her sister (Martha), her sister in law (Susan McConnell); her brother (Douglas McConnell); as well as her son Bennett Paul, who she spoke about in our last convo.
P.S. Some of you may recall that volume two of my three volume book series, Words In Our Beak, is dedicated to her.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

A Bird in my Hand...


The bird type featured in the photos atop this entry is a tufted titmouse who I came upon yesterday (he was one of many in within that variety that happened to be there) while walking in The Ramble section of Central Park. Temperatures were very bitter, especially with the windchill but I took off my gloves and put some black-oil sunflower seeds in my hand, as I know that, in cold conditions, tufted titmouses have been known to eat out of someone's bare hand.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Saturday's Sentiment Birds Watching

As you can see, The Mutts comic strip seen directly above, is created by Patrick McDonnell, whose strips have been discussed in many of my blog posts.

In fact, I've referenced this particular one in prior entries and it came to my mind again today as I was culling  photos that I've taken in bygone years in order to prepare for a new opportunity.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday's Fact: Valentine's Day is in SIX Days! (So Get Off the Fence)

Most everyone knows that "metaphorically, sitting on the fence is straddling the position between two ideas without committing to either of them."

And when I see various squirrel types "on the fence," in Central Park, it has prompted me to check out the idiom's origin.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thursday's Testimony: Confronting Shadows

Maybe because Groundhog Day 2019 has only recently passed, I've been a little obsessed with the topic of seeing/not seeing one's own shadow and am learning to confront mine as Carl Jung suggests everyone should do.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

No posting today...

... due to an appointment with a neuro-ophthalmologist and because of the tests involved I may not be able to publish an entry until the weekend.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

It's the Chinese New Year of the Pig! (Tuesday's Truths WK 113)

On this first day of this Chinese Year of the Pig, I thought you would appreciate this passage (short) re Wilbur, the pig from Charolette's Web, a book by E.B. White:

"I worry about Fern. Did you hear the way she rambled on about the animals, pretending that they talked?' (Mrs. Arable the wife of Wilbur's owner speaking about her daughter to her husband.)

''Mr Arable chuckled. '''Maybe they do talk,''' he said. "I've sometimes wondered.

'''I don't think it's normal. You know perfectly well animals don't talk.''' (Mrs. Arable replied).

'''Maybe our ears aren't as sharp as Fern's," "Mr. Avery said."

I featured this passage within an entry here on Blogger a few years ago (2016) when I explained that Cam, the Northern cardinal who used to visit my (featured in the photo directly below, where she is in my garden) always believed that it is important for everyone of us to have sharp ears and she spent time taking care of hers!

Cam included her philosophy in her volume one of her book series, Words In Our Beak.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Birds of feather... (Monday's Memo)

This past Saturday while walking in Central Park, I came upon a fence where a house sparrow, a female Northern cardinal and a white-breasted sparrow were perching.

On a "neighboring" fence a lone tufted titmouse was hanging out with a couple of white-breasted sparrows. This is evidenced in the photos I took which are posted directly above this entry.

Seeing these different bird types spending time in each others company got me thinking about the origin of the idiom: Birds of a feather flock together.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

It's Feed the Birds day!

Today is truly for the birds because it's Feed the Birds Day, a holiday that I wrote about in at least one prior post here on Blogger. In any event, according to an entry on a garden related web-page (as well as other sources), "Every February 3rd is known as Feed the Birds Day."

Within the posting of the aforementioned garden-themed web-page, they have included a chart on what various song birds enjoy eating and in honor of this holiday, I've posted a screenshot of it atop this entry.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

REMEMBER It's Hedge Hog Day Too!

Before this morning comes to an end, it would be remiss of me to not write about the fact that in addition to it being Groundhog Day (as I mentioned earlier this morning in two posts here on Blogger), today is also known as National Hedge Hog Day.

According to many sources, including Non-Stop Celebrations"Hedgehog Day dates all the way back to the Romans. They looked to see if a hedgehog saw his shadow in the moonlight. If so, he’d return to his burrow and winter would hold on for six more weeks. And in Europe the tradition of Candlemas included the belief that a sunny Candlemas meant winter would linger. A cloudy day heralded the arrival of spring. At some point the Romans brought their beliefs to Europe and the beliefs melded into watching the hedgehog emerge from hibernation during the day. On a sunny day he would see his shadow and there’d be six more weeks of winter."

They go on to proclaim that "Hedgehogs are resourceful. They are covered with stiff, hollow hairs they use to defend themselves. When they sense danger they roll into a ball so that their hairs stick out like spines, causing pain to anyone silly enough to touch.

They have an amazing sense of smell and can find food buried under an inch of soil. They often prefer to travel and look for food at night. That may be why the Romans preferred moonlight over sunlight to check for the hedgehog’s shadow."

Moreover, they state, that February the second "is also the release date for Sonic the Hedgehog 3, way back in 1994." 

In honor of Hedge Hog Day and Sonic, I've posted an image of a Macy's Ballon that is rendered in her likeness atop this entry. In this picture Sonic is making her way down Central Park West as she participates in a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In North America, there are no native species of hedgehog, so the animal as a weather predictor has been replaced with the native groundhog. However, in my home these creatures are honored by being represented by figurines.

So after you are done celebrating the groundhog's prediction on this day, why not take a moment or two to learn about hedgehogs, the forerunners of this holiday?