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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

WW is from Amanda R & Dr. Robert D

Consequences as a result of the disruption in my rooftop garden and the work space in my home that I mentioned in yesterday's post are something I will be contending with today. Therefore this entry for this week's WW (Wednesday's Wisdom) will be brief. The wise words offered here come from Amanda Remsberg and Robert Robert DeCandido PhD.

I contacted both of them yesterday to ask a question about a Common Grackle whom I encountered when I was in Central Park this past Sunday. He/she is featured in the image atop this entry. A few minutes after this lovely creature gave me the once over...

... he/she began to exhibit behavior (seen in the next series of pictures) that I thought was one of those fake an-injured-wing thing which is common in the avian community.

But I had never seen such a young one doing the fake-a-broken-wing thing and seeing this caused me to wonder if the creature was practicing this "technique" or learning it or imitating it. I did a fair amount of research in hopes of finding out if I could determine what might've been happening, but I could not find out ant information so I reached out to my cyber buddy Amanda Remsberg (bird rehabber extraordinaire) via Messenger stating:

I saw a Common Grackle in Central Park  on Sunday and he/she was "walking" around the lawn but when this bird seemed to realize I was there, he/she seemed to the fake-an-injured-wing thing. Do you think this young bird was practicing this skill? Do young birds learn to do this early on + practice it? I can't find any research on the topic!

Here's a copy of our exchange:

AR: And he wasn’t injured?  Lol. No never seen that behavior in grackles at all!  Possible he might have been anting?  They rub their wings on an ant pile to pick up the Formica acid that can repel mites.

ME: Hmmm. Maybe he was anting but he/she seemed to look at me (I included  a copy of the photo directly below) and then do the wing bit. Maybe this young bird saw an older bird do the wing bit  and is coping the behavior without knowing why? Then again maybe  anting was the activity. It was a very hot day and sparrows were dust bathing in another location.

AR: Maybe he was flirting, such a cutie! Lol. Birds do a lot of odd things we are hard pressed to explain sometimes.

After AR's suggested that the bird I saw might've been anting, I did some more research and I reached out (via email( to Robert DeCandido PhD, a bird expert whom I've mentioned in prior posts here on Blogger.

Here's a copy of our exchange:

ME: I saw this Common Grackle (I included the third and fourth images seen in this posting) in on Sunday + at first I thought he/she was doing a pretend-to-have-broken-wing thing but it didn’t seem there was any danger around. Do  you think the bird could have been anting?

DR. R: Hi Patricia - we see this behavior all the time: a bird sitting motionless in the sun on the ground usually with feathers spread ; the bird looks dazed but if approached rights itself and flys off just fine 

The birds have parasites deep in their feathers. By spreading feathers in the sun they allow the heat to penetrate; the parasites do not like the heat and start to move around looking for a better spot; the bird preens them out...basically in an abbreviated explanation ...

That's it for today, dear reader, except to remind you that Common Grackles are  featured in volume three of my book series, Words In Our Beak, and to once again thank both Amanda and Robert for sharing their knowedge with me!


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Today is International Friendship Day Tuesday's Truths WK 136

In yesterdays's post here on Blogger, I discussed a problem (related to writer's block) I'm having getting back on track with my proposal for Steidl as well as with tweaking my follow up video for Imperfect Strangers.

I concluded my entry by stating, "Therefore in a few hours, I'm about to move on by following another piece of breaking writer's block advise from reedsy. They suggest when all else fails, pack up your computer and hard drives and take them to another location; I've made arrangements for me to work on my project within an office in my hood." 

However, since this is the day For Tuesday's Truths I must confess that arrangement was ultimately postponed (at the last minute) until Wednesday (July 31) or Saturday (August 3rd).

Before I realized my plan had to be rescheduled, I reached out (via Messenger) to someone (a writer who I had helped with a project). She lives in Australia and here's a copy of what I asked her:

"...I'm struggling at the moment + perhaps you might have some suggestions as to what I can do to overcome my block in finishing two important projects!"

She kindly took the time to reply to me with heartfelt words by saying: "I know you may be struggling and I don't have all the facts but it sounds like you're not doing too badly at all. I wanted to have my novel completed this year, ideally by July with three full edits and I'm yet to complete my first. You're working on multiple projects and as you said things have been getting in the way, plus writer's block is a massive pain when it comes to getting things written. I like the idea of packing up and writing somewhere else. I know two things work for me: either I leave it until I have a spark of inspiration (I've gone months without writing before I've found it again though). Sometimes it's nothing spectacular, I'll hear someone talking about a book they've read and I'll decide to go back to writing that night, etc. Or two: sit down and force yourself to write. You may not like what you're writing at first but once an idea comes to you that you  can get inspired/passionate about it SERIOUSLY helps overcome all the other doubts. I also know that when my motivation for writing lacks it can be because I don't feel like my novel will ever be good enough to publish and I get caught up in the idea that it's a waste of time (it sounds like you feel the same way now from the blog). Just remember why you started writing - you're love of it. If it's possible (I know it's easier said than done), at this stage think of your projects as something you have to do for yourself and worry less about having it done in time for others."

Her thoughtful comment meant a lot to me and I let her know and I'm sharing it here in honor of the fact that it is International Friendship Day. I've never met the woman I'm speaking of and if I ever get the opportunity to travel to her country, I hope to meet her and if she comes to New York, I hope she will contact me!

I also have another international friends from Canada, England, Italy, and Wales, whom I've only communicated with through cyberspace and perhaps one day we will meet.

As for my completing my projects, my work was truly disrupted by an unexpected major upheaval in my rooftop garden and at this time, I cannot even write about it, but I will do so in a few days, dear reader, after I've had time to deal with today's unfortunate situation. Meanwhile I'll keep my spirits up by remembering how blessed I am to have local as well as international friends.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Sunday in the Park with Cardinals


In my early morning blog post for today, I featured Marquis quote, "Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."

That quotation seems to be the story of my life these past couple of months because I have been unable to finish my proposal for a photo book project I am hoping to do with Steidl.

I had intended to submit my work to him this past April or May at the latest. However, this past May I took a U turn from the work I had been doing on the proposal and focused on my other book and or movie project, Imperfect Strangers.

This particular project which is currently 32,860 words, is dedicated to raising awareness re bullying from the perspective of my being bullied as a result of having the neurological medical condition Neurofibromatosis (NF) Type One.

Because May is NF awareness month I wanted to produce and release a video introducing my endeavor during that month. Therefore all my efforts went to creating and producing my video for Imperfect Strangers, and, as some of you may know, I posted my video (on You Tube and Vimeo) re this matter on May 21, 2019.


After posting it, my intent was to return to my Steidl proposal and finish the editing of the text. The images I will be submitting to him are good to go but the narrative needs to be tightened up.

My intent was also to create, produce and post a follow up video by June 21. However, problems with my Internet, phone service and health stood in the way of my realizing my goals. It is now one month  and eight days since my target date for the video and while I have made great strides with that video, it is not quite up to posting (at least from my standards).

Moreover, I have made little progress with tweaking my Steidl proposal, and now I'm finding the task of doing either one seems impossible, which frightens me: Have my creative juices dried up? Am I too discouraged by lack of income from my work to continue with it? Am I so afraid of failure or afraid of success in relation to my projects that I'm nearly paralyzed? Or do I have a very bad case of Writer's Block? These are just a few of my questions that prompted me to search the Internet on a possible cure/solution to the last question, which is where I came upon a web-page (reedsy) which included the cartoon seen atop this entry.

The aforementioned page gave a suggestion which I've heard many times: take a long walk. Taking long walks is a standard for me but often when I take them, my mind is not necessarily on what I am seeing; rather my mind is searching for what I can do about a given situation. I realize to walk and think about one's circumstances defeats the purpose of walking to clear one's head. But I made a resolution to take a walk in Central Park and focus my attention on what I encountered.

Not only did I focus my attention on what I encountered, but I focused my camera's long lens on what I encountered which included a male cardinal spending time with his fledging.

Remembering Donald Robert Perry Marquis

This week's Monday Musing is from a quote associated Donald Robert Perry Marquis (which is featured in the Mutts comic strip atop this entry). Marquis was born on this day of July 29th in the year 1878.

According to a Wiki Page, he was "a humorist, journalist, and author. He was variously a novelist, poet, newspaper columnist, and playwright. He is remembered best for creating the characters Archy and Mehitabel, supposed authors of humorous verse. During his lifetime he was equally famous for creating another fictitious character, 'the Old Soak,' who was the subject of two books, a hit Broadway play (1922–23), a silent movie (1926) and a talkie (1937)."

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Parents Day is for the birds!


This is the fourth Sunday for the month of July 2019 which means it is Parents Day. A number of web-sources (including National Day AKA ND) ) concur, "National Parents’ Day honors all parents on the fourth Sunday in July. No matter where our parents may be, this day serves to celebrate their important role in our lives. 

ND (and other web-pages) also claim "President Bill Clinton established National Parents’ Day in 1994 when he signed Congressional Resolution (36 U.S.C. § 135) into law. The recognized the '…uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.' Republican Senator Trent Lott introduced the bill. "

I am honoring the holiday by posting a copy (atop this entry) of a Peanuts Comic Strip which was published long before (8-1-1978) Clinton created a holiday for parents. The strip paints a picture of how a relationship between a parent and child can be.

But Parents Day is also for the birds, for when it comes to the avian community, both parents play a significant role in rearing their young,

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Saturday's Sequel (to my 5-20-2019 post)


This past May I posted some news re a new beach coming to NYC and in my entry I mentioned a tweeter was hopeful that when this happens, Manhattan will be blessed with visits from a shorebird variety known as the American Oystercatcher.

I've been blessed to have encountered several American Oystercatchers when visiting Long Beach on New York's Long Island and some of them are featured in the the series of images directly below.

American Oystercatchers are featured within volume three of my book series, Words In Our Beak.


As I stated in my May 2019 posting re the new beach, "I'd love to see these birds come to The Big Apple, but only if it's good for their well being, which might be questionable (see this link"

In any event, today I saw in my Twitter newsfeed the aforementioned NYC beach project is now finally coming to fruition and a photo of what it will look like can be seen atop this posting, I will blog about it after I get a chance to see it. Please stay tuned.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

A Raptor with a Capture

I was at the southern tip of Central Park when I noticed a large shape in one of the treetops. I had heard night herons were in the area and thought that is who the creature might be.

I did not have the camera I normally use to help me see well enough to ID and/or photograph birds, but I did have my pocket camera with me; and even though I knew I'd get very little clarity because it was mid evening, I snapped a picture with the intent of ID-ing the bird from my camera's memory card on my large computer screen.

It appears the bird I saw is a Red-Tailed Hawk and he/she had captured a rat!

There was even an eye witness to the event, for if you look to the left of the photo you might notice a small bird watching the action.

By the way, a Red-Tailed Hawk is featured in volume three of my book series, Words In Our Beak.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

WW is from Albert C. Barnes

This week's Wednesday's Wisdom (WW) is from a quote associated with Albert C. Barnes: "We can always find something to be thankful for, no matter what may be the burden of our wants or the special subject of our petitions."

His quotation is featured in the Mutts comic strip atop this entry) Barnes was born on January 2, 1872 and he died on this day of July 24th in 1951. 

According to a Wiki Page, he was "an American chemist, businessman, art collector, writer, and educator, and the founder of the Barnes Foundation in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania."

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

July 23rd is Gorgeous Grandma Day! (Tuesday's Truths WK 135)

Today, July 23rd 2019, would be my maternal grandmothers's (Clara Fitchie Melahn) one hundred and nineteenth birthday had she not died (in 1987) at the age of eighty-six, four days before what would have been her eighty-seventh birthday.

She was born on July 23rd in 1900 and always hated being born in that year because it was easy for folks to do the math to determine her age. She can be seen in the photo (back row on the right) atop this entry with her siblings.

Her day of birth now coincides with a holiday known as Gorgeous Grandma Day which was evidently established by Alice Solomon in 1984.

I am her first grandchild and have written about her within a number of entries on this blog, where in some of them, I have explained that Cam, the story teller of my three volume book series, Words In Our Beak is named for her and my maternal grandfather, Albert Melahn.  She is standing next to him in the last snapshot included here.


Monday, July 22, 2019

Yellow Coloration in Nature

I came upon the Silver-Spotted Skipper (seen in the image atop this entry) when I took a walk in Central Park this past Saturday and I included facts re him/her in my blog post for that day. This creature is on my mind today because I've been thinking about his/her yellow markings as well as elements of nature who have yellow in their coloring.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Pink Coloration in Nature

Yesterday when I was at the Samuel Untermyer Fountain (which is located within The Conservatory Gardens) in Central Park, the pink flower seen in the picture atop this entry caught my attention. This isn't surprising because ever since this past National Pink Day, I've noticed how often the color pink can be found in many types of flora as well as fauna.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

"... Another Day (Saturday) in the Park..."

As I have mentioned a number of times here on Blogger any time it is a Saturday and I'm in either Riverside Park or Central Park, I find myself thinking of the hit song Saturday in the Park by the rock band Chicago, and today was no exception.

Even though NYC (as well as much of the United States) is undergoing a dangerous heat wave, I took my weekly early morning walk with a friend and when we walked through Central Park and spent time in The Conservatory Gardens near the area where the Untermyer Fountain (seen in the images atop this entry) is located.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Dragonfly Details: Friday Follow-Up

Last Friday I took a walk to Central Park with the mission to observe dragonflies and I was blessed to spend a lot of time with one which I wrote about in this past Sunday's blog post; where I included many pictures of the creature I encountered. The aforementioned insect allowed me to take many photos of him/her. I'm still going through the many pictures he/she allowed me to take; including the ones that can be seen atop this entry; where, as you can see, the images focus on the insect's facial characteristics.

In my Sunday blog post, regarding the physical attributes of the dragonfly, I did not include any photos that highlighted the face of the dragonfly, but my discussion was mainly directed on the fact that these insects have a 360 degree vision range; hence today I'm following up on my discussion with some more facts re the eyes of dragonflies.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

World Listening Day 2019

Today is World Listening  Day (WLD) It is (according to National Today) an event which "is put on every year by the World Listening Project, a nonprofit organization that is 'devoted to understanding the world and its natural environment, societies and cultures through the practice of listening and field recording.' They explore acoustic ecology, a discipline that studies the relationship between humans and the natural world as mediated through sound. It falls on July 18 to honor the birthday of Raymond Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer and environmentalist who is seen as the founder of acoustic ecology. World Listening Day was established in 2010, and each year the holiday has a specific theme tied to it... 

This year’s theme is 'Listening to the Ground,' which asks us to consider the sounds of the literal ground in all its surfaces, from soil to asphalt, whether we’re losing metaphorical ground, and whether we can find new ground by listening for it..."

It is also Thursday, the day of the week which is often called Throwback Thursday (TT). Therefore in the honor of WLD and TT, I thought you would appreciate this passage (short) that was included in my 2-5-2019 post here on Blogger 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 also featured this passage within a 2016 blog posting when I explained that Cam, the Northern cardinal who used to visit my (featured in the photo atop this entry, where she is in my rooftop garden) always believed that it is important for everyone of us to have sharp ears and she spent time taking care of hers!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Bees & Butterflies have similar behaviors. (Tuesday's Truths WK 134)

Welcome to my one hundred and thirty fourth segment of Tuesday's Truths which is inspired by my observing a bee and a Red Admiral Butterfly. I came upon both of these insects dining together atop an echinacea flower which grows near Shakespeare Gardens in Central Park (as seen in the image atop this entry).

I've often seen bees alighting on flowers and I've often seen butterflies engaging in this activity but up until this past Friday, I'd never seen them engaging in this behavior at the same time, which prompted me to do some research.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Two WKS Ago Today

Anyone who has worked on a waitstaff, eaten in a restaurant, owned a cat, or owned a dog will surely appreciate this strip by the talented Patrick McDonnell. It appeared in my in-box two weeks ago and I'm overdue in sharing!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday's Sentiments: Catching a Dragonfly (and other beings) On Camera

"Yesterday a child came out to wonder Caught a dragonfly inside a jar..." are a couple of lines from Circle Game, a song by Joni Mitchell. These words are on my mind as I write this, because Friday, when I went out to wonder, specifically in Central Park, where I had gone for a morning walk with a mission of observing dragonflies through the long lens of my camera, I caught a dragonfly.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Bees and the Wildflowers in Central Park (Friday Follow-up to last Friday's Post)

Last Friday, here on Blogger, I posted an entry stating, "My seeing a bee taking nourishment on an Echinacea flower in Central Park... caused me to think of these lines from HUM, a poem by Mary Oliver:

"'... The little
worker bee lives, I have read, about three weeks.
Is that long? Long enough, I suppose, to understand
that life is a blessing...'''

And I mentioned that "Bees are featured in my movie, Here's The Buzz (which can be viewed on my Vimeo Channel)... Bees discussed in my book series, Words In Our Beak."


Soon after that entry was published (the following day) I encountered bees again when I took a walk in Central Park. Only this time they were nibbling on wildflowers as seen in the first picture included with this entry as well as in the ones directly below.

As I stated in the first paragraph here, in the aforementioned post, I referenced a stanza from Mary Oliver's poem, HUM. In this followup post, I have referenced (below) stanzas from another one of her poems HUM, HUM; a poem which also speaks of bees:

"One summer afternoon I heard
   a looming, mysterious hum
 high in the air; then came something

like a small planet flying past –

not at all interested in me but on its own
way somewhere, all anointed with excitement:
bees, swarming,

not to be held back.

Nothing could hold them back."