Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Alien Life-form

It all started with me looking for my thermometer.  I looked in the usual places and nothing!  Then I thought I would look in the “white box”.

 Background on the white box: 

This is a hinged, plastic box (I think made for clothes pins) that I keep on my kitchen counter as a sort of back-up medicine chest.  I keep analgesics, antacids, bandaids, cat prescriptions, etc. in it.  It keeps things nice and neat!

When I opened it I saw something that my brain could not interpret.  I stared for several seconds then I rapidly closed the box and stood back. I was so un-nerved by this thing that I went into the living room and watched a TV show.  This distracted me for half an hour and then a movie came on … about a Martian invasion!  OK, it was time to go back and check this thing out again and see if it had moved.  It hadn’t (whew).

Oh yes, here is what it looked like (pictures below):  it was slightly smaller than a golf ball; was gray and furry on its ruffled underside; was cream coloured and furry on its upperside with what looked like six or seven “legs” in an upright position.  It looked like a dead, mutant, head-less mouse lying upside down!

Mustering my courage, I began to remove things (with long tongs) from the box until only the “alien” remained.  It never moved through-out this process (even when I accidentally bumped the box) so I started feeling much braver.

I took the first picture and noticed that the camera flash revealed that the “legs” were greenish (keep in mind that Martians are reported to be green)!

All of a sudden, a flash of a different sort occurred in my brain and I think I knew what it was and under what circumstances it came to be in the box.

Can anyone guess what it is?  (It is not an animal)!

I’ll post the answer in a day or two.  (Please note that the answer now appears in the comments below the posting). Keep in mind that without DNA testing, this is still conjecture on my part. J
P.S. Although I was going to post this on Thursday, I thought I would wait to see if the world ended yesterday or you would be left in suspense.  Dead - but in suspense.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Squirrels of the World

I was recently notified that I have had four photographs published in a book entitled "Squirrels of the World" by Richard W. Thorington Jr., John L. Koprowski, Michael A. Steele, and James F. Whatton.  It is published by the John Hopkins University Press.

The selected photographs are of a Gunnison's Prairie Dog, a Hopi Chipmunk, a White-tailed Antelope Squirrel and an Eastern Chipmunk and are shown below respectively:


I am very pleased to have contributed to this comprehensive book!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Emerging Cicada

I ventured out a few days ago in the hopes of finding a Cicada emerging from its nymphal case.  I was astonished to do just that! 

I found it when it was halfway out and watched the entire process of it pulling itself free and pumping its green blood into its wings to expand them.  It looked like an exhausting ordeal and the Cicada paused several times (I presume to rest).

I would like to think it is now up in the tree-tops singing its summery song!

Here are images of the sequence of events.  If you click on the first image, it will enlarge and the series will be presented as a strip at the bottom of the screen that you can then navigate through.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Avian keratin disorder

Yesterday I went to the Montreal Botanical Gardens and photographed various birds and only when I got home and checked out this photo on the computer did I notice the strange beak on this crow.

Since then I have done a fair bit of reading on "avian keratin disorder" which has been seen mainly in Alaska and British Columbia in alarming numbers of North-western Crows and Black-capped Chickadees.  Other species are being affected as well and sometimes both the upper and lower parts of the beak are deformed and this can interfere with the bird's ability to eat.

I found a website where I could report this bird and send the photo.  It is a U.S. site which is gathering information to see how widespread this is in North America. 

There are theories that contaminants are responsible for this disorder but there is still more research to do to reach conclusive findings.

Here is a link for more information:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Back to blogging

Well, it has been awhile...  Finally I think the amazing summer (er, spring) weather and the return of the geese has inspired me to post some photos.  About a week ago I went to Mount Royal on a very foggy morning.  Just as I reached the Mount Royal cemetery summit, the fog lifted, the sky turned blue and hundreds upon hundreds of geese appeared overhead.

At first they were Canadas and I was enthralled but then while I watched, the sky became full of undulating necklaces of white Snow Geese.  They made some of the most magnificent patterns.  Not just Vs but long fishbone-like designs in the sky. 
And sometimes the flocks were mixtures of Snows and Canadas (as shown in the last photo below).

Interestingly, the dark Canada Geese were picked up by my camera's auto-focus feature quite well but the white Snow Geese threw it off and I had to try to focus manually (always a disaster for me), but I thought I would post these photos anyway.
How I love to see and hear the geese in the spring!