Prey vs Predator

Despite its name, the Yellow-Crowned Night-heron (YCNH) forages during the day as well as night and is found mostly in the coastal regions of the Southeast.   Typically a solitary creature, it loves to feed on crustaceans, with crab delicacy an all time favorite.   I chanced upon this juvenile YCNH that appeared to catch a crab or was it the other way round!  It was hard to distinguish prey from predator as the drama unfolded, until finally…

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Prey2

Prey3

Prey4

 

Spring at last!

Spring has been playing hide and seek this season and I finally managed to get a glimpse of migratory birds at the Celery Bog…

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler

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Northern Waterthrush

swallows

Tree Swallows

Great blue heron

Great Blue Heron

chickadee

Chickadee

spotted sandpiper amongst turtles

Spotted Sandpiper amidst turtles

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Wood Ducks

 

 

Spring Bonanza

The quintessential joy of birding lies in the fact that each new outing brings a fresh perspective, in spite of seeing the same species again, especially when they are Spring migrants such as pretty little warblers that restlessly flit from branch to branch.  Spotting a new species definitely adds to the excitement and I was able to capture two first time species -White throated Sparrow and Ruby crowned Kinglet.

White throated Sparrow

White throated Sparrow

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Yellow Rumped Warblers

Last weekend was absolutely gorgeous, quite reminiscent of an Indian Summer and was perfect for a stroll in the woods!   As I gently tread on the bed of leaves looking at the barren foliage for signs of birdlife, a whole bunch of Cedar Waxwings swooped down and landed on the branches only to fly away, but they kept coming back.   And beautiful Yellow Rumped Warblers although not as striking as in their Spring plumage were flitting from branch to branch, ever so restless, which makes it very difficult to photograph them, The World of Warblers

YR warbler in flight2 Continue reading

Summer Reading

With summer behind us, here’s a short list of some noteworthy reads that I caught up with…….

A gripping account of expeditions along the Silk Road in Central Asia in the early 19th century to look for lost Buddhist treasures is narrated fascinatingly by Morgan & Walters.   Funded by the British Raj, an avid explorer and archaeologist, Aurel Stein sets off into the harsh deserts with a motley crew and a spirited dog called Dash.  The treasures that he is seeking are ancient Buddhist texts believed to be preserved in caves along the Silk Road and to rescue them from obscurity!   But even in his wildest imaginations, Stein could not have dreamt of what he would eventually stumble upon in the caves of the Taklamakan desert -the Diamond Sutra – which the Buddha is said to have preached to his disciples in Sarnath.   And it is absolutely fascinating to note that this is the first ever printed book in the history of mankind, circa 868 AD, a full five centuries before Guttenberg invented the printing press.   Journeys on the Silk Road is a captivating travelogue filled with adventures, history, politics.

US

 

Simon Winchester narrates a riveting account of how people from different walks of life and with different bent of mind came together to build the United States of America.  In order to do that he draws a leaf from ancient cultures that classify the world into five different elements, earth, fire, water, wood and metal.  Simon is a powerful storyteller and weaves seamlessly Thomas Jefferson’s visions, Lewis and Clark’s expeditions, the development of roads, canals, railroads, telegraph and communication networks that helped shape the US. Simon adds a nice personal touch with his own accounts of travel to several historic sites.  While this is not an encyclopedia of American History, it does a fine job of keeping the reader engaged at all times with interesting tidbits and is sure to enthrall history buffs.

 

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Despite a successful career as anchor of ABC’s Nightline, Dan Harris experienced bouts of mindlessness that resulted in a panic attack during a live recording.  After experimenting with self help books, medications and New Age Gurus, he discovered a simple means of meditation from Buddhist teachers.  A complete skeptic at first, Dan describes his journey in a no-holds barred approach as to how simple breathing techniques helped him refocus his thoughts time and again.  His lucid writing drives home the point that while there may be no nirvana in the near future, he is definitely ten percent happier with his life.

 

In this era of information overload, how does one differentiate signal from noise and make sense of it all, or simply put, separate the wheat from the chaff, as you are constantly bombarded with facts from newspapers, television, internet, e-mail, text, Twitter & Facebook.  If you have misplaced your keys or reading glasses, or have a hard time recalling passwords in this day and age of multitasking, leading to shorter attention spans, then this book is for you.   Dan Levitin, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience says that our minds evolved over hundreds of thousands of years and does not store memories in a neat compartmentalized fashion, in the same way that you would organize a filing cabinet.   Filled with humorous anecdotes this book looks at how our brain thinks and how leaders adapt to changes and come ahead of the endless chatter that fill our lives.