Reminder to pick your favorite Alphabet Challenge “B” Stories

A quick reminder to vote for one of the stories in the “B” Alphabet Challenge Submissions. You can vote HERE and for them who have yet to read them, there are links to each of the stories in that post.

By the way, you can still vote for the “A” Alphabet Challenge Submissions HERE and for them who have yet to read them, there are links to each of those stories in that post.

Few people bother to vote so your vote — unlike voting in the national elections — both counts and can have a significant impact. If the responsibility weighs heavy on your shoulders, then get a lot of people to read the stories and to vote, thus lessening the impact of your single vote.

The writers (I’m one of the writers) appreciate readers’ involvement and welcome comments and questions. They will be answered anonymously, but answers you’ll get (if you have questions, of course).

Click for a larger version.

That’s from early last month. This and the following are all high ISO photos (5,000 to 12,500) because the day was cloudy and the bird was deep in a cove of Crab Orchard Lake.

I was hoping — and ready — to capture the bird taking off as I approached to within 30 yards or so. Alas, this was one of the few herons that didn’t mind me hanging around. That means I got a lot of these shots.

I mean, he was moving, but very slow.

I also suspect it knew that I only wore a light jacket — no hat, no gloves — and that standing on the causeway with a stiff breeze blowing and temperatures hovering around freezing meant I wasn’t going to last long.

Let me pull one of those shots; the one where it’s laughing at me.

I will give props to anyone who knows what those bulbous things are. I tried searching for them but I had difficulty describing what they were, so even the mighty Google failed to come up with an answer.

I ended up writing to John Hartleb, the biologist at the refuge. Here’s his answer:

The picture you sent me is of pneumatophores. They are essentially aerial roots from bald cypress trees. They are thought to aid the tree in stabilization and oxygen exchange. Some cypress trees have more than others depending on where they are growing. Most are seen on trees growing at the water’s edge, however, they will form on cypress trees growing on dry land. This makes them a problem when they are planted in yards because they don’t get along with lawn mowers very well. Hope this helps. Thanks for the question and take care.

HERE‘s the Wikipedia entry for the tree. And now you know.

After abandoning hope to photograph the heron flying, I went back to the car and continued driving on the causeway. I managed — from inside the car — to photograph these two ducks before they dove . . .

I also got this shot of a gull that flew right over the car . . .

Remember to vote and to direct friends, enemies, and people you have no opinion about toward the trio of stories.

Here’s the gallery of the above . . .

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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