I’d crossed paths with the above graphic in early December and saved it for this occasion. For them interested in it, it came from THIS website (the above is a link to the image).

I’ve written of my feelings about the Holidays, and Christmas in particular, both in 2019 and 2020.

In general, I have nothing against the celebrations; the lights look nice, and, yes, after a month, the music begins to grate, but it’s also (mostly) nice.

Of course, as an atheist, the underlying reason(s) are of no concern unless forced on me, and since we don’t socialize much, not much is forced on me.

This is a quick reminder that the voting for the SDS Challenge Pride Stories is underway.

If you are new to the SDS Challenge, a little background.

Three writers will each write one story a month, going down the list of deadly sins. The stories can be anywhere from 666 words to 6,666 words in length, although those numbers are not set in stone (and Perry has blown them out of the water and into orbit). If ambitious, the writers will provide accompanying graphics. These stories will not be anonymous because some writers may want to use the same characters for each story and write a series — or book — encompassing all seven sins. Finally, interpretation of the titular sin is up to the writer. Meaning, each ‘sin’ can take multiple forms.

Disclaimer: The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories will likely span a wide gamut of genres. Most of the stories fall in the PG-rating range, with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Some readers might find a few of the stories disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, and if so, stop reading and move on.

If you want to read the Seven Deadly Sins submissions for the Sin of Pride, and then vote, your gateway is THIS POST <<link. There, you’ll find links to each of the three stories and a poll for you to vote after you finish them (if you be so moved).

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow, click HERE<<link. When you click the link, it will open in a new window, and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the top-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

A little over a week ago, I broke down and bought a few bird feeders.

In Michigan, I used to have multiple feeders. In Colorado, I sought to duplicate my bird-feeding habits but ran into a problem with field mice getting into the house and garage (field mice droppings contain some nasty stuff), not to mention one had to bring feeders in at night lest one attracted bears.

I’m pretty sure I won’t have bear problems in my backyard, and I’m hoping field mice stay in the fields. Wait, I take that back. There was a confirmed bear sighting about 30 miles north of us (LINK).

Fortuitous capture of a White-throated Sparrow using my Nikon P900

Anyway, that White-throated Sparrow was one of the first birds to arrive at the feeders.

Well, actually, on the ground. I spread some no-waste feed on the ground to attract the ground feeders. The thinking was that other birds would then investigate.

Slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco photographed using my Nikon P900

The other first arrivals were one of my favorite bird species, Dark-eyed Junco. I’ll have more to say about them below.

I should note a few things about me, cameras, and birds. Because the weather has been warm enough (if a bit cloudy and wet), I sat outside for a few hours at a time just so I could observe and photograph the birds. The feeder is about 15 feet away from where I sit, but the edge of the patio — where those two birds were photographed — is about 25 feet away. My neighbor’s bushes are about 45 feet from my chair.

So, there’s me, my coffee, and both the P900 and the D7500 with either the 70-200mm or the 70-300mm lenses on it. You might thus notice a difference between various photos, with the DSLR photos perhaps (but not always) offering better quality. And, that’s all I’ll probably say about photography and cameras.

. . . zero birds in the hand is worth eight in the bush.

That’s right, mes chers lecteurs; there be eight identifiable birds in that bush. Meaning, you can definitively recognize them as birds (having recognizable bird characteristics).

Now, you have to be a bit careful because the milkweed seed pods, tend to have bird-like shapes depending on their orientation, but they don’t have legs, beaks, tails, or feather markings.

So, I’ve not shown many photos from the Note 20 recently. Yesterday evening I sat outside until it got dark, which is pretty early these days. In case people think I’m nuts, it was in the upper 60s and quite comfortable.

Later on, we experienced severe weather (but not as bad as to our South and East and West). but, what I want to show is a photo taken with the phone in “Pro” mode. That means the settings are all manual and the phone does no processing at all.

Can’t see, much, right? Well, what do you expect? … it was dark.