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

When you click the links, 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 near the top-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: Above the play/pause button there’s the option to go full screen. Most of these look really good viewed full screen. 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.

What’s interesting about this series of photos is this . . . they were shot through a heavy plate glass door and a double-pane glass portion of a screen door. I’m amazed at how well they turned out.

I’m kind of in a hurry and it’s late, so I’ll keep this short. Wait . . . it’s earlier than I normally go to sleep, but we’re traveling tomorrow and that means getting up about six hours from now. Hence, if I want a minimum of five hours of sleep, I need to keep this short.

Seventy. This post has seventy photos presented either singly or in small galleries. At the end of the post, there’s a gallery of all the photos . . . that’s for them who just want to see the photos and have no interest in my words. Well, other than the words in this opening paragraph.

This photo is for mvschulze — that’s the current look of the trimmed River Birch. We’ll see how it’ll look in the summer.

For them not interested in reading my words but interested in the full-size versions of the photos, you can see the bird photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery and the plant and miscellaneous photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery. 

When you click the links, 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 near the top-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: Above the play/pause button there’s the option to go full screen. Most of these look really good viewed full screen. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).
3) If you click on the photo, it will zoom to full-size (1:1 view). Depending on the size and details of the photo, it might take a few seconds.

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

Common Grackle <<link

May 2nd, and like the mythical creator, I decided to rest (‘been painting and rearranging the garage, caulking, doing trim, and, in general, acting like I want to do stuff around the house as opposed to just vegetate and eat anything but vegetables).

For me, resting occasionally means sitting outside with my camera, my coffee, and my non-vegetable snacks. Specifically — on that day of rest — I aimed to catch me photos of birds and especially, birds in flight.

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

I have a feeling traffic will be heavy for this post . . . and that — having come here with different expectations — most will quickly leave.

That’s right . . . this post is about female birds. Wait, let me be clearer; non-human birds.

Click for larger view
Click for larger view

So, Project FeederWatch<<link — by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology — has been running weekly contests (and I’ve missed a number of weeks). This week, it’s “Fantastic Females; Celebrating the muted tones of female birds”. Anyone wanting to see the current submissions can click this LINK.

Now, I’m always reluctant to enter contests (although I’ve entered a few<<link — warning: there are nine pages of posts), and I’ll tell you why.

The “W” stories voting block has entered the doldrums . . . still, we got us a decent number of votes and — with nine days remaining — I’m expecting a few more votes before the round closes.

One thing I would ask of readers . . . if you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — get friends and family to read it (and also ask them to read the others in case they don’t agree with you).

On the other hand, I get how annoying it could be, so if you don’t want to bother your friends, then don’t worry about it . . . BUT . . . if you have an enemy you wish to annoy, then sent them the voting link. If they’re not too bright, you can word it like a chain letter; you know the kind . . . “bad luck will befall your ass if you don’t read and vote and get at least ten others to also read and vote!”

No matter how you come to them, if you’re a reader of our stories and someone who votes, the writers wish to express their gratitude and appreciation. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge W-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

So, more bird photos . . .

These are presented in chronological order and all from the end of 2018 . . . so, two from the Big Island of Hawaiʻi and two from Long Beach.

The “W” stories voting block is off and running . . . I believe this will be another block where people may find it difficult to find a favorite to vote for. And, I mean that in a good way.

One thing I would ask of readers . . . if you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — get friends and family to read it (and also ask them to read the others in case they don’t agree with you).

Not that I had a lot of followers (finger-counters had no need for more than one hand), but I’m no longer on either Twitter or Facebook, so it would be nice if word-of-mouth played a bigger role in getting people to read and vote.

On the other hand, I get how annoying it could be, so if you don’t want to bother your friends, then don’t worry about it . . . BUT . . . if you have an enemy you wish to annoy, then sent them the voting link. If they’re not too bright, you can word it like a chain letter; you know the kind . . . “bad luck will befall your ass if you don’t read and vote and get at least ten others to also read and vote!”

No matter how you come to them, if you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge W-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

So, bird photos . . . .

I’m going back to October of last year for these. A dreary but not cold day, I sat outside with a cup of coffee, a camera, a phone, and a view of foraging birds.

I think I’ve figured it out . . . people are tired of these reminders. Basically, the constant reminders about the V” stories block voting deadline is just an irritant. Don’t worry, I’m not here to remind you there are twenty-four hours remaining before the voting window closes — although, you know, that’s true when this post goes live — but rather to tell you a few corny one-liners.

What did the fish say when he hit the concrete wall?
“Dam!”

What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long?
Polaroids.

What’s the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
Anyone can roast beef.

What do you get when you toss a hand grenade into a kitchen in France?
Linoleum blown apart.

Anyway, if you’ve already voted for a favorite story, the writers thank you. If you haven’t voted, and you spent time reading this, you now have less than 24 hours before the voting round ends. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

So, a more birds . . . .


This was taken from the lanai of the condo we rented while in Kailua Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. The bird is flying up to grab seeds from the upright pod. The pod contains a lot of seeds, and they are light enough to get blown all over the place. I know I shared the seeds in a post but I can’t find it right now.

Around this point of a voting block, we see a bit of a rush in voting, and the V” stories block is no different. The last two days typically see big moves by one or more of the stories, usually those that were lagging.

. . . and we are at the last two days of voting.

Going forward, I plan fewer reminders (reminders take a fair amount of time, and daily reminders don’t seem to make a difference in the voting), and I’ll bunch them up near the end of the voting block. Again, between generating the photos for these posts and spending time putting them together, the effort related to these posts impinges on time I would rather use to work on other posts.  Mind you, it’s not like these take hours but . . . no, actually, in aggregate, they do.

Anyway, if you’ve already voted for a favorite story, the writers thank you. If you haven’t voted, you have less than 48 hours before the voting round ends. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

So, a dash of red . . . .

This was taken from the lanai of the condo we rented while in Kailua Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

The “V” stories voting round is really struggling to keep up with previous rounds. However, this is understandable given the time of year and all the stuff going on.    

For them who still take the time to read our stories and vote for their favorite, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

So, on Christmas day I had the opportunity to get a few close-ups of birds I don’t see at my house.

Look to the left . . .

That is a White-breasted Nuthatch (LINK). It may not be recognizable at first glance because people are probably used to seeing it hanging head-first on the side of trees and feeders. Occasionally, even hanging upsidedown under branches.

The “V” stories voting is still stalled as people recover from their Christmas stuffing . . . and get ready for their New Year’s Eve drunken reverie. 

For them who take the time to read our stories and vote for their favorite, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

So, I stopped my car not ten feet from this seagull, turned off the car’s engine, rolled down the window, and waited to capture a sequence of photos showing the gull launching into flight.

Below are the photos I shot as I waited for the gull to take flight. it never did, by the way, and I just got tired of waiting and left.

The Alphabet Challenge “M” Stories are duking it out, and you can help cheer on the eventual winner.

If you’ve not already done so, read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge M-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

OK, that’s that. And now, flash hummingbird . . . .

This was the setup, looking right outside my office window.

You can see the two full-size photos in the SmugMug Gallery HERE.<<<Link

The Alphabet Challenge “M” Stories are duking it out, and you can help cheer on the eventual winner.

If you’ve not already done so, read the stories and cast your vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge M-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link

OK, that’s that. And now, birds on a wire . . . .

You can see the two full-size photos in the SmugMug Gallery HERE.<<<Link

As always, you can click on any of the photos for a larger view.

The “K” stories have but a few days to grab whatever votes they can, so they’ll rely on the kindness of passing strangers who might see the stories, read them, and then vote for their favorite “Alphabet Challenge K-Stories” HERE.<<<This Is A Link

Clicking on the above link will take you to the post with the poll where you can cast your vote. The post also contains links to the individual stories. After voting, readers can — if so moved — spread the news about the story to friends and family. Or, not. But, we hope for yes.

So . . . Flowers and Stuff (birds, bugs) . . .

Yes, the magnolia tree is blooming . . . and covering the ground with the remnants of the brown coverings of the flowers.

Honest, given all that’s happening, it feels weird asking people to read and vote for one of the “Alphabet Challenge I-Stories” HERE.

That post has links to the individual stories and the poll where readers can click a box to indicate their appreciation for their favorite. And, after voting, readers can spread the news about the story to friends and family. Maybe.

I say ‘maybe’ because of all the stuff occupying people’s minds. Economy, riots, injustice, unemployment, pandemic, the breakdown of checks and balances in government, the threat of civil war, the imposition of religion by the government, and buffoons who want nothing more than for all of this to blow up and become chaos . . . how am I supposed to write fiction against this backdrop?

I mean, if someone six years ago would have described to me these conditions (including the fact we have an immature, semi-illiterate, and childish occupant in the Oval Office), I would have advised them that, as fiction, it was just too far-fetched . . . and yet, here we are.

Anyway, babies and teens  . . . .

“J” story writing looms in my near future even as the country seems to be coming apart at the seams and our Baby President acts like the dicktator of a banana republic (with the unquestioning support of Republicans and supporters who seemingly have no clue what the word “patriot” means).

Against that backdrop, I understand why our “I”-stories vote count is on the low side. Still, if you want a break from our current bizarro world, read the “I” stories submissions, and after, if motivated, vote for their favorite of the “Alphabet Challenge I-Stories” HERE<<<This is a link.

That post has links to the individual stories and the poll where readers can click a box to indicate their appreciation for their favorite. And, after voting, readers can spread the news about the story to friends and family. Maybe.

So, continuing with the May 23, 2020 photo adventures . . . after capturing a few birds in the backyard, we went for a drive to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge<<<This is a link and grabbed a few photos of birds on fences and reeds (shared a few posts ago <<<This is a link).

Then, as I stopped to look at the scenery, I noticed a large bird flying toward us (we were inside the car).

I turned off the car and lowered the window and zoomed in . . . 

A Bald Eagle, it was, angling in toward us.

That photo is as it came out of the camera and is shot at 300mm zoom.