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Can we talk about the horrible things humans do to other animals for stupid reasons? I’m talking about ivory. Since I worked in Kenya, I’ve been made more aware of the horrendous things people do to elephants and rhinos especially. More and more elephants are born tuskless because tusked elephants are so hunted. And rhinos are on the brink of extinction…conservationists struggle to keep rhinos alive after poachers have cut the horn right out of the front of their face.

The wildlife photographer of the year illustrates this perfectly (warning: graphic): Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 – the winners

The genetic modification of mosquitoes makes me uncomfortable. Mostly, because we haven’t really considered the indirect effects of dramatically reducing mosquito populations. They are the base of the food chain for a lot of ecosystems. I was very annoyed by an article published a couple of years ago on mosquitoes being ecologically useless. They’re not. When Is a Mosquito Not an Insect? When It’s a Pesticide

And as a tidy illustration of the above conecpt…Can’t say it better than the title: ‘This is very alarming!’: Flying insects vanish from nature preserves

The lanternfly continues to spread across Pennsylvania (and surely soon beyond). If you live in or near an infested region, learn to recognize it so you can report it: Pa. lawmakers on spotted lanternfly: ‘We have an epidemic’

And for a little cosmic relief: Hubble’s Messier Catalog

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A tale of two jays (painting)

Here are two jays I painted recently…did you ever notice that a Stellar’s Jay is like a photographic negative of a blue jay?

Blue jays are a popular favourite bird…they’ve been represented three times in my favourite bird series. Also, blue birds in general are popular. I also painted a blue grosbeak this week but didn’t have time to scan it. I got this brown card stock…I like it because it really makes the colours pop! Also, playing with acrylics instead of pencils lately. They’re not too great, but I’m learning and you can never have too many birds ;).

Blue JayStellar Jay

Hurricane, by Mary Oliver, a poem for Ophelia

Currently sitting and watching the tree outside my window bow down and touch its crown to the soil. Who knows what will happen? I’ll post this in the future and we’ll already know by then 😉

Hurricane

It didn’t behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then
I felt my own leaves giving up and
falling. The back of the hand to
everything. But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn’t stop. They
looked like telephone poles and didn’t
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.

– MARY OLIVER

Links to Share

Still watching this Dicamba disaster unfold: A Wayward Weedkiller Divides Farm Communities, Harms Wildlife

Ugh: With OK From EPA, Use Of Controversial Weedkiller Is Expected To Double

How do carnivorous plants get pollinated without eating their pollinators? An interesting question explored in this article: How insect-eating plants persuade insects to pollinate them

How can you resist a headline like this one? Bootylicious Fly Gets Named Beyoncé

Are the Nobel Prizes in science ridiculous? I never thought to question them…The Absurdity of the Nobel Prizes in Science

Removing Japanese Barberry can help control tick populations. I wonder if this also applies to multiflora rose and other invasive woody shrubs (e.g. Celastrus, Honeysuckle etc or even herbaceous plants like Garlic Mustard and Stiltgrass): The 5-Year Plan: Manage Japanese Barberry to Keep Tick Levels Low, Reduce Lyme Risk

This bee nests in horse poo! You heard it here first folks…that’s why you read this blog, for the quality information about pressing issues! 😀 Trichothurgus bolithophilus sp. n. (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae) a bee nesting in horse manure pads in Patagonia, Argentina

Photos of….

Beautiful snakes: Photographer Survives Deadly Snake Bite While Taking Colorful Serpent Portraits

Beautiful insects (big claim though): These are the most beautiful pictures of bugs you will ever see

Beautiful bacteria (and some fungi): From Blue Cheese To Dirt, How Beautiful Bacteria Can Be

And gorgeous moths (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise): Moths, Alive and in Color, in All Their Diversity

Photos from various bike rides around Dublin

I try to go for long rides every weekend. Most of the time, I explore Wicklow National Park, which is just south of Dublin. I bring my camera along and occasionally I’ll stop and take a photo or two. Note that these shots are heavily biased toward the (rare) nice weather when it’s not so miserable that I’m unwilling to stop. Nonetheless, it is clearly raining in some of these photos haha. Also, I often see something beautiful and just don’t feel like stopping.

The weather is often brutal in those mountains, because they are completely exposed, but the views are very rewarding.

Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Sugarloaf mountain
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
I was trying to get the heather in bloom but I might have missed the peak
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park
Wicklow National Park

Love Poem, by Paul Zimmer

Love Poem

1

Last days before first frost

we stroll out hand in hand

to see yellow sulfurs lift

in multitudes

over the fields

flittering in ecstatic pairs

to descend

and spangle the hay

2

Months later

trudging winter fields

in the morning sun

we see their million

rapturous spirits have risen

through layers of drift

to glitter

on the snow crust

– Paul Zimmer