Posts Tagged ‘Zoology’


A SoCal Story

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

lassie-and-timmyI went to pick up some Chinese food a little while ago. It’s a small place in a nearby shopping center. As is often the case here, there a a few restaurants clustered together and outdoor seating available.

I walked out and toward an older couple with a beautiful collie. As we were about to pass I turned to them and said, “You don’t need me to tell you this, but you have a beautiful dog.”

With that Shimba walked toward me.

He was tall and beautifully proportioned. His coat was silky. He looked like the dog on the dog food can! He looked like Lassie.

As I rubbed and petted him, his owners told me they’d only had him a few months. He’s retired. He was Lassie at Universal!

Seriously, only in SoCal.

The photo above is an artist’s conception of our meeting.

Thar She Blows

Friday, July 18th, 2014


Helaine and I went whale watching this afternoon. We’d been before, in Alaska. A trip in shirtsleeves under sunny skies sounded very appealing.

IMG_3184_5769We headed out Newport Bay and into the open Pacific. Seas were light. Santa Catalina and San Nicholas Island were both visible in light haze.

Finding whales is part instinct, part deduction and part luck. Our ship was aimed where whales were seen headed a few hours ago.

IMG_3237_5822It didn’t take long. No one shouted, “Thar she blows,” but that’s what happened. A quarter mile off the bow a cloud of mist was thrown up from the sea.

From the bridge the captain started talking about the whale, but she was still invisible to me. All I could see was that blow!

She began to rise. A blue whale, she was around 100 feet long. The whale leveled off with a few inches of her back above the water line, then began to dive.

IMG_3274_5859_1This is the money shot! As the whale goes down she arches her back and her tail comes out of the sea. Water pours off while her body straightens then disappears from sight.

The whale stayed submerged 13 minutes then blew again well in front of the boat. I knew it was the same whale because of a distinctive ‘beauty mark’ on her tail.

IMG_3381_5965Next up were dolphins, dozens of them swimming near and often in front of our boat. We stayed far from the whales, but that’s not possible with dolphins. They sought us out.

What a great trip. One more thing to do to keep out-of-town guests entertained… and us too.

Everyplace Has Something Unique

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I’m in Boynton Beach just west of Military Trail. Not long ago this was swampland. The communities that now fill the area were planned and executed. Little was left to chance. Within each is a Stepford-like level of conformity.

Yet even here at the condo where one unit looks like the next there is something unique! My parent’s condo complex features a single sprawling tree at the edge of a man made pond housing an amazing flock of egrets.

As long as I’ve been coming I’ve been heading to the tree. As my photographic skills get better I’m able to bring more of it online for you to see.

The tree is desolate during the day, but as sunset approaches the birds return. One-by-one they fly toward the tree changing direction at the last possible second to land into the wind.

Every night the tree is loaded with egrets. Mainly they perch silently with their head tucked into their feathers. From time-to-time you hear the unmistakable sound of bird poop hitting the water.

Sometimes a bird will shift position forcing his neighbors to shift as well. The tree gets busy and wings being to flap for fifteen or twenty seconds. Then it’s quiet again.

These three shots are long exposures with my camera on a tripod allowing me enough light to see the birds in the dead of night.

I photograph these birds every time I visit!