Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Roseate Spoonbill. Cicadas. Baby or Sick Birds. Birding Trip. Restoring Seagrass. Hawks Shot. 40th. Year. Swallows, Hummingbirds, and Bluebirds ... Bobby Kennedy. Ronald Reagan.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill. By: Ted Ardley

Banner stats and range map

“The Roseate Spoonbill, a large wading bird and member of the spoonbill and ibis family, was one of the many species' impacted by the Gulf Oil Spill. Nesting in trees and shrubs, Roseate Spoonbills often inhabit mangroves along the coast. Once hunted to near extinction for its distinctive reddish plumes, the species population has rebounded, but coastal development and toxic contamination remain threats.

Bird Impacts and Lessons Learned of Gulf Oil Spill and Cleanup

American Bird Conservancy has produced a brief video about the Gulf Oil Spill and ways birds such as the Roseate Spoonbill can be better protected in the future.”


This Bird News Network video by American Bird Conservancy ( covers the impacts to birds of the Gulf oil spill and problems with the cleanup effort. ABC released a report making recommendations to improve future efforts.



Roseate Spoonbill Feeding Young


Roseate Spoonbill;Ted Ardley, Range Map;Natureserve, 2002.


Cicada Time-Lapse Video By Samuel Orr Makes Insects Look Beautiful

Unfurling: The most dramatic moment of the video comes when the delicate wings of the insect unfold for the first time

Unfurling: The most dramatic moment of the video comes when the delicate wings of the insect unfold for the first time

“At first glance, the cicada appears a difficult insect to love. And this summer they are emerging in huge numbers on the East Coast from North Carolina up to New England.

Danger: Some cicadas fall prey to predators

Danger: Some cicadas fall prey to predators

This crop of the insects, named Brood II by scientists, has spent 17 long years in the ground before hatching and noisily trying to find a mate.

But Return Of The Cicadas, an incredible time-lapse video by film-maker Samuel Orr, may change your mind on this astounding creature as the stunning beauty and tragedy of its life unfolds before your eyes.

The footage captures huge amounts of cicadas emerging from the ground after their long wait underground.

The insects climb trees in their thousands on a search for safety before they break through their infant exoskeleton.”

cicada time-lapse

More at:


Bird 101: How to approach, handle and what to do with baby or sick birds

“Now that it’s baby bird season, don’t be too quick to scoop up a young bird you find on the ground. It may be just fine on its own.

The most common reason people find baby birds on the ground is that they are fledglings — little birds that look like adults with feathers on their wings and tails, hopping around on the ground trying to fly.

When they “fledge,” the babies are trying to leave the nest and could be on the ground for several days, often with mom or dad close by to keep an eye on the baby.

“When you call is when it is obvious it has a problem,” Nevill said. “Really, the No. 1 thing is keeping cats away from them. They are trying to fledge and leave the nest and could be on the ground for several days, so keep your cats, dogs and kids away from them.””  More at:


Plan Your Next Birding Trip!

Elegant Trogon in Arizona © Lois Manowitz

“One the great joys of birdwatching is that there are birds nearly everywhere in the world. Admittedly, some areas are better are others, so we’ve pulled together some resources that can help you find that special place—or special bird—on that family vacation across the state or that business trip to the other side of the world.

I hope you can use some of these tools to help you bring a little feathered wonder to your trip;”  By Adam Sedgley


Florida, Restoring Seagrass – the prairies of the sea


Brown Pelican, Ross Geredien

What kind of birds use the bird stakes? It varies by season. In the spring and summer, brown pelicans are dominant in the Perdido Bay area. In the winter it’s the double-breasted cormorant. But other birds use the roosts as well, including gulls, terns, herons and egrets.

“By tearing up sand and ripping out grasses, a boat propeller can gouge holes and make long trails through the seagrass. These are called scars because they look remarkably like pale scars when viewed from the air. One or two scars can heal themselves, but constant small cuts will gradually overwhelm a seagrass bed’s ability to recover.

Testing simple and effective solutions

The Conservancy works in several Florida locations to:

  • Restore previously damaged seagrass beds, and
  • Prevent or minimize future damage from motor-driven boats.

In 2009, scientists began experimenting with two primary restoration techniques. One technique used effectively in northwest Florida is elegant in its simplicity – well, if a technique involving PVC pipe, galvanized screws and bird poop can be called elegant. But what this method lacks in dignity, it makes up for in effectiveness.

Where the poop comes in

Pioneered in the Florida Keys, where more than 600 boat groundings are reported every year, a “bird stake” technique is quite straightforward:

  • Fashion two pieces of durable PVC pipe into a rough T suitable for a bird roost. Small diameter, so birds cannot get in it.
  • Place the bird stake directly over a seagrass scar.
  • Let nature takes its course.
  • Remove the stake once healing has taken place.

Bird poop (also known as guano) is high in phosphorus – an important nutrient for seagrass growth. Studies from the Keys have shown that the re-growth of seagrass is more rapid when propeller scars are heavily fertilized by birds. Bird stakes appear less expensive and more successful than some other, more intensive techniques.” More at:


Endangered Hawaiian hawks found shot on Big Island

In this April 27, 2013 photo provided by the Three Ring Ranch, Ann Goody, curator of Three Ring Ranch in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii inspects an endangered Hawaiian hawk after the bird was found shot and brought to her sanctuary. (AP Photo/Three Ring Ranch,Norman Goody)

T”wo endangered Hawaiian hawks were found wounded on the Big Island after apparently being shot with a pellet gun, and federal wildlife officials want to know who is responsible.

One was found April 27 and the other on March 20, said Ann Goody, the facility's curator. She said finding two injured birds in six weeks is alarming because the sanctuary normally sees just one hurt every several years.”  More at:


40 Years of Success Protecting Endangered Species & Other Wildlife in Our Backyards

A whooping crane plucks a blue crab from the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Photo by David Sager, an entrant in the National Wildlife Photo Contest.

The endangered whooping crane, one of the many beneficiaries of the Endangered Species Act. Photo by David Sager

“2013 is the 40th anniversary of two important moments in wildlife conservation history.  In 1973, Congress enacted and President Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act.  The ESA has become the nation’s most important wildlife conservation law, helping rescue from extinction the American bald eagle, the Florida panther, and hundreds of other at-risk species.  It also has unleashed countless wildlife and habitat restoration projects across the country and served as the model and inspiration for endangered species laws and programs around the globe.”  More at:



BirdNote Weekly Preview: Swallows, Hummingbirds, and Bluebirds ...  Upcoming Shows:

Bald Eagle

We Draw Strength
From Nature
by Chris Peterson

Mark Borden

Mark Borden and The Swallows
by Chris Peterson

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Hummingbirds at Home - National Audubon's
Citizen-Science Initiative
by Todd Peterson

Rufous Hummingbird

A Rufous in the Rain
by Chris Peterson

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood-Pewee And Eastern Deciduous Forest
by Bob Sundstrom

Robert Otto

Robert Otto Loves Bluebirds
featuring Robert Otto - retired mechanical engineer

Brown Jay

Helpers at the Nest
by Bob Sundstrom


On This Day:

Bobby Kennedy is assassinated, Jun 5, 1968:

“Senator Robert Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California presidential primary. Immediately after he announced to his cheering supporters that the country was ready to end its fractious divisions, Kennedy was shot several times by the 22-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. He died a day later.”


Ronald Reagan dies, Jun 5, 2004:

“On this day in 2004, Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, dies, after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Reagan, who was also a well-known actor and served as governor of California, was a popular president known for restoring American confidence after the problems of the 1970s and helping to defeat communism.

Known as the Great Communicator, Reagan left the Oval Office as one of the most popular presidents in history, retiring to his much-loved California ranch, Rancho del Cielo. His announcement in 1994 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease was greeted with great sadness by many across the country. He wrote, in an open letter to the American people, I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.

He lived out the rest of his days on the ranch, with his wife Nancy, who remained devoted to him to the end, by his side. He was buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.”



Misty and I went to get Jay as he wanted to go to town with me when I took Ray’s son’s fridge to be repaired.  Misty and I had a short walk down there.  Jay wanted me to take him to get some more parts for the wheels on a wooden gate he is making for one of his neighbors. He stopped by his neighbor and got money for parts.  Jay was in one of his blustery moods, and even though he said he hadn’t been drinking, he reeked of it.

When we got back here, Ray, Jay and I started to take everything out of my van, even the tool box.  Jay and Ray took the second seat out, and put it in Ray’s outside sitting area, as it is the only place under cover right now.  Then Jay stopped helping, so Ray and I loaded the fridge on it’s side and it slid right in the van.  Then we loaded a little electric three-burner stove/oven that I have, that came out of a boat.  Shay wants me to have it installed in the guest house.  I couldn’t get it to work but on one burner and the oven, so it was going to the repair shop, too.

Then, of all the nerve, Jay starts putting fence boards on top of Ray’s son’s fridge.  He said he needed them down at his place, but I quickly got him to take them out before he scratched the fridge.  I told him to load them in the Puddle Jumper, which he did.  I took him and the boards back to his place, and told him I didn’t want to be around him again until he had at least three days of sobriety.  On the way, he said “Is this how people at the church would treat me, what would Jesus say?”  I said, “Jesus would tell you to stop drinking”, so he looked sheepishly at me, and shut up.  He is so enervating when he is in one of those moods, and I knew I just couldn’t stand to go into town with him.  I usually try to keep him out of his sick mother’s way in the mornings, but I just couldn’t take it any more.

After the fridge and stove had been unloaded at Mark’s, I went to Conroe Bolt Co., looking for the right parts for the wooden gate’s wheels.  They didn’t have want it needed, but I found them at Conroe Mill Supply.  They had some long heavy-duty 5/8” diameter bolts, with just 2” of thread at one end.   Jay was trying to make an axle out of some cheap all-thread, which was chewing up the wooden gate.  I am only helping with this as Jay’s neighbor is an old friend of mine, and I’d like to see it done properly.  The neighbor even said that he thought that Jay hallucinates sometimes, the weird ideas that he has.

From there, I went to Petco to see Simba in our Cat Habitat.   Kenya had called me and wanted me to pick him up as he was being nasty.  She was afraid that he might hurt one of the volunteers who clean the Habitat in the afternoons.  Simba was so pleased to see me, and was his usual loving self.  He rolled over on his back and put his paws through the holes in the Plexiglas window and petted my hand.  Nila stayed hidden, but did look and meow at me.

Simba just can’t be here right now, as I am trying to get to my daughter’s Lake Somerville house to help her unpack, since she closes on the sale of their house near Houston, on the 7th. Even if Simba would be good on the trip, my son-in-law is allergic to cats, and I might be, too.

My last stop was at Kroger’s Pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions.  Maybe they will work, and I won’t wake up all stuffed up, at 4.00 AM in the morning. 

I found out why Simba was so laid back when I called Kenya to tell her that Simba was acting fine.  She had put an “I don’t care” pill in his food, so he would be amiable for the cleaning volunteer!

In the evening, a very drunk Jay called me.  I could hardly understand what he was saying, but I think he said had he found a Yorkie, and wanted me to groom it, as it was matted.  Well, I was working my evening job on the computer, so I don’t groom anytime but mornings.  I told him that he had a brush, and he could take care of it, as I didn’t want to be around Jay.  Then he comes up here on his ATV, and when I wouldn’t open the front door, he opens the little secret door to my screen porch and drops the dog off in there.  Well, you know I wasn’t going to leave the little skinny critter out there in the heat, so I fixed it a bed, food and water in my Grooming Room.  It has recently had surgery on a front leg, and it’s mats were like it had been caught out in the rain.  Maybe the thunder and lightening scared it, and it ran off.  So I will be trying to find it’s owner today.

(PS.  Later, I found out that Jay stole the dog from someone’s yard, and the police came here for it.)


Sandra Merrikin said...

It sounds like Jay is getting worse. Too bad when alcohol takes over your life like that. Hope you find out what's causing your ailment. It's funny after all these years of having cats that it would be that. Has your house been tested for mold? Do you have any carpets? We have to have the one in our bedroom removed due to mold spores.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi Sandra, thank you for your comment.

Yes, Jay gets worse at each binge. He understands that just ONE drink will set him off, but he just can't say no. Being the youngest, he was doted on, and is very self-satiating. But when he is sober, he is a really nice person.

My sinuses seemed to get worse when I started having grown male cats here, that is one reason that I don't want to be around Simba for a while.

I do have carpet in my bedroom and living room, but it seems worse when I am in the Grooming Room where there is linoleum. The foster cats lived in there.

We did have a leak in my bedroom during Hurricane Ike, so I should get it tested for mold. If I have to rip up the carpet, I don't want anything with seams, like planks or tiles, so I would want to match this lino that is in the rest of the house.

Happy Trails, Penny.