Tuesday Photo Challenge: Pin-tailed Whydah.New Bird in My Garden

Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo – New Bird in my Garden

I had a new visitor on June 17, 2018. It was a beautiful bird I hadn’t seen before. I was fascinated by its graceful long tail which is twice as long as its body. The sharp contrast of black and white feather with an orange beak wouldn’t escape anyone’s sight.

It happened I had the patio door open to take photos of the birds feeding. It flew into my garden. I grabbed the camera and tried to be in a hidden position so I wouldn’t scare the birds away. I only had 30 seconds before it flew away.

On the same day, De Wets Wild had a post about the same bird. I almost jumped out of my seat because the information of the bird came so timely. De Wets Wild told me that its tail is beautiful in the air. It was not within my sight when it flew away.

Following my photos, I copied a photo and the information from De Wets Wild’s post. Please visit his wonderful posts about the animals in the wild.

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The post and one photo from De Wets Wild:

The little Pin-tailed Whydah (12cm long, without the tail, and weighing only about 15g) is most known for the aggressive nature of the breeding males, which carries tails almost double their own body length and have no qualms tackling birds many times their own weight, like doves and pigeons, over a food source or territory!

Pin-tailed Whydahs are brood parasites, meaning that the female lays her eggs (usually 1 or 2 but up to 4 at a time) in the nests of other birds, mostly small seed-eaters like waxbills, for them to raise the chicks, often after removing some or all of the host birds’ eggs. A single Pin-tailed Whydah female may lay up to 25 eggs in a season. Their breeding season stretches from spring to autumn. Males are polygamous and highly territorial. The chicks hatch after about 11 days of incubation and leave the nest at about 3 weeks old, staying with their host family for about another week before joining a Whydah group.

Their habitat ranges from savanna, grassland, reedbeds, and scrublands to suburban parks, orchards and gardens. They feed mostly on seeds and termites. In South Africa, they occur in all our provinces, though they’re rather sparsely distributed in the arid Northern Cape, while outside of our borders Pin-tailed Whydahs occur over most of the continent south of the SaharaThe IUCN considers the Pin-tailed Whydah to be of least concern.

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Tuesday Photo Challenge – Antique

We have lived in the current house for twenty-five years. Most of the original furniture was recycled and replaced. We have two pieces of furniture with us still. One is the solid teak sideboard we acquired from an antique auction. I like it because of its elegant design. When we want to move it, after taking out all the drawers, it still needs four to six big guys to carry it. If I had lost the keys, I don’t know where to have the keys made because the keys are round instead of flat.

Another piece of aged old furniture is the dining table. We can’t move it around easily either. The 1/4-inch-thick baffled glass top needs four guys to lift it up and carry it. The frame and legs are brass. We only polish them when we have a party. Under the glass top is a one-piece mural carved on black surface lacquer wood. It depicts a scene of a prominent figure having a party with his wife, officials in his courtyard and served by many servants.

These are the two pieces of aged old – antique collections we continue to keep.

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Antique

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Promise

The spring came late this year. The winter rain kept the sun away when the plum trees needed the warmth to bring out the blossoms. Regardless, the hard-working bees pollinated the blossoms as much as they could. It looks like the trees promise a fruitful harvest in the summer. The top right photo is apples and the bottom right is plums.

Just thought that I could relax to look forward to the harvest, I found out that the homeless and hungry cat has eaten three mourning doves in my backyard. The doves are not very alert. The cat hid behind the flowers and dashed out to the doves. I’m heart-broken and try to do my best to fence in some area for the birds. He’s behind a gate my neighbor installed to keep the dog in their yeard. The cat is flexible to go through any tiny area to get into my yard.

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Promise

Debbie’s Today’s Forgiving Fridays is about…Happy-ness!

Photo Challenge – Portage Glacier Cruise, Alaska

May 22, 2018, was our last day of sightseeing before leaving Alaska on the following day. We went on the Portage Glacier Cruise. We were fortunate to have a sunny day for the Denali National Park trip. We had a sunny day again for our glacier cruise. When we arrived at the site of the glacier, the boat stopped, and the captain gave us an orientation of the phenomena of the glacier. Toward the end of the cruise, we had photos taken with the safety ring labeled the company name as our souvenir.

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As a point of interest, here are the what and why of blue ice and iceberg.

Blue glacier

In the case of oceans or lakes, some of the light hitting the surface of the water is reflected back directly, but most of it penetrates the surface, interacting with its molecules. The water molecule can vibrate in different modes when the light hits it. The red, orange, yellow, and green wavelengths of light are absorbed, the remaining light is composed of the shorter wavelengths of blue and violet. This is the main reason why the ocean is blue.

Small amounts of regular ice appear to be white because of air bubbles are inside them and because small quantities of water appear to be colorless. In glaciers, the pressure causes the air bubbles to be squeezed out, increasing the density of the ice. As it absorbs the colors other than blue, a large piece of compressed ice, or a glacier, would appear blue.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_ice_(glacial)

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Iceberg

As we look around the lake, we saw many pieces of the iceberg. Iceberg is a large floating mass of ice detached from a glacier or ice sheet. It floats until it’s carried out to sea. When we see “the tip of the iceberg,” we only see 10% of its mass. We saw one piece of blue iceberg, the mass below the surface must be a large body of ice.

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Related image

May is the beginning of summer in Alaska, the snow water gushes down countless twisting creeks. If we had gone back in two or three weeks, we would see the beautiful blooms.

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Ring

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Denali National Park, Alaska

We arrived Anchorage on May 18, 2018. The sunrise is 5:00 a.m. and sunset is 11:00 p.m. When we landed at 9:30 p.m. it was still bright but dreary because it had been raining. I was so worried about the tour to Denali. Denali is at 20,320 feet elevation, the tallest peak in North America. I was looking forward to having a glimpse of the snowy mountain range. The gloomy weather didn’t give me too much hope.

When I woke up on the day of the tour, second day of the trip, the rain stopped, and the sky was clear. By the time the tour coach picked up the passengers, I saw the blue sky. We had an enjoyable trip seeing the clear snowy mountains. As soon as we entered Denali National Park, the tour guide and driver could make frequent stops for us to take photos when we spotted wildlife. I took photos of Willow Ptarmigans, Snowshoe Hares, and the moose at different spots.

The snow was bright and shiny reflecting the bright sun. The tour guide indicated that Global warming is felt in Alaska to Arctic and Antarctica more so than other parts of the world. We witnessed the melting of the snow cutting through and changing the landscape. The global warming concern is real to me after this trip.

We returned to Anchorage on May 20 by the railroad train. It was cloudy again. The train passed by Hurricane Gorge. It was named as such because the wind could go 150 miles per hour. I included a photo of the Gorge.

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Denali National Park, Alaska

Photo Challenge – A Day at The Huntington Library

We had an outing to The Huntington Library today. We made this plan last week. The weather was getting warmer and I packed things I needed to protect me from sunlight and the heat. My skin is still sensitive to the heat and the ray of the sun, so I need to be careful. When we got up this morning, I saw the unusual hazy sky. As I looked north, the mountains were disappeared.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based educational and research institution established by Henry E. Huntington (1850–1927) and located in Los Angeles County in San Marino, California. In addition to the library, the institution houses an extensive art collection with a focus in 18th- and 19th-century European art and 17th- to mid-20th-century American art. The 500 acres property includes approximately 120 acres of specialized botanical landscaped gardens, the “Japanese Garden”, the “Desert Garden”, and the “Chinese Garden”, along with the Rose Garden, Australian Garden, Herb Garden, Shakespeare Garden.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntington_Library

The haze in the sky blocked the heat from the sun. It turned out to be a better day for me. We walked for three hours and visited some of the Exhibits and several Gardens. The structure for the climbing roses in the Rose Garden is beautiful.

 

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Heat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Photo Challenge – After the Rain

My plum tree is four years old. In March 2017, the tree was full of blossoms. Thanks to the hard-working bees, we had a prolific harvest in the early summer. I took photos of the plum tree in March this year, the blossoms were scattered. I was puzzling about the difference between the two years. Then I remembered that the rain came late this past winter. The air was still cold in February and early March. As a result, there was not enough sunlight to call out the blossoms. Only after the rain and a couple weeks of warm weather, the blossoms started to appear. The harvest this year may not be as bountiful as last year.

We are thankful for the rain!

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Rain

 Weekly Photo Challenge: Prolific