Archive for February, 2013

The House Finches are back…YAYYYY!

February 14, 2013

I had made

this post

about the Housefinches which nested in both Arbor Vitae trees in 2010.

For the past few days, I have watched the buds slowly emerging on the bare Japanese Maple tree, and was wondering if the House Finches would return…and wow, just now…

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I quickly put down the baby and rushed to get this beauty…

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Now I’m waiting to see what happens in the next few weeks! Last time, a severe storm destroyed the nests (and, alas, four hatchlings in one of them). I am hoping for the best this time…

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The imp-in-the-box

February 14, 2013

We get amazin’ stuff from Amazon….

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Even when we’ve taken out the *regular* contents, there’s more in the box….

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The boxes come with fingers…

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Five fingers become ten…

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And finally, the IMP-ortant contents appear!

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Lone Elk Park, and Forest Park, 090213

February 12, 2013

After visiting the temple, Anjana acceded to my request to drive through Lone Elk Park (more than that was not possible, given a 12-day-old baby in the car, and the cold weather), and it was a good drive…as we were able to see

ELK ,

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(that one’s a calf, there were many, and I clicked a few!)

the endangered

AMERICAN BISON ,

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WHITE-TAILED DEER

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….and one very cute squirrel!

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The Elk calves were, like all babies, very cute:

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We passed several Bison, in the age-old landscape:

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Doe-eyed describes the deer very well…

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I then got off at Forest Park, to see Charles and Sarah, the

GREAT HORNED OWLS

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I watched both of them for a while, along with Mark, Brenda and others. The owls have, apparently, stashed some food in a hollow in this tree…

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Mark showed me a ceramic replica of an owl’s egg:

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I walked back in the dark, well satisfied with the day!

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For more photos from the park and Forest Park,

click here to see my Facebook album

The bridge…of sighs, and being wise

February 12, 2013

There’s no one on the bridge now.
The turgid, frigid water may be slow;
But still, I watch it flow.
I can remember how
The earlier water felt
How, before the melt
The water iced my heart
And tore it apart.
Now the old days are gone .
The time has flown.
The bridge is empty: the water beneath
No longer chills:
My heart now is in an armoured sheath.
I donn’t plumb the depths… or climb the hills.

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Colour, and black-and-white

February 12, 2013

Which photo appeals to me more?

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or

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I somehow like both images equally…is that because there is not any great amount of colour in the colour image? Both, somehow, convey the lack of the human element at this time of night….a sense of melancholy of a place meant for the bustle of people, when those people are no longer there.

The diaper change from hell

February 11, 2013

The joys of having a son….

How should we value our time?

February 8, 2013

I read this interesting article:

click here

to get an interesting slant on how we should (and should not) value our time.

To this, a friend replied:

“The gentleman evidently doesn’t understand economics. I’m not an economist myself, but economic theory states that the rational choice in any situation is the one that provides the most value. That
naturally implies that you should have a clear understanding of the value attached to any action. That value varies from person to person — which is why my Dad would spend an hour extra in Madiwala market to save a few rupees per kg on vegetables than I would. My time is worth more to me than the 30-40 rupees that would be saved.

“Clearly, the author attaches more value to chopping wood than the cost of the firewood thus produced. But he’s wrong in saying we can’t or shouldn’t measure this value using money. Like it or not, money is our civilization’s measure of value. More accurately, whatever we measure value with becomes money. In this case, the author is willing to forgo revenue earning work in order to chop wood. Lets say he’d be able to earn $100 in that time. Therefore, the time spent chopping wood provides him with at least $100.01 worth of satisfaction. As a bonus,he also gets firewood — which just improves the value of the
transaction. In economic terms, it’s an eminently sensible decision.”

I thought about this for a while, and then responded:

“And ne’er the twain shall meet….his point seems to be that we can’t keep attaching only monetary value to the things we do…and here we are, doing just that; the point of your response seems to be that it HAS to be reduced to money value. Why is he wrong, and why do you say you are right? How do you answer the question he poses (Once money, especially in the form of hourly wage, is used as the
fundamental measure of the worth of activities, where do we stop?)>)? If I stop to cook, to sroll around a park, should I then say, I am using up time that I could be earning X rupees?

“However, I agree with you…” whatever we measure, or value with, becomes money.” However, I’d modify that….I’d say, currency, that is valid for that person. (It obviously cannot become a standard for
economic transactions.) For something to become “money”, it would have to be universally applicable.

“I do feel that attaching monetary value to our time could lead to the problem of our not wanting to “waste” time…we tend to shave off the time we have to Wake Up And Smell The Coffee, or to Stand And Stare. These are important parts of the human need, and contribute to our sum total of happiness, and these bits of time cannot be monetised.”

What are YOUR thoughts on this? How should we value our time?

PS. I am wasting MONTHS of my life, looking at the sweet smile of my grandson, spending time with my grand-daughter, and alas, I can’t even place a monetary value on it, as I won’t be earning anything but peanuts in that time!

I actually think that moments such as the author’s wood-chopping time, or my melting-at-my-grandson’s feet time, ARE the important times, for which we work, so that we can earn enough money to support us through such moments…

Two feet old…

February 7, 2013

Born on the twenty-eighth, just twelve days ago,
You’d think his growth would be very slow.
Au contraire. He has been fleet…
He seems already to have grown…two feet!

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One socked foot, and one with purple toes…
I couldn’t do justice to these in prose.
I had to sing of the legs, toes, and all;
Here’s my song about my grandson…two feet tall!

The Song of the Song Sparrow…

February 7, 2013

This morning, I went to drop Boodi Ma at her day care, and walked back in the cold, crisp weather…and looked up when I heard the song. Well, actually, the Song. For it was the

SONG SPARROW:

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here is the Wiki info

about the Song Sparrow.

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What a wonderful thing it is, when a creature has “song” as a part of both its common and scientific name (Melospiza melodia)! Indeed, its melodious song is lovely to hear, especially in the crisp, clear, cold air.

The wiki says, about the song…

The male of this species uses its melodious and fairly complex song to declare ownership of its territory and to attract females.

The Song Sparrow’s song consists of a combination of repeated notes, quickly passing isolated notes, and trills. The songs are very crisp, clear, and precise, making them easily distinguishable by human ears. A particular song is determined not only by pitch and rhythm but also by the timbre of the trills. Although one bird will know many songsā€”as many as 20 different tunes with as many as 1000 improvised variations on the basic theme, unlike thrushes, the Song Sparrow usually repeats the same song many times before switching to a different song.

Song Sparrows typically learn their songs from a handful of other birds that have neighboring territories. They are most likely to learn songs that are shared in common between these neighbors. Ultimately, they will choose a territory close to or replacing the birds that they have learned from. This allows the Song Sparrows to address their neighbors with songs shared in common with those neighbors. It has been demonstrated that Song Sparrows are able to distinguish neighbors from strangers on the basis of song, and also that females are able to distinguish (and prefer) their mate’s songs from those of other neighboring birds, and they prefer songs of neighboring birds to those of strangers.

Other birds such as mockingbirds are not able to effectively imitate the Song Sparrow’s song.

I’m amazed that the Mockingbird is not able to imitate this bird’s song…I have heard them imitating SO many birdsongs!

The song made my morning a happy one, and I returned home with a song in my heart, too!

Different paths to the same goal

February 5, 2013

Some of us use only our field glasses;
Some take informative, educative classes;
Some go with others and watch what they do;
There are multiple paths to learning how to watch birds, too.
A different path may be liked by each…
Including the level each wants to reach.

When I see another person looking into the shrubs
We just look at the bird that’s getting its grubs!
We look up in the trees, or peer at the water..
I don’t ask, “Whose son or daughter?”

Slowly the depth arrives in our looks;
Perhaps, beyond ticking…we buy our first books;
We ask the experts, or trawl the “net”
As the birds’ beauty our appetites whet.

Some of us may be field-guide gobblers;
Some of us may go the way of expert id-warblers;
Some of us may id, just by instinct, the hawks;
Some of us may attend erudite talks:

Some of us may be quiet, some use a lot of words…
But there’s one great thing in common…we all love birds!

(This verse inspired by Kannan’s remark, as follows: ” A field guide is like a dictionary to me. But I know that stringing together words from the dictionary won’t give me meaningful sentences. So I look for other sources – may be even poetry…especially if it is from MBK and updated by Subbu. But I am not about to throw away my dictionary!”)

Cheers, and long live the birding community, in all its various forms, shapes, sizes, and colours…like the birds themselves!

…It occurred to me that this is true of ANY kind of learning…