Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Kolkata, Jorhat, Kaziranga, 07-130517

May 19, 2017

We visited Kolkata

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had an evening admiring the Victoria Memorial,

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enjoying puchka

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jhaal mudi

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and visited the family who brought me up.

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We visited Pradeep and Sulakshana Barthakur at their home in Jorhat, where they run a centre for children. (Pokamura, 7km from Jorhat)

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The location is

here

Their home is a veritable garden of Eden which they share with all kinds of beings:

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Bronzeback Tree Snake

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Blue-throated Barbet

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We went to Kaziranga National Park, staying at Wild Grass resort.

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Hog Deer

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Red Jungle Fowl

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Elephants

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Rhinos

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Swamp Deer (bArAsinghA)

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Here’s K1’s beautiful depiction of the elephant safari,

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where we saw so much of wildlife.

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The Flickr albums are:

Blr-Kol and visit

Kol, Science City and Gariahat Mod

Kolkata-Jorhat

Jorhat, 100517

Wild Grass, Kaziranga, 11,120517

Jorhat, 130517 morning

Jorhat-Guwahati-Bangalore, 130517

It was a memorable trip and I enjoyed it very much, through my own experience and that of my family.

Govind

April 22, 2017

Should I wait
For it to be exactly six months
Since you decided
To change the plane of your existence?
Do I not remember you
Very often, never mind what date
Or day, or time it is?
When two of my friends
Had surgery recently
To remove growths
You come to mind
Whenever I lift a camera
I often see you,
Before I see the scene in front of me.
When I see good planning
And crisp execution
You slip into my thoughts.
When I laugh at jokes
I recollect how you used humour to heal yourself.
The determination that got you through so much,
The travels all over the world
The staunch affection…
You are there in every thought I have
About such things.
Time will flow past:
Six months may turn into years.
My friend, you are always here
Where it matters.
In my heart, and in my memories.

Forms of poetry and verse

March 2, 2017

My friend Janet asked for 10 prompts about which she would write haikus.

To this, someone asked:

“Yeh haiku kaiku?” (Why this haiku?)

And my response was:

When we cannot think
Straight, or write words as is done–
We pen a haiku!

To this Chiddu said:

I love to ride my bike-u
This is my 1st two line haiku!

and I responded with a limerick:

When we talked of haiku
And someone asked, “Yeh kaiku?”
Though you made a bhool
And you broke the rule
Your haiku on baiku…I laiku!

(bhool=mistake in Hindi)

I love bu**-shi##ing in verse!

Nandi Hills, 271114

November 28, 2014

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

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The morning clouds wreathed the mountains:

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I thought, “Giants are those who rise above what obscures them, and raise their heads to the sunlight.”

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Five of us found ourselves free, and decided to visit Nandi Hills this morning. One of us had to drop out, but the rest of us had a very pleasant morning. It was rather surprising that apart from the Black and Brahminy Kites, we did not sight a single raptor. But that did not come in the way of our enjoying Blue-capped Rock Thrushes playing hide and see k with us, a flock of Oriental White-eyes darting like Christmas ornaments in a large Thuja bush, an Asian Paradise Flycatcher flaunting his ribbony tail in rippling flights, or watching Puff-throated Babbler leaf-litter behaviour.

Mist and most…that was the theme.

Mist: It was lovely watching the clouds flow like rivers across the valleys…

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but very disturbing to see the pall of dirty smog over Bangalore.

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It reminded me of the awful smog one saw as one landed in Los Angeles…we don’t seem to learn from the mistakes made in other countries. However, the mist lifted quite soon and we enjoyed all the birds that we sighted and observed.

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Most: We saw most of the “regular” birds that one expects in Nandi Hills, and though we would, of course, have been happier if we’d sighted some more raptors, we were still satisfied. Another “most” was that most of the birds could not be photographed, appearing for fleeting seconds, or grinning at us from behind a lot of leaf litter. This was definitely an outing for the lenses in our eyes, not the ones in our cameras. I need not mention that the warblers led this list that I call “Avian Flew”…before we got a good look…off they flew!

I can never understand some of the logic behind what happens at Nandi Hills. The direct access to the nursery area was wide open…and yet the path that leads to the Arkavathi spring was completely blocked, for no good reason at all. Similarly, the view bridge across the valley, no doubt constructed at considerable cost, has the central section locked up!

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Why do we have this “you can’t go there” attitude even in public spaces?

I was happy to note that new toilets have been built at the old ticket area, which are still reasonably clean…but there was no water in the stalls, and this would stink them up in no time. Building facilities is one thing..maintaining them well is a definite need which does not seem to be addressed. And for the crowds we see during the weekends,surely these facilities are very inadequate. We were not spared the sight of many men with their backs to us, in “streaming video”.

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Rs. 1 for peeing, Rs. 2 for pooping! This never fails to make me laugh!

I’ve added the bird list at eBird at

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S20694936

I have a question…where does one enter the Common Tailorbird? Did I miss it out somewhere in the list?

Physical list:

Babbler, Puff-throated

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Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Egret, Cattle (on the way)
Egret,Little (on the way)
lowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Brown

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Flycatcher, Asian Paradise

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Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Iora, Common
Junglefowl, Grey
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Kite,Brahminy
Malkoha, Blue-faced (on the way)
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Robin, Indian
Roller, Indian
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swift, Asian Palm
Tailorbird, Common
Thrush, Blue Rock
Thrush, Blue-capped Rock

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here

is my earlier post about the male…

Thrush, Orange-headed
Wagtail, Grey

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Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed

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White-eye, Oriental

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One Un id Raptor that flew over the trees.

Quite a satisfying list, though we did not sight the Pied Thrush or the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, or any of the usual raptors!

Several flowers also delighted us:

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The scenes around were beautiful, too.

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Hero stones at Tipu’s Summer Lodge:

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The age-weathered Nandi still looked out over the hill:

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In the crannies in the temple wall, grew these tiny beauties,

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Which reminded me of

Tennyson’s poem

(only, I cannot ever understand why the poet had to pull out the poor little flower and kill it!)

My thanks to Brinda, Nitin and Gayatri

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for the great company. Tea and snacks taste better with friends!

More photos on my FB album,

here

Rock’n’Roll Half-Marathon, 191014

October 21, 2014

This run had a great slogan:

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Here’s A…

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looking up her name and number:

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Here’s the route:

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The number of runners was huge:

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No doubt about the city!

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She met us after she’d finished:

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Here’s Team Asha, raising funds for the education of children in India:

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Team Asha and Son:

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We went to have breakfast:

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We also went to a donut shop:

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I’d never seen a donut-making machine before!

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The children feasted their eyes:

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We came back home, celebrating A’s achievement! Here are the numbers if you are interested:

Participant Detail
8279
Anjana Mohan
Saint Louis, MO
Age: 35 | Gender: F
Finished In:
01:53:57
Overall: 1012 out of 6361 Division: 79 out of 693 Gender: 359 out of 4080

Tower Grove Park with Allen and Lois Smith, 300914

October 1, 2014

I got a very affectionate email from

Allen Smith

(click on his name to go to his journal and photos)

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and Lois, and we fixed up to meet in Tower Grove Park, which I have long wanted to visit as a birder. This time, armed with my trusty Metrolink monthly pass, I figured out a route (and Allen gave me a good alternative one), and we met up, as planned.

While waiting for them to drive in from Bridgeton, I was clicking a lot of interesting things that caught my eye. Some pavilions at the Park:

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The Palm House:

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The Kyrle Boldt memorial fountain:

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A tiny rainbow that was as beautiful as its big cousin in the sky:

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A baby

COTTONTAIL RABBIT:

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Some late-blooming Irises:

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The beauty of Foxtail Grass against the stone:

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This artistic arrangment of mushrooms and leaves (done by Nature):

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A tiny grasshopper:

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A tinier fly:

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Sometimes berries hide a common friend, such as this

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD:

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Even dead leaves are grist to my mill:

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Al and Lois introduced me to some of the hotspots in Tower Grove Park. We started with the

Gaddy Garden

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We entered the wooded area to quite a cacaphony of bird calls, and I could not help remembering how Bob Bailey, Mitch Leachman and others who regularly come to guide newbies on the first Saturday bird walks at Forest Park, identified so many birds just by ear. There were a lot of warblers and thrushes; but looking right up the trees into the sky was not a great way to id them, and I must say, I couldn’t tell them apart at all. Al told me about the occasion when they sighted a rare Connecticut Warbler there, and showed some lovely pictures and a video of its behaviour, too.

As we entered the path, I found that the berries on this plant seem to be bird-magnets:

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I got a beautiully-plumaged

AMERICAN ROBIN

in the berries:

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This Robin seems to be a juvenile who hasn’t grown his feathers yet (or else the salon visit didn’t go too well):

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We waited for a while at the Bubbler, which, according to Al, was very low on water this time. We saw quite a few birds, but they were high up in the foliage, making for Pain-in-the-Neck birding! And they were so elusive that they were all Binocular Birds, not Camera Birds. It was lovely to see a bench provided there, where Al and Lois posed for me:

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It had this memorial plaque:

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I only managed to click this bird, which Devin Peipert id’s as a Nashville Warbler:

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The warbler made the CBPDMP (Classic Bird Pose for Deepa Mohan ):

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At the pool, I spotted this

BOX TURTLE

lifting its head up to the light:

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The turtle and the

MOURNING DOVE

made a nice sight together at the Bubbler:

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However, on our second round into the path, I did manage to get this beautiful little

DOWNY WOODPECKER:

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As a great finale, a

RED-TAILED HAWK

flwe in and settled down on a tall tree, and later soared in majestic circles, looking for food.

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A passerby with colourful fall leaves in his hat shared our sighting of the beautiful Hawk.

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As we walked near the Cypress Circle on Main Drive, Lois spotted this

BROWN THRASHER:

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The Woodland Pool in memory of Jack Van Benthuysen on the north side of Main Drive at the east end gave me this

GREEN HERON

on a Victoria Lily leaf:

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Lois says she’s “not a birder”, but her spotting skills seemed pretty remarkable to me, especially when many of the birds I thought I was spotting turned out to be “fall”ing leaves!

It was very helpful, indeed, of both of them, to take the time and trouble to show me some of the birding spots in the Park; I hope to go there again soon!

I make this post with “everything including the birds” as Al seems to be a nature-lover after my own heart…he loves seeing anything and everything that Nature can provide, and enjoys it all.

I’ve put up photos on my FB album

here

Al and Lois….thank you “berry” much for a very enjoyable time!

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Riverlands Bird Sanctuary, with Edge and June, 230914 (Part 2: Confluence nature trail)

September 25, 2014

When we finished at the dam, and had our coffee (thankfully, they didn’t say it tasted odd!) Edge suggested we go to the Confluence Point.

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We had lunch (I completely forgot to take a photo of it…phulka/veg wraps, and soft drinks to go with it) Here are Edge and June with the coffee, instead!

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Here they after lunch, just before starting on the trail.

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We started on the trail; the time of day, possibly, was not the best for birding, and we didn’t see any. But that bothered me not at all, as both Edge and June are so knowledgeable about everything else I saw, and I got such a lot of information!

The beginning of the trail had a lot of information:

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The pioneers of the westward expansion:

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So too did the end point, where the two rivers meet:

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Imagine the water being that high!

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Butterflies:

I watched a lot of Monarch butterflies. They weren’t migrating in clouds, like the nature documentaries showed; there was one, here and there, flying around…

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Here are a couple of un id butterflies:

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Wildflowers:

Several delighted me..

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This plant belongs to the Nightshade family:

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We found this plant had a strange aroma, but June couldn’t place the name.

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This is Bindweed, considered a pest in gardens:

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Clover family:

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Wild Gentian:

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Autumn is coming, and the plants let us know:

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Here’s a burr that inspired Velcro:

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A wildflower from the pea family:

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This is Illinois Bundleweed, in its dry form.

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Here’s the fresh variety:

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And the leaves:

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Insects:

June pointed out these larvae, which were eating the plants around:

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Several very large grasshoppers had me hopping after them!

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Can you spot the damselfly?

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Well, I managed to get a close-up:

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Several beetles zipped along our path:

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This fat spider swung in the sunshine:

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and this little jewel closer to the ground:

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Tent caterpillars are considered pests, but that doesn’t take away the marvel of their engineering!

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I got a Hornet on a wildflower:

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And, later, on a bench:

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Here’s a ground beetle on the Goldenrod:

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We discussed centipedes and whether they were poisonous:

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A Harvestman (Daddy Long Legs…just LOOK at those legs!) was a treat to see.

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So was a Cranefly.

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Amphibians:

This beautiful toad was not easy to see.

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It took a lot of effort to take a pic where the creature is not melding into the surrounding leaf litter!

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Edge caught one so I could get him (or her):

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Then I managed to get it on the path:

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The scenery:

The weather and the open countryside were both beautiful.

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The Mississippi:
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The confluence of the mighty Mississippi and the Missouri rivers:

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Here’s Edge on the trail, with those 3 extra legs of hers:

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Here’s June, trying out her new attachment, which allows her to take pics on the phone through her scope:

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The two steadfast friends walk the paths of Nature and Life together:

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We finally went to the Audubon Center to have a look around:

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Edge, my heartfelt thanks to you!

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Roxen Lake, Linkoping, Sweden, 290714

August 3, 2014

Lake Roxen

is one of the beautiful attractions in the Swedish town of Linkoping, and since I’d borrowed a small folding bike, and I decided to cycle down (we’d walked to the lake previously.)

The weather was very unusually warm even for Swedish summer, but I manfully (womanfully?) pedalled my two tiny wheels, and we started with this beautiful rainbow (though I couldn’t see any rain clouds!)

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We cycled through brown grass and green:

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We came to the place where the road to the lake branched off from the highway:

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A fleecy dolphin floated overhead:

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We explored a place where there was massive earth-moving and construction going on; Barn Swallows were swooping around, taking mud for their nests.

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Here’s my cycle, and the earthmover!

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Wildflowers bloomed everywhere:

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this is wild dill:

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Taking a rough path instead of the road, we found it very enjoyable:

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A

COMMON TORTOISESHELL

sat with its wings closed:

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So did another butterfly:

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There were several

EUROPEAN GREENFINCHES around,

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feeding on the berries:

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A

COMMON KESTREL

delighted me, high overhead:

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Roly-poly, curly-woolly sheep grazed on the farmland:

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Horses rubbed against each other, companionably:

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the golden wheat was nearly ready for harvesting:

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I could spot the lake:

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We rode up to the water:

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A beautifully-flowering acquatic plant welcomed us.

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As did a sitting

ARCTIC TERN

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and several ducks:

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The houses on the lake were picture-perfect:

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The sun in the trees and the reeds was beautiful.

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I was thrilled to spot a

MUTE SWAN

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The swan moved in front of the resting GULLS:

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It was quite far away, but my zoom came in handy:

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then I sawa whole family, with parents and three cygnets:

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This Swan family was one of the highlights, indeed, of my visit to Scandinavia.

Then came the sight of this

GREAT CRESTED GREBE

that I have seen before only in the lap of the Himalaya!

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We discovered even more when we came back to the area the next day…but that’s the next post!

Microbes are insults…

July 23, 2014

My friend Pallavi Singh wrote on FB:

“Aahna, upset with me over something, said with intense emotion – Mamma, you are a GERM!!!!
I suppose our paranoia over children catching infection is sooooo great, they believe these micro-organisms are truly abhorrent! I had a tough time stifling a chuckle!”

To this, a friend of hers. Avi Pratap Singh, responded with some verse from Ogden Nash:

“A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.”

So ofkose I decided to do my own Nashery:

“When for angry denouncement
She looks for a suitable term,
Yet feels it too rude
To call you, outright, a worm…
She’s understood now, that
She can say,”Oh,you GERM!”

The wildflower bouquet, 080714

July 18, 2014

took me for a wonderful morning of nature and birding trails…‚ÄčKlingansvalsan (Vomb) Lake, and Silvakra. We had lovely sightings of birds, insects, mammals, took in some beautiful scenery….but I was also thinking of Fran, a very indoor person, whom we’d left behind. So I picked these wildflowers for her!

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I asked N to hold it, too…

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I came home and gave it to Fran, who said she’d not got a bouquet of flowers for goodness knows how long!

It looked so very beautiful, sitting on the table in the central courtyard at N’s home:

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Here’s Fran, with N, as they work on some details of their trip to Berlin:

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Friends…are worth their weight in wildflowers!