Saturday, June 29, 2013

Natural Beauty - Moose with twins

Someone posted this on FB today and I remember
having seen it a few years ago.  

Since it brought a smile to me, I thought
it might do the same for you!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Natural Beauty - Blossom Bat

Meet Blossom The Baby Bat!

Blossom bats are extremely rare. Blossom bats are nectar specialists which feed and groom themselves with the use of their long tongues. Blossom bats are known to hover in front of flowers as they forage and are important pollinators of many rainforest plants. Blossom bats are currently under threat due to loss of feeding and roosting habitat from clearing of forests for agriculture and housing.

In over 18 years of doing bat rescues, Louise Saunders from Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld in Australia, had never come across a Blossom bat. They are the smallest bat in the world and lead very secretive lives. Recently a baby Australian bat called the Blossom bat came into her care following a suspected cat attack.

During her time with bat rescuer Louise Saunders, this little Blossom bat who was named Blossom, recovered and was eventually released back into the wild.

Blossom was still a baby when she came into Louise's care. She was fed a nectar mix recipe and the occasional milk formula which is fed to other baby flying foxes. She gradually gained weight and began to practice flying during the night. Often Blossom would dart in and out of rooms and even hover above Louise as she slept before retiring to her little brown bag at dawn.

Louise summed up her experience with little Blossom this way: "It was the best bat experience of my life without a doubt and the decision to release her was a terrible one for me, but it was the right decision for Blossom. With banana, banksia, melaleuca and eucalypt flowers, and a whole new family to catch up with I’m sure she won’t be missing me like I miss her."

Blossom was recently released on Macleay Island in Qld, Australia.

Reblogged from White Wolf Pack.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Natural Beauty - Bobolink

Warren County Wildlife: Bobolinks make 12,000-mile journey to county's grasslands

Warren Reporter By Warren Reporter
on June 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM
By John Parke

It's haying time in Warren County, and in those hay fields are several birds that use the fields as breeding grounds. One such grassland-dependent bird that graces the hay fields of Warren County is the majestic Bobolink.

The males sing out a bubbly “bobo-o-link!” song as they fly over the fields and are easily recognizable because they are the only North American bird that is black underneath and white on back.

Bobolinks are known to be extraordinary migrants, traveling from their wintering homes in south-central South America to the northern half of the United States to breed. That migration can span more than 12,000 miles round trip.

But their trip is not one without peril. The Bobolink is a species that is declining in most of its breeding range. This is mostly because of habitat loss and a changes in agricultural practices and markets that do not lend to safe breeding areas for the birds. Furthermore, in their South American wintering grounds they are considered a “pest” species and are often shot.

While en route to their breeding grounds they stop over in Jamaica where they are called “butterbirds," because they are captured during migration and consumed by locals as food.
The ones that do make it to their breeding grounds here in the U.S. use low-intensity agricultural habitats, such as hay fields and pastures, as well as fallow fields and meadows to nest and raise their young.

The Bobolink is a Threatened Species in New Jersey that needs grasslands to survive. New Jersey’s remaining grasslands are almost entirely embedded within agricultural landscapes. So any possible cooperative efforts in the agricultural community regarding grassland habitat is key in ensuring the Bobolink’s place in our natural heritage.

One option in helping Bobolinks survive is considering to delay mowing fields until after the nesting season is completed (mid-July in New Jersey). However, from an agricultural standpoint, depending on the variety of grass hay a field has been planted with, managing hay fields for livestock nutrition as well as for grassland bird habitat will bring some tradeoffs, but perhaps not as severe as once thought.

Farmers who consider grassland bird habitat in their hay fields can adjust the timing of first cutting, use field rotation, modify mowing patterns and take advantage of specific field characteristics to achieve this conservation goal. Excess hay acres, bedding and mulch hay harvests, and hay intended for mature livestock with good body condition (like beef, sheep, and even horses), can be compatible with grassland bird habitat hay management.

Additionally, hay tonnage yields are usually higher when cutting is delayed until just after the breeding season for grassland birds; however, later harvested grass hay loses digestibility (due to higher fiber concentration) and nutritive value (due to lower protein). But on the other hand, in times of rainy unpredictable seasonal weather (like what we are experiencing this year in Warren County), the drying time for hay harvested after the grassland bird breeding season will likely be shorter due to more favorable weather conditions; thus it will retain any available dry matter and carbohydrates. Developing better grassland bird habitat on the farm begins by selecting the right fields for habitat conservation use and understanding how to balance habitat and grass hay nutrition.

This story is a weekly feature that runs with the cooperation of New Jersey Audubon. For more information about NJ Audubon or how to perform conservation efforts on your property, contact John Parke of NJ Audubon at or visit

More Warren County news:
© 2013 All rights reserved.

Tidal wave in New Jersey

View more videos at:

Sue Vilardi was shocked when she heard the news.
“I didn’t think anything like that happened around here,” said the Stafford Township resident. “I didn’t know it could happen not from an earthquake.”
But according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA), it was true. A tsunami struck the Jersey Shore earlier this month.
On June 13, strong thunderstorms moved into South Jersey around noon. By 3:30 p.m., the weather was overcast with a light east wind, according to officials. Around that time, officials say Brian Coen was spear fishing near the mouth of the Barnegat Inlet. Coen spotted an outgoing tide with strong currents coming towards him. According to Coen, the heavy waves continued for about two minutes until the rocks in the submerged breakwater were exposed, forcing Coen to back his boat out of the area.
Coen then spotted a large wave, approximately 6-feet from peak to trough, coming across the inlet. The wave was so powerful that it swept two people off a rock jetty and into the water on Long Beach Island. They were both rescued from the water and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
After hearing several reports from witnesses, NOAA officials confirmed on Monday that a tsunami had struck the area that day.
“This event produced a tsunami that was recorded at tide gages monitored by the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (WCATWC),” they said. "The tsunami was observed at over 30 tide gages and one DART buoy throughout the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean."
Officials say the source of the tsunami is “complex” and “still under a review.” They also say however that the earlier storm system that struck the area was a possible cause.
"The event occurred in close conjunction with a weather system labeled by the National Weather Service as a low-end derecho which propagated from west to east over the New Jersey shore just before the tsunami," they wrote.
Officials also say that the "slumping at the continental shelf east of New Jersey" may have played a role. They continue to investigate. 
Mother Nature is, indeed, full of surprises!

Story from here.

Natural Beauty - Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic puffins have penguin-like coloring but they sport a colorful beak that has led some to dub them the "sea parrot." The beak fades to a drab gray during the winter and blooms with color again in the spring—suggesting that it may be attractive to potential mates.

These birds live most of their lives at sea, resting on the waves when not swimming. They are excellent swimmers that use their wings to stroke underwater with a flying motion. They steer with rudderlike webbed feet and can dive to depths of 200 feet (61 meters), though they usually stay underwater for only 20 or 30 seconds. Puffins typically hunt small fish like herring or sand eels.

In the air, puffins are surprisingly fleet flyers. By flapping their wings up to 400 times per minute they can reach speeds of 55 miles (88 kilometers) an hour.

Atlantic puffins land on North Atlantic seacoasts and islands to form breeding colonies each 
spring and summer. Iceland is the breeding home of perhaps 60 percent of the world's Atlantic puffins. The birds often select precipitous, rocky cliff tops to build their nests, which they line with feathers or grass. Females lay a single egg, and both parents take turns incubating it. When a chick hatches, its parents take turns feeding it by carrying small fish back to the nest in their relatively spacious bills. Puffin couples often reunite at the same burrow site each year. It is unclear how these birds navigate back to their home grounds. They may use visual reference points, smells, sounds, the Earth's magnetic fields—or perhaps even the stars.

Photo: Kingdomphotographics
Image and text from here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Herb Garden Magic

(Photo by blogger - some of my container herbs)

Reblogged from The Herb Society of America blog.  

Let it be known that I LOVE herbs of all kinds!

Herb Garden Magic

Our next-door neighbor Rebecca was 6 or 7 years old when she began her Saturday morning visits. She was pale and undersized; her parents said she was born with a heart condition. They never allowed Rebecca to play outside. She couldn’t ride the school bus or attend the birthday parties of her classmates.
But for some reason, Rebecca was allowed to walk across her yard and ring our doorbell, which she did frequently. She always asked the same question, “Would you show me your herb garden?”
So I’d dry my hands, hang up the phone, or drop whatever else I was doing and together we’d head out into the yard.
In May, we’d stop under the white wooden arbor to smell the climbing Cecile Brunner rose with its sweet and spicy scent.
thyme carden
herb garden entryway
Other weeks we’d stoop to pick a few sprigs from “Thyme Square,” comparing the colors and fragrances of caraway thyme, Doone Valley thyme, and lemon thyme.
thyme square
thyme square
In mid-summer, the anise hyssop always put on a bee-buzzing, purple-hued show. The smell of which never failed to surprise and delight us.
And on a warm August day, what’s more thrilling than the scent of a roughly textured leaf of lemon verbena?
Late in the growing season, Rebecca and I would dead-head the green and purple basil, pinching off the flowers and in the process, stain our fingertips with the heavy smell.
After many weeks of these pleasant, but none-the-less interrupting interruptions, I impatiently answered the doorbell and asked Rebecca, “Why do you love herbs so much?”
She looked surprised and said, “Oh, I don’t care about the garden. I just like to watch you pick a leaf, put it to your nose, and shiver all over when you smell it.”
Our weekly horticulture class might have missed its intended target, but we shared a little herb garden magic.
submitted by Holly Cusumano, Philadelphia Unit


Our Lily and Arum Lily
(Image from here, via FB)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Natural Beauty - Assateague mare

(Click to enlarge)

My niece and her family were camping at Assateague Island and she took this gorgeous picture of one of the wild horses.   She said that the mare was so close that this picture did not need cropping.  Such a wonderful experience!

Assateague's wild horses are well known, even to many people who have never been to the island. The "wild" horses on Assateague are actually feral animals, meaning that they are descendants of domestic animals that have reverted to a wild state. Horses tough enough to survive the scorching heat, abundant mosquitoes, stormy weather and poor quality food found on this remote, windswept barrier island have formed a unique wild horse society. Enjoy their beauty from a distance, and you can help make sure these extraordinary wild horses will continue to thrive on Assateague Island.
Local folklore describes the Assateague horses as survivors of a shipwreck off the Virginia coast. While this dramatic tale of struggle and survival is popular, there are no records yet that confirm it. The most plausible explanation is that they are the descendants of horses that were brought to barrier islands like Assateague in the late 17th century by mainland owners to avoid fencing laws and taxation of livestock.
The horses are split into two main herds, one on the Virginia side and one on the Maryland side of Assateague. They are separated by a fence at the Virginia/Maryland State line. These herds have divided themselves into bands of two to twelve animals and each band occupies a home range. The National Park Service manages the Maryland herd. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company owns and manages the Virginia herd, which is allowed to graze on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, through a special use permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The permit restricts the size of the herd to approximately 150 adult animals in order to protect the other natural resources of the wildlife refuge. It is the Virginia herd which is often referred to as the "Chincoteague" ponies.
The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department drives Virginia's wild horses across the channel to Chincoteague during the annual Pony Penning. 16kb
Many visitors first learn about the Assateague horses from Marguerite Henry's famous book Misty of Chincoteague. The story takes place during a traditional Chincoteague festival called "Pony Penning.'' On the last Wednesday of July, the Virginia herd of horses is rounded up and swum from Assateague Island to nearby Chincoteage Island. On the following day most of the young foals are auctioned off. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.
Hooves fly when stallions clash in the heat of summer. Irritable harem stallions are willing to pick fights with any stallions that come too close to their groups of mares. 23 kb
Assateague's horses are beautiful, tough, and wild. They have learned to survive in a harsh environment. Feeding and/or petting them is detrimental to both visitors and horses. Horses can get sick from human food. Those that learn to come up to the road to beg for food are often hit and killed by cars. Visitors are kicked, bitten and knocked down every year as a direct result of getting too close to the wild horses. Treating wild horses like tame animals takes away the wildness that makes them special. Protect your family by respecting theirs. Give the horses the space they need to be wild.
Foals are usually born in late spring and live with their mothers in a family group called a “band”. 17 kb
There are few places in the United States where you can view wild horses. Due to their complex social structure the Assateague horses display a wide range of unique behaviors. Take advantage of the opportunity to view these horses in a natural habitat. With careful management, the wild horses will continue to thrive on Assateague Island and provide enjoyment to thousands of nature enthusiasts, photographers, and people who just love horses!

Happy Solstice!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

National Pollinator Week

(Photo by blogger - click to enlarge)

Background of Pollinator Week

Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by the Pollinator Partnership.

Six years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations.  Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. The growing concern for pollinators is a sign of progress, but it is vital that we continue to maximize our collective effort.  The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture signs the proclamation every year.

The Pollinator Partnership is proud to announce that the United States Department of Interior has designated National Pollinator Week on June 17-23, 2013 by the Secretary of the Department of Interior, Sally Jewell.

The Pollinator Partnership is also proud to announce that June 17-23, 2013 has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pollinating animals, including bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and others, are vital to our delicate ecosystem, supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watershed, and more. Therefore, Pollinator Week is a week to get the importance of pollinators’ message out to as many people as possible. It's not too early to start thinking about an event at your school, garden, church, store, etc. Pollinators positively effect all our lives- let's SAVE them and CELEBRATE them! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bats - a misunderstood mammal

Cute baby bat
Female bats can control when they get pregnant and give birth 
To ensure external conditions are optimal for a newborn bat, mother bats are equipped with a variety of biological tactics that allow them to put off fertilization, implantation or development of the fetus.
In some species, mating will occur in the fall, but females will store sperm in their reproductive tract before finally fertilizing their eggs when spring arrives. In other species, the egg is fertilized immediately after mating, but instead of implanting to the wall of the uterus, it floats around until favorable conditions arrive. Yet another adaptation exhibited in some bats is delayed fetus development, in which fertilization and implantation occurs as usual, but the fetus remains in a dormant state for a long period of time.
These tactics, which contribute to the slow birth rate of bats, are timed to coincide with high production of fruit or insects in the environment.
Something human females could use!!

Read the rest of the article here.

Natural Beauty - Wild Lynx

Wild lynx to be brought back to British countryside

Wild lynx could be allowed to roam the British countryside for the first time in almost 1,000 years under plans by a group of leading wildlife experts.

Senior biologists and cat specialists are this week due to apply for a license to reintroduce the cats, which can grow up to four feet in length, into an area of forest on the west coast of Scotland.

Under the plans, which have been backed by officials from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), two pairs of Eurasian lynx would be brought to this country from northern Europe.

A new charity, the Lynx UK Trust, has now been set up by the biologists to oversee the project. They are to submit an official application for a permit to Scottish Natural Heritage, which regulates species reintroduction in Scotland.

The initial reintroduction would act as trial to see whether lynx could then be reintroduced to other areas of the country including parts of Wales and northern England.
The plan, however, is expected to be controversial with farmers and some land owners, who will see the lynx as a threat to livestock and grouse.

Dr Paul O’Donoghue, a wildcat expert who is leading the project, insisted that the lynx would bring more benefits than harm to the areas where they are reintroduced.

He said: “We have been looking at the prospect of Lynx reintroduction for a while and now is the right time.  “This will be the most exciting and ambitious conservation project ever carried out in the UK. We have identified several areas of land and are in advanced stages of discussion with land owners.
“These animals mainly prey on deer and in many areas of the country deer numbers are out of control – they are holding back the regeneration of forest because of the damage they can do.

“Lynx will play an essential ecological role that will promote biodiversity.”

Eurasian lynx are mainly found in the forests of Russia, Scandinavia and the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe, although they were recently reintroduced to Switzerland.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Natural Beauty

(Image from here via FB)

Today's Animal in Need - Pinky

Pinky is another dog who never,ever has a visitor or an inquiry......we don't get it...he may,just MAY,have to be the only dog..he does like some dogs,but mostly females...he is a great size for city or country living..not too big and not too small....he likes to play fetch and he loves to take a walk ,as any dog cooped up for most of his life would...Pinky has been here more than one year and he is only about two the math...this is so sad..please help him get out and into a home of his own...for more details. or 201-981-3215. Thanks everyone


120 Fullerton Avenue Yonkers, NY 10704 (201) 981-3215 or email: Monday - Friday 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM Sat, Sun & Holidays 12:00 - 3:30 PM
Donations to benefit the animals at the Yonkers Shelter may be made to ShelterPetAlliance who collects on behalf of various shelters...Important to note *YONKERS* when online donations are made...SPA is a 501c3 org, so all donations are tax deductible

Anyone interested in sending an item from our Amazon Yonkers Animal Shelter wish list, please go here:
Thanks to all!

THIS IS AN ALL VOLUNTEER RUN SITE..this site is not an official city of Yonkers site

Baby sea lion encounter

What an experience - how cute is that trusting little sea lion! 

You can read the story here at HuffPo.

Nice way to start my morning - a cold and rainy one at that with Tropical Storm Andrea passing by.