Showing posts from June, 2023

This week in birds - #555

  A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : A female (or is it a juvenile?) Ruby-throated Hummingbird rests in a crape myrtle tree in my backyard. *~*~*~* Six months ago the world's nations met in COP15 and agreed to a pledge to halt biodiversity loss. How's that working out ? *~*~*~* If those pledges are not met, Nature is at risk of a serious breakdown . *~*~*~* The Atlantic Ocean is at risk both above and below the surface because of the climate crisis. *~*~*~* This week a heat dome extended across the country and is expected to last throughout the July 4 weekend. *~*~*~* The extreme heat has already claimed some victims in Texas. *~*~*~* An emerging El Niño event is having its effect on heating up the planet.  *~*~*~* The heat wave in the North Atlantic is the worst in at least 170 years. *~*~*~* And in the Himalayas, the glaciers are melting . *~*~*~* This heat dome event was made five times more likely because of human-caused climate change. *

Poetry Sunday: The Months by Sara Coleridge

So, according to Sara Coleridge, we are at the end of the month of "tulips, lilies, roses" and about to enter the month of "cooling showers." Ha! Not many cooling showers in July here in Southeast Texas. Sara Coleridge was Samuel Taylor Coleridge's daughter and she obviously lived in quite a different climate than the one where I currently reside.  But we know what to expect. We will endure July and August and hope that September will begin to bring us some relief from the heat. Each month has its own personality. The Months by Sara Coleridge January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow. February brings the rain, Thaws the frozen lake again. March brings breezes loud and shrill, stirs the dancing daffodil. April brings the primrose sweet, Scatters daises at our feet. May brings flocks of pretty lambs, Skipping by their fleecy dams. June brings tulips, lilies, roses, Fills the children's hand with posies. Hot July brings cooling showers, Apricot

This week in birds - not!

"This week in birds" is taking a much-needed vacation this week. It will return next week. Thank you for your loyal readership.                                                                                              

Mini reviews

What with one thing and another, I have seriously fallen behind on doing reviews of the books that I've read, so, in an attempt to catch up, here are a few mini-reviews.  *~*~*~* A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway, #4) by Elly Griffiths I have been very much enjoying reading Elly Griffiths' series featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway. This one is set in Norfolk where the Smith Museum is preparing to open a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. but when Ruth arrives to supervise, she finds the dead body of the curator Neil Topham beside the coffin. Moreover, it was not a natural death and it seems related to other recent uncanny events in the area. Not to worry though; Even though DCI Harry Nelson has fallen ill (another of those uncanny events), Ruth and her druidic friend Cathbad are on the job! My rating: 3 stars *~*~*~* Blue Wolf in Green Fire by Joseph Heywood This is another series I'm enjoying reading. It features Upper Michigan Conservation Off

Poetry Sunday: A Summer's Garden by Robert Frost

What could be more delightful than a summer's garden filled with birds and flowers and all the things we love? Robert Frost would agree. A Summer's Garden by Robert Frost I made a garden just to keep about me The birds and things I love, all summer long. I doubt not they'd live well enough without me; How would I live without them -- their sweet song? I made a garden and had my own flowers -- All that I cared to pick and more too, there. Most of them died and fell in scented showers Upon the beds, and colored the warm air. Mine was not such a garden as I'd thought of -- A deep wild garden that no hand has trimmed In many years -- a tangle that is wrought of Old fashioned flowers 'neath old trees, barren limbed But so my flowers brought the insects winging, The butterflies, the neighbors' murmuring bees, And birds one must not cage or they cease singing, I asked no more, well satisfied with these. My garden my fair garden! I saw wither Flower, leaf, and branch,

This week in birds - #554

  A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : A Little Blue Heron searches for its dinner among the reeds along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. *~*~*~* There was an incredible sight along the Gulf Coast of Texas this week as thousands of dead fish washed ashore . *~*~*~* The Antarctic is in trouble from the effects of climate change and we are making it worse. *~*~*~* There are three living equid species of which the strikingly beautiful Grevy's zebra is the most threatened . *~*~*~* Surprisingly, there is some good news regarding the endangered Red Knot . *~*~*~* Will humans' time on Earth be known as the fire age, or pyrocene? *~*~*~* "It's an ill wind that blows no good," says the old aphorism, and proof of that may be found in the fact that the drought has actually helped to restore an ecosystem. *~*~*~* Could there actually be life on a moon of Saturn? There are tantalizing hints . *~*~*~* Do wolverines occasionally like to snack on f

The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

I am thoroughly enjoying Elly Griffiths' series featuring forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway. My enjoyment is mostly related to the character of Dr. Galloway. She is a single middle-aged woman, the type of character that in many books would be portrayed as waiting and wishing for that special man to come along and complete their life. Not Ruth Galloway! She's much too busy digging up and interpreting the remains of the past. She is living the life she always dreamed of.  This is the third entry in the series and in it, we find that Ruth has just given birth to her daughter, Kate, and she is struggling with the difficulties of juggling motherhood and work.  When human bones surface on a remote Norfolk beach, Ruth is called in to investigate. This necessarily brings her back into contact with DCI Harry Nelson, the married father of her daughter. Awkward? To say the least! The bones turn out to be around seventy years old bringing an association with the World War II era. Bu

Poetry Sunday: A June Night by Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus is well-known for her poem "The New Colossus" that was written in honor of the arrival of the Statue of Liberty in New York. But she wasn't just a one hit wonder as this poem describing a June night shows. I think she caught the spirit of the night just about perfectly.  A June Night by Emma Lazarus Ten o'clock: the broken moon Hangs not yet a half hour high, Yellow as a shield of brass, In the dewy air of June, Poised between the vaulted sky And the ocean's liquid glass. Earth lies in the shadow still; Low black bushes, trees, and lawn Night's ambrosial dews absorb; Through the foliage creeps a thrill, Whispering of yon spectral dawn And the hidden climbing orb. Higher, higher, gathering light, Veiling with a golden gauze All the trembling atmosphere, See, the rayless disk grows white! Hark, the glittering billows pause! Faint, far sounds possess the ear. Elves on such a night as this Spin their rings upon the grass; On the beach the water-fay G

This week in birds - #553

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : A perky little Carolina Wren just checking things out. *~*~*~* Climate scientists warned us it was coming and now extremes in the climate contributing to heat waves and severe wildfires seem to be the norm. *~*~*~* And of course, one factor contributing to those extremes is the phenomenon known as el nino .  He's back ... *~*~*~* One thing which thankfully has not gone away is the critically endangered porpoise called the vaquita. There's video to prove it . *~*~*~* Hundreds of wildfires continue to burn across Canada but the air quality in the eastern United States has started to improve. *~*~*~* By accepting the Montreal Protocol agreement, the government has actually taken some actions to curb climate change . *~*~*~* Southwestern states have proposed a landmark deal that could help to conserve the Colorado River. *~*~*~* Birds of prey, in general, seem to be holding their own, but that is not true for one

The Trackers by Charles Frazier: A review

This book is set during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It's not really an era that I prefer reading about, maybe because I grew up with parents who had lived through it and my life was informed by their stories of it. I have somewhat the same prejudice about World War II. It was the defining event of my father's life and I heard about it all during my childhood. But setting my prejudices aside, I had enjoyed Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain , so I decided to give his new book a chance. I'm glad I did. It was an enjoyable read. It tells the story of a painter, Val Welch, who secures a New Deal assignment to paint a mural in the Dawes, Wyoming post office. The mural is supposed to represent a vision of that region of the world. Val considers himself very lucky to have landed the job when so many are out of work. He travels west to Dawes prepared to get busy with the project. A wealthy rancher, John Long, and his wife, Eve, have invited Dawes to stay in one of the bunkh

Poetry Sunday: The Wind and the Moon by George Macdonald

This was one of my favorite poems when I was a child; this and Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which probably tells you everthing you need to know about my childhood taste in poetry! So when I came across it this past week in my search for a poem to feature today, I thought "Yes!" And here it is. Enjoy. The Wind and the Moon by George Macdonald Said the Wind to the Moon, "I will blow you out; You stare In the air Like a ghost in a chair, Always looking what I am about — I hate to be watched; I'll blow you out." The Wind blew hard, and out went the Moon. So, deep On a heap Of clouds to sleep, Down lay the Wind, and slumbered soon, Muttering low, "I've done for that Moon." He turned in his bed; she was there again! On high In the sky, With her one ghost eye, The Moon shone white and alive and plain. Said the Wind, "I will blow you out again." The Wind blew hard, and the Moon grew dim. "With my sledge, And my we

This week in birds - #552

  A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment : Plain Chachalaca photographed on a trip to the Valley region of Texas. *~*~*~* It was thirty-five years ago that NASA scientist James Hansen first  warned us of the climate change that was coming. *~*~*~* The Supreme Court, in a decision handed down this week, has limited the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to protect the environment by undercutting the agency's authority to protect millions of acres of wetlands under the Clean Water Act. *~*~*~* The last Spotted Owl in Canada is fighting for its survival . *~*~*~* Brazilian forests are being decimated in order to provide land for raising beef cattle. *~*~*~* Companies that produce "forever chemicals" successfully hid the dangers of their products for decades. *~*~*~* Is climate change disrupting the mating habits of Arctic squirrels? *~*~*~* In yet another effect of climate change, insects are moving their habitat . *~*~*~* Do you some