I hear the angels' trumpets

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Adios 2017

J.C. Leyendecker
We collectively say goodbye to 2017 and all I can say is good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

It was the worst year imaginable for me. I sincerely hope that yours was better than mine was.

Business was dreadful, at least for me personally.

We installed a pathological liar to the presidency who has gone about his business selling the country out to the highest bidder, tearing down every environmental and safety protection imaginable for the American public and making the United States of America the laughing stock of the world.

Not to mention, he recently stuck a knife in Affordable Health Care, by killing the individual mandate. A rube from Queens, the guy orders his steak extra well done with ketchup.

The orange one has stoked the flames of racial division and sowed seeds of hatred that will unfortunately sprout anew and ensure many future generations of vile rancor.

Like Saruman before his exile and eventual extirpation, Trump goes about his way trying to destroy everything in his path, and quite successfully I might add. Alternative facts and a bizarro universe of outright lies and half truths.

I lost good friends this year and I had friends die on me as well. And I lost my brother, who along with my wife was the dearest person in the world to me. This made it the toughest time I have ever had to endure and the effect on my emotional state has been palpable.

Adios 2017, you bastard. May your existence be the nadir of this century or yuga or whatever time we have left on this sad globe of ours, do not darken our vision ever again. Be gone.

Catch you all in the next cycle. Let us hope.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Magic Sam

Afternoon, San Elijo Lagoon

I had to pick up some stuff in Rancho Santa Fe yesterday that unfortunately didn't sell. I decided to stop off and see some good friends on the coast while I was in parts south. They are embarking on a great journey soon and I wanted to see them before they left. Hopefully I would be able to cajole them into taking a walk in the lagoon with me. I just happened to have a camera with a long lens in the car. Go figure.


We chatted and noshed for a while and then took our walk. My friend is a good part cherokee, for real, no bs, genetically tested, he has those indian eyes and he spotted an egret that I had not seen on the riverbank below.

I watched as it suddenly swooped down and grabbed something.




Gadzooks, what is that?  It got into a long struggle with a reptile or amphibian, not sure what it was, thought it might be a lizard but the unidentified prey was definitely not giving in.

Skink, salamander, snake, legless lizard? Skinny seahorse?

I really have no clue but whatever it was, it was definitely not going easy. Moving around like one of Medusa's tresses.


Interestingly shaped head and spade like tail, do you know?

After a protracted struggle the bird finally gulped it down.

Postscript: Marine Biologist friend Doug says it is a pipefish. Of course it is, I remember them now from diving. Thanks, Doug.

Lovely afternoon. Tricky shooting into the sun but you take what is given and I was granted some lovely silhouettes.

Lots of birds out, many ducks, mostly widgeons and buffleheads.

Several birders showed up, strange, I knew them all.

I can't help it, the shorebirds are pretty.


Imagine, even the young humans look beautiful in this light!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Nasty bits

Do you think at times that your life is truly miserable? There is an amazing article in the current Guardian, Death in an Amazon dumpster. Kudos to author Alastair Gee for a job well done.

Maybe we don't have it so bad after all.

After all, we've never been Compacted.

Give the gift to those poor souls that really need your help right now.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

High flying bird


Otis Taylor - Live your life

Scrubs

We go through a lot of bird seed at home and we only have one feeder. I guess we are an easy mark. Recently I changed from a wild seed mix to all black sunflower seeds. We have always had scrub jays but suddenly we have every jay from here to Bonsall coming by for a free meal. Incessant screechers, not to mention gluttons.


I think there were about fourteen of the jays bumming around here Christmas morning.

A full feeder now lasts about a day. The finches aren't real happy, the seeds are a little large for their smallish beaks.

Might have to switch to something smaller and less appetizing.

Don't ever call a scrub jay a blue jay in front of a birder. I got my ass ripped by a snobby North Californian birder once and honestly the pain still stings.




Tuesday, December 26, 2017

lew bob


One of the best antique dealers and indian traders of our time has passed. Lew Bobrick was a good friend of mine for several decades and always the straightest of shooters. I can not tell you how many times he freely helped and selflessly provided me with needed information, in so many fields, just so many times.

Lew was a rare breed today, what you might call a renaissance man, from native american to folkart to oriental carpets, his knowledge base was huge and he had an eye to match. A most successful combination, not to mention one very necessary for survival in certain/uncertain times like these.

Meaningless at this point, but Lew was a very aware man politically and at least a semi regular reader of my blog, which I do appreciate, for some ungodly reason. In the old days we would all spend the better part of three months a year together in Santa Fe, shared a lot of time with each other. He didn't suffer fools. He had the best, most honest laugh. Loved a good joke.  I treasured the many times going out to dine with Lew and Horsley and telling jokes.

Lew was also an epicurean and had fabulous taste in food, and wine, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of music. We shared many a great meal on the road. John Morris called me this morning to tell me the sad news.  Lew had passed away Christmas Eve, I believe from a heart attack.

Another soldier gone, another comrade at arms, exact same day of the year as Don Baughman, if my memory serves.

For Leslie and i, and all those that considered Lew a friend, which was pretty much everybody who ever knew him, he will be sorely missed. This one hurts a lot. A fabulous guy, can't be replaced, gone too soon as they so tritely say. Our best wishes and warmest, saddest condolences to his family, Chris and Emily, his friends, all those close to him. Like the line in the Grateful Dead song, Lew, the landscape will be empty without you.


Xmas at the zoo

Hope that you all had or are still having a wonderful holiday.

We still say Happy Holidays whenever we feel like it at the Blue Heron Blast.


Leslie and I enjoyed a wonderful and what has become a rather traditional Christmas for us.


We went to the San Diego Zoo and met up with our dear friends Ron and Lena and then all went up to Convoy for dim sum at Jasmine.

Your next hairdo.

Lovely day. Ate too much of course.


I thought I would share some shots with you from the day. People tell me that they get tired of me complaining about not having the right lens or camera and guess what, I didn't. But I ain't gonna bitch because I can see how it smacks of nauseating false humility, if I do say so myself.


I didn't feel like going back to my shop for the full frame camera and the fast Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8 so I gutted it out with the long and slow Sigma. Much too dark for this lens, probably won't make that mistake again but I made do with what I had and shot a few worth keeping.


For some reason I have always had super good luck shooting the Malayan sun bear. I love this shot.

Now this bear may not have the most attractive mug, sort of a hyena like underbite, but I think it is quite beautiful. I am sure that his or her mother thinks so too. Gorgeous lustrous coat, love how the light falls on it. I think that I like this shot because the dark chiaroscuro and textured background sort of reminds me of Rembrandt in some way.


Rest of the day was rather hit or miss.

Two beautiful Serval kittens.

A pretty young girl.

A dromedary happily scratching his back.


An older fella dressed in the spirit of the day.

All the standard stuff you have to shoot at the zoo. I am an admitted sucker for flamingo shots.

Panda was pretty lethargic.

Honestly my favorite spots are the hummingbird cage and the aviaries.

So that's where we ended up. More birds, of course.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Saturday, December 23, 2017

I've Done It Again

Give them an inch...

Those priggish moralizers who feel that they must make other people's most personal decisions for them (because they are obviously theologically if not emotionally or spiritually incapable) are back at it.

Yesterday Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) made it a criminal act to abort a downs syndrome child. He intends to put the doctor in jail for the fourth degree felony, not the mother. Who was obviously coerced by her evil doctor.
“Ohio has given unborn children with Down syndrome and their families an early Christmas present and created a safe haven from lethal discrimination,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Just who is doing the discriminating here, Marjorie? The mother? I believe that it is in fact her call. Gov. Kasich has signed a number of bills limiting access to abortion in recent years. Most recently, he signed into law a limit on abortions after 20 weeks gestation. With the Zika virus becoming more prevalent I could see this law coming into serious play. I hope that it gets successfully challenged.

American women choose to terminate pregnancies 50% to 85% of the time after receiving a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome, according to a study published in 2012 in the medical journal Prenatal Diagnosis. Not in Ohio, you will raise that developmentally disabled baby because there may not be enough doctors willing to go to jail for you. And you will care for that child until they reach the grave. Or you do.

They never stop chipping away at Roe v. Wade, do they? Because women are simply incapable of making their own decisions.

Trump's Office of Refugee Resettlement Director Scott Lloyd recently denied an immigrant girl who had been raped an abortion with the justification that rape does not justify “violence against an innocent human life.” Is this his call to make? Is it legal for these people to put up so many impediments to a woman's right to choose?
″We are being asked to participate in killing a human being in our care,” he wrote. “I cannot direct the program to proceed in this manner. We cannot be a place of refuge while we are at the same time a place of violence. We have to choose, and we ought to choose protect life rather than to destroy it.”
Very lofty sermon but I don't think it is any of his business. It happens to be legal, asshole. Neither did the U.S. District Judge who ultimately allowed the procedure to take place.

*
Mitch McConnell - James Ferguson
Senator Mitch McConnell recently stated that 2017 was very partisan and that he hopes that 2018 will be less so. Both McConnell and Paul Ryan were of course on record as preferring to ram the ACA repeal and tax cuts down the chute without any Democratic involvement whatsoever.

The public has had it with Trump, he has the worst poll numbers ever recorded at this juncture of a presidency. Methinks Mitch senses something very bad to happen in the 2018 mid terms and he wants to share some blame with the dems, if not get square with the citizens who are incredibly tired of his act.

Now that he has rammed the important stuff down the American public's gullet he thinks he can play nice and start engaging across the aisle with the leftovers. Good luck with that, Mitch.

*
77 per cent of Trump voters believe he should remain in office even if the Russia collusion claims are proven true. Public Policy Polling

Big brother is watching you.

Bye Bye Birdie

phainopepla
The Trump Administration will no longer enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in case of incidental avian mortality. Of course they won't. 

This act helps to protect birds from large scale acts of industrial malfeasance and negligence. 
The MBTA was passed in 1918 in response to public outcry over the mass slaughter of birds, which threatened egrets and other species with extirpation.
The law prohibits killing or harming birds except under certain conditions, including managed hunting seasons for game species.
And the law protects more than 1,000 bird species in part because it requires industries implement best management practices — like covering tar pits and marking transmission lines.
I found this information on the Wisconsin Gazette website.
• Power lines kill up to 175 million birds per year.
• Communication towers kill up to 50 million birds per year.
• Oil waste pits kill 500,000 to 1 million birds per year.
• Gas flares: Audubon says there are no reliable mortality estimates, but just one incident, in 2013 in Canada, resulted in the incineration of an estimated 7,500 birds.
Of course not all deaths can be avoided and many are accidental. I am sure that very few people are happy about killing birds. But industry doesn't want to have any rules apply apparently until a species is facing extinction. Figures.
 ...Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance, said her organization applauded the Department of the Interior’s decision overturning "a last-minute maneuver by the Obama Administration just 10 days before President Trump took office.
She said in a statement that the decision restored the rule of law and "the MBTA was abused by the Obama administration, in this case to apply Endangered Species Act-type liability for impacts to birds that are not listed as threatened or endangered. Those restrictions that reduce jobs and economic opportunity are justified when birds are truly threatened or endangered and any impact can threaten their survival, but not for species that are not."
Once again this administration surrenders to the industrial lobby and against preserving the environment.

Fastest bird on earth

Torrey Pines Reserve