Tag Archives: nature

Through the Eye of the Needle.

My eyes were wide open. We drove so slowly along the winding, narrow road. We wanted to take in the beauty and wonder of the Needles Highway. Custer State Park is in the SW corner of South Dakota. This is a perfect place for this weeks challenge : Weekly Photo Challenge: Through  A brochure at a tourist center caught our attention. We knew we wanted to check this out and I am glad we did. The rock formations are unique. The highway is winds through the Black Hills.

The rock formations resembled needles

The highway is built on the edge of a cliff.

Approaching one of the tunnels

If you cannot go around it and you cannot go over it, you have to go through it.

Driving through the very narrow tunnel

The Highway has many spectacular sights yet the most famous is the Eye of the Needle. A rock formation formed by the power of the wind, the rain, the snow and ice. Mother Nature had fun making this famous spot.

We could see through the eye of the needle.

If you are ever in South Dakota, do not miss this short yet spectacular drive. Leave plenty of time. It is only 8 or so miles, but you will need lots of time because you will want to stop over and over.

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It is Not Right to Fool Mother Nature

I caught sight of her in the Blue Spruce. There has been a lot of coo, coo, coo-ing in the back yard, I knew my Doves were there. We have a pair of Mourning Doves nesting in our tree every year. This year is unusual.  This year Global Warming has tricked Mother Nature. While most Years in March, the tree is still icy and covered with snow here in Ontario, this year the weather is like summer. The Doves have been fooled and it is not right.

They have their nest built and she is already sitting on her first of many broods for the summer. The photos are not top-notch because I did not want to disturb her.

She sat so still as if trying to blend in with the tree.

According to http://www.a-home-for-wild-birds.com/mourning-dove.html Doves mate for life. The male gathers the material to build the nest while the female waits. He then stands on her back and hands her the twigs and she weaves them into a nest. Dove nests are not as elaborate and perfectly shaped like Robins or many other birds, but they do the trick and she will have five or six broods each year. Doves never leave the nest unattended. Both the male and female take turns sitting on the nest. It is nice to see that in nature, families share the work.

I hope my cat does not find her sitting here.

In the wild they will eat pine nuts,  which are plentiful in the Blue Spruce, wheat and corn. They also enjoy a variety of other seeds. At feeders, they prefer sunflower, safflower and millet seeds. They do not migrate because seeds are available in all seasons.

When The Birds and The Bees Meet

I felt him looking at me. He was staring from the roof of the bird feeder. Mr Yellow Jacket rubbed his hands together, watching my approach.  Was he planning an attack?

"Hey, gang, wake up, someone is heading this way. She looks tasty"

All winter, the Yellow Jackets have laid in wait, dormant, hiding inside the log cabin that sits on the bird feeder. We did not realize they had built a home there.

"I am coming Buzz, I am ready to attack cause I am hungry It has been a long winter."

My husband had to take down the log house and remove the nest. The Yellow Jackets continue to gather around the empty feeder. I have a feeling they will be building another home inside the house.

The hive, but no honey. Just our luck, we get the Yellow Jackets. Why don't the Honey Bees built a hive on our property.

There was a cluster of bees inside the nest.

We enjoy feeding the birds and watching them at the feeder. I wonder if birds will eat the bees? I hope so.

The Birdhouse is back on the post. We will keep watching for further developments.

What do Bears talk about?

“Bear watching” teaches us how bears interact in nature. We were in the beautiful Pukaskwa National Park of Canada on the shores of Lake Superior. It was in September of 2011. We stopped to photograph a couple of Black Bears.

The bear and her cub were just off the highway. We pulled over to snap a quick photo. They did not seem to mind the photo session and carried on as if we were not intruding on their day.

"Son, I know you are getting to be a big boy, but you still have to listen to your mother."

"Mamma, stop it, I am too big for the tickling game""

"did you hear something?"
"yes, son, I sense danger, run, go climb a tree."

" I found a tree, mamma."

"Higher, baby, climb higher... I know you are scared of heights but get over it and climb."

Are You Listening to the Zoo

Zoos are educational. We listened carefully to all the animals, they each had important things to tell us. We were interested in what it is like to live in captivity.
I think this is a Softshell turtle that the children are talking to….

"Hey Tommy, I have a big bathtub, will you come home with me?"

"Sorry girls, I like living here, they feed me and besides, I have my eye on Tilly, that cute little thing on the log over there..... Don't look now,... but I think she is looking at me. Is she?"

I find I look for personalities in the creatures at the zoo. My experience with my pets indicate that they are each unique, with quirks and habits, little ways about them that differentiate each one from the other. I know these are wild creatures, but they are individuals creatures. This seahorse had plenty to tell us.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing... "

I am warning you, flash that light in my eye once more and I am calling the authorities.

I am not a lying fish, I am a Lion Fish, Wanna hear me roar...?

"You would be grumpy too if you had to listen to that lying fish roaring all day long."

Gravel Eating Sheep in the Northwest Territories

While driving on the highway toward Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, we pulled over to photograph some sheep. They were busy on the side of the highway feasting on the gravel. I understand their real name is Thinhorn Sheep but are also called Stone Sheep (I have not confirmed this name)
The sheep were not afraid and allowed me to approach fairly close. I am sure they were actually posing. We lingered for a while watching this adorable family.

The family that eats together stays together.

Yep, that is rocks they are eating... yummy.

Is Mr. Billy inviting me to join the family dinner?

The baby is smiling, I am sure of it.

Zoos. What do you think?

Do you think this orangutan is living a good life in the zoo?

We took our grandchildren to the zoo. The orangutans are a popular enclosure to visit because they are very active, swinging on the ropes and bars, climbing the nets, playing with some toys and, as you can see from the above photo, draping themselves with blankets. I like visiting a zoo for the educational factor. The children are able to see animals that they would otherwise only see on tv, or in books. (I do enjoy seeing birds from around the world and the snakes and other animals too.) We have the children’s’ attention and are able to discuss endangered animals and how man has taken over their natural habitat. This being said, part of me  still feels uncomfortable with these caged animals. Is this fair? Is this cruel? They are fed and clean but they are animals, they are snakes and birds and not people.  I know in my heart I think these animals should be free.

What do you think?

Is there value in zoos?

What is the value of a zoo?