SHREW

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:36 pm
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
Yesterday I got to see a tiny shrew very close-up and it was very exciting.

So I was sitting on a muddy path in a wooded area because of reasons (ok, exhausted after climbing) when I saw movement and a tiny thing scurrying past me. I figured that glimpse was all I'd see, but I turned round to see where it'd gone and it was on the path on the other side of me, and with great caution so as not to startle it I managed to dig my phone out of my coat pocket:

longshot in which a tiny shrew may be visible among rocks and moss

(There's nothing to give a sense of scale, but the shrew is a few centimetres long. It makes mice look big.)

THEN --

Cut for blurry close-ups and blurry worm death )

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:10 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Ah, that feels better. Mom came downstairs to oversee me dealing with my email, and while I did that she Happened to my apartment--it's all picked up and neat, clean dishes drying in the sink, and I could pull things apart and sweep and scrub bits that really needed scrubbing. And also get the emails and paperwork done.

Talk about my Mom's employment situation, which includes talk of politics and racism )

Media I'm consuming: the Holocaust, and politics in the Balkans )

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:12 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I need to get someone to sit with me and help me deal with work email, because I've reached the point of really, SERIOUSLY intending to deal with it... and achieving as much as opening my inbox in a tab, before I have to walk away from my computer for three hours to stave off a panic attack. There's not even anything that bad there! I'm just being... blah.

In better news, I had a good fannish week for once. I started a kinkmeme! ([community profile] omgsexplease)

Next week I'm going to Ottawa to visit my girlfriend, so that's nice.

Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric posting in [community profile] common_nature
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.

Pigeon!

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:16 pm
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
I had to check the comm profile to try to decide if this was legit, as this was clearly not a wild pigeon; it was obviously someone's sleek, well-fed and well-cared-for homing/racing pigeon.

However, it was definitely "unsupervised", as it was hanging out at a gritstone crag eating bilberries and watching the climbers.

It wouldn't quite let people touch it, but was otherwise very comfortable with humans and happy to let you get very close.

I took a lot of photos of it trying to get a shot of the tags on its legs, as I was worried it was someone's beloved pet and lost. But when I got home, I found out that the "report a found pigeon" websites (they exist, naturally) say in rather weary tones not to even bother unless the pigeon's been around for at least 48 hours; apparently they like to take pit stops.

Pigeon with beautiful iridescent neck

Cut for more pigeon )

Insect Season

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:43 am
redsixwing: Two water lily leaves with smaller plants between (stems)
[personal profile] redsixwing posting in [community profile] common_nature
Cattails and water skippers in a local ditch.

skippers and cattails

A very vivid ladybug on a maple tree.

ladybug on maple

Great crested grebe

Jul. 17th, 2017 04:18 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Urban great crested grebe nest
[Macro image of a great crested grebe sitting on its nest.]

I spotted this great crested grebe brooding on its nest in the canal at Westerdok in Amsterdam. I thought its nest was a remarkable construction: the usual twigs, but also bits of plastic rubbish, and finishing touches of hollyhock. I was also impressed by the two female mallard duck bodyguards who immediately rushed over when I started taking photos. They didn't quack, but eyed me up silently as they circled the nest at a careful distance.

We were staying on a barge nearby for three nights and I checked on the grebe morning and evening. I don't believe it stirred from the nest in that time, so hopefully soon there will be some freshly hatched urban grebes learning to navigate the Dutch canal system!

(no subject)

Jul. 15th, 2017 10:03 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Tonight I watched All the President's Men with my mom, since I keep seeing references to the Watergate scandal these days and I wanted to get a better understanding of it--so many sources assume such an intimate knowledge of it that I find them hard to untangle, so seeing it in movie format made it easier to understand. I came away with two big thoughts:

1. The quote I've always heard about Watergate is, "It's not the crime, it's the coverup." Which makes sense in the specific sense of the Washington Post's investigation of Nixon--they kept uncovering facts that in themselves were completely inconsequential; what led them on was the fact that shortly after, the person who disclosed that fact would issue a terrified denial that the fact was untrue, they had never said the fact was true, they'd never heard of anyone connected to the fact, and they'd never issued a previous statement about the fact at all.

Whereas the truth I'd never quite realized is that Nixon's crimes were in fact far worse than what he did to cover them up. I grew up hearing vague explanations like "Nixon paid someone to keep quiet" or "Nixon recorded conversations" as to what the wrongdoing was--not the final, absolute fact, which was that Nixon put the government to work destroying his political opponents, and only got caught at a bare tenth of it. And I can't tell if that's because the grandparents who set the political tone of my childhood were very politically conservative, or... what. But a lot of hippie conspiracy theories seem a lot less crazy to me now.

2. Oh my god, seeing all those board rooms full of very important white men making all the decisions, seeing women continually relegated to the sidelines, only getting tiny hints of people of colour, is bizarre. That's... that's what the world used to look like. "Mona, take my calls," a reporter barks out as he dashes out to chase a lead. Is that actually Mona's job? Is Mona also a reporter, who has to chase her own leads down while being ignored and asked for coffee, Peggy-Carter-like? My god, there are still people who remember that world, who think they live there.

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