Archives

Drifting on Still Water~


“But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful,” WB Yeats

Swans swim,

in synchronized,


silhouettes.


Mama delicately rolls her precious eggs,


to keep them evenly warm,

and plucks her feathers to tuck them in.

Black swan,

slides in singular grace,


while Narcissus is bewitched by his own reflection.
Cheers to you from European swans in springtime~

Saker Falcon~


Saker Falcons live in Austria, Eastern Europe and Asia, including Russia.

They are considered an endangered bird due to rapid population declines in their Asian breeding grounds.

They are a large falcon species,
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that prey mostly on rodents and other birds.

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Sakers often hunt horizontally like Kestrels, not vertically like Peregrines.
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I watched a Saker swoop down on an unsuspecting pigeon, but my presence, in response to the pigeon cries, called off the hunt!
Cheers to you from the remarkable and endangered Saker Falcons~
(Note: These photos were taken in raptor reserves in Europe)

Curious Kestrels~


Are rare for me to find.


This pair was mating on the rooftops in Alsace France.


Kestrels are a type of falcon that live all over the world.


These were photographed in Canada and France.

Kestrels will hunt and nest in populated areas if prey is available.


They don’t bother building their own nests, preferring to steal other bird nests!


They often hover in mid-air over prey, before dropping to consume them.

Cheers to you from the quite handsome French & Canadian Kestrels~

Alsatian Heart~


Pair of White Storks mating in Alsace France. (Click on photos to view full size).

The White Stork is the beloved emblem of the Alsace region of France and appears in symbols and art everywhere in the region.


Yet, by mid-1970, there were only ten mating pairs of White Storks left in Alsace.


They were virtually extinct in this area, although thriving in other parts of the world.


Today, due to local co-operative conservation efforts, there are now an estimated 600 mating pairs of White Storks in Alsace.


Stork populations were decimated mostly by power line electrocution and habitat destruction.

I was fortunate to see this pair in the process of mating and nest-building.

When we returned to our apartment after a day of stork watching, I photographed a pair of local falcon’s mating on a nearby balcony. It is springtime in France after all! Vive La France!

White Storks mate for life, and return to the same nests each year.

Cheers to you from Alsace’s beautiful, White Storks~

“What We Got Here is Failure to Communicate”~

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Elephant Seals are obviously not the only species with this problem!

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This sub-adult male seems a bit sheepish about his not yet mature mating attempts.
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He looks at me almost as if he’s apologetic!
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He’s just practising now, learning how to deal with all the rejection.

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Elephant Seal mating is disturbingly violent. It is a hard life being an elephant seal.
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Looking into the female’s eyes it is impossible not to feel sorry for her and her continual harassment.

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For now at least, the adolescent males just look beached and confused!
Cheers to you the Piedras Blancas elephant seals~

Title quote: “Cool Hand Luke.”

Los Toros Del Mar~

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Northern bull elephant seals weigh up to 5000 pounds and reach up to 16 feet in length! Their Southern counterparts are larger.
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In addition to their size, they are quite bullish in behavior, fighting constantly with other males,

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and forcing themselves on often quite unwilling females,

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who are much smaller than they are.

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On shore they dominate large harems and defend them from other males.
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Male Northern Elephant Seals spend eight months alone at sea. They forage in deep dives 24 hours a day, often at the bottom of the ocean, where other predators are scarce.
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The deepest recorded bull elephant dive was 5788 feet and the longest recorded continuous dive was just over two hours on one breath!

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California male elephant seals forage at the edge of the continental shelf, all the way to the Aleutian islands. Orcas and sharks predate on them and approximately one in three males are killed each year, mainly by orcas.
Cheers to you from the bullish, and amazing, male elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Rookery in California~

Source (and for more information) check out: http://www.elephantseal.org/

We Otta Be Ottahs~

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Cuz life just floats by.
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Sea Otters live in close communities called rafts. Can you see the babies floating on their mamas? Hint: they are the brown fuzzy bumps with little faces resting on their mama’s bellies? (CLick to enlarge for better optics).
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Like all communities with time on their hands, gossip can be a problem.
“If you say this one more time, Edna, I swear, I will cover my ears!”
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A new human like me, is easily noticed.
“Who are you odd human, and why are you staring at me?”
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Discussing the merits of tonight’s seafood dining options, Earle makes the best suggestion.

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Otter newlyweds with their new pup float happily together.

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Single mom’s seem quite content on their own.
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While bachelor & bachelorette otters can float anywhere they want and may be the happiest otters of all.
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Eventually babies get fed up with resting on top of mom, and just float off on their own looking for adventure.

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Rarely, an otter just can’t keep going along lazily with the group, he has to break out, be an individual, kick his web-footed heels to the sky!
Cheers to you from the happily floating (and kicking) Morro Bay Sea Otters in California~

Note: Sea Otters were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1800’s for their fur. Populations are slowly recovering, but otters are still an endangered species and are threatened by fish net entanglement, oil spills, and boat strikes.