Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bald Eagle Festival

This past Saturday, we took our little brother (who is hardly little, since he is 15 and taller than me now!) to the Bald Eagle Festival east of Mission. (Sidebar: we volunteer as a "Big Couple" for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and it is a lot of fun.) Anyway! We didn't see a lot of eagles, but we saw a lot of dying, post-spawn salmon. I had never before seen the whole salmon run thing, except in grainy films shown during science class back in grade school. It was fascinating, if stinky (think of salmon in various stages of decay.)

Yep, they shuffled off this mortal coil quite a while ago!

So beautiful, yet the smell was so rank. Lots of birds dining on salmon, but no bald eagles.The various lumps in the water and on the beach in the forefront are dead and dying salmon. They were HUGE.

"The sex is done and we're ready to die!" They look ratty because they are weak and thus prone to various fungal infections and so on. Can anyone identify this salmon species? I am a salmon ignoramous (but I do know they are tasty!)

Swimming upstream at the Inch Creek Hatchery.Somebody back there still has some life left in him. At the Hatchery, we saw an 80-year-old sturgeon who was huge... at least six feet long!

Further upriver, this mature bald eagle swooped in and stole salmon from each of the juveniles on the left. The seagulls kept well back, but the crows were pretty bold about stepping up to the dinner plate.

"YOU get it back from him." "No, YOU get it back from him." "I think we're screwed, Bob. Don't you hate seniority?" The baldy first stole the salmon of one juvenile, then the salmon of the other. Just asserting himself, I suppose. :)

I think our little brother took this shot, with our new telephoto lens. We were on the other side of the rive, well back from this scene.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Grab bag

What do we have here? Well, we have Tara looking bored the other day before she went to the groomer. We have the Zoë, aka Blobzilla, sleeping on her cat bed on top of my desk. She is the only overweight pet in the house and we are having a helluva time getting her to lose any poundage! Zoë is addicted to this bed and gets upset if I don't have my desk lamp shining on it, making her all warm and toasty. Kitty tanning salon!

We have a Tiger rattlesnake devouring a kangaroo rat, a reference photo kindly supplied to me by my new friend, Roger Repp, herpetologist extraordinaire (and hilariously funny to boot!) He tracks Western Diamondback rattlesnakes in the Sonoran desert in Arizona. My other herp friend Kate and I are doing a children's book together, a story about a Western Diamondback named "Katie." I'm illustrating it and Roger has been really helpful to me with snake advice while Kate has been off in the Congolese jungle catching snakes way scarier than this one!

Make sure you check out the websites of my other herp friend, Melissa, in the links list on the left. She makes her iguana wear scarves. :)

And a complete non sequitur: we have me and my good friend Sarah celebrating the demise of stinking Jetsgo, which went bankrupt and screwed me out of a flight to Nova Scotia last September. But at least I got my money back through American Express, bless their little hearts!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hallowe'en shenanigans!

We had quite the groovy Hallowe'en last night. We had a visit from an alien, who was a VERY good knitter!

Zoë the cat helped with the goody bags, and Tara the dog was ready at the door to welcome any and all visitors.