Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Greta van Problem

I have to wonder if confused people sometimes walk up to Greta van Susteren on the street and accuse her of totally ripping off Led Zeppelin.  

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Kolchak: The Night Heron

Once again, I am in the position that I have a lot that I want to write for the blog, but I just don’t have the willpower to get it done.  But I have made a commitment to myself to publish at least one post per month, and May is almost over with no posts, so I need to put up something.  

Here is a Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) that I photographed over the weekend.  

The name reminds me of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, an obscure Seventies television series which I have been watching in recent weeks on the MeTV networkKolchak is best known today as a major influence on the development of The X-Files.  That connection gives Kolchak a lot of credibility in the science-fiction/fantasy/horror community, but it doesn’t mean that the show is necessarily very good.  Take for example the titular Kolchak.  The fact that he is a “night stalker” makes it sound as if he should be mysterious and ominous, but he’s actually an inept middle-aged reporter who wears a porkpie hat.  (I think that it’s a porkpie hat.  I’m not good with hats.)

Ultimately, then, we have accomplished nothing with this post.  But at least the monthly requirement is fulfilled.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Today is Easter.

Today is also April Fool’s Day. 

And, given the way that Easter moves around on the calendar, I have to wonder if maybe it isn’t really Easter, but we are being told that it is as an April Fool’s Day joke.  

I also sometimes think that online scientific journals that publish papers on a continuous basis shouldn’t publish anything on April 1, so that the authors won’t have to continually explain that their study isn’t a joke. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Daingerfield Island

Here is a picture of Daingerfield Island (which is not an island) on the Potomac River as viewed from the north.  

I’d like to dedicate this picture to the people who have left the Washington area to chase their dreams across the far horizons of the world . . . which sometimes seems like almost everyone whom I know.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Pond Frog

Unlike the green of the last photo, this one is more brown.  It’s an American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana or Lithobates catesbeianus) in a drainage pond.  I took the picture at the beginning of September of last year. 

When one’s hobby is watching amphibians and (non-avian) reptiles in the wild in the temperate zone, there is an enforced period of inactivity in the colder months.  Birds, and thus bird watchers, are active all winter, but the reptiles and amphibians go into seasonal torpor.  In the Washington area the inactivity usually lasts (depending on variations in the weather) from some point in October to some point in March.  

And I have to admit that I kind of like this.  Something about being forced to take a rest appeals to me.  

But now the winter respite has come to an end.  A week ago I discovered that the Wood Frogs had already laid their eggs.  

Monday, February 26, 2018


I’ve been going through my photographs from the last few years looking for things to put on the blog.  I came across this cicada, which looks like Linne’s Cicada (Neotibicen linnei), a type of annual cicada, although the thorax coloration is different than is seen in some internet examples.  

The picture has a nice sense of green, in that the green of the cicada is reflected in the green of the surrounding vegetation.

Here is a closer look from a related picture:

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Check out the Claws on This Turtle

Click to enlarge, and take a look at the size of the claws.  This is a Red-bellied Turtle (Pseudemys rubriventris).  The males have elongate claws which they use to stroke the females during courtship.

  Red-bellied Turtles are common here in the Potomac, but are threatened in Pennsylvania, and endangered in Massachusetts.

In comic book terms, this is what happens when you cross the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Wolverine