Monthly Archives: January 2018

Learning inside and outside

Muscovy duck above and ibis below

I’m in St Petersburg Florida this week at a writers conference working on craft, hearing accomplished authors share their personal stories, and attending readings of their work. As expected, I’m learning a variety of things that will inform my own writing.

What I hadn’t expected is how much I’m learning about birds.


Atop a building adjacent to the pond is an osprey nest. I’m not typically good at capturing birds in flight so I’m especially proud of this photo.

Three facts about osprey:

1. They are also known as sea or river hawks.

2. They are diurnal.

3. They can be found on 6 of the 7 continents; not found on Antarctica.

The ponds at Eckerd College

On a conference break, I walked by the ponds that attract a variety of water fowl. Above, a pelican swims near the shoreline.

Below are a cormorant, mallards, and an unidentifiable by me bird that I think is a duck. If you can identify it, please let me know in the comments. And as Dory says, Keep Swimming!

Prairie Dogs

On a beautiful Boulder day, I saw prairie dogs enjoying the spring-like January weather just as much as my friend and I were as we walked the path.

We could hear them vocalizing loudly from every direction. Their high-pitched calls were a clear indication of their desire to communicate. I did a bit of research and it turns out prairie dogs possess the most sophisticated of all natural animal languages. They have different sounds to identify different types of predators, and they have many.

Their only defense from predators is camouflage, their warning call, and the ability to disappear into their burrow.

Woodpecker Micropoem

Thoughts while perched on a branch –

It’s peaceful up here, gazing skyward


No, not enough

Azure, cobalt, sapphire?

It’s a start

My wings ache to touch the sky, dip in its richness

How much lovelier would I be with royal blue feathers?

National Western Stock Show Parade

On a beautiful bluebird sky January day in Denver, Colorado, a crowd lined the streets to welcome the stock show to town. Little children, adorable in their cowboy boots and hats, with lariats affixed to their belt loops enjoyed the parade of longhorns, horses, alpacas, cowboys and cowgirls, antique tractors, and more.

Crowd pleasers included groups on horseback from several western states, Thunder, the mascot of the Denver Broncos, a young boy on a small horse, and a few floats with music.

The parade kicks off a two week event full of fun for all ages, just as the parade did. And as the song says, “Save a horse, ride a Cowboy!”