Thursday, October 22, 2015

Roger the Owl

roger_the_owl 2 Len's photo of a screech owl named Roger, from this morning. This link to Flickr allows you to see all his recent nature photos.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Trip East, 2015

Longwood Gardens

We recently traveled to Fairfax, Cape May, Philadelphia, and Lancaster, PA. One highlight was visiting Longwood Gardens with Arny and Tracy, as documented on Flickr. Here's a photo from Longwood: Tracy taking a photo, Arny looking around, and Lenny looking towards the camera:

longwood-gardens 18

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lighthouses, Birds, Beaches

Bald Eagle on the beach at Cape May.

Heron fishing at Lake Lily near the lighthouse.
Lake Lily, gallinule
From the Ferry between Delaware and Cape May, New Jersey. 

Cape May lighthouse, early morning light.
Cape May lighthouse, full afternoon sun. 
Lighthouse at sunset from the Nature Conservancy preserve.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Birders, butterflies, and boats

Sunset on the first of our several guided birdwalks in Cape May, NJ.
It's the season for bird migration here, and therefore birder season.
Yesterday I posted a few photos of our visit here. This post adds a few more.
Birders heading home at sunset. 
Early morning: looking for a rare Bell's Vireo. The bushes were swarming with little birds that had been flying over
the water at dawn, and then came in to wait for another night of migration. Around 50 birders were watching the birds.
More than 100 were watching for hawks and eagles overhead at the Hawkwatch Tower around 4 miles from this location.
Near the Hawkwatch platform:
A non-native black swan. Someone brought it from Australia or New Zealand,
it got away, and no one knows who let it go. 
Monarch butterflies are also in migration. Like the birds they fly down the New Jersey peninsula and then wait for
a good moment to start across the water and continue flying south. 
Tree swallows in large numbers were circling around and also resting on the beach and on fences yesterday before continuing their flight.
On the beach.
The "Osprey" -- the birdwatching cruise boat that we took yesterday.

This is also posted at!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

"Murder at Mt. Fuji"

"Murder at Mt. Fuji" by Shizuko Natsuki is an extremely well-plotted detective story with a surprise ending. If you think about that statement, it will become obvious that spoilers would be required in any discussion about how the author creates one impression after another in the mind of the reader, only to reveal new plot twists, new clues, new relationships, and new motives.

Let's just say that the first 75 pages provide a detailed description of murder and cover-up at the mountain home of a very wealthy Japanese family where they are spending their New Year holiday. The role of one westerner, a student of Japanese literature visiting the family, provides a way for the Japanese author to explain some of the customs and family dynamics. And you, reader, think you know everything -- at first.

The police come and go as they investigate clues in this typical country house mystery atmosphere. Western-style mystery details combine quite interestingly with Japanese family, business, police-suspect-victim, and master-servant relationships. And in the background, day and night, seen through every window of the beautiful villa, is Mt. Fuji, looming alternately over severe winter storms and gentle winter sunshine.

A fun read!