Sonoran Desert Sunset

Sonoran Desert Sunset

23 February 2016


Please read this article from Audubon's online newsletter.  The headline is but a teaser of what is to come.  In part, the description of the rare Costa Rican Agami Heron's mating ritual includes ~ 

"Unlike many other species, it’s the female that has to win the male’s heart. Courtship starts when a male chooses a nesting site and starts displaying around it. This catches the eye of a female—and if she’s interested, she’ll come over and start dancing: shaking her plumes, rocking on her legs, turning bright red in the face, and bowing from time to time. The males then counter—and they can get aggressive, snapping and even stabbing the females with their razor-sharp beaks to try and rebuff them. “It’s very hard on the female,” Kushlan says. The process may go on for days, until the male finally accepts the partner and they start building a nest.

"The herons' courtship has never been described in such detail before. And thanks to Kushlan’s expert eye and Hines’s elaborate photos, the findings will be published in the journal Waterbirds in early June."

I've been a passionate birder for all my adult life, though the infirmities of age and Parkinson's have slowed me down.  My modest life list of some 350 species from all over the U.S. does include several enviable sightings, including Aplomado Falcon, Scissor-tailed Kite, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, Caracara, Montezuma Quail, Canyon Wren, Phainopepla, Allen's Hummingbird, Harris Hawk, Tufted Puffin, Mountain Bluebird, Brown-Headed Nuthatch, Elf Owl, Wood Thrush, Pomerine Jaegar, American Avocet, Water Ouzel, Cedar Waxwing, Mountain Chickadee, Acorn Woodpecker, Green Heron, Double-Crested Cormorant, Elegant Trogonand of course my state bird, Western Meadowlark, to name a few.

Back to the Agami Heron, for a reluctant parting look. 

Photos by Kirsten Hines

20 February 2016

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ (All Are Related) is a phrase from the Lakota language. It reflects the world view of interconnectedness held by the Lakota people of North America.

The phrase translates in English as "all my relatives," "we are all related," or "all my relations." It is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life:   other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys.

14 February 2016


Gentle reader ~ my intent was to post this yesterday, but I was laid low.  So pretend it is Saturday, 13 Feb 2016, and read on ~

On this day in 2008 I started my first blog, .  Early on, my entries were self-conscious and stilted.  As I gained my sea legs, thoughts flowed more smoothly and naturally onto the page.

The most recent entry I made was on 17 May 2014, also a Saturday.  For the previous year I had struggled with the diagnosis and onset of Parkinson’s Disease, sharing with my readers as the symptoms evolved.  My usual posts on science, music, the arts, cosmology, politics and random arcane discoveries became fewer as the disease eroded my ability to focus, hold a train of thought, or embrace abstract notions.  

During 2015 I endured a harrowing year-long toxic reaction to a Parkinson’s medication and the subsequent descent into loss of balance and motor control, and eventual delusions and hallucinations.  The ensuing psychological and physical crash finally snapped everyone ~ family, medical caregivers ~ to attention.  

Since then my meds have been adjusted and I’m back in the world.  The only lingering effect is weakness and lack of stamina, a result of too many months of no exercise, no PT, no daily walks, and bingeing on ice cream (any comfort food in a storm).  I gained 30 lb. in two months, and am having the devil’s own time losing it again.

Am I whining?  Hell no.  Mentally I am engaged, alert and hungry to rejoin the human race and the natural world.  I decided to shift my attention from my former hosted blog to writing in my own Internet domain, the very one in which you are reading these words.  

So hang on, kids.  This ride will surely have unexpected moments......


Green Vine Snake
native to the Indian subcontinent
photo courtesy of National Geographic