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My imagination has saved my life many times. Instead of giving in to whatever is going on around me – things that may not be positive, sunny, sane or good for the mind, body and soul – my mind has always been able to wander off, sail off or fly off – and find other places to be, even when I couldn’t physically be there. Places where it was positive, and sunny and good. ~ View On Black

 

If the body can't leave, then just being elsewhere in spirit is enough. Sometimes it has to be.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc7NlsbWBeA ~ “Azure Skies”, Darshan Ambient

 

The land, shore, water and sky of Lake Michigan are one such place to visit when one needs to be emotionally, mentally or spiritually away – camera in hand or not.

 

Strong northeast winds of winter blow huge waves of frigid Lake Michigan water onto our man-made rock shoreline from December through February. Ice formations, up to six-feet deep and up to a mile in length, form along our 25+ miles of breakwalls. And no effort is made to get rid of them. “Nature puts them up, nature will take them down,” it is said. Allow each season to be its own season: I like that kind of thought.

 

I like wind and storm and wave. So I go out here, to be somewhere else in my being. There is some danger to be sure – it is isolated and if you take a slip and a fall, you are on your own (I tell fellow travelers to wear bright colors; it makes finding the body easier :-) ). But, it is not so risky as to make the hazards outweigh the reward of seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling what such locations have to offer the senses and the spirit.

 

I call these ice formations, "Chicago’s Glaciers." They look like glaciers in my imagination; in shape, size, color, and the way they snake around the existing environment. In Zen, the ability to see everything, and anything, in fresh and wonderful ways is called “a child’s mind.”

 

Children see endless possibilities, where adults see only a few, or one, or none. It takes time and work and practice and desire to retrieve one's "Child's Mind," but it is worth the effort.

 

Anyway, Chicago’s Glaciers pile up over the course of the winter, gaining depth with each new storm and freeze. Then with the coming of spring, their “fields of icy snowpack begin a slow retreat back up the fjord." The debris they leave behind as well as the alternately coarse and subtle changes to the landscape cut by their ice, becomes evident and evidence; available for curious minds to discover, analyze and savor.

 

Above, a red-tailed hawk circles low to the land, slipping the surface on currents of air, banking in on another pass, looking for any unfortunately exposed, early-season rodents on the scurry (there is as yet, no ground cover in which to hide). Both predator and prey are hoping to find bits and pieces to eat after winter's cupboards have long fallen bare.

 

Low rise clouds, thickening and gathering moisture on southerly winds, roil low and fast overhead, a gaping yawn of churning mist and water vapor that extends to the horizon. These clouds portend spring’s rain, not winter’s snow.

 

The retreating ice reveals a mouse or two, perhaps a pigeon or a gull – the unlucky ones or the old; mushed and crushed, skin leathery and slightly mummified, after months sealed under the weight of snow and ice. However, these are not a fresh kills – thus they are only fit to eat were a predator starving. The Hawk ignores them.

 

Each little world, such as the ones at your feet, not always the one over the horizon, is our own little National Geographic mini-series documentary special on "The Wonder of Nature" in our everyday lives.

 

At least, I like to imagine it so.

 

Textures courtesy skeletalmess: www.flickr.com/photos/skeletalmess/sets/72157622988869605/

 

And flypaper textures: flypapertextures.blogspot.com/

  

  

The field is green

The sky is blue

The sun is shining,

I feel so new

 

It’s the atmosphere of nature

 

When the sky is grey

Thundering and lightning

Predators catch there prey

Except some that got away

 

It’s the atmosphere of nature

 

Its light and its morning

I can hear the birds singing

And the children’s laughter

Swaying away like a lullaby

 

It’s the atmosphere of nature

 

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Sugar is sweet

Nature is too

   

It’s the atmosphere of nature…

maryam kazmi

Three Amigos baby raccoons sitting up high on my lattice, I am afraid the mother may have gone away or fallen victim to a predator, they climbed after the got some food and now there sleeping, afraid I have some children now. But there cute at least, found in North Carolina.

Erdmännchen | Suricate

Zoo Frankfurt

There once was a leopard

named Child

whose best days were spent

getting riled.

But what his keepers found

when they brought him to ground

Was that Child

had never yet smiled.

 

Bring up the subject of brown bears and it most frequently invokes a sense fear. There is no doubt that these are powerful predators, not to be underestimated, but as with most animals, humans can find a middle ground that allows both to survive, peacefully. This brown bear sow rests on the coastal meadow of Lake Clark National Park with her yearling cubs. One of these two cubs has been a bit aggressive but with time, hopefully, it too, will learn to peacefully coexist. #BrownBears #BearCubs

 

Wild Polar fox (Alopex lagopus) puppy. Hopefully a part of the future for this species wich is highly endangered on the Norwegian Mainland as well as the rest of Scandinavia.

The photo is cropped and the animals was not disturbed.

To Help the Monkey Cross the River

 

which he must

cross, by swimming, for fruits and nuts,

to help him

I sit with my rifle on a platform

high in a tree, same side of the river

as the hungry monkey. How does this assist

him? When he swims for it

I look first upriver: predators move faster with

the current than against it.

If a crocodile is aimed from upriver to eat the monkey

and an anaconda from downriver burns

with the same ambition, I do

the math, algebra, angles, rate-of-monkey,

croc- and snake-speed, and if, if

it looks as though the anaconda or the croc

will reach the monkey

before he attains the river's far bank,

I raise my rifle and fire

one, two, three, even four times into the river

just behind the monkey

to hurry him up a little.

Shoot the snake, the crocodile?

They're just doing their jobs,

but the monkey, the monkey

has little hands like a child's,

and the smart ones, in a cage, can be taught to smile.

 

~~Thomas Lux

 

There are thousands of alligators at the Lake Woodruff Wildlife Refuge in DeLeon Springs, Florida, but darned if I've ever seen any of them! I have been growled at by one, though, and let me tell you, it was a rude awakening, being that I couldn't see it and the sound was only about 5-7 feet away from me!

 

As you walk along the paths that really are just land bridges between canals, you don't recognize the danger you could be in from the large predators on either side of you. They are excellent ambush predators, and do claim lives now and then, as last year at Disney World, when a little child was grabbed and drowned by one, despite his father's desperate attempts to save his son. We often forget that this is THEIR habitat and WE are the intruders into it.

 

There are few places where a person can go and be completely away from other people, cars, cell phones, and noise. This place is one of them, and is very much worth going to, although I would recommend going with other people, as I learned the day the gator growled at me and I was completely alone in there! Everyone else had left for the day, and there was nothing but a vast, expanse of waterways, land bridges, and tall grasses which hid the animal residents well. For this shoot, I had a friend along!

Textures used www.flickr.com/photos/crisbuscagliacom/8288822859/in/set-...

www.flickr.com/photos/crisbuscagliacom/8569845030/in/set-...

 

Its Boards are loose, and warped, and weathered.

 

Shingles flyin’ in the wind.

 

Timbers leanin’, ridge pole sags.

 

A hundred seasons done it in.

  

Settin’ lonesome, sad, neglected,

 

seems to sense it’s end is near.

 

Recollections long forgot—of

 

friends with hammers workin’ here.

   

Status once was never questioned,

 

vital structure in its day.

 

Uses that this shelter rendered--

 

far beyond just ‘storin’ hay’.

   

Stood majestic, stately, noble.

 

Stout design, yet gentle charm.

 

Served as banner to the world;

 

message was: “Successful Farm!”

  

Answered all whose glance might query

 

lineage of the builders clan

 

who tilled surrounding fertile fields

 

to earn their living off this land.

  

Proudly served each generation,

 

guarding them in work and play,

 

thirsting not for acclamation,

 

‘care’ was more than ample pay.

Hidden back in every shadow,

 

clues and scars of past events;

 

‘Jackson fork’, it’s tines a rustin’,

 

lies beneath the fallen fence.

   

Inside, hangs the fraying fibers,

 

once a hay rope dangled there.

 

Listen closely, hear the laughter?

 

Children swingin’ through the air.

 

Climb the loft, there in a corner,

 

boards once blackened by a fire.

 

Boys a smokin’ pipes of corn silk,

 

dealt with sternly by their sire!

   

Reckon sounds of men at work as

 

tons of hay are hoisted in.

 

Ropes’er creakin’, pulleys squeakin’,

 

horses neigh above the din.

   

Soon winters cloak of frozen whiteness

 

covers fields and pasture land.

 

The barns importance more apparent,

 

inside doors now seems more grand.

   

Amply storing food and fiber,

 

walls to break the winters gale,

 

“haven” seems well to describe’er,

 

guests within stay hearty, hale.

   

Time moves on and progress quickens,

 

new techniques come into play.

 

Less reliant on the farmstead,

 

children grow, then move away.

Oldsters now are those remaining,

 

seeing things once only dreams;

 

tractor chuggin’ up the furrows

 

now out works a dozen teams.

   

With time required for its nurture

 

crowded out by other chores,

 

the barns demise is now beginning—

 

‘modern times’ the predators.

   

This reminisce makes quite apparent;

 

’Old Barns and men, are much the same’,

 

When young and useful---both have value—

 

When old, the world, forgets their name!

 

~SAM A. JACKSON

Polar Bears of Svalbard

Photo tour with Greg du Toit

3 - 12 August 2018

www.squiver.com

 

Last week I won three Silver Awards in the One Eyeland Awards - one for a black and white series from China, one for a colour series from the same country, and one for an image I shot on our polar bear photo tour in Svalbard.

 

Our guide had spotted a female bear and her cub in the distance, feeding on the remains of a seal. By the time we had worked our way through the sea ice, they had just finished their meal and both mother and child had not had time to clean up yet.

 

The little cub was still full of energy, so it was hopping around, climbing the ice and playing with snow. This is one of favourite images from that encounter. I think it’s because of the innocence of the pose contrasted with the blood as a silent witness to something not quite as innocent.

 

This is one of those shots that will never do well as a fine art print, as most people do not appreciate seeing blood in their living room, especially not on subjects that score big on the fluffy index.

 

Would you hang a print of this cutie above your dining table? Or do you think it's too disturbing?

 

- - -

 

If you’d like to get shots like this yourself, then why not join us to Svalbard? This year’s tour is already fully booked, but there are still some spaces on the 2018 trip. More info here: ow.ly/zVQ0100B8xT

 

Marsel

 

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:copyright:2017 Marsel van Oosten, All Rights Reserved. This image is not available for use on websites, blogs or other media without the explicit written permission of the photographer.

from Wikipedia: "Dragonflies are important predators that eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants, wasps, and very rarely butterflies. They are usually found around marshes, lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic."

My nine year old son took this picture of a black bear through the closed side window of our car on a recent trip to Woburn safari park. He was hand holding a Fuji 100-400mm lens on a Fuji XT2. He had the lens virtually fully zoomed in.

THANK YOU everyone for your visits, comments and favs!

I appreciate your invites and awards very much!

 

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Use without permission is illegal.

 

A Monarch Caterpillar on Milkweed plant ~

 

A Look at the Life of a Monarch Caterpillar

 

Just moments after a monarch hatches from its egg it devours its own shell. This is a fitting beginning for a creature whose focus is FOOD.

  

Some fast facts about monarch caterpillars:

 

Larva is the scientific word for caterpillar. Larvae is the plural of larva, so "larvae" means "caterpillars." The use of either "caterpillar" or "larva" is correct.

 

Monarchs spend the larval stage of their lives eating--and growing. In fact, the typical monarch increases in mass by 2,000 times while it's a caterpillar. This amazing transformation takes place in only about 9-14 days.

 

The weight a monarch gains as a larva determines the butterfly's size as an adult. Bigger caterpillars become bigger butterflies; smaller caterpillars become smaller adult monarchs.

 

Once a monarch becomes an adult butterfly, it does not grow any more.

 

Larvae go through five growth stages called "instars." This is because, as insects grow, they must shed their exoskeletons as they increase in size. Just as children outgrow their clothes, insects outgrow their skeletons! (Luckily, human skeletons are inside our bodies and grow with us.)

 

In addition to eating and growing, larvae must avoid predators and parasites! Mortality is extremely high. Over 90% of all eggs laid never survive to the chrysalis stage, according to preliminary results of the Monarch Larval Monitoring Project.

 

It's easy to find monarch larvae when you look for leaf damage on milkweed leaves. Predators and parasites may cue-in on leaf damage to find their prey. For this reason, larvae of some butterfly species change their position on the plant often, and move to different plants, as a predator avoidance strategy.

 

When frightened, larvae use a silk lifeline to escape quickly. They can drop to the ground and vanish in the vegetation in an instant. They also often curl up into a ball when touched. Why do you suppose they do this?

 

Only the final monarch generation of summer migrates to Mexico. A butterfly's chance of surviving the winter is greater the more lipids it has stored. This means that the milkweed conditions available to larvae in the north can ultimately affect their chances of surviving the winter.

 

Shot through the kitchen window.

I've lived in this house for 30 years and have never seen a rabbit before. I've been quite concerned about this one but he seems to be doing okay. There aren't many predators in my backyard (my cats have not been going outside -- I'm working on an outdoor screened enclosure for them) and I haven't seen any evidence of possums or raccoons this year and dogs almost never come back here. This little fellow is pretty fast, too. He's just so cute -- like something out of a child's story book. I only hope that he's finding enough of the right things to eat back here. Apparently he's been attracted to the birdseed . . . I wouldn't have thought he'd be interested in it.

The moon peeks through a break in the clouds over Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico. It is the morning twilight and snow geese fill the skies during the fly-out. They have spent the night in the shallow retention ponds of the refuge. The water provides some measure of protection and early warning from predators like coyotes. At the first hint of light the geese begin to fly out to the fields where they will spend their day in search of leftover grain to eat. Each year the snow geese migrate south from some of the most northern reaches of North America, finding respite here at the Bosque. The sounds and sights of large flocks of geese are a moving experience, especially for those who have never experienced this before.

Camera used was my female beach friend I did landscape with......Sadly for me, she is married with 2 children and a very big husband...

Exp. Aug 10, 2009 #264

 

pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joaninha

 

Coccinellidae is a family of beetles, known variously as ladybirds (British English, Australian English, South African English), ladybugs (North American English) or lady beetles (preferred by some scientists). Lesser-used names include ladyclock, lady cow, and lady fly.

 

They are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae. A very large number of species are mostly or entirely black, grey, or brown and may be difficult for non-entomologists to recognize as coccinellids (and, conversely, there are many small beetles that are easily mistaken as such, like tortoise beetles).

 

Coccinellids are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described, more than 450 native to North America alone.

 

A few species are pests in North America and Europe, but they are generally considered useful insects as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places. The Mall of America, for instance, releases thousands of ladybugs into its indoor park as a natural means of pest control for its gardens.

 

Coccinellids are typically predators of Hemiptera such as aphids and scale insects, though conspecific larvae and eggs can also be important resources when alternative prey are scarce. Members of the subfamily Epilachninae are herbivores, and can be very destructive agricultural pests (e.g., the Mexican bean beetle). While predatory species are often used as biological control agents, introduced species of ladybirds (such as Harmonia axyridis or Coccinella septempunctata in North America) outcompete and displace native coccinellids and become pests in their own right.

 

Coccinellids are often brightly colored to ward away potential predators. This phenomenon is called aposematism and works because predators learn by experience to associate certain prey phenotypes with a bad taste (or worse). Mechanical stimulation (such as by predator attack) causes "reflex bleeding" in both larval and adult ladybird beetles, in which an alkaloid toxin is exuded through the joints of the exoskeleton, deterring feeding. Ladybugs, as well as other Coccinellids are known to spray a venomous toxin to certain mammals and other insects when threatened.

 

Most coccinellids overwinter as adults, aggregating on the south sides of large objects such as trees or houses during the winter months, and dispersing in response to increasing day length in the spring. In Harmonia axyridis, eggs hatch in 3–4 days from clutches numbering from a few to several dozen. Depending on resource availability, the larvae pass through four instars over 10–14 days, after which pupation occurs. After a teneral period of several days, the adults become reproductively active and are able to reproduce again, although they may become reproductively quiescent if eclosing late in the season.

 

It is thought that certain species of Coccinellids lay extra infertile eggs with the fertile eggs. These appear to provide a backup food source for the larvae when they hatch. The ratio of infertile to fertile eggs increases with scarcity of food at the time of egg laying.

 

Habitats

 

Most coccinellids are beneficial to gardeners in general, as they feed on aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, and mites throughout the year. As in many insects, ladybugs in temperate regions enter diapause during the winter, so they often are among the first insects to appear in the spring. Some species (e.g., Hippodamia convergens) gather into groups and move to higher land, such as a mountains, to enter diapause. Predatory ladybugs are usually found on plants where aphids or scale insects are, and they lay their eggs near their prey, to increase the likelihood the larvae will find the prey easily. Ladybugs are cosmopolitan in distribution, as are their prey.

 

Coccinellids as household pests

 

Although native species of coccinellids are typically considered benign, in North America the multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis), introduced in the twentieth century to control aphids on agricultural crops, has become a serious household pest in some regions owing to its habit of overwintering in structures. It is similarly acquiring a pest reputation in Europe, where it is called the "Multicoloured Asian Ladybird" (In Britain: "Harlequin Ladybird") (see main article Harmonia axyridis for discussion).

 

Coccinellids in popular culture

 

Coccinellids are and have for very many years been favorite insects of children. The insects had many regional names (now mostly disused) such as the lady-cow, may-bug, golden-knop, golden-bugs (Suffolk); and variations on Bishop-Barnaby (Norfolk dialect) – Barnabee, Burnabee, and the Bishop-that-burneth. The etymology is unclear but it may be from St. Barnabas feast in June, when the insect appears or a corruption of "Bishop-that-burneth", from the fiery elytra of the beetles.

 

In parts of Northern Europe, tradition says that one's is wish granted if a ladybird lands on oneself (this tradition lives on in North America, where children capture a ladybird, make a wish, and then "blow it away" back home to make the wish come true). In Italy, it is said by some that if a ladybird flies into one's bedroom, it is considered good luck. In central Europe, a ladybird crawling across a girl's hand is thought to mean she will get married within the year. In some cultures they are referred to as lucky bugs (Turkish: uğur böceği).

 

In Russia, a popular children's rhyme exists with a call to fly to the sky and bring back bread; similarly, in Denmark a ladybird, called a mariehøne ("Mary's hen"), is asked by children to fly to 'our lord in heaven and ask for fairer weather in the morning'.

Coccinella septempunctata pair mating

 

The name that the insect bears in the various languages of Europe is mythic. In this, as in other cases, the Virgin Mary has supplanted Freyja, the fertility goddess of Norse mythology; so that Freyjuhaena and Frouehenge have been changed into Marienvoglein, which corresponds with Our Lady's Bird. The esteem with which these insects are regarded has roots in ancient beliefs.

 

In Irish, the insect is called bóín Dé — or "God's little cow" and in Welsh, the term buwch goch gota is used, containing the word 'buwch' meaning "cow"; similarly, in Croatian it is called Božja ovčica ("God's little sheep"). In France it is known as bête à bon Dieu, "the Good Lord's animal", and in Russia, Божья коровка ("God's little cow"), while in both Hebrew and Yiddish, it is called "Moshe Rabbenu's (i.e. Moses's) little cow" or "Moshe Rabbenu's little horse", apparently an adaptation of the Russian name, or sometimes "Little Messiah".

 

In Iran, two Farsi words are used; ﮐﻔﺶ ﺪوزک and ﭘﻴﻨﻪ ﺪﻮﺰ, both meaning "shoe cobbler". There is an old story about a woman who tells her husband upon his return from work that a "cobbler" spent the whole day with her and in fact sat on her lap. Hearing this, he flies in to a rage and kills his unfaithful wife. Just then, he notices a lady bird walking in the room and he cries out "Oh my god, that kind of cobbler".

 

In Greece, ladybirds are called πασχαλίτσα (paschalitsa), because they are found abundantly in Eastertime, along with paschalia, the Common Lilac plant, which flowers at the same time.

 

In Malta, the ladybird is called nannakola, and little children sang: Nannakola, mur l-iskola/Aqbad siġġu u ibda ogħla (Ladybird go to school, get a chair and start jumping).

 

In Finnish, ladybird is called leppäkerttu, translating to blood-Gertrud, which refers to the red color. An alternative name is leppäpirkko. These differ by the female name at the end (Pirkko refers to Bridget).

  

~ Stephen R. Covey (born October 24, 1932 in Salt Lake City, Utah) is the author of the best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Other books he has written include First Things First, Principle-Centered Leadership, and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families. In 2004, Covey released The 8th Habit. In 2008, Covey released The Leader In Me—How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time. He is a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.

 

Swimming with the cool turtles like this one was a thrill I won't forget! We were swimming around in the lagoon at The Turtle Farm in the West Bay of the Grand Caymans ~

 

H * G * G * T ~

 

Cuddle Baby Turtles at the Grand Cayman Turtle Farm.

 

The island government has set about conserving the green sea turtle in a big way and the Grand Cayman Turtle Farm at Boatswain's Bay is one of the ways they do it. It isn't cheap at US$60 per adult and US$25 for children 2-12 but you can spend the day there so on an hourly basis, it's worth it.

 

Conservation plays a big part in the island's effort to save the turtles but this facility sets out to redress the supply part of the problem. And feeding the turtles is easily done. It turns out visitors will happily buy a bag of food at the door and sprinkle it on the water. These are the world's best fed turtles.

 

At Boatswain's Beach turtles mate, lay their eggs and hatch their young in safety, unmolested by people or predators. Unmolested in the worst sense they may be but not entirely free from human interaction. The baby turtles are subject to daily indignity in the form of being picked up and fondled by adoring visitors.

   

The turtles don't seem to mind. In fact, looking at the adults in the larger ponds, they thrive on it. [Still, I foresee a 'Turtle Liberation and Rights' group down the road:)] They grow to a good size (all that feeding pays off) before being released into the sea to live among the reefs and wrecks around Grand Cayman.

The Boatswain's Beach farm also supports two other endangered turtle species, the hawksbill and kemp's ridley turtle, which is the world's most endangered sea turtle.

 

The Grand Cayman Turtle Farm is part of the Boatswain's Beach complex. It's not a resort but a quieter kind of adventure park, which provides visitors with an up-close and, very fortunately, not so personal look at sea predators, like sharks and crocodiles.

 

I don't think I've ever seen anyone, animal or person, look more pleased with themselves than this guy. Seals and sea lions love to laze about on land when they're not being the acrobats of the sea.

 

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Wish I'd got the head in focus, too, but I still like this Canada Goose's wing feathers folded back so neatly. This bird was obviously used to being fed by local people and their children, but of course it was out of luck from me : ) This species is native to Alberta.

 

"A familiar and widespread goose with a black head and neck, white chinstrap, light tan to cream breast and brown back. Has increased in urban and suburban areas in recent years; just a decade or two after people intentionally introduced or reintroduced “giant” Canada Geese to various areas, they are often considered pests." From AllABoutBirds.

 

www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/canada_goose/id

 

"Extremely successful at living in human-altered areas, Canada geese have proven able to establish breeding colonies in urban and cultivated areas, which provide food and few natural predators, and are well known as a common park species. Their success has led to them sometimes being considered a pest species because of their depredation of crops and issues with their noise, droppings, aggressive territorial behaviour, and habit of begging for food, especially in their introduced range. Canada geese are also among the most commonly hunted waterfowl in North America." From Wikipedia.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_goose

 

www.canadiangeographic.ca/kids/animal-facts/canada_goose.asp

 

Five days ago, on 7 May 2015, I joined friends to go on a birding walk at the south end LaFarge Meadows, accessed off 194th Ave. The weather was beautiful, though the temperature was only 7C-11C, and the birds were so far away. I did manage to get a distant shot of two of the three Trumpeter Swans (both juveniles) that were near the river. A Bald Eagle flew overhead and a Great Blue Heron flew in the far distance. A little Savannah Sparrow posed in a small tree for us and a Muskrat was seen in the large pond by the river.

 

After the walk, I decided to call in at a wetland in SW Calgary, hoping that at least a few of the birds would be close enough for photos. I met a delightful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable photographer/birder while I was there, and she showed me the area accessed from a point that I had never tried before. I had hoped to maybe see a Common Grackle at this wetland, as I had seen photos taken there by other people, and sure enough, there was one down near the water's edge. Just managed to get one lucky shot before the bird flew off. Many people don't like Grackles, but I see them so rarely and I think they are beautiful birds.

 

A few duck species and other birds were seen, including Ruddy Duck, Lesser Scaup, and Mallards (of course). Also Coots, a pair of Grebes, and a few Yellow-headed and Red-winged Blackbirds.

 

WHY PHOTOGRAPHERS GET SUCH A BAD NAME! Shown on The Weather Network.

 

www.theweathernetwork.com/videos/Gallery/all/video_galler...

Mountain lion kittens sit cautiously behind their mother in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

 

On a personal note, these are the first mountain lions I've ever seen in the wild!

Some of the best things in life are free!

 

For example, taking the Staten Island Ferry in New York City where you have magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline and of the Statue of Liberty. There’s also the free light and water show at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. Here in Madison, Wisconsin there is the Henry Vilas Zoo which is free to the public.

 

To my amazement this small, neighborhood zoo has an impressive collection of animals. From their Amur tiger to the grizzly bears to their African lions. As a former longtime member of the world famous San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park, I know what a first-rate zoo looks like.

 

My camera lens has always been attracted to the lions, I guess since they are the top predator of the animal world and thus on the top of the food chain. I could also say I like photographing them because they are the “King of the Jungle,” but that technically wouldn’t be right since they inhabit the savanna grasslands of Africa and not the jungle!

 

Happy Travels!

 

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

 

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Südafrikanischer Zwergseebär

Zoo Frankfurt

The Monarchs have arrived! How thrilling to see these flashes of orange among all the wildflowers.

 

Did you know:

 

The Monarch’s wingspan ranges from 8.9–10.2 cm (3½–4 in.)

 

The monarch is the only butterfly that migrates both north and south as the birds do on a regular basis. They follow the same migration patterns every year. During migration, huge numbers of butterflies can be seen gathered together.

 

Most predators have learned that the monarch butterfly makes a poisonous snack. The toxins from the monarch's milkweed diet have given the butterfly this defense. In either the caterpillar or butterfly stage the monarch needs no camouflage because it takes in toxins from the milkweed and is poisonous to predators. Many animals advertise their poisonous nature with bright colors.

 

Here's a link to a coloring sheet of a Monarch you can print out for your child or grandchild to color.

www.kidzone.ws/animals/monarch_color.htm

 

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Tuesday!

www.cameralenscompare.com/photoAwardsCounterDetails.aspx?...

  

Food & feeding: Herbivore

 

Habitats: Tropical rainforest

 

Conservation status: Critically endangered

 

Relatives: Chimpanzee, orang utan, man

 

Description: Large ape, covered in black hair. The face is bare black skin as is the chest. The hair on the back of mature males becomes silvery with age hence the name 'silverback'. The head has a short muzzle, large ridges above the eyes and a mass of fat and gristle on top of the head, particularly in males. The fingers and toes each have nails. When walking, gorillas walk on the soles of their feet and the knuckles of their hands, although they can walk a few metres standing on their legs alone.

 

Lifestyle: Gorillas are active during the day. They wake at dawn and feed for a few hours, choosing juicy leaves and shoots which they pick and peel with their hands, usually while sitting down. During the heat of the day the group dozes, digesting the morning's meal until perhaps 2:00pm. They are then on the move again and feeding until bedding down for the night just before sunset. Beds are simply a mat of nearby vegetation thrown together to form a cosy nest. They prefer to live in areas where there is a mass of low-level juicy vegetation: old river beds, old clearings or areas affected by landslides. We usually think of gorillas as living on the ground, but they are well able to climb trees and females and youngsters may choose to sleep in trees.

 

Family & friends: Gorillas are sociable and have a very structured family life, consisting of one dominant silverback male that will drive out other mature males from the group as they mature. Females have a pecking order that seems to be determined by how long the females have been part of the group. Usually groups contain about five animals. They do not defend their home territory and often overlap with other groups, although groups try to steer clear of one another.

 

Keeping in touch: The dominant male makes most of noise! He has a range of calls that alert the group of approaching predators. His chest-drumming display can be heard a couple of kilometres away. This display serves to keep neighbouring groups out of sight of one another. If they do meet, the males may smash plants around, charge and beat their chests in a display of strength. The females are rather quieter, with a vocabulary of grunts and grumbles.

 

Growing up: A female gorilla can live up to 40 years and may produce up to 10 young in her lifetime. Of these perhaps only two or three will survive to maturity. Like human children, the young require years of care and attention before they are able to take their place in gorilla society. Females are sexually mature at 10 years of age, whereas males mature later at 15 years.

 

Male gorillas splash-out. Even though they are not good swimmers, they launch themselves into swampy pools, making a huge splash as they do so. The splashes are a signal of strength to other gorillas in or near the pools, the bigger the splash the bigger the silverback.

 

Conservation news: The wild population of Western lowland gorillas is estimated somewhere between 90,000 and 110,000, but this could be a big over estimate. Many gorillas are killed for the 'bush meat' trade where animals are shot by hunters and the meat sold to traders in towns and cities. The ebola virus is also causing problems for the remaining populations.

 

Lots of these little beetles in the grassland, my Mum calls them blood suckers, that's what she called them as a child because of their colouring.

 

The beetle and larvae are predators, the beetle hunting on flowers mainly

A female leopard and her young cub playfully interact in a tree in Ngorongoro Conservation area. She has successfully taken a gazzelle which she had carried to the top of the tree. Leopards are the smallest of the 4 big cat species. #BigCats

  

A young cub lets out a ferocious roar while stepping out with mom and siblings. Cubs are birthed in solitude and hiding, and are cared for by the mother for many weeks before being introduced to the pride. Once part of the pride they are cared mom gets help caring for the young. It's a difficult life for the apex predators and probably close to half of all cubs don't make it to their first birthday.

  

Leopard cubs - siblings 6 months old, having a rough -and-tumble !

© All rights reserved Ian Lindsay aka Lensbuddies. Please do not use this image on websites, blogs or any other media without my explicit written permission.

Sexual Predators. Surrealism.

Nellie Vin ©Photography.

 

The term sexual predator is used pejoratively to describe a person seen as obtaining or trying to obtain sexual contact with another person in a metaphorically "predatory" manner. Analogous to how a predator hunts down its prey, so the sexual predator is thought to "hunt" for his or her sex partners. People who commit sex crimes, such as rape or child sexual abuse, are commonly referred to as sexual predators.

With a fleeting glance, a snowy owl circles overhead. Our irregular winter visitors are the largest owls, by weight, in North America. Even so, one can see just how thin and translucent his wings really are. On this cloudy morning, available light allows us to see the distant wing through the closest. Nature is an amazing engineer.

Even with 500 - 600 mm lenses, these birds can be difficult to photograph. Like most raptors, they prefer a "jealous sky," free of humans and other predators. I have seen and heard of many who would attempt to fill the frame of their iPhones or cameras, equipped with smaller lenses. In doing so, we only scare these birds off. The constant pestering can potentially be harmful, and also makes it difficult for other visitors to enjoy seeing them. Try to be respectful of nature and fellow visitors. #iLoveWildife #iLoveNature #iLoveBirds #Wildlifephotography in #NewJersey #Nature in #America #USA #SnowyOwls #DrDADBooks #Canon #Bringit #WildlifeConservation #Photography #Picoftheday #Photooftheday

Locally known as the Bakerwals, the shepherds spend most of their life roaming from one pasture to the other with their flocks and family.

 

Living in the mountains of the Kashmir Valley for the summer months, away from towns and cities, they manage everything by themselves — from childbirth to funerals. A Bakerwal family undertakes such tedious walking exercises at least twice a year — once up into the mountains and then back to the plains. They breed ferocious looking shepherd dogs that protect their flocks in the mountains from predators like leopards and bears. The women work alongside the males and do almost everything the males do. They tend their flocks, milk their cattle, cook food and take care of children.

The chital or cheetal (Axis axis) or Spotted Deer. Please view large.

 

The Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) is a primate of the Cercopithecidae (Old-world monkeys) family, closely related to the baboons and even more closely to the Drill. Both the Mandrill and the Drill were once classified as baboons in genus Papio, but recent research has determined that they should be separated into their own genus, Mandrillus. The Mandrill is the world's largest species of monkey.

 

The Mandrill is recognized by its olive-colored fur and the colorful face and rump of males, a coloration that grows stronger with sexual maturity; females have duller colours. This coloration becomes more pronounced as the monkey becomes excited and is likely to be an example of sexual selection. The coloration on the rump is thought to enhance visibility in the thick vegetation of the rainforest and aids in group movement.

 

The Mandrill is recognized by its olive-colored fur and the colorful face and rump of males, a coloration that grows stronger with sexual maturity; females have duller colours. This coloration becomes more pronounced as the monkey becomes excited and is likely to be an example of sexual selection. The coloration on the rump is thought to enhance visibility in the thick vegetation of the rainforest and aids in group movement.

 

Males average 25–35 kg (55-77 lb), females less than half that weigh (11-14 kg, or 25-30 lb). Unusually large males can weigh 50 kg (110 lb). The average male is 81-90 cm (32-36 in) and the female is 56-66 cm (22-26 in), with the tail adding another 5–8 cm (2–3 in).They can survive up to 31 years in captivity. Females reach sexual maturity at about 3.5 years.

 

The Mandrill is found in the tropical rainforests and occasionally woodlands of southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo. Its distribution is bounded by the Sanaga River to the north and the Ogooué and Ivindo rivers to the east. Recent research suggests that mandrill populations north and south of the Ogooué river are so genetically different as to be separate subspecies.

 

Mandrills are social animals and live in large groups, primarily including females and young and led by a single dominant male. Most adult males are solitary. It is difficult to accurately estimate group size in the forest, but filming a group crossing a gap between two forest patches or crossing a road is a reliable way of estimating group size. The largest group verifiably observed in this way contained over 1300 individuals, in Lopé National Park, Gabon—the largest aggregation of non-human primates ever recorded.

 

The Mandrill is an omnivore and acquires its food by foraging (mainly plants, insects and smaller animals) from the ground as it is terrestrial. Although the Mandrill does not normally hunt larger prey, males have been observed to hunt and consume duiker (a small antelope).

 

Its main natural predators are leopards, pythons and humans. Attacks on subadults by African crowned eagles have also been reported. Mandrills are hunted for food throughout their range, either with guns or using dogs and nets. In Cameroon, habitat loss to agriculture is also a threat.

 

A large group of mandrills can cause significant damage to crops in a very short time, and where common they are widely perceived as pests.

 

The gestation (pregnancy) time for the Mandrill is 6–7 months and young are usually born between January and April. However, the mandrill mates throughout the year during the estrous cycle, which occurs once every 33 days. The interbirth interval is typically 13–14 months.

 

Canadian Researcher William Sommers has found that during courtship, the female will walk after the male. If the male is interested he will stop and turn towards her. He will then mount her and they will copulate.

  

Mandrill infants are born with their eyes open and with fur. They have a black coat and pink skin for the first two months. They cling to their mother's belly immediately and can support their own weight. Mothers form bonds with their children. These bonds last into adulthood with the daughters, while the bonds with the sons last only until his sexual maturity. These bonds entail the two sitting with each other and grooming each other.

 

SINGAPORE ZOO

www.zoo.com.sg/

 

Over 2 hours of work last evening reprocessing a separate version of this image to pull the sky back in and then create a printable version. This is one of my favorite images from my trip to Tanzania. From the very beginning it was a difficult photograph because of the lighting that morning, but I wanted the shot so badly. Now I'm happy with the results. A great portion of photography is knowing how to shoot the image. Just as important is knowing how to deal with the shortcomings of the camera and making up for them.

Snow geese fly off into the eastern evening sky in New Mexico's Bosque del Apache refuge. They will find a shallow pond to sleep in for the night. The water helps protect them from potential predators. Even if predators enter the water, the sounds of splashing will alert the geese to the potential danger. The pastel colors of the evening sky are surreal. It is a most beautiful time of the day. #ILoveNature #ILoveWidlife #WildlifeaPhotography in #NewMexico #Nature in #America #USA #Canon #SnowGeese #Sunset #DrDADBooks #Bringit #Photography

The above image was taken a few days after DJ first introduced his eldest son from his last brood to my terrace and person. It was captured directly in front of my little terrace in the Rowan tree.

 

This is the promised shot of DJ Junior for a better comparison to the previous upload of his proud father Dandy Junior aka DJ: www.flickr.com/photos/138493762@N02/36151812993/in/photos...

 

Like his older brother Angelo, DJ was also born last summer, albeit towards the end of it. He also has the scrunchy bit around his eye like Angelo has, which both boys inherited from their super adorable mom Angel.

 

Interestingly enough, DJ and his young son DJ Junior from this summer, both have that scrunchy bit around their left eye whilst Angelo has it around his right eye like their mom Angel.

 

She never liked being photographed from that side, which I thought was rather funny. Angel would always tilt or turn her head to her "good" side for most shots. My good side also happens to be my left side, just like that of Angel and Angelo, lol.

 

These extra fluffy feathers around their one eye give all of these cute little Robins a most soulful expression as well as looking a bit worried on that side ;-)

 

I have decided to call this little cutie Angel as he is the sole survivor of his dad's various nesting attempts. I called DJ's most angelic mom and hence Junior's very special grandmother, Angel aka Engelchen. "Der Engel" being the German word for, you guessed it, the angel and the "chen" being a form of endearment. Basically meaning "little angel."

 

Oh right, so Grandma Angel aka Engelchen was not only a Buddha Bird but a rare Buddha Angel. Clearly, her grandson is following in her footsteps and I have bestowed the special status of Buddha Angel on him ;-)

 

A few days ago, Angel and I had another little bonding session on my terrace whilst he was busy snagging some of the few already ripe and dark berries from the Wayfaring tree overhanging my little terrace. He is now beginning to show some of the red breast feathers.

 

I now also have a slew of super adorable close-up portraits of Angel all over my terrace due to him dealing most bravely with quite the leg and foot injury these past few days. And not to worry, I will be uploading some of those images in the coming weeks! I decided to stick to the above image for now for the family likeness comparison (specifically the scrunchy bit around the eye) with his dad in the previous image ;-)

 

Yesterday morning, he turned up with his dad right after I went outside. He then bounced all around me, landing more or less on his fluffy stomach feathers while perching on the head of the goody angel, then at the UK birdbath as well as on my terrace trunk while I was standing right in the midst of it all.

 

At first, I thought how sweet is this. Later on, when he kept returning and fluttering around me, I discovered that his right foot was somehow sprained or twisted as he was not able to use it nor even hop around on one foot. He kept squirming around on the wider branches until he finally got comfortable after fluffing himself up and resting that foot. His right toe is also twisted under the middle one on that foot.

 

Angel was showing me what was wrong with him as all wildlife has a tendency to do ever since I was a child. They know that I really try to listen and understand them plus am very empathic and understanding of both their emotional as well as physical pain. Wherever I can, I try to help ease their pains.

 

I am always in such awe of them as they have to deal with all of their pains without any of the help we can obtain, be it via therapists, meds or other forms of treatment. Not to mention that there generally is no one around lending a helping hand in times of need.

 

Anyway, Angel put on a super brave front and I told all the other smaller songbirds to play nice as the various Great Tit males can be quite the bullies towards the Robins. Well, my resident GT Ziggy who happens to have a heart of gold under his macho facade, took my words to heart.

 

When Angel landed on the lower posing branch of the Wayfaring tree overhanging my terrace, Ziggy was there and looked at him in a most concerned manner. Angel then moved right up next to Ziggy. So sweet to see. Alas, my camera did not feel like focusing on the both of them and opted for the foliage in the background instead...

 

Angel spent the day showing off his impressive aerial acrobatic skills as he was always darting to the very few already ripe berries on the Wayfaring tree plus snagging all kinds of insects mid-air. In fact, he looked just like a large Hummingbird, Never seen such flying skills in a Robin!

 

In the afternoon sun, he then showed me that I needed to put more water into my new UK birdbath as he could not get to the water to drink it due to him not really being able to use his feet to balance himself out down towards the water. So, I promptly topped it off much to his imminent approval.

 

He then discovered what fun it is to fly into and around the birdbath, dabbing himself with the refreshing filtered water and then resting on the wide rim. When Darling aka Rudy Junior 2016, the first cousin of his dad DJ, stopped by to join him for drinks, Angel started fluttering around some more while begging his older cousin for food. Or, so I thought. Darling promptly left the premises. I am still not sure if Angel was maybe even telling him to leave him alone or not...

 

As you can all imagine, I did not really catch much sleep last night. When his dad appeared this morning, I asked him how his darling son was faring and DJ was most definitely not in mourning.

 

Finally, Angel appeared today around noon. He then showed me that he was doing better even if his foot and lower leg are still out of order and twisted. But, he was able to put some weight on that leg and then proceeded to flit all around me, snagging more berries, resting and then splashing around the birdbath while I was sitting right next to it.

 

His father DJ was bringing both of his kids to my terrace during the second week of August. A premiere this summer, as my resident Robins were all been plagued by the most tragic and heart-wrenching losses these past few months.

 

At first, I only caught glimpses of DJ Junior aka Angel over the second August weekend. The little guy kept fluttering around to the windows which I have all safeguarded by having mosquito netting on all the doors and windows which can be opened as the netting is on the outside. I have now also "baby-bird-proofed" my two panorama windows with mosquito netting on the outside in order to prevent any crashes or worse, as these windows are part of my little terrace.

 

Junior aka Angel promptly flew over my shoulder and then tried to get into my living room by way of the open terrace door, Happily, I had secured the mosquito netting so that he did not get entangled in it or get inside. He just bounced up against it and made a fast getaway. I noticed that he was still a bit disoriented, so I told his dad to maybe keep him tucked away in the ivy for a few more days until he was a better flier. DJ took my words to heart with a most positive outcome ;-)

 

DJ and I really bonded during those past few weeks and he went to great lengths to make sure that I would dash outside onto my terrace when he turned up so that his kids could get to know me better. This way they also know where they can go for drinks and grub as well as having a safe refuge on my terrace from the many roaming cats around as well as from any natural predators as they all avoid my ivy-overgrown and enclosed terrace.

 

The rather skeptical dad of my dearly beloved senior resident Rudy (RIP) and his brother Dandy (the father of DJ and Angelo) inspired the character of the clever clogs professor: Prof. Dr. Dr. Rudy Besserwisser aka Rudy Wright in my upcoming picture book series, "Flaushi the Buddha Jay." The series is based on my very special and completely wild Eurasian jay Flaushi and all of his friends on and around my enchanted terrace.

This memo circulated in Galveston 4 years ago this month.

  

Mayor Lamentowski,

 

I have sent the following memo to all of my men. For your ears only, unless you have a friend or two who might enjoy the gossip. See you this evening at "Nonno Tony's"!

  

Troops,

 

Troops, officers & pretend officers who will pretend to be officers during "Operation Kick Ass!". Remember, a phony arrest is always difficult, no matter how small the victim is. Please keep your wits when we take him out.

 

It is believed the subject, pictured above, may be seen clothed in cashmere & oxford cloth somewhere near the restaurant he owns in Jamaica Beach. It is reported, although none of us have been there, that he makes delicious pizzas & cheeseburgers. He, doubtlessly, will be obeying the law. Pay no mind to this. I say this along with all my brethren at the Galveston & Jamaica Beach Police departments, "He is too weird whether his food tastes good or not." Along with his rangefinder camera, he has been spotted taking glorious photography of wildflowers throughout the West End. Unfortunately, as we are all aware, this is not the purpose of the West End. Remember, he is not armed or dangerous, & is reported to terrified of all types of guns & wasps. We are unaware of any reckless behavior, with the possible exception of some knucklehead type stuff at university. In other fair balance, he also has a wife, three young children & a Boston Terrier. Pay no mind to any of this. Remember officers -- he has a camera & appears to be onto our rather obvious greasyness down west. Proceed with caution. Arrest em, beat em, book em, & then we fill in the details at the station. We will get the nurse to scare the shit out him. Poor shmuk We even have a prosecutor that is ready to work with us. Someone should have told him down at the bar. "You don't just march into Jamaica Beach and go all California." He will just have to learn his lesson. He thinks all those people in back in Galveston are his friends. What a moron. In abiding concern for the law, we must break it ourselves. He's just one guy & the town brass assure me they will support us. Remember, we normally represent a thin blue line between predator & victim. Not this time. Now go get him!!

  

-Commandant Linguini with Clam Sauce, Galveston Police Chief

Sugar on Snails

ScReW - Gather Roses

 

Gav was just a gardener on the estate. He had been there since he was a child, learning from his parents and grandparents, and his older siblings and relatives. They had done this for generations even before his oldest living relatives. It was the way of things. Gav was now in his mid-twenties, and had done well by the lord and his family.

 

But when the venerable, and seemingly immortal Lord Nu had passed (at, some said, 200 years old), and his son had taken over, things had changed somewhat.

 

The young Lord Kaindir, had ascended to take the mantle, and he had ‘tightened things up’ quite a bit. The young lord was virile, more aggressive, and projected his strength in ways his father might have found vulgar. But he was the Lord now, and he didn’t seem to care as much.

 

Gav was selected by Kaindir to be his personal servant in the house, and removed him from his duties as a gardener. It had been a change, but Gav had adapted well, and the Lord became comfortable with him around. He often required Gav to display his young, fit physique, and had him train with him, running, swimming, and other physical activities. He even taught the servant to sword fight so he could spar with someone he could trust.

 

Gav did all of these things and excelled at them. And the two were rather close, though Gav was reminded that he was not a noble and should not get that confused with the privileged life of servant.

 

As the first year passed, Lord Kaindir had brought lovers to his chambers, and Gav had been required to be attentive, as the Lord would sometimes require refreshments brought in during or after his amorous conquests, or sometimes his partners would require assistance afterwards. He was a lusty man, Kaindir.

 

Occasionally, the prince would take Gav down a notch, by tying him down and using him the way he had used his lovers and whores, whispering in Gav’s ear how he knew the servant boy lusted for him.

 

This was a secret that was solely between Gav and the Prince, and it made him feel needed, strangely, but also bound that much more tightly to his Lord and Master.

 

And then, the military campaigns began, and Kaindir and his troops marched into neighboring fiefdoms and conquered.

 

It was after one such conquest that the boy in the red robe was brought back to the estate - a trophy of conquest by Kaindir. It was the young prince, Raiph.

 

Raiph was smaller of build, thin and lean, and had the softest flowing white hair. His skin was pale, almost alabaster, and he was definitely more beautiful than handsome. The prince had been brought in, bound with rope, cleverly and purposefully knotted to restrict movements. He wore only a red robe that had long sleeves and white textured collar. Much to Raiph’s public embarrassment, his robe was left open at the front, and did nothing to hide his modesty.

 

It was said that Raiph was a sorcerer, and his blood was in descent from the Emperor’s line. When he was captured, Kaindir had known this, and had taken the precautions to prevent a spell being laid upon him by the prisoner.

 

His guards brought the prisoner to the Lord’s chambers, and left the two alone. Gav had already been sent out of the room, to leave the Lord and captive together, but watched.

 

Gav did as he always did; He moved to the secret spy chamber adjacent, where there was a hidden observation portal - really just a clever peep-hole - that allowed him to remain aware of what his master was doing and what his needs might be.

 

He watched as his master stood with his back to the doorway, his athletic frame on display with his shirt off, his multitude of tattoos covered his chest, arms, and shoulders.The temperature had fallen, and his nipples were hard, as he stood before his captive.

 

Kaindir’s black mane was tied up in a partial bun at the back, but much of it hung free to caress his shoulders and chest, and framed his high-cheekboned face. He looked intently upon his prize, his lips compressed in contemplation. Gav was sometimes awestruck by the male form of his master, his handsome and alluring frame something to give fire to his nighttime contemplations.

 

His master drew his katana, and held it to the front of Raiph’s robe, and seemed to gesture to the left and right. The ropes binding the captive held the robe mostly in place, but Gav could tell that his master was opening the robe in the front, to get a better view of Raiph’s body.

 

The gap in the robe made the bound young prince blush, as he could see the lascivious way the Lord Kaindir gazed and smirked, compressing his lips in a smile that could only mean that something rather interesting was about to begin.

 

Gav felt his ardor rising, even as he could see his Lord’s might be, also. He watched as Kaindir’s katana went back into its sheath at his waist, and put his master’s hands went to his hips. It emphasized Kaindir’s tightly muscled frame, and he could see how the bound prisoner was looking down and away, even as the beautiful Raiph stole glances at the handsome black haired lord.

 

Kaindir’s arm went around the red-robed prisoner’s shoulder and he drew him roughly to him, and he said, in a harsh whisper, “You are mine, now, Raiph. If you join me, now, willingly, we shall have great power between us - our lands will join, and we shall rule..”

 

“I won’t be your puppet, Lord Kaindir,” the soft voice of the captive said, in reply. “You have me in your power now, but the cost of holding me against my will and trying to force me.. “

 

Kaindir put a hand over Raiph’s mouth, and the muffled voice stopped after a moment. “Let me finish, my dear. Nod if you understand.”

 

The katana was back out of its sheath now.

 

Raiph’s lush mane of white locks shifted as he nodded, sending the silken curls sliding over the fabric of the robe. Gav could hear the rustle of the motion from his observation post. He gulped.

 

“I can end it all here - your line, your hopes and dreams - right now. All it will take is spilling your blood, and making that red robe just a bit more red,“ the katana-wielder said, sweeping his hand back through the long mane of midnight black locks. Gav could sense the iron will behind his lord’s words, and he gulped.

 

There was a shift in Raiph’s stance, and strangely, the arms of the robe, tied behind the prisoner, seemed almost to deflate - to become floppy to Gav’s eyes. And that’s when he saw the slender white-maned captive wasn’t so restrained any more. His hands were coming out of the front of the robe, like snakes, almost, and there was this strange noise in the air - Lord Kaindir was standing there, his eyes growing wide at the sight, but he was trembling, unable to move.

 

Raiph’s snake-like arms wound around the handsome Prince’s neck, even as the other one took the Katana out of the other’s grasp. The blade flicked left and right and the ropes binding the smaller Prince fell away, and the crimson robe slid off his shoulders to pool at his feet in the floor. The pale skin and sorcerer stepped out of the tumbled robe.

 

Gav watched, transfixed as the slender, beautiful young sorcerer slowly stalked around the powerful lord, without a stitch of clothing on, a smile on his lips. He moved with a sinuous grace around him like a predator cat, examining his new prize.

 

Gav started to push himself away from the peep hole when he found he couldn't move, and he knew why.. He hadn’t been able to pull his gaze from the scene, and now he was looking into the gleaming red eyes of Raiph. The gaze held him. Gav could feel the mind of the sorcerer dominating his will, and he could hear the voice of command, “Get yourself in here, now Gav, and don’t raise any alarms. That’s a good boy. You and your master are going to be performing for me in ways you haven’t imagined yet. In fact, I’m feeling quite lecherous right now. “

 

Gav gulped and his body followed the whims of the white-maned sorcerer. He entered the chambers, and slid the rice-paper door closed behind him, as he saw that Raiph was lounging naked on the nearby couch, and Kaindir was standing in front of the couch.

 

“Come, Gav,” Raiph said in a soft voice that nevertheless echoed in his mind. “Come and undress your prince for me.. And then undress yourself. I am feeling rather lecherous tonight, and you both seem to be just what I need right now to feed that appetite. Oh don’t worry, Kaindir, my lord. I won’t deflower you too badly. Maybe. No worse than you planned for me.”

 

Gav felt the mental commands fill his mind. And the night just got that more interesting.

 

~Fini~

 

Story by: Dehrynn Shepherd

 

A young male leopard looks out over the Serengeti territory he has inherited. His mother has recently left him to go off in search of her own new territory. His sister, who is still near by, will soon leave to find a territory of her own. With rare exception the life of a leopard is lonely and solitary. Males will associate with females during mating but do not partake in care of the young. It is the way things have been done for eons. #ILoveNature #ILoveWildlife #ILoveAfrica #ILoveTanzania #Tanzania #Leopards #Canon #BigCats

Believe it or not, the fastest terrestrial animal in the world still needs extra help to carry out a successful hunt in the wild. Being the fastest has its advantages and its disadvantages. Reaching speeds of over 70 mph (110 kph) and doing so in just 3 to 4 seconds means burning lots of energy and pushing muscle physiology to its limits. As a result, the time that they can spend at this speed is very limited. Most hunts are over in under 60 seconds, at which point these cats are overheated and exhausted. So just as important as speed is their ability to remain hidden and get dangerously close to their prey before springing into action. In the tall amber grasses they only need to drop their heads about 6 to 8 inches to disappear like ghosts. If they can remain downwind they become formidable predators, hunting at speeds comparable to cars careening down an open highway. #iLoveNature #iLoveWildlife #WildlifePhotography in #Tanzania #Nature in #Africa #Serengeti #cheetahs #DrDADBooks #Canon #WildlifeConservation

a couple grizzly's walking through a picnic area in Yellowstone park, seeing them made my day : )

Mother Joy and one of her cubs (I still cannot distinguish them well). I like the snuggly character of the picture! :)

You can see the second cub in the background, on the right side of the frame.

 

Picture taken in the zoo of Zürich.

I have observed real affection between mother and child in many of the animals I have photographed. The large ungulates, and the predators. Very poignant, and quite real.

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