Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Week Day Reading-Birds, Blooms & More

Every winter I set little goals for myself that never seem to happen due to my short attention span and taking on too many things at once, including setting aside some time to veg curled up under comfy blankets and do some reading.  So far that hasn't happened this year until I got a review copy of the Unfeathered Bird-by Katrina van Grouw.  I was thrilled to accept the offer considering I'm pretty picky on what I review due to time constraints but this one intrigued me as it would offer me a glimpse of birds one seldom sees unless your'e into ornithology and I think the statement below sums it best.

"The Unfeathered Bird represents the culmination of a lifetime of work by Katrina van Grouw and draws heavily on her background as a former curator of the ornithological collections at London's Natural History Museum, a successful fine artist, and a taxidermist specialist.  For years, Katrina and her husband expertly prepared specimens of birds in natural poses from which she sketched and painted her art at true-to-life size."

 As you will see in the picture above.  Anyone want to guess what kind of bird belongs to that leg??  Give up??  That my friend is a Mallard!  Pretty nifty I do say so myself!

And my nemesis bird of 2012, the Black Vulture (pardon some of the photos as I was taking them under unnatural night time light and can't do this beautiful book justice).  Despite the photo, it is still fascinating to see this bird presented as it is above.  Check out the eye sockets!!  Amazing.

But my favorite photo of all is of the White-throated Hummingbird.  I can't help but to marvel at the delicate bone structure and the overall size of the bill in comparison.  Makes me respect hummingbirds even more and their natural spunk!

And the last photo is that of a Common Eider whose skull reminds me of an expensive running shoe!  ;-).  Also note the Red-breasted Merganser above.  But the sketches don't stop there as Katrina has every taxonomic family of birds in this book and all beautifully sketched.  Thinking this is going to make for some  more in depth holistic birding I'm so fond of, when I get a First of the Year bird and then go through all my guides and written content on the particular bird species and now have this to explore even further.

And now onto something a little more local which is a local Worcester blog called Growing with Plants by Matt.  Be sure to click on that link as it's going to bring you directly to a post I'm sure all of the Worcester County locals will appreciate as it's old pictures from when his father was active in the Forbush Bird Club which was a highlight of my day yesterday.  Be fore warned, it's the type of blog you can spend a lot of time at which I have as Matt is not only an incredible gardener with an impressive knowledge of every plant imaginable, but photographer and writer as well- but I'll let you see that for yourself.

  And here I was all proud of myself that I've kept my rosemary alive for the past two years without killing it which is what I usually do.  It was left out this past mild winter we had which made me grow very attached to it so brought it into the office to over winter there thinking it would be a better place for it to go dormant with no danger of a hard frost.  After about 2 weeks of artificial light the rosemary behaved as if it were on steroids but growing very leggy due to lack of natural sunlight.  The heat is drying it out as well so have to give it a hearty watering once a week but still at a loss on what I should do as I'm not sure if I should prune the leggy growth or not but right now I'm just glad it's still alive!  ;-)

Take care all.

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