Tag Archive | local wildlife

A Rose by any other name

I’m one of those old folks who start the day by reading the local paper. And we’re lucky here in New Orleans that we still have a daily paper – The Advocate. The other long time local paper, the Times Picayune, has gone like so many others to 3 printings a week, which doesn’t work for me.

So this beautiful, clear, and chilly January morning, I’m skipping through the dozens of society page pictures of smiling young women in white dresses holding flowers. This is not only Carnival season where the krewes post pictures of their Queen and her court of princesses and pages (there are a few guys in tuxedos, too), but also it’s debutant season. Don’t ya just love it?

The debs are featured with biographies, including their lineage, colleges attending, and both formal shots and casual ones, often taken under the oak trees in City Park or with their horses. The best part is one of these young women–ages 18-21–is likely chosen Queen of Carnival. The King of Carnival, however, is a white-haired old fart–a businessman, banker, lawyer, or philanthropist-type, but not politicians. Perfect, right? These guys are old enough to be these women’s grandfathers.

All the photographers happy, as well as the dressmakers, hair stylists, makeup specialists, and florists. But what struck me this morning was the variety of first names for the young women and girls–kids as young as 6 or 7 are involved.

We have the usual collection of Marys, Susans, Emilys, and Graces. Yet, I found Carter, Stirling, Everett, Peyton, Marley, and the most amazing name for a beautiful, blonde, young lady–Kingsland!

What the hell were her parents thinking?

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Procrastination or a Break?

How we define what we’re doing is a matter of perception. My writing plan is to write 5 days week for 4 hours, but I’m not doing that right now. Mardi Gras was a good excuse since one of the big parades goes through my neighborhood. But that was last Saturday and Fat Tuesday was two days ago. The really good news is that I received a contract from Soul Mate Publishing the beginning of February for a new story–The Taste of Her. Will advise when it’s going to be published. That success makes me very happy, and perhaps after I quit celebrating, I’ll get back to work.

What I’m doing instead is taking pictures in City Park. IMG_0895
Here one of the black swans, swimming toward us. See how his wings are lifted. That’s aggressive behavior. He’s telling us not to get too close. We had our 3 dogs with us.
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Here’s why. The two have built a nest on a small island in the lagoon that runs along City Park Avenue. Hopefully, folks won’t notice them since they blend in so thoroughly. The orange stripe on their beaks is almost the only way you can find them. We are in great hopes that they will produce cygnets in a couple months. We haven’t any cygnets, black or white, since before Katrina. See my post about the black swan that was injured protecting her nest from vandals last spring. Post title is “Wildlife in New Orleans” from March 19, 2013.

So enough procrastinating this morning. And by the way, if you haven’t read my first novella, The Red Halter Top, I have to ask – “What are you waiting for?”

Headphones are a Hazard

Excuse the rant today, but I have to comment on the growing tendency of nearly everyone to wear headphone, especially when walking. We’ve all seen the jokes of folks tripping or falling in holes because they have their faces in their phones. But the headphones can be dangerous when we’re not paying attention to where we are or what’s happening.
I ride my ol’ lady three-wheel bike in City Park about three mornings a week, and almost all the folks walking are wearing headphones. They are so engrossed in the music or whatever and/or have the sound so loud that they cannot hear me when I ring my bike bell to warn them I’m trying to pass. Dangerous. Even folks walking with others are lost in their head phones.
I tend to see some of the same people walking each day, and my game is to try to get them to say hello. My results are poor, but I’ll keep up speaking to them anyway.
I’m proposing that we have a headphone-free day to encourage folks to talk to their friends, greet the others on the walking path, listen to the squawking of the birds and ducks, and generally become aware of the world.
What do you think?

Wildlife in New Orleans

New Orleans is a city with a variety of attractions. Bourbon Street’s strip and music clubs often top the list for visitors. But I live near City Park, a 1,300 acre public park within the city. Even though I mainly visit only a small portion, you’ll be amazed at the different kinds of birds I see practically on a daily basis. Canadian geese, barnyard geese, mallards, kingfishers, cormorants, even pelicans in the winter months. Swans are my favorite, however.

We had a nesting pair and a brood of cygnets before Katrina, but none since. It’s hard to tell the males from the females, except the males are somewhat bigger. Notice how this one glares at me – probably because my dogs are too close.
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Swans are large, fierce birds you don’t want to mess with, especially when they have a nest. There’ve been a couple of nests built and tended to in the last few years, but no cygnets. Not sure whether predators (racoons, nutria-big rat-like critters) get the eggs or pollution prevents their development or other problems. IMG_0513

I understand swans mate for life, and the saddest thing I ever saw was a lone swam swimming through the lagoons after Katrina flooded the whole area, calling and clearly searching for other swans. These are so-called mute swans, but sometimes you can hear their call – like a soft shriek. A few months later, a donor from Texas gave the park two white and two black swans.

Only one black swan remains, so far as I see, and she was hurt by some vandals who destroyed her nest and eggs (haven’t seen two black swans, but somehow she produced eggs). Named Amanda, the swan is recovering at the clinic of our bird vet, Dr. Gregory Rich. She’s going to be fine. http://newsle.com/article/0/58611741/ This link connects to a picture of her.

Two white swans remain as well, and this week I saw one of them building a nest on a small island in one of the lagoons. Will keep track and post pictures as things develop. Cross your fingers; we might have more cygnets.

Don’t you wish you lived in New Orleans?

P.S. The weather today is clear, sunny, and 64 degrees.