Bubulcus ibis ibis

Backyard and Beyond

A Western Cattle Egret has been hanging out in Penn South, a co-op complex in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. There are damn few cattle thereabouts, but these birds, who in their original range (Africa, Middle East, Southern Europe) follow migrating ruminants who kick up a storm of bugs, are adaptable enough to get bugs and grubs where they may.Somehow these birds made it to South America in the late 19th century. Then they slowly worked their way north. They were breeding in the U.S. by the 1950s. They’re mostly found in our southern states now.I saw my first at Jamaica Bay, but they’re pretty uncommon in NYC and they are very uncommon in Manhattan.But wait a minute. Haven’t we seen this head somewhere before?Who would have thought that the Dr. Frankenstein who keeps Trump’s Hair alive with a surfeit of drugs would have modeled the color on…

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8 of Africa’s ‘secret’ National Parks every wildlife-lover should know about | Inspire Me | Wanderlust


NVBS Spring Show

Bonsai Iterate

The Northern Virginia Bonsai Society has the spring show on display this weekend at the Fairfax location of Merrifield Garden Center.

I love that members of the society can show any tree. It’s a great opportunity to see what friends are working on, including works in progress. The chance to see trees in training is also a great way to share the process and art form with the visiting public.

I entered two trees — for all their flaws — the ficus and boxwood below.

There were many other (more) fine examples. I couldn’t get great shots of them all, but please enjoy the images below. And if you can stop by to see it in person, so much the better.

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A Weekend in Niagara Falls

Nomad By Trade

While I was working in the Buffalo area, I had to stay out there for a weekend. Since it’s so close to Niagara Falls, and Niagara Falls is only a few hours from home, I invited my boyfriend to join me on a semi-work-funded mini-vacation. Niagara Falls is the perfect weekend destination. There’s just the right amount of scenery, attractions, and nightlife to keep you entertained in any season.

Wandering Buffalo

He had to drive in from Detroit after working a full day, so I had Friday evening to kill on my own. I decided to head to downtown Buffalo to find some dinner, but quickly realized that that wasn’t in the cards because the Sabres had a home game that night. I wandered around a little looking for somewhere to pull over so I could look up some other areas on my phone and ended up stumbling across an…

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Get ready to welcome spring’s returning hummingbirds

Our Fine Feathered Friends

All bird enthusiasts have their personal favorites among our feathered friends. Cardinals, bluebirds, robins and chickadees would certainly find a place in any Top 10 lists. What bird would top the list? I have no qualms predicting that the ruby-throated hummingbird would be a frontrunner for such a ranking.

rubythroated_hummingbird A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird seeks nectar at tiny blooms. — Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The popularity of hummingbirds in general, and the ruby-throated hummingbird specifically, is simple to understand. These tiny birds are perfectly willing to insert themselves into our lives, offering hours of fascinating entertainment as they visit our gardens, duel at our sugar water feeders and occasionally even nest in trees and shrubs in our yards.

Individuals who feed birds know that it can be an expensive undertaking. The cost of providing sunflower seeds and suet cakes for hungry flocks during the winter months can nibble…

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