Someone Needs a Good Ass Whooping

The Whooping Crane is the third most endangered bird in North America. A mere average of 380 birds remain alive in the wild today. About a hundred are reintroduced birds that migrate between Wisconsin and Alabama or Florida. The majority are a natural flock that summers in Canada and winters on the coast of Texas.

The most malevolent killer of these stately, five-foot tall, white birds with their seven-foot wingspan, are not bobcats, alligators, or bears, but humans with guns. The birds aren’t predators, they pose no harm to domestic animals or farm crops. The birds spend most of their time foraging in wetlands and the edges of fields. In Kentucky, two more Whooping Cranes have been murdered.

Historically they were hunted for their for their brilliant white feathers. Today they’re killed for sport or plain ass stupidity. In 1950 there were less than 50 alive in the entire United States. Sixty-four years later not many more are around. They don’t breed every year like most birds. They raise their young for the first year. They mate for life. The environment today presents new dangers. Power lines, pesticides and poisons, loss of habitat, danger from oil spills and water shortages. The easier access of man to smaller territories inhabited by Whooping Cranes.

When cranes fly, they’ll catch a thermal and rise like a spirit into the heavens, gone from view within the tenth of a second used to measure who wins a race. Those lucky few that watch the near illusion are left standing in awe, wondering if they’ve actually seen a Whooping Crane or an miracle.

I’ve watched a Whooping Crane glide along the tree tops, following the path of a small creek through a protected wetland. Creeping along a highway shoulder at 35 miles an hour, I saw that brilliant white  bird from more than a mile in the distance. It disappeared when it came to ground after the third mile. Although I turned down the first road to the left, I  had no luck finding it, although, its distinctive whoop could be heard from the marsh.

Listen to the unique call of two Texas Whooping Cranes …

Approximately mid-March in Wisconsin, I open the bedroom and porch windows. I do it so I can listen for the sound of birds returning north. Canada Geese arrive first, followed by the mated pair of Sandhill Cranes that return to the bog behind our home. When the neighborhood hooking settles down, it’s time to separate the Sandhills from the possible Whooping Cranes. They might arrive separately, or they might arrive together. It depends. These are still young birds, they haven’t established permanent territories or picked out lifetime mates.

A few years ago, a young female Whooper broke ranks during the Florida UltraLite migration and flew off with a flock of Sandhill Cranes. When she returned, she was leading the flock, was the loudest, and the Sandhill Cranes were following her. I didn’t see them. We live between a hill and the Fox River  they were navigating over. I certainly heard them.

That same year, a single bird flew over and disappeared for the entire summer. Again, I heard him but couldn’t see him. When I heard he was missing, i suspected where he might be, but there was no way I could get in there. Eventually, in late summer, early autumn, he was located by an air search in the expected area. He’s well and with the flock in Alabama this winter.

Not so with the couple of birds that decided Kentucky would be a good place to mate and raise a family. They nested and produced their first egg this year. It was the first egg from the White River Marsh birds. It wasn’t viable, but it was a hopeful sign. Our birds had learned well, they were acting like wild birds, no attachment to humans, doing what they were trained to do. Go, leave, live naturally in the wetlands of the eastern fly-way.

In late November, someone decided it would be fun to shoot two Whooping Cranes wintering in Kentucky. Our magnificent Wisconsin birds have been murdered.  Please help us find the killer or killers of our young birds.

Living twenty miles from Operation Migration’s Whooping Crane summer site, makes the killing of these birds, very personal  We must find this person, or persons and turn them over for investigation and prosecution.  This was a joy killing, a criminal offence covered by the Federal Endangered Species Act. The reward recently doubled to $15,000. Someone needs a good ass whooping for what they’ve done. Please share this blog and pass the word along.

The Today Show updated and rebroadcast their recent feature on Operation Migration and the Wisconsin to Florida flock to include the killing and reward for our two birds.

Watch the NBC Today Show visit Operation Migration in Wisconsin…

http://www.today.com/video/today/54174987

Read the Kentucky Courier Journal about the national reward…

http://blogs.courier-journal.com/watchdogearth/2014/01/24/reward-for-killed-cranes-doubles/

Please get the word out and HELP. Thank You.

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Seeing Red

Ghosts of Highway 51

Ghosts of Highway 51

Yesterday was true to Wisconsin winter weather. Snow flurries, rain, freezing rain, high winds, biting cold and blowing snow, drifts and slushy roads. All within a five hour period. Once a month we make a trip north to Wautoma, a very well appointed town with great shopping. They happen to have a grocery store with a meat market that marinates, smokes, seasons, and packages their own sausages, brats, tenderloins, and chicken breasts. There are at least two dozen varieties each of brats and chicken breasts always in stock. These weren’t anorexic chickens, the breasts average a pound each. Well worth the drive once a month.

You're So Transparent

You’re So Transparent

Hubby is addicted to a smart phone ap named Ingress. It requires locating and destroying enemy portals. The portals are accepted into the system through a submission process including a photo of the portal, such as a public building or historical landmark and GPS location from its players.

Apple of My Eye

Apple of My Eye

I asked if many players have been picked up as potential terrorists. For low levels like my “Grumpy”, it may take up to twenty minutes to take out and secure an area for himself.  “A few have been detained while the government tried to unravel the complications of the game.”   I reminded him ,”If aliens were among us, he and other Ingress players might be uploading information needed for the worldwide takeover by the Zombie Apocalypse”.

A River Run 'Neath It

A River Runs ‘Neath It

Any hoo –  the two hour afternoon drive for groceries. with a few Ingress stops at three additional small towns along the route, ended five hours later. I captured three vastly different sets of photographs for the blog while following the man around, capturing enemy portals on his phone. I asked my techno-leader which pics I should run first and he chose, Seeing Red. I should have known, red is his favorite color.

Oy, Feed and Imp

Oy, Feed and Imp

All photos in this seriers were shot during conditions of high winds and blowing snow on a 3200 ISO setting. Samsung WB150F pocket camera on manual settings. Post processing, OnOne Photo Suite (a very old edition). I had the high ISO setting cranked for an earlier shoot of the moon and Venus and forgot to reset it. I like the way it retained the grainy, atmospheric conditions of the day.

Other cameras I use are an old Olympus E550 which is a terrific little flower-power camera. It’s the one I also hand to Grumpy when I need a back-up shooter. My main gun is a Oly E510 that is beginning to feel sticky. I think, like my laptops, the end is approaching for my old field machine. I’m well antiquated, not well appointed. Also just starting to believe my own talent might be in my eye and not the cost of the equipment.

I’d love to hear from others that are on the same journey.

Windows into my World

I’m having another woo-hoo moment. Lately, it’s been happening more frequently. At one time, I was an above normal psychic type person. I hate being a know it all, but I could tell what was going to happen – just not exactly when, much too often. Over the years, I trained myself to tune out. Unless it’s life threatening, or an emergency, I’d pass, thank you. Coincidence is cozy enough to live with. I didn’t need to calculate the odds of events occurring in my life anymore.

A couple of days ago I was mentally preparing my next blog. I have a couple of very old photographs that were going to form the basis for my post on windows. Not the Microsoft Operating System … of which I could write a 1,000 words. Mine is on life support and I’m learning how to walk using a Chrome tablet. Lot’s of up and downs and mistakes going on, but that’s a different dirty window.

Enough negativity. I actually wanted to post useless pics of windows I’d taken through the years. Today’s Weekly Photography Challenge appeared and ‘hoot’, for once I’m ahead of the curve. I’ll take the lucky bit of timing and go with it. Hopefully, as I’m posting, some meaningful composition will form and I won’t just burp and serve a plate of unattenuated pixels to my followers. Please leave a comment and let me know if I inadvertently caused any indigestion.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window
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Happy, happy, joy, joy – I love me most of all

Happy, happy, joy, joy, loving me, loving you! Nothing makes me smile faster than watching any of my critters at play. Lucy Dog, loves Frisbee, backwards in the snow. The three cats roll over one other around a sprinkling of catnip. Coo, our wee parrot, loves his swim-swims. Even the two fish in the tank get excited and wag their tails like eager puppies when visited.

The happiest times come from interaction with my mare, Maggie. Letting her off the line to dance at liberty and enjoy her own reflection in the barn mirrors and windows allows her personality to come out. She’s simply overjoyed visiting her own image.

Maggie’s an alpha, or top, boss horse in the herd. In a herd all horses live within a hierarchy. She’s kind and gentle, but very confident and certain of her leadership ability. If she were human, I suppose she’d be a tad conceited, but I think she’d enjoy a good belly laugh over her own antics. I think Maggie finds her happy happy, joy joy in her free dance.

Daily Prompt:Happy Happy Joy Joy

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Operation Migration – Whooping Cranes – Update: Florida arrival completed.

The flight started over three months ago approximately 25 miles northeast of my house. Eight five-month old Whooping Crane Chicks took their first flight away from their secure home pen and started a long, slow, flight to Florida.

Missed the live transmission?  Check out earlier flights via YouTube. OM will probably post a video of today’s last flight in a few days, so please check back on YouTube.

If you’re interesting in learning more about Operation Migration and keeping current with news on this year’s eight chicks, check out OM’s often humorous, daily blog journal, In the Field.

The final portion of the flight of eight endangered Whooping Crane chicks raised in Green Lake County, Wisconsin this summer, and trained to fly following a UltraLite, (personal aircraft) has been safely completed. UltraLites, piloted by costumed handlers, serve as surrogate parents to teach the endangered birds their migration route. Destined for a backup to the natural (remaining wild born) Whooping Crane flock which migrate between Canada and the Texas coast, the UL trained birds wintering in Florida, will  return north next spring without human intervention. Once taught the migration route it remains imprinted for life.

Now in Florida, the cameras are off. The two live video feeds are:

http://www.ustream.tv/flyingcranes

Live and awaiting the birds arrival at the St. Marks, Fl wintering pen site. This feed will be down until training begins again with new chicks next summer in Wisconsin.

http://www.ustream.tv/migratingcranes

If you missed today’s  live transmission check back at this link. The camera feed could be working at St. Marks, Florida while the birds are adjusting to their new home. Next summer it will again be transmitting 24/7 at the Wisconsin pen site.

For more information on the Whooping Crane, one of ten rarest North American birds, please visit these sites:

https://www.savingcranes.org/

http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/

http://www.operationmigration.org/

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/wildlifeareas/whiteriver.html

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/st_marks/

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Bites and Bits

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The only certainty in life in that all electronic devices have a beginning and an end. Mine have had productive, if not always sensible lives. When not flailing around attempting to create a photographic legacy, I wandered for hundreds of hours through imaginary worlds of online gaming. Friends and family eventually moved on to other games that didn’t interest me. Exploring solo, lost in unfamiliar lands, hoards of monsters and zombies quickly swallowed me far too often for my comfort levels. I parked my winged dragon, lion, and flying horse and cancelled my monthly subscription.

I don’t remember how I discovered Korean dramas. I know I quickly became addicted to the genre preferring it over American television. I muddled through the learning curve until  watching while reading sub-titles became second nature. The first one I watched was an epic, action spy adventure, ‘Iris’. In the best of the Bond flicks, it offered up tension, thrills, action, international sets and the ever-present love-hate relationships of nuclear warfare. I followed it with a vast historical sweep with 152 episodes. Once bit by the altered reality of Asian media, I settled into a love affair with Kdramas  it was the average sixteen episodes that kept me coming back for more. It felt like settling down to a good book – there was a beginning and an end. I watched all the episodes on my laptop.

My working electronic devices currently number two, my laptop and my dumb phone. My desktop computer died a couple of years ago. I bought a used backup identical to my current laptop a couple of years ago because it had Windows 7 installed. An upgrade from the safe, sane but outdated Windows XP. I wanted  the spare to hook up to my desk monitor for photo processing. Unfortunately, being eight years old it lacked the capability to process the bits of larger photo size now available. The stress of too many attempts and overloads blew out the hard drive. Two dead computers on my desk and a drooling vulture circling overhead.

Last summer I purchased new batteries for both laptops. The batteries have a 3 year life span. Of course, Friday, the battery on this laptop died. I figured 3 years doesn’t take into consideration that an idiot like me is chewing away at something 18 hours a day. I think I used up those 3 years in the past six months. I also burned out one of the two identical chargers I bought at the same time.

The hard drive on this computer is making grinding noises like a chainsaw ripping through a frozen log. This may very well be the last posting I get out of this sweet reliable, near vintage, laptop. They don’t make laptops like this anymore. Well, maybe they do, but not in my budget range. It’s a Dell Precision M90 and all the parts are replaceable. I figure between the twin laptops, it’s possible, I might be able to cobble one that works.

I’m running Windows XP on this laptop and, as of January 1, everything started to go wrong. I’ve been locked out of Facebook! I can click on my image, but I’m thrown over to the log in page, where it brings up my alternate email address. When I enter my correct information it throws me out again. It also won’t let me log out. I was using my favorite standard Facebook format until I ordered a smaller Chromebook on January 1 to replace this ‘puter for blogging. My Facebook page immediately switched to the Chrome format with no input from me. ‘pears the Chrome Facebook is incompatible with XP.

My homepage also popped up with recommended Chrome downloads and I’m getting Chrome notifications in my email. I know I can’t email photos from XP to Win 7 or Win 8. They show up looking like a virus. This hiccup shouldn’t be a surprise.

The instant I hit the place order button Google fed a big cookie  to my computer which seems to have stopped the stomach grinding noise that signaled approaching death. I use do not track, delete history, all the protection modules on my computer. I’m beginning to realize nothing is private, certainly not our computer use.

While the rest of the month unfolds I’ll be learning how to process photos without my reliable Photoshop Plugins from OnOneSoftware. In the meantime, a friend has given us his desktop, which has plenty of photo and game processing capability, if we can figure out why it crashes after twenty minutes. It goes into the shop next week and I’m hoping it’s repairable, and that the repair is affordable.

With the computer vulture hanging around I shoo, fly, git, my arms toward the sky and hope he’s had his last feeding frenzy at my home. I’m starting to hope there is a possibility that last year’s goals might be attainable this year.

… and having typed that last sentence I realize a lack of confidence peppers my prose – ‘starting to hope’, ‘there is a possibility’, ‘last year’s goals’, ‘might be’ …  I need to take a bite out of my insecurities and begin work on my confidence building as well as my photography goals.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning
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Brrrr … cold and colder – this is progress

Waxing crescent moon and Venus at sunset - January 2, 2014

Waxing crescent moon and Venus at sunset – January 2, 2014

The new year progresses

on a hang nail

of waxing crescent moon

that snagged Venus,

enticing as a diamond pendant.

I linger and wait

as the bright evening woman

lowered her skirt of flannel red

at the feet

of the brittle, cold sky

frozen to the marsh

beyond the tamaracks.

Daily Prompt: Progress