We have a nest of robins in the Star Magnolia bush right by our front porch. I’ve been taking some photos (trying not to upset the mom too much). Usually just one per day. Three eggs hatched on Friday, the final egg was hatched on Saturday. On Sunday, you can see that the eye slits are starting to develop. Stay tuned!
The four eggs in the nest. This nest was re-used from last year. The "outer" nest was lined with some new material.
On Friday, April 27, we found that 3 of the eggs had hatched!
On Saturday, April 28th, the fourth (and final) egg hatched! You can see the difference in size. The last to hatch is at "7 o'clock" in the nest.
On day 3, you can see the eye slits developing.
Here you can see the back of the head, the back of the body, fluffy down, and where the feathers will emerge from.
Sherry Samuels and I recently visited the Carolina Alpaca Celebration to learn a bit about alpacas. Neither one of us really knew what to expect. We learned about their husbandry, their birthing needs, their food requirements, and just how many things you can make out of alpaca wool. I learned they are part of the camelid family (and yes, they can spit like camels and llamas, although I didn’t see one spit the whole day). But the best thing we learned is that THEY ARE DARN CUTE and THEY TALK TO YOU (well, sort of). In short, we like them. In fact, I even learned how to kiss an alpaca.
Isn't that an adorable face? We were surprised by the size of these camelids. They were smaller than we anticipated.
I told you I learned how to kiss an alpaca. This is "Overture" and he is one friendly alpaca.
This one looks like a hipster alpaca. There are two types of alpacas: Huacaya (wha-ky-a) and Suri. The Huacaya has the dense, fluffy fleece and the Suri has the dreadlocks look going on. Both types of fleece are extremely soft.
As soon as we walked into the building, we were greeted by the most surreal and sweet sound– an alpaca humming. They seem to talk to you, but in a quiet, hum.
I went away this past weekend for a private retreat after ScienceOnline2012. During some of the time I worked on balancing some rocks. These rocks are smooth, round, river rocks and are much more difficult to balance than the rocks I usually try to balance. I love the focus that it takes. I close my eyes and “feel” the weight of the rocks, move them until they “sink” into balance with gravity. Simple pleasures. Fleeting works of art (the wind or other vibrations will knock them over soon enough).
Looks simple... but there is only a small area of contact.
Here's the point of contact. Kind of like balancing two balls.
At the Museum of Life and Science, I sometimes get to go into the bear yard (when the bears are in the bearhouse). After scooping LOTS of bear poo, I explored the bear cave in the cliff where the bears like to sleep. Here’s what they see, and what it looks like inside their snug hideout.
Me, snuggled up in the back of the cave. The bears take up more room than me! I had to be careful because they had left LOTS of bear poo in there near the sides of the entrance.
View from inside the bear cave, looking out to the rest of the exhibit. See the bearhouse in the distance?
One of the perks of working with the Life and Science Museum Animal Department is getting to handle so many animals. I absolutely adore this little crested gecko. He dropped his tail this year (after an injury at the base of the tail) and we’ve all been watching it regrow a bit. Crested geckos who drop their tails do not fully regrow them (as some other lizards do). However, his little stump has definitely elongated. Alas, no matter how much it regrows, he will not regain the pad of lamellae that he had on the flattened tip of his prehensile tail. I plan to start to take weekly photos of the regrowth and do a timelapse of it at some point. In the meantime, I’m intrigued by his feet and eyes. I still need to bring in a tripod and do a proper photo shoot, but here’s some of his cuteness (on my finger!)