Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fantasy Fish

When I was looking for "purple" things a couple of posts ago, I ran across a page of all the most popular marine aquarium species of fish.  That was where I found the royal gramma that I included in my 'Purple' post.  Not only did I find purple fish, but many other spectacular fish that definitely got my attention.  Some of them look like fish created by Walt Disney.  I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you.

Flame Angelfish  Source:  Wikipedia

Banggai Cardinalfish  Source:  Wikipedia

Vermillion seabass  Source:  Wikipedia

Tassle Filefish  Source:  Wikipedia

Blackfoot Lionfish  Source:  Wikipedia

Yellow-banded Pipefish  Source:  Wikipedia

Splendid Pseudochromis  Source:  Wikipedia

Lacey Scorpionfish  Source:  Wikipedia

Sailfin Snapper  Source:  Wikipedia

Cortez Rainbow Wrasse  Source:  Wikipedia

Harlequin Tusk  Source:  Wikipedia

Achilles Tang  Source:  Wikipedia

And I saved the best one for last!

Mandarinfish  Source:  Wikipedia

I think somebody went overboard for that one.  If you want to see the entire page, click here.  There are many more to see and maybe one of the others will strike YOUR fancy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cuteness Unlimited

Saturday I was in my local Petco store putting my life savings into kitty food!  Well, okay not my life savings, but spending a nice chunk of change on food for my cats and the outside kitties.  (I get dry food for the outside cats from the neighbors across the street who get dry food from the local Paws Watch people who helped spay and neuter all the stray cats in the mobile home park.  But I've been supplementing the dry food for the outside cats with canned food over the winter because they need extra protein to help stay warm.)  Anyway, I'm getting totally off the subject of this post.  Also at the Petco was a man with the cutest puppy.  A pitbull puppy, I believe, and it looked just like the puppies in this picture.

In particular it looked like the third one from the right with the all white face and very intense look.  Please note the pink nose!  The puppy at the Petco was about the same size as these guys already walking very well on the leash, tail wagging and greeting all the people he met like a pro.  This little guy had such a personality and was already so well socialized and curious about everything; he was a real star.  Of course, I had to pet him and croon over him.  A very sweet little guy.  He totally made my day!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Purple-banded Sunbird  Source: Wikipedia

Damson plums  Source:  Wikipedia

Pansy  Source:  Wikipedia

Amethyst  Source:  Wikipedia

Lilac-breasted Roller  Source:  Wikipedia

Eggplant   Source:  Wikipedia

Lilacs  Source:  Wikipedia

Sea urchins   Source:  Wikipedia

Violet-backed Starling   Source:  Wikipedia

Springtail  Source:  Wikipedia

Royal Gramma   Source:  Wikipedia

And finally the little wild violets from my garden that I love.

You can click on any of the links under the pictures to find out more.  Hope you enjoyed the journey through the color purple and found some surprises along the way.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dogue Days

I watched the replay of the Westminster Dog Show last night.  I always love dog shows not just to see the dogs, but to note the creative and sometimes very funny names of the dogs that people come up with.  This year I was struck by the Dogue de Bordeaux named GCH Evergreen's Rub My Belly at Rising Star!  If you're not familiar with the Dogue de Bordeaux, he's the breed that stared in the movie 'Turner and Hooch'!  It is also known as the French Mastiff and can easily weigh over 100 pounds.  Dogue de Bordeaux are working dogs, an ancient French breed that have been used to pull carts, herd cattle, guard flocks of sheep and protect property.  It has also been used to hunt boars and as a war dog.  Despite its intimidating looks and success as a guard dog, it has a calm temperament and is a loyal companion, as long as you don't mind a little drool.

Source:  Dog Breed Info

And the dog below is a therapy dog.

Source:  Dog Breed Info

The other name that made me laugh was a Greater Swiss Mountain dog named GCH Nox's George Bailey's Irish Creme!  It was a fun evening.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Respectful Romeo

I've written before about some of the feral cats in my neighborhood. One of the feral cats that hangs out at my house my neighbors named Romeo.  (There was one particular female cat that he would snuggle with that was named Juliet.  But, unfortunately, about a month ago she was hit by a car and killed.)  As far as cat etiquette goes he's very respectful of the other cats, never picks a fight and gets along with almost everybody, except for troublemaker Sammy.  He and two other cats I call Van Gogh and Miss Kitty are nearly always close by, sometimes sitting on my porch if it's rainy or sunning themselves in my yard.  Romeo, in particular, lets me pet him and is very sweet.


He may know all things cat, but I don't think he has ever been inside a house - until mine.  I have been trying to invite them in so that little by little they would feel comfortable coming inside.  I would totally let them spend the night indoors on really cold nights and rainy and snowy days.  Of course, I have cats of my own and Tanya especially has made it clear they are not welcome.  And although she hisses and growls at them, she doesn't go so far as actually attack them.  Romeo has made several attempts to make friends and even surprised her one day.  He went right over to her, ignoring her rude hostess manners, they touched noses and she actually didn't growl at him ONCE.  But since then every time he steps inside the house, she still has a hissy fit.

Van Gogh

All three have come through the door.  Miss Kitty stays just inside the door for a few seconds and then goes right back out.  Both Romeo and Van Gogh have actually spent a few minutes inside exploring and at least once each of them has gone all the way to the back of the house, checking out every room.  Or at least I think they have.  I don't follow them to see where they go in order to stay by the door and be able to let them back outside as soon as they get uncomfortable.  Romeo has once totally gotten upset when I closed the screen door because he couldn't find his way back outside again.  After I let him out, I followed him to make sure he had calmed down.  He got this very sheepish look on his face as if to say, "Sorry, I freaked out!"

Miss Kitty

I now try to invite Romeo in when the TV is off because it totally freaks him out, as well as the computer.  I have soft cushy cubes that my kitties like to sleep in and the other day when Romeo came inside Pugsley was in one of the cubes.  The cube was angled so that Romeo couldn't see inside and all of a sudden Pugsley stepped out of it.  Romeo's eyes got all wide and he made a mad dash for the door.  He must have thought he'd just seen a David Copperfield magic act making a cat appear out of thin air.  I wish I'd a video camera!  I couldn't help but laugh out loud.

The kitties have been lucky that the winter has been so mild this year.  None of the cats are ready to spend a night indoors, but I'll keep trying.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fantastic Flying Foxes

When I lived in Georgia, my neighbor and I used to watch the bats come out at night and go after the insects that would collect around the overhead lights in the parking lot.  There would only be a few bats and I couldn't tell you what kind they were, but watching their acro'bat'ics was entertaining.  I know - a bad play on words - but I couldn't resist.

Flying foxes are the largest bats in the world - known as megabats (as opposed to their smaller cousins, the microbats).   The megabats actually have fur on their faces and upper bodies which is where they get their name.  Like this Giant Golden-crowned flying fox from the Phillipines.  Its face really does look like a fox.

Source:  Wikipedia

Thinking he looks rather sinister?  This guy can have a wingspan of over 5 feet so you might think he's an able predator.  Shades of Dracula?  He wouldn't attack unless you had a fig in your hand!  Strange but true - this flying fox is a fig specialist and figs make up the major part of its diet! That's right - the biggest bats in the world are also known as fruit bats and they are strictly vegetarians.  There are many tropical plant species that strictly rely on fruit bats to distribute their seeds.  Some megabats eat the nectar from flowers and actually pollinate them.  The smaller species are able to hover in the air like hummingbirds and have long tongues that reach deep into the flower acting like the hummingbirds' long bill.

Even though they're called megabats not all species are large - like the Lesser Short-Nosed Fruit Bat which hails from southern Asia and Indonesia and can weigh in at less than an ounce.

Source:  Wikipedia

There are 186 species of flying foxes and some species definitely look more benign than others.  Like the Sulawesi Flying Fox - isn't it a cutie?

Source:  Wikipedia

Some species are highly endangered due to habitat loss, like the Fijian Monkey-faced Bat, a species only found in one small area of Fiji.

Source:  Wikipedia

Also unlike the microbats, except for one species, megabats don't use echolocation to navigate, but rely on their eyesight, usually much better than most microbats.  Rather than a cave, the black flying fox from Australia (and many other species) roosts in trees during the day.

Source:  Wikipedia

Flying foxes are mammals and are sometimes hunted for their meat, like the Seychelles Flying Fox.

Source:  Wikipedia

Who could eat him??  He looks a little more like Pomeranian.  I think these guys are awesome!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Historic Slater Park

The mobile home park I live in is right next to a park - Slater Park, the oldest and largest public park in Pawtucket.  Friday I went on a drive through the park, and also stopped and took a walk with my camera.  Before it was a park, it was Daggett Farm - almost 200 acres of land.  It still includes a small petting zoo where the kids can meet some farm animals.

There's also a children's playground.

Yes, that's an elephant in front - but not a real one, of course.  There also used to be a small zoo where Fanny the elephant lived, much loved by regular visitors.  This was built as a tribute to her after she passed away.

And there's a dog park.

These guys were having fun for the most part, but I did hear a growl or two.

Of course. you can also take your dog for a walk within the rest of the park as long as it's on a leash.

There is also a Looff Carousel built in 1894.  Charles I. D. Looff was a master carver and built over 50 carousels and rides for amusement parks.  The Slater Park carousel was originally located in New York, but relocated here in 1910, and supposed to be the fastest carousel he ever made.  The carousel may be part of the reason that Slater Park is on the National Register of Historic Places.  This is the building that houses the carousel, not usually open this time of year.

It is open occasionally around Christmas.  This is a photo I took several years ago.  I was really struck by this very proper-looking woman riding a huge dog.

The dog is one of the animals that doesn't go up or down.  I'll have to do a full post just on the carousel in the spring when I can get more pictures.

Across from the carousel is a little man-made lake.  It's been so warm this winter there's not a speck of ice on the lake, one of the reasons why there are so many birds this year.

As I started to walk up to the lake, all the birds immediately came over to check me out, hoping for a handout.  There were lots of mallards..

Canadian geese, a few swans...

and the ever-present gulls.

I apologized for not bringing them anything to eat, but was actually glad I hadn't.  There were a couple people at the other end of the lake that brought some bread and were quickly mobbed by birds.

The male mallards are really spectacular with their iridescent green heads and neon orange feet.

I got a couple pictures of headless swans as they were grazing on something under the water.

A few geese were very friendly...

(and no, I never saw any geese walk up the stairs!)

And this guy was very curious about my camera, so I held the camera close to his face, not being able to see through the view finder.   I think it came out rather well.

Next time I go I might be daring and take some food!