Friday, June 23, 2023

Pattern and Camouflage and Code

There are natural patterns and man-made patterns in our lives.  

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary,   "A pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design,[1] or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric pattern is a kind of pattern formed of geometric shapes and typically repeated like a wallpaper design. Any of the senses may directly observe patterns. Conversely, abstract patterns in science, mathematics, or language may be observable only by analysis. Direct observation in practice means seeing visual patterns, which are widespread in nature and in art. Visual patterns in nature are often chaotic, rarely exactly repeating, and often involve fractals. Natural patterns include spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tilings, cracks, and those created by symmetries of rotation and reflection."

And patterns are also a part of the rhythm of life. According to William Morrison Patterson (go here for his complete book!)  "The psychologists have long since recognized that rhythm is the result of a complex process, whose operation can never be reduced to any one short formula."  And I would like to add that since we get our inspiration from nature we may try so hard to fit it into mathematical precision and fail.

Well, having gone the long way around with this post, I started thinking about this when I encountered a resident turtle in my garden bed close to my front door.  I saw him/her in spring and for at least three weeks he/she never moved much.  Maybe only a few yards.  Then he/she would return and bury itself just beneath the layer of tree leaves.  I left it to be except for checking every now and again to see if it was still there.  You can become mesmerized by this exotic pattern and color with slightly rhythmic repetition.  This color is marvelous!

We are in a drought and so I dropped some watermelon slices and some strawberries from the garden which got nibbled.  One day after a rain he/she got moving in a larger area.

I thought that he/she would wander out of the yard, but was surprised when the next day I saw it back under the leaves.  I have read they have an area of about a mile that they explore.

So, again I got it more sliced strawberries on one day and a slice of watermelon on another day during this dry spell as I wrote above.  Of course.  Perhaps you can see the little red strawberry slice in the lower right area.

He/she was still there resting under the leaves and only coming out to explore every so often.  That shell pattern reminds me a bit of hieroglyphics.  Then if I let my imagination run wild I think about how we-NASA sent a Vetruvian man into outer space to communicate with aliens, and in return, perhaps, aliens have sent turtles to us to communicate.

What does this say?  Something else lives within a foot or so of this area and I usually disturb it when visiting the turtle.  The leaves will crackle and something will jump just in front of my bare toes and then wait as if I cannot see it.

Look at that amazing pattern.  It obviously is perfect for camouflage among the gray and darker dead leaves. Or maybe it is also a message from another being?


Saturday, June 17, 2023

Fred and Ethel Version 2023

At least one of my faithful readers was holding my promise of a Fred and Ethel post to the deadline. So today I will return to our osprey neighbors.  The very first time I posted on this family was in March of 2009.  You can go HERE in the way back machine to read it if you are even remotely interested.

In May of 2017, I did post on the "first family" that resided on the local osprey nest we had provided.

By 2021 the nest had become so filled with sticks and fish detritus that grasses started to grow on the platform.  That was the year that the geese discovered the possibility of nesting.  Since they arrive approximately two weeks before the osprey returned from down south, the geese were well settled and sitting on eggs and impossible to remove by diving osprey.  That year the osprey built a nest in a nearby tree.

This went on for a few years and then this year we hired a young man to clear off the platform entirely.  That I posted about HERE.  When the geese returned they were shocked to find their home had been burglarized and realized they needed new digs.

Thus the world returned to normal as I watched the osprey begin to build a nest again when they arrived near St. Patricks day right on time.  They did not seem like the Fred and Ethel I knew and I wondered if this was another younger couple.  They were awkward in nest building, awkward in mating and I was worried they might not be successful.

But I was wrong.  After weeks of sitting ever so patiently through hot sun or heavy storms and being reprieved by her mate in the late afternoon when she herself went off to hunt for food, the nest was successful!

Patience and then even more patience.  We can learn from these osprey.

It seems that there are two little ones that have hatched and are awkwardly moving in the center of the nest while Ethel stands to the side and watches for danger or Fred returning with food!  You may have to click on the photo to see the two little heads so well camouflaged by the nesting materials.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Going Back to April 10

I was hoping to post this earlier, but life moves too fast for me. Back in April, I glanced out my dining room window and saw a rather large, shadowy figure in the trees. I wondered if the osprey had moved into my backyard to explore a place to finish a recently caught fish. As I leaned in and looked closer I saw that there were two of them. The morning was still a bit shadowy, so I took my binoculars out to get a better look. They were ducks...ducks in the trees!? 

I could not see really well, but they looked like ducks I had not seen in my backyard before. Below you can see how I enhanced the exposure and made a better ID. WOOD DUCKS! Looking for a nesting site? Photos are somewhat muddled as it was shot through a window, but you can see they must have seen my shadow as they were watching me as I was watching them. What a marvelous bird, being able to climb along trees like that.

We, hubby and I, were involved in setting up and monitoring wood-duck boxes for nesting over the past years.  We no longer do that as it has been passed on to a younger group, but it looks like it may have paid off.