Dover, the White Cliffs and the Castle

Our cruise left Dover in Kent UK.  Since everyone has heard of the white cliffs of Dover (Bluebirds over and all that) I was looking forward to getting some pictures.  Unfortunately, it’s one of those photo things where one time of day is better than another.  In our case, we departed fairly early in the afternoon and the light was a bit dull.  I did get a nice shot of the castle and the beach from our verandah.


As we left I was hoping for better shots of the cliffs but they were predominantly in shadow so these are the best I could do.


This one gives you a sense of scale for the cliffs.  I’m not exactly sure where the above shot was taken but I think it was just a bit north of the South Foreland Light seen below.  This was the first lighthouse in the world to use an electric light.


That’s interesting because I used to live near the first lighthouse in the world to be powered by it’s own nuclear reactor!  It was also know as ‘L’ mark to the Magothy River Sailing Association.

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Windpower old and new

We’ve just returned from a trip to the UK and a cruise in the Baltic Sea.  I’ll  be posting some shots from those areas as I get along processing them.  Here are a couple taken from our Balcony on the Holland -America Ryndam in Copenhagen.  We were on the harbor side as docked and I could see a lot of small sailboats heading out the channel into the sailing basin beyond the fort.  The contrast between sails for propulsion and power generation was too good to pass up.



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Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis

Like the Anhinga whose scientific name is Anhinga Anhinga the Northern Cardinal uses the same name twice, Cardinalis Cardinalis.

This young couple has decided to set up housekeeping in the neighborhood.  I’ve been seeing them for a while.  I’ve been watching them to try and find the nest site without much success until this evening.  It appears that they are using an infrequently used space between my next door neighbors house and the house on the other side.  I couldn’t spot the nest this evening but I did manage to get a couple of shots as they flittered around.

So, here is Mr. Cardinal


and his lovely wife.


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Sub Rosa

I was looking at one of our roses yesterday and discovered a flower spider (Thomisadae) hiding in a rose.  These maintain an anchor line but don’t spin a web to capture prey as other spiders do.  It lurks between the petals and attacks whatever shows up.  Often bees.


Their two forelegs are long and useful for en-wrapping prey.

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Some leftover birds and a spider

From time to time I take an interesting shot and throw it into a directory where I put images I want to write a blog post about.  But, sometimes I don’t get around to it and some of these may have been included in another post but I forgot to put them in the archive.  Otherwise, here are some random shots that have been on the hard drive too long.

Let’s get the spider out of the way.  I don’t know what kind it is but, it was putting together what look to be egg sacs on a stretch of web and had or was about to take a break and have lunch.  Just an oddity.


Now, a couple duck pictures that I just liked but don’t have much to say about.  This is one of mama deading a string of juveniles.


And, in this one, I just liked the reflections.


Then, there is the Loggerhead Shrike.  I may have posted this one before but it shows one of their hunting habits.  They stick their prey on thorns to eat.  This one finds barbed wire just as effective as a thorn.


Finally, an immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron alighting on the seawall.



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Dolphin Photo-op

I was along with neighbors to take their boat down the harbor for fuel and lunch.

Porpoises frequently meet boats after they clear the Ponce De Leon Park Channel and surf along on the bow wave.  We had the pleasure of having one do just that as we left.  In addition to swimming along, this one decided that it was time for some acrobatics.



Lunch at Burnt Store Marina was good too.

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Red Bellied Woodpecker – Gender differences

A dead palm tree on a vacant lot down the street has attracted a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers who have decided to nest there.  It may not be a good choice since the owners have just had a dock and boat lift installed which means that a house will be going up there soon.


You can see that they have pretty well smoothed the bark around the hole and I could see that they were still working on excavation.  You can tell the difference between the male and female by the amount of red on their head.  The males coloring is more extensive and includes some read feathering around the beak.  The female carries her coloring further back on the head.  Here, the male is on the left and the female on the right.  They are both looking for food in the ruff of a living palm next to the dead one in which they are nesting.

DSC_3388acr107     DSC_3295acr107

I hope I’ll get to see some young ones before long.


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