Hummingbird Profiles #4 – Amazing 素晴らしい

Hummingbird Profiles #4
Hummingbird Profiles #4, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

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endlessly enduring
achieving the amazing
single parent
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I’m finally able to catch a few moments to post and visit a few blogs today.  Although I haven’t been able to respond to each of your comments, I continue to appreciate all your kind words, encouragement, visits and likes.  Thank you.

We hit more bumps in the road recently with my mother’s health, and her cancer chemotherapy treatments had to be postponed two times in a row now.  In addition, there is more cancer growth, another metastasized spot detected from an MRI scan taken a little over a week ago, more procedures, and radiation.  We continue to hope that we will receive some bit of good news in the near future, instead of worsening news.  These still remain scary, hectic, and gut wrenching times.

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Here is the fourth image in my hummingbird photomanipulation series I did last year.  This is a female broad-tailed hummingbird.  An image of the male broad-tailed hummingbird was posted here.  Hummingbirds in general are quite amazing, and their dense, cuplike nests have been described as “amazing architectural creations that protect and nurture some of the most delicate birds.”  Hummingbird nests are built by the female, entirely by the female bird, spending several hours a day for up to a week collecting materials to build the nest.  Also, the females raise the chicks – single parenting.  The male hummingbirds are not involved in raising the young after the act of copulation is complete.

I continue to dedicate this hummingbird series to my mother.  My mother, who became divorced and a single parent when I was too young to remember, raised, supported and nurtured me, AND worked full time and multiple jobs to provide for me.  She has overcome many hardships over the years, and is one of the most compassionate, sincere and generous people I know.  She is also one of the most AMAZING and beautiful people I know!

I’m including two Japanese words to represent “amazing”

素晴らしい  (すばらしい), which is read subarashi
(superb; fantastic; marvelous; wonderful; terrific; amazing; great)

and

凄い  (すごい), which is read sugoi
(amazing – of strength; great – of skills; wonderful; terrific;)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning

Sharing Breakfast
Sharing Breakfast, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

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bathing in pollen
before autumn awakens
summer breakfast
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Whenever I can, I like to get in a dose of nature as part of my morning routine – regardless of the season or weather.

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Hummingbird Profiles #3 – Powerful, Strength 強力

Hummingbird Profiles #3
Hummingbird Profiles #3, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

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a new chill on my skin
colors change before my eyes
autumn migration
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Yesterday was the start of my Mom’s second chemotherapy treatment.  She will have 12 total treatments over the next six months, minimum.  There are certainly side effects, but not to the extent we expected so far.  She is not brutally ill like we anticipated.  She is doing ok overall even though it is still a struggle for her, especially for the first week after the treatment.  We are all well aware of the physical and mental power and strength needed to make our way through this journey, including all the other hurdles we have going on at the same time.

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Here is the third image in my hummingbird photomanipulation series I did last year.  This is a male Rufous hummingbird.  The Rufous is a later arriver at our feeders, first appearing in the middle of July, and is also the first of the hummingbird species to leave.  Although a few hummingbirds are still here at our feeders, the Rufous in particular have already departed.  I did not have the opportunity to enjoy seeing and photographing the hummingbirds as much this summer as in previous years, but I at least got a couple of photo sessions in this past spring.

Since autumn officially arrives here in the northern hemisphere in a few days, on September 22, I thought the beautiful coloring of the Rufous hummingbird was appropriate to welcome the new season.

A common symbolism of hummingbirds is powerful energy and the ability to accomplish the seemingly impossible.  They are built for power, with about 30% of their weight consisting of flight muscles.  Some migrate impressive distances – up to 500 miles nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico.  Two behaviors separate the Rufous from other hummingbird:  1) It ventures farther north during the migration than any other, reaching the southeastern coast of Alaska, and 2) It has the longest known migration of any bird species, traveling over 3,000 miles between Mexico and Alaska.

Hummingbirds symbolize Powerful and Strength
(in Japanese, it is 強力 (きょうりょく), which is read kyouryoku

I also saw another translation of 強力 as “herculean strength.”  I believe it, given the strength and stamina these little hummingbirds need for their long journey!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

Male Flicker
Male Flicker, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Female Flicker
Female Flicker, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

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indelible patterns
embellish autumn colors
woodpecker clothing
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These are photos of a male (top) and female (lower) Red-shafted Northern Flicker.  They are a medium-sized member of the woodpecker family and are known as one of the few woodpecker species that migrate.  They reside in western North America.  (There is also a Yellow-shafted variety that resides in eastern North America.)

Their outer coloring is mostly neutral with handsome black-scalloped plumage along their back, a bold black chest crescent, and white/buff with black spotting along their front feathers.  The males have a red moustache.  Both sexes are red under their tail and wings, and are stunning when they take off with their vibrant flashes and flickers of red!  They eat mainly ants and beetles, and spend lots of time on the ground.

Their colors are indicative of autumn for me.  Here, they frequent our suet feeders in the winter, and are gone by spring.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to share a picture which means pattern to you.

Linking up with:
CAMERA CRITTERS
THE BIRD D’POT
WEEKLY TOP SHOT

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

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petite cotton balls
blanketing as downy quilts
their journey accomplished
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It’s still the middle of autumn, but the last three days have made me feel like we’re in the middle of winter.  We received our second large snowstorm this season, and the biggest snowstorm in over a year, per our local evening news.  My eyes confirm that statement based on how deep the snow is in our yard.

It’s amazing how quickly the weather can change.  Thursday was a very nice, sunny, warm day with temperatures in the mid 60’sF (about 19 Celsius) and no snow on the ground.  On Friday morning, we woke up to about a foot of snow (30cm) and freezing temperatures, and it has been snowing almost nonstop since.  Saturday morning we woke up to a few more inches of snow, about 16 inches total (41cm).  Right now, Sunday afternoon, there is about 22 inches (55cm) of heavy, wet snow accumulated on our deck since Friday.  You can see the difference in those snow depths among the above images.  (I live at an elevation of about 5,500 ft/1,676 meters.  The elevation of nearby Salt Lake City is 4,226 ft/1,288 meters.)

I enjoy the beauty of living where we experience all four distinct seasons.  Freshly fallen snow blanketing the mountains and valleys is certainly beautiful in the winter, even if I don’t like driving in it.  However, last year was a dismal snowfall year here.  We live in a dry, desert climate, and my state’s (Utah, USA) water supply is dependent on the buildup of winter snowpack in the mountains and the resulting spring water runoffs into our reservoirs.  Also, the ski tourism industry here, with 14 world-class ski resorts and “The Greatest Snow on Earth®” is an important part of the regional economy and obviously dependent on snow levels.

Hopefully, this large snowstorm indicates a good start to a respite and renewing some of the snowfall totals we didn’t get last year.   However, the Utah State University Climate Center found that over the past 40 years, Utah has warmed twice as fast as the global average, and our annual snowpack is shrinking.  Time will tell, but it is a situation that cannot be ignored.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to share a picture
that means renewal to you.

Linking up with:
YOUR SUNDAY BEST 

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“S” Challenge: Survival

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avian banquet
abruptly evacuated
predator shadow
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Lately our birdseed feeders have been swarming with more feathered friends, moreso than this past summer.  There could be 30+ finches, chickadees, pine siskins and scrub jays monopolizing the four feeders at any one time, quickly depleting the food.  Then suddenly, it seems like one of the birds sounds an alarm and they disappear in a flash!  Yesterday, we saw why.  As the small birds evacuated, another larger bird flew across all the feeders and perched in a tree just outside our deck near those feeders…it was a stunning sight!

I believe this bird is a prairie falcon.  (Can anyone confirm its identification for me?)  With a length of up to 50 centimeters, their diet consists mainly of smaller birds caught in flight, and small mammals.  Recently, I found one of the feeders covered in fresh blood.  I thought some of the little birds got in a fight, but now I’m wondering if this hunter had anything to do with it.  Anyway, I would flee too, if I were in danger of being eaten!

(Although it has been snowing heavily these past two days, I was glad to be able to get some shots of this activity.)

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This is for the letter “S” Story Challenge by Frizztext, to share a short story or reflection, even an aphorism using a word tagged with each letter of the alphabet.

 Linking up with:
CAMERA CRITTERS
BIRD D’POT
WILD WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

“R” Challenge: Residence (nature), Residents

Haunted House
Haunted House, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  Click on photo to enlarge.

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residence for spooks
sporting indelible costumes
haunted house
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Does this look spooky to you, even without seeing any of its residents?

This nest is a residence for the Bald Faced Hornet and was in my mother’s yard in her large Asian Pear tree.  It was about 3-feet off the ground and larger than a football in diameter.  When she told me about it last week while I was visiting her, curiosity motivated me to have a quick look and snap a couple of photos.  However, fear of having a painfully potent encounter with lots of small black spooky-looking things drove me away very quickly.  I have been stung before by yellowjackets and bees, and I’ve stepped on a bumble bee nest by accident – big owwwwwie for several days!!  So I decided to use Wikipedia’s photo below so you can see what the little critter looks like up close.

Bald Faced Hornet – Source: Wikipedia

Here is some information about the Bald Faced Hornet:

  • It belongs to a genus of wasps in North America called yellowjackets, but called a hornet because it builds paper nests.  It is not a true hornet.
  • Are large (greater than 15mm) with black and ivory coloring
  • Are common tree-nesting wasps
  • Are more aggressive than yellowjackets and other hornets
  • A nest can contain 400 to 700 workers
  • Will aggressively attack with little provocation, and anyone or anything that invades their space
  • Have smooth stingers, and will sting repeatedly if their nest is disturbed
  • Are known for their football-shaped paper nests
  • Nests are abandoned by winter and are not reused
  • Old nests provide good winter shelter for other insects and spiders since they are insulated from heat and cold
  • It is not considered safe to approach the nest for observation purposes
  • Their scary costumes and face masks are permanent!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 

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This is for the letter “R” Story Challenge by Frizztext, to share a short story or reflection, even an aphorism using a word tagged with each letter of the alphabet.
Kim Klassen texture used – Providence

 Linking up with:
MACRO MONDAY
TEXTURE TUESDAY
OUR WORLD TUESDAY
NATURE NOTES
RURAL THURSDAY

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“Q” Challenge: Qigong

Scrub Jay Qigong
Scrub Jay Qigong, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  Click on photo to enlarge.

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focus…breathe…relax…
mastery of awareness
perfectly balanced
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Qi (or chi – pronounced “chee”) is frequently translated as life energy, life force, or energy flow.  Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts.

Gong (or kung; gung – pronounced “gung”) is often translated as cultivation or work.

Qigong (pronounced “chee gung”) refers to the cultivation and balance of life energy, especially for health.  It focuses on breath, movement and awareness.

Qigong (and tai chi, with which you may be more familiar) is a traditional Chinese exercise.  It is a form of gentle exercise involving movements that are typically repeated, composed of strengthening and stretching the body, increasing fluid movement, enhancing balance and building awareness of how the body moves through space.  It is based on two ideas:

  • Qi flows through the body along “energy pathways” called meridians. If the flow of qi is blocked or unbalanced at any point along the pathway, it is thought that you may become ill. Doing qi gong (or tai chi) increases energy flow and improves health through gentle, graceful, repeated movements.
  • Nature, including the body, consists of opposing forces called yin and yang. Good health results when these forces are in balance. Qi gong (or tai chi) movements attempt to help restore the body’s balance of yin and yang.

Some believe that as a complement to Western medicine, qigong can help the body heal itself.

(Sources: WebMD and Wikipedia)

Notice the scrub jay in the photo above.  He is perfectly balanced at the top of a 35+ feet tall tree with his right leg, and is holding his left leg steady, as if he is doing a qigong movement!  He also has a deformed left foot, which doesn’t seem to hold him back much. (Click here to see another photo of this same bird.)

Also, seeing his pose reminded me of the original 1984 “Karate Kid” movie, when Daniel was learning an important life lesson about balance.  (See image at the Wikipedia link here.)  In reality, this bird was just waiting for me to put out some peanuts for his daily treat!

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Examples of qigong health benefits:

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Have you tried qigong (or tai chi)?  If so, what are your experiences?

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“N” Challenge: Nectar, Nourishment

Nectar
Nectar, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  Click on photo to enlarge.

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calm reflection
sustains mind and body
emotional nectar
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We still have a few honeybees buzzing around drinking in the last few drops of nectar from our flowers before they are done for the season.

What nourishes you?  What is the nectar that feeds your mind, body, and/or spirit?

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“M” Challenge: Macro

Copper Apricot Daisy
Copper Apricot Daisy, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  Click on photo to enlarge.

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blossoms reveal
bouquets within a bouquet
savor the beauty
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Have you ever noticed that the inside of many flowers seem to have their own separate bouquets?  You can see a small part of this bouquet in the copper apricot daisy above.  That’s one of the beauties of a macro lens, it helps us stop and notice detail that we may not see because of their small size.

What have you noticed around you with your own internal macro lens?  How do you stop or slow down in these busy lives we have and savor details.  Do you “take time to smell the roses?”  There is beauty all around us.  Slow down, even for a few minutes, to notice it.

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Etegami – Gratitude

Etegami - Gratitude
Etegami – Gratitude, a photomanipulation by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on image to enlarge)
Also linking up with Illustration Friday’s topic of “Round” and Texture Tuesday’s topic of “Gratitude”

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Tender hearts forward
sweet cocktails of gratitude.
Endless thanksgiving!
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I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a great one.  Also, thank you to those who follow my blog, provide “likes” and kind comments, or stop by for a visit.  All are appreciated. Continue reading

Youth vs. Maturity – a haiga

Autumn Buck Haiga
Autumn Buck Haiga, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.
(click on photo to enlarge)

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Regal lad I am

Lofty, clever gents beware!

Wisdom prevails.  Joy!

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Seeing deer in our yard, especially females and fawns, is almost a daily event for us.  However, autumn is the time of year when we see more bucks.  They migrate further down the mountains in pursuit of the females and will confront other bucks in their quest.  We have witnessed the locking of horns and pushing each other back and forth right in our back yard, with the females keeping a safe distance.  The younger, more arrogant looking bucks don’t seem to be afraid to challenge an obviously older, wiser, more distinguished buck.  Out of the scuffles we’ve seen, age and maturity win in the end.

This is the third haiga I’ve created this month inspired by the 19 Planets Art Blog call for the month of September.