Reflections on a Stormy Sky

Reflections on a stormy sky

Does the appearance of grey clouds

Reflect the storm of emotions that lie within

Or does the glimmer of sunshine

Better indicate what is really happening?



baleenIf you do not have teeth and you need to eat tons of food each day, how do you get your food?  If you are a whale, you may use baleen to filter the small plankton, shrimp and fish that flow into your mouth, along with the sea water.  The sea water flows out through the gaps in your baleen while the food gets trapped within the baleen.  One flick of your enormous tongue gathers up the trapped food and transfers it into your throat.

Although I knew about baleen from volunteering at the

Tide pool table
Note the California Grey Whale in the bin on the left hand side.  Grey Whales are also baleen  whales.

Tidepool Information Table at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, I learned even more during a recent dolphin watch adventure at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach.  Between April and September, the Atlantic Explorer takes guests out of Owl Creek, through Rudy Inlet into the Atlantic Ocean for a 90 minute trip to see juvenile Humpback Whales, Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, perhaps some sea turtles and maybe some rays.


DSG_9828 Lady in krill costume in blue whale jaw

I knew that baleen was made from keraton, the same material that makes up your fingernails and hair.  (It look sort of like the bristles in a push broom.)  What I did not know was how the whale got the left-behind seafood from  its baleen into its gullet.  I also did not know that the Humpback Whale  (49-52 foot female  or the 43-46 foot male) had a throat the size of a grapefruit.

From Wikiepedia

Depending on the species, a baleen plate can be 0.5 to 3.5 m (1.6 to 11.5 ft) long, and weigh up to 90 kg (200 lb). Its hairy fringes are called baleen hair or whalebone-hair. They are also called baleen bristles, which in sei whales are highly calcified, with calcification functioning to increase their stiffness.[1][2] Baleen plates are broader at the gumline (base). The plates have been compared to sieves or Venetian blinds

humpback whale

Happy National Park Week



Get in you car and just for a lark

Drive to visit a National Park

From cities to country, the Parks cover them all

There is even a Park on the National Mall

If you have children, they need not be strangers

Most  parks have a program for Junior Rangers

Each day of this week has had it’s own theme

Today is Wild Wednesday, do you have a scheme

To drive to a park and see what is there?

You might find a deer or maybe a bear.

Four hundred and eighteen national park sites

Each one is unique in its very own right.

Which ones have you seen?  Which is the best?

Don’t get complacent.  Go visit the rest!







Where Two Worlds Overlap


Rocky Intertidal Shore (aka the Tide pools) at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, CA


Rocky Intertidal Shore
Two worlds in one, both to explore

Plants of sea and plants of land
Both live in this narrow band

Of sometimes sea and sometimes air
Opportunities to compare

Be careful when you move that rock
You may give a crustacean quite a shock

Plants’ and animals’ homes are here
So please don’t take a souvenir.

Take only pictures, leave only prints
It’s the only thing that makes good sense.

Monarch Butterflies: The Missing Link

The Monarch butterflies are not only beautiful and have an incredible migration each year, they are also a key indicator species. Our world would be much less without them.

anima monday

It’s February and the butterflies are getting restless. The earth is warming. Clumped together and clinging to trees they are getting hungry and impatient. They have spent the whole winter in a state of diapause — a kind of suspended animation where body functions slow to a bare minimum. It is fanciful idea but I think of them in the wintertime as being between realms: not quite alive, not quite dead. Which might be a familiar sensation. Each and every one of these butterflies learned about patience and discomfort when they transitioned from caterpillar to imago. Now as the sun begins to warm their bodies as well as the land they are waking up to remember who they are. Groups spontaneously rise up in practice flights only to settle back down again. But there is strength in their wings. They remember what it is to be alive.

“I think they…

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Cows grazing between the Pacific Coast High and tht Pt. Sur Light Station


Your pasture has a Pacific view

But it seems to mean nothing for you

You turn your back and seem to stare

At the annoying people standing there

Taking pictures, disturbing your peace

Stop now! Will the clicking cease?