Friday, January 18, 2019

Ice Needles

But not Needle Ice.

It is definitely ice.

And it is certainly needle like.

But it is just your garden, or in this case pond, variety frost.

What's the difference you ask? From which end the ice grows. For frost, the ice grows on the tip. Whereas for Needle Ice the ice grows from the base.

Now you know.

Still Fishin'

Those that receive blog updates by email were for the second time* cheated out of the full blog post.

You can find the entire post here, Gone Fishin'.

And if you're pressed for time, I've copied the missing bit below. Enjoy!

🐡     🦐     🐠     🐟     🦈     🐊     🦀

🦐  🦐  🦐

Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp

I'll end with this Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp. And while I cannot attest to tastiness of this species I can state without hesitation that its relatives are indeed very tasty. As can my mom.

🦈  🐡  🐟  🐠

Patty and I both enjoyed our time with the fishes and turtles and the other critters.

And visits to an aquarium always get me dreaming of setting up one at home. We haven't had one since the Macquarium sprung a leak.

Hmmm ...

🐡     🦐     🐠     🐟     🦈     🐊     🦀

😬  😬  😬
* The Burn the Bird post was cut off after a video for email subscribers, although I don't know that root cause of the problem, just that symptom. As there were no videos in the Gone Fishin' post, I don't know why it was truncated (perhaps length?). As noted in the Burn the Bird - Redux post, I don't know who subscribes by email, thus this post. And thanks again for subscribing.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Gone Fishin'

But instead of a hook, line, and sinker, I used my camera. And I did so indoors.

Giant Grouper

And none of the wildlife shown in this post was harmed by me, or Patty, in any way. Although I must say that I do find grouper to be very tasty!

Red Lionfish

Those spines are venomous and the fish is a voracious predator. It is also highly invasive. Native to the Pacific and now plaguing the Caribbean, eastern US coast, and the Mediterranean. Fortunately they are tasty, although unlike with the grouper I have not have the pleasure.

🐟  🐟  🐟

Patty and I visited the Adventure Aquarium in September of last year. It was teacher night, so Patty got in for free and as her guest I received a discounted entry fee. It was my first venture out, other than doctor's offices, after my back injury.

We started out in Hippo Haven, where two of the namesake beasts reside.

Nile Hippopotamus

We were lucky enough to be there at feeding time, so we watched as vegetables were thrown over the wall in to the water and the hippos gobbled them down.


We then walked though a darkened wall with tanks of jellyfish. Frustratingly hard to photograph as it was dark, they were moving, and there were all manner of reflections on the tank walls. The yellow line in the image above is the distorted reflection of the ceiling lights. The motion of the jellies was hypnotic.

Unknown Sea Critter

As we strolled through the halls there were a variety of small and large tanks with a corresponding variety a small and large invertebrates and fish for our viewing pleasure. And we were pleased.

Lined Seahorse

As it was an evening on a school night the aquarium was relatively empty. Even nicer is that we didn't have to deal with hordes of children rushing about and crowding the displays. There was one young fellow who really didn't want to leave the shark tank viewing area. And he made everyone within earshot well aware of his preference. But otherwise it was a pleasant viewing experience.

Fish sp.

There were two large tanks housing plenty of large fish including this happy looking fellow.

Bowmouth Guitarfish

And this love child between a shark and a ray?

Shark sp.
Ray sp.

Two of the creatures in the touching pool. I always worry about my fingers at such exhibits.

Chain Catshark

The Chain Catshark (aka the Chain Dogfish). This particular species is biofluorescent.

Honeycomb Cowfish

Two species of cowfish.

Cowfish sp.

They look like swimming boxes to me.

Eel sp.

There were a variety of eels, including this individual, that I can't tell wether it's happy or angry.

🐢  🐊  🐢

In addition to the purely aquatic fauna, there is also a nice collection of reptiles.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Patty's favorite were the turtles. There were two varieties of sea turtles including this very cooperative Loggerhead.

Diamondback Terrapin

The Terrapin just lied there. Would have been nice if it could have looked my way.

Common Snake-Necked Turtle

The Inspector Gadget of the turtle world.

Mata Mata

There are some weird looking turtles out there. This one is from the Amazon Basin. And spends its days sitting on stream beds looking like a rock. Woe to the prey that mistake for one.

Dwarf Caiman

This fellow also blended in quite nicely with its surroundings. Those reptiles are sneaky.

🦐  🦐  🦐

Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp

I'll end with this Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp. And while I cannot attest to tastiness of this species I can state without hesitation that its relatives are indeed very tasty. As can my mom.

🦈  🐡  🐟  🐠

Patty and I both enjoyed our time with the fishes and turtles and the other critters.

And visits to an aquarium always get me dreaming of setting up one at home. We haven't had one since the Macquarium sprung a leak.

Hmmm ...

More Needles

Now that I have the search image Needle Ice, I'm more likely spot it as I'm out and about. And yesterday morning I did just that.

I spotted this in our yard just outside the garage. Before I would have paid no mind and walked on by.

It was a much smaller instance of the phenomena, both in area covered and in the size of the needles then in the prior post.

You can learn more about this phenomena at these web pages.

I think it is very cool that I have found these in my yard.

Keep looking down.

❄️  ❄️  ❄️  ❄️

I did. I was brushing my teeth when I looked down out of the window and saw what looked like another patch of Needle Ice. And it was.

This is a chunk I lifted out to further examine. Here it is upside down, with the frozen soil crust on the bottom.

So keep looking down, and if you something like this, investigate. Have fun out there!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Yard Critter of the Week

Fox Sparrow.

A large sparrow which spends its summers north of here.

And shows up in our yard in November and has lingered as late as March.

We've had as many as twelve in the yard at one time. But this year we've been seeing five or six on a regular basis.

These images are of three different individuals. The top image from January 2018 and the others from January 2019. We've had them visiting our feeders every winter since we've moved in. Fun to watch as they scratch at the ground looking for seeds,  we look forward to their arrival each year.

🐦  🐦  🐦  🐦  🐦

You can find all of the Yard Critter of the Week posts listed here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Weekday Wanderings

My parents live in an adult community, Shadow Lake Village. On the last morning of my visit I went wandering about the place.

This is the view from their backyard. That's the green for hole #7. Dad, and I, were once avid golfers. And he (but sadly not I) has played this course on more than one occasion.

As noted in the Needle Ice post, I look down on a regular basis. Look closely (bigafy!) you'll see some nice snow flake crystals. Look along the center vein of the leaf on the right. I so wish I had my macro set up with me.

This is the view, albeit across the street, from the front of the house. A nice little wooded area with a stream flowing into the same watershed as the Poricy Park Stream. In fact, if I were to have continued sauntering in this direction we'd come to Poricy Park Pond. However this stream flows into Shadow Lake. Both of which then drain into the Navesink River.

But I instead head off toward Shadow Lake.

As I approached I heard the calling of Canada Geese.

And looking up, which I am also want to do, I saw them. And these are two lucky shots as I had my point and shoot camera with me, and couldn't really see what I was aiming at in the view screen. So I point and shot.

The lake was significantly larger than I expected. One gets a brief view form the road I take to get to my parents, but the lake curves and extends a nice distance.

I was also surprised to come upon a large number of canoes, kayaks, and small row boats. A much more active community than I had surmised.

As I continued along the lakeside trail, I found myself at the other end of the 7th hole. So I headed down the frozen fairway and back to my parent's place.

But not before I looked down one more time.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Needle Ice

What do you get when the air temperature is below freezing, the ground temperature is above freezing, and the soil is saturated with water?

Sometimes, Needle Ice is what.

Mom and I were returning from visiting dad when I noticed this outside their house.

As with the Ice Flowers, chance favors the prepared mind. It also helps that I look down a lot.

The simple explanation is that capillary action pulls the water out of the ground and it freezes when it hits the air. But that is not sufficient to explain why there are needles. Dr. James Carter has a number of web pages on the subject, including the one I linked to above, and in an email exchanged noted that the detailed scientific explanation involves "Ice Segregation", a process previously unknown to me.

Instead of trying to explain it here, I'll again link to one of Dr. Carter's web pages on the subject, as he does a much better job explaining it than I could. Of course, any errors in this post are mine alone.

In these images you can see how the ice lifts the soil and plants, in this case moss. This leads to erosion as the soil is now loose and when the ice melts it can easily be blown or washed away.

This is similar to the phenomena I noted in the Policy Park Fossil Beds post that I witnessed eating away at the stream bank, although that was likely not needle ice.

Tis the season for all manner of interesting ice phenomena, such these needles, the aforementioned ice flowers, and things I've yet to see such as hair ice and pebble ice.

So keep looking down.