Showing posts sorted by relevance for query wildlife. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query wildlife. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, January 29, 2018

Book Review - Wild Horse Scientists

Reviewing the Wild Horse Scientists
Assateague Island is a barrier island off the coast of Maryland. On that island lives a wild pony herd. In my opinion there is nothing better than relaxing on the beach during a day off, watching the wild ponies walk by. Meanwhile, behind the scenes there are people who work hard at managing the wildlife on this island - including working to keep this beautiful herd of horses safe and healthy. Wild Horse Scientists by Kay Frydenborg is an interesting and enlightening book that I recommend to everyone interested in horses, islands, or wild life management. 


Wild Horse Scientists



Wild Horse Scientists by Kay Frydenborg is listed as a Junior Library Guild Selection, a part of the Scientists in the Field series, and is marketed as a book for children. The Amazon product description lists it as age 10 and up and grades 5-9. But I must say, as an adult who has spent much time on Assateague Island, feeling exhilaration at the sight of the ponies, the book enthralled me.

Wild Horse Scientists follows the journey of several people who study and attempt to preserve the Assateague wild ponies via the least intrusive means possible. Left to fend and breed on their own, their life cycle would overpopulate the island. While there is no way to predict how many horses the island would support in any given year, and any given season, it is fact that overpopulation of the island would cause the untimely deaths of the ponies; among other environmental problems.

This small, 80 page book really packs a punch. It briefly addresses things such as:
  • The world history of the horse
  • How wild horse populations came to be in the US
  • Describing that there are two horse populations on Assateague Island; the Maryland end and the Virginia end. While the Virginia herds are the most well-known through history, the two herds are managed very differently.
  • Different ways of wild horse management through the US, through the years.
  • What PZP is and how it came to be
  • An idea of how the study of animals is very time consuming: familiarity with travel patterns, feeding, habits, reproduction, and being able to document each individual animal in order to keep accurate records.
  • Major Human Players

In Wild Horse Scientists, you will meet the following people who dedicate their lives to good works toward wild horses, wildlife, and the environment. If you have ever thought that wildlife protection and studies are easy and an enviable career, this will show you that this important work is not easy work. These talented folks have done far more than listed here, but this is a glimpse of the part they played in learning how to manage the Assateague pony population.

Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick – World renown for his advocacy of wild horses, wildlife reproductive expert, and developer of non-hormonal birth control (PZP).

Ron Keiper – An Ethologoist (studies animals in their natural habitat) who braved the weather, terrain, and flesh-eating insects on Assateague in order to provide information and begin providing individual documentation of the Assateague ponies.

Allison Turner – a 20+ year National Parks Service biological technician. She monitors the wild species, all of the wild species, on Assateague.

Dr. Lisa Ludvico – studied the reproductive strategies of wild mares – providing helpful information through reproductive behaviors and DNA analysis.

Dr. David Powell –his Doctorate consisted of exploring the social behavior and reproduction of wild horses; important information in considering birth control for wild horses.

Dr. John Turner – A research partner who led the research that resulted in improving the forms of PZP, making it longer lasting.

Robin Lyda - and had a large role in making and purifying PZP.

The “two BLM cowboys” with the Pryor Mountain Range mustangs whose request for help, in essence, was the beginning of the story.

These folks along with everyone behind the scenes worked hard at finding a way to manage the Assateague wild pony population. The controversy and issues surrounding the delicate balance of healthy horse herds in the US abound. Left alone, the book confirms that horses repopulate very quickly – causing environmental issues. Culling the herds is costly to both humans financial sources and to the emotional peace of the horses. Selling the horses for meat is distasteful in the US. And finally, removing foals from the mares in order to maintain the population has been statistically proven to make the mares produce more quickly.
Some of the beautiful ponies I've seen on Assateague


My Skepticism About Wildlife Birth Control



I bought the book with some bit of skepticism. Some years ago, after seeing newborn fawns (deer) in what seemed to me dangerously late in the season, I did a small bit of research. I thought I had read that trials of birth control being used in deer herds could cause mating season and birthing season differences. I do not recall at this time if the birth control being tried was PZP or other chemicals. And I did not follow this topic further. But I always worried about the impact of chemically altering the reproduction cycle of wild animals.

I purchased this book mainly because I loved the photographs when I had flipped through. I ended up learning quite a bit about wildlife contraception.

It appears that PZP has been created with a great deal of thought, research, and effort and seems to be doing a great job with managing the horses on the Maryland end of Assateague Island with no negative side effects. I am a believer.

This is good news and important work that may help wildlife management on so many levels.

Whether you read this for the beauty of the photographs of the ponies, to gain some Assateague Island experience from the comfort of your home, or to learn more about the science of animal birth control, I think you will love this little book.

I found this book during a day trip to Assateague Island National Seashore, I made a stop at the Barrier Island Visitor Center. I had toured the original Visitors Center, built in 1967. But I had yet to stop at the new Visitors Center that opened in the fall of 2010.

The Visitor Center is wonderful and will need it’s own review. I highly recommend that travelers to this area make time to stop and enjoy what this center has to offer. And I highly recommend this great little book called Wild Horse Scientists by Kay Frydenborg.





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Friday, August 21, 2020

About Raintree Annie On Review This Reviews

About Raintree Annie On Review This Reviews  


Raintree Annie Hi, my writing name is Raintree Annie and I am otherwise known as Jasmine Ann Marie. In life and online I get called any combination of those names! I am really happy to be a part of the Review This Reviews writing group. I started writing many years ago and always love it most when I am part of a creative and enthusiastic writing family. 

I like to write about what I know and experience. From a young age I developed an interest in nature and loved animals, birds and plants. I was given my own little patch of garden by my parents who encouraged me in these interests. 

My interests merge together really. My love of creating a beautiful garden that has wildlife at its heart, has become a passion and I find a great sense of calm, peace and happiness from learning about and nurturing our garden.

I am never happier than when I am immersed in nature and wildlife. I also like to have plants in the house to carry the natural world through into our home. 

I love taking photographs of natural environments, wildlife, flowers, plants and landscapes. I spend hours in the garden and whenever we can my husband and I go out to visit the countryside, beaches, woods and nature reserves so we can exercise and spend time together relaxing in nature. I enjoy making unique cards and gifts from those photographs. 

I gained a significant back issue over a decade ago and now take good care of my back and keep as fit and healthy as I can in order to continue to care for our garden and be out and about in nature. I always take my back into account when I am gardening and choosing products to assist me.

   

Articles By Raintree Annie


Joy of First Snowdrops
When I am not in our garden, the countryside or a nature reserve you can find me online at these places! 

Diary Of A Wild Country Garden, my blog where I write about my reflections of everyday life gardening and looking after wildlife in our wild country garden.


Life With My Pet Back blog covers reflections on life with back pain and the journey to recovery. 


Raintree Earth Designs is my blog where I share my love of photography with cards and gifts made from my photographs of wildlife and countryside with the stories behind them from my Raintree Earth Designs Zazzle Store. 


Essential Wildlife Gardening Gifts where I share practical, fun and beautiful gardening items which make lovely gifts for the gardener.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Animals: Pets & Wildlife Reviewed on Review This Reviews!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This Reviews!

The contributors of Review This Reviews love animals, especially our pets.  As families with pets, we have found several fabulous products to make our pet's more comfortable for home or travel.  For instance, did you know there are disposable pet bowls?  They make traveling with dogs much easier or make the pet sitters life easier because they can simply throw away the food bowls instead of washing them.  

For pups that don't like to get wet in the rain, there are doggy rain coats. Or, if your dog needs a hair cut and you don't want to pay a professional doggy hair stylist or your pup just needs a trim between stylist visits, then we recommend this cordless clipper for you

Click Here for More Dog Related Reviews!


For cats, why not have a lovely end table that doubles as a comfortable cat house?  That gives the cat privacy while still being in your protective company.  Many cats will run for shelter when company comes in.  The cat house gives them that needed place until they are ready to venture out again.  With a cat cushion inside, the end table becomes a cat bed too.

Click Here for More Cat Related Reviews!

If you don't have a pet yet, or perhaps want to add to your pet family, you may want to consider a hairless guinea pig. This review shares the things you should know before you decide to bring a guinea pig home.  

 

Of course, none of us wish to think of our beloved pets being lost and unable to find their way home. During the month of July, we celebrate National Lost Pet Prevention Month and focus on learning how to protect our pets and prevent our pets getting lost. 


Wildlife Around Us

Several of the Review This Reviews Contributors enjoy exploring the great outdoors and taking pictures of the wildlife. That leads us to doing research on the animal and writing a review on the wildlife we found interesting or pretty enough to photograph.


We invite you to explore our world of AnimalsPets & Wildlife!

The board below features 30 of our most recent reviews.







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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Adopting An Elephant

Giving A Unique Gift This Year

elephant
Elephant Image from Pixabay.com
In my last post I spoke of my granddaughter and her passion to save the elephants. Besides the gift of the stuffed elephant that I plan to give her, I came up with another gift idea. I have adopted an elephant in her name. 

How does one adopt an elephant you may be thinking. It is actually very easy to do. Obviously, one doesn't actually take on an elephant to raise. The adoption is really a creative use of words for a donation to help in the conservation and protection of elephants in Africa and Asia. I chose to donate the money to the World Wildlife Fund as a gift to my precious little 5 year old granddaughter as one of her Christmas gifts. 

This may seem like an unusual gift for a child but she isn't a typical 5 year old. After having visited Disney World this last spring the one thing she came home with was the desire to save the slaughter of elephants for their tusks. It has occurred to me that not only is this the perfect gift for her this year but one that I can continue to give each year. It is a gift that can be given to someone who feels passionately about saving the endangered species of wildlife across the globe. You can choose from several types of animals, not just the elephant through The World Wildlife Fund which has helped protect wildlife for over 50 years. 

Another option for helping elephants is the International Elephant Foundation. Donations to this organization also help to protect the elephants. The IEF operates conservation and education programs in the wild and facilities to protect, manage and perform scientific research. The foundation was formed in 1998 in Fort Worth, Texas when there was a lack of reputable organizations for this very purpose.

We so often think of giving our children and grandchildren toys, books and clothing as a gift. There is nothing wrong with that at all. I just wanted to do something different this year and making a donation for the elephants will really mean something to my sweet little granddaughter. I think it will be a gift that she will remember for many years. 

I also want to clarify that the links that I have provided in this post are not affiliate links which means that there is no monetary gain for me when you visit the sites. If you choose to donate to either of them, all of the donation goes to the organization. This post is just a way to make a suggestion for a unique and different gift that you can give to someone special in your life who is passionate about saving our wildlife whether it is an elephant, rhinoceros, orangutan or any other endangered species.  




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Monday, February 5, 2018

Grizzly Man Movie Review

The Grizzly Man: award-winning true story.
Grizzly Man is a heart-wrenching, strange, beautiful, horrifying movie by and about Timmy Treadwell. Who is Timmy Treadwell? Director Werner Herzog attempts to show us who Treadwell was. Yes, was. Past tense.

My family members and I have seen this movie more times than we can count. We make references to it in our daily life and sometimes sing the ending song. Perhaps we are a bit strange for liking a movie this much. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that I don't believe anyone can see this movie and not have a strong reaction.


Four Reasons to Watch Grizzly Man




It is strange. Who would want to live in the wilderness with dangerous bears for 13 summers? I do mean "with" the bears. Timmy Treadwell would. I'd love to visit and/or live in Alaska, but certainly not “with” the bears. And Timmy's passionate tirades are both moving and disturbing.


It is beautiful. Treadwell filmed the scenery and the wildlife in a way that is breathtaking. His ability to get close-ups of the Alaskan wildlife and document the gorgeous, but rugged, landscape is worth the cost of the movie alone. Grizzly Man was created posthumously - using footage from Treadwell's filming. 

It is Intimate. Treadwell's frequent and long term presence with the bears (and other Alaskan wildlife), allows him to move among them with little notice for the most part. Because of this, we are able to see the animals in a mostly undisturbed state. If you ever wanted to know what bears do naturally, this is a must-see movie. We also get a very intimate look at Treadwell through his story-telling style as well by hearing what others have to say about him.

It is about the difficulties of protecting and conserving. It is a perfect example of a rock and a hard place of conservation. There are always difficulties in the balance of protecting animals and providing for humans. It is a delicate balance that I rarely seem to find being done well. Some animal species go extinct due to human encroachment. Or at the other extreme, humans are at risk while endangered species are being protected. And misguided attempts to conserve wildlife sometimes ends up being detrimental to the very wildlife that is in the process of being protected. 

In my opinion, Treadwell's story is a beautiful and disturbing example of the difficulty of balancing the needs of humans and animals.

You can find this movie on Amazon on DVD/Blu-ray or on Amazon Video.


Warning: Those persons who have nightmares easily might not want to see this movie. I don't consider it to be visually gory. It's more of a psychological twist and the things that can be imagined that brew in your mind for awhile.







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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Reviewing The Benefits and Drawbacks Of A Manual Lawn Mower


This is my personal review of our manual lawnmower. Over the years we have had maybe five or six lawnmowers all electric, apart from one petrol powered one.

However, last year we bought a manual lawnmower. I am not really sure why we decided to do that, but I know we were fed up with our electric ones breaking down or cutting the cord accidentally and the whole hassle of fixing up extension leads inside the house as we have no outside power. The one petrol lawnmower we had was very heavy and noisy and really too big for us and our lawn and neither of us liked it.

The electric one had just given up, more expensive to fix than to buy another one and of course, it was at peak mowing time so we needed another one quickly.

Searching For A Lawn Mower

We started trawling Amazon for lawnmowers. We did not want a petrol mower as we do not have a massive amount of lawn and it would have been too much. We were fed up with electric lawnmowers and all the issues we had found with them. 

So we decided to hone in on manual lawnmowers. At first, I was not sure this was a good idea. My husband has health issues and I need to be careful with my back having a history of severe back problems. I wasn't sure we would be able to push it without added power.

I also wasn't sure if it would cut effectively. It felt in this age of technology, powered appliances and high specifications to be a step backward. Yet in a way also felt completely appropriate for our nature-friendly, wildlife garden and for the more power-saving, environmentally aware times we live in.

The manual lawnmower we found had an appealing price point and looked very sturdy and we were fed up replacing lawnmowers too often. So we bought a Bosch manual lawn mower. 


Bosch Manual Lawn Mower


Our First Experience Of A Manual Lawn Mower.

When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised that it was sturdy looking but not too heavy.

Set up was easy with only the long handles to fix to the frame which even for us was easy. We never fitted the grassbox as we intended to cut the lawn often and have always found a grassbox to be an encumbrance. However, the grassbox is there if we ever need it. 

Hubby was the first to try to in the garden. We set the blades on high and he simply pushed it and it cut cleanly and efficiently.  After a few laps he stopped and said it was really easy to push and no more work than our previous electric mowers! In fact, he seemed to be rather enjoying it!

So then I tried it and to my joy, it was indeed easy to push and did not hurt my back that time or any other time I have mowed the lawn.

For some reason I have yet to pin down it always seems more fun to use than our powered ones ever did!  

So after using this manual lawnmower for nearly a year now we have found clear benefits and drawbacks as we see it from our personal experience.

Manual Lawn Mower Is Easy To Use


Benefits Of A Manual Lawnmower

It is easier to push than we expected and no more physical strength is required than with our previous powered mowers

Much quieter than our electric or petrol mowers and it has quite a soothing muted sound

There are no electricity costs and no petrol costs. So we can mow to our heart's content knowing we are not incurring any ongoing financial costs at all! This is great for us as power costs are due to rise by a significant amount, so any savings are good. 

Regarding the environment, there are no emissions from a manual lawn mower so this is all good for our planet.

There is the joy of knowing that never again will we cut through an electric cable!

With no trailing wires, no extension leads required, no outdoor power needed and no wires trailing from the house into the garden, it is an easy-use tool.  

Fewer components mean there is less to go wrong

The manual lawn mower is ready to go as soon as you are! We now have no worries that it won't start or that a component will suddenly go wrong.

Close Up Of Bosch Manual Lawnmower, blades, wheels and roller


Even with battery lawnmowers you have the battery life or recharging to concern yourself with, while with a totally manual machine none such concerns. 

Significantly better for wildlife. We don't disturb any more wildlife using our manual lawnmower than we would with our presence walking down the garden. 

The frogs, toads,  hedgehogs and birds -especially fledglings - have plenty of time to move away from it and there's no risk if any of them getting caught up by the blades.


Fledgling Baby Robin 


To us, it does appear to give a better cleaner cut rather than tearing the grass.

It was less expensive than other powered mowers we have purchased in the past.

As it has a smaller footprint than most powered mowers it is easier to store and takes up less space. 

We can carry it easily as it is not too heavy, though it is sturdy. 

The manual lawnmower feels safer around wildlife, pets and children as there are no wires for them to get caught up in or trip over. There is no electricity to worry about and no fast-moving blades. We do take all the usual safety precautions of course. 

Hedgehog In Our Garden


Drawbacks Of A Manual Lawnmower

I do think that if you have a very large lawn a manual lawnmower will take more time to achieve the task. While it is perfectly possible to cut a large lawn with a manual lawn mower you will need to decide if you wish to do that. 

We find you need to cut a little more often than with a powered mower as it is much easier to cut shorter grass than longer grass with it.

If you attach the grassbox you may need to empty it more often, but I think if you cut more often this would not be an issue. 

Long grass will be more difficult to cut and certainly take more effort. Little and often is easier to cut than letting the grass grow longer which makes it harder to cut and then does require more physical power.

It is not so good at cutting wet grass as it does take more effort and seems to clog up more easily, but we rarely try to cut wet grass anyway even with our powered mowers, preferring to cut it when it is dry.

We will need to sharpen the blades every few years with our size lawn, but given the saving in electricity, this will not be a cost issue.   

Ours does have a roller but many manual mowers won't have rollers, so stripes will be more difficult to achieve. If this is important to you check that you can achieve stripes with it. If you want one with a roller function do check all the specifications. 

If you are considering a manual lawn mower do research properly what is important to you in a lawnmower. We bought a Bosch Manual Lawnmower and there are many more choices that are equally suitable. 

Here is a selection to browse. Do consider what you need in a manual lawn mower and read all the specifications carefully.


Happy With Our Manual Lawn Mower 

In summary, we are both really happy with our Bosch manual lawn mower. We have owned it for nearly a year now with no issues at all and are very content that we never need to worry about it breaking down or not starting. 

We don't worry about wires or electricity costs. We have no need to worry about safety with wildlife or pets or children getting caught up in the wires or blades. Obviously, the blades are sharp so you would take all the usual precautions regarding children and any type of machinery. 

We find it a gentle, easy, quiet way to mow our smallish lawn that is environmentally and wildlife-friendly and does not annoy us or the neighbours. 

Bosch Manual Lawnmower


More Product and Gardening Reviews








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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Guy Harvey Saltwater Fishing Apparel Review


Guy Harvey Fishing Hat
Working part-time in a store located in a coastal community, I've discovered that one of the most popular brands of clothing we carry is saltwater fishing apparel by Guy Harvey.  Men who are fishermen and/or love the sea especially love Guy Harvey shirts and hats.

Guy Harvey hats are among the most popular items in his clothing lines, especially among fishermen.  The signature logo of a Marlin with the Guy Harvey name stitched across it has become synonymous with deep sea fishing. 





Guy Harvey Apparel


Guy Harvey Marlin Boat T-Shirt


The Guy Harvey line of apparel includes shirts featuring various forms of marine life, hats, belts, shorts, footwear and gift items.  Popular saltwater fishing designs, especially on T-shirts, include Marlin, Tuna, Sharks, Sailfish, Redfish, and the Dolphin Fish. Many of the designs on these Guy Harvey clothing items are from the original artwork by Mr. Harvey.



We have stacks of Guy Harvey shirts in many designs and styles in the store I work for as they are extremely popular here in Coastal Georgia with the Atlantic Ocean so very near.







Guy Harvey



Guy Harvey
Guy Harvey is a world famous marine wildlife artist.  Growing up in Jamaica, he spent many hours fishing and diving with his father. Those early years created a deep love for the creatures of the sea and led to Harvey becoming a marine biologist. 

He was also inspired, from an early age, to draw the various types of fish he observed, which eventually led to his creations of marine wildlife art.  Many of Guy Harvey's marine art are today featured on his line of fishing apparel and gift items, especially popular with fishermen and coastal residents who love marine life.

A marine wildlife artist, Guy Harvey combines his unique artistic talents with his background as a marine biologist, diver, photographer and angler, to create marine wildlife art. You can view his artwork on his website.  He lives with his family in Grand Cayman and is devoted to his family and his love of the sea and all its living creatures.




Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF)

 

Save Our Seas Turtle Poster on Amazon

With his line of clothing apparel, Guy Harvey has established the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF.org) and a portion of the proceeds from all his official merchandise benefits the marine conservation research and educational work of GHOF.  The foundation tags and tracks sharks and billfish to ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ecosystem. 



Related Coastal Clothing Links:





(c) Wednesday Elf 11/25/2017






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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Backyard Wildlife – A Toy Review

 


The most common animals you might find in your back yard are squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, perhaps a deer, or maybe a skunk. Some are found in nearly every yard (squirrels and rabbits); some you might find only if you live where your back yard is near a wooded area (deer, for instance). 


Because these animals are wild, it is practically impossible to get close to them.  That's where toy versions come into play.


Let's review a few of these animals one might find in a backyard in toy version made in crafty plush or wood. 


Squirrels


Nearly everyone with a back yard has squirrels, probably the most common wild animal seen there, flitting from tree to tree and across the yard. 


In Iowa, they have black squirrels. The intro photo above shows one that was seen on my son's backyard deck.


Red Squirrel Plush Animal

Squirrels come in many colors. This one by Aurora World is in a 'rusty' color and is super silky and soft for little hands. Recommended for ages 3 months and up, this sweet red squirrel from a trusted manufacturer will fill your child's imaginative play. 


Rabbit


Wooden Bunny Push Toy


This wooden push toy bunny is handmade in Iowa by Jesse & Stacey Bannor of BannorToys. Bunny push toy is 5.5 x 5 inches with wheels that are fully functional.  It features an interior cutout that makes an easy 'handle' for little fingers to grasp and helps babies & toddlers to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. 


Crafted from locally sourced Cherry wood, this darling push toy is finished with beeswax and flaxseed oil.



Raccoon Plush Toy


Raccoon Plush Toy Animal

This adorable soft and cuddly raccoon is handcrafted with care by Angela Gray and featured in her Etsy Shop GrayMomMakes.  It is created from soft plush 100% polyester yarn, stuffed with hypoallergenic 100% polyester fiberfill. Perfect gift for kids and adults alike. Can be used as a nursery décor or perfect companion for animal lovers and creative outdoorsy people.


Sweet Deer Toy


Velvety Plush Deer in Crochet

This adorable velvet plush deer is handmade by Viktoria in Turkey. Measuring approximately 11 inches tall (or 7 inches in a sitting position), this sweet little deer is cuddly and cute.  Deer can be found in Viktoria's Etsy shop Divohobby


Summary


Such cute, cuddly, sweet plush animals and educational wooden toys make a child's toybox a place for a fun collection of backyard wildlife. 



Related Reviews:




*Backyard Wildlife is written by Wednesday Elf









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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Photographing Florida Wildlife

Florida has some wonderful birds and other wildlife that are very different from what I am used to seeing in the Midwest.  When I am vacationing in Florida I enjoy photographing the wildlife. On this page I will review some of the photographs I took of Florida wildlife.

Brown Pelican

I love taking a walk down the pier at Jupiter Inlet and watch the Brown Pelican's which are very prevalent in that area.  It is easy to get a photograph of the pelicans as they sit on the rocks near the pier.  These beautiful creatures can also be seen diving for fish in the area.  I wrote an article on brown pelicans and you will find more of my photos and information on the pelicans at Brown Pelican Photos.

Geckos

 These fascinating little creatures were everywhere around our condo in Florida.  I couldn't walk down the sidewalk without one running out in front of me.  My friend told me they were Amonolies, but I'm not really sure.  I tried to look them up online and found there are over 1500 species of Geckos worldwide.  I'm not sure what type these are but they sure are cute.  Usually they move way to fast to get a good photo, but one day I was taking a walk and the little guy up above was basking in the sun on the sidewalk just begging to have his photo taken.  Of course I had my camera with me and was able to capture this photo.  If you know what type of Gecko or Amonolie this is, please leave a note in the comment section.

Birds and Ducks after a Rain

Behind our condo was a park with a great walking trail along the edges.  In the middle the ground was lower and when it rained it filled with water.  One day after a rain, birds and ducks flocked to the area.  I grabbed my camera and was able to capture the photos below.  I think the white birds are Egrets but I don't know the names of the others. Again, if you can enlighten me please leave a comment.



Pelican on Beach Mouse Pad
Pelican on Beach Mouse Pad by mbgphoto
View more Pelican Mousepads at zazzle.com
Pelicans on Piers Posters
Pelicans on Piers Posters by mbgphoto
See more Pelicans Posters at zazzle.com



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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Review of Tips for Photographing on a Hike

 There is nothing like a hike in the woods to find great material for nature photography.  During the past month I have gone on several outings with photographer friends to capture the beautiful images of springtime in Missouri.  These images were taken on two of our outings at state parks in the St. Louis metro area.  The photo above was taken at Cuivre River State Park in Troy,  Missouri.  The second park we visited was Lone Elk Park just off Hwy 44 in the southwest portion of the region.

Preparing for Your Trip

Good preparation is important for your trip.  On both of the occasions there was a chance of rain so some rain gear was added to my checklist.
  • Camera and back pack
  • Extra batteries and memory cards for the camera
  • Lens cloth to wipe away dust and dirt
  • Two lenses- one wide angle(18-70) and a longer lens (70-300)
  • large trash bag (to sit on if the area is muddy)
  • rain poncho (just in case)
  • lens hood
  • filter
  • tripod
Although I make sure all of these things are in my backpack, when I get to the place where we are going to shoot I leave most of the items in my car.  I do this because we were going on trails of 1 mile or less and if I need something else I can go back to the car.  For my first trip from the car to shoot I will put on one of my lenses and make sure to wipe it off.  I then check my battery and memory card and head out to shoot.  Later depending on what I'm wanting to photograph, I will come back and change lenses and/or pick up my tripod.  I used to always carry my backpack and tripod with me, but I have found that to be too cumbersome and not needed for short hikes.

 Photographing Wildlife

I have not done a lot of wildlife photography but on my trip to Lone Elk Park I had two photography buddies who really helped  me to hone in on wildlife to photograph.  Dina was great at listening for birds and pointed out the Pileated Woodpecker  that I was able to capture with my long lens in the photo below. In the photo below that you will see an Elk.  Our photo buddy Mac drove ahead of us through the park and would point out places where we could find Elk and Bison. I found that photographing wildlife takes a lot more patience than photographing flowers.

Photographing Plants and Flowers

I enjoy photographing flowers and foliage.

There is always something interesting to shoot in the parks. The first shot  is some pink dogwood I spotted through the trees.  This photo was taken in Lone Elk Park and the shot was taken out of the window of the car.  I had my lens set on aperture priority f8 and was able to capture the pink as I saw it through the trees.


We were hiking down a small path in Cuivre River State park when I saw part of an old stone wall. I stopped on the path and took several shots of the wall from different directions. It is amazing the different looks you get just by walking around an area and looking at it from a different angle.

I love the way the leaves were growing over this stone wall.  The sunlight filtering through the trees also gave it an interesting look.

 Waterdrops and Puddles Create Interesting Photos

We were at Cuivre River right after a rainfall and there were puddles everywhere and raindrops still falling from the branches and leaves.  Sometimes new photographers avoid rainy days, but I find that you can capture some of your best images on a rainy day.  The first photo was looking down at the top of an old stone pillar.  The pillar was about 3 feet high and a oval pool of water had collected in the top of the pillar.  I stood over the pillar and focused my camera down on the puddle of water that showed a reflection of the trees above.              

This next photo depicts a waterdrop on a branch.  I was having trouble getting a good shot when a fellow photographer suggested I back up a bit and refocused.  It took a few tries but I was finally able to get a fairly clear shot of the waterdrop with the background blurred.  

Watch for Special Features to Photograph

As you are out in a park look for special features to add to your photographs.  Old stone bridges like the one below make an interesting photograph.  Don't forget to turn around and look at the path you've just walked down.  The leading lines will also make for an interesting photo.


I couldn't resist photographing this goose that sat out right in the middle of the parking lot.  He didn't move all the while I was shooting.

Gifts from  my Photographs

Here are some items I made on Zazzle from my photographs.  You can see other items on my Zazzle shop by clicking through either of the links below.
Old Bridge at Cuivre River Card
Old Bridge at Cuivre River Card by mbgphoto
Look at other Old stone bridge Cards at zazzle.com
Leaves on Old Stone Wall Gift Box
Leaves on Old Stone Wall Gift Box by mbgphoto
Check out Cuivre river state park Gift Boxes online at zazzle



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: Online Shopping Directory



Shopping for just the right gift doesn't have to be difficult or chaotic. 

This birthday & holiday gift guide will help you find the perfect gift for every member of your family, for all of your friends as well as co-workers, truly everyone on your gift list.  
 
We know the sites listed in this guide are trustworthy and reliable sources.  So, sit back, relax and do all of your gift shopping right from the comfort of your own home.

These are not paid solicitations or ads. Placement in the Review This Reviews Holiday Gift Guide cannot be purchased. 


Each of these sites has been hand-selected by our own Review This Reviews contributor team to provide you with the very best shopping experience.



  GIFT SELECTIONS

SUGGESTIONS FROM MULTIPLE CONTRIBUTORS
 

VALENTINES DAY

BE MY VALENTINE WORLD:   Explore a world of fun and romantic ideas for valentine's decorating, cards, parties, apparel and creating special memories on Valentine's Day.  We will help you plan a romantic dinner and find a gift your Valentine is sure to love and cherish.  Be My Valentine World also has a section just for children and Valentine's cards for classroom exchange.
 
 


SEE THE SITES BELOW FOR MORE GIFT IDEAS 


GIFT EMPORIUMS


TREASURES, TRAVEL, AND TALES:   A site as random and rambling as the author.  Dawn Rae firmly believes that the best gifts are those that create memories or relationships. Whether those relationships are with friends, family, and pets or with inanimate things such as the earth, books, and her beloved Jeep.  On the pages of this site you will find "treasures" which are Dawn Rae's gift recommendations, "travel" which will include great places for adventure in the mid-Atlantic region, and "tales" which will include book reviews as well as the author's journey in the writing world. To make a long story short, this sit should have been entitled, "Included, but not limited to."


RAINTREE EARTH DESIGNS:  Here we discuss the background, history, emotions and any interesting facts relating to the designs and photographs displayed on Raintree Earth Designs Zazzle. Our unique photographs are taken by us in our garden and on country walks in UK and abroad which are made into a variety of greetings cards and gift ideas. Most of these photographs and designs originate from our appreciation of nature and wildlife and the site may also feature other respected designers.


LOU 16:  Lou16 is a website with lots of gift ideas mixed in with zombies, dolls and a few ideas on how to earn money online. The author loves to discover new cool things that will make great gift ideas so no matter who you’re shopping for Lou could have the perfect gift waiting for you.



SPECIALTY GIFTS


RAINTREE EARTH DESIGNS ZAZZLE STORE: At Raintree Earth Designs we are inspired by nature. We love and respect wildlife and the conservation of our beautiful natural world. It is delightful to see the ordinary as extraordinary. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy our store.


LIGHT HOUSE ENTHUSIAST:  Are you looking for a gift for a lighthouse enthusiast. At this site you will find a wide variety of gifts from mugs, posters, magnets, dishes, ornaments and much more. There are over 100 different lighthouses depicted on the products in my shop. Stop by and browse the store to find the perfect gift for that lighthouse lover on your gift list.


REVIEWED BY SAM:  You'll find a collection of articles of just about anything, from books, products that I own and use, travel, and do-it-yourself-projects. some of these articles contain some great gift ideas. 
 
 

JEWELRY


VICTORIA FREDERICK'S JEWELRY BOX:  Experience the real joy of jewelry!  I invite you to look inside my jewelry box where you will discover the most divine and beautiful jewelry available today.  From silver filigree to diamond laden pendants, I endeavor to offer the perfect gifts in jewelry and accessories with something for every budget.   
 


KITCHENS

HEART OF THE HOME KITCHENS:  Your kitchen is where you prepare meals, artistically create great food masterpieces, and share some of the greatest moments in life.  It is the heart of the home and should be filled with the tools that make cooking fun and easy, and dining a pleasure, not just a necessity. From specialty cookware to lovely serving pieces and holiday kitchen decor, we have what your "heart" desires.


HOME DECOR


FUNK THIS HOUSE:  If you consider yourself an original who tends to plow their own path in life even when it comes to home decor, then you need to embrace your funky side by checking out the broad collection of colorful, unique, odd and somewhat off-the-wall ideas at Funkthishouse.com! Find ways to tap into your wacky side when you decorate! Why move from your home when you can just funk'n love it!


BEAUTIFUL HOME & GARDEN DECOR:  Step into a dreamy world of beautiful home and garden decor where the selections are a combination of practicality and lovely appeal.   From the den to the bedroom, throughout the house and into the garden, we feature decor that enriches our everyday lives as we transform our home and gardens into our own private sanctuaries.  We can help you make your home a warm, comfortable and inviting reflection of yourself!


HOUSE OF SYLVESTERMOUSE on Zazzle:  Many fabulous and exclusive photographs of nature scenes are featured, including mammals, flowers and insects, as well as prints of historical landmarks and art. These photos are offered on many different mediums including apparel, home & office decor, greeting cards, Christmas ornaments, and more. They are sure to add beauty and creativity to any wall or surface.



FOOD & DRINK


SAM'S PLACE   You'll find old and new family recipes. I have a passion for preserving old family recipes as well as creating new ones along the way. Recipes for the Holidays and recipes for everyday cooking. With these delicious recipes, you'll see my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets, all of which make perfect gift ideas.


COOKING FOR THE HOLIDAYS   Discover recipes, tips and suggestions for Cooking for the Holidays, or any day of the year.


KOFFEE KINGDOM:  "Where Coffee Rules!"   Koffee Kingdom is truly the "kingdom" of coffee information & resources, coffee makers and equipment, coffee supplies, coffee recipes, coffee related gifts & decor.  For us, it is all about coffee. "I got a fever...and the only prescription is more coffee!"


  
 

GARDENING


EASY BACKYARD GARDENING: Your garden and backyard should be your own private sanctuary.  It is your place to rest, relax and simply enjoy the peace that only a garden can give. Easy Backyard Gardening offers plants, flowers and tree suggestions, gardening tool recommendations and easy care instructions to help you create your own backyard garden retreat.


ESSENTIAL WILDLIFE GARDENING GIFTS: Here you will find practical, fun and beautiful gardening gifts that will make gorgeous presents for the gardener, who also likes to keep wildlife in mind. For many occasions, gardening gifts may be purely decorative or very practical or a combination of both. Some gifts are directly for the benefit of wildlife, or for the enjoyment or comfort of the gardener to make our lives more special and fulfilled.


GRAMMIE KNOWS HOW TO GARDEN: Gardening has been a passion for Grammie Olivia, forever.  Not only does she know lots about gardens, tips and tricks, flowers, vegetables and weeds, but she loves to share her knowledge with novice gardeners and experts alike.  You will find all kinds of interesting things here, from Garden Decor, Gifts for Gardeners, New and Improved ways to make gardening easier.  Even help for “Older Gardeners”  who can’t give up the idea of  getting their hands in the ground.

From the Balcony to the great Outdoors, Grammie Olivia, writes for all gardeners, bringing new tools, seeds, trends in the garden, and a love for Mother Nature and all her garden friends!  The ones with two legs, four and more legs, two wings or more.  The ones that hop, jump, scurry and fly!  They are all integral players in the Great Outdoors.  Some are Beneficial and some are not, Grammie Olivia helps you to keep the ones that are great and naturally deter the ones that are not!  

Grammie Olivia welcomes you and your friends to ask questions, share advice, join in a group of people who love to garden.  Looking forward to hearing from all of you!




CRAFTS

 
WEDNESDAY ELFS' EBAY STORECrafting visitors to my eBay site will find a wide variety of craft patterns for every season and occasion for crafters in crochet, knitting, cross stitch and sewing. Along with patterns, I have craft supplies (yarns, trimmings, accessories, etc.) available. As a crochet and needlework crafter myself, I also feature new ready-to-use-or-give handcrafted items for holiday, seasonal, birthday and 'just because' gifts.


CHRISTMAS CRAFT KITS: Your destination for fast and easy Christmas crafts, or handmade Christmas gifts to make and give to your family & friends, we offer a variety of beautiful Christmas crafts.   Visit us today and enter the home of Christmas Craft Kits where a world of crafting fun in felt, cross stitch, plastic canvas, crochet and more, are waiting for your hands to turn the pieces into cherished keepsakes.


HOUSE OF SYLVESTERMOUSE EBAY STORE:  Explore a crafter's paradise filled with the variety of crafts, craft kits, patterns, books and supplies.  As a fellow crafter, this is truly my own personal world of experience and creativity.  I also offer some great gift selections for just about anyone on your gift list, not just the crafters.
 
 
 

CHILDREN


CHERISHED TOY FINDS: Spending time and playing with my grandchildren I realized that many of the toys were toys that I played with as well as my children. I created Cherished Toy Finds to share these classic toys. Toys that have stood the test of time. You can also find some of the newest and favorite toys that my grandchildren recommend. All of these, of course, make perfect gift ideas. 


COASTAL CROCHET CRAFTS: Journey with me to my 'Land of Crochet' where little plush animals romp & play. 
Here you will find hand-crocheted 'critters' who are brightly colored soft 'stuffies' in many shapes and forms from penguins to puppies, barnyard buddies, zoo animals, seaside stuffies and more.
Coastal Crochet and Crafts Shop also has handmade household décor in the shape of beverage coasters and tissue covers in many themes.


TOY TIME TREASURES: The premier selection of toys available for our children today. We invite you into our world of wonderful toys that provide hours of fun and a touch of fantasy.   Dolls, Dragons, Castles, Tents, Plush Animals to Hold or Ride, Play Kitchens, Workshops and so much more. We have what you have been looking for and more!


TOY TREASURES:  "Toys that capture our attention and hold our hearts!"    At Toy Treasures, we are kindred spirits and avid collectors all.  We understand the desire to have our own menagerie of collectibles.  Today’s toys will become tomorrow's greatest keepsake in the hearts and minds of our children.  Discover today's plaything and tomorrows heirloom.
 
 
 
 

GREETING CARDS


 
THE GREEN-EYED CAT GIFT SHOP:  The Green-Eyed Cat Gift Shop's high-quality greeting cards feature our own photography and a selection of customizable birthday, Mother's Day and Father's Day, and all-occasion cards for dog lovers, people who like flowers, and even recipe cards.  Personalize a card with your own message if you like, choose a size, and rest assured that you'll love the 100% satisfaction-guaranteed results. 
 

THE COOL CARD SHOP:  The Cool Card Shop has a lovely selection of greeting cards for you, from birthday cards to Christmas cards, Valentine’s Day Greetings to Mother’s Day Cards. 


RAINTREE EARTH DESIGNS ZAZZLE STORE: We celebrate the natural world taking photographs to create beautiful and unique greetings cards and gifts. These photographs are of flowers, birds, animals and scenery we come across on our walks and in our garden.


HOUSE OF SYLVESTERMOUSE GREETING CARDS In the House of Sylvestermouse, I specialize in beautiful photography.  I offer greeting cards with lovely photos of animals, travel destinations, flowers, and more featured on the front.  Some of my cards have inspirational messages inside, but most are left blank for you to add your own personal greeting or note.  When you want a beautiful picture, come see me.  Also, if you see any photo in my store that you would like to have made available on a greeting card, simply let me know and I will gladly add it to the greeting card selections.


 

MORE HOLIDAY WEBSITES



EASTER

EGGSCITING EASTER:  An eggs-cellent place for all of your Easter fun!  Easter decor and decorating ideas, party planning and apparel, recipes, gifts, Easter candy and treats for an Egg-cellent and Egg-citing Easter! 
 

HALLOWEEN

HALLOWEEN HAVEN:  Hauntingly memorable Halloweens start here!  Like a lot of great parties, Halloween Haven has multiple hallow-hostesses who have joined our knowledge and experiences together in order to create a frighteningly fantastic place for all of your Halloween fun.  We feature the best Halloween costumes and jewelry, Halloween indoor and outdoor decorations, Halloween party ideas and recipes, as well as Halloween collectibles. 

 

EVERYTHING HALLOWEEN:  Everything Halloween is your online destination for everything Halloween as the name suggests! We do have a heavy emphasis on costumes as we love fancy dress on any day of the year, but Halloween is definitely the best time!  



CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS TIME TREASURES:  Bring the magic and wonder of Christmas home!  Make Christmas memorable with our Christmas decorations, recipes, holiday party invitations, and Christmas apparel.  We also feature a selection of Christmas gifts that will be treasured for years to come.

CHRISTMAS TREE IDEAS:  Christmas Tree Ideas as the title suggests offers ideas for your Christmas tree from the tree itself to different themed ornaments, tree skirts and tree toppers. Purchase new ornaments from the comfort of your own home or just get some inspiration for your holiday décor. 

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS:  Christmas Holidays is a POD store spreading the joy of Christmas with ornaments, t-shirts, cards, throw pillows, gift wrap and more!  
 
 

 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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