Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eye see you

I am getting the eye. And by extension, so are you. Move slowly, I warn you. This Mute Swan at Audubon Park is wary of me. Just wants to be left alone to go back to sleep in the warm sun. She opened her eyes when I got near, but didn't move a bit. Apparently there is some line that you have to cross before she goes into level 2 of wariness. I didn't see the line, but I found out it was there by getting just a little too close. She raised her neck up full length and started squawking her displeasure. Hey, don't feel so smug. She can see you, too, standing behind me. And she ain't happy.

-- steve buser

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bad air day

You know it's true in your life. I am living witness of the fact.

You can try to be as graceful as you can, but something comes a long, a puff of wind, an unexpected thig-a-ma-jig right there where you wanted to land.

Whatever it is, it messes up your plans. You weren't expecting to have to make mid air maneuvers this close to the ground. You have no air speed left.

Flap your wings. Trim your feathers. Lean into the wind. Do what ever you have to so that you don't land belly first. Grace? We're talking about just salvaging the landing. You know: "Any landing you walk away from is a good landing."

This fellow at Audubon Park in New Orleans can tell you all about it. Even an Great Egret has a bad air day every once in a while. Hey it's life, you learn to live with it. Just remember all the good landings you had. That's the real you. Grace.

This ain't you.

--steve buser

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Big bust theory formed

The Louisiana Childrens Museum is a place of wonderment for little ones, like our granddaughter, Sophie, 18 months. She encounters a big bubble here -- only about 1/4 of it is in the picture. Can you imagine what is going through her mind. By the way, the paint on her face? She did the face painting thing and magically transformed herself into a bunny rabbit.

So now you know what it looks like when a bunny rabbit runs head on into a big bubble.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Nectar sucker

This photo of a Painted Lady butterfly is dedicated to Abraham Lincoln at Brookville Daily Photo for his amazing butterfly, birds, and lots of other animals and insect photos. The photo is from my brother-in-law, Tommy Melton's "meadow" in Slidell, the eastern suburb of New Orleans.

This fellow was quite elusive, until he landed on this flower which must have been filled with nectar. You can see his proboscis -- sucking tube for nectar -- pointing out and down from his head into the flower. His two antennae which help him smell for nectar and other things in the environment are clearly visible pointing up from his head.

You can see two of his legs and probably assume he has two more on the other side. He does, but like all insects the butterfly has 6 legs. Two of these are usually very hairy and held up close to his body. You can see one of those hairy leg hanging down on the other side by his head. Butterflies use all of their legs for smelling what they are alighting on.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hard to predict.

This black swan was getting pretty comfortable with me at Lafreniere Park the other day, but still kept a 10-foot buffer, just in case. The black swan is another of the non-indigenous species in this area. It is of Australian origin and brought to America to grace ponds.

The black swan has a particularly unique position in literature and metaphors, owning to a belief centuries ago in Europe that all swans were white. The term came to stand for rare, hard-to-predict, high impact events. If you're interested to find out more read here.

By the way, if you are a regular reader, you may have noticed that I am making some changes to the web site. Unfortunately, Blogger ate some of my widgets. Bear with me. All will be back soon.

-- steve buser

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Crash Landing

If you've never had the opportunity to watch a duck land, don't blink. It's fast and its amazing they end upright. If you look all the way on the left you'll see a couple of lines on the water where the landing began. That is were the ducks webbed feet first touch. The stripes are still on the water and the trough is still there when the whole thing is over in less than a second.

The shot is out at the lake front harbor in New Orleans on Lake Pontchartrain.

--steve buser

Friday, July 25, 2008

Feathery picnic in the park

Lafreniere Park -- the old Jefferson Downs race track reconverted to a outdoor wonderland -- is the scene for these two American white ibises (ibi?). The hot weather was no problem for them. They were shore-line fishing for bugs and minnows and the like. The 155-acre park features soccer fields, Frisbee golf, and of course, the man-made swampy nature habitat for birds, nutria, alligators, rabbits and more.

By the way, Jefferson Downs met its end in the last major storm to hit New Orleans before Katrina -- Betsy in 1965. Now this is the largest park in Metairie, the next door neighbor to New Orleans.

You'll probably have to double click on the image to enlarge it to be able to see this -- the ibis has its nostrils up by the foot of its beak. That is so it can breath even when it's feeling around underwater or poking holes in the ground for food.

--steve buser

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Get the message?

Do you believe that children have a secret language that they use to tell adults what they want? I am trying to figure out exactly what it is that our granddaughter, Sophie, is trying to say here. She passed up the lobster, the crabs, the steaks, the ice cream, and the frozen food at the Louisiana Children's Museum grocery store and started clearing out the vegetable section.

You heard me. She cleared it out. They weren't having a sale on veggies, so that couldn't be it. Maybe she was just attracted by the color. Or maybe by the grab-able sizes.

Notice the bandanged foot. Maybe she was trying to tell us veggies will help make it heal.

I don't know what the message was. I guess adults are just slow to understand what kids are trying to tell us.

-- steve buser

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beaming an answer

The grandkids were in this week and you can't spend a week in New Orleans without beignets from Cafe Du Monde. It's some kind of law of nature or something. What kid wouldn't like the deep fried pastries smothered in powdered sugar. Of course when we asked our grandson, Sullivan, shown here "do you like the beignets?" we didn't get a single word for an answer. This is the only answer we got.

--steve buser

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Things that go boom in the night.

Our daughter and her family are visiting this week. We forgot to tell them about the fireworks that go off in the middle of the night over at Zephyr field when the home town wins. They woke up thinking there was a gun fight or explosion going on. Small things you don't think about and just move into the background of your existence. Like trains passing in the night that you don't hear, but company does.

-- steve buser

Monday, July 21, 2008

Final Approach

I know it is an old joke, "just how final was the approach?" But watching this Great Egret circle in on the nest on a sharp downward spiral, was feeling awkward, for me. I've flown in airplanes with pilots like this -- real cowboys. Get 'er up and then Get 'r down. But this air ship is just a bucket of feathers and a hollow bones. Made me wonder if he saw something going on down in the nest that he didn't approve of.

-- steve buser

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cool and mean

Mid-afternoon showers in the summer time are not usually a day spoiler -- they cool things down in the middle of the hotest part of the day. Seems lately in the New Orleans area, though, they come on a lot darker and meaner looking. Since no one gave me a choice, I will take mean with my cool.... please.

--steve buser

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Shadow-tailed super spy

Our protaganist from yesterday-- you remember the summertime-blues tree napper -- snaps into action. Seeing the area is clear of enemy troops he scrambles down the limb, up onto the garage and scampers onto a tree trunk that gives him more protection. He has now assumed his real identify as the stealthy, shade stalking super spy. Carefully, slowly he works his way down the tree. Turning around often to make sure of his escape route in case any hidden snipers should zero in on him.

Become one with the tree. Sit still -- beast of prey (such as bar-b-que'ers) always have a keen sense of motion. Their eyes are train to catch the movement against the background.

Slowly, lurch and halt. Slowly, lurch and halt. He has the orange slice in his sites. Suddenly he springs into action scrambling down the tree -- on the shady side. Always on the shady site.

He is Super Squirrel. 007, the shadow-tailed spy of the rodent kingdom.

-- steve buser

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nutty nap

This was the scene out my window yesterday. A squirrel who frequents the place, decided to take a nap. Of course I grabbed my camera and started shooting. I opened the window to get a clear shot. He took notice, but was apparently too lethargic to do much about it, only inching up in his position so he could look around the tree at me.

We spent a few minutes noticing each other, then I decided to see if he needed a treat. I went to the kitchen to cut off a slice of orange and tossed onto the garage roof on the other side of him. Unfortunately it slid off the roof and down on the ground below.

What happened next brought out his real secret identity. But to see who this masked man is you will have to come back tomorrow for ..... the rest of the story.

--steve buser

Lagniappe -- When a feathery fellow can't fish for a living he has to do something -- He put some good old bird brain power into it and decided to panhandle to earn enough for some bird feed. Today on

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Egret etiquette,

On the right the momma (or daddy -- they share duties) Cattle Egret delivers a juicy meal to one of its rowdy chicks. The meal is anything but peaceful as the chicks cry, skirmish, flap their wings and come after mom with a vengeance to get the food faster. Mom thrusts her beak down into the chick's open beak and regurgitates the meal. With the beaks flying both ways trying to make the connection, it is definitely a miracle there are not more one eyed chicks and moms.

Docking the space shuttle this isn't. But it works.

-- steve buser

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The bird bard

News flash -- Just got word that Travel Channel's Samantha Brown visits New Orleans on her next episode of Passport To Great Weekends -- tomorrow at 9 pm here (10 p.m. EST -- Thursday, July 17th.). I can't wait to catch this one.

If you want to be ready ahead of time, you can get a quick take on what "Sam" is about by her newly uploaded YouTube videos here or get more of the packaged e-kit at:


Back to the blog --

Though I know it is just a meal-time family squable, you would have a hard time convincing me that this merry troop of Cattle Egret is not practicing for a Shakespearean play. Perhaps Mom (or Dad) on the left with the buff feathers on its head is quoiting that old Shakesbirdean line: All life is but a branch." Or perhaps, "To feed or not to feed, that is the question."

Take your shot at a good line.

Methinks the two youngsters on the right are plotting a little palace coup if Mom doesn't hurry up and get the food down their hatches. (Audubon Park, Oschner Island rookery).

-- steve buser

Lagniappe -- on Pixel Eyed today, a Great Egret does the double glide across the lagoon -- Double Glide

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is it soup yet?

You know how kids are --they can never wait. Mom (the buffish-topped Cattle Egret on the right) is trying to tell them that dinner is not ready yet, but the chicks are hungry and getting up in her face. (Audubon Park, Oschner Island rookery, New Orleans)

When the chicks would start poking at her, this gal would fly a few branches away and let breakfast simmer a little longer. I don't know why she didn't stay there, but in a minute or so, she'd flutter back near the chicks and they would start their fighting and wing flapping and getting up in her face again. I suspect that the exercise was good for the chicks and helped to get them ready to leave the nest earlier.

I wonder if Cattle Egret have problems with the chicks returning to the nest?

-- steve buser

Lagniappe --Check out PixelEyed -- a Egret sails through the trees on her(his) way home with the groceries.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bellying up

Belly full, this Cattle Egret makes a sweeping entrance through the trees to her nest and three hungry chicks whom she will soon be feeding. She has her wings up to start the braking process and then will pull up and drop her toes on a skinny, but sturdy enoug,h branch to absorb her landing energy without breaking. The ruckus of the chicks will start immediately -- fighting over who will be first to get a beak full. It can sometimes get very violent.

The Cattle Egret is a recent arrival into the U.S. -- being brought from the Old World in the 1940's to help protect cattle from parasites, but colonies had no natural predators and grew rapidly here. This picture is a the rookery at Oschner Island in Audubon Park of New Orleans.

--steve buser

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Picky eating

A juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron enjoys his meal at the banks edge in the lagoon in Audubon Park, New Orleans. He was joined on the bank by a mixed group of ducks and geese. Even as I approached, none of the group made any venture out into the water. As I moved along the bank, they would move the opposite way, but no water ventures. I suspect that they had spotted the lagoon's alligator and were not going to venture out. They were contented with the shadowy bank in the heat of the day.

This heron stood at the edge waiting for the occasional bug to float, or an underwater treat to swim up and he would pick them up. It was a slow meal, but it was little effort, too. The young guy is about a 16 inches maybe from tip of beak to tale (you don't really get a sense of size in the photo).

-- steve buser

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Duck Soup

Pollen on the water gives it a soupy look as a pair of Wood Ducks swim by slowly in the setting sun at Audubon Park in New Orleans.

-- steve buser

Friday, July 11, 2008


The Fleur-de-lis is now by law the official symbol of Louisiana. Signed into law Tuesday by Governor Bobby Jindal, the famous symbol now represents the state and can be used on official stationary. Does that make it the Fleur-de-LAW?

They are sure to sell a lot more Fleur-de -is symbols like this one in the French Market in New Orleans' French Quarter.

--steve buser

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Limb walker

A Great Egret displays his dexterity in limb walking, spreading his wings like an acrobat for balance. This is from the rookery at Audubon Park in New Orleans -- just off St. Charles Street. The park was, of course, named after famed naturalist, John Jay Audubon, who lived in New Orleans in the early 1820's.

-- steve buser

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Non faded glory

Our niece, Rebekah, plays the "Vanna White" meme on a recent day down in the French Quarter. This 1923 Harley Davidson caught our eye through the window and well, I guess she just needed an excuse to cop a pose. The machine is a beauty.

--steve buser

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Raining Down

Coming back into New Orleans Sunday, this is the weather that greeted us. As we got up on the I-10 bridge over the Spillway (just west of New Orleans) the rain started pummeling our car and the wind was whipping at us, making driving unsteady. We arrived home to find out the area was under a flash flood watch -- though it was shining when we pulled up to our place.

We must have brought the weather with us, because on the Fourth of July we drove into Houston in one of the worst downpours you can imagine.

-- steve buser

Monday, July 7, 2008

Big Bang Theory

If Big Bangs make for a Big Holiday, then this Fourth of July was it. We were visiting out "kids" in Houston. Charlie just moved into a new pad and we enjoyed the day splashing in his pool and then sitting out on the street in front and watching a giant fireworks display -- they actually did twin fireworks displays -- they must have been a several blocks from each other because the other one looked far away.

We're back in New Orleans now and Big Tired. It was quite a fun weekend.

By the way, someone needs to come up with a better word that "kids" -- when they're on their own, taller than you, smarter that you and better looking that you, "kids" just doesn't seem like the right word.

--steve buser

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Gliding lessons

How to glide? Take a lesson from this Black-crowned Night Heron -- raise your wings, trim tips to keep the wind from sailing off the end. Then slowly bring them down to level. Keep your eye on the limb your shooting for. You are going to have to turn on the air brakes about 30 feet away and bring you legs down and out front.

He's a regular Audubon Park resident in this urban paradise in Uptown New Orleans. The lagoon attracts hundreds of birds of various species.

-- steve buser

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fishing lesson

I was wondering why about a dozen of these Great Egrets were hanging around this tangle of branches in the lagoon at Audubon Park in New Orleans. Then this guy leaned over and it hit me. These are the guys that taught us humans where to find fish. Even though the Egrets are white they kind of blend in with the light colored limbs to give them camouflage.

-- steve buser

Friday, July 4, 2008

My turn to go first

Despite the cries of "me first, me first," mom is resolute. It's not time for dinner yet. Apparently she is taking this New Orleans, slow-cooked, Southern cuisine thing a little to far. These chick are just plain hungry. The rookery at Audubon Park presents a good opportunity to see the lives of some handsome birds and to learn that sibling rivalries are not a uniquely human thing. Bring a pair of binoculars for great views

--steve buser

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Meal time

These are our protaganists from a couple of weeks ago. I was filing away the photos when this one caught my eye. If you recall, the two chicks were fighting to be the first to eat. Mom was not ready to serve up the meal. I didn't realize I had caught the "dinner is ready" shot until I saw this one. Mom sticks her beak down the beak of one of the chicks and well... you get the idea -- a juicy meal.

Want to see some really amazing photos of wildlife in St. Bernard, you've got to check out Hippics -- his work just blew me away.

--steve buser

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy days

The circus is in town! -- Well it was, this past weekend. I forgot all about it until I saw the train stored along the road I travel to come home at night. Great advertising. And the lord knows there are lots of places in New Orleans to park a train -- why not find one that gets a lot of attention. The claim this is the largest privately owned train, or something to that effect.

--steve buser

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 1, 2008 Theme Day: "No . . ." signs

On the first of every month, many City Daily Photo blogs participate in theme day. Today's theme day is "No...." signs. I thought this would be very appropriate -- reminders that Mardi Gras rules this town are always around.

Make sure you check out some of the other theme blogs below -- its a real treat and a tour of the world.

-- steve buser

There are currently 172 blogs participating in this theme day:
American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie, Ararat, Australia by freefalling, Arradon, France by Alice, Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine, Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Avignon, France by Nathalie, Bandung, Indonesia by Harry Makertia, Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Birmingham (AL), USA by VJ, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Brantford (ON), Canada by Nancy, Brighton, UK by Harvey, Brookville (OH), USA by Abraham, Bucaramanga, Colombia by Fernando, Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis, Budapest, Hungary by agrajag, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Cavite, Philippines by Steven Que, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Château-Gontier, France by Laurent, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chennai, India by Ram N, Chennai, India by Shantaram, Chesapeake (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Cincinnati, USA by Erik Laursen, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Delta (CO), USA by Bill, Duluth (MN), USA by Sun Dog Press, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Edinburgh, UK by Dido, Folkestone, UK by Piskie, Forks (WA), USA by Corinne, Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA by Gigi, Gaia, Portugal by m+p, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Haninge, Sweden by Steffe, Hanoi, Vietnam by Jérôme, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hyde, UK by Gerald, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jerusalem, Israel by Esther, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Knoxville (TN), USA by Knoxville Girl, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Lakewood (OH), USA by mouse, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, London, UK by Mo, London, UK by Ham, Lynchburg (VA), USA by Timothy, Mainz, Germany by JB, Melbourne, Australia by John, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Misawa, Japan by misawa mama, Monroe (GA), USA by Tanya, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu, Munich, Germany by Troy, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Delhi, India by Delhi Photo Diary, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by • Eliane •, Newcastle, Australia by Julia, Newport News (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Ocean Township (NJ), USA by Josy, Oklahoma City (OK), USA by ananda.tashie, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Palos Verdes (CA), USA by tash, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay, Petoskey (MI), USA by Christie, Phoenix (AZ), USA by Cheryl, Poplar Bluff (MO), USA by Tricia, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Portland (ME), USA by Corey, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Posadas, Argentina by Lega, Pretoria, South Africa by Sam Ruth, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka, Reykjavik, Iceland by Vírgíll, Riga, Latvia by Riga Photos, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Rouen, France by Bbsato, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, San Antonio (TX), USA by Kramer, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, Santa Fe (NM), USA by Randem, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Sequim (WA), USA by Norma, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Silver Spring (MD), USA by John, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, Springfield (IL), USA by Aubrey, Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Stratford, Canada by Barb, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Ann, Sydney, Australia by Julie, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tamarindo, Costa Rica by David, Tel-Aviv, Israel by Olga, Tempe (AZ), USA by angie, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Torun, Poland by Glenn, Toulouse, France by Julia, Trujillo, Peru by Giulianna, Turin, Italy by Livio, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Virginia Beach (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Washington (DC), USA by D.C. Confidential, Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto, Williamsburg (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine,