A Baby Squirrel on the Neighborhood Yard – Critter 63

Saturday, December 30, 2023

We posted about squirrels at our neighborhood previously.  The first post was decreasing of squirrel population and the second was about blonde squirrel. 

Fig 01 - Just a newborn baby squirrel, found on the yard

You may read two previous posts:

Each house in our neighborhood has yards with some trees, big and small, old and new trees. Several species include oak, magnolia, cypress, crape myrtles, sugar maple, hollies and pine trees.

These yards and trees attract a lot of wildlife, both dangerous (intimidating) and friendly (adorable) critters. 

Fig 02 - Neighborhood, just illustration

# Some previous postings:

Fig 03 - One of favorite trees for squirrels.

Few of wild critters are:
- squirrels
- turtles
- snakes
- otters
- raccoon
- rabbit- coyotes
- birds (permanent and immigrant birds)

Fig 04 - Another baby squirrel, just for illustration

We found a newborn squirrel on a yard recently. We guessed about several days old. She looks very weak.

Fig 05 - A tree, just illustration

It is said that Pedialyte milk or puppy milk is good for baby squirrels. After a while (several weeks), squirrels can feed their own natural foods:
- fruits
- nuts
- seeds

Fig 06 - A few days old squirrel

Transit at the George Bush Airport in Texas - Sign 61

Tuesday, December 26, 2023
If we want to travel from our city, Baton Rouge to farther north states such as California, Oregon or Washington, hence we should have "transit" flight.

Fig 01 - George bush airport

Two places as common transit airports are Dallas and Houston. We love George Bush intercontinental airport in Houston.

George Bush is one of the biggest and busiest airports in the USA. The airport is closer from our city, and we feel convenient compared to Dallas.

In addition to extensive networks within the airports in the USA, there are plenty of direct flight from Houston to many regions.

We may be connected to many countries in the regions of South and North America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Fig 02 - Airplanes in the Houston's airport.

We may find information about the destinations we could reach directly from George Bush airport in Houston.

Fig 03 - On the sky, seen from window.

Some countries which may be reached directly in the Souther and Northern America are: 
- Canada
- Mexico
- Belize
- Brazil 
- and Argentina.   

Fig 04 - Thousand feet over the sky.

We may have direct flight to European cities (countries) such as:
- Paris (France)
- Frankfurt (Germany).
- Amsterdam (Netherland)
- and London (UK)

Fig 05 - A duty free shop in SFO airport.

Other countries that could be connected from Houston transit airport include Qatar, China, Japan, New Zealand and Ethiopia.

Fig 06 - People sitting in front of bar, Texas airport.

Do you have a favorite airport?

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The Reddish Fruits in the Winter - Gardening and Hobby 50

Friday, December 22, 2023
We saw a bunch of reddish fruit from the trees in the public parking lot in this winter, strangely, there is no single animal around.

Fig 01 - The color looks attractive.

After searching through the GoogleID, the tree was identified with many possibilities, some of them: 
- a Bald Cypress with scientific name is Taxodium distichum.
- a Japanese maple, scientific name is Acer palmatum.
- and Chinese pistachia or Chinese pistachio with scientific name, Pistacia chinensis.

Yes, the Bald Cypress tree produces some fruits, and turn to reddish when ripen, usually in the winter times.

Fig 02 - Reddish fruits in the winter

The Bald Cypress tree is native to southeastern USA. In our state, Louisiana the Bald Cypress trees are often found in wetlands and swamps.

Fig 03 - The plant during Summer times.

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Fig 04 - Plenty of fruit on the branches

Bald cypresses trunk has widen base and spread out like fins or may similar to flanges.

Fig 05 - The leaves and fruits, reddish.

However, we believe the tree tends to be Chinese pistachia (Pistacia chinensis). By the name, you may guess the origin of trees. True, they are native to China, especially western and central China. 

Fig 06 - The color of leaves not changed yet.

Many people choose this plant for landscape with many reasons, some are:
- able to live in the harsh conditions.
- attractive foliage
- and drought tolerance.

Fig 07 - Part of branches, Chinese pistachia.

The sizes of fruit produced by the Chinese pistachia tree is "quite small," but, bunches of fruit are striking sight. 

Fig 08 - A tree with less leaves. 

The fruits are not edible for humans, because the fruit may cause stomach problems (upset). Sure, there are several animals consume this fruit in nature such as squirrels and birds.

Fig 09 - The tree stand in the parking lot.

Do you recognize the plant of the above photos?

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A Great Blue Heron in Wetland Areas - Critter 62

Tuesday, December 19, 2023
  When we travel to countryside. wetland near the Mississippi river, we saw a heron. We thought it was a Louisiana heron.

Fig 01- A heron, nearby Mississippi river.

However, the GoogleID identified it is a great blue heron with scientific name, Ardea herodias. While the Louisiana heron has different scientific names that is Egretta tricolor. Both species are native to the Louisiana state.

We may observe the great blue herons in their natural habitats such as lakes, rivers, swamps and marshes areas.

The bird is a predator with diverse food sources, but dominant diet is fish, from catfish to eel to minnow. Other diets include reptiles (lizards), amphibians (frogs), invertebrates, small mammals and small birds.

Fig 02- We may find a heron in this area

Interestingly, great blue herons are patient predators, they may stand still for long time to wait for fish swimming by.

Fig 03 - The trees, illustration only

The great blue heron may consume quite big quantity, could be several kg of fish per day. 

Fig 04- The lonely blue heron

Do you know about great blue herons?

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The Tropical Bleeding Vine in the Winter - Gardening and Hobby 49

Friday, December 15, 2023
 The Tropical Bleeding Vine also known as the bleeding-heart vine or Glorybower with scientific name, Clerodendrum thomsoniae.

Fig 01 - Blooming in December

The flower comes from tropical regions, West Africa. In the USA, we expect the Tropical Bleeding Vine will grow well in the warmer areas (states) such as:
- Texas
- Louisiana
- Mississippi
- Alabama 
- Florida 
- and Southern California.

Fig 02 - Colorful of bleeding vine flowers. 

Since our state includes as one of the warmer states, we observe this flower in many different places.

Fig 03 - Combine colors of flowers

We saw some of our neighbors grow this flower. The plants look grow well on the ground and in the small containers. 

Fig 04 - Some flowers start to bloom.

In the city garden, we observed bleeding vines climbing wall. They are perfect to climb wood, concrete and bricks.

Fig 05 - Not blooming yet.

The bleeding vine flowers are showy red (a vibrant crimson) with combines of snow-white calyces color.  

Fig 06 - Flowers climbing the wall.

We may see blooming of Bleeding vines throughout the years. It is because our areas have mild winter and humid summer.

Fig 07 - Pretty flowers, Bleeding vine

The peak blooming around late Spring to early Autumn, March to September. The time when a lot of rainfall and warmer.

Fig 08 - Flower color looks like pink.

Do you recognize the Tropical Bleeding Vine or the bleeding-heart vine?

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Juvenile of Black-Crowned Night Heron - Critter 61

Tuesday, December 12, 2023
We observed a juvenile bird in our areas, close to the small lake, when we are doing exercise. We guess a juvenile heron.

Fig 01 - A juvenile heron, first guessed.

GoogleID suggested that the bird is a juvenile of Black-Crowned night heron with scientific name Nyctanassa violacea. The juvenile size is medium compared to other herons, and the bird is common in our areas.

This heron is a nocturnal bird, which means that its active is at night. Even thought we might see this bird, during breeding season is foraging at daylight, but black-crowned heron main activity is at nighttime.

It might be related to heron's food sources: invertebrates, fish, frogs, reptiles, small mammals and birds which are active at night.

Fig 02 - A river, a good place to see herons.

From some sources, the blacked-crowned herons have good vision to identify their prey in the dark of night.

Fig 03 - A juvenile of Black-Crowned night heron.

The Black-Crowned night herons are skillful in terms of adapting to find their prey both in the daytime and night. 

Fig 04 - Flooding, just illustration.

Sure, they are master of hunting strategies to be one of excellent predators at night of darkness.

Fig 05 - The juvenile, standing well.

Do you recognize Juvenile of Black-Crowned Night Heron?

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Blooming in the Cool Weather - Gardening and Hobby 48

Thursday, December 7, 2023
Some of our friends understand that there are many cool weather plants bursting with color to brighten their holidays!!

Fig 01- Blooming in December

We familiar with several plants grow awesome during the winter months, they are dianthus, poinsettias, cyclamen and Christmas cactus.

Other plants which are blooming from December to March include Calendula, Foxglove, Alyssum, Snapdragons, Violas, Pansies and Camellias

These plants are sold in our local nurseries, quite plenty in our nearby areas (neighborhood) or city, Baton Rouge, LA.

Two flowers, Pansies and Violas are affordable with price just about US$ 1 to US$ 2 per plant and sold in many nurseries or garden centers.

Fig 02 - Cacti, good as indoor plants.

Cacti need temperature at least between 50* F to 55* F (10 C to 13 C) to grow well, below that temperatures, they will slow their growth.

Fig 03 - Indoor flowers, just illustration.

Since they enter what we call as a dormant stage, hence, we need to adjust to care the cacti during wintertime.

Fig 04 - Some flowers, sold in the local nursery.

What is your favorite flower during cooler months?

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Roaming Guinea Fowls in Neighborhood - Part 2 - Critter 52

Tuesday, December 5, 2023
You may read previous post (Part 1):

Fig 01- Two Guinea fowls, roaming around.

We might wonder: why do people raise this kind of bird?

The flocks could attack snakes entering backyard or garden. The birds are good to control insects, include:
- deer ticks
- grasshoppers
- crickets
- Asian lady beetles

Fig 02- Flowers for illustration

Some people raise guinea fowls for meat and eggs. They can produce eggs about 100 eggs per season.

Fig 03- Another corner of neighborhood

The seasons depend on areas, could be between:
- March to September
- April to October