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

Wildflowers in the Walking Trail - Gardening and Hobby 47

Sunday, December 3, 2023
 There are plenty of wildflowers in walking trails in our city, Baton Rouge. Based on internet sources, the species are no less than 200.

Fig 01- One of wildflowers

One of wildflowers we encounter when we are walking that is "purple" flowers. Based on GoogleID, the flower is identified as Ruellia humilis.

The common name of this flower is the dwarf wild petunia, native to the southeastern states of the USA.

The flower may reach 12 inches (31 cm), perennial flower and grow well during Spring to Autumn in the nature.

Our city has some good trails to observe wildflowers. The length of trails from 1 mile to 3.5 miles. Our favorite trail is 1.5 miles.

Fig 02 - Unidentified wildflowers.

Some walking trails in our city are Louisiana State University (LSU), South boulevard levee, Gus Kinchen, Dawson creek and Ward creek.

Image 3 - Wild tabasco on the trail

We love the LSU trail, since the trail is comfortable for us with only 1.5 mile long. We just need 30 minutes daily walking.

Fig 04 - Wild Tabasco flowers?

We observe some wildflowers while walking that are iris, crossvine, black-eyed Susan, azalea and hibiscus.

Fig 05 - A wildflower, Ruellia humilis.

Do you recognize some wildflowers?

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The Mysteriou Dog Respiratory Illness - Sign 60

Friday, December 1, 2023
 The mystery respiratory disease spreading rapidly with dogs in our state, Louisiana recently. Our friends who visit by dog parks frequently said 3 of 5 dogs got it.

Fig 01 - Mysterious Dog Respiratory Illness

All fast with symptoms in one night.
One of our friends' dogs is still at LSU (Louisiana State University) veterinary teaching hospital.

The dog has progressed to pneumonia and lack of oxygen has affected dog's (his) heart. He is a young Great Dane.

This illness does not respond well or respond at all to antibiotics. Started or was found in Colorado two weeks ago.

Took less than 3 days to travel from states of Florida (FL) to Mississippi (MS), then to here, Louisiana.

Fig 02- A dog in the park, just illustration.

Just to remind, please take precautions until there is more information. Make sure your dogs are up to date on vaccines.

Fig 03- Morning in our neighborhood.

Reducing contact with large numbers of unknown dogs. Just like with other respiratory pathogens, the more contacts your dog has, the greater the risk of encountering a dog that’s infectious.

Fig 04 - A dog in the park.

Reducing contact with sick dogs. This can be harder to determine but if a dog looks sick (coughing, runny nose, runny eyes), keep your dog away from it.

Fig 05 - A bridge, just for illustration.

Keep sick dogs at home and seek veterinary care. Avoid communal water bowls shared by multiple dogs.

Fig 06- A dog, run away at neighborhood.

Do you know about this disease?

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