Friday, July 5, 2013

Wineberry anyone

Here in Connecticut, Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius) creeps up in your yard at any time! This invasive species provides a berry to our wildlife and to us. Two years ago I had one plant in my home. This year I have at least ten. I did not plant them but I believe that the birds did. I let it grow because I wanted to see the flowers and the fruits. Maybe it was a bad idea. Here are some pictures to help you recognize the plant. Good luck!

Spending one Afternoon with the Hummingbirds

Everyone knows how difficult is to photograph a humming bird. They are fast and very unpredictable. So I went the Audubon Center is South Britain, CT, a great location. Inside their balcony on their barn they have several Hummingbird feeders. I setup my camera on a tripod facing the feeders and waited for them to come to me. There was some activity, not much, and many of my shots were throwaways but I got some results. I started by setting my shutter two steps down to make up for the light and used 400 ISO to increase the speed. That did not make much of a difference as these birds are super-fast.

Here is Connecticut we have the Rudy-throated Hummingbird. It migrates to Mexico and south of the border every winter but what is most amazing is that they migrate back at night and cross the Gulf in one flight thanks to an increase of fat and weight that happens just 10 days before migration.

Thanks to digital photography, it makes no difference how many pictures you take. Delete is always available and it does not coast a dime. So take one afternoon and visit a predictable location and start taking pictures.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Early Mankind History from Ireland

Three words from IRELAND’s past: Paleolithic (before 10.000 years ago), Mesolithic (Between 10.000 and 5.000 years ago) and Neolithic (Between 5.000 to 2.000 years ago). What do they mean and how do they relate to us.

Not long ago, I was having a conversation over some nice local beers about my most recent travels to Ireland, and my friends became interested in my experiences visiting some of the Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in Ireland and then our conversation turned into some recent research done regarding our past ancestry with three other hominid species; Neanderthals from Europe, Homo florensiensis from the Island of Flores in Indonesia and most recently the Denisovas from a cave located in Russia.   Did we mix? According to the most recent research, yes we did. Read Scientific American article “Human Hybrids” published on May 2013 and also National Geographic Magazine article “The Case of the Missing Ancestor” published in July 2013.

There has been little found in Ireland from their Paleolithic past. There are some tools found in the island that may possibly date that long ago. Most Paleolithic remain were wiped out by the recent glacial events and by long ago geologic changes.

Paleolithic artifacts found in Ireland found today at the Dublin Museum of Archeology.
But at the same time remains from the Mesolithic and Neolithic past is well represented and worthwhile visiting.
In my recent visit to Ireland we visited three important and amazing sites, Carrowmore in Sligo, Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth in County Meath and Queen Meave’s cairn on top of Knockmarea Mountain. Most of these sites date to the Megalithic and early Neolithic era some 2.000 years before the Pyramids in Egypt.
Entrance to Newgrange Neolithic burial site.

Walking to the top of Knockmarea Mountain to see Queen Meave’s Cairn.

Megalithic Tomb inside Carrowmore.

Carrowmore’s Cairn.

It is hard to think that these people, so long ago were able to carry these heavy stones from far away sites and construct such amazing burial monuments. These very early people were able to work the land and have rudimentary agriculture, raise animals, work the stone, make artistic designs and bury their dead with such sophisticated ritualistic care.

I know very little about archeology but I have no doubts that if you visit Ireland you will enjoy as much as I did, seeing such amazing sites.