A Burlington Arcade cake awaits you in London ... but you’ll need your expando pants ...?!
Please pop on over in the next few days and wish ‘our young lad’ a birthday wish at his Lenny’s World website ... he deserves much joy and happiness on this ‘his fourteenth birthday’ ...
Critters be the love of Lenny’s life ... all critters big and small ... Linda in the Nursing Centre is delighted with her World Wild Life Calendar from the magnificent goodie pile of prezzies Lenny sent over recently ...
... while I was very happy with the Audubon Society calendar ... and thought I’d write about a few ... while learning about some American birds at the same time ...
I also forayed forth in London the other day to the Natural History Museum specifically to see the Blaschka’s radiolarian, which has been cleaned and is on show in the Treasures Gallery ... it is so special ...
... as are the two copies of Audubon’s “Birds of America” held by the Museum ... another copy of which recently sold for £3.7 million - a world record for a book!
To all you self-publishing authors out there – this story (c/o the NHM) tells a tale of perseverance (what will you do?!)... John James Audubon was rejected by American publishers (he couldn’t draw or so they thought), so in 1826 he set sail for Liverpool ...
... he looked like a classic exotic American frontier woodsman ... untamed, romantic looking, rough, etc ... once again he was rejected this time by the British ...
... decision time: he self-published between 1827 and 1838 ... selling in 5 page batches for two guineas a time (about £100 today) ... subscribers could collect full or partial sets, or buy all four volumes for £182 (about £9,000 today).
|Audubon's Cedar Waxwing|
It is thought that fewer than 200 complete sets were produced, of which only 120 are known to survive, with the Natural History Museum looking after two ... one of which is on show at the Treasures Gallery ... and can be interactively seen.
Here’s the link to the Birds of America section in the Treasures part of the NHM, where the rest of the treasures are shown and described ...
Back to Lenny’s Audubon calendar ... we have the Rufous Hummingbird for the 2013 Autumn months ... Sept, Oct, Nov and winter’s December ... this rufous ... is really rufous. A major decline means half the populations have been lost in just four decades ... they need encouraging back into gardens.
January – has the Northern Cardinal ... she’s rather handsome with her red beak and smart combed crest ... They thrive by being fed, while the planting of native trees is greatly encouraged.
February – has the Northern Flicker ... seems to have escaped from the internet?! ... Oh I see it has an extra bit in its name ... the Northern (Yellow-Shafted) Flicker ... they are a type of woodpecker, which forages on the ground ...
March – has the Peregrine Falcon ... looking very focussed on his landing perch – they are the fastest creatures on Earth, clocked in hunting dives at well over 200 mph.
April – has the Calliope Hummingbird with its magnificent magenta plumage ... gorgeous starburst display. Their populations are monitored, which then helps landowners manage their land to accommodate these population shifts.
May – has the Black Skimmer with a teeny fluffy tot, with enormous feet!, hanging on to mum’s bill for dear life ... Audubon’s work protecting coastal beaches and barrier islands is crucial to their species’ nesting success. They are a priority species in the Atlantic, Mississippi and Central Flyway.
|Black Skimmer with chicks|
June – the Yellow Warbler looks like it’d rather lie low and not be part of the Calendar ... the song of the buttery yellow warbler emanates from willows, wet thickets and roadsides around North America.
July – the Black-necked Stilt ... beautifully photographed with its mirror image in the sky-blue water ... A priority species for Audubon in the Pacific Flyway, Audubon’s work protecting the freshwater marshes where this species breeds helps ensure its nesting success.
August – gives us the Scarlet Tanager ... amazing name I’d never heard before ... and apparently they are difficult to spot, being high high up in the canopy. They migrate in winter, change their coat to yellow-green before returning! Tanagers benefit from Audubon’s work protecting critical migratory stopover habits.
September – prickles our delight with the Cactus Wren ... incredible they can dart in and out of cacti. Able to survive without access to free-standing water they are truly adapted to desert environments. Audubon’s work is once again helping to protect the critical Cactus Wren habitat – the urban sprawl in the SouthWest has led to wren population declines.
October – Lenny’s birthday month ... the 20th is on Sunday ... and we have a favourite of his: an owl ... the Snowy Owl ... just brilliant to see. The spectacular Snowy Owl nests only in the Arctic, hunting in 24 hours daylight during the summer, and 24 hour darkness during the winter.
Audubon plays a crucial role in trying to ensure conservation for the species in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and Alaska’s vast National Petroleum Reserves (this could, to me, be an oxymoron?!)
November – we have the Osprey ... known to me as the Fish Eagle, from my South African days ... with their haunting cry ... they have rebounded since the banning of DDT. So far so good for this species ... but they are monitored by Audubon.
December – we’re into the Waxwings ... need to seal those parcels! On the hoar-frost branch with his red berry ... perhaps the Cedar Waxwing is waiting for it to thaw before scrunching it down ...
... and such a wonderful idea ... we have January 2015 – so helpful ... the delightfully coloured wood thrush ... while its unique melodic song signifies the start of Spring ... unfortunately habitat fragmentation on both breeding grounds and Central American wintering grounds has caused a 50% decline in Wood Thrush numbers over the past 50 years.
The Audubon society provided much of this information ... and obviously does a fabulous amount of work throughout the States ... I imagine it works closely with the conservation societies in Canada too ...
NB Photos are not from the calendar ....
I leave you with two quotes from the WorldWildLife organisation bookmarks that Lenny sent me ...
|Macaron wrapping paper|
“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard” ... Standing Bear
“To the Eyes of the Man of Imagination, Nature is Imagination itself “... William Blake
Happy Happy Birthday Lenny ... I sure hope you have loads of fun with the family ... with big hugs and love from Linda and I ... and all your friends around the internet ...
Lenny's World - his blog
Natural History Museum - the cleaning of the radiolarian
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories