Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014


But I, that was born to be my own destroyer, could no more resist the offer than I could restrain my first rambling designs when my father’s good counsel was lost upon me.  In a word, I told them I would go with all my heart, if they would undertake to look after my plantation in my absence, and would dispose of it to such as I should direct, if I miscarried.  This they all engaged to do, and entered into writings or covenants to do so; and I made a formal will, disposing of my plantation and effects in case of my death, making the captain of the ship that had saved my life, as before, my universal heir, but obliging him to dispose of my effects as I had directed in my will; one half of the produce being to himself, and the other to be shipped to England.

In short, I took all possible caution to preserve my effects and to keep up my plantation.  Had I used half as much prudence to have looked into my own interest, and have made a judgment of what I ought to have done and not to have done, I had certainly never gone away from so prosperous an undertaking, leaving all the probable views of a thriving circumstance, and gone upon a voyage to sea, attended with all its common hazards, to say nothing of the reasons I had to expect particular misfortunes to myself.

Small Faces: All Or Nothing (Link)

Text:  Daniel Defoe, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates (1719)

Illustrations:  N.C. Wyeth (1920)

Saturday, July 26, 2014


The Snail Kite has one of the most specialized tools among raptors: a long, deeply curved beak designed to pull snails—the birds' main food—out of their shells. This specialized diet restricts the Snail Kite to wetlands, so if that habitat is destroyed, the bird declines.

When hunting, Snail Kites fly low over marshlands, plunging down to snatch snails from just under the water or from vegetation. They then return to a favorite perch to feed. Although common in Latin America, the species is a federal and state endangered species in the United States.

Snail Kites are gregarious and may congregate in flocks at roost sites (as this recording from Brazil demonstrates) or while foraging for food. The birds also nest in colonies in low trees and bushes, usually over water. This species is markedly dimorphic: males are a dark blue-gray with striking red legs and females are streaked brown and white, with a white eyebrow line.

The U.S. population of Snail Kites dropped precipitously from 3,000 in the late 1990s to approximately 700 today. Water management in the Everglades and in the central and south Florida lakes is the most important human-controlled factor affecting the survival and recovery of the species in the U.S.

In addition, the small Florida population is threatened by pesticides and nutrient run-off. Invasive plants such as melaleuca make it difficult for the kites to forage.

* Source:  American Bird Conservancy Bird Of The Week; Female above; Male below