Archive for April, 2009

30
Apr
09

White-tailed Deer: Size Difference

A photo of White-tailed Deer I’ve hoped to get, which continues to elude me, would be one that clearly shows the size difference between an adult doe and buck.

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My constant readers have probably gotten used to seeing this female.  In these photos I nearly got the picture I wanted.

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While following this deer run, which seemed like an interstate highway system because a number of runs converged into one main path, I noticed several deer moving around.  More than I am used to seeing with this herd — about ten to twelve deer. 

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While trying to grab some images — most of which turned out blurry and useless — this female stopped to let me take her picture.  She always lags behind, and whenever the deer move she waits and lets them all pass her and then takes her place at the back of the herd.  In the above picture one of the males is passing behind her.  While the image of him is blurry, you can see that his chest and belly is about the same height from the ground as hers, but his back is higher.

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30
Apr
09

Red-winged Blackbird

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It looks as though my subject matter will have to change because the deer can hide in the low forest cover now.

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The deer haven’t gone anywhere, but the low forest cover has gotten thick enough so that I can’t see them until I walk right up on them.

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It also means the deer hear me before they see me and while this herd has gotten used to me, they still have a flight instinct.  Even the young buck who posed so nicely for me a couple of weeks ago, now flees because he hears someone walking up on him.

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He fled into this.  When I took the picture I could see him moving around in there, but I cannot see him in the photo, so you’ll just have to take my word for it — he’s in this photo.

30
Apr
09

On This Day, April 30: Adolf Hitler

April 30, 1945

Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his underground bunker

Der Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany, burrowed away in a refurbished air-raid shelter, consumes a cyanide capsule, then shoots himself with a pistol, on this day in 1945, as his “1,000-year” Reich collapses above him.

Hitler had repaired to his bunker on January 16, after deciding to remain in Berlin for the last great siege of the war. Fifty-five feet under the chancellery (Hitler’s headquarters as chancellor), the shelter contained 18 small rooms and was fully self-sufficient, with its own water and electrical supply. He left only rarely (once to decorate a squadron of Hitler Youth) and spent most of his time micromanaging what was left of German defenses and entertaining such guests as Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, and Joachim von Ribbentrop. At his side were Eva Braun, whom he married only two days before their double suicide, and his dog, an Alsatian named Blondi.

Warned by officers that the Russians were only a day or so from overtaking the chancellery and urged to escape to Berchtesgarden, a small town in the Bavarian Alps where Hitler owned a home, the dictator instead chose suicide. It is believed that both he and his wife swallowed cyanide capsules (which had been tested for their efficacy on his “beloved” dog and her pups). For good measure, he shot himself with his service pistol.

The bodies of Hitler and Eva were cremated in the chancellery garden by the bunker survivors (as per Der Fuhrer’s orders) and reportedly later recovered in part by Russian troops. A German court finally officially declared Hitler dead, but not until 1956.

“Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his underground bunker,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6439 [accessed Apr 30, 2009]

On This Day

0030 – Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.

0313 – Licinius unified the whole of the eastern empire under his own rule.

1563 – All Jews were expelled from France by order of Charles VI.

1803 – The U.S. purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million.

1812 – Louisiana admitted as the 18th U.S. state.

1930 – The Soviet Union proposed a military alliance with France and Great Britain.

1947 – The name of Boulder Dam, in Nevada, was changed back to Hoover Dam.

1948 – The Organization of American States held its first meeting in Bogota, Colombia.

1970 – U.S. troops invaded Cambodia to disrupt North Vietnamese Army base areas. The announcement by U.S. President Nixon led to widespread protests.

1984 – U.S. President Reagan signed cultural and scientific agreements with China. He also signed a tax accord that would make it easier for American companies to operate in China.

1998 – NATO was expanded to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The three nations were formally admitted the following April at NATO’s 50th anniversary summit.

April 30, 1939

New York World’s Fair opens

On April 30, 1939, the New York World’s Fair opens in New York City. The opening ceremony, which featured speeches by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and New York Governor Herbert Lehman, ushered in the first day of television broadcasting in New York.

Spanning 1,200 acres at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, the fairground was marked by two imposing structures–the “Perisphere” and the “Trylon”–and exhibited such new technology as FM radio, robotics, fluorescent lighting, and a crude fax machine. Norman Bel Geddes designed a Futurama ride for General Motors, and users were transported through an idealized city of the future. Sixty-three nations participated in the fair, which enjoyed large crowds before the outbreak of World War II interrupted many of its scheduled events.

“New York World’s Fair opens,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4962 [accessed Apr 30, 2009]

29
Apr
09

Posing Bluebird

The biggest problem with taking pictures of small birds is they will not sit still long enough to get really well focused shots.  Like an unruly model they flit about and just won’t sit still long enough to allow a good shot.  This fellow did and I think I have some nice shots to share.

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29
Apr
09

On This Day, April 29: Union Captures New Orleans

April 29, 1862

Union captures New Orleans

Union troops officially take possession of New Orleans, completing the occupation that had begun four days earlier.

The capture of this vital southern city was a huge blow to the Confederacy. Southern military strategists planned for a Union attack down the Mississippi, not from the Gulf of Mexico. In early 1862, the Confederates concentrated their forces in northern Mississippi and western Tennessee to stave off the Yankee invasion. Many of these troops fought at Shiloh on April 6 and 7. Eight Rebel gunboats were dispatched up the great river to stop a Union flotilla above Memphis, leaving only 3,000 militia, two uncompleted ironclads, and a few steamboats to defend New Orleans. The most imposing obstacles for the Union were two forts, Jackson and St. Phillip. In the middle of the night of April 24, Admiral David Farragut led a fleet of 24 gunboats, 19 mortar boats, and 15,000 soldiers large fleet of ships in a daring run past the forts.

Now, the River was open to New Orleans except for the rag-tag Confederate fleet. The mighty Union armada plowed right through, sinking eight ships. At New Orleans, Confederate General Mansfield Lovell surveyed his tiny force and realized that resistance was futile. If he resisted, Lovell told Mayor John Monroe, Farragut would bombard the city and inflict severe damage and casualties. Lovell pulled his troops out of New Orleans and the Yankees began arriving on April 25. The troops could not land until Forts Jackson and St. Phillip were secured. They surrendered on April 29, and now New Orleans had no protection. Crowds cursed the Yankees as all Confederate flags in the city were lowered and stars and stripes were raised in their place.

The Confederacy lost a major city, and the lower Mississippi soon became a Union highway for 400 miles to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

“Union captures New Orleans,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2191 [accessed Apr 29, 2009]

On This Day

1429 – Joan of Arc lead Orleans, France, to victory over Britain.

1661 – The Chinese Ming dynasty occupied Taiwan.

1852 – The first edition of Peter Roget’s Thesaurus was published.

1861 – The Maryland House of Delegates voted against seceding from Union.

1927 – Construction of the Spirit of St. Louis was completed for Lindbergh.

1945 – The German Army in Italy surrendered unconditionally to the Allies.

1945 – In a bunker in Berlin, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were married. Hitler designated Admiral Karl Doenitz his successor.

1945 – The Nazi death camp, Dachau, was liberated.

1946 – Twenty-eight former Japanese leaders were indicted in Tokyo as war criminals.

1952 – IBM President Thomas J. Watson, Jr., informed his company’s stockholders that IBM was building “the most advanced, most flexible high-speed computer in the world.” The computer was unveiled April 7, 1953, as the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine.

1974 – U.S. President Nixon announced he was releasing edited transcripts of secretly made White House tape recordings related to the Watergate scandal.

1990 – The destruction of the Berlin Wall began.

1992 – Rioting began after a jury decision to acquit four Los Angeles policemen in the Rodney King beating trial. 54 people were killed in 3 days.

April 29, 1854

First African-American college chartered

By an act of the Pennsylvania legislature, Ashmun Institute, the first college founded solely for African-American students, is officially chartered.

Established in the rolling farmlands of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, Ashmun Institute was named after Jehudi Ashmun, the U.S. agent who helped reorganize and preserve the struggling African-American colony in Africa that later grew into the independent nation of Liberia. The Ashmun Institute, chartered to give theological, classical, and scientific training to African Americans, opened on January 1, 1857, and John Pym Carter served as the college’s first president. In 1866, the institution was renamed Lincoln University.

“First African-American college chartered,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4959 [accessed Apr 29, 2009]

28
Apr
09

Affectionate White-tailed Deer

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28
Apr
09

On This Day, April 28: Benito Mussolini

April 28, 1945

Mussolini is executed

On this day in 1945, “Il Duce,” Benito Mussolini, and his mistress, Clara Petacci, are shot by Italian partisans who had captured the couple as they attempted to flee to Switzerland.

The 61-year-old deposed former dictator of Italy was established by his German allies as the figurehead of a puppet government in northern Italy during the German occupation toward the close of the war. As the Allies fought their way up the Italian peninsula, defeat of the Axis powers all but certain, Mussolini considered his options. Not wanting to fall into the hands of either the British or the Americans, and knowing that the communist partisans, who had been fighting the remnants of roving Italian fascist soldiers and thugs in the north, would try him as a war criminal, he settled on escape to a neutral country.

He and his mistress made it to the Swiss border, only to discover that the guards had crossed over to the partisan side. Knowing they would not let him pass, he disguised himself in a Luftwaffe coat and helmet, hoping to slip into Austria with some German soldiers. His subterfuge proved incompetent, and he and Petacci were discovered by partisans and shot, their bodies then transported by truck to Milan, where they were hung upside down and displayed publicly for revilement by the masses.

“Mussolini is executed,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=54053 [accessed Apr 28, 2009]

On This Day

0357 – Constantius II visited Rome for the first time.

1282 – Villagers in Palermo led a revolt against French rule in Sicily.

1788 – Maryland became the seventh state to ratify the U.S. constitution.

1818 – U.S. President James Monroe proclaimed naval disarmament on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.

1910 – First night air flight was performed by Claude Grahame-White in England.

1919 – The League of Nations was founded.

1932 – The yellow fever vaccine for humans was announced.

1946 – The Allies indicted Tojo with 55 counts of war crimes.

1947 – Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl and five others set out in a balsa wood craft known as Kon Tiki to prove that Peruvian Indians could have settled in Polynesia. The trip began in Peru and took 101 days to complete the crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

1952 – The U.S. occupation of Japan officially ended when a treaty with the U.S. and 47 other countries went into effect.

1967 – Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army and was stripped of boxing title. He sited religious grounds for his refusal.

1974 – The last Americans were evacuated from Saigon.

1997 – A worldwide treaty to ban chemical weapons took effect. Russia and other countries such as Iraq and North Korea did not sign.

April 28, 1969

De Gaulle resigns as leader of France

Following the defeat of his proposals for constitutional reform in a national referendum, Charles de Gaulle resigns as president of France.

A veteran of World War I, de Gaulle unsuccessfully petitioned his country to modernize its armed forces between the wars. After Henri Petain and other French leaders signed an armistice with Nazi Germany in June 1940, he fled to London, where he organized the Free French forces and rallied French colonies to the Allied cause. His forces fought successfully in North Africa, and in June 1944 he was named head of the French government in exile. On August 26, following the Allied invasion of France, de Gaulle entered Paris in triumph. Three months later, he was unanimously elected provisional president of France.

He resigned in January 1946, however, claiming he lacked sufficient governing power. De Gaulle formed a new political party that had only moderate electoral success, and in 1953 he retired. However, five years later, a military and civilian revolt in Algeria created a political crisis in France, and he was called out of retirement to lead the nation. A new constitution was passed, and in late December he was elected president of the Fifth Republic.

During the next decade, President de Gaulle granted independence to Algeria and attempted to restore France to its former international stature by withdrawing from the U.S.-dominated NATO alliance and promoting the development of French atomic weapons. However, student demonstrations and workers’ strikes in 1968 eroded his popular support, and in 1969 his proposals for further constitutional reform were defeated in a national vote. On April 28, 1969, Charles de Gaulle, 79 years old, retired for good. He died the following year.

“De Gaulle resigns as leader of France,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4955 [accessed Apr 28, 2009]




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