© 2010 Hilda Perez

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© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez

DID YOU KNOW: Muscovy Ducks are the only domestic ducks that are not derived from Mallard stock. They are a Mexico, Central and South American species, and not “from the Moscow region” as the name, term implies. It is thought that their name is derived from their strong musk odor. They are mentioned in reports of Christopher Columbus’ travels. Unlike most domestic waterfowl, Muscovies will often fly up and roost in trees and although they fly pretty well, they are known for more flying around than flying away. Unusual for ducks that usually mate on the water only, Muscovies will mate on the water and in land.  Some people consider them ugly because the males, known as drakes, will often develop large red warty caruncles (outgrowths) above the beak and around the eyes but because they are intelligent, mostly friendly, usually  making grunting sounds like a dog and wag their tails like a dog, people quickly come to like them.

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© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez

DID YOU KNOW:  Before eating, the raccoon is sometimes seen rubbing the food between its paws and even dipping it into water, as though it was washing it. Researchers don’t believe they are washing it but suggest they may be examining it and removing any unwanted parts. Water is thought to increase their sense of touch. Their front paws are very sensitive and manipulative. They can identify an object before touching it because of special hairs above their claws.  Their back legs are short compared to their torso, making it difficult for them to run quickly or jump great distances but their hind feet can rotate (point backwards), making it easy for them to climb down a tree headfirst.  Its bushy tail, about 8-12 inches in length, is used as a fat storage (particularly during the winter time), to balance itself when climbing, and to brace itself when sitting up.

© 2010 Hilda Perez

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© 2010 Hilda Perez

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© 2010 Hilda Perez


© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez

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Ironic……..A small dead turtle next to a weathered McDonald’s coffee paper cup and plastic bottle I found along the edge of the lake and preserve. “Enjoy”    – tell that to the turtle

© 2010 Hilda Perez

More and more, I see debris and trash floating in the lake, often accumulating along the edge where you often find birds and ducks foraging for food. It’s usually a result of the run offs from storm drains, but the ultimate result of people throwing garbage in the streets and the trash in the sewers. In this highly technological age we are in, that companies have not figured out, (or perhaps don’t want to figure out) how to produce and package in some sort of biodegradable form. However, SunChips has a new campaign touting that their new chip bags are made of plants, thus fully compostable under heat, and will unveil as part of Earth Day in April.   I hope more companies follow suit , and I applaud them for setting a standard and taking ,what I feel, a huge step towards environmental responsibility.  READ MORE ON SUN CHIPS NEW BAGS

But we also need to fix our oceans and waterways and thoughtless consumerism and further educate all the morons who litter without a second thought.

DID YOU KNOW:    The world’s largest landfill is located in the Northern Pacific ocean, in an area of slow moving sea currents called the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. It is an oceanic desert, far away from the world’s shipping lanes, its chief ‘flora’ is the massive mass of floating garbage mostly of plastics. The size of this mass is equivalent to that of the continental United States. This garbage island is actually two different but linked areas;  The Eastern Garbage Patch, is located between Hawaii and California and The Western Garbage Patch, spreads from the east of Japan to the west of Hawaii.

….Plastic…such a huge invention for humans in many ways but what a huge detriment to our planet and ecosystem.

“PCBs, DDT and other toxic chemicals cannot dissolve in water, but the plastic absorbs them like a sponge. Fish that feed on plankton ingest the tiny plastic particles. Scientists from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation say that fish tissues contain some of the same chemicals as the plastic. The scientists speculate that toxic chemicals are leaching into fish tissue from the plastic they eat, something that ultimately affects the health of humans.

SEE VIDEO ABOUT PLASTIC IN THE OCEAN

“Sea turtles, for example, think plastic grocery bags are jellyfish when the bags are floating in the ocean. An untold number of the turtles and other creatures, such as Hawaii’s endangered monk seal, swallow the bags and suffocate, drown or starve, said Holly Bamford, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s marine debris program.

Birds face similar issues when they eat pieces of plastic out of the water. In the North Sea, a survey found 94 percent of fulmars, a type of seabird, had plastics in their stomachs, the U.N. report says.  The birds, on average, had about 34 pieces of plastic in their stomachs.A surprising amount of trash that ends up in the ocean starts on the land, the report says. In Australia, for instance, a survey found 80 percent of ocean trash starts on the land.”  Source: 2009  United Nations Environment report titled “Marine Litter: A Global Challenge.”

Some of the varied items I collected from the edge of the lake, in a very small section mind you.

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© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez

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OUT ON A LIMB

© 2010 Hilda Perez

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FALL

After weeks of deep low temperatures, the past few days have yielded some much warmer temperatures, especially in the morning and afternoons. This causes dew in the morning which isn’t quite to the point where it is frost.  Here are a few close-ups I was lucky to find along the trees and leaves along the preserve.

DID YOU KNOW: Dew is water in the form of droplets that appears on thin, exposed objects in the morning or evening. As the exposed surface cools by radiating its heat, atmospheric moisture condenses at a rate greater than that at which it can evaporate, resulting in the formation of water droplets. When temperatures are low enough, dew takes the form of ice; this form is called frost.

© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez


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It was 25 degrees Fahrenheit today January 10, 2010 in the continent of Antarctica. It was as low as 24-26 degrees Farenheit in most of Central Florida. Need I say more…..

© 2010 Hilda Perez

© 2010 Hilda Perez


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    All images appearing in Postcards From My Backyard blog and hildaphotos.com web site are the exclusive property of Hilda M. Perez and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws. The images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Hilda M. Perez. Use of any image as the basis for another concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering or alike) is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws. All images are copyrighted © 1995 -2011 Hilda M. Perez