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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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nature pics

I took the photo above yesterday. The bird had flown into the window at the back of the cabin while I was uploading my Blatherings; I looked up just in time to see something small and grey fluttering into the forest nearby. I watched the chickadee land on a branch and perch there rather woozily, its eyes half-closed and swaying back and forth. I took this photo when I went outside to check on the bird's progress. It didn't seem alarmed to see me, and let me get close enough to take this photo. After a few more minutes, it fluffed up its feathers, shook its head, and flew off.

[Added Wed. Oct. 10: I was wrong about the bird being a chickadee! Here's what Dave Alway wrote: "As near as I can make out from Roger Tory Peterson's Eastern Birds what you've got there is a female Golden Crowned Kinglet. Family Sylviidae, genus and species Regulus satrapa. The tell-tale mark is the yellow peak along with its very small chickadee size. In the males, the peak turns to orange at the topmost of the head. Chickadees have no such markings, generally having a solid black or deep brown cap. The area north and west of Toronto is where her winter and summer ranges overlap. According to Peterson, her habitat is conifers, especially Spruce or Norway pine plantations, or various other trees in winter."]

After the others left yesterday, Jeff and I went on a 8 km hike. On the way to the starting point, in the boat, we saw a female moose and her calf grazing by the side of the lake. We didn't venture too near, but drifted in the boat watching until both ambled into the shadows of the forest.

The photo above was taken a few minutes ago; it is completely unaltered except for sizing (to fit on my Blatherings). I was up just before sunrise this morning, so was lucky enough to catch the few brief moments when the rising sun soaked the sky and water a deep orange and scarlet. Only minutes later, the light had brightened and the colour was gone.

It is cold in the cabin right now, despite a crackling fire and an electric heater in the corner; I'm wearing fleece pants, fleece sweatshirt, and a fleece vest. The thermometer outside reads 1 degree Celsius. Bizarre to think I'll be in California with Paul and Beckett around this time next week (Andrew's midweek, the Bohnhoffs at the end of the week)! Jeff will be here on a Guy's Astronomy Weekend. Somehow I suspect none of them will be up early enough to enjoy a sunrise. :-)

On Telemarketing

I was amused by a Blatherchat comment from Simon Fairbourn in the UK (household consists of Simon, Talis Kimberley, young Corwin Kimberley).

"Re: Telemarketing.

Sorry, Debbie, I can't answer your Blatherings question. I do a combination of both answers. Politely baiting Telemarketers is too much fun.

My favourite option is to be literal with my answers. I have a head start with our combination of surnames. So you get something like...

TM: Is that Mr. Kimberley?

Me: No

TM: Oh, may I speak to Mr. Kimberley?

Me: He's at school.

TM pauses

TM: May I speak to Mrs. Kimberley then?

Me: No, she's dead.

TM pauses again

TM: May I speak to the homeowner then?

Me: No, she's unavailable.

TM pauses longer this time wondering who I am and what I've done to this family.

TM: Who is this?

Me: If you don't know who you are calling, why are you making the call?

TM: (Silence (This is so far off their script that they're panicking))

Me: Goodbye.

I should add that Annie Walker has a talent for this I can only dream of emulating. She's actually had people get their mates at the call centre to call, 'cos she's so entertaining."

Today's Poll: (Suggest a question)

Have you ever seen a moose in the wild?

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