Tag Archives: Animals

Travel Theme: Endearing

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Endearing.

I know people are expecting photos of cute babies and furry animals, but I love my invertebrates…

… cautious conch

Cautious conch

… feisty fiddler crab

Feisty fiddler crab

… serene sea slug

Serene sea slug

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Room.

I wonder what it’s like to always be inside your room, to carry it with you everywhere you go—

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—or does your room become so much a part of you that it no longer stands between you and the world around?

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(Florida fighting conch: more photos are here.)

This is in fact a real question in philosophy (Heidegger comes to mind), neuroscience and neuroethology (mind-body relations, motor learning, tool use), artificial intelligence… see for instance here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Split-Second Story.

What are the stories here? We can only guess—

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Another Split-Second Story is here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is On Top.

At the Dry Salvages, off the coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, it’s not just birds

On top of the Dry Salvages

but other creatures, too, that like to be on top…

Typical local scenery
Hello there!

Other birds on top were here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Threshold:

“A threshold is a point of entering; that point just before a new beginning — that split-second moment in time, full of anticipation. All the hard work is over; relief is palpable.”

But then, as often as not, an unanticipated trap springs shut and your life spins in quite a different direction…

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This post was inspired by 2812 Photography’s “Threshold” post and the questions it asks.

The first, more benign, “Threshold” post was here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Threshold.

Just over the threshold, a welcome from the resident bunny—


At Slickrock, Glover’s Reef Atoll, Belize, March 2010.

A second “Threshold” post is here.

Travel Theme: Brown

By Vladimir Brezina

DSC_0059%2520cropped%2520smallAilsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Brown.

I do like bright colors. So I thought this challenge would be difficult. But not at all. It turns out that many of the animals I have photographed over the years have preferred brown…

(click on any photo below to start slideshow)

This Year’s Visit to the Swinburne Island Seals

By Vladimir Brezina

Last week’s excitement about the East River Dolphin reminded us that we hadn’t seen our old friends, the Swinburne Island seals, in almost a year, since last April in fact. So on Sunday we paddled down to visit them again.

We paddled up to Swinburne Island in what we hoped was a stealthy manner, cameras at the ready.

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Unfortunately, with the morning’s forecast of significant winds and, presumably, waves and spray—which in the event did not materialize—I left my non-waterproof DSLR, with its telephoto lens, at home. So both of us were limited to our little waterproof cameras—not really suitable for capturing the details of distant seal heads in the water.

And soon there were heads popping up all around, peering at us with a cautious curiosity. Now and then one advanced daringly close, then immediately crash-dived with a snort and a loud splash.

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If you look at the photo above closely (click on it to enlarge), it shows seven seal heads. Altogether, by counting the number visible simultaneously or nearly simultaneously all around, we estimated that there were at least 15 seals around us, although there could well have been many more. There were a few small seals, presumably babies.

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As usual, the seals preferred to observe us without being themselves observed. They popped up directly behind our boats and peered at us intently, then immediately dived as soon as we turned around.

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As the seals heads rose out of the water in upredictable locations around us for a few seconds before disappearing again, we snapped away in the hope of capturing the decisive moment.

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And indeed, in some shots, when we later examined them at home, there were seals in places where we had not even noticed them at the time…

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Swinburne Island itself, although clearly hospitable to seals and seabirds, seemed more desolate than on our previous visits, even more empty of the ruins and dead trees that had covered it, probably as a result of the visit of Hurricane Sandy back in October of last year.

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Then it was time for some tea on the water, if possible out of the cold wind. We considered rafting up in the lee of Swinburne Island itself, but it was clear that hundreds of gulls would seriously object. We ended up having our tea off the neighboring island, Hoffman, where the local opposition was less intense.

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After tea, with the current now turned in our favor, we paddled back to the Verrazano Narrows on our way home.

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And, in the shadow of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Nature had a final bonus ready for us—a porpoise (or perhaps another dolphin), calmly surfacing, arching its back, diving again…

It was in almost exactly the same spot where we had observed another porpoise two years ago, in late March 2011. Come to think of it, that previous sighting was the subject of the very first post on Wind Against Current :-)

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Together with the sighting of the dolphins and seals in the East River last week, it’s hard not to feel that marine mammals are really coming back to New York Harbor!

Next up, I believe we are ready to encounter at least a  medium-sized whale…


By Vladimir Brezina

This synchronized team puts in a pretty impressive performance—

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— and they leave the stage triumphantly!

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Others are pretty good too…

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but their synchronized diving still needs some work.

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From a recent visit to St. Pete Beach, Florida.

Travel Theme: Multiples

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Multiples.

I seem to recall that it was Couples just a few short weeks ago. And now it’s Multiples already? To be sure, it’s quite natural—

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