Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ABC Wednesday: B is for Butterfly

If you have followed our blog, you can guess that I saved the butterfly photos for this post from my last trip of adventure. For the record, I did cross the footbridge for there was no other way to go to the other side. Only 6 people are allowed to be on the bridge at any one time, as long as you are not with people who like to rock the rope bridge, you will be fine.

Here you can see four species of butterflies (from left to right): Three Spot Grass Yellow (Eurema blanda arsakia), Common Jay (Graphium doson postianus), Taiwan Swallowtail (Papilio thaiwanus), and Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon connectens). The latter three belong to the family of Papilionidae.

This male butterfly, which is called Athyma selenophora laeta, was standing on a rock by the stream. It has one band of purplish white in a black background on the back of its wings.

This ugly butterfly (Kaniska canace drilon) has a camouflage black and brown color.

However, when the same one opened its beautiful wings, it is stunning!

This local species (Acraea issoria formosana) was laying eggs on the back of the leaves of Pouzolzia elegans Wedd.

This one (Great Eggfly or Blue Moon Butterfly; Hypolimnas bolina kezia) has several purplish white spots in a black background on the back of its wings. This one is similar to the second photograph which belong to the same family of Nymphalidae.

According to the records, we have more than 400 species of butterflies in Taiwan. So a lot more to learn about these facinating creatures. After all, I was major in biology in college.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Today's Flowers #50: Kaleidoscope

This kaleidoscope of flowers were taken by Grace at Mashpee Mall when she was out walking with our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law. We are now all vacationing together on Cape Cod. Mashpee Common is a modern new type of American Shopping Mall designed to look like old town center with a blend of local shops and national chains. It even has residential apartments on the second and third floor of the buildings.

To see more flowers from around the world click here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Camera-Critters #68: Red-Winged Blackbird

I noticed the Red-Winged Blackbird for the first time at the marsh land of South Cape Beach. They are very alert, the only clear view I got they were high up on the tree top.

I finally got a closer view at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. I was walking on a broad walk over the marsh land, apparently the Red-Winged Blackbird has a nest close-by. It hovered just above my head and wanted to scared me away. I was able to get several very close and clear photographs of it.

To see more Camera-Critters from around the world click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Skywatch Friday No. 54: Highland Light

Highland Light also knows as Cape Cod Light at Truro, Cape Cod on the side of Atlantic ocean. It is the first light that vessels from Europe saw when they were approaching Massachusetts bay. This part of the ocean between Cape Ann and Nantucket was very dangerous with numerous shipwrecks. Here is a view when we approach the light house from inland.

Highland Light was the first lighthouse of Cape Cod. It was authorized by George Washington in 1796 and completed on 1797. Here is a view of the lighthouse from the ocean side. By 1990, the lighthouse was in danger of falling into the ocean due to beach erosion. The original lighthouse was 500 feet from the cliff, by 1990, it was 100 feet from the ocean and it lost another half of it in that year. 1.5 million dollars was raised and the lighthouse and the keeper's house were moved 570 feet from the cliff in 1997.

Here is a closer view of the lighthouse and keeper's house. It was again a beautiful July day on Cape Cod with clear blue sky.

Here is the edge of the cliff that has kept on been eroded.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

ABC Wednesday: A is for Adventure

Taiwan is located between the subtropical and tropical zone, the humid and warm climate is great for many plants and insects. I (Grace) went on a trip organized by the Taiwan Butterfly Preservation Society to Yilan which is on the Eastern side of the island facing the Pacific Ocean. We drove through the Snow Mountain tunnel of 12.9 kilometers long, Asia's longest road tunnel, to reach our destination. I only realized that the walk would be 7 kilometers long when I was on the bus. We walked under 35 degrees C, 95% humidity with a potential of stung by the bees. When, at last, I saw the footbridge that we were supposed to cross, which was no more than the width of one foot, I said to myself, wow, what an Adventure!

The locals are aborigines called Taiya tribe. They sell chili sauces, chicken sausages, etc. and feed for the fish at roadside stand.

The pumpkins are long rather than round in shape and taste more like squashes.

This frog was soaking in the rain water by the road side.

An unknown bug (a kind of beetles?).

Of course, we've seen thousands of butterflies along the way. Here is a female Lemon Migrant (Catopsilia pomona) approaching the golden shower tree (Cassia fistula).

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Today's Flowers #49: Andromedas

Andromeda is the common name for the plants in the genus of Pieris. For me, it feels like the azalea and rhododendron. I think it is because all of them are evergreen shrubs. The flowers of Andromeda are very delicate and colorful and with many varieties. When we look at them in the catalogue, it is hard to imaging that they are actually very small flowers.

As rhododendron and azalea, they are not difficult to grow as long as they have plenty of water. It blooms in early Spring. But in addition to the delicate flowers, it has very colorful new leaves coming out in the early summer.

We have not been very successful of planting Andromedas. Last year, we have finally installed an automatic water dripping system for our shrubs. This Andromeda gown so well that it is almost reach my height now.

To see more flowers from around the world click here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Camera-Critters #67: The Eagle Has Landed

This was the word spoken by Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969 when the lunar module "Eagle" landed on the moon during the lunar mission of Apollo 11. The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission landed on the moon which was launched on July 16, almost exactly 40 years ago. We all remembered that day very well, sitting in front of the black/white television set, watching this historic event. It is truly mankind's biggest achievement.

This eagle was photographed on the Seconsett Island on Cape Cod today. It was just about to land on his nest.

To see more Camera-Critters from around the world click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Skywatch Friday No. 53: Nobska Light

My blogging friend reminded me that I should post some photographs of the lighthouses of Cape Cod. Indeed there are many lighthouses on Cap Cod, but not all of them in working shape. These lighthouses have a very long history, some had to be moved several times, in case they would fall into sea due to beach erosion. Some have been sold and converted to private homes, or even vocational rentals. One of it, the top has been converted to a living room with 360 view.

But there are still several in working condition. The Nobska Lighthouse is one of them, it was first constructed in 1828. The present cast iron tower was erected in 1876. It is located at Woods Hole, the Southern most tip of Cape Cod.

Here is a postcard perfect picture of the lighthouse with its keeper's cottage. It is now owned and operated by US Coast Guard.

One of the perk of being a Commander of the Coast Guard for Southeastern New England is to be able to take the keeper's cottage as residence.

Here is a detail view of the lighthouse and Cottage.

Here is the outhouse with a private residence behind it.

The lighthouse has a commanding view to the Vineyard Sound with ships and ferries coming and going. The day I took these pictures, it was an unusually nice day in July after a very wet and cold early summer. The sky was perfectly blue, not a piece of cloud.

Too see more sky from around the world click here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ABC Wednesday: Z is for Zoom

For all our photographers, Zoom means one thing the "Zoom lens". The marvelous invention that allows us not walking back and forth to frame our pictures, actually this is the worst way of using zoom lens but it is what most often used for. The Zoom Effect is created by setting a relative slow shutter speed then zooming the lens during the time that the shutter is open. It is usually used at night when longer shutter speed can be employed.

Then comes the Photoshop, under Filter>Blur>Radial Blur click "Zoom" and you get this artificial "Zoom Effect". It is a marvelous toy to play with especially for the very busy images, such as ones taken at festivals. Quite often, at those situations, it is difficult to isolate the subject from the very busy background.

This picture was taken at Pow Wow of Mashpee Wampanoag Indian on July 4th. Mashpee is the town where we lived on Cape Cod. From 1870-1960 Wampanoag maintained political control and represent Mashpee. Many Indians of our age still remember the day they used to fish and hunt in their land of Mashpee. After the 60's, the land of Mashpee was started to be taken over by the developers. Wampanoag filed suit but failed. In 1977, the judge declared that Mashpee Wampanoag was not a tribe and have no standing in pursuing land suits. It was not until 2007, with the financial backing of casino industry, that Mashpee Wampanog was finally acknowledged by Bureau of Indian Affair as a Federal Recognized Tribe. In the meantime, the tribe also relinquished its claim to the land of Mashpee.

Pow Wow is held yearly and this year's Pow Wow is the 88th annual event. Here is a quote of the 85 years old Chief Vernon Lopez (Silent Drum) of Pow Wow: "Powwow is a gathering place, and a time of the year for our youth and elders to come together. To help renew our sacred traditions, maintain our culture, connect with our ancestors and build our spiritual ways".

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Today's Flowers #48: Lace-Capped Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla normalis also knows as Lace-Capped Hydrangea or simply as lacecap. It is as easy to grow as the traditional mopheads on Cape Cod. They are just starting to come into flower this week. The leaves can easily have rust spots when it gets rain, otherwise it is quite a joy and easy task to photograph it.

Too see more flowers from around the world click here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Camera-Critters #66: Common Grackle

In the wood (Taken at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary).

On the beach (Taken at Paine's Creek Beach, Cape Cod Bay).

In flight.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Skywatch Friday No. 52: Wellfleet Bay

The shape of Cape Cod is often referred to as a raised human arm. The point where it is connected to the mainland is the shoulder. The tip of the Cape, where Provincetown is located, is the hand. Since the arm is holding upwards, thus the lower Cape (lower arm) is actually located north to the Upper Cape (Upper arm). It is all very confusing, when you are driving on Route 28 South, in certain portion, you are actually driving toward North!!! The town of Wellfleet is located at Upper Cape, the peninsula is quite narrow at this point already. At east, it faces the Atlantic ocean and is bordered by Cape Cod National Seashore. At west, it faces Cape Cod Bay, the beach is mainly sand flat and salt marsh. This picture was taken facing west towards Cape Cod Bay at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary of the Massachusetts Audubon Socity.

Looking eastwards, you can see the wooden board walk crossing the salt marsh that leads to the beach.

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Marconi Beach, Cape Cod

In 1902, Marconi set up the a wireless station at eastern sea shore of Wellfleet, Cape Cod to relay a message from President Roosevelt to King Edward VII of England. It was the first two-way transatlantic wireless communication and the first wireless telegram between America and Europe.

The Marconi Beach is now part of Cape Cod National Seashore of the US National Park Service, covering 43604 acres of shoreline boarding the Atlantic ocean from Provincetown to Chatham.

It is a major attraction for the vocational families, college students and as you can see here, surfers.

I visited he beach in the late afternoon on July 3rd after my trip to the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary of Massachusetts Audubon Society.

Monday, July 6, 2009

ABC Wednesday: Y is for Yarmouth, Cape Cod

South Yarmouth is a small port east of Haynnis facing the Atlantic ocean. Here is a typical Cape Cod cottage with gray shingles and a small bridge crossing the marshland.

Further out, we just snapped a gull (see our last week's ABC Wednesday for more gull pictures) flying over the marshland.

Here is a charming dock used for boat landing on the bank of Swan River, a very typical little stream on the Cape.

This is our favorate fish market on the Cape. They have the freshest seafood, cod, haddock, sole, mussels, clams, Truro oysters, bay scallops, and of course, lobsters (hungry yet?). You can see two lobster traps displayed on the roof.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Today's Flowers #47: Veronica

These Veronicas were planted by Grace in front of our foundation plant, Rhododendrons. They grow very well and give beautiful blue flowers all summer long year after year. I mean to move them to a more permanent perennial garden someday, but never got around to do it.

They are in full bloom now and attract a lot of bees.

Here is a view of the whole plant, they are quite tall and the spikes should be cut after flowering to promote repeat blooming.

To see more flowers from around the world click here.


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