Who We Are

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

That Time Of Year!

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  It's my favorite time of the year (except for when it's snowing).  Do you know what that is?  Here's a hint:

"Our first of the season!!!"

Do you know what that is? Pan out, Mom!


That's right -- it's Cantaloupe Season!  Cantaloupe - the sweetest, juiciest, tastiest fruit ever!!!

Mom asked if Mags and I would like to do a little taste-testing with her, while she sliced one up to have with dinner.  It's hard work, but somebody's gotta do it - right?

"Oh, yes, PLEASE, Mom!  I mean, sure, I'm willing."

She let each of us have a couple small pieces ...

"Oh... oh... I LOVE cantaloupe!!!"

... and I have to say - it was the best cantaloupe I've had all season!  Well, sure.  It's the FIRST one, but I'm hoping for lots, lots more!  It's that time of year, after all!!!

Do you have a favorite fruit?  Cantaloupe and pears are my top two!


Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day.  A day to remember and to honor our those who died while serving in our nation's military.

Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) participate in “Flags-In” mission at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia on May 25, 2017. Soldiers placed an American Flag at every grave maker in the cemetery. The Old Guard has conducted this mission annually prior to Memorial Day. (U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes)

May God bless and keep each one of them.

Cam, Mags, and our bipeds

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Serene Snooter Sunday

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie, here with Serene Snooter Sunday! These are various poses I've worked really hard on, that give me great serenity.  They all seem to involve resting my snooter on something.  Let's get right to those serene shots, shall we?

Here's a little pose my kit-cat friends will appreciate:

"Hey, everybody!"

I'm under the kitchen table and Dad's chair, doing The Paw Tuck. Here's another view:


Can you see The Paw Tuck a bit better?  This pose is quite complicated, not to mention it's hard to get in there, but not for a kit-cat. Or an honorary one like me!

Here I am, carefully balancing my snooter on the table leg:

"Must ... concentrate ..."

Easier access for that snooter balance, but very effective at bringing serenity not only to me, but to Mom and Dad.

Speaking of Mom, I love getting between her legs and her desk chair. It's kind of tricky, but I love squeezing myself in there!

"Phew!  I wasn't sure I'd be able to wedge myself in here!"

It's great having that cross-bar on the chair so I can rest my snooter!

In keeping with the serenity theme, perhaps a little bird-watching is in order?

"Hmm... I wonder if anything's on Birdie TV?"

Thankfully, the window sill is just deep enough to be an adequate snooter rest!

Do you like to rest your snooter on things?  Try it!  It's very ... serene!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Purple Maze Plus!

Hello, everyone.  It's me, Cammie.  Do you remember a few weeks ago, Maggie told you about her new slow-feeder bowl?  Right.  The purple maze.  Here she is with it:

Maggie and her Purple Maze

She's been doing quite well with it, and it really has slowed her down.  Only, I started wondering ... is it really slowing her down?  Or is she getting extra food?!?  I mean, what's taking her so long?

Mom saw my wheels turning and assured me that Mags was still getting the same amount of food, but I just wasn't so sure.  I thought perhaps I should have second helpings -- you know, so Maggie and I would finish at the same time, right?  Only guess what Mom's solution was?

"Oh.  Oh, great.  My own slow feeder."

Believe it or not, I actually kind of like it. Mom changes out which bowl we get, too, so we can try both (and to keep Maggie challenged a little). I might like the purple one better, but I'm not sure.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bionic? Supernatural Strong?

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  The other day, Mom called us girls over and said she had a real treat for us for toy time!  Cam got to play with our Fishy and Mom said she had something new for me to test out!  She's always looking for different toys that will stand up to my Jaws of Steel -- the list is basically down to my GoughNuts, Cammie, and my Pickle under supervision.  Anyway ...

"Check it out, Peep!  'Bionic, Supernatural Strong'!  That sounds perfect!"
"What is that, some kind of challenge?"

I mean, really.  I checked it out ...

"Sure, Mom.  I'll give it a spin."

... and decided I'd give it a try.

"Oh, nice!  I like the feel of this!"

It has a bit more "give" to it than my GoughNuts or my Pickle.  I could really sink my teeth into it.

Mom did an inspection after about five minutes of play ...

"Can I see it, Mags?"
"Pretty good, huh, Mom?"

For some reason, my new toy is now known as "Cammie's new toy".

"The powers are strong in her!!!  The powers are very, very strong."

Yeah.  "Bionic". "Supernatural Strong". I don't think so!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wordless Wednesday


Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The R-E-S-T Rest! Of All The B-E-S-T Best!

Or is it the other way around?  Whatever ...

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie, here with ... yeah, OK.  We're wrapping up this latest trip down to Quivira NWR today.  (If you need to get caught up, please click here and here.)  On to the rest of the birdies!

One of the more common wading birdies we see down there is the Great Blue Heron. Here comes one now!

GBH in flight!

They are here year-round.  One of our migratory birds is the Wilson's Phalarope:

Wilson's Phalarope, looking for bugs

They spin around in circles, stirring up the bugs so they can eat them. Speaking of bug-eaters, it looks like this guy caught a tasty one!

American Avocet with the catch of the day

I don't want to say there's a double-standard around here, but if I had a bug like that, my mom would tell me to "leave it!"  Just ... putting that out there.

One of the rather striking-looking birds we saw was the Yellow-Headed Blackbird:

Yellow-Headed Blackbird

We saw a good number of them and the Red-Winged Blackbirds.  The Red-Wings are here all the time, but the Yellow-Headed Blackbirds pretty much come for the warmer months.

The ducks we saw in good number were Blue-Winged Teals.  Mom was watching this male and female, then saw this American Coot move into the scene:

"Is it just me, or is that Coot hitting on my wo-duck?"
"Hey, baby...."
"Hit the bricks, you old Coot."

Even though they like to hang out with ducks, Coots are not ducks -- they are more closely related to Sandhill Cranes or Rails.  (To have a good look at their feety-feet, click here to see a pic Mom took of one a few years ago.  Not webbed feet at all!)

There were quite a few Great Egrets at Quivira.  Here's one who's out standing in his field.  Or is that "outstanding"?  Ha roo roo roo.  With a Great Blue Heron.

The Greats hanging out together - Great Blue Heron and Great Egret.
The black thing in the middle of the shot is a Red-Winged Blackbird buzzing through.

There was some pretty crazy wind the day we were there, which though it made it challenging for Mom to hold the camera steady, it had two benefits -- one, it helped keep the mosquitoes at bay, and two, when the larger-winged birds took flight, they were buffeted around so much that they were almost held in place!  Here's one of Mom's favorite shots from that series:

Ballet recital by Great Egrets

They are one of our Summer residents, as are the Snowy Egrets.  Here are a couple of them in flight:

Snowy Egrets

Can you see their bright yellow feety-feet?  Pretty cool!  They are smaller than the Great Egrets - a wingspan of 41 inches as opposed to 51 - and have a black beak instead of yellow.

Speaking of beaks ... we also saw a pack-o-Pelicans:

American White Pelicans

I have no idea why that one guy is looking the wrong way, but Mom said something about him being a Siberian Pelican.  I didn't know there WAS such a ... oh.  Right.  Funny, Mom.

Here's a Cormorant, in mid take-off!

Double-Crested Cormorant

The Double-Crested are the most widespread Cormorant in North America.  They come through Kansas during migration seasons.

Our last bird is this little Sandpiper:

Spotted Sandpiper

Mom loves his speckled belly!  They are here mostly during migration, but some stay for the Summer!

We hope you enjoyed seeing some of our birdies and learning a little bit about them.  And now, it's time to head home.

"So tired ... so many birdies ... "
"Hey, Dad!  Let me know if you need me to drive!"

Thanks for coming along with us!  If you'd like to see more, please click here to check out our FlickR album.  We can't wait to go back again and see what new birdies we'll see!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Monday, May 22, 2017

Last Weekend's "Lifers"

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie, back with more birdies.  Today, we thought you might enjoy seeing the "lifers" -- the birdies we saw for the first time!  Before we head back to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, let's take a short water break:

Maggie and me at the Kansas Wetlands Ed Center for a break

Our canteen is there in the shade; we like to get a drink then people-watch during our breaks!

OK - on to the "lifers"! The first ones we saw were Black Terns!

Black Tern in flight

Unlike other terns, Black Terns don't dive into the water to catch fish - they feed off insects they gather as they fly. They migrate through Kansas in the Spring and Fall. Here is a bunch on land:

Black Terns and a Wilson's Phalarope 

More about Phalaropes tomorrow!

Another "lifer" was the Glossy Ibis!

Glossy Ibis!

We usually see White-Faced Ibises here during the migration seasons, but seeing Glossy Ibises is a real treat! They look VERY much alike; there is a slight difference in the face and leg colors. The experts who run the center at Quivira NWR confirmed there were Glossies in the area!

The next "lifer" is not a birdie. In fact, we're surprised Mom took this picture at all, but she knew a few of our friends would want to see it. Divert your eyes if you need to -- it's a sneaky snake!

A snake.
Quite possibly a Bull Snake, but Mom would have to look through pictures of a bunch of snakes to be sure.
That's not going to happen.

For those who might be wondering, Mom took the shots of him (click here for a closeup) from the safety of the HR-V. And rolled the window up quickly afterwards. And asked Dad to floor it. You get the picture.

Now ... on to more pleasant things, like Mom's new favorite:

THE Snowy Plover, ladies and gentlemen!

They are only six inches long and blend in really well with their environment; it's easy to miss them!  Here he is, stalking some bugs:

"Slowly I turned ..."

Mom thinks they are just adorable!  Here he is, checking his reflection:

"Am I really as cute as the Camera Lady says?!?"
"Oooh, I just might be!"

Quivira NWR is just on the eastern edge of the breeding ground for these tiny guys, so we feel really blessed to have seen a few.

Thanks for reading - tomorrow, we'll wrap up this latest birding expedition!


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Serene Scenery Sunday Funnies

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  Remember last weekend, we told you we went birding?  It's true - we took another trip down to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.  It was awesome.  You saw a shot of Cam and me when we were on one of our breaks.  We had just taken a short walk, had some water and treats, then got seat-belted back into the HR-V.  What the heck - that shot's worth seeing again!  We were right here:

"Hi, Mom.  Whatcha got?  Peanut butter sammich?"
"That's. Not. A. Sammich!"

Cam always knows!  And she was right!  It wasn't a sandwich!  Mom had ...

"Is that leftover chick-hen?!?"

Anyway ... more about that later.  We have tons of birdie pix to share with you, and today, we thought we'd share some of the funnier ones!

The last time we went down to Quivira, Mom was all excited because she got some shots of the elusive American Bittern! It was a "lifer" for her -- the first time she had seen one!  This trip, she kept hearing them (they kind of sound like glugging water ... click here) but couldn't find them ... until one took off. He made an editorial comment as he did:

Nice, Mr. Bittern.  Very nice.

Unbeknownst to Mom, he actually had photobombed a couple of her other shots! She didn't notice until she downloaded her photos to her computer!  Here he is with some White-Faced Ibises:

"Bitterns!  Can't take them anywhere!"

Then there is the shot of some Great Egrets, Glossy Ibises, a Red-Winged Blackbird, and ...

He's right between the two Glossy Ibises

Yeah. So maybe he was just ticked that Mom didn't see him and get some cool shots of him in the marsh, right?  Ha roo roo roo!

"HA!  Good one!!!"

At least that Great Egret thought it was funny!

This Least Sandpiper thought Mom was stalking him:

"Stop following me!!!"

But this Black-Necked Stilt seemed to be looking for her:

"Hey, Camera Lady!  Are you still here?!?"

This Red-Headed Woodpecker seemed cranky at first ...

"Hey ... wait just a minute!!!"

... then was quite actually quite accommodating!

"Yeah.  That's better!  Get my good side!"

And Mom fell in love, like totally head-over-heels type, with one of her "lifers" from this trip. The Snowy Plover.

"Who ... me?"

I have to admit, that little Peep has charisma -- AND is rocking the head-tilt there. Wow.  We'll share more from him on our next birdie post!

As for now ...

"Oh, please, Mom!!!  I LOVE the chick-hen!!!!"
"Chick...... hennnnnn......"

...that's a wrap for today.

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher