I've been a bit slow starting my new North American blog. I'll have a link off this site when I do.
I'm still on leave and haven't returned to the American Red Cross yet. This week my kids have vacation so we've been out and about a bit.
Yesterday I went to Simsbury and visited my parents. My father, 5 kids and I took a walk around Nod Brook Wildlife Management Area, my old birding haunt.
Most of the ponds were iced up but in the open patches we saw a lone Mute Swan, a few mallards and some Canada Geese. We saw some American Robins perched in the trees and I saw three Red-winged Blackbirds, though none on their territories yet. At the Farmington River we found several trees that were gnawed on by the beavers. One large tree was well on its way to being girdled.
We saw quite a few signs of spring on our walk. The catkins are coming out on the birches and the alders, one large pussywillow was covered with downy gray buds, and on our way home we examined a Chinese Witch-Hazel that was in full flower. A few days before, the kids and I found the first Skunk Cabbages coming out of our local swamp.
On the Iraqi wildlife front, I again direct you to the adventures of LTC Bob at Camp Victory. He has sent Bigwig at Silflay Hraka a picture of a large Cyprinid (Minnow and Carp Family) that a soldier caught in one of the lakes around Camp Victory. Aspius Vorax is a good sized fish as this picture illustrates. Some of our soldiers had the opportunity to fish where they were stationed. I saw several pictures of large Aspius from our subordinate Companies. I observed fishing soldiers at Camp Liberty, Camp Victory, Camp Slayer and Tallil Airbase. At Tallil the pond is fed from a canal linked by some miles to the Euphrates. The soldiers said they caught several species of fish including carp amd a large catfish.
I also found this picture of a White Wagtail that landed on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman at the start of the war.