a loon

Sunday at Pluto’s

I have a bad habit of getting into Moods and deleting things. This is a repost from last year, with a few little tweaks. Formerly called “Collarbone”. Diner fluff. 


“What’ll it be, hon?” 

This waitress can’t be for real. She’s a caricature - ambiguously middle-aged, with over-bleached, preposterously voluminous hair piled on top of her head, wide hips, blue eyeshadow, one bad tooth. Hell, she’s even chewing gum, smacking it cheerfully between her tongue and her teeth. She’s unbelievable, is what she is. The whole diner is unbelievable. And true to his affection for unbelievable things, Mulder is absolutely delighted. 

They’re somewhere in Texas in the death grip of summer, and it’s hot enough to scald a loon. He’d almost thought it was a mirage at first; the rusting silver rail-car glinting like a beacon just off the sun-baked, dusty road, the comically oversized, hand-painted particle board sign declaring that they’d found Pluto’s Diner, a faded green alien speeding away in his Adamski-type UFO, calling out behind him to anyone that would hear - The Waffles are Out of this WORLD!

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A Time for Reflection

By Erik Nelson

A typical field day conducting citizen science in Glacier National Park starts early. As the sun begins to rise above the horizon, my supervisor and I find ourselves in a little-visited corner of the park where we’ve come to check on a group of reclusive animals. The long grass in the meadow we tramp through is wet with dew and the mosquitoes are particularly fierce and thick. In the trees, the dawn chorus of birds permeates the air; they are no doubt more excited about the mosquitoes than I am.

As we make our way deeper into the woods, we see signs of bear, wolf, and moose all around us. There’s a good chance no one has visited this part of the park since the last survey was conducted here a month before. We clamber over deadfall as silently as possible, trying to avoid making any loud noises. Our quarry is highly sensitive to disturbance. We are conducting a  survey for common loons—a bird, which ironically, has become uncommon throughout its range.

We reach the edge of a small lake speckled with water lilies and surrounded by dark hills. We pause and listen. From the center of the lake comes a sound without equal, it wavers and echoes amongst the low hills. A loon is calling. Standing hidden in the trees, a motion on the lake soon catches our eye. There they are…loons…gliding on the black water. There are five adults and two chicks on the lake today, and it takes us the better part of an hour to figure out who belongs to whom. Three of the adult birds are actually interlopers, who use every known display and call to assert their claim to the lake. My supervisor furiously scribbles down the behaviors we are seeing while I stand watching in awe, thrilled to see these magnificent birds and hear their eerie wailing. These loons are vocalizing and posturing, not for us, but for each other—rearing back, diving, and treading water are all ways to signal their displeasure to competitors.

The birds at this particular lake are extremely sensitive to disturbance, which is why we have chosen to survey them without volunteer citizen scientists today. But typically, our goal at the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center is to train volunteers to conduct loon surveys on their own. Citizen scientists receive the skills they need through an all-day training session and are provided access to our field equipment (spotting scopes, GPS, maps, and radios). They select from lakes that need to be surveyed and schedule site visits with us, so we can assure that all priority lakes are visited. Our goal is to monitor nesting attempts and record how many loon chicks survive each year. This year, four chicks fledged within the park, a number consistent with the annual average of 4–6 chicks.

Prior to this summer, I’ve had extensive experience in environmental education and spent a significant amount of time working as a biologist, but in some ways, citizen science feels unique. Citizen science provides opportunities for people to make connections with the ecosystem while giving back to the park. Citizen scientists also become ambassadors for the species they study, sharing their passion with others.

Conservation has always been a prime motivator in my life. Being at the synergistic midpoint between science and education is something I’m quite used to, but helping facilitate that interplay, via citizen science, feels like an extraordinary privilege. Helping loons is important, but providing the public with the opportunity to connect, learn, and assist in needed data collection is incalculably beneficial. I feel humbled to have played even a small role in making that happen.

NPS Photos/Erik Nelson
[Top image: A common loon, and its reflection, glides along in dark water with green lily pads nearby.]
[Bottom image: Close-up shot of Erik Nelson wearing a red bandanna and an expedition hat. A snow-covered mountain looms in the background.]

Beloved Bewilderment, Pt 4.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 2.5 | Part 3 | Part 3.5

ADA Rafael Barba has been seeing Genevieve, a recent-divorcee who is as (if not more) illusive and busy than he is. After realizing the ‘why’ wasn’t only because of work, but also due to having a five year old daughter (sweet Carina) he had been unaware of; he realized precisely how willing he was to ‘try’ and make it work… and is learning how much work that could take.

Originally posted by all-things-raul-esparza


“We have to hurry,” Genevieve started, while darting around the house to collect ‘necessities’ for their journey. Meanwhile, Rafael was pretty much already gathered: the three of them had gone out to breakfast, so he had walked them home, but hadn’t quite undone himself enough to require much putting together. “I need to go to the grocery store after I drop you off, Carina-”

“So we have to run?” The girl sighed, dramatically, and turned towards Rafael while her mother spun out of the room- “I hate when we have ta’ run.”

Feeling quite awful for both of them; his girlfriend running about like a loon and sweet Carina’s lament for having to be rushed, he hoped to be of help- “Well, where’s her piano class?”

Both Genevieve and Carina looked his way, curiously. “In Manhattan…”
Carina parroted immediately afterwards: “In Manhattan…”

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anonymous asked:

I swear female characters get this syndrome where they lose their old personality and start acting like weird dopey vapid boyfriend-obsessed loons? I know you stopped watching pll but the aria character started acting just like s6 Elena in the last season. It's so bizarre

Certain female characters with certain boyfriends on certain shows, absolutely.