Church Cats

If you have a cat, you know you don’t own the feline, they own you. Your house is not yours, it belongs to your cat. You are just the caretaker. In England some churches are a cat’s domain.

Unlike in the United States or some other places, many British churches are open or unlocked during the day. This is great for tourists who would like to enter and view the architecture or interior. It is also great for people who want to have a quiet moment to reflect. Propped open doors or constant visitors have enabled some local cats or strays to claim the building as their own. They may like to get out of the rain, enjoy the soft seat cushions on the pews, or even sun themselves where light filters in through the stained glass windows onto the floor.

Locals are so used to seeing particular cats lounging about that they know them by name. They may even be afforded the status of official church cat.

We were told by locals in Corsham that this was Cyril. He was owned by a local florist, but he liked to hang out at the church by day. We met him inside the church. He walked us out and walked right back to the florist shop around closing time.

Some church cats belong to a local and just like to hang out at the church. Others are strays that have shown up at a church and the staff end up adopting them and allow them to stay. The cats presence helps curb the mouse population.

Another cat I encountered inside a church in the Cotswolds. This one followed us outside the church as well. He tailed us around the churchyard.

Southwark Cathedral in London even elevated the status of their church cat by honoring her in stone with a grotesque. The named her Doorkins because she would be waiting by the door to be let into the church every morning before they adopted her.

The grotesque made in honor of Southwark Cathedral’s church cat-Doorkins.
Doorkins is older now. She is less social and sleeps a lot. Here she was in the Harvard chapel in the church. She was on a comfortable chair.
Doorkins enjoying a nap.

In her heyday Doorkins was more sociable. She met the queen when she visited Southwark Cathedral. She would join in church services and choir practices angling for a pet or a scratch behind the ear. Even though she is on in years and is less active, she still enjoyed a little attention.

They sell this book at the Southwark Cathedral store relating Doorkin’s story.
This is Jones of St. Paul’s in Covent Garden in London. Jones is getting on in years as well. He is named after Inigo Jones who designed the church. His sibling, who passed on was Inigo and he was named Jones.

I have been lucky enough to meet some of these cats. The ones I met were people friendly and enjoyed attention. In a country that obviously favors dogs, church cats in England can be considered an icon.

Eagles: We Just Want to Play

Do eagles play? Do they try to have fun? I went down early to the Hudson River in New York to watch the young eagles this morning and it appears they do play and enjoy hanging out together.

When I first arrived, the two babies born this spring were on the playground. I think they wanted to enjoy the swings and other equipment to perch on before the children arrived. Maybe they were wondering what all the hype was about in regards to the equipment.

This one perched for a while on a wooden guard rail on the edge of a road. People walking a dog were startled to see it there. The young eagle was not phased by the large dog. He never moved.

Besides flying around they landed on different trees again. In addition, they many times joined each other in their perching spots. They also spent time chasing each other in the air. Unfortunately the lighting on the shots where they are chasing each other around was not very good, so I am leaving them out.

Them seem to join each other a lot. It looks like they are having a conversation.
Team effort- calling out for their parents to bring food most likely. This tree is closer to the river.

I would conclude they do like to play. What do you think? Regardless, I am enjoying the new spots they choose to perch on near the Hudson River.

Baby Eagles Fledge

By Wednesday this past week, both baby eagles were flying. The one that was still branching last weekend was very clumsy. Now both are more confident.

Sitting on the roof of a pavilion.

Today the weather was not very good for photographing wildlife, however, the baby eagles put on a show. They flew from tree to tree and down to the river and back. I loved the trees the picked to land in. I wish their parents would land in the same ones as they were more visible.

This bird, an Oriole? was not too happy about where this eagle planted himself. I think he was not far from its nest. The bird kept singing and flying around him like a gnat.
Stretching his wings occassionally
Hey I was here first! We can’t both be here.
One parent bringing in a fish. Like last week, they young eagles screeched a lot before a fish was brought up around the same time- 11:00. I was there again from around 8-11 or shortly thereafter.

The parents are still bringing fish up to the nest, but now the baby eagles fly back there when they see one parent returning.

I wish the weather would have been better. It was fun to watch these two nonetheless.

Eagle Branching

Fledging is when a bird takes its first flight from the nest. Young eagles typically stay in the nest approximately 10 to 12 weeks. The stage before that is branching. This is when they go between branches of the tree.

On my last post about the eagles you saw the baby eagles in a nest near the Hudson River in New York with the downy, grayish feathers. Now the young eagle has juvenile feathers.

The two babies with their downy, gray feathers. This one was taken a few months ago.

This nest had two baby eagles. Now I see only one. I no longer have a view from above or on level due to the leaves on the trees. The babies a few months ago were exercising their wings by moving them about.

Here is one of the same young eagles a branch below the nest. At this point it is likely full grown. My they grown fast!

On Saturday I saw the young eagle sitting on one branch below the nest the whole time I was there. He seemed like he was unsure of himself or in a pickle. He moved slowly up back and forth on the branch and screeched a lot. Not sure if he was hungry or needed help.

Juvenile feathers

The next day the young eagle was practicing take-offs and landings on neighboring branches and the nest. He seemed quite clumsy as sticks flew off the nest when he landed there.

The eagle here was practicing take-offs and landings between the branches and the nest. I wonder if this one will have fledged by next weekend.

The parents were hardly seen. I did not see them on Saturday. I was only there about 2 hours. A few months ago I could catch the parents feeding the two babies a few times after 8 in the morning. This time, however, I did not see the parents on Sunday between 8-11 a.m. The young eagle was screeching constantly and at one point sounded hurt or desperate when finally the parents flew up one by one to drop off a small fish. The young eagle ate ravenously. I understand the parents may start to withhold food or tempt the young eagle to fly by holding a fish on a neighboring tree.

The eagle is here eating a fish one of the parents dropped off. The lighting is hard with the shadows cast by the branches.

Where is the other young eagle? Has it already fledged? Could it already be out and about enjoying its new ability to fly? Wouldn’t you like to have that bird’s eye view of the Hudson Valley?

Temple Art

Is it a lion or a dragon? I think it may be a dragon. I looked online and could not find a similar image.

I took this image several years ago when in the Pusan/Busan area of South Korea at one of its lovely Buddhist temples. It was taken on an old Pentax K-1000 as slide film. I recently scanned this image.

Buddhist temples are known for their artwork. Besides statues of Buddha, the temples are like an art museum on the inside and outside. If in Korea or another Asian country, be sure to stop by one. You won’t regret it.

Beacon Barks

In the United States people raise money for many various causes in different ways. Some events that benefit charity include : walk-athons, running races, and dinners. How would one raise money for an animal charity? In Beacon they have an event called Beacon Barks.

Parade
Ready for the next space mission

Beacon Barks is a parade and street festival. They close down a portion of Main Street from 9D for a few blocks. After a short parade of dogs and their owners, people hang out on the street. Some dogs are rescues and some are not. People mingle on the street, lined with vendors selling canine-related items, charities, and different animal rescues. The animal rescues bring a few dogs each that are up for adoption. and you can interact with the dogs. The vendors carry a variety of gourmet dog biscuits and other doggie treats. Some vendors sell canine attire such as ties, bandanas, and sweaters. There are food vendors as well for humans. Costumes are judged and live music is provided. It is a fun event for dogs and their people.

Main Street Beacon
This dog rides with his owner on his Harley.
This guy carried candy to give out along the parade route.

Several organizations sponsor the event and it has one beneficiary: Safe Haven Animal Shelter and Wildlife Center. Safe Haven has currently started construction on a new building. Besides sheltering dogs, when they finish they will add to their responsibilities rehabilitating birds and other animals such as turtles with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.

One of the dogs that were up for adoption.

To learn more about Safe Haven Animal Shelter and Wildlife Center follow this link: http://www.safehaven4animals.org .

If you are a dog lover, put Beacon Barks on your schedule for next year. Bring your dog or go to see the ones escorting their humans. Besides having a good time, you will be supporting a worthy cause.

Firemen of Beacon with their dog
Doggie Donuts with Bacon

NYC Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

When is a parade not a parade? When you think of a parade what usually comes to mind is people marching in groups on a planned route with floats and bands playing. The New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival does not fit into that definition.

The Easter parade is more of a mingle. Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th Streets becomes filled with not only parade participants, but also spectators. The participants wearing bonnets amble this way and that stopping for long stretches to pose for selfies with spectators and photographs. Spectators have short conversations with participants about their bonnets and where they are from.

Ladies from the Milliner’s Guild

It is not just locals who participate, but tourists from around the world join in. I met a group of women from Australia, I believe they said they were from Brisbane. There was a family group from Norway that also joined in. Some people even bring their canines with hats. You will see all ages participating, young children through seniors.

Part of the group from Norway?
Ladies from Australia
Attire

One can see a variety of bonnets during this parade. Some fall under traditional Sunday best hats, while other bonnets were constructed with a hot glue gun or even screws. You will see many spring or Easter themed bonnets, but not all fall under those categories.

If you plan to visit New York City during the Easter holidays join in or be a spectator to this long held NYC tradition. Just head to 5th Avenue near St. Patrick’s on Easter morning. It’s an Easter treat!

NYPD cop wanted a selfie.