Friday, July 2 2021

Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron tried to hide from me and eat in peace but I got this photo before it moved deeper into the brush.

Bald Eagle

Florida has one of the densest concentrations of nesting bald eagles in the lower 48 states, with an estimated 1,500 nesting pairs.

Brown Pelican

Other pelicans species work in flocks to corral their prey, brown pelicans have a different method of diving headfirst into the water from heights as great as 50 feet to scoop up fish near the surface.

Brown Thrasher

The Brown Thrasher is a magnificent songster that can sing more than 1,100 different song types including imitations of other birds, including Chuck-will’s-widows, Wood Thrushes, and Northern Flickers.

Great Egret Eating

The Great Egret catches its prey and stands on solid ground to flip it in the air to catch and swallow headfirst as shown in these photos. I was surprised at how many attempts it took to succeed.

Anhinga

The Anhinga uses its pointed beak to spear its prey followed by flipping it in the air to catch and swallow head first.

Juvenile White Ibis

Juvenile White Ibis are brown and white as they molt into their white adult plumage.

Egret in Flight

I'm working on getting decent photos of birds in flight, this is an early attempt.

Little Blue Heron

This Little Blue Heron apparently likes this lookout on the road that leads to C.R.E.W. which I visit frequently and see in the same spot time and time again.

Limpkin

Limpkins hunt day and night for apple snails and may be overlooked as they stalk about in marshes and swamps; they draw attention with their piercing banshee wails, often heard at dawn or at night.

Cormorant

Cormorants and Anhingas are easily confused with each other. The easiest way to determine which is which is by their beak. Cormorant bills are orange, curved, hooked shaped, and thicker than an Anhinga's which very pointed, long, thin, and straight.

Nest Building Egret

Male Great Egrets males choose a nesting area and build a nest platform and both males and females finish building the nest together before the female lays a clutch of eggs.

Pied Billed Grebe

When a Pied Billed Grebe is disturbed or suspicious of activity around it, it may sink slowly until only head is above water.

Common Galinules

The Common Gallinule is a chicken-like marsh bird, never far from water. Thick legs and long toes are drab yellows. Adults have bright red bills with yellow tips, a thin white side stripe, and some white under the tail.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons have patches of powder down feathers on their chest. The heron is able to apply this powder to its underbelly in order to prevent them from becoming slimy and oily from wading in the swamps and, to remove the slimy oils from fish.

Black Vulture

Suprise result of a Black Vulture against a bright sky.

Thursday, July 1 2021

C.O.P.D.

While I've provided a bit of detail on my experiences with Pulmonary Embolisms, Blood Thinners, Abdominal Aneurysms I haven't mentioned living with COPD. Like the majority of folks, I thought I was just out of shape and, breathing was more difficult for that reason. As an asthmatic, I figured that, while it didn't give me much trouble, was now getting worse. My doctor ran a simple test that detected an obstruction when exhaling which was the initial tip that it was more than asthma or being out of shape.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease isn't about not being able to get enough oxygen into one's lungs, it's all about the inability to exhale the carbon dioxide which is the waste produced when our lungs process the inhaled oxygen. When we have carbon dioxide remaining in our lungs our breathing is impaired. My most recent test showed I'm using 31% of my lung capacity. With a breathing treatment, it increases about 10% and with exertion, it drops back down.

COPD is composed of chronic bronchitis which is inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the air sacs of the lungs. It's characterized by daily cough and mucus production. Emphysema is a condition in which the alveoli at the end of the smallest air passages of the lungs are destroyed as a result of damaging exposure to cigarette smoke and other irritating gases and particulate matter. Initially, I had frequent bouts of bronchitis that led to my diagnosis, now it's Emphysema that is troublesome.

Those of us with COPD are likely to experience episodes called exacerbations, during which our symptoms become worse than the usual day-to-day variation and persist for at least several days. In case of an exacerbation, my pulmonologist has me keep a short dose of Prednisone and anti-biotics to knock it back early and prevent it from getting worse. It works for me and have only had one severe exacerbation that required medical care in the last few years. I'd like to say I don't have any bronchitis symptoms at all but an allergy-induced exasperation did lead to my first ambulance ride to the Emergency Room a year or so ago.

I find living with COPD isn't as bad as it seems to be made out to be. Yes, it presents a lot of barriers to what I used to do and quickly reminds us by causing shortness of breath. Many times when I'm doing rather easy tasks such as gardening, I get short of breath simply by bending over. Bending over squeezes our lungs, making them smaller, and decreasing our breathing volume. Shallow breathing means less oxygen to your brain and body. Less oxygen means less energy, less focus, and less function.

The big problem with COPD is that when we exert ourselves and get short of breath our brain tells our heart to speed up to supply more oxygen. When our heart speeds up we breathe faster creating the frustrating loop of breathlessness that is the hallmark of COPD.

One important point I want to make is that this isn't a death sentence and sitting around bemoaning our illnesses is counter-productive. Keeping as active as possible helps keep lung function from deteriorating any more than its already reached. Those of us not on supplemental oxygen should be conscientious about keeping moving to prevent our COPD from reaching the 4th stage of the disease when there aren't any more medical options. It is nice to see the last stage called "stage four" instead of "end-stage" as it was commonly called. Stage 4 does require supplemental oxygen but there are people who live with it for decades.

The best thing we can do is accept the reality of living with lung disease, keep active to build our core strength, and do everything we can to keep toxic substances out of our lungs.

Horse Laugh

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Insects aren't a strong point for me but this appears to be a Black Swallowtail Butterfly. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Double-striped Bluet

The Double-striped Bluet is a damselfly, which when compared to dragonflies, typically have a slender body and similar sized/shaped fore- and hind-wings which they tend to hold over their body. Their diet of pest insects like mosquitoes and flies means they are beneficial insects to humans as well as the ecosystem.

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