Foreshadowing?

My sister has been scanning some old family photos. Among the early 80s batch was this little gem of yours truly, being a twerp.

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Check out what’s on the shirt I was wearing!

Here’s a zoom from another picture:

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Sesame Street Cyclists – with Bert and Ernie on a tandem!

Is this where I admit to my bottle cap collection? It’s more exciting than a birthday party or a circus or a parade!

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Anybody wanna hear some pigeon jokes?

Copyright 2016 by Katie Bradshaw

Roadside cleanup saves a life

When I headed west of Scottsbluff this morning to join other members of the Western Nebraska Bicycling Club for a roadside cleanup, I figured we might come across some roadkill.

I sure didn’t expect the small survivor we found in the tall grass along with discarded beer cans and fast food bags.

I was scanning the ground and trailing a bag of trash along the south side of the road near Riverside Golf Course when I stopped short, startled by coming upon a freshly killed doe directly in front of me that had been partly obscured by tall greenery. I didn’t look too closely, as her innards had spilled out, and it wasn’t a real pretty sight.

A moment later, my attention was diverted as other WNBC members called out: “Here’s her fawn. And it’s still alive!”

Ohmygosh!

I headed in their direction, about 30 feet away from the dead doe, fearing I’d find a grievously injured animal in need of euthanasia.

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Members of the Western Nebraska Bicycling Club engaged in a roadside cleanup contemplate what to do about an orphaned fawn they found hidden in the grass, several yards away from its dead mother. (You can just see the fawn in this picture – the patch of brown center front.)

But the tiny fawn seemed fine, apart from a minor scuff on its ear. It lay in the grass, breathing steadily, obeying instinct to wait quietly for its mother to come.

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We bike club members obeyed our own instinct to help the helpless creature, resisting the urge to touch it and instead marking the location and calling for professional help.

One person called the emergency dispatch center to request a relay message to someone from Nebraska Game & Parks.

It being a Saturday on Memorial Day weekend, I wondered if anyone from Game & Parks would be available to respond in time, so I texted my friend Sarah Pinet of Victory Hill Farm, who once worked at Riverside Discovery Center, to ask if she knew a wildlife rehabilitator. She did: Shelley Lonsdale. (Nebraska Game & Parks contacted her as well. She’s the only licensed wildlife rehabilitator in our area.)

I called Shelley and left a message explaining what we’d found. She called right back and said she could be onsite in about 40 minutes.

She was concerned with making sure the fawn was out of harm’s way, and also that the fawn didn’t wind up in the hands of a well-intentioned but unskilled caretaker before she got there. She explained that the task of rehabilitating an orphaned fawn was much more difficult if the young animal had been weakened by improper care from a Good Samaritan.

She also asked us to “look for the twin. Mom probably stashed the other one nearby.”

I assured her that the fawn was safe and remained well-hidden, and that I thought that we bicyclists would probably still be cleaning up the roadside until she arrived and could keep an eye out. I told her that we’d scoured the area pretty thoroughly looking for trash and hadn’t found another fawn.

About an hour after I called, Shelley and a helper arrived, along with someone from Game & Parks.

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Shelley gently lifts the fawn from its hiding place in the grass as a member of the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission looks on.

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Shelley briefly examined the fawn – a male – and found that its left hind leg was broken. “But it can be splinted,” she said, noting that the break was between the knee and hip and that both joints seemed fine. The little guy had a few superficial scrapes as well.

The Game & Parks person offered to start combing the area in search of another possible orphaned fawn.

But Shelley had noticed something.

“Where’s the mom?” she asked.

I pointed back up the road to where the doe lay.

If you’re squeamish, you’ll want to skip the next picture, and probably the following text, too. Scroll down to the next line of asterisks.

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What Shelley had noticed was that the fawn was still damp from amniotic fluid. When she saw the dead doe, her suspicions were confirmed.

Mom hadn’t cleaned the fawn off – because he hadn’t actually been born. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. The impact of the vehicle that hit the doe tore open her abdomen, delivering the apparently near-term fawn by accidental cesarean section.

No need to look for a missing twin – it was still encased in its amniotic sac, dead, like its mother.

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Licensed wildlife rehabilitator Shelley Lonsdale holds an orphaned fawn near the body of its mother. If you look closely at the large organ showing at the doe’s belly, you can make out the nose, eye, ear and spotted back of the orphaned fawn’s twin, which died along with its mother.

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So the doe and one fawn were dead, but, despite the broken leg, the miraculously living male fawn seemed hale and hearty.

He bleated and squirmed and swiveled his ears to catch what was going on around him (short video clip here).

Shelley joked about giving the fraught fawn a name like “Freeway.” I suggested that he should have a bicycle-related name, since he’d been found by the bike club. I started naming a few bicycle types and brands.

“I like Trek” Shelley said, smiling and looking down at the fawn. “This is Trek.”

Safely settled in Shelley’s lap in the car, Trek began sucking on Shelley’s fingers. He was hungry! A good sign.

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I’m sure pulling for the little guy.

And I’m so glad our Adpot-A-Spot cleanup session for Keep Scottsbluff-Gering Beautiful was rescheduled to today from our previously rained-out date of April 30. If we hadn’t happened upon the fawn this morning, he surely would have died.

I’ll post updates as I get them from Shelley.

First update, via email and Facebook:

The break needed a splint, so Goshen [Veterinary Clinic] in Torrington, [Wyoming], helped me out. Trek has his splint and has eaten. it will be a long road to recovery, but I am hopeful he will be ok.

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Photo by Shelley Lonsdale

If anyone wants to contribute to the cost of Trek’s care, you can send donations to:

Goshen Veterinary Clinic
4548 US-85
Torrington, WY 82240

Update, via Facebook 5/30/16

He is having a much better day today. He even got to play outside for a while, but he gets tired quickly from having to drag his heavy splint. I am hoping we can get a lighter one for him soon. He goes back in next week for a check up on his leg.

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Photo by Shelley Lonsdale

Trek appears to be doing well!

Here’s a story from the Star-Herald newspaper about Trek and Shelley.

A happy/sad update 6/2/16, from Facebook (happy Trek has a buddy, sad that another fawn was orphaned and injured):

Trek got a new friend today. I hope she will recover from her injury as well as he is. Mom was hit, but I am not sure about her injuries. She has a spinal injury.

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Photo by Shelley Lonsdale

Update June 5

It seems that Trek is having some difficulties. Really hope he pulls through!

Trek had a rough day and night again yesterday but is doing much better this morning … he had me very worried last night, so it was another night of sleeping on the floor next to him and giving him electrolytes every hour, and this morning about 4 he ate some applesauce and is now acting normal again.

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Photo by Shelley Lonsdale

Update June 12

I wanted to tell you we had some more complications with trek the last couple days and unfortunately we lost him this morning …. I am very sorry and I did everything I could for him

RIP, little dude. We tried.

Copyright 2016 by Katie Bradshaw, except photos courtesy of Shelley Lonsdale as credited

Merry Christmas from Wyobraska Tandem and Saluda Shoals Park

I recently visited family in South Carolina and confirmed something I’ve long suspected: in snowless areas, Santa rides a bike rather than a sleigh.

The Saluda Shoals Park holiday lights drive was fun, but I think it would have been more fun if they could’ve set aside a night for bicycle tours of the grounds, where all the cyclists were wearing Christmas lights themselves. 🙂

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw

A change of scenery, critters, and cross training, Part 2

So, yeah, I went to Hawaii and rode a tandem on a coastal pathway and saw Hawaiian monk seals.

Before you go getting too jealous, there’s this:

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 2.43.23 PMWe touched down on Saturday evening. By Tuesday I was feeling a hint of chest discomfort that grew into full-blown coughing-up-crud misery that lasted the rest of the trip.

I can hear your little violins.

Then there was the fact that it was February – the heart of the rainy season on Kauai.

What the beach at Hanalei Bay looks like in the rain.

What the beach at Hanalei Bay looks like in the rain, complete with raindrops on the camera lens.

The scenic overlook at the end of Waimea Canyon Drive - in the rain.

The Kalalau Valley Overlook – in the rain. (Photo by Pa Bug)

And we hardly saw any bugs. Granted, most tourists would consider a lack of creepy-crawlies a positive, but when you’re traveling with an entomologist, it’s a huge disappointment. Perhaps we can blame the chickens.

Kauai is positively crawling with feral chickens. In fact, the vast majority of the avian, insect, and plant life we saw was non-native. The islands' ecosystems have really been brutalized by exotic species introductions and corporate-scale human development. It surprised me and made me feel sad and also a bit guilty, since here I was, visiting the islands and helping contribute to the problem.

Kauai is positively crawling with feral chickens. In fact, the vast majority of the avian, insect, and plant life we saw was non-native. The islands’ ecosystems have been brutalized by exotic species introductions and corporate-scale human development. It surprised me and made me feel sad and also a bit guilty, since here I was, visiting the islands and helping contribute to the problem.

I did find a little jumping spider while I was shopping for a sweatshirt. I texted it to Bugman. He laughed.

I did find a little jumping spider while I was shopping for a sweatshirt. I texted the picture to Bugman. He laughed. Darn. I can’t find the Hawaiian word for “jumping spider.”

I’d really wanted to go hiking and snorkeling and kayaking while on Kauai, but given my illness, the rain, and the fact that the main purpose of our short visit to the island was to accompany a couple of lovely people who have about a 30-year head start on us in the game of life, that just didn’t work out. I’ll have to manage to find a way to go back again!

But enough of the whining – there are more lovely things to share about the trip!

WARNING: excessive vacation-picture-posting follows:

Really, how can I complain about the precipitation? It's not frozen!

How can I complain about the precipitation? It’s not frozen!

The misty rain in the Waimea Canyon area made it easier for me to breathe with my chest cold and created beauty as it collected on the flora.

rain on blossomsWe did have a break in the cloud cover that afforded us spectacular views of Waimea Canyon at the lower-elevation overlooks that weren’t right on the coast.

This place is just incredibly beautiful.

This place is just incredibly beautiful.

Also, rain in Hawaii rocks, because rainbows.

The view to the west from our hotel balcony.

The view to the west from our hotel balcony, as we were packing our bags to go home. Aloha!

I did not get to snorkel, but I did have a chance to walk the beach every morning (that’s cross-training, right?) and to poke around in tidepools.

Ma and Ba Bug snuck a pic of us as we were walking on the beach. <3

Ma and Ba Bug snuck a pic of me and Bugman as we walked on the beach. ❤

Sand flower. A tree at the shoreline was dropping these tiny, waxy flowers, which would embed themselves in the sand or go floating off across the still water in a sheltered area of the beach.

Sand flower.
A tree at the shoreline was dropping these tiny, waxy flowers, which would embed themselves in the sand or go floating off across the still water in a sheltered area of the beach.

I had fun watching crabs come out of their sandy burrows. This little guy was about the size of a dime. Others we saw were closer to the size of softballs.

I had fun watching ‘ohiki (ghost crabs) come out of their sandy burrows. This little guy was about the size of a dime. Others we saw were closer to the size of softballs.

Crab burrow sand art

Crab burrow sand art

Nonsequitur image, but interesting in comparison. This is a photo from Glass Beach - literally a dump - which has become a tourist attraction because of all the beach glass. There were no pieces of beach glass larger than grains of sand because they all get picked up by tourists. Some people even take home jars full of this beach sand, leading to complaints about destruction of this attraction. I wonder, though - is it really a genius campaign to get tourists to clean the trash off beach?

Nonsequitur image, but interesting in comparison. This is a photo from Glass Beach – literally a dump, which has become a tourist attraction because of all the beach glass. There were no pieces of beach glass larger than grains of sand when I visited because they all get picked up by tourists. Some people even take home jars full of glassy sand, leading to complaints about destruction of the attraction. I wonder, though – is it really a genius campaign to get tourists to clean the trash off the beach?

Bugman taking a picture at dawn on Waipouli Beach, in a protected area that yielded some marine critter finds.

Bugman taking a picture at dawn on Waipouli Beach, in a protected area that yielded some marine critter finds.

Juvenile mamo (aka Hawaiian sergeant major damselfish) were abundant.

Juvenile mamo (aka Hawaiian sergeant major damselfish) were abundant.

A cryptic goby - perhaps an ‘o‘opu ‘ohune (brown tidepool goby)

A cryptic goby – perhaps an ‘o‘opu ‘ohune (brown tidepool goby or cocos frill goby)?

Another goby - a wee little one who did NOT want his picture taken, this time from Salt Pond Beach Park.

Another goby – a wee little one who did NOT want his picture taken, this time from Salt Pond Beach.

My favorite vertebrate - the puhi kapa (snowflake moray eel)

My favorite vertebrate of this tidepool  – the puhi kapa (snowflake moray eel)

On to the invertebrates - a healthy-sized loli (black sea cucumber)

On to the invertebrates – a healthy-sized loli (black sea cucumber)

A wee little kualakai (sea hare, or sea slug)

A wee little kualakai (sea hare, or sea slug)

A tiny anemone in a tidepool at Waipouli Beach, with some corraline algae in the background

A tiny anemone in a tidepool at Waipouli Beach, with some corraline algae in the background

Slightly larger anemones from a tidepool at Salt Pond Beach Park.

Slightly larger anemones from a tidepool at Salt Pond Beach.

Another place in which we had success viewing coastal and marine vertebrates was Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

A beautiful view from just outside the park gate.

A beautiful view from just outside the park gate.

You can see kohola (humpback whales) off the coast in the wintertime by watching for their misty spouts. Bugman managed to catch a few images of one whale that tail-slapped 4-7 times, three times in a row. I know you can identify humpback whales by the markings on their flukes. Wish there was an online catalog somewhere where I could try to identify this individual!

You can see kohola (humpback whale) off the coast in the wintertime by watching for their misty spouts. Bugman managed to catch a few images of one whale that tail-slapped 4-7 times, three times in a row. I know humpback whales can be identified by the markings on their flukes. Wish there was an online catalog somewhere where I could try to identify this individual!

Bugman got some decent shots of 'a (red-footed boobies), which were nesting at the time of our visit. My favorite bird was the koa‘e ‘ula (red-tailed tropicbird).

Bugman got some decent shots of ‘a (red-footed boobies – I picked this shot because the red feet are visible), which were nesting at the time of our visit. My favorite bird was the koa‘e ‘ula (red-tailed tropicbird).

We had plenty of interesting sightings of nene (Hawaiian goose) around the islands, too. This picture was taken at Smith's Tropical Paradise.

We had plenty of sightings of Hawaii’s state bird, the endangered nene (Hawaiian goose), around the islands, too. This picture was taken at Smith’s Tropical Paradise.

To wrap up this post, a couple of artsy-fartsy beach pictures taken at sunrise on a rain-spattered, windy morning – our last on Kauai.

angry sunriseblack splashUp next – culinary Kauai!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw