THE THISTLE

blog photo 30 the thistle

 

 

 

 

WHAT IT IS

When Samantha Gallant piloted her Cessna 182 with Missouri entomologist Frank James and two other research scientists to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, she was not expecting to run into Cricket and Sapphire.

A news story broke out a week prior, describing unusually large thistle-type plants growing along the edge of the tarmac. Additionally, large bumblebees were said to be pollinating these plants.

When Cricket and Sapphire arrived, the entomologists were busy collecting samples and sending them off to Monsanto’s headquarters in Missouri. Try as they did, the scientists were unable to capture any bees and had to be satisfied with only plant samples.

WHAT IT IS NOT

A vacationing Sofia Zuniga was walking along a quiet beach on the Caribbean island of Nevis when she spotted a Canadian biologist from Weyburn Saskatchewan, examining some Canadian thistles, that definitely should not have been growing in this part of the world.

The biologist, Cinder Willoughby, was contacted by the deputy-premier of the island and asked if he could come to Nevis to study several unusual plants and insects species never before found on the island.

THE DRAGONFLY

blog photo 29 the dragonfly.JPG

 

 

WHAT IT IS

The newly formed task force made up of the RCMP and the FBI has welcomed United Kingdom’s MI6 into the fold and the new organization is now known as INSECT (International Native Species and Exotic Creatures Tribunal).

In its first significant break through, INSECT released this photo of one of the culprits they believe participated in the kitchen attack at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It is INSECT’s contention that this dragonfly used its wings to prop open of a ceiling exhaust fan allowing throngs of other insects access to the kitchen area.

WHAT IT IS NOT

The Beaver County State Police and the City of Beaver Falls Police Department conducted a joint search and rescue mission involving a missing high school student.

The missing student, daughter of a Beaver Falls counsellor Drake Johnstone, was on a field trip with her entomology class when she was reported missing. As darkness fell and panic was setting in, a rookie patrolman spotted this dragonfly hovering and darting repeatedly over a rock outcrop. Curious, the patrolman went to where he observed the dragonfly and found the girl, tired but unharmed.

Coincidentally, when a pilot of a small aircraft who recently rescued the mayor of Beaver Falls was asked how she found the mayor, she simply replied; “ I followed the dragonflies.”

THE STREAM

 

blog photo 28 whiet birch stream.JPG

 

 

 

 

WHAT IT IS

After four hundred plus sold out performances of the Ugly Duckling in Toronto, Ontario Canada, Mildred Duck triumphantly returned to the Grassy Narrows area of Northwestern Ontario. Her great success allowed her to purchase this piece of land which she intends to use as a training ground for her next production.

Although everything is still very tentative, Mildred is intent on a much larger production entitled the ‘Littlest Gosling.’ Hundreds of pigeons, ducks, swans, geese and many other birds will be hired for the new production.

WHAT IT IS NOT

With about twenty feet between the airplane and the lake, Samantha Gallant managed to restart the engine and quickly re-established a cruising altitude. Sapphire combed the lakes and bush like a professional and within thirty minutes of being airborne, she spotted the threesome sitting on a beaver dam along this stream.

It seems they wandered off from the main party, the two senators looking for Large Mouth Bass and the mayor more interested in construction techniques of the local beavers.

 

 

THE GOLDFINCH

 

 

 

 

 

blog photo 27a goldfinch.JPGWHAT IT IS

While visiting the Topanga State Park in California to photograph the Southern Pacific rattlesnake, Cricket wanted a change of scenery. We decided nothing would be more different than a tour of the Warner Brothers studio in Hollywood.

About halfway through the tour, we heard a lady pleading with someone to get back to rehearsals as everything and everyone was waiting.

It turned out a remake of ‘goldfinger’ was in the works and this stubborn goldfinch, who was starring in the production, had had a disagreement with the director regarding costumes.

WHAT IT IS NOT

United Kingdom gold broker, Sharps Pixley, recently selected this goldfinch image as its signature emblem. Unfortunately, in its first gold transaction using this emblem, gold bars delivered to a national bank in Oslo, Norway proved to be counterfeit.

When the gold bars arrived in Norway, they passed five intensive inspection tests but failed the sixth and final test. A chipmunk, recently re-employed by the quality control department, gnawed on what should have been soft gold bars but turned out to be brittle counterfeits. The bank does have a comprehensive dental plan.

 

 

 

BEE BEHAVIOR

 

 

 

 

 

blog photo 26 bee holds flower.JPGWHAT IT IS

 

University of Missouri Entomologist, Frank James was observing bee behavior in the Mark Twain National Forest when he documented some unusual activity. Upon entering a particular flower, pictured above, several other insect species would arrive, a dance ensued and all insects would disappear.

This behavior, with different actors, continued for many hours and culminated in hundreds of insects roosting in a single tree, then taking off in the general direction of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, which is not far from Lindbergh Blvd. and the World Headquarters of Monsanto.

Slightly concerned, James texted his brother-in-law Dr. Micheal K. Stern, to inform him of the odd insect behavior.

 

WHAT IT IS NOT

The transatlantic flight from London to Halifax was uneventful and that was good enough for Sapphire. There seemed to be a delay in the disembarking procedures, so she sat patiently in her seat, gazing out the window.

Wood crates were being unloaded from the cargo bay, ‘RUSH TO QUARANTINE’ written in bold letters on all sides of the boxes. As Sapphire watched, a forklift pierced the side of one of the crates, and hordes of bees and flowers fell on to the tarmac.

Bedlam ensued, but it was painfully obvious that many of these critters were not going to be quarantined, but instead were now flying amok in the general population.

BEAVER TALES

 

 

 

 

 

 

blog photo 25 Tamagami.JPGWHAT IT IS

This is why I call my sister the Queen of the Coincidence. Sapphire thought her eyes were playing tricks on  her, but it was indeed the Governor of Pennsylvania pacing back and forth on the dock along the shores of Lake Temagami. He was talking it up to local pilot, Samantha Gallant about getting the Beaver aircraft aloft and start looking for members of his fishing party that were lost somewhere in the bush.

Samantha was trying to impress on the Governor the need for an experienced spotter when Sapphire rushed to the dock, pulled out her high-powered binoculars and volunteered to help out. The Governor said they were looking for two US senators and the mayor of Beaver Falls.

The deHavilland Beaver, considered the backbone of the Canadian Forest Industry and perhaps the safest small aircraft ever made, stalled out at a couple hundred feet. Sapphire took this photo as the plane attempted a forced landing on Lake Temagami.

 

WHAT IT IS NOT

I told Cricket that six weeks of therapy was no where enough sessions to fix his fear of heights, but my brother insisted he could handle it. At exactly 9 am Cricket started his accent of the Temagami Fire Tower.

It was a painful two hours watching what others would accomplish in fifteen minutes, but finally he made it to the top. Once there, his acrophobia kicked into high gear and there was no getting him back down.

Emergency Services had two real emergencies to deal with, so it was eight hours before they arrived on scene and escorted Cricket painstakingly down to solid earth. He did manage to take this photo before the long descent began.