Birds teach us a lesson

This redpoll and this goldfinch are not only different colours, but two different species, both in competition for the same food source. So if they can get along, why can’t humans?

Redpoll and Goldfinch

Of course, that was a trick question, because of course we can and do get along.  What is odd is that many humans can love one other and hate a second for what would seem like trivial differences to a third.

Goldfinch and Redpoll
Goldfinch and Redpoll

There are no prizes for guessing which is the redpoll and which the goldfinch, because I know my readers are all expert ornithologists.

The Cliffs of Moher

These cliffs, in County Clare, Ireland, featured in the movie “The Princess Bride” When you first leave the parking lot, you find this wordless but sound advice.

Cliffs of Moher warning
Cliffs of Moher warning

You would be wise to heed the warning; they are crumbly, very high and there is usually a high wind which can shift suddenly.  Not all do, of course, so some get a Darwin award (for removing themselves from the gene pool).  Sadly, when I googled the cliffs to make sure I got the spelling right, one of the first hits was from the Clare Herald reporting that a body had just been recovered from the bottom.

On top of the cliffs, you’ll find a watch tower – it gets a clear view into the Atlantic:

Cliffs of Moher watch tower
Cliffs of Moher watch tower

The man gives you an idea of the scale.  The following view of the cliffs, with the tower on top, gives you an idea of the scale of the cliffs and reminds you why the warning is needed.

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

The cliffs are a major tourist attraction.  Luckily, we were there off season so it wasn’t very crowded.  The local authorities take good care to preserve the beauty of the cliffs.  One way they do that, while allowing local craft stores to benefit from the tourist euros is to bury the stores in the nearby hill:

Moher gift shops
Moher gift shops

The icing on the pie

Yes, I know it’s supposed to be on cake, but I didn’t leave any cake outside in the frost.

This plant is sometimes called Velvetleaf because, well, its leaves are like green velvet, but it is also known as pie-maker because the seed pods look like a crimped pie crust. They grow wild here. The flowers are quite small but we let them grow for the interesting leaves and seed pods, and the birds love the seeds.

They look particularly attractive with a little frosting:

Pie maker 1
Pie maker seed pod 1
Pie maker seed pod 2
Pie maker seed pod 2