Category Archives: animal images

New Foal

IMG_9512 (1)jdbphoto 2016

New Foal

From his mother’s teat, the new-born colt
raised his head with a sudden jolt,
his new world noisier than before
as the truck drove up with its engine roar.
A small boy sat with his window down,
surveying the scene with a subtle frown
as the older man jumped out to walk
slowly toward him, lest he balk,
and reached a hand to touch his coat,
fingers exploring, as though by rote,
feeling bones, sinew and muscle.

“This one here will have some hustle,”
he said to the boy who stood beside,
thinking of his horse who’d died.
“You want to name him?” his father said.
The boy’s toe shuffled. He hung his head.
The tiny colt looked up and snorted—
edgy now, but well-deported.
He moved to the boy to butt his arm.
His nose was soft and smooth and warm
as it nudged the small boy’s skin.
His father watched the pact begin.


I saw this unusual colt alongside the road almost a year ago.  I pulled off as soon as possible to snap a few shots and have been waiting for a chance to use them  Not exactly a new-born colt, but close.  I’ve been waiting long enough!

The prompt today is “jolt.”

Toadie Came a Courtin’: Thursday Doors, Aug 11, 2016

IMG_3182I don’t know how this little guy got inside my locked screen door and three feet up on the crossbar, but he did.  The space between the screen door and the glass door seems too small for him to have been able to jump up. This is the third tiny toad like this that i’ve found on the crossbars of slider screens or doors.  They are exactly the color of the paint, so must feel hidden and safe.  Hope they are catching flies!  I relocated him to a planter box as this door is used too much for him to be safe and the kitty lurked just a few feet away. The ledge he was on was 1/2 inch deep, so I’m sure he couldn’t be over an inch long.  Tiny little guy.

And, so you can get an idea of scale and also because this posting is supposed to be about doors, after all, here is an inside and outside shot of the screen door that was his resting place as well as the planter with rosemary plant that I relocated him to:

You can click on the first picture if you want larger views.


El Sapo

El Sapo

It was about time for Yolanda to leave today when she came into the sala, where I was working on my blog. “¿Senora,quieres tomar una pictura?” she enquired. I wasn’t listening closely, so at first I thought she was saying she’d found the picture my friend Betty had painted that I had purchased at a show months ago and put away for safe keeping until I could figure out where to hang it and had never found again. “Pintura de Betty?” I inquired, and she said no, and motioned for me to follow her. “Un foto!” she directed, pointing at my camera that is always at the ready. I realized then that she had originally used my imagined Spanish word for photograph by adding an “a” to picture, whereas in reality, the correct word was “foto.” In fifteen years, we had developed this pidgin Spanish between the two of us comprised of real Spanish vocabulary I had learned in addition to the made up words of Spanish that she had adopted as a means of not humiliating me when I made mistakes. Over the years, they had become real words to both of us and we did all right, although anyone else listening to us might have wondered just what language we were speaking.

She was grinning as she led me through the bedroom and the back door, out to the patio. The always-curious dogs joined our convoy and when she motioned to a drooping leaf in one of the large pots around the corner of the house, Morrie and Diego moved in to investigate. She motioned, but I saw nothing.

“Una rana!” she said, motioning towards a tiny slit of beige between one leaf and an overhanging one. There on the leaf I could make out not a frog, but rather a tiny beige toad, no bigger than one inch across, only it’s eyes and mouth visible in its hiding place between the two leaves. Yolanda quickly took the dogs away to put inside as I clicked photo after photo, most of them so close up that the toad looked huge, whereas in reality it was tiny. I was amazed that Yolanda had seen it but so glad she had.

It was the same variety of toad that had taken up residence in our guest toilet on the second floor a few years before. Since this room was sometimes unused for more than a year at a time, the toad had moved in, storing it’s upcoming insect meals on the porcelain toilet rim under the seat, now and then dipping into its private lake for a little swim. It was so tiny that it could sit on the porcelain under the toilet seat, which we had lifted to clean. When we removed it because company was coming, it remained below in the backyard for the weeks our guest was here, but once she left, it reinstalled itself, somehow hopping up the flight of stairs and getting through the locked gate and screen and sliding glass doors, hopping across the bedroom and into the bathroom and up to the toilet. I have no idea how it found its way here from the garden far below in the first place, let alone a second time, but now here was the descendant of that toad, perhaps, taking a little nap in the plant nursery I’d established tucked around the corner from the normal traffic area of my house.

It silently bore my many clicks, the lens coming closer and closer until they nearly touched. Only when I lifted the overhanging leaf did the toad shift a bit. An hour later, when I went out to measure it, not trusting my poor talents at estimating distances and measurements, the toad was still there, facing in a different direction, but still in the shade of the same leaf.

Version 2

Version 4

IMG_8515 (1)
IMG_8509IMG_8519Please enlarge these photos as much as you can on your viewer. The texture and coloration of this little creature’s skin is so amazing.

The”I’s” Have “It.” 26 Weeks Letter Challenge,”I”

I is for Iguana. I’ve been waiting to have a chance to use this one!  Saw this fellow outside my friend’s house in La Manzanilla, and it was as though he was posing for me. You need to click on the first photo to enlarge them.

If you want to see even more spectacular views of an iguana, go here:



and if you want to participate in this letter challenge, go here:

Bearcat—NaPoWriMo 2016, April 20

When my new husband and I moved from L.A. to the redwoods of northern California, a feral cat appeared from the forest and after a week or so of hide-and-go-seek games, deigned to move in with us.  A month or so later, she had three kittens—like their mother, all grey Burmese with chartreuse eyes, but each with a differently-shaped tail.  The mother’s was curved at the end with a dip to the right. One of the female kittens had a similar dip, but to the left.  The other female had a zigzag tale. The sole male, Bearcat, was the only one with a perfect tale—unbent, long and expressive.  He was also the biggest,  the most talkative and the only one to survive for fifteen years—long enough to move with us to Mexico.


back lofter
tail wafter
gray bearer
drape tearer
ball loser

lap chooser
bunny slayer
shoelace player
sofa climber
sleep mimer
shadow springer
dragonfly bringer
lizard de-tailer
spider nailer
basement searcher
window ledge percher
tree dweller
mouse smeller
dog chaser
bug caser
door crack peeper
sunbeam sleeper
woods walker
squirrel stalker
rail balancer
prey glancer
shadow catcher
love hatcher
body spinner
heart winner


NaPoWriMo prompt: Kennings were riddle-like metaphors use in Norse Sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person.

Here is an earlier poem written to this same prompt:——

Night Heron: Seven Day Nature Photo Challenge, Day 5:


Night heron in the mangroves, La Manzanilla Laguna, Jalisco, Mexico, February, 2016 Judy Dykstra-Brown Photo

I was invited by Cee from to participate in a challenge called Seven Day Nature Photo Challenge. (Check out Cee’s wonderful nature photos by clicking on the link above.

As part of this challenge, I am to post one nature photograph a day for one week and to ask one other person to join the seven-day challenge each day I post.  Today I ask you to check out the  photography in Our Rumbling Ocean  as I’m nominating him to take part in the Seven Day Nature Challenge as well. I hope you will check out his link just above. You won’t be disappointed.


Iguanas in the Sand

Iguanas in the Sand

One thing I’ve discovered after six years of time spent in La Manzanilla is that it is never going to be the same experience two years (and often two days) in a row.  One year the beach was covered by thousands of crystalline mounds of jellyfish that looked like snow globes that had wound up in the wrong climate.  Another year, the beach was covered with coral, yet another with stones.  One year we couldn’t swim because of a red tide and another due to all the sea lice (miniscule jellyfish larvae) in the water.  Last year, three different mantas and a large sea turtle beached themselves,  I found a blue-footed booby washed up on the sand and helped to set out hundreds of tiny sea turtles to make their way out into the ocean.  There was also a month of feeding frenzy as hundreds of pelicans, gulls and other sea birds dived like kamikazes into the ocean around me and this ritual was repeated day after day.

This year, for the first month I was here, there were practically no birds–a signal as sure as the vanishing of fish tacos at Pedro’s that the fish had moved elsewhere due to those same warm waters that had caused Hurricane Patricia.  In this fifth week of my stay, the fish have come back, although not in the numbers of former years.

But as in other years, there have been a number of rewards that compensated for days I couldn’t (wouldn’t) go into the ocean due to the opening of the lagoon and its drainage into the ocean. The resultant dirty water and odor caused me to walk farther up the beach than I have recently and those journeys led to the three different adventures involving iguanas that are pictured below:

(Click on first picture to enlarge photos and then click on each arrow to advance to the next photo.)

Today I was fortunate enough to meet the man who created the iguana sculpture.  His name is Mario Gugnon, a retired hospital maintenance coordinator from Quebec.  He says he found the large driftwood piece several years ago and to him it looked like an iguana with it’s left hind foot caught in a trap.  He added the palm fronds and has been doing so each year since.  In between Mario’s visits, the manager of the campground puts it away in safe keeping.  When I asked if he worked in other media he said no, he was not an artist.  He just likes decorating things.  In illustration, he pointed out their tastefully appointed and comfortable little terraza under the canopy.  But that is the subject for a different posting. (Update: I’ve now made that post as well. You can read it HERE.)

La Manzanilla is the perfect town and beach for someone who dreads repetition. It has been a new adventure every day this trip and I can’t type, edit and post fast enough to keep up with the stories.  Another day, another saga.  Thanks for joining me as I try to take it all in.


Sea lice – stay safe at the beach!

are actually the microscopic larvae of jellyfish and other ocean stingers which contain the same nematocysts (stinging cells) as mommy and daddy. In many areas of the Gulf and Caribbean the primary culprit causing “sea lice” infestations is the larvae of the thimble jellyfish.