Profiles of Nature 50

Back again – if nothing else, we always have the Profiles! Now isn’t that a warm and fuzzy for you?

green heron Butorides virescens Silas with unidentified protein
This week we make sure we greet Silas by name, as we catch him cheating on his widely-espoused churro diet – we debated about either hitting him up for hush money or seeing how much the tabloids would pay for this shot, and then asked, “Why not both?” Sucka. Silas is one of those spokespeople who is fame-fluid, meaning no one is quite sure if he’s a celebrity or not, having landed a couple of one-off characters on multiple television series before hawking his ‘wonder diet’ throughout late night infomercials, counting on the idea that we’ve seen him before, can’t recall where, to somehow translate into ‘worthy of giving nutritional advice.’ Unfortunately, this seems to work on enough people that we keep seeing it. But we’re not here for social commentary, we’re here for unfounded gossip. Silas reportedly gained his few acting parts through mob connections, which is about as vague as it can get and still imply something illicit. We mean, aside from the weaselly term, “reportedly,” someone could easily be a member of the mob and still accomplish a lot legitimately, right? Has anyone seen The Sorpranos? We ask because we haven’t – everyone seems to assume we wasted money on HBO, don’t know why. And isn’t it goofy how we associate broad, family-controlled aspects of criminal enterprises with the first thing any infant utters? “Mob.” Say it a few times – it’s a stupid-sounding word. Silas also, according to sources, votes Republican, but even we won’t repeat something that distasteful, mostly because no one would believe it anyway. Even though he protests fiercely whenever someone calls him, “green.” Lots of Tea-Party mobsters insist on chromatic accuracy – it doesn’t mean anything. And it’s certainly not true that chartreuse eye-shadow on the nose bridge is a secret sign of Djibouti descent. Not that there’s anything wrong with this – some of our best-… well, no, we don’t know any Djiboutis at all. We don’t think – are they fond of minnows? Regardless, Silas enthuses that his favorite blessing when someone sneezes is, “Damn, you got that on my leg!

Half a hundred! Seems like an accomplishment until you say it that way, doesn’t it? But we’re still going, over and over, relentlessly…

*     *     *

So a little investigation was sparked by the Profiles choice today, when I noticed that Silas up there is only showing two toes on the left leg. Most bird species have a specific pattern to their toe placement, and with the waders it’s three-and-one: three toes forward, one toe back, what we consider ‘typical,’ though some of the raptors adopt a two-and-two stance, essentially their ‘thumb’ and ‘pinky’ going backwards. So there was a faint suspicion that my model here was missing a toe, and I knew this was taken from a sequence, so I dug into the stock.

green heron Butorides virescens stalking down snag
This is among the first in the series, and it doesn’t help yet, since it shows the placement we expect, but we can’t count the front toes.

green heron Butorides virescens having stepped forward
Then it stepped forward (I can’t tell you if this is male or female, nor the level of fame.) You can see the right foot hasn’t actually moved, so perhaps this is just an aspect of twisting its body sideways?

green heron Butorides virescens still not displaying adequately
The Profiles shot fell just before this one, and now we can see a hint of a fourth toe peeking out, but still not enough to know that it’s all there. The suspense is horrific, isn’t it?

green heron Butorides virescens displaying all toes
Ah, good – I feel better now. It seems the odd position was just because of that crossover step, and my model here can indeed count up to eight. But yes, I really was inclined to check on this out of curiosity, though it was also an excuse to get a handful more photos up since I’m not shooting anything. Sneaky, I know.

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