Colorado River Bird Survey: July 2009

Posted by ardeidae on July 07, 2009

This trip was part of a monthly survey of the Colorado River corridor between Austin and Bastrop. It takes place the first Saturday of the month and is led by Claude Morris (who also keeps the detailed lists as seen below). If you’re in the Austin area and want to join in, let me know. Birding on the water provides a great perspective and beautiful scenery. Hope to see you on the water!

Report by Claude Morris.

Location: Tarcoola Ranch to Fisherman Park in Bastrop, Texas
Distance: ~5 miles
Observation date: 7/4/09

Perhaps the best sightings of the day are ones we cannot include in the survey results.  There were numerous Crested Caracara in the pastures around Webberville and we found a Mississippi Kite at the Utley bridge. Both sightings were outside the survey area.

Inside today’s survey area our best of the day include Green Kingfisher and American Coot.  We had a species list of 36 species.

We have to thank Joan Bishop, Pam Hohman, Kirsti Harms, Julia Balinsky, Andy Balinsky, and Jason Stuck for their help on this hot July 4th.

On another note, I know y’all expect to see some photographs with these results.  Well if someone can find my camera I would be glad to try to get the pictures.  The camera was dropped in the water.  The last time this happened there were numerous suggestions on the care and handling of such apparatus.  Those suggestions were ignored.  Will I change my habits with my next camera…

Great Blue Heron 3
Snowy Egret 2
Little Blue Heron 2
Cattle Egret 70
Green Heron 2
Black Vulture 7
Turkey Vulture 15
Red-shouldered Hawk 6
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Crested Caracara 3
American Coot 1
Mourning Dove 4
Inca Dove 1
Black-chinned Hummingbird 3
Green Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Downy Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1

White-eyed Vireo 22
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 7
Purple Martin 5
Barn Swallow 7
Carolina Chickadee 15
Tufted x Black-crested Titmouse (hybrid) 18
Carolina Wren 14
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Eastern Bluebird 3
Northern Mockingbird 1
Northern Cardinal 36
Indigo Bunting 1
Painted Bunting 8
Great-tailed Grackle 5
Brown-headed Cowbird 6
House Finch 1
House Sparrow 7

hibiscus
Photo by Jason Stuck


damselfly
Photo by Jason Stuck


vine
Photo by Jason Stuck


leaves
Photo by Jason Stuck


kayakers
Photo by Jason Stuck


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Colorado River Bird Survey: June 2009

Posted by ardeidae on July 07, 2009

This trip was part of a monthly survey of the Colorado River corridor between Austin and Bastrop. It takes place the first Saturday of the month and is led by Claude Morris (who also keeps the detailed lists as seen below). If you’re in the Austin area and want to join in, let me know. Birding on the water provides a great perspective and beautiful scenery. Hope to see you on the water!

Report by Claude Morris.

Location: Utley Bridge (Hwy 969) to Tarcoola Ranch near Austin, Texas
Distance: ~9 miles
Observation date: 6/6/09

Summer is here and the heat is on. On a day that proved itself to be a difficult birding day we managed to find two Prothonotary Warblers, our target bird.

Some of our better sightings for the day include Prothonotary Warbler, Bald Eagle, Northern Parula, Green Kingfisher, and Swainson’s Hawk.

The rest of our list of 45 species was rather common.

What was not common was our group of birders.  I have to thank Julie Bollman, Pam Hohman, Sam Byars, Chris Masey, Jason Stuck, Kevin Anderson, and Eric Carpenter for their help today.

Wood Duck 8
Great Blue Heron 3
Snowy Egret 5
Little Blue Heron 1
Cattle Egret 45
Green Heron 9
Black Vulture 23
Turkey Vulture 25
Bald Eagle 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 4
Swainson’s Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Crested Caracara 3
Killdeer 1
Rock Pigeon 5
Mourning Dove 2
Inca Dove 1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 5
Belted Kingfisher 2
Green Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 6
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 5

Eastern Kingbird 1
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 3
White-eyed Vireo 31
Red-eyed Vireo 5
American Crow 8
Purple Martin 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 6
Cliff Swallow 100
Barn Swallow 4
Carolina Chickadee 42
Tufted x Black-crested Titmouse (hybrid) 17
Carolina Wren 14
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Eastern Bluebird 6
Northern Parula 1
Prothonotary Warbler 2
Summer Tanager 5
Northern Cardinal 52
Painted Bunting 21
Brown-headed Cowbird 5
House Finch 2
House Sparrow 15

riffles
Photo by Claude Morris


rock
Photo by Claude Morris


ruby
Photo by Claude Morris


trees
Photo by Claude Morris


white
Photo by Claude Morris


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Help Save Our Boreal Birds

Posted by ardeidae on May 03, 2009

Stretching from Alaska’s interior across Canada to the Alantic Ocean, the Boreal Forest of North America plays a critical role in the survival of birds and other wildlife around the world. Nearly 50% of the 700 species of birds that regularly occur in the US and Canada rely on the Boreal for their survival. The forest is also home to the continent’s largest population of wolves, lynx, black and grizzly bears, and even the threatened woodland caribou.

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler
Photo by Jeff Nadler

Unfortunately, this habitat is in danger, dwindling away due to destruction and development. Millions of acres of the Boreal are clearcut each year.

A little over a year ago, a petition called “Save our Boreal Birds” was launched by the Boreal Songbird Initiative, along with other environmental groups like Bird Studies Canada, Nature Canada, and the David Suzuki Foundation.

On May 12, this petition will be sent to the Prime Minister of Canada and many provincial leaders, asking that vital bird habitat be kept intact despite the fact that over 30% of the Boreal Forest has already been designated for development. Many migratory birds that travel through the US and other countries breed in the Boreal Forest to the north.

Only 5% of the Boreal Forest in Scandinavia remains. Don’t let this happen in Canada. The birds and wildlife that live there need your help.

Sign the petition to save our Boreal birds!

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Colorado River Bird Survey: May 2009

Posted by ardeidae on May 03, 2009

This trip was part of a monthly survey of the Colorado River corridor between Austin and Bastrop. It takes place the first Saturday of the month and is led by Claude Morris (who also keeps the detailed lists as seen below). If you’re in the Austin area and want to join in, let me know. Birding on the water provides a great perspective and beautiful scenery. Hope to see you on the water!

Report by Claude Morris.

Location: Big Webberville Park to Hwy 969 near Austin, Texas
Distance: ~15 miles
Observation date: 5/2/09

Sometime there are days in the field that defy what has come to be expected as normal.  How can I explain five Green Kingfishers yet no Belted Kingfishers?  How can I explain five Anhinga yet no Osprey?  Such was our day today.

In spite of missing those two usual species we did manage to list 68. Some of the highlights include the Anhinga, Green Kingfisher, Baltimore Oriole, Tri-colored Heron, Bald Eagle, Pileated Woodpecker, and our target bird of the day Prothonotary Warbler.

In our list is an interesting mix of our winter species, summer species and migrants.

We also had an impressive list of birders that braved the 15 windy miles. Our birders today include Sally Breed, Joan Bishop, Julia Balinsky, Andy Balinsky, Chris Masey, Nevin Durish, Jason Stuck and John Barr.  Thanks for the help collecting all these birds.

Wood Duck 8
Blue-winged Teal 17
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Anhinga 5
Great Blue Heron 7
Great Egret 1
Little Blue Heron 5
Tricolored Heron 1
Cattle Egret 75
Green Heron 3
Black Vulture 45
Turkey Vulture 33
Bald Eagle 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 12
Swainson’s Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Crested Caracara 9
Killdeer 1
Spotted Sandpiper 26
White-winged Dove 17
Mourning Dove 7
Common Ground-Dove 2
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 4
Chimney Swift 5
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Black-chinned Hummingbird 2
Ruby-throated/Black-chinned Hummingbird 7
Green Kingfisher 5
Red-bellied Woodpecker 17
Downy Woodpecker 4
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Empidonax sp. 5
Eastern Phoebe 1

Great Crested Flycatcher 9
Western Kingbird 3
Eastern Kingbird 12
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 7
White-eyed Vireo 33
Red-eyed Vireo 5
American Crow 12
Purple Martin 7
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 4
Cliff Swallow 100
Barn Swallow 25
Carolina Chickadee 55
Tufted/Black-crested Titmouse 42
Carolina Wren 22
Eastern Bluebird 5
Northern Mockingbird 3
Cedar Waxwing 65
Nashville Warbler 10
Northern Parula 16
Yellow Warbler 1
Prothonotary Warbler 8
Summer Tanager 6
Northern Cardinal 75
Indigo Bunting 12
Painted Bunting 26
Dickcissel 3
Red-winged Blackbird 32
Common Grackle 12
Great-tailed Grackle 20
Brown-headed Cowbird 7
Orchard Oriole 5
Baltimore Oriole 1
Lesser Goldfinch 8
House Sparrow 15

bigtrunktree
Photo by Claude Morris


damselfly
Photo by Claude Morris


elephantears
Photo by Claude Morris


trees
Photo by Jason Stuck


group
Photo by Jason Stuck


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Colorado River Bird Survey: April 2009

Posted by ardeidae on April 20, 2009

This trip was part of a monthly survey of the Colorado River corridor between Austin and Bastrop. It takes place the first Saturday of the month and is led by Claude Morris (who also keeps the detailed lists as seen below). If you’re in the Austin area and want to join in, let me know. Birding on the water provides a great perspective and beautiful scenery. Hope to see you on the water!

Report by Claude Morris.

Location: Webberville to Big Webberville Park near Austin, Texas
Observation date: 4/4/09

Two species stand out as being good finds today.  A Pileated Woodpecker, just because it is not an everyday bird, and two Great Crested Flycatchers, because they represent a return of our summer birds, were probably our two best species of the day.  We also got an unusually high count of Crested Caracara at 10. I also think we got three Nashville Warblers singing.  It was an incomplete song but I listed them as Nashville.

I also need to mention that we saw no Osprey, White-eyed Vireos are plentiful and we got several Little Blue Herons.

Our species total was a bit low at 42.  Again I think the blustery wind early in the morning kept some of the smaller birds hidden in the woods.

This month I want to again thank Ananda Debnath for being my co-pilot. Once the clouds and chill burned off it turned into a beautiful day.  Thanks Ananda.

Wood Duck 6
Gadwall 20
American Wigeon 12
Blue-winged Teal 4
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Great Blue Heron 3
Great Egret 3
Little Blue Heron 4
Black Vulture 22
Turkey Vulture 18
Cooper’s Hawk 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 8
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Crested Caracara 10
Spotted Sandpiper 11
White-winged Dove 1
Mourning Dove 5
Chimney Swift 12
Ruby-throated/Black-chinned Hummingbird 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 9

Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 3
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
White-eyed Vireo 12
Blue Jay 3
American Crow 8
Cliff Swallow 25
Cave Swallow 10
Barn Swallow 18
Carolina Chickadee 22
Black-crested Titmouse 5
Carolina Wren 18
Northern Mockingbird 1
Cedar Waxwing 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow 10
White-crowned Sparrow 14
Northern Cardinal 32
Red-winged Blackbird 60
Great-tailed Grackle 80

bank


chinaberry


cypress


tree
All photos by Claude Morris


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Colorado River Bird Survey: March 2009

Posted by ardeidae on March 09, 2009

This trip was part of a monthly survey of the Colorado River corridor between Austin and Bastrop. It takes place the first Saturday of the month and is led by Claude Morris (who also keeps the detailed lists as seen below). If you're in the Austin area and want to join in, let me know. Birding on the water provides a great perspective and beautiful scenery. Hope to see you on the water!

Report by Claude Morris.

Location: Austin Colony to Webberville near Austin, Texas
Observation date: 3/7/09

Alright, what happened to all the ducks? Last months survey we listed 14 species of ducks and this month only 2 species. We couldn't even find an old Coot. Could it be that all this warm weather has them thinking about leaving? All this warm weather has the Carolina Chickadees singing. Those guys were chattering and singing all day and all down the river.

Perhaps our best birds of the day were three Bald Eagles (2 Adults and one juvenile) and Northern Rough-winged Swallow. Always making a highlight list is Barred Owl and Inca Doves.

On a side note we found a water snake warming itself, the nicotine plants are blooming and we had about 12 feral pigs swim across the river ahead of us.

The very windy conditions make paddling a bit difficult today.

We listed 44 species while trying to keep out kayaks upright and grab some photos of the emerging spring.

Gadwall 86
Lesser Scaup 20
Pied-billed Grebe 2
Double-crested Cormorant 5
Great Blue Heron 6
Great Egret 5
Black Vulture 32
Turkey Vulture 26
Osprey 7
Bald Eagle 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Accipiter sp. 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 10
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Crested Caracara 3
Spotted Sandpiper 24
Greater Yellowlegs 4
Mourning Dove 9
Inca Dove 4
Barred Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 7
Red-bellied Woodpecker 12
Downy Woodpecker 3
Eastern Phoebe 6
Blue Jay 15
American Crow 7
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
Carolina Chickadee 45
Tufted/Black-crested Titmouse 4
Carolina Wren 15
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Eastern Bluebird 2
Northern Mockingbird 3
American Pipit 2
Cedar Waxwing 48
Yellow-rumped Warbler 6
Song Sparrow 1
Lincoln's Sparrow 26
White-crowned Sparrow 32
Northern Cardinal 56
Red-winged Blackbird 700
Common Grackle 22
Great-tailed Grackle 15
American Goldfinch 22
catkins

dewberry

elephantears

spring
All photos by Claude Morris

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Colorado River Bird Survey: February 2009

Posted by ardeidae on February 08, 2009

This trip was part of a monthly survey of the Colorado River corridor between Austin and Bastrop. It takes place the first Saturday of the month and is led by Claude Morris (who also keeps the detailed lists as seen below). If you're in the Austin area and want to join in, let me know. Birding on the water provides a great perspective and beautiful scenery. Hope to see you on the water!

Report by Claude Morris.

Location: Highway 183 (Montopolis Bridge) to Hornsby Bend in Austin, Texas
Observation date: 2/7/09

Today I would like to give mention to six species we have never had on a survey before. Those six species are Rusty Blackbird, Cinnamon Teal, Hooded Merganser, Herring Gull, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Harris Sparrow. All of these species are good finds for our area.

Always deserving of a highlight list includes Anhinga, Green Kingfisher and Neotropic Cormorant. These three species and the previous six rounds out our total of 81 species tallied today.

This section of river lived up to its billing as being very ducky. We counted over 400 individuals divided among 14 species.

An impressive list of birds compiled by an impressive list of birders. Thanks for your help today.

If anyone has anything resembling a rain dance now would be a good time to get it out.

Wood Duck 5
Gadwall 100
American Wigeon 2
Mallard 8
Blue-winged Teal 8
Cinnamon Teal 2
Northern Shoveler 23
Northern Pintail 6
Green-winged Teal 23
Ring-necked Duck 2
Greater Scaup 1
Lesser Scaup 300
Bufflehead 5
Hooded Merganser 4
Pied-billed Grebe 28
Neotropic Cormorant 3
Double-crested Cormorant 12
Anhinga 2
Great Blue Heron 8
Great Egret 6
Snowy Egret 9
Little Blue Heron 3
Black Vulture 200
Turkey Vulture 15
Osprey 9
Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 5
Red-tailed Hawk 4
Crested Caracara 4
American Coot 22
Killdeer 8
Spotted Sandpiper 23
Greater Yellowlegs 6
Least Sandpiper 3
Wilson's Snipe 1
Ring-billed Gull 120
Herring Gull (American) 1
Rock Pigeon 25
White-winged Dove 10
Mourning Dove 4
Belted Kingfisher 8
Green Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 8
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 5
Eastern Phoebe 8
Ash-throated Flycatcher 1
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2
Cave Swallow 2
Carolina Chickadee 15
Tufted x Black-crested Titmouse (hybrid) 2
Carolina Wren 8
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
American Robin 4
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 7
American Pipit 12
Cedar Waxwing 22
Yellow-rumped Warbler 32
Common Yellowthroat 1
Savannah Sparrow 6
Song Sparrow 7
Lincoln's Sparrow 7
Swamp Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 1
Harris's Sparrow 1
White-crowned Sparrow 8
Northern Cardinal 47
Red-winged Blackbird 26
Rusty Blackbird 1
Brewer's Blackbird 5
Common Grackle 8
Great-tailed Grackle 32
American Goldfinch 12
House Sparrow 8
   
water

trees

cormorants

cormorants
All photos by Claude Morris

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Birding by Kayak

Posted by ardeidae on December 08, 2008

The cold front moving through Austin was at the tail end, but I knew it was going to be a bit chilly in the morning, so I loaded up my kayak Friday night. And cold it was! On the way to the put-in spot, the car said it was 29 degrees. But by the time the three of unloaded our kayaks at the Utley bridge, where the 969 and Colorado River meet, it was clear that it was going to be a beautiful sunny day. As we put our boats in the water around 9am, it was already around 45, with only a slight breeze. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. By the time we wrapped things up around 3pm, it was 65. What a wonderful day!

Through our nine-mile trek, we racked up 44 specied of birds, including two juvenile and two adult Bald Eagles as well as two Pileated Woodpeckers. I was able to add Crested Caracara to my life list.

This trip was part of a monthly survey of the Colorado River corridor between Austin and Bastrop. It takes place the first Saturday of the month and is led by Claude Morris (who also keeps the detailed lists as seen below). If you’re in the Austin area and want to join in, let me know. Birding on the water provides a great perspective and beautiful scenery. Hope to see you on the water!

Wood Duck 9   Pileated Woodpecker 2
Gadwall 47   Eastern Phoebe 18
Mottled Duck 8   Blue Jay 26
Green-winged Teal 12   American Crow 58
Double-crested Cormorant 112   Carolina Chickadee 48
Great Blue Heron 14   Tufted Titmouse 4
Black Vulture 22   Carolina Wren 11
Turkey Vulture 17   Ruby-crowned Kinglet 14
Osprey 2   Eastern Bluebird 8
Bald Eagle 4   American Robin 38
Cooper’s Hawk 1   Northern Mockingbird 3
Red-shouldered Hawk 6   American Pipit 18
Crested Caracara 5   Yellow-rumped Warbler 64
Killdeer 32   Vesper Sparrow 5
Spotted Sandpiper 20   Savannah Sparrow 32
Greater Yellowlegs 5   Lincoln’s Sparrow 4
Least Sandpiper 26   White-crowned Sparrow 7
Mourning Dove 18   Northern Cardinal 38
Belted Kingfisher 9   Red-winged Blackbird 68
Red-bellied Woodpecker 7   Brewer’s Blackbird 24
Downy Woodpecker 2   American Goldfinch 37
Northern Flicker 1   House Sparrow 22

water
Flight of Cormorants


trees
Colorful Trees
Photo by Claude Morris


cormorants
Beautiful Views

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The Second Hatching

Posted by ardeidae on November 28, 2008

Well it’s been a while since I’ve written anything to the Beakspeak blog. It’s not due to a lack of things to write about; Austin has shown to provide plenty of topics and material. After I moved and started unpacking, it hit me how overwhelming things had become. I was in a new town, a world away from the people I’d gotten to know as friends in the 18 years I’d spent in Los Angeles. The sporadic calls of “Let’s hit up Killer Shrimp for lunch” or “Poker at Petey’s on Saturday” were no more. My birding friends weren’t calling for a Saturday trip to Bolsa Chica or Malibu Lagoon.

My new coworkers and the familiar faces of those who’d already transferred from the Santa Monica office were key in helping me get settled in. I’d spent so much time in LA, that I knew most of the town like the back of my hand. And though Austin’s a fraction of the size of LA, it was a complete unknown. Exciting, yet I didn’t quite know where to start. I had a direction…well several directions actually, which was kind of a problem. A good problem. Rather than searching for all that is Austin, I decided to let Austin find me.

The past year has been quite inspirational and energizing. Some of that energy has gone into Beakspeak. And after more development hours than I care to count, a vision that’s been developing for quite some time is finally able to emerge. The egg tooth has broken through the shell.

Without boring you too much with the details, here are some of the main changes:

1) Visual design. When I first designed Beakspeak in 2004, I didn’t have much of a plan past a basic blog. Then I got into photography. I created a Beakspeak photo gallery on Flickr and started including photos in posts. Next, I got into Birdcams and Podcasts. Those sections were easy additions…I didn’t change any of the layout; for each new section I just changed the color scheme. This rebirth brings photos into the main layout. The best color schemes are better found in nature than in a book, and the new theme uses colors found in the African Grey parrot. I’ve named it “Tango” in honor of a wonderful bird I left in the care of a sanctuary when I moved. 

2) Podcasts. The list of podcasts has grown significantly. Listing everything on one page made the page very long and busy. The new page lists the most recent six podcasts for each channel, with a button that takes you to all podcasts for that channel. And you can now listen to the audio podcasts using the inline player. There’s no longer any need to download the file and open it with an external player. Video podcasts will still require downloading.

3) Birdcams. The list of birdcams has grown significantly in the past few years thanks to all the generous people who took the time to email me links to new and updated video feeds. It’s been great to see all the support! If you’ve been to the page during nesting season, you’ve seen how many nests there are with eggs and chicks! I added three columns of icons to help make things a little more friendlier and easier to use. The second and third columns note the location and local time of the nest. The first column is new and shows the most recent status of the video, whether it’s an empty nest, shows activity or nest building, or has a nest with eggs or chicks. If you see a video feed that needs a status change, please feel free to drop me an email.

If you were subscribed to the RSS feed, you’ll need to update your information using the link at the bottom of the page.

That’s it for now. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It’s been a lot of work in the making, and there’s still a lot more to do. There is also a lot more to write about, so stay tuned!


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A Visit To The “Garden Of Eden”

Posted by ardeidae on December 21, 2007

A Visit To The 'Garden Of Eden'
A Visit To The "Garden Of Eden"
Bruce Beehler, the lead scientist for Conservation International, takes Bob Simon and the 60 Minutes crew on a rare visit to a pristine mountain rainforest in Indonesia's Foja Mountains. They come back a great story and some wonderful video, including mating displays from the Black Sickle Bill Bird of Paradise and Golden-fronted Bower Bird, and a Pygmy Possum looking for its fifteen minutes of fame.

Read and watch video for A Visit To The "Garden Of Eden".
More info on Foja.


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