Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Magical Feather

© 2013 Babsje. (Http://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Feather – babsjeheron

Red is grey and yellow white,
but we decide which is right,
and which is an illusion.

Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed

The feather shown in the top pane here is the same feather as that shown at bottom. Both photos were taken on the same day, with the same camera and lens, within minutes of each other. Only the background colors have been changed.

Some fascinating examples of ‘color illusions’ such as this can be found at Brain Den. Enjoy!

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Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for the recent WPC Challenge: Magic. Is an optical illusion magic? Yes, in fact, many magic tricks employ optical illusions, as a quick internet search will reveal.

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My Great Blue Heron photography has been featured in 3 one-woman shows at the Summer Street Gallery of The Natick Center for the Arts. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, TCAN, kayaking

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Basking

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Basking – babsjeheron

all that remains is water and sky,
the dry sound of wind in the reeds,
and the sight of an unflappable heron on the shore.

“Simple Arithmetic” excerpt
From “Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems” by Billy Collins

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Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the recent WPC Challenge: Tiny. “Tiny” is a relative concept when it comes to some birds, especially big birds (yes, even including everyone’s favorite Big Bird). The fledgling Great Blue Heron shown here was less than one week out of the nest when that photo was taken, a very young baby learning his way in the world.

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My Great Blue Heron photography has been featured in 3 one-woman shows at the Summer Street Gallery of The Natick Center for the Arts. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, TCAN, kayaking

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in the Fish Ladder (Not Art Nbr 8)

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Has Gone Fishing – babsjeheron

The Great Blue Heron tenuously worked her way up the fish ladder, scanning the rushing waters for lunch. The river was in drought conditions that subdued the usually-robust waterfall to a trickle, and her customary fishing hole at the base of the falls proved fruitless.

Fortunately for the Great Blue Heron, the ‘no fishing in fish ladder’ policy doesn’t apply to Herons.

And fortunately, too, for this photographer who watched the exciting scene unfold.

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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Chaos. Ben has asked for our takes on chaos this week. From a visual perspective, the water tumbling down the fish ladder seethed fiercely. On a more important level, many people experience their worlds as especially chaotic in recent days. Going fishing – whether with a rod and reel and lures or just with a camera – is a small antidote that can bring a few moment of peace.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, TCAN

Great Blue Heron Chase Scene (Not Art Nbr 7)

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Adult and Fledgling Chase Scene – babsjeheron

Heart pounding in my throat, partly hidden under overhanging branches along the channel, I watched the chase unfold. Will the Great Blue Heron Fledgling escape the territorial adult?

I was returning to shore after a relaxing morning, hoping to get back to the dock before the rains started. The grey skies threatened to open any minute. Passing into the channel, I noticed the adult Great Blue Heron foraging on the south side and so I stopped under the oaks to watch. This particular Heron was a capable fisher and it occurred that maybe I could capture him as he captured a big fish. I looked at the threatening sky and stuffed my camera into a handy ZipLok bag, and stashed everything else below decks, and then settled in to watch him work for his supper.

After a few minutes, a Great Blue fledgling landed on the same shore as the adult, about 20 yards east. My heart rate picked up as the fledgling quickly made a beeline for the adult, taking long strides along the water’s edge, closing the gap between them. Usually a fledgling will not try to approach a ‘strange’ adult Heron, and so that behavior was a clue that the adult was a parent of the fledgling. The question was, which parent – father or mother?

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Adult Territorial Display on Shore – babsjeheron

It didn’t take long to find out, as the adult Heron suddenly erupted from the shore, and burst over the small rock-island. He landed less than five feet from the fledgling, in an unmistakable territorial display posture that told me the adult Heron was the father of the fledgling, not the mother. Female Great Blue Herons will allow the fledglings to join in feeding activities even after the youngsters have left the nest. The father birds, however, will defend their territory and chase away their own offspring.

And so the chase was on.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Adult Chasing Fledgling – babsjeheron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Adult Territorial Display on Branch – babsjeheron

Having vanquished the fledgling, the adult Heron landed on a fallen tree jutting over the water, his back feathers still in an erect territorial configuration.

He pivoted on the branch and settled in, staring up into the trees.

Where was the fledgling? I scanned and scanned the canopy with binoculars but couldn’t find the fledgling.

I tried to follow the line of sight from the adult Heron’s angle of view and at last found him about 50 feet up in the trees.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Adult on Shore and Fledgling in Tree – babsjeheron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fledgling in Tree – babsjeheron

And so we three had a standoff – fledgling in the trees, adult on a branch at the shore, and me across the channel, trying to stay hidden below the oak branches.

People who know me know that my motto is “Walk softly and carry a long lens.™” Because most of the photos on this blog were taken on the water, it is especially important to give the wildlife an extra-wide margin of personal space so as to not endanger them in any way by venturing too close.

As much as I take special precautions to remain hidden from their view, including use of telephoto lenses and natural-cover hides, every once in a while the wildlife sees me. Such was the case yesterday – busted by both birds – the fledgling gazing down from his perch 50 feet up, and the adult glowering at me from across the channel.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Adult and Fledgling Looking at Photographer – babsjeheron

The question was, which of the three of us would give in first. Would the adult give up his rapt focus on the fledgling? Would the fledgling make a run for it? Would I tire of getting drenched watching them from under the oaks along the shoreline?

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Gets Away from Adult – babsjeheron

It was music to my eyes to see the fledgling make a run for it. The adult Heron swiftly took chase, but the fledgling had enough lead time to soar around the corner at the end of the channel before the adult got close.

I paddled off after them, well off their intense pace. When I rounded the curve at the end of the channel and panned the sky with binoculars, there was no sign of either Heron.

Lazily, I headed into the first cove I came to. There was the fledgling on the southern cove. His body language was anxious, and he was repeatedly glancing back to the mouth of the cove. It seemed like he was “looking over his shoulder” to make sure the territorial adult wasn’t still chasing him. He eventually settled down and began plying the shore for dinner. I felt as though he had had enough excitement for one day, and didn’t need my presence to add to his nervousness, and so I quietly backed out of the cove and headed south.

Within less than 3 minutes of leaving the fledgling in the cove, a shadow passed very close and very low over me. It was the fledgling.

I love happy endings.

Great Blue Heron Fledgling 1, Adult Great Blue 0

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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Edge. Ben has asked for something that kept our heart beating fast. Yesterday’s encounter on the lake kept me on the edge of my kayak’s seat and my heart in my throat and beating fast: would the fledgling escape the territorial adult?

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Great Blue Herons 1, Bald Eagle 0 (Not Art Nbr 6)

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron watching a Bald Eagle in the rain September 2016 – babsjeheron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bald Eagle in the rain at water level – babsjeheron

Wherein the Bald Eagle was looking for lunch in all the wrong places.

Readers may remember the dismay felt when a fierce storm toppled the Great Blue Herons’ nesting tree on the island in August, 2015. Back then, I wrote of that nest

those chicks are destined to be the last brood to fledge from our island.

Fast forward one year. I had no idea where – or even IF – the Herons would breed again in that area.

[Editor’s Note: All of these photos were taken in the rain, with the camera encased in a gallon-size ZipLok bag. Ordinarily, I feel that if I need to use yellow circles to point out features in a photo, I’m on a slippery slope and probably shouldn’t publish them, but this was an extraordinary experience, a once-in-a-lifetime and so I’ve made an exception.]

Suspense was palpable as I ventured south in search of Great Blue Heron fledglings. Over a short distance I counted them. One, two, three… then four, then five. Could there really be five fledglings there? One adult, then two adults – both on alert, staring in the same direction from opposite shores. And then Fledglings six, seven, eight on various patches of shoreline. I hardly knew which way to aim and focus the camera.

I panned down the western shore, and the Eagle perched on a stump at the water’s edge suddenly filled the viewfinder. So that’s what the adult Herons were watching so intensely.

Scanning the shoreline father south from the Eagle, the whole picture came into view. The Eagle was closely watching two Great Blue Heron fledglings.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bald Eagle on Shore Watching Great Blue Heron Fledglings – babsjeheron

Great Blue Herons are not noted for being playful birds, yet fledgling Herons, like youngsters of many species, often engage in rough and tumble play. The two fledglings on the shore were engaging in mock-territorial squabbles, one challenging the other, back and forth until they lost interest, all the while unaware of the danger posed by the Eagle nearby.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fledglings squabble in the rain – babsjeheron

The Bald Eagle quickly took flight up into the tree canopy, unseen by the fledglings, but the adult Heron nearest stood up higher, alert on the shore. I scanned the trees, myself, but no sign of the Eagle.

The fledglings, meanwhile, had separated and settled onto separate areas of the shore. I worked my camera, trying to capture as many birds as possible in the rain.

Suddenly chaos erupted from the trees, and the Eagle swooped out and down, but just as quickly, some of the Herons took flight, too.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bald Eagle swoops out of tree towards Heron fledglings – babsjeheron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fledgling heads East and Bald Eagle soars West – babsjeheron

By this point, the Heron fledglings had scattered, and the Bald Eagle left the area, without its intended lunch. In the top photo here, you can see the Eagle soaring up and over the trees at the end of the lake.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bald Eagles Dispersing – babsjeheron

But wait, what’s that you see in the bottom frame above? It was taken 5 seconds after the frame above it, along the same patch of shore.

Yes, there were two Bald Eagles that day.

Amazing.
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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Rare. This was an exceptionally rare experience to witness. In 2015, I had no sightings of Bald Eagles. Additionally, the bumper crop of Great Blue Heron Fledglings was the largest I’ve observed. On a scale of 1 to 10, that day on the lake was a 15 for me… But not for the Bald Eagle, who left without having lunch. For that, the Great Blue Herons and I are grateful.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Kayaking, TCAN

Beautiful Great Blue Heron + KonMari your Blogging Life

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron walking along the shore – babsjeheron.

It’s very easy to KonMari your online life. If you find a blog or site that Sparks Joy, subscribe and follow. If you find a blog or site that doesn’t? Well you know…

Off the top of my head, I can think of a dozen beautiful blogs I’ve been following that have gone dark the past year, for whatever reasons. One fabulous wildlife photographer said good-bye to his followers this past spring because his page views had dropped off. He wasn’t feeling the love, wasn’t getting the validation that he needed from the reading audience out there. When an outstanding, Freshly Pressed blogger says good-bye, it’s not only his personal sense of loss, it’s a loss to us all.

The media right now is full of so much controversy, strife, anguish, and turmoil, some of which is necessary and important, some of which not so much.

If you come across a blog that brings you beauty and joy, let the blogger know and subscribe – it’s usually one simple click and done. Or if you’re already a subscriber, share the joy and pass along the post to others.

We are what we eat.
Why not consume joy?
Babsje 2016

Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Rare. Above are ways to show appreciation to bloggers who bring beauty and joy to your screen – follow, share, comment, etc. There are other (fortunately) rare ways that are much less welcome. I’m talking about the professional media company that illegally copied a photo from my blog this summer, cropped out the copyright statement and published it in their newspaper. Fortunately, they weren’t able to remove the invisible, embedded watermark. I’m also talking about the fellow blogger who placed one of my photos on his blog without permission, but DigiMarc found it. I’m talking about the bloggers who liked a photo so much they posted derivative versions on their sites. Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Why not find your own voice – you don’t need to appropriate mine. If you copy someone’s work, that will not bring joy, in fact, it will bring the opposite. And when something brings not-joy, unfollowing happens quickly. Fortunately all of these are fairly rare happenings.
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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Beautiful Great Blue Heron on Bough

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron on Bough – babsjeheron

No two days at the lake are the same. In literally thousands of hours in the field, I have observed a Great Blue Heron on this pine bough only once before, nearly ten years ago. Over the years, I’d always scan that spot with binoculars in hopes of again seeing a heron there, but always in vain…

Until this week’s misty Saturday morning.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron on Bough Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Rare. The photo here captures only the second time I’ve ever seen a Heron perched on that bough. The first time, I wasn’t able to squeeze off a photo before the Heron took flight. So this photo is a first among my tens of thousands of Great Blue Heron photos. I hope it won’t be another ten years for the next sighting.
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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Great Blue Heron Pose Only a Mother Could Love: Not Art Nbr 5

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Territorial Display – babsjeheron

This Great Blue Heron is a woman of many moods. It is the same individual Great Blue Heron you see here, and here, and here, and even here. (And in yet more posts, but you get the idea.)

Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Fun. The photo here may show the Heron with what looks like a funny expression, but she was being quite serious at the time. A fisherman was plying the water in her territory that day, and she used this territorial display in an effort to chase him off. Other birds are adept at reading Heron body language, but fishermen? Not so much. That day, the fisherman ignored her threatening pose, which ultimately was lucky for the Heron: at the end of the day, she was rewarded when he tossed a 2-foot long Pike her way.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Glamorous Great Blue Heron

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Garbo Pose – bw – babsjeheron

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Takes 2, 3, 4, and 5 – babsjeheron

Experimenting with the final look and feel of a photograph using different color tones is a fun method of artistic license. The photos here show the same scene rendered 5 different ways. The top version is an infrared-style B&W. Next, clockwise from top left are Sepia, B&W, Cyanotype, and then Full Color. Which do you like best? How much artistic license is too much?

Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Fun.

And thanks also to Paula for hosting her Black & White Sunday: Favorite. This Great Blue Heron posed between the two subtly different columns has always been a favorite.
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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Great Blue Heron Morning – Charles River Blues

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron – Charles River Blues Nbr 2 – In the Cyanotype Style – babsjeheron

The bridge in this photo was constructed in the mid 19th century, around the same time that the cyanotype process came into popularity. There is a certain timelessness to this location, and I imagined how it would have been rendered by a 19th century photographer, perhaps capturing an ancestor of one of the Great Blue Herons that frequent the area today.

Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge Morning. Sunday morning breakfast at the Charles River with the Great Blue Heron: who has the better breakfast? The Heron with the salmon she caught moments after this photo, or me with a store-bought bagel and cream cheese with smoked salmon? (Hint: Only one of us remembered to bring the morning coffee.)
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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

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