Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Ottawa Rambles

     We had twice planned a trip to visit my daughter, Caroline, and her family in Ottawa and had to cancel, so we were happy when it all came together from Friday 20 January through Monday 23 January.
     It was beautiful winter weather with a temperature hovering around minus two degrees most of the time, with bright sunshine. The forests were magical. 
     As you might imagine we spent most of our time outdoors.

21 January, 2023
Parc Lac Leamy - Gatineau, Québec

     It was a scintillating day and the sun played tricks with the light, creating starbursts through the trees.


     My grandson, Sam, had heard reports of a Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) at this location, but we were unable to find it.
     It mattered little, however. The day was utterly perfect and it was good to be outside enjoying winter. 
     An encounter with White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) left us all with that rarified satisfaction that only nature can produce.


     We had been taking advantage of the deer trails throughout the forest, thereby avoiding trudging through deep snow, but the deer were determined to let us know that it was they who created them.



     There were few other walkers in the woods that day, but no doubt the animals are not unaccustomed to seeing people and showed little reluctance to approach us.


     The sheer beauty of these creatures is overwhelming, and the fact that they are able to make a living in deep snow is remarkable.


     For a brief time we were able share in their world, with respect and appreciation, grateful for the opportunity, recognizing that it is a privilege.
     How delighted do you think Mel (Sam's better half) was?

Picture courtesy of Sam Cudmore

     Caroline and I were blocking the path of the deer and it approached us (without hostility) to let us know that we were the intruders.


     It was determined not to give ground and we stepped aside to let it pass.
     It did not go far, however, and was soon joined by two others, a doe and a fawn of the year.



     To claim that we were spellbound would be the understatement of the year.
     Finally we walked on, leaving the deer to forage for slim pickings, to use their trails at will.


     A small group of Wild Turkeys (Melagris gallopavo) were almost as nonchalant as the deer.


     These hardy birds survive all that winter throws at them.


     What incredible experiences on a perfect winter's day!


     Mel had been suggesting sushi for lunch and we found a restaurant that suited us and enjoyed a great meal together.

Island Park Bridge, Aylmer, Québec
     

     We scanned the river, where several species of duck were far out, searching for Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica).


     There were certainly goldeneyes out in the rapids, but whether they were Barrow's or Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) we were unable to determine at the distance we viewed from.


     Sam took us to an area where he had seen Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) occupying Wood Duck nest boxes (Aix sponsa) on previous occasions.
     Our luck was in! Even from a distance we could see that one of the boxes (at the left in the picture below)  had an owl peering out.


      Here is a closer look.



Akins/Fallowfield/Eagleson Road, Stittsville, Ontario

     This is an area where Sam and Caroline have enjoyed great success in the past searching for Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus). As I have reported earlier, however, they are as scarce this year as proverbial hen's teeth, and we were able to locate only one female, too far away for a picture unfortunately.

Parkside Greenspace, Nepean, Ontario

     A dedicated search for Long-eared Owls (Asio otus), a very difficult bird to find, turned up nothing, but we experienced great delight watching a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) go about its business.


     We arrived back home just before dark, and decided that none of us were up for a big dinner, still feeling satisfied from out sushi lunch (Mel treated all of us by the way, little angel that she is). We had a glass of wine (or maybe even two) and snacked on cheese, salami, crackers etc. A fine repast it was and all that we needed. I think I heard Miriam say that perhaps it was even three glasses of wine.




22 January, 2023

     We went out again to search for Snowy Owls, but had even less success than the day before, not even finding one.


     The habitat was perfect and we put in the time, but it was not to be.
     A Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) was about all that we got for our troubles.
     

     We returned home to enjoy the rest of the day in the warmth of our family, and rejoiced in the enjoyment of our northern land.
     What a great visit we had.

I am linking to DV Artist here and Viewing Nature with Eileen here. Further links are to Wild Bird Wednesday and I'd Rather B Birdin'

David M. Gascoigne,
David M. Gascoigne,

I'm a life long birder. My interests are birds, nature, reading, books, outdoors, travel, food and wine.

72 comments:

  1. ...it's good to hear that your trip happened. Those deer look domesticated.

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    1. i doubt that very much, Tom, any more than a bear that approaches people in Yellowstone could be considered domesticated.

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  2. BeautifulI photos of the deer. You know I think they are very pretty, but they should remain in the forest and not in my garden. I guess you drank at least a half a bottle, David :)
    Hugs and kisses, Marit

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  3. Amazing photos! Those deer were nice and calm during your encounter. Sounds like you had the perfect outing.

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  4. Querido David me alegra ver que disfrutasteis de hermosos días con la familia, es lo más importante. Los ciervos son preciosos y las fotos espectaculares, luminosas y geniales. Enhorabuena. Un abrazo enorme para ti y para Míriam.

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  5. It sounds and looks perfect, David, time in nature with people you love. The deer encounter was like a meeting with long lost family!

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  6. The deer encounters were amazing!! Wow!! :)

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  7. What a magical experience with the deer. Glad you got to spend some quality time with your family - that is what great memories are made of :)

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  8. What an encounter you had with the deer. They must have no experience with hunters to be so casual about your presence. Overall a nice visit with family.

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    1. It is always encouraging when this kind of bond can be established between humans and our fellow creatures.

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  9. Me alegra ver que estaban todos felices. El paseo me parece maravilloso y pudiste disfrutar con los ciervos. Abrazos para ti y tu familia.

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  10. Those deer are beauties!

    It's been several years since ibwas last in the park area by Lac Leamy.

    Glad you enjoyed your visit.

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  11. Hari OM
    Well, colour me a tad jelly green at that deer encounter!!! What a wonderful visit you had - and now we got to share just a little of it. YAM xx

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  12. I'm happy you found an owl. And a deer who "spoke' with youl

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  13. So happy that you had the chance to share a wonderful time with your daughter and her family....a complete trip!....nature, wildlife, food, wine and family!.......Abrazotes, Marcela

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  14. What an absolutely magical few days. Thank you and Miriam so much for sharing some of it.

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  15. Incredible to see the deer so close, I'm lucky if I manage to get a few seconds of distant eye-contact before they're gone.

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  16. Hello David :=) There is just nothing like the joy of spending time with your loved ones on an outing together, I think your blog is the only one where I see wild animals approaching without fear of humans. Your photos are all breathtaking. I'm glad you saw the owl, woodpecker,and turkeys, as well as those precious deer.

    I read that the Wood Duck breed in south eastern Canada, and along the pacific coast. Yes I would love to see the chicks following their mother.What a treat that would be,

    Have a wonderful day, many hugs and best wishes.

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  17. David, I meant to write ducklings of course. :=)

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  18. Hi David - this sounds an ideal get together with family ... so pleased for you. Gorgeous weather allowing excellent photos, then the recovering relaxing time in the evening with just the right sort of food - snacks and wine. Great family times - thanks for sharing - cheers Hilary

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  19. David, what a great adventure. Thank you for taking photos so that I and others can enjoy it. This is amazing. What beautiful animals they really are. Now my own photo pales in comparison. Here they are really so shy. They never, ever come close. I really enjoyed looking at your photos. Especially that one of Mel, of course. Great photo. Have a nice Thursday! And I am so glad for you, that you could be with family.

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  20. Tak blisko spotkać dzikie zwierzęta, które nie uciekają na widok człowieka to nie spotykane. Pięknie spędzony czas w kontakcie z przyrodą.

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  21. Great to be with family and enjoy a great time outside !
    The photos are amazing !
    Have a cozy day !
    Anna

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  22. Me alegro de que hayas podido hacer por fin ese viaje y puedas realizar las bellas fotografías de tu reportaje. Es de agradecer, ese gran obsequio, para los que frecuentamos tu blog.

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  23. Hello,
    What a wonderful visit with your family. The outing and deer encounter sounds like a fun time. Love the owl looking out of the box. Beautiful photos. Take care, have a great day!

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  24. Such enchanting outings, David! The encounter with the deer is beautiful beyond words - that would have "fed" me for the rest of the day. And that Eastern Screech Owl! But the best was probably being with your daughter and her family, sharing all of this with them, inculding the bottles of wine and food (that salami is presented in a very artful way, it looks like a rose). It is wonderful that you all share the same appreciation for nature.

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    1. That's Mel's work of art, Carola. She does it with a wine glass. She explained it to me, but of course I forget!

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  25. Spellbound indeed! What a gift to be allowed into the sacred and pristine world of these deer in winter -- and so close. That would take my breath away. Your other sightings were wonderful too, especially that owl. But those deer! And to enjoy it all together -- that's a day to remember.

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    1. You are right, Jeanie. Moments like this you don't forget. There is also an enormous sense of satisfaction knowing that I raised my daughter to be a naturalist and she has passed that passion on to her son. Mel is a veterinary technician so she too has an abiding love and respect for animals. There was an old radio show on the CBC called "The Happy Gang." On that day we were the happy gang.

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  26. How magical to be so close to those dear in that beautiful, snowy landscape. Thanks for sharing the fabulous photos, hugs, Valerie xxx

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  27. An extraordinary trip as well as fauna encountered.

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  28. Are they hungry? Why the deer looking for? Wonderful scenes. I enjoyed this walk here in your captures and description.

    Have a wonderful week.

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    1. They are looking for any food they can find - bark, twigs, even conifer leaves....winter is tough and only the fittest survive.

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  29. Hello David, Oh what amazing encounter with the deer on your walk with your daughter and family. So much snow as well. You wonder how dous the wildlife stil find food. So nice also to see the owl in the box. Clever bird to use it in these cold conditions.
    Warm regards,
    Roos

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  30. The Roe Deer - Capreolus capreolus, that visit us in our garden, almost daily, treat us in a similar fashion. They stare at us as if to say "what do you think you are doing here". You may possibly recall that a couple of years ago one of them even used our garden as a maternity/nursery area when her new born fawn 'kid' arrived in the garden, which she then hide beneath our hedge for several days.

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  31. What a delight to see a pileated woodpecker. I seem to remember that they are endangered. When I lived on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama, we saw one raise her babies in a tree just three houses from where I was living.

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  32. Owls are so wonderful and difficult to see! All your searching looks enjoyable as an activity for its own sake.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. A ramble through winter woods is about as good as it gets for me, Mae. Fortunately my whole family shares the same feeling.

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  33. Buenos días, querido amigo David, mejor imposible, una buena reunión familiar siempre se agradece y mucho, y además, rodeado de naturaleza en el mejor de tu ambiente con esos bellos ciervos que desprenden gran ternura. Los avistamientos también fueron geniales. Tu nieto también disfrutaría de lo lindo con su abuelo naturalista.
    Un gran abrazo, amigo y compadre y te deseo un feliz fin de semana.

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  34. Photos of the deer were mesmerizing. Here the deer would not be so fortunate. Wild turkeys are hunted for sport, too. You are SO lucky to live where you do, David.

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  35. Que cerquita estuvisteis de los ciervos David y que tranquilos estaban. Me encanta el carpintero. Estupenda jornada familiar, la mejor compañía. Mucha nieve, por aquí solo en la sierra, si tenemos mucho frío.
    Que paséis buen fin de semana.
    Un abrazo.

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  36. Absolutely a wonderful trip. Nothing like seeing our kids. The photos are just gorgeous. Thank you for joining FFO but I do need you to link back to me. Thanks David.

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    1. Email me instructions how to do that and I will take care of it.

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  37. As others have commented, David, you and Miriam and family had a wonderful get together (at last). Just being outdoors in the snow always makes me happy and we did so earlier this week. However, we did not have any magical encounters on our trek. Thanks for sharing yours.

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  38. I'm sure that encounter with the White-tailed Deer will remain as a treasured memory for the rest of your days, David, especially as it was in the company of family. It's good to know that Sam is following in his grandfather's footsteps although, on that day, I suspect that you were following in his (and, of course, those of the deer)!

    Best wishes to you and Miriam (please compliment her on that opening shot in particular) - - - Richard

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    1. It was an incredible encounter, Richard, and as you say one that will never fade. Everyone was moved by it.

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  39. The sun was indeed there to appreciate with absolute happiness the presence of these deer. It is so much joy and well being when our presence does not threaten or disturb the wildlife. I am jubilant.
    The owl was not at the appointment but the meetings are beautiful.
    These days with my family were wonderful David.
    Gros bisous

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  40. Well, clearly your daughter and her family have learned to love nature from you and Miriam. What a wonderful way to spend time together loving and enjoying the fruits of nature. We had the white tail deer in the State Park near our home on the lake and my daughter and I would go every winter to see the deer as they would be out in the open foraging for food on the hillside or in the prairie, but they would move away as we approached. Unfortunately the State Park allowed Bow and Arrow deer hunting causing the deer to have no trust in man. Your pictures are wonderful and I snuck a few of them to show to my daughter as she is the deer lover in our family. Wild Turkey can be feisty and I always loved it when the male would open up his opulent Tail feathers in an attempt to look big and scary ... we never approached them because we didn't need to, we just enjoyed their presence. Of course you know I would love your Screech Owl squinting at the bright snow reflected sun. And I am green with envy that you saw a Piliated Woodpecker. He has been on my bucket list of birds to see for years. I know we had them in our area by the lake, but I never had the privilege of seeing one ... and yes, I am still looking. I have seen Long Eared Owls in the wild as I have a friend who is a Forest Ranger and knew of a location where they would hunt. We went at dusk when they would come to life and we watched as they flew over the small opening in the woods where they looked for anything that moved :) There really isn't anything more beautiful that what nature has to share with us ... You are blessed with a loving family and with the kindness and wonder that it takes to be at one with nature ... what a privilege :)

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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    1. You have the capacity to cause a lump in my throat, Andrea.

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  41. Outstanding David! I am going to have to come back again to go through your photos. The deer on the path must have been absolutely amazint. Thank you for sharing your vacation.

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  42. Wow! You had some wonderful
    Winter walks. That deer encounter was amazing. And you even snapped some great photos. It must have been nice to also see your daughter and her family! I enjoyed this post. And imagine finding a screech owl
    In a wood duck box. I guess whatever works! Hugs Erika

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  43. Hi David,
    What else do you wish more than a day in such a beautiful nature, combined with a remarkable encounter with the deer in the company of your family? Hereby I almost forgot to mention the great meal you had. A few glasses of wine obviously made the day complete.
    Greetings, Kees

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  44. Another great post, beautiful nature photos. The birds always a beautiful sight. The first sunburst image is lovely. We seem to be missing most of the snow this year. The snowy scenes do look pretty! I am glad you had a great visit with you family. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a great weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

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  45. What an experience with the white-tailed deer ❤️ dear David! I would have been thrilled too!!! Fascinating that the deer and turkeys showed no fear of your groupof humans. And then there was the owl sighting! It's wonderful that you were able to enjoy such beautiful, wintry, comfortable, happy days with your family!
    Hugs from snowy Austria,
    Traude
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2023/01/manchmal-kommt-es-anders.html

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  46. Miło oglądać śnieżne pejzaże w słońcu. Gratuluje obserwacji sowy. A jeleń czuł się przy Was bezpiecznie. piękny spacer i udane spotkania z przyrodą. Gołąb niespotykany, ma ciekawe ubarwienie.

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  47. David, this looks like my sort of walk in such weather. How great that you managed to finally meet up, and the added bonus of some great wildlife while there. Love the owl in the box.

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  48. That's a beautiful encounter with the deer. I especially like the first shot and the owl.

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  49. It really is an amazing experience to have wildlife come so close to you. It's something you never forget! Love that owl peeking out. Enjoy your weekend!

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  50. What an amazing gift of their presence the deer gave your group (considering you were trespassing on their territory). The owl. The charcuterie board (love that rose and do I see crunchmaster crackers?) and the wine (something I can only drink a little bit of anymore due to a physical issue) would have made the perfect ending to the day. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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  51. Without a doubt, a memorable weekend. I am very happy that you were able to enjoy as a family the exuberance of the nature of Quebec in winter and some of its unique inhabitants, such as the white-tailed deer or the pileated woodpecker, how I would have liked to have had that sighting... A big hug Julio

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  52. So pleased that you were able to spend time with your family.
    It certainly looks and sounds that you had a wonderful time together.
    The photographs from your outings are wonderful to see, especially the deer.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

    All the best Jan

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  53. What a lovely time you had with your family, David. The deer photos were glorious! Enjoy your week!

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  54. Hi David, Wow, what a walk! Lots of neat pictures and encounters. What a great way to wrap up the day with the charcuterie board and wine. Completely different subject … Will be reflecting for days on your comment for Yvonne on her Perfection, More or Less, blog, re “Nanoseconds in the sea of time.” Deep, deep, deep! True too!

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  55. Too bad the owls were unseen! But, a great time and outdoor adventures. Love the close encounter of the deer.

    It was great having you link in this week at IRBB! Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

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  56. Hi David.

    That was enjoying your walks.
    Wonderful in the snow.
    Beautiful wild turkeys.
    But a party was really the deer in the snow, and so close to Mel and Sam and to you.
    Really great to be so close to nature.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  57. You were lucky to have a sunny day. They've been few and far between in SE Ontario!

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  58. Haha I couldn't help smirking when I saw that deer photo with its tongue sticking out. Here European Red and Roe deer are very elusive, you would never come across them in a path like that, they would rather disappear than let themselves be seen.
    The screech owl looks like our scops owl haha, they're so nice to see.
    Lovely trip, thanks for sharing it.

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  59. hello David
    I can only confirm your statements, a great feeling to be so close to the wild animals, great family reunion
    Greetings Frank

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We acknowledge that the land on which we are situated are the lands traditionally used by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Neutral People. We also acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge, laws, and philosophies of the Indigenous Peoples with whom we share this land today. We are all treaty people with a responsibility to honour all our relations.

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