Monday, December 23, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
I was riding home from the grocery the other day, doing my usual 60 in a 55-mile zone. Suddenly, from out of the hood crawled a green anole.
He hung out behind the wipers, tail flapping in the breeze.
We reached a speed limit change so I cranked it up to 65 for the 60-mile speed limit. Arnold (as I named him) didn't seem distressed and I thought of pulling over to let him off, but I know that some of the anoles hang out in my car engine. I figured it might be crueler to drop him off in parts unknown, rather than return him home to his friends. I have a healthy population of green anoles, the only anole native to Florida.
Arnold seemed to get bolder as we rode along. He moved up slightly and firmly planted his feet on a low part of the windshield, but up above the wipers. Now he was surfing. Head turned, smile on his face, he seemed to be enjoying the breeze. I kept an eye on him, for if at any time he looked like he was losing a grip in any way, I would have rescued him, but he held tight.
He got a slight reprieve as we approached the only traffic signal on the 13-mile journey home. He seemed to let up the grip for a moment and I thought he might jump off, but once again he hunkered down as we smoothly transitioned from the stop to 70mph. He actually appeared gleeful with the freedom of the wind in his scales. I gave him the countdown....8 more miles, 7 more miles.....two more blocks...we're nearly there Arnold HANG ONNNNNN!!!!
You may think this borders on reptile cruelty, but if I tried to remove him, my fear was that he would run for cover under the hood and maybe get fried on a hot engine part.
Even with a full stop at the mailbox he didn't look to jump off the car. We drove the next two blocks home and when I pulled into the carport and shut down the engine, he looked around as if to say, "oh, finally we are home".
It wasn't long until he wondered over the top of the car and leaped onto the post that holds up the carport. "Home to my favorite spot, at last!"
I think perhaps I need to do a public service video of the car grill covered in bug wings to show the potential dangers. Something along the lines of "Car surfing can have deadly results".
Photo depicts another of the native anoles that rode home on the sideview mirror from the mailbox recently; they are an adventurous bunch. Arnold was nowhere to be found when I returned with the camera...probably went to take a nap.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
I walked over to look at the "bog" section which during dry season isn't boggy at all. As I glanced up, I saw a Blue, B-52 bomber headed straight for me.
$*(#&)% WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM??? I exclaimed. As I turned, not 3 feet in front of me was a new fledgling, standing quite still. Ahhh, dad was on the ball. And I guess mom was too. Already building for brood three when brood two is JUST out of the nest.
FLEDGE DAY! So often missed as the babies quickly leave for parts unknown.
Friday, May 3, 2013
There was a bluebird convention at the nest box the other day. Birdies had hatched as I saw mom and dad dutifully bringing live insects to their babies. I was walking by and two birds took flight. Since I assumed that it was mom and pop, I neared the box to take a quick peek at how many babies there were while the adults were away. All of a sudden, MOM came flying out the hole.I was a bit perplexed. I was sure that I had seen two birds take flight just moments before.
The next day brought me my clue. There were 3 birds on the top of the box and a beak sticking out of the box. That's four birds and the newly hatched eggs are too little to be counted as "birds". I got the field glasses and noticed them fly away, yet not far. I saw pop with an insect quickly return and then I noticed the weak flight of a second one stumble up top the box. Through the field glasses I got a good look at a somewhat pitiful sight. There was a baby from the first 2013 brood begging dad for a bite. Pop stuck his beak inside the box to feed the newborns and quickly shooed away big sister.
I felt a little sorry for her, but you have to make it on your own in life, as dad was clearly trying to point out.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Friday, March 29, 2013
Friday, February 22, 2013
Friday, February 8, 2013
It's always an interesting time when I take the trash out to the curb (like we have a curb HA!). Today I discovered three new-to-me species of plants in the area close to the culvert where I leave the trashbin for pickup. One species, a lobelia is endemic to FL and one species, a clover, is introduced. The other native is a carnivorous bladderwort.
As I perused the dry culvert, I noticed that something had been chowing down. There were remnants of snail shells smashed and then there was the evidence shown in the photo. Mud bugs! I wonder who came to the "sidewalk" cafe to eat. Mind you, the mudbugs (crayfish) can regenerate claws, but I think that whoever stopped for lunch ate the whole thing and just tossed these claws to the side.
And here I didn't leave out any butter sauce.
Monday, January 28, 2013
I was greeted by a few treats though. The swallow swarm was back, bigger and better than ever and they added to their antics and my joy by swooping down to drink from the pond a hundred at a time "on the wing", causing only a slight ripple in top of the water.
Then, there was a robin, a soaring eagle, a common dove (not so common around here) and likely the best of all: 6 soaring wood storks (picture shown, which you can see enlarged by clicking on it), There may have been more up there, but 6 was all that fit into the photo frame ;)
On Saturday, I met a new "life lister": Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus). I glanced out the window and saw red in the oak. Not exactly unusual, the cardinals often hang out in there, but this was close to the trunk. As I studied it, I thought it was a Downy Woodpecker, a species I was blessed with in huge numbers while living in New York, but that I have yet to add to my Florida life list. I crept outside and got out my field glasses for a closer look. WOW, kinda big! As I angled the camera to try and catch a photo (s)he took off up into one of the tall pines.
I studied it through the field glasses some more and made unsuccessful attempts to get a photo. I realized it was indeed too large to be the diminutive downy so I headed inside to grab my field guide. After thumbing through, I decided that Hairy Woodpecker seemed a good match and then I headed in to the computer to confirm. YEP! CHECK!
Monday, January 21, 2013
One morning about a week ago I saw a splash of color out of the corner of my eye. It was gone before I even could make identification, but I had in the back of my mind what it COULD be. Long ago I had seen some photos taken by my friend Jenny of pretty little birds called Painted Buntings (Passerina ciris). The next day I glanced out the window and I was thrilled to see one who was actually stationary for a moment. Awe struck, I reached for the camera but as fast as it was there it was gone.
The next day I again glanced out the door and saw one of these beauties, a male. I quietly grabbed the camera and stealthy opened the door as the little bugger flew over into the grapevine. This photo was the best I could do before it disappeared in the tangle of vines.
The next morning I stationed myself on the stair landing, camera in hand waiting...waiting...waiting. In the distance I could see color, but much too far away for a photo. I've been patiently waiting ever since. They are migratory here and I think that the four days was my window of opportunity. So, I am reporting my encounter and secretly hoping that Murphy's law kicks in and I get an outstanding photo minutes after this blog post goes live :)
Another tick mark on my Florida birdy life list, and a blurry reminder...but a reminder nonetheless, of a very rewarding encounter. Head on over to the Cornell site to see beautiful photos of this magnificent beauty. www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Painted_Bunting/ so you can share what I saw with my own two eyes.