Visited by Transients–They’re Underfoot and Over Head

I was headed down the driveway when I spotted this monster crossing our lawn.  I stopped the car, picked up a weapon (my camera) and went to investigate.  Soon I was eye-to-eye with the beast.

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I’m not going to mess with this one.  Would you?

I retreated.  And got a better look.

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The turtle left, but perhaps blessed us in passing.  A few days later we received two and a half inches of rain and that brown lawn is once again a luscious green.

I saw that turtle in the morning.  Later that afternoon.  I met a painted turtle on the driveway as I was walking back from the mailbox.  Unfortunately, I had no camera with me.

As we are officially in autumn, the birds are beginning to flock together.  Perhaps they are getting ready for their annual southward migration.  As they pass by, my big antenna seems to be a favorite place to get a bit of rest.

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They all came at once.  Soon they were all gone.

I enjoyed their visit.

Do You See What I See?

I hesitate to write about our [from here] 80% solar eclipse.  Others have posted pix that put my efforts to shame.  Nevertheless, here’s what I captured with a tea strainer for a pin-hole camera:

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This image was projected onto our pebble-surfaced kitchen floor.  This technique was going to work, and I had over 20 minutes to max coverage.  I rose to find a sheet of white paper.  The sky grew dark.  A bank of huge dark clouds had rolled in.  The show was cancelled.

Of Bats and Birds

I was coming home from a meeting last week.  The sun had set and the sky overhead was nearly dark.  I came to a spot in the road with lots of trees on both sides.  As I approached, I could see flying bats stuffing themselves with insects.

After arriving home, I stepped out the back door.  As I watched, a pair of bats were sweeping the between our house and barn for insects.  I enjoy watching them fly in their zigzag pattern.

I’ve searched on other evenings since, but have not had the good fortune of seeing them again.

The next day, I sat here in the office at my computer.  My eye caught some movement in Sylvia’s flower garden.  It was a pair of hummingbirds battling for dominance over a yucca plant.  They sure are feisty fellows.

What do we do on a dew, dew, dewy day?

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Yesterday, I saw this pair of sandhill cranes in our hay field.  Later they were finding edibles on the ground as they moved about.  They took their time as they alternated between watchfulness and feeding.

I don’t often see them on our land, although they are frequent visitors on the other side of the road.  My first thought was turkeys, but a second look proved that wrong.

Other visitors

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On Sunday, our granddaughter, Briana, stopped by with her boyfriend, Jared.  They were in Michigan to attend a wedding.  This was our first opportunity to meet Jared and we enjoyed a very nice time together.

Like so many things in life, that pleasant visit was over far too soon.  Fortunately we can visit on the phone and online.

Sylvia and the Fledgling

While sitting at the breakfast table, I finished this morning’s Bible reading.  Sylvia had turned on the sprinkler, but when the timer sounded I went out and shut it off.  Returning to the table, I looked out at the garden and saw a chipmunk playing there.  Nearer motion caught my eye as I watched a robin chase a chipmunk up a scarlet maple.  I chuckled.

Turning my head, I saw a robin and a fledgling.  Soon the robin flew, but the fledgling remained with the bewildered look that must be common to youngsters facing a new and very large world.  He looked so precious, I went for the camera to capture a picture.

When I returned with the camera, the fledgling had moved some distance away.  Evidently frightened by Sylvia as she moved the sprinkler to water the rest of the garden.

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I turned my attention to the fledgling, framed my shot and . . .  Sylvia walked by.

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The little guy took this all in.  My camera didn’t know where to focus.  I just smiled.

Life is good.

Love Those Spring Flowers

I love spring flowers.  Don’t you?  I recently saw these growing on the lawn.

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Not too far away (just a few steps) I also saw these.

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While I was looking for signs of life a pair turkey vultures were searching for something else.

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Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera with me yesterday as I carried the trash down to the side of the road.  I actually saw a pileated woodpecker for the first time in my life.

More Sightings

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During a cleanup session, Sylvia and I noticed that the crocus was more open.  I grabbed this shot and then went back to trimming branches and picking up sticks.  Heavy spring winds have brought down a lot of smaller branches.

About a week ago, in the evening dusk, I saw eight deer in the small field beyond the lawn.  (The neighbor uses this area for a hay field.  I don’t have to mow, and he gets feed for his cattle.)  Those deer were enjoying spring.  The young ones would run as fast as the wind and turn quickly and do it some more.  Soon they disappeared into the thicket and disappeared from sight.

Last Thursday, Sylvia was at the wheel as we exited the expressway at 36th St in Kentwood.  As we approached Kraft, I looked and on the slope beside this busy street (five lanes) I saw a number of large lumps.  It took a moment for me to realize it was a group of wild turkeys.  They had their heads tucked under their wings to protect them from the wind-driven near-freezing rain.

Ah, Spring and You Know What Happens

We had sustained heavy winds.  Gusts topped 62 MPH here in the county.  Large portions of the state lost power.  Reinforcements arrived to help local crews restore electricity.

Locals theorize that it was an out-of-state crew that drove onto the shoulder to let another vehicle pass and that’s what caused the furrow beside our road.  I’m not sure, but it did leave a large scar.

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In another sign of spring, the turkey buzzards are back since last week.  I enjoy watching them soar around the neighborhood.

While you might see them around here anytime of year, I was also glad to see a flock of 14 adult turkeys this morning.  I was in the car and had no camera.  Oh well, life frequently works out like that.

Help Please

I am bewildered–unable to identify the birds that feed on bugs in our lawn.  They look like this.

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They come down in large flocks to feed on the ground.  They move around in erratic patterns, sometimes running and sometimes leaping into the air to snatch a bug on the wing.  Here another image that was taken in full sun.

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Do you have any idea what these birds might be?

At Sunset

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As the sun set last evening I stood on the front deck with camera in hand.  It was one of those “perfect” moments.  The sun was going down in a glorious way.  The air was pleasantly refreshing with just the slightest hint of a breeze.  Then I heard a cardinal calling.  I looked back over my right shoulder and saw him sitting high on my tower.

I looked back toward the west and then I heard a second cardinal calling–this time from my left.  This one was farther away.  I was enjoying the enchantment of the unfolding scene.

Then I spotted a fawn running on the hay field just beyond our lawn.  Soon I saw the doe, but only one fawn.  Where was the sibling?  As I watched mom grazing and the young one playing, it became obvious this was not the doe with the twin fawns.

A few minutes later, mom and the twins came out as they frequently do around sunset.  That was the first time I’ve seen the two does and three fawns together.  It gives me pleasure to watch those fawns play just for the pure joy and exultation of running, turning and leaping.  (Wouldn’t it be nice to do that again?)

I found myself wishing that our granddaughter was there to share in the moment.  I came back in the house, took my camera to the office and sat down at the computer.  There was an e-mail from Briana.  That made my day complete.