Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nature Notes from All Over the Yard


We have a young red squirrel who can leap from the front porch railing to the bird feeder, an unbelievable feat for such a little guy. He joins house finches, chicadees, sparrows (many varieties) baby cardinals, baby bluejays, mourning doves and other assorted birds who hang out at the feeder.

In the backyard, we have the not-seen-lately hummingbird, blackbirds, woodpeckers (3 kinds) and many of the same birds from the front yard as well as the suet robbing squirrels and chipmunks and the odd hawk on the lookout for prey (small birds and mammals). A visit to the yard by the hawk results in the birds going into hiding for as much as a week.

In the slough, the bullfrogs croak and there may be ducks, but we don't see or hear them. No otters, alas, this year.

The local deer have spared us, as has the bad rabbit who has perhaps fallen victim to the local fox or the occasional coyote. I have never seen the coyote, but the man around the corner swears that the neighbor keeping chickens leaves them out deliberately so the coyote will come into his yard and eat his grandchildren. Well, I don't think so, but into the wildlife mix you always have to throw a nutty neighbor. My mother used to say, "nutty as a peach orchard boar." Cool expression, yes?

What I love is to sit on the deck overlooking the slough and the wetlands with a drink of premium rum on ice and enjoy a late summer afternoon. Listen to the birds and the frog and the occasional drone of an airplane. The sunlight is just so, and the neighbor comes out to multitask: smoke, drink, talk on the phone and check his garden. We exchange waves and all is well with the world.

Grapeshot

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