Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Cardinal Rule

Seems I've always appreciated the cardinal; primarily the male cardinal, I guess because of his brillant appearance. I would notice his presence in the winter after a summer of rains and sea gulls. I've had various bird feeders over the years, and as my brother Kenny quips, we make fools of ourselves trying to keep the squirrels out.
This past weekend I planted a potted bougainvillea and many aloe plants. I set some pentas in pots alongside in anticipation of being put in the ground. I also set up the bird bath and bird feeder. The bird bath had been 'set up' in so much as the move-in day had it put in a spot and the rain filled it. A few weeks ago, I took it down and drained it and let it dry out. So this past weekend I set it up alongside a young wax myrtle that I put in the ground about 2 months ago. Wax Myrtle is a good birds bees and butterflies plant, and I fancied a bird and butterfly garden in that area of the lawn.
The bird feeder comes from a long line. When I moved in here, the bird feeder was dissed to the back yard, the bottom half packed with wetted seeds. A few weeks ago I removed the screws on the bottom, knocked out the clump of matted seeds and put it out to dry. This past Sunday I filled it and hung it on a wrought iron 'shepherd's hook' that I purchased at the auction in Alva (see goin once!). I positioned it on the mound in the front yard, where my twin ponytail palms stand tall - the first trees I planted here.
Today is Tuesday evening, and I erected the bird bath and feeder on Sunday afternoon. Since then, I've looked out in hopes to see a bird or two at the bath or feeder. I have hopes and dreams.
Tonight, I sat in the screen porch, looking out over the start of a butterfly garden, gazing at the bird feeder on the wrought iron hook, the fresh bird bath, and the wax myrtle. The call of the cardinal dominated the evening sound. A male cardinal, in his shocking bright red coat, landed on the young wax myrtle. He hopped onto the side of the bird bath, took a sip and paused. Like poetry in motion, he lept onto the feeder, while a female took his place on the lip of the bath. He stood down at the ground below the feeder, while she perched, pecking passionately at the seeds. I was awe-struck! Although the feeder was about 20 feet away, I picked up the binoculars on the table and watched. He stood guard below her while she feasted. He kept a soldier's watch under the feeder while she had her fill. When she had her fill, she flew back toward the stand of arecas next to the bouganvillea. He followed closely behind.
What you focus on, you attract.
This cardinal occurance is proof that what you focus on, you attract.
It is Magic.
Poetry in Motion.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Just for the Birds

I spent some time yesterday replacing the screens on the screened porch - Gracie and Ruca designed their own 'doggie door'. We're getting into 'bug season' and the bugs are pretty intense in my neighborhood. I have lived in south florida over 30 years and have done wilderness camping in the everglades, so I'm no stranger to mosquitos and no-seeums. I have gone so far as to use insect repellant containing 100% deet - the hi-test - when outside at dusk. The bugs are bad.
I poured myself a margherita and sat down on the patio (with my deet). I sat gazing over the lawn, when my eye caught sight of a bird flying overhead. "That looks like a bald eagle.." I thought to myself. I didn't give it another thought until I saw another bird on the same flight path land in the same pine tree. I clearly saw the white undertail and the rigidly flat wings. I grabbed my binoculars. Carefully adjusting the site, I slowly scanned the treeline concentrating on the stand of pines. When my eyes saw the pop of bright orange amid the sea of green, I stopped. Focusing, I was awe-struck. There on a branch high up in the pines, stood a pair of adult bald eagles. Magnificent. The unmistakable white head and the bold orange beak and feet - times two - . The pair stood on the limb looking out over the woods. They were majestic and I was spellbound.
I didn't see a nest, but paired eagles are known to visit the same site year after year. As my friend LeAnn said, I am really enjoying my new home. As I am sitting at my breakfast table typing this, I saw a red shouldered hawk fly past the window with a 'catch' in its claws. For someone who enjoys nature as much as I do, this is an ideal place to live. Since I have been in this house just five months, I haven't done much in the way of decorating. I think I will convert the screened porch to a room full of binoculars insect repellent and bird books...
While I'm on the subject, I guess I'll mention that the other day, Ruca and Gracie were barking wildly at somehting on the ground. I have seen this before - a baby bird tossed or fallen from a nest. As I went to investigate, it was immediately apparent that it was not a bird. It looked like a pile of dog poop (a rather common sight in my yard!)it looked like a pile of poop, until in uncoiled! It was not the common black garden snake that I had seen before. It was about two feet long, with a small head and a thick body and the body was a mud-grey color. The dogs continued to bark and the snake slithered toward the canal, stopping and rearing up to hiss at Ruca. My first thought was that it was a cotton mouth. (POISONOUS!) I watched as it slid out of sight, and grabbed my "Reptiles and Amphibians" reference guide. It could have been a brown water snake. It could have been a cotton mouth. It's aggressive manner hints at cotton mouth, but for my safety sake, i want it to have been a brown water snake.
I promise that this blogg will not become "Michelle's Wild Life Adventures"

Monday, April 19, 2010


I Love My Dog.

Gracie was on the couch next to me the other night and I 'just happened' to have my camera. She looked adorable on the pillow - the pillow cover which is quilted by my mom - one of my favorites.

Isn't she beautiful?!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

otter chatter

The other night after work I was in the back yard assessing the condition of my (still) potted plants - plants I've cared for in (what are now) very large pots. Gracie and Ruca were romping, and both halted along the canal. Both were poised at something in the water. I looked over, and saw the wake of some sudden submergence. Immediately the other canal bank was alive with motion. An otter poked his round wiskered face out of the water and looked at me. Gracie barked like a lunatic, but Ruca sat quiet responding to my command. Another otter of equal size slid off the far bank, into the water and slinked up behind the first guy. They looked right at me for an adorable moment, and then darted away. "Ollie Otter! Did you see Ollie Otter?" I giggled to the dogs.

Several weeks ago, I was sitting in the breakfast nook (as I am now...it's a nice place to sit....) when I looked out over the lawn and saw movement at the base of a stand of trees. It wasn't until I saw the animal move that I could tell it was an otter. Seeing the pair of otter the other night was not a surprise, but none the less a wonderful treat. So this evening, I was in the back yard watering many of those plants in very large pots, when action was going on in the canal. I looked to see a pair of otter exiting the canal on the far bank; one right behind the other. "I'm going to get my camera" I said to myself, although I knew that by the time I returned, the otter may well be gone. I came back outside and looked out over the still water. I noticed a dragonfly and thought I'd snap him:

As I stood searching the bank for otter occurrances, I saw a cat... stepping among the branches higher up along the bank. I fixed my stare on him; was it a ferral domestic cat, or was it a bobcat?

I was absolutely fascinated. I was so fascinated that I was slow on the camera trigger. I could have had much better shots. He sat there looking at me like I was some sort of a loser.

So I ask you: ferrel domestic cat? or bobcat?