Seen at the Feeder

A standoff at the bird feeder this morning. The peacock and squirrel had a little territorial dispute over the birdseed castoffs. The squirrel was not impressed with Burt’s threat display. Weatherford, Texas. August, 2016

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Signs

The strangest of color signs this morning. Our yellow lilies, which have been a frothy yellow tide this spring, suddenly added a cousin with blood-red hues.

Orange Lily

Then as I was drinking my morning coffee, the neighbor’s peacock made a haughty appearance in the yard, complete with Edward Goreyish unearthly cries. Hmmm… a mystery is afoot.

PC3

PC Beauty

The Melon and Other Disasters

On the Move

We have a disaster happening in our back yard judging by the sounds.  The neighbor’s flock of guinea hens is moving through the tall grass at about nine in the morning while we are having our Saturday morning coffee.  Picture the scene in the first ICE AGE animated movie, where the dodos rush to save their last melon and you’ll get an idea of the scene.

RALPHThe lookout guinea has spotted  some imaginary danger and is screeching at the top of its lungs. People in the Texas countryside prize this noise. No one can sneak up on you with a flock of guineas around. We have no problem with this because each guinea hen eats its weight in voracious grasshoppers and other bugs. They also kill snakes. Come on over my friends.

These birds always seem to be in a state of panic about something. Reminds me of some people I know.

Snow White

My husband and I look at each other each time we see them and simultaneously shout, “The melon, the melon!” and laugh (is this as weird as it sounds?) We love their visits.

Roadrunner Spa

My large kitchen window provides a great view of our big grassy back yard that borders with a large pasture. Living in the Texas countryside we have daily visits from the local wildlife; one of my favorites being the Roadrunner, actually we believe a nesting pair, that have been coming to our backyard for several years.

I started noticing this odd bird behavior. The roadrunners would be walking around the yard and grabbing up grasshoppers and other insects (fine by me) and then just stop and lift all their back feathers up and out and just sit still for a while.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, All about Birds tells me that they are sunbathing. How cool is that? My backyard is a Roadrunner Spa. These considerate guests also have the endearing habit of killing snakes for breakfast. I have yet to find their nest, but Cornell tells me they mate for life and live about seven years. So welcome, no reservations needed.

Another tidbit is that the Pueblos considered the Roadrunner a sacred symbol. Their unique footprint; two toes facing forward, two facing backward confuses the evil spirits about which way the Roadrunner is going. Hard for evil spirits to follow. I’m all for that.

Disconnected

Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk
Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk

There are those moments when you realize how disconnected you are to the natural world. One of the reasons I love living in rural Texas is the chance  for nature to reach out and shake me awake.

This past August I walked to my garden room window because I caught the motion of big wings out of the corner of my eye. This beautiful hawk had lit on our waterfall/pond in the front yard. I held my breath as I backed away to get my camera, praying he would still be there when I got back. Not only was he still there, he stayed about ten minutes while I snapped away through the window. You can feel the intensity of these majestic birds and it was thrilling to see one of them so close. His last gift to me (which I was not quick enough to capture) was him snagging a frog out of our pond as he lifted off. I still hear him calling around the house. I think the frogs are awake now too.

EygptHead Turn

Soft Green

It is a beautiful time here in Weatherford, Texas. The first soft greens of spring have appeared. Here’s hoping your hometown has a soft, green spring soon.

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The old oaks are budding out.

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Eastern Phoebes planning a nest on our front door frame.
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Black Swallowtails in the yard.
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Our first pond frog has appeared.
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Night visitors. Deer at the water troughs.