Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This, That, and Random Photos


Other than a few days in the 70’s and 80’s, it’s been dark, wet, and chilly. Whenever I wish for sunshine instead of clouds, I remember the relentless heat and blazing sun from last summer. And the drought. After a year and a half waiting, we’ve had two straight months of above-average rainfall and a cool spring! Because we’ve done such a great job of conserving water throughout the state for so long, the water companies are raising their rates – notably higher. Whatever.

Tonight I’m a little frazzled and out-of-focus. My attention span is shorter than usual so this will be off the cuff, so to speak. This and that.

My house is so snakey. The Black Rat Snake I found on my front porch is the fourth and newest species I’ve seen here, along with another type of small black snake, a Hog Nose Snake, and a Garden Snake. Snakes, snakes, and more snakes. Black Rat Snake is non-venomous but might strike, so I didn’t even entertain the idea of sitting down next to it for a good photo. Oh, my, you're a big one... It became a little annoyed with me and slowly retreated back down the brick wall and coiled up on the trellis that holds the witch hazel.







The cooler weather has been keeping the toads and frogs quiet but there are signs of reproduction from two weeks ago. We’ll eventually have about 2.3 million toads and frogs this summer but the snakes will certainly keep the population under control.



Been busy, man. I'm damned tired.

Pishing helps bring birds out but my camera skills have gone downhill lately without the practice on dark days. Brown Trashers are so cool.

However - one sunny day last week,


I got lucky. A campus Bluebird came to me. Bluebirds are photogenic and they know it. Can anyone possibly tire of seeing Bluebirds on this blog? I hope not.


On the same sunny day, I found a couple on that special tree I admire.

After my foolish fretting during last few weeks, the hummingbirds are finally getting active. Yesterday I saw three females humming around a feeder, followed by a male a few minutes later. For fear of scaring them away, I freeze in my tracks. No camera necessary – just the pleasure of watching them is enough fun but I threw caution to the wind and took a few photos yesterday. It was dark and the photos are horrible. I can’t wait to sharpen my hummingbird picture-taking skills! Just wait and see.





Anonymous said...

I love the birds, bugs, toads, frogs, and lizards, but hate the snakes!!!!

Unknown said...

Mary I will never tire of your photos and comentary. Not sure i could handle the snakes.
WE are getting a lot of migrants now but not my hummers yet.

beckie said...

And I thought North Carolina seemed so nice...not! Not if you have snakes come to sit and visit on the front porch. Your pictures are great. Especially the hummers and always, always the blue birds. Of course the water company is raising the rates. Their might be a shortage again-5 years from now. And, get a smile on to go with that new hairdo!

Crayons said...

Hi Mary,
Next time you publish photos of snakes, I think you should rate the post as a "U" for "upsetting." Oh my. I jumped up onto my chair here in my studio.

Your photos are just beautiful. Part of the fun is just to see the world through your eyes. I'm eager to see photos of hummingbirds.

Thank you for the kind comments that you have left on my blog.

NCmountainwoman said...

Sometimes the random this and that is the best of all. And all your snakes are friendly, helpful ones, more than I can say about our copperheads.

BTW: With encouragement from you, Susan and others, I'm giving it a try.

NatureWoman said...

She's so sweet, Mary. I love your "snakey" home! And course the bewds and etc.!

Anonymous said...

So many amazing photos and bravo for the up close shots of the black snake! Brown Thrasher isn't easy to photograph!

Anonymous said...

The snakes are bad here too in the warm weather. Love your pics! So glad that your hummers are coming around!!


Mary said...

Toni - the hummers will come (I doubted them, though). I have no migrants :o(

ncmountainwoman, Yay! If you need help, let me know. Can't wait to see visit :o)

To all: thank you for your encouraging comments for the last few weeks. You keep me going, you know. I'd love to visit each of you more often.

Mary said...

Angie, so you have snakes, too, ey. We live in a subdivision on 1/3 acre lots and I wouldn't think the snakes would like it here :o/ Hummers are slow arriving this year. Be patient :o)

Bek said...

I could not have waited patiently with my camera for the snake to pose as great is it did for you!
I am passing on an award to you. You can pick it up from my site.

Mel said...

You can always bright my grey office day :)

KGMom said...

From the looks of the critters around your place, you must live in an area that not too long ago was home to all creatures without humans. True?

Debbie said...

Mary, I happen to be a one of the few people I know that enjoys seeing snakes. This one is quite beautiful. We usually only see Garter Snakes and Green Snakes.

As always I enjoy your bird photos. Bluebirds are my favorites, so please, snap away!

Chrissie said...

I am fascinated by your wildlife, it is so very different to ours! Do the snakes venture in the house, do you have to check for them all the time? Do your bostons find them? LOL

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I would never tire of looking at Bluebirds from Mary's view. I love the snake pictures. I bet you don't have too many slugs around either. They eat slugs. They also eat bluebird babies. The one time I killed a big rat snake was when I came home from work and found one inside the bluebird box gobbling up all of that seasons bluebirds. I snapped. My neighbor found it amusing I was out of control.

I love the thrasher picture. They nested in our garden last year. One has been lurking about the garden this year but I think it might have moved on. The pine trees certainly made our back garden feel much more cozy. Now it feels wide open. Must get planting.

Jayne said...

Gulp. I don't think I'd be as calm about a snake that size on my porch. :c) Love your bluebirds always! And your hummers too.

Kerri Farley said...

Oh, I love all of them.....except the snakes. They scare me. I know they shouldn't, but......they do. I NEVER tire of the bluebird shots....those guys and gals are just so pretty! And I'm so glad your hummers are out and about!
Can't wait to see more of the toads and frogs, too!!!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I really love the shot of Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird against the sky on your special tree. Even though it's been cool and wet there, I'm glad you're getting some much-needed rain to refill your lakes, ponds and wetlands.

Now, if that HUGE black snake was on MY porch, I'd pee my pants and scream like a ninny.

Did you notice the word verification letters are back the way they were?

Anonymous said...

Love the snake! Love that amazing Brown Thrasher! Very cool. Your hummers are so sweet. And, I will NEVER tire of bluebird pictures. So special those guys!

Mary said...

Word Verifications are legible again!

possumlady said...

LOVE your snakey snakes! Ever since I read an experiment where they had a rubber snake on the side of the road and watched as the vast majority of drivers swerved OUT of their way to run over the snake, I've felt bad for them and try to "promote" them to neighbors when they are scared seeing a black rat snake or garter snake in their yards.

Sherry at the Zoo said...

Snakes, toads, frogs, and hummingbirds! YOu are one lucky lady!

dguzman said...

Eewwww I hate snakes! I love your random this and that posts, Mary. The pics are always so good, and your comments so funny. And that little frog does look a little worn out...

Cheryl said...

Love the hummingbirds and bluebirds. You could never call either boring, they are exquisite.

Love the snake photo, so clear, it is a stunning creature, I like snakes I have to say. Realise I am in the minority.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I'd have to give up gardening if I had snakes like you do. Nope, couldn't handle that at all.

I never tire of the bluebirds.

Susan Gets Native said...

Jeez, Mary. It's always about the bluebirds. And the hummingbirds. And the snakes. And the DOGS. Can you give it a rest, huh?

(From a blog-crazy woman who reads this "oh-so-boring" blog every single freakin' day)
: )

JeanMac said...

Snakes give me the creeps.Great post, as usual!

Rose said...

Horrible photos of hummingbirds?? I think not! I marvel at these beautiful photos--keep them coming. Love the bluebirds; your photos of the snakes are also great, but you wouldn't catch me anywhere near them, even with the most powerful zoom lens!

Alyssa said...

I knew the hummingbirds would be visiting you eventually. I'm sure we'll be seeing some great pictures soon.

I really like all the animals you show on your blog. Especially since a lot of them aren't up this far north. That rat snake is so graceful and has beautiful markings. It's as if he came just to have his picture taken. I'll bet the bountiful amount of snakes in your area does keep you on your toes!

Oh, I wish I'd see a bluebird, just once! Even my birding friend at work only sees them once in a while. And he's making a big effort to spot them!

Enjoy the cool, cloudy weather - soon it will be so bright and hot you won't be able to step our your door! (At least I wouldn't be able to.)

Have a great weekend, Mary.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Happy May Day!
She is sweet!!!
I have not seen any females yet.
Soon I hope.
I have not seen any Blue Birds yet either....yours are beautiful!!!~swooning for Blue Birds~
Lots of snakes....yummm
Storms coming my way.

Larry said...

Nice collection of photos.-Come on now Mary-that's a rubber snake that you put there just for the photo op isn't it?

Mary C said...

Hi Mary - those snakes are a good indication that you live in an area that is still being developed. I think you had mentioned that not far from you someone was building a new home? A few years from now most of them will probably be gone, unless you continue to have many frogs and toads to keep the snakes well fed. Great photos as always. Enjoy your weekend.

Stacey Olson said...

Looks like a beautiful day! thanks mary. IF that rat snake can climb up there, what keeps other less friendly ones from doing the same? Sorry, just HAD to ask...

sonia a. mascaro said...

Oh! A snake! I fear so much snakes!
You did a good photo, Mary!