Friday, March 30, 2007

Short Little Stories - A Day Late

At 11:30 last night, I nearly finished this post. All that was left to do was move the photos into the text. No big deal, ordinarily. But I After a long day, my eyes stopped focusing and this keyboard made me feel like I had ten thumbs. I took one last look at this keyboard, clicked on Save as Draft, and cursed. That glass or two (?) of Merlot didn't help, either. So here's Friday's post on Saturday.


Demanding. 24-7. Irresistible.

Friday afternoons signify either excitement and energy for the weekend ahead or a time to crash like a robot with a dying battery pack. Today, I feel like the latter description. So, no matter what, I am faced with this every night of the work week. Bella, in the photo above, and Chloe, who was too busy digging holes to pose for a photo. Yawning non-stop, I threw the “hoolie hoop” fifty times. On days like this, I understand why Mother Nature suggests women over fifty to think twice before bearing children. Having these dogs is similar to having toddlers under your feet and I welcome the times they are napping. Most of the time I am grateful, however, for their inspiring “get up and go” invitations!

Michael and I were summoned to view another house that Gina and Billy found this evening. Their offer will be delivered tomorrow and I wish them good luck. They are learning that real estate transactions can be disappointing if you are not lucky enough to be the first and best offer!


For the longest time, I’ve been teased by a tiny bird that flits and floats at the top of the tallest trees on campus. I’m not talking about now and then teasing. The torment is every day. This little bird is no more than three inches long with a slender build. After ten shots today, this is the best I can offer. I’m guessing it’s a Pine Warbler but I can’t call it a lifer since the photo isn’t good enough. The leaves are getting in the way! Click to enlarge the photos.


To the right in the middle of the photo (click to enlarge), see the little red head on this tiny bird? Very tiny! On the left is the same bird I spoke of in the photo above. I refuse to give up on this hunt even though it's making me crazy.

Several grackles and starlings were socializing as I drove through my neighborhood this afternoon and I made a few u-turns along the way to get closer without holding up traffic or seeing neighbors point at me. I was only able to get a decent shot of this starling. Oh, well.



Taken from my car, here are tulips at the entrance of the clubhouse. Groundskeepers routinely replace colors throughout the year. I’d love to be able to afford to hire them, but then I wouldn’t have the fun of watching my own stuff grow haphazardly, the way I like it.

Last story of the night:


I made a horrible mistake today. While checking the pond skimmer for debris and toads, I found this one floating around inside. Normally, I either place the toads on a rock or gently toss them into the pond away from the skimmer in a way they would dive into the pool themselves. But my hand malfunctioned. My aim turned bad and I unintentionally tossed the poor thing onto a rock, heard its body hit, and saw its pale underside roll into a crevice and land motionless… I dropped my net and cried, “Oh, my God!” and ran to scoop it up in my hands to gently caress the little thing. Relieved to know it was still alive and unharmed, I placed it on a rock far from the skimmer. It dived toward a safer place and rested its little self on the lilypads. Thank goodness. I'd hate to live the rest of my life as a toad killer.


KGMom said...

Don't worry about Friday's blog on a Saturday--Blogger marks the time you START your blog, so if you notice, this one say it was done on Friday!
I understand the frustration of chasing elusive birds--I heard one today chirping, and every time I tried to see it, it would hop away. Grrrr.
I am glad you didn't inadvertently kill the toad--don't want to add that to your resume.

Cathy said...

Mary, I love your mystery birds. You're getting the birds that I won't get for quite a while. Look up Blue-Gray Gnat Catcher for the first one. The red patch I would guess is the top knot of a Ruby Crowned Kinglet that he flashes during breeding season. You are soooo lucky. You rarely get to see this - let alone capture it in a photo. Good job.

NatureWoman said...

Phew Mary, I'm glad you're not a toad killer!
Don't you love it that the birds you really want to see are hiders, and the birds you don't give a crap about are all out there in plain sight? Well, I guess that makes it more interesting!
I love your happy girls! They are irresistable!

dmmgmfm said...

You could be like me, I'm running a week or so behind on my blog. You are way ahead of the game!!

Love the photos and so glad your little Froggy Do is alright!

LauraHinNJ said...

Glad you didn't bring about the toad's early demise! The guilt!

I think Cathy's right on with the birds, although I can't make anything out of that one photo. Gnatcatchers are tiny, early birds - so must be! They make sweet little whispy sounds too, if you listen.

Mary said...

Donna, I didn't know that! It's dated yesterday. I've never saved a draft before so now I learned something new. Your last comment cracked me up!

Cathy, you are a wealth of knowledge - IDing my birds every week, it seems. I love you for it. I'll study my field guide more often.

Pam, Yes. It's the ones not within your reach that gets you all fired up. I'm still fuming over the lost shots of those tiny birds!

Laurie, I think you are doing a great job from afar and being so busy! I enjoyed the mountains in Denver...

Laura, you certainly described their sounds! Short, soft & whispy peeps, and they are continual. I rarely get to see them, though. I'll keep trying.

Annie in Austin said...

Mary, it's your blog! Show it who's boss! Just don't try to kill it like you nearly did the toad. [Your post conjured up a mental picture of you caressing the poor little amphibian.]

I sure hope you get more photos of the little bird with the red on it, and that we find out who he is.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Susan Gets Native said...

I agree with Cathy...a blue-gray gnatcatcher is the best possiblity for the first, and that is most definitely a ruby-crowned kinglet. Good find, Mary!
Toads are slippery little suckers, aren't they?

Unknown said...


Oh, wait, nevermind! Glad the little guy is okay. That must have been such an awful feeling. :(

I concur on the Ruby-crowned kinglet. When they are flashing red, there isn't too much else they could be. Very cool. Don't know about the other one though.

And, you can post whenever you want to -- once a week, once every other day, for 4 times a day . . . do what works for you!

LostRoses said...

Mary, you're so lucky to see the flash of red on the ruby-crowned kinglet! I think I saw that bird a dozen times on various field trips before I ever saw the red crown.

I'm glad you're not destined to live with an inadvertant toad-killing. Who knows what lurks in the early spring murk of our ponds? Every fall I take what fish are left from my pond and give them to my neighbor who puts them in his horse watering trough. One year I missed one. After the first freeze I noticed a frozen fish-cicle on top of the pond. I didn't mean to do it either!

Jayne said...

Cool photos Mary! Never have seen a ruby crowned kinglet! I am sure the toad forgave you! Hugs!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Now I have this song stuck in my head- (to the music of Goldfinger)

Toad-Kil-ler- wah WAAH wah...

Love your kinglet's ruby crown!!

Cathy said...

Cool! I went back to your photo and saw the rear end of the bird to the left of the 'flasher. I'd missed it the first time around. Now the pieces fall into place - he was really strutting his stuff for his twig-mate.

Anonymous said...

I always laugh when I come here. You start off with that poor dog and her bent up hula hoop, and end up with the toadkiller story!
Do you have an ordinary days??

Anonymous said...

I agree that your bird is a ruby-crowned kinglet. I find myself up very late trying to finish post and it is amazing how much time goes into these post! Glad you did get it out and I think everyone understands taking so long.

Julie Zickefoose said...

The first bird in the golden catkins, I think, is a chipping sparrow. A blue-gray gnatcatcher is much more lightly built and would show white outer tail panels, a longer, thinner tail, and black, proportionately longer legs. Listen for a monotonous chipchipchipchipchip song from the chipping sparrow. The gnatcatcher has a complaining note that sounds like a banjo string, twzeeeeh... In cases like this, vocalizations are your friend.
I LOVE the first koi picture in the next post!

dguzman said...

Thank goodness your froggy was okay; there's nothing worse than accidentally killing something like that! Whew! My reaction would've been just like yours, only I might even have run up to my porch and gotten some unwary houseflies (infested up there!) and fed them to him.

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