Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hit and Miss


The stormy weather moved out and the winds calmed enough to take a nice walk at noon. The sky was a clear blue canvass and the rain-soaked ground smelled of fresh dirt with a floral hint. The pine trees swayed in the light breeze. Ahhh, the smell of fresh, moist pine.

It was a refreshing, heavenly walk around the track that circles the playing field and park and I could have walked all afternoon. That is…until…the people came. All in about ten minutes, two school bus loads of kids arrived at the park. On the trail, one soccer ball dribbler, three walkers, and three joggers were whizzing past me and scaring the birds away. I couldn’t help but glare at these people after their backs were facing me. A recreational park employee started weed-whacking under the spectator bleachers. I wondered, “Is this a JOKE directed towards me?”

Feeling desperate for a few photos, I zoomed in on a black trash bag I thought was a crow and a leaf on the grass that had a little wind under it. Drats!


I did see a lifer, though. Somebody up there likes me and offered me a view of a Brown Headed Nuthatch! A swirling little bird that's in and out of sight in a flash.


Another type of lizard was sunbathing at the bottom of the downspout on my driveway. Heck, I don't know much about lizards except that I love them for their patience and cooperative spirit in front of the camera. My opinion might be unpopular, but I think they're very cute!


“Well, hello there. Move in a little closer. I promise not to blink.”


I poured some bottled water into the splash block and he loved it! "Thank you, ma'am!"


It was time for him to find some dinner. My neighbors can watch me through their bedroom window as I lay across the concrete driveway. I guess by now nothing surprises them...

For almost a week, I’ve been concerned about the nest of house finches on my front porch since I hadn’t seen Mother near the nest for several days and she stopped resting there at night. I was certain the babies died although I saw more sacs of poop surrounding the edge of the nest. I learned that house finches don’t clean up the mess. Before I went to fetch a step ladder to check on them, I peeked at the nest through the window and thought I saw a little scrawny head looking out.


There are two! I climbed onto the bench and took their picture. These babies didn’t flinch or move. They are very quiet and sort of lifeless so I hope they are thriving. Standing on the bench with the camera around my neck, I spoke softly to them, “You know, little babies, I think your Mother is a whacky, unattentive lady and not very good at housekeeping, either. But she must be doing something right.” I am still concerned as I saw a house sparrow at the feeder this afternoon. A month ago, I saw one and it didn’t return until today. My reaction was to throw a hula hoop against the fence to scare it off. And I did.


There are times of despair and there are times that despair turns into a smile at the sight of very small, precious life.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Don't you just hate it when people get in the way of birding?
Love that little brown-headed nuthatch- congrats!!
Coo-ul lizard! What a pretty blue on his neck. I do think lizards are always giving the evil eye though.
Such beautiful little finchie faces- mama must be doing something right.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Mary, I love all photos! Just stunning! The close up of the lizard is amazing! The two baby finches with his punk hair, is very cute! You did a good work here!

Ruth said...

Great pictures again Mary. My dad and I were just admiring them. He thinks you have a great eye for a good photo. How true!

Unknown said...


Those babies is some ugly babies and yet still very cute! :) So glad they are thriving.

I had a yard full of Lesser Goldfinches today! They were so beautiful but I didn't have my camera. Sigh!

thailandchani said...

You are so right.. and the photos are beautiful and uplifting.

Can't thank you quite enough. :)



Susan Gets Native said...

The nerve of PEOPLE ruining your bird watching. Losers.

Baby birds have an instinct to be still when they are disturbed. But as they grow, they seem to lost that and when they are close to fledging, if you come close, they might burst out of the nest before they are ready.

Those chicks are so ugly, they're cute.
I love your lizard! What a cooperative little soul.

LauraHinNJ said...

Those baby birds were a nice surprise as I scrolled through reading your post - what a laugh!

Have the barn swallows come around yet looking to retake their home?

I think I could amuse myself to no end with lizards like those around. Any idea what kind they are? What exactly do they eat, I wonder?

Jayne said...

Cute, cute babies! I think the lizard liked you as much as you liked him! Great photos Mary. :c)

Cathy said...

Awwww . . I'm going to carry the image of those scruffy little top knots with me throughout the morning.

Mary - you're a bird ahead of me. Wow. I've never had a good look at that nuthatch. Congratulations :0)

I love the sunburst.

KGMom said...

Mary--all the photos are great, but the baby birds are just a riot! A combination of awwww and LOL. Too too cute. I agree with sonia--punk hair. And they way they are just looking out as if to say--who's here.

Mary said...

Lynne, I do cop an attitude when people interrupt my focus. I can't help it!

Sonia, Punk Hair! LOL!

Ruth, I'm glad your Dad enjoyed them.

Liza, I know the feeling well...sigh.

Chani, you are very welcome.

Susan, thanks for the tip! I'll be very careful around them now.

Laura, the swallows didn't arrive until June last year so we'll see. I didn't research the lizard but I plan to find out.

Jayne, I think he DID like me! LOL!

Cathy, I'm trying to photo flowers a little differently but I'm having a hard time with it. The pink sunburst turned out well but I don't know why :0/

Donna, they are silly looking, for sure. The barn swallow babies were very entertaining, active, and silly.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Dear Mary,

Your lovely little lizard looks like Sceloporus undulatus, the Eastern Fence Lizard. We've got Northern Fence Lizards here, and very very rarely a five-lined skink (one sighting in 15 years). The iridescent blue patch on his throat indicates he's an adult male. He's doing push-ups to show it to you (and any other lizards who may be watching). It's analogous to the brilliant gorget on the throat of a hummingbird. How lucky you are to have a resident male! Try him on mealworms--my fence lizards love 'em!
I love your house finch babies. One of their adaptive behaviors is absolute silence at the nest--they don't even cheep when Mom feeds them--adding to your impression that she's not around. They're about ready to leave. I'd stay well away from the nest now as you could spook them out prematurely. And perfect timing for your barn swallows to move back in, huh?
Question: How come the type on some of your posts gets HUGER as you read down?

Anonymous said...

I think that lizard was trying to be discovered for a commercial or something. He was definitely "striking a pose". He might of had make-up

Great pictures. The babies are so cute. Hope they do well.

Take care,

Mary said...

Julie, thanks for your information - I appreciate every word and even thought of sending you an email about my finch concerns. We have many five line skinks around here. I'll try the meal worms!

Do you mean my FONT increases towards the end of my post? It's not intentional.

Does anyone else notice my font gone wild?

Connie, thanks. I'll be watching them.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Brown-headed Nuthatch is wonderful! I have never seen one in person. Wow! I bet you were excited, I am for you.
Baby birds are so sweet. Nice photo. Another one I bet you were happy to be able to get.
I love lizards!!!!
Yours does look as if he is posing for you.
Mother Nature is full of lovely, diverse life. You captured the beauty of the sun and the sky! Outstanding photo.
You do have the eye of the photographer. Thank you for sharing your talent. Wow!

dmmgmfm said...

What a wonderful post, Mary. I love your little bewds and the wonderful lizard. I can relate to your frustration a great deal. I hate it when that happens, too.

Thanks again for the great photos and wonderful stories.

Chrissie said...

Great pics, Mary. I love to see the wildlife in other peoples gardens. Laughed at the thought of your neighbours, I think mine think I keep a record of their behaviour :-)

Dorothy said...

Mary, your photos just keep getting better and better!!! I cannot believe the great shots you take! That lizard, those little finches - just too cute. I'm with you on the 'people' thing.... it never fails. Just when you think you've got a little solitude and peace, a bus shows up. :o)

kate said...

I loved the picture of the fluffy eyebrows of the finch babies. The picture of the sun through the trees is gorgeous. Too bad your reverie was disturbed. That's always a pain!

It is often small signs of life that bring a smile to our faces.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! I love the little Nuthatch- I miss them down here in Florida. And your lizard! I'm a lizard fan, too and my cat fully appreciates that as she delivers them to the doorstep daily- alive and well and playing possum. After I ooh and aah and pat her, she gets bored, wanders off and the lizards come to life, scooting off the porch. The only discouraging thing is that I've noticed more lizards without tails lately...

Baby birds! Don't you love those top feathers? I have some orphaned babies to post tomorrow.

Gotta Garden said...

Your photos are really something! The two baby birds peeking out of the nest are so adorable! I love that you get down to take the pictures (you should see...or maybe crazy things I do to try to get a picture...and they don't turn out nearly as well as yours!)!

dguzman said...

Wow--I've never seen a brown-headed nuthatch. Cool! And that lizard--amazing. I like them too, though when I was a kid, I was bitten by a little green anole. Didn't hurt; it was more of a shock. But now I have a lizard story to tell....