Thursday, April 23, 2009

Funny or Not Funny

They say everything happens for a reason. Isn't it odd that we never know the reason for those "things" that happen? They also say a sense of humor will save the day. Yes, yes, yes, it does.

On Easter Sunday, two weeks to the day before I’d leave for the first birding adventure of my entire LIFE and my first vacation with just me and for me, me, me, my camera spoke to me softly. What did that strangely new, faint motor noise mean during auto focus? Was I imagining this in the muffled quiet of my car? Was my camera struggling and dying inside? And what about that slight vibration I could feel with my right hand and forefinger resting on the shutter? Is this funny?

It’s as funny as this, dammit,


or the prelude to a Starling/Grackle face-off...


An animal attempted to crush the wire on this sturdy feeder. I wonder what animal had the strength to do this. A few weeks later, I found the red cap lying under a bush nearby the feeder pole but the feeder itself disappeared. I replaced it with an older, smaller nut feeder and still wonder what happened that night… Not funny.


That used to be a Bluebird house. Not funny at all.

Instead of sending my beloved camera to the Digital Camera Hospital, I’m keeping it for the trip. In the horrible event that my beloved big Fuji dies, I purchased a small back-up Fuji… Cha-ching.

More fun:

One week prior to the day I’d leave for the first birding adventure of my entire LIFE, I held my jaw with a cupped hand, walking off a toothache in the shopping mall. This was not good for making decisions on footwear in the mountains. For four days, I guzzled Advil like dark chocolate M&Ms until I saw the dentist and had that bad boy wisdom tooth eliminated, near abscess. By the time I get to the mountains of West Virginia, I should be eating more than mush.

After surgery instruction: Avoid strenuous activity for twenty-four hours.

So I bent over to tie my shoes and ended up with a bloody mouth.

That was very funny. Strenuous, too.

While I’m away and spotting oodles of lifers in West Virginia, I’ll think about my backyard birds once or twice.


That’s funny.






This is the first year I’ve seen female Cardinals wanting peanuts.

I’ll insist hubby cleans and refills the hummingbird feeders once while I’m gone, but I will let the birds eat bugs and berries for a week. Do y’all know that safflower seed is too expensive? I withhold food most of spring for that reason. And for this reason:


Funny? Or, not funny?

Heck, I’m cackling right now. It's hilarious. Yeah.

Talking about cackling and laughing your arse off, you must visit
Murr (Mary) in Oregon and Mary Lee in North Carolina. These two women are funny! They both have a great style of story telling - if it’s a belly laugh you crave.

I’ll be away without laptop so this will be my last post for a while. I sat in the yard with the Licker Sisters late this afternoon, feeling overwhelmed and tired from all the rush and worry of leaving. I took their picture.





That’s when I began missing them, already.

It’s time to start packing my bags. I'll start tomorrow,

or maybe on Saturday :o)

The birds will be great but

the people will be the real deal.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Much to do


Too busy making lists... Love those purple flowers.

Certainly not blogging or Facebooking much.

Taking pictures, of course, but not as many.

Stopping to enjoy the scenery, whenever.




Observing peculiar-looking birds,


cute ones,


regular, every day birds,


large birds,


and new birds. A male Orchard Oriole is a lifer.


I take a break and some deep breaths at the wetlands when I’m nearby


and notice turtles drying in a row.


I’ve also been admiring the weeds in my own back yard.

There’s so much to do at work and home! I’m headed for the New River Birding and Nature Festival in West Virginia on Sunday and already feeling anxious, nervous, wired, and tired! Will I find my way without driving through ten other states to get there? Will I forget to pack shoes or underwear?


I should settle down


and focus on the laughs and relaxation ahead. I just need to get there first…

Thursday, April 16, 2009



Today I did not intend to post anything here. There were no stories or thoughts to write until I took a good look at the new oak leaves. So here I am with whatever. The first oak leaves, to me, means spring is racing towards summer. It’s definite.

I worked/played in the yard this evening thinking I should start building a pile of stuff to take to West Virginia with me. Bring out the suitcases, at least. Heck, I still need to shop for appropriate and professional birding apparel. That notion makes me laugh! A week from Sunday I’ll be leaving for the New River Birding & Nature Festival and I’m feeling some jitters. It’s too exciting to think about meeting more than a dozen people I know so well but have never seen eye to eye or held close to me. Have I lost my mind? I feel like a post-menopausal student leaving home for the first time, off to college… Wish me luck. ;-)

Here at my little wildlife habitat, I do a lot for the birds who visit but I think perhaps the greatest gift I have for them is the pond. They can survive without my all-you-can-eat buffet but they need the water.


Robin is checking it out, testing the water. I remember taking these photos with a cell phone on my ear. How'd I do that?


I enjoy watching birds bathe more than anything. Rocks are placed strategically at the water’s surface to make it easy for them.


I rarely get close enough for photographs. When flocks of Cedar Waxwings arrive, it's breathtaking, stunning, surreal.


Isn’t that wonderful?


Those Brown Thrashers would never let me see them at the pond.


Modest? Maybe.


Prefers a dust bath, as far away from me as possible. See the left eye?

Last week I saw the first lilypad.




These guys will keep the tadpole population under control. No doubt about it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I only wanted to shake a rug.


Easter Sunday.

It was also our 34th wedding anniversary. When someone asks, “How long have you been married?”, I used to do the math in my head quickly and give a cheery answer. Now, I just sigh and reply, “A long, long time.” Smiling, “My, oh my, how time flies.”

It was also my three-month smoke-free anniversary. Wow. Another good reason to keep away from those blasted jelly beans I love so much. Instead of enjoying the usual entire bag of beans, I ate half the bag which only yielded a measly 25 beans. Why bother.

It was also the final day of the Masters Golf Tournament - a sacred event at my house. Let’s be quiet, everyone, so we can hear the announcers whisper about the birdies, eagles, and drat! those sand traps…

So, in preparation of the televised event, and in celebration of everything else this day represented, I vacuumed the floors, worked on the laundry pile, and prepared for dinner.
All of this lead me to the most significant event of the day – a tiny story that only I can tell because only I was there. It had to do with shaking the dust from the scatter rugs. I made a foolish mistake. I knew the House Finches had a brood under the roof of the front porch but they have quiet babies. Who knew they were ready to leave the nest? Not me!

The rug was over my head, ready for the shake and snap, when out of the corner of my eye, ten feet away, I saw two baby house finches dart from the nest, each flying in opposite directions of each other. One of them flew down the steps and around the corner of the house, out of sight. The other flew down from the nest and up towards me, over the railing, down the hill, across the street and up into a tall maple tree. A very long first flight. All of this happened so quickly – I froze, clutching the scatter rug to my chest, and listened to Mom and Dad scream. I don’t know how they decided on which way to fly first.

Shocked, I fled the scene. Inside, I hid behind the window like a criminal and watched their crisis through the blinds.


Look at stressed out Mama.

I felt awful photographing her grief. To sympathize with a female bird… It’s the mother’s instinct we have in common, I guess.


Did she see me peeking between the window blinds? Was I to blame? Apparently, I was.


It’s an accident that I didn’t capture her mouth wide open and tongue wagging and rolling because she was certainly hollering up a storm.


I believed she was in good control of the situation but I certainly wondered why she remained on the porch instead of hunting down her offspring?


Oh. That’s why. The one that didn’t get away.

I had to go about my own business for a few hours. Mama Finch certainly didn’t need my interference again.

After dinner, I heard ruckus on the front porch and found this:


Where did everybody go?
It’s very poopy up here and I don’t like it.
Ok! Ok!
Ready or not…



Saturday, April 11, 2009

About Lizards


Here he is - the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird I saw this year. He stopped by on the evening of April 9th and took his time sampling the nectar in two feeders before exiting around the corner to the front of the house. You bet I ran through the house, swept up my camera, and burst onto the front porch to watch the little guy! I found him resting in a tree clear across the street, in low light. Damn. The one photograph I took was downright horrible but I liked something about it. I played with it a little and turned it into a painting. Ain’t he sweet?

Now, to the lizards.


On a warm winter day, one or two might come out of hiding and rest in the southwestern sun.


Their brief visits lift my spirits and warm me up.


Last weekend we had early summer-like temps. Lizards were out and about, darting to and fro, and scampering over your toes if you let them.

So I decided to have some lizard time. Away with the dogs! Inside they went…


Photo-shoots with lizards are slow and gratifying. Peaceful.


I don’t know much about lizards, but I do believe they become accustomed to having a paparazzo follow them.

How do you get a lizard’s attention?

I wanted eye contact.


Clap your hands or snap your fingers?

Or mumble HEY YOU?


That works!


Yes, you rock, handsome dude.

Go ahead and raise your eyebrows. I enjoy my one-sided relationships with little creatures, snakes included. They choose to live near me. Isn’t that an honor and something to smile about?


Hey, bunny! Are you gonna clean up those pellets?


Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you.


Holy crap. Did someone already take a bite out of your ear?



Happy Easter!