Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Prickly Character

No, not a prickly pear or prickly heat, or even my quirky little personality - but a prickly porcupine.

I usually can't get anywhere near enough to these guys to get a picture, because I don't want Baloo within miles of striking distance. 

He had far too close an encounter with a juvenile porcupine a couple years ago and it entailed an overnight trip to the veterinarian, complete with anesthesia and over 300 quills removed from under his tongue alone (the youngster was just a great size to try and fit in his mouth - twice!). 

I didn't have Baloo along on this excursion, though, so I was able to walk right up to the porcupine with camera in hand. They're very slow moving beasts, so I was able to take quite a few pictures as it ambled along. 

It made a funny clicking noise at me as it walked - not from the quills, but as a disgruntled vocalization. Finally, it decided I wasn't going to leave it be and decided to climb a tree. They have the most amazing feet - the pads on the back ones are way bigger than I had imagined. I kept thinking that they looked like bear feet.  

It found a spot up in an oak tree that felt safe, then settled in to keep an eye on me.

I'm not sure exactly what I expected from a close-up, but this wasn't the face I had imagined. The sort of wild, goggle eyes and wide, flat nose surprised me. I guess I was thinking along the lines of pointy nosed hedgehog faces, or something. Anyway, it was interesting to get to see this critter up close - and without worry about Baloo taking too avid an interest!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Little Dears

Here we are again, back at the very popular rye field. I took this picture around the same time as the other ones posted a couple weeks ago, but somehow missed it while choosing pictures to upload.

The thing I liked about this little grouping were the sort of comical bookends back to back in the foreground watching me, while the handsome little buck and his friend in the background were riveted by something off to the left of us. Probably more deer coming in for an evening nibble.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Birds on the Bay

There are still a few seagulls, ducks, geese and swans lingering along the shore. Most have flown south to warmer waters, but there are stragglers.

Last year, the seagulls never totally left the area - the water stayed free, so they didn't have to go elsewhere to find food. I liked the look of this gull, with its gray wings blending with the color of the bay on a cloudy day. 

This swan captured my attention because the blueish-gray shadows along its wings and the white of its back somehow matched the mood of the bay with a little bit of light coming through the clouds and reflecting off the surface of the ripples in the water. 

I know, I know - I'm easily entertained!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Bit of a Lark

A meadowlark, that is...

Obviously, I took this picture earlier in the year. August, to be precise. I caught an adult meadowlark with its beak totally stuffed full of bugs to take back home to feed the nestlings. I couldn't resist sharing, even though it's out of season. Of course, a little bit of blue sky doesn't go amiss, once the clouds start rolling in for the winter, right? 

Hmmm.... maybe I'll have to glance back at summer now and then as the snow begins to pile up. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Royal Thank-You

Earlier in the fall, this monarch butterfly was trapped in a corner of a gazebo down by the river and I caught it and turned it loose. 

It decided it wasn't quite ready to abandon its rescuer and made a few swooping loops around me that I really enjoyed watching, before it landed on me again. It stayed for quite a long time, running its proboscis along my finger to pick up a few minerals.

I kept trying to encourage it to fly away, but when I finally got it to take wing again, it circled right back and landed on my other hand, right beside the camera. I think it must have newly emerged from its chrysalis, since it was so perfect - not a nick or scratch on its wings at all. I have a feeling that this little beauty will find its way onto a carving block at some point. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hairy and Warty

So, was your curiosity piqued by the vaguely unappealing title? A little like a train wreck you can't look away from? Happily, the actual content isn't remotely like a train wreck - at least, I hope it isn't!

This hairy woodpecker is responsible for the first part of the title. She's wiping suet off her beak, using a bit of pine bark as a handy napkin. Such fine manners!

And this warty American toad is responsible for the second part of the title. I almost missed his presence entirely, since he blended in so well with the brown grass in my back yard. I'm always delighted to see this guy hanging around in the yard and gardens. 

I have a soft spot for toads - when I was a child there was a toad that sat under a yard light every night in the summer, waiting for tasty bugs to be drawn by the glow. I would go out and sit beside it and pet it along its neck, just behind the eyes and it would just sort of hunker down and blink. It must have liked the attention, since it kept coming back and putting up with me night after night.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mmmmm.... Pie!

We had a sort of belated birthday celebration for my brother, since the actual day was a bit crazy. 

I made a blueberry pie - with a little bit of lemon juice for extra tartness. 

I used the wheat pattern for venting, just as my mother used to do. It's my favorite crust vent decoration. Sometimes I use my grandmother's stars, too. :)