Reid State Park – February 2019
Reid State Park – February 2019
“Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.”
2:30 a.m. and I am out in the driveway with my little old lady dog. We’ve been at this schedule for many months now, and I do my best to remain partially asleep while also not slipping on the ice that has been plaguing us all winter. On nights when the sky is clear I steal glances into the twinkling heavens, then dart my eyes back to my dog, watching her maneuver ice on arthritic joints.
Tonight I heard my old friend the barred owl. Owl sightings have been non-existent this winter. We’ve not even heard them calling in the distance. But now – finally! – my friend is outside in the treeline that hugs our waterfront. Small blessings. A bird calls in the night and a weary woman feels the corners of her lips turn up in a genuine smile.
Several cardinal pairs have been with us this winter. The male cardinal’s blood-red plumes always draw my attention. Typically animals survive by blending in, going unnoticed, keeping under the radar. Not so, male cardinal. Wearing the most audacious outfit in a bleak landscape and not even worried about the hawks and eagles that come to my land to find lunch.
I did a little research on why the cardinal has survived despite his flamboyant coloring: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/why-so-red-mr-cardinal-nestwatch-explains/
The bottom line seems to be that his enjoys using his fancy gear to show off for the ladies more than he cares about dulling down and hiding out from danger. Living on the edge, then.
Last winter I stood in the woods for forty five minutes, snow lightly falling, and watched this pileated woodpecker fling chunks of wood from this tree. I could spend happy hours every day wandering the woods and watching the winged and furred and slippery creatures that share this land with us.
If ever you can’t find me look to the woods. You’ll find my laptop bag will lead you into the trail. I will have dropped its heavy weight from my tired shoulders and left it for ants to explore and ferns to grow around.
I will be stepping lightly, so you won’t be able to locate my by listening for tromping feet. Rather, listening for my singing. Then walk until you come to a bend in the trail where you’ll find my cracked cell phone lies ringing. Don’t answer it. Just veer right. Ten paces and you’re over a knoll and deep in an old pine forest. See the water in the distance? You’ll find me at its edge, crouched or bent or otherwise scheming to capture a photo of a lovely creature – or a footprint or just the water slipping by on its way to somewhere else. You won’t be able to mistake me for anyone else. I’ll be the grinning girl clutching a camera.
Missing my blog but renewed my subscription for another year. The mad rush of summer and weddings and starting my own business will subside enough for me to post again. Until then….
While boating this weekend my husband and I eagerly scanned the lake for the domestic goose on the loose. (It’s probably a Toulouse.) My husband spotted an inflatable swan and declared that we’d found my friend. Moments later I saw that my goose had indeed found his friend. With apologies to the stranger in the photo. His belly and beer can shall remain anonymous for all time.
Four phoebes have hatched out in the nest under the deck. So excited to see them.
For reasons I cannot fathom, my husband does not find countless turtle pictures nearly as interesting as I do. So, here you go:
This gal came up onto the lawn (sand pile) as my second big turtle (snapper, rather than red-eared) sighting for the season. Note the bit of shell (a “scute”) that is peeling at the rear of her shell.
She wasted no time in circling, laying and heading back to the lake.
Much to my surprise I can remain motionless for a long time propped up on my elbows on a paint-peeled porch to capture film of insanely slow (deliberate? patient?) mama turtles. I do not envy them even a tiny bit.
I believe that the very next day I had my third snapper sighting in a week.
I think she’s lovely. Clearly I missed my calling about thirty years ago.
I especially like how these ladies come to handle their business without regard for the slugs and leaves they are dragging with them. But then again I’ve spent only limited time with jelly-and-snot strewn children and so probably should not be surprised at all that this mama hasn’t got time to fix herself up.
Unfortunately their eggs do not survive the night. Ever. A track left in the sand matched near the eggs left by this turtle matched up with a weasel print. We also have a skunk that does nightly rounds at about the time my old lady dog needs to go out. Not sure who to blame. The first night (maybe after my first turtle, posted a few days ago) I put a milk crate over the eggs (or over the hole in which she’d hidden the eggs about six inches down under hard-packed dirt) and put three pieces of slate on top to anchor it down. A critter climbed into the crate and dug out the eggs.
Being heavy on ambition and light on talent, I rigged up a milk crate that was not only anchored with slate but surrounded by it too. Of course I have never played that video game (Tetrus?) where you make shapes fit together and I nearly failed tenth grade geometry, so I had to include some sticks into the bargain…
Honestly, if you don’t love me yet there must be something wrong with you. I kill me. I think my husband may want to kill me…
Despite my undeniable cleverness, the eggs were eaten. A weasel (I matched a print) dug a lovely hole under this Hunger-Games like apparatus.
Here is what I’ve learned: my dogs like to eat turtle egg shells and the little kids around the corner are young enough to believe me when I tell them the egg shell remains belong to already-hatched turtles. Oh – and half a turtle shell fits on child’s fingertips as nicely as do black Thanksgiving olives.
And just when you think the turtles and weasels couldn’t be anymore entertaining, along comes a door toad:
Now I need to sleep. And then (alas!!) I need to earn some income. Had to get these photos out to you so I can focus on much less exciting things.