What’s next…?

San Diego Zoo hatches near-extinct ‘tree lobster’ insects

Tell me they eat roaches and feast on mosquitoes for dessert!

Surely they were almost extinct for a reason?!

Near extinct Tree Lobster, Oh Boy!

Morning reverie interrupted…

I have a habit of getting up somewhat early each morning and stepping out on my front porch to sip my coffee, leaving that dream state slowly behind, before coming fully awake. It’s usually quiet, except for the early birds, and the morning air is still cool. October, in central Florida, is the beginning of our fall season. Unlike the northern states, where there is a definite chill and the leaves begin to take on their fall colors, our season change is relatively subtle. Mainly, our daytime high temperatures fall into the mid-eighties, with lower humidity levels, and cool night-time temperatures approaching sixty degrees. After the long, hot summer, it is a welcome respite.

This morning, I watched a pair of Cardinals, flitting from tree to tree, and a lone red-headed woodpecker checking out the Oak. We’ve had a large group of Red-shouldered Hawks in the neighborhood recently, but it was a little early to hear their high-pitched calls. Suddenly, I heard a relatively loud thump, and when I looked, I noticed that a Hawk had swooped down and fell upon a squirrel. The Hawk must have hit the ground fairly hard to create a thump, so I wondered if he miscalculated. He sat there for quite some time before he took flight with his prize. Poor squirrel, but I guess a Hawks gotta eat [sigh].

Red Shouldered Hawk
Red Shouldered Hawk on the back fence

Several months ago, I was surprised to see a Swallow-tailed Kite for the first time ever. I’m always amazed at what the morning brings.

Swallow-tailed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite, member of the raptor family

It’s a sad day Squirrel-friend

We gather under the pines today to pay our last respects for our dear squirrel-friend who went to meet his maker sometime in the past  few days. He will be missed by everyone, including the dog that he tormented and teased. He  leaves behind three brethren tree-mates…

The Observer…

Red Shouldered Hawk

Patiently he sits, with a watchful eye. Nothing escapes his vigilance. As I approach to capture his image, he eyes me warily. For every step I take nearer, he slowly sidesteps farther from me until he spreads his wings and leaves me looking up into the branches…the observer.

Call of the wild…

In the wee hours of the morning the dog woke me up. It was his “I want to go out and pee” woof. He’s like an old man with a bad prostate, who shouldn’t lap up a gallon of water before settling down for the night. I rolled over and eyed the digital clock glowing in the dark…4:20 AM. Good grief! There’s no use trying to ignore him. I did that once and he came and stood next to my bed and let out a woof that would raise the dead. He’s a big, 140 pound mountain dog and he sleeps on the cold tile in the sun room off the kitchen. He could hold it if he wanted to, but this is his nightly ritual. I roll out of bed and put on my heavy robe and slippers…it’s cold outside, Brrrrrr! I slip his leash on before I walk outside with him so I can help him find that one blade of grass that is just right. Otherwise, I would have to wait for him to walk the perimeter of the property, checking for critters and forgetting what he came out to do. I have no patience at 4:20 AM.

Out of the dark, came this raucous noise from the stand of pine trees and scrub oak that borders the back yard. Talk about loud! I don’t know how I could have missed this noise even from inside the house. From the depth and reverberation of  sound, I surmised it to be a HUGE owl. He was calling to a friend…a virtual hootenanny was taking place. Here a hoot, there a hoot, everywhere a hoot, hoot! As the dog and I stood listening to the call of the wild, the only thing I could think of was how the poor squirrels must be quivering in their nests, praying really hard to see daybreak.

I’ve left a youtube video for those of you who, whoo, whooo would like to experience the call of the wild.