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!

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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

Alien sighting!

When I’m outside, I spend an inordinate amount of time looking up. Ummm, I live in Florida, it’s flat.

Craning necks in the flat lands
Craning necks in the flat lands

If I lived in the mountains, I would probably spend more time looking down 😯

Giving my neck a rest when I was on vacation in Utah last summer
Giving my neck a rest when I was on vacation in Utah last summer

I don’t believe that aliens are going to walk up and tap you on the shoulder, so if you’re going to spot one, they’re going to be up in the wild, blue yonder or under the cover of darkness, in some instances. I spotted this particular alien twice in the last week, between 9:00 – 9:30 AM. To say the least, I am in awe! By the way, this alien has been spotted before, so I was able to find a picture on the internet…

Swallow-tailed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite (Raptor Family)

I have lived in Florida all of my life, and never before have I seen one of these birds. They are huge! According to what I’ve found on the internet, their body is usually about 22 inches long, and their wingspan can get up to 4 feet. They live in South America, and migrate to the gulf coast states to breed annually. They’re supposed to live in wetlands and marshes, so what he’s doing in my area is a mystery.

Habitat and range of the Swallow-tailed Kite
Habitat and range of the Swallow-tailed Kite

If you want to learn more about this magnificent alien, here is the link: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds

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.