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17 April 2008

Excellent blogs and (not) spring cleaning

One of my exellent bloggers admonished me for not clearly stating the 'rule' about passing along the award. 8-} The idea is for each recipient to pick 10 excellent bloggers to honour with the award. Feel free - but not obligated - to post 'The Big E' on your blog along with your list of honourees.

Anybody spring cleaning? I keep thinking about it but can't seem to work up the gumption to dive in. Besides, how can I stay indoors when the weather is so beautiful and the birds and the bees (and butterflies) are buzzing by the bay.

The refuge has been calling me and has not disappointed. Courtship is going on from one end to the other. I did a short (36 seconds) video of the cormorants, hoping to share the wonderful sounds coming from Ammonia Junction, but it's 49.5 mb! If you've never heard the cormorants' courtship crooning... well, get out there and find some! 8-]

Further down the road, this pair of Black-necked Stilts was engaged in a publlic display of affection.

These stilts are one of my top ten (content and order may vary) favourite birds. I always take far too many pictures of these elegant little creatures, momentarily oblivious to everything else.

A few days earlier, there were two white pelicans in the lagoon. Now, only one remained. I couldn't help wondering how well he was eating on his own. When I drove through the boat ramp parking area, he was way on the other side. By the time I moved over there, parked and walked the trail halfway around, he had made his way to the opposite side by the road. After trudging back to the car, I scoped out the area and found him on his way back. Obvioulsy, he did not want his picture taken.

On the way out, I stopped to check out the pond behind the visitors' center. I keep hoping the bull gator we heard bellowing a couple years ago will make an encore appearance. No bull, but several babies glared at me from the water's edge. I looked up just in time to see a Swallow-tailed Kite disappearing behind the trees on the far side. Dragonflies were flitting about, hopefully gorging themselves on gnats.

As I was typing this last night, I heard some bumping around out by the shed. We've seen a bear 3-4 times this month, passing through, pausing to check out the bird feeders and garbage cans. I peered out the window, wishing my camera would work in the dark, and saw the burly silhouette passing the shed door. I grabbed the super-duper flashlight, but he had already slipped into the woods. I heard him crashing through when I finally got the crazy dog to shut up for 2 seconds. When I went out this morning, I found all the garbage cans knocked over, but still lidded, and the empty suet feeder about 30 feet away from the now leaning shepherd's crook.

My attempt to get up early enough to catch the bear on his way home didn't wotk out, so I consoled myself with a quick run down to Otter Lake to check on the ospreys. I could see birds in two of the three nests. Reeckon I'll need a bigger zoom to shoot these ladies.

On the way home, just a mile or so from home, I was thrilled to spot the first Mississippi Kite of the year! Beauty!

Yes, the past few weeks of reawakening have been wonderful. Now that we've had our April re-freeze - had to bring in my tomato the last few nights - I'm so ready to pack up my sweaters and properly welcome spring. Cleaning can wait for summer. 8-]


valown said...

Again, great pictures. We aren't spring cleaning, but are doing some yard work and some things in the house. The first time I saw a white pelican we were heading to do some birding in the San Fernando Valley just over the hill from Los Angeles. There is a natural area there in the middle of the city that is a catch basin for flooding. As we came over the hill and headed down to this area, there were 5 white pelicans flying in from the north. It was a surreal site seeing these great birds flying over a huge city on their way to a small speck of natural area in the middle of it all. I will never forget that site.

Peggy said...

Gorgeous stilt photos! I was going to the refuge today but got waylaid by a feverish cat who had to go to the vet (she will be fine). Maybe this weekend!

Floridacracker said...

I'm thinking you and your new camea are getting along well now.

Love those stilts, the kite, and the sweet little cottonmouth baby below.

SophieMae said...

Valown, no matter how often I see them, I'm still thrilled to spot a flock of white pelicans flying over.

Peggy, I was so excited to see the stilts! Hope you make it to the refuge soonly and find lots of wonderful photo ops. Glad your cat will be OK. It's so hard to see them feeling poorly.

FC, we're starting to grow on each other. I still have so much to learn, but I'm braving some of the manual functions much sooner than with my last camera. 8-}