Sunday, October 5, 2008

Yard Adventures - Sep 2008

I've had a few yard adventures I thought I'd share. A lot of activity this month. Oddly, with the cooler fall-like weather we've seen an increase in grasshoppers and dragonflies. And also more black widow spiders than I care to have. I decided I needed to clean up the yard a little bit. That lasted two days before I realized leaves were falling in my wake. Thank you, autumn. It’s a never-ending battle. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I looked out the kitchen window one day and saw a coyote lounging in the shadow of the oleanders by the pond. I was lucky enough to be able to get a couple of pictures through the window. You can see them at my Flickr account. A couple of days later I found three coyotes drinking from the pond. Every morning you can hear the pack off in the distance howling and yipping at each other. It’s an eerie sound if you’ve never heard it before, frightening even, and the sound carries a long way.

A few days ago we looked out the kitchen window again and found a roadrunner crouched down behind the rocks encircling the pond. He (she?) was catching dragonflies. He stayed low until one dared to fly over him, then he’d jump up and grab it, run a few feet away to eat it, then was back in his hiding place. He was very well camouflaged next to those rocks. No pictures this time. He was too aware of us watching and I didn’t want to scare him off.

I was walking home from my son’s house one day last week at around dusk. The sun had set but the sky was still somewhat bathed in yellow light and I was able to see well enough to walk home without a flashlight. I was halfway to my house when I saw something very large fly away from the mesquite tree out back. My first thought was that I’d startled an owl, since the wing-span was so big. Then about two dozen more of these birds burst into the air from the tree. Because they were silhouetted against the fading day, I couldn’t tell what they were but did determine based on the migratory patterns and time of year that it most probably was turkey vultures. It was an amazing and breath-taking sight.