Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Butterfly Fluttersby

A door to the screen room was left ajar all afternoon. I discovered this large, gorgeous butterfly trying to get out and I just HAD to take a picture before rescuing it. I had a little Dollar Store butterfly net my granddaughter used to try and catch little lizards. I plopped it over the butterfly and lightly held the wings through the netting. A moment later it was freely flying away to other places.


Here is a more personal item than I usually include. On April 4, our next door neighbor was found unconscious inside her home. On the 12th she passed away. She was an avid gardener and watched the wildlife with me. She introduced me to feeding the big birds in 2002. She was the sweetest woman and will be so missed. I cannot imagine not having her there next winter.
Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Turtles, At Last!


Earlier this winter, as we drove along one of our main routes I was looking alongside the highway into the deep canal at one side. All of the canals, says the sign, feed right into the Indian River. There are fish, and lots of wildlife along with more trash than I would like to see, and, on occasion, an alligator or two.

We had seen a log coming out of the water filled with sunning turtles. However, when I tried to take a photo, the turtles jumped into the water before I could snap. I have been looking ever since for another opportunity to take that picture. Today, there they were...different log, but better. This time I stayed INSIDE the car and well back. We inched forward but they slid back into the water with alarm. Skittish things!

At least I got this photo.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Owl, Up Close and Personal

This is too good not to share.

Last evening we gathered down at the edge of the lake to celebrate 2 neighborhood birthdays with a little wine and friendship. We all see different things on the huge communications tower looming over the lake and we often compare "Owl Notes".

There was activity in the nest and around. We saw 4...yes FOUR owls. All seemed to be flying and it got a little confusing but there is the one huge female, slightly smaller male, and two fledglings.

Suddenly we saw one large bird sail over the lake and land on the boat davits 2 doors down. I figured it was the Anhinga that sits there almost every night...but one good look at the head and we could see it was one of the adult owls..the largest one.

I ran (rather, hobbled as fast as I could) for my camera. As I headed back out, the neighbors, still by the lake, were pointing and shouting. The owl had just skimmed a few feet over my head, so silently that I didn't detect it at all. I did find it at the top of the utility pole near the front yard.

The little Mockingbird that had been attacking it by the lake was back driving the owl further down the block until I couldn't see it any more. One of the neighbors thinks there is a mockingbird nest in his bushes.

I tried to get a picture of the huge bird on the top of the pole, but I would have needed more time to steady the camera and adjust the settings. Just not enough time. The flash didn't fire so the aperture stayed open for too long...I couldn't hold the camera that steady. Oh, to have had my tripod attached. I tried to get another photo steadying my camera on the bottlebrush tree, but it was too late.

Back down at the lake we watched the owls fly into the lower part of the tower and fly upward in steps. They must not be high flyers. Other neighbors had watched them do this after sunset, before. It seems to be their pattern for getting to the high nest. The Osprey who built the nest last year could soar right to the nest, but apparently not the owls.

I wish I had photos to share. Here is a digital scrapbook page I made a while ago using elements from Kathryn Balint (www.kbandfriends.com)

The close-up photo is of a Great Horned Owl on display at the Pelican Island Festival a few weekends ago.

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Laura Lou
Michigan/Florida, United States
I am a retired Middle School Science teacher from Michigan spending 4 months each winter in Florida and learning about a whole new world.
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