Fall is complicated. Much of the garden is on its way out, but there are other things taking over. The neglected thunbergia has sent feelers across the patio and the morning glory is strangling the butterfly bush.
I noticed that hummingbird also frequented a purple salvia plant at the back of the yard. In hopes of getting a better picture of it, I gifted the hummingbird (and myself) with two big planters of salvia. Results were immediate.
Standing inside behind the patio door, I was able to joyfully observe and photograph it. However I was startled into confusion when the hummingbird appeared directly in front of my face for an extended moment.
With a camera in one hand and iPhone in the other, a blurry Sasquatch/UFO version of this closeup was all I could handle. The hummingbird stayed for what felt like a long time for a wild creature and I’m not sure if I was being rewarded for the flowery treat or assessed for future tactics.
Might find a sunbeam and hang out.
***I got a new phone and the camera features are made for taking cat portraits! I’m super entertained. The cats, not so much. I was literally laying on the floor talking to Sookie and running through filters and settings, when Miles redirected my attention by flopping in front of me and licking his junk. He made me cry-laugh so hard. Best photobomb.
Much as I would love to get rid of Facebook most days, I can’t abandon the bird photography group where I’m a lurking member. I lurk because I have little to contribute aside from “loves” and questions. These people have giant cameras and a penchant for being in the woods at the crack of dawn. Their pictures are detailed, up close, and dramatic. I love them. I also love that this group gives me guidance on spots to visit.
Thanks to the group’s posts, I got to witness two major- major to me- birds in December: Sandhill cranes and a Snowy Owl. When I woke up to a post naming a specific pond in a specific metro park as a gathering point for a large group of Sandhill Cranes, I got Adventure Buddy on the road and headed out.
We had a short hike out to the site, but we got to observe the eagles’ nest on the way. The male was hanging out in a dead tree and the female was poised on the nest. A birder with a bigger camera said that they had just added another branch to the nest.
Of course, common songbirds are just as exciting and capable of dramatic poses, and far away swans are lovely too.
When we cleared the woods at the edge of the pond, it took a moment to spot the cranes. The largest portion were blending into the water’s edge and more were wandering through the grasses. We counted over twenty. At one point, a crane sounded the alarm or yelled, “everybody into the pool!” and the group in the grasses formed a conga line back to the pond.
Walking back to the car, we heard a crane call from another part of the park. Two rebels had broken off from the larger group and were conveniently hanging out by the duck blinds, but calling back to the large group.
I’d love to make it to one of the spots where hundreds of Sandhill Cranes land together during migrations.
However I have mixed feelings about the Snowy Owl.
Much of what I know about Snowy Owls comes from a series of posts by Julie Zickefoose an artist and naturalist from my home town area. Julie covered the story of a Snowy Owl that landed in a busy urban area, was injured, starving, and eventually captured for rehabilitation. Her photographs and first hand knowledge make a trip to her site worthwhile.
Snowy Owls show up in Ohio because they are juveniles who have been pushed out of their territory, oddly enough, due to an overabundance of food when they were hatched. They show up here, people swarm to experience the magic, and the owl potentially starves or encounters things like cars and electrical wires that are not a part of their habitat.
(My pictures are as zoomed in as possible with my camera and then extremely cropped during editing. With the naked eye, we basically were looking at a white blob against the rocks while visiting to maintain distance.)
The group posted and the local paper wrote articles about the owl’s location. Selfishly, I could not resist the opportunity to see it: Harry Potter’s Hedwig. While we were there, photographers came and went, staying back. Others had reported seeing the owl hunt in a nearby field. Of all the possible spots, it ended up at a large lake and wooded park so maybe there is hope for it.
Fluffy, feathery hope after cleaning its talons.
Introducing Melody. The pumpkin is singing, I swear.
Melody and Lucky immediately went to live outside where our squirrel friends could start nibbling on them.
That was probably a week or so ago.
Saturday morning, I woke up to a cluster of mushrooms that I could see from my window. They clearly needed me to take their picture. Plus I hadn’t wandered through my backyard in days. Thanks, work week. #adulting
I did a sweep of the yard and checked on Melody and Lucky. Lucky was full of rainwater like a weird rain gauge from the Friday night storm. Melody was leaking. But not water.
Melody had developed a pumpkin ass juice situation which, of course, gushed all over when I attempted to relocate Melody from the patio to the yard.
Both pumpkins are full of moldy growths. Fortunately, I had my macro lens in hand.
… BATMAN! (Or Catman, I guess, but she’s not a dude so probably Cat Woman who was a hell of a lot more fun anyway.
Everybody had to help with the laundry this morning. Miles and Birdie attacked the zippers on the delicates bags. Sookie peaced out which was the most helpful thing. Olivia needed to be in the middle of it. When the Wigglebothum got into the laundry basket, I had to grab the camera. Black and white cat in a round white laundry basket called for digging out the fisheye filter.
Being in a tiny, round space meant Olivia really had to try to catch her tail effectively spinning herself in circles.
Many photos later, she tired herself out.
…with cats. All of her other colleagues are on conference nap calls, so I had to coordinate an inter office interaction with her.
It happens every weekend. Somehow all the other cats camp out for mid morning to early afternoon naps, but The Wigglebothum is still awake and she wants to play. She won’t pounce on any of the sleepers, but she’ll squeak and wiggle, and head bump my legs for attention. I fantasize about a kitten who would occupy her sometimes. I want to play, but I also want to get things done. There’s nothing like the parental guilt of sitting at the computer trying to pay bills while your kid desperately wipes her wet nose on your shins looking for love.
With The Wigglebothum ready to play, I tried to get some action shots.
We have lift off!
While my pathetic string tosses weren’t always coordinated enough for flying leaps, there were some fierce, but lazy prone attacks. Murder mittens indeed.
So much sass in this girl.