Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Little Bit of Sun and a Whole Lot of Rain

We are squishy here. We have a rain gauge in our front yard and during the month of July, I have recorded 22 inches of rain in the first 28 days. We've had two days when it did not rain at our house. It rained elsewhere in the county today, but not at our house.  When the sun does come out, we are rather enjoying it. One morning, we made a quick trip out to the garden. The sun through the spanish moss is always nice.

The horses were at the road, looking for visitors.

And a silly, old armadillo shuffled his way through the soggy pasture.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mailbox Monday: Simply Charming

Look at the details on the front.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Welcoming New Neighbors with a Big Snake

Our new neighbor called to B early one morning last week that she had a snake on her driveway. We had noticed that we have actually had fewer snakes over all this year.  B called me on my cell phone to come outside with my camera. By the time I got out there the snake had cozied up to the utility box out in front of our house. This first glimpse was enough to show B and me that it was a moccasin. A big fat one.

Here is the business end.

That fella did an amazing 180 flip. 

But it knew a good spot when it found one.

And did not appreciate being urged out.

Unfortunately for the snake, we do not permit trespassing venomous snakes to continue to share our property. B was finally able to get it to move out into the grass and dispatched it with a hoe. It measured out just about three feet long. 

Note: These pictures were made using a zoom lens. I do not get up close at all to venomous snakes and I was pretty much a wreck watching B get close enough to kill it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More Dam Water at the Refuge

At another spill dam at the Refuge, there is a low bridge. Looking down into the churned water, I was fascinated by the marbled patterns in the foam.

And while, I think the first were designed by God playing in the water, these last two were when the late Dr. Seuss joined in the fun.

These crazy waters yielded two pretty bass for B

and on the pool side of the dam was a tight school of large--but unidentified--fish. They definitely had a carp shape to them but were not nearly as gold as the picture would indicate. As soon as I shot this, they swirled out of sight.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mailbox Monday: Ambivalent

The name is probably Noyes.

But doesn't it also look like NO YES?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

High Water at the Refuge

Last weekend, we took a drive down to the lighthouse. It had been a while since we had been, mostly because there is definitely less wildlife to observe in the hot days of summer than in the cooler months. But we were interested to see the water after the heavy and continuing rains we have had this month.

We could not remember seeing the water standing up onto the pavement before.

B has fished here many times. I usually sit on the dry concrete dam and nature-watch or take pictures. This dam controls the water level of the pool on the right and, as you can see, it was overflowing into the East River.

As we approached over a rise in the trail, we could hear the roar of the water before we could see it.

We saw some big sea trout jumping around in the foam and we guessed they were confused. A great blue heron watched from a high perch on a pine, considering its next meal.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wet and Wildlife

We have had about 16 inches of rain this month at our house. Below, the little pond is on the left. However, when I took the picture, the water surface for the lawn, the sidewalk, the porch and the pond had evened out.

The woods have water flowing through them and we saw this deer when we walked the other morning. Poor dear was no doubt just trying to dry out her hooves.

A deer was also laying in a yard at the end of our neighborhood. We guessed it had been hit by a car. 

A very young alligator was hit by a car as it climbed up on the road.

We had a wind storm to come up one evening that, while it did not last but a few minutes, was alarming in its intensity. The damage could have been significant and we felt blessed. Large branches came off the trees. One pine branch flew over the length of the 20 foot screen porch and landed on the far side without tearing the screen roof. 

This is a sweetgum branch. For proportion, the screen panel is over six feet long. 

We had three hundred pounds of debris that B took to the landfill. Included in the load was earthworms, a big toad and this little ring-necked snake.

 Look how corrugated it looks as it crawled over the bed-liner!

When the sun comes out, it is pure steam, but look how pretty it looks reflecting off the water onto our front porch ceiling. The light just dances!

And the big pond frog seems happy-- rain or shine!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gray Rat Snake on the Move

This gray rat snake was around our garage door and eventually moved on down toward the woods and the swamp, which I think was a good call on its part as we have a good collection of hawks and owls in our neighborhood.

It was a little over three feet long with pretty markings and, once it hit the weedy area, it had amazing camouflage. It just disappeared. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Great Hurt Owl

Riding down a long, straight country highway, I looked out into the forests in the quail plantation country. You never know what you might see. I did spot something.  At first, I  thought it was a young eagle, as it was a very large, dark bird in a pine back a ways off the road. B kindly doubled back so I could try to find it again. Just as we were giving up, I saw it. It was a great horned owl.

On closer inspection, I could see that it was hurt. In fact all but a few of the "horn" tuffs on its right side were missing. The eye appears swollen and it looks bloody above it. The dark areas on the body are where the outer, longer feathers are missing. Some are wing feathers which may explain why it did not flee when I approached the fence for a closer shot.

Poor thing. It made us wonder what the story was. A territory or mating fight? (I later read that they mate in the winter, so that wasn't it.) A hungry bobcat or coyote? Or did it fly into the path of a car. We will never know.

As an aside: this is our 1300th post on this blog.  Whoooo'd a-thunk it?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mailbox Monday: Pelican Perch

...And perhaps with perch! (It does have a fish in it's bill.)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cardinal Numbers

It has been an amazing year for cardinals here at our house. In the picture below, you can see two females stuck in our box trap-- that is not intended for catching birds.

But the other day, there were no fewer than nine cardinals at our bird feeder! Several were obviously juveniles, so it has been a busy nesting season.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Meeting the New Neighbor

We recently became acquainted with our new neighbor, Tortugas, down our street.

The large gopher tortoise was named by the property owner. Tortugas, as far as we can tell, is a squatter, but everyone seems to be okay with this arrangement. The burrow is at the edge of the storm ditch and quite visible from the road. We now know to look for it as we go  by. Welcome to the neighborhood, buddy!