Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Feeling a bit froggy...

My day is starting out to be a bit froggy. I watered the front gardens and freshened the water in both frog bowls on the window sills. Leo was in the guest bedroom window staring up at me. Sara was staring at the pond, as always, ready to take a flying leap if I move too quickly. They are both so calm, patient, and serious, like guards standing before Buckingham Palace. The sun was shining on their perches highlighting the sparks of gold on their eyelids and bodies. They both have a bright white throat, which surprised me. At first, I thought Leo was the female and I was certain Sara was a male because of the size difference—Leo is much larger and female frogs and toads are larger than the males. However, the ear flaps on Sara and Leo are both the size of their eyes, which is common in females, and they both have a bright, white throat, and males generally have a darker throat. So I have named the smaller frog Sara and am assuming she is much younger than Leo (which is short for Leonora.)

When I finished with the frogs I started watering the rosemary gardens and two more toads popped out as I sprayed beneath a scented geranium. I haven’t seen these toads before. One was gray and quite large. The other was brown with a hint of green and was much smaller. Apparently, I had sprayed into their hole, though I didn’t notice until they popped out. I must have given them a face full of water!

Last weekend, as I stood watering the rosemary, I suddenly heard the sound of many birds, large birds, calling back and forth to each other. There is a flock of vultures that circles my house every day. They are generally playing when they circle. They like to catch the warm air currents and ride them higher. I noticed the shadows of the birds as they flew across my driveway and realized they were the source of the sound. I moved out into the open so I could see above the house. A group of hawks had joined the vultures. I didn't even know hawks flew in groups! The two groups of birds were flying together, swooping and diving and calling to each other. No one was fighting, and they weren't circling playfully like the vultures generally do. I put up my hands and called out to them. One of the vultures came down and tried to land on the house roof, but couldn't get the traction. Then he tried to land on the garage roof, but had the same problem. Finally, he looked like he was going to land in the driveway, but when he got that close, and I realized how incredibly huge he was, I chickened out and ran inside! It was cool, but wow! Those birds are huge!! Their wingspan can get to be five to six feet!

There’s a red-tailed lizard on the driveway as I write this. I can see him from my den. He sweeps across the driveway every afternoon, searching for bugs. It’s his routine. He’s on super-awareness mode all the time with his little head swinging back and forth, searching and searching.

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