Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Squirrels, Dragonflies, Hummingbirds, Vulture, Little Flowers and Awesome Sunsets

There is a young male squirrel who lives across the road in the forest in front of our house. He is a bit of a clown. My stepson took the dogs for a walk one day and happened to surprise the little fella as he was scampering up the sidewalk. The squirrel got down and army crawled into the trees. He loves to climb around the pond by my bedroom window, drink the water, eat the pecans, and hang between the branches of the crape myrtle, watching me through the picture windows. Chewy the chihuahua used to bark at him and scare him off, but Chewy has now realized it is much more fun to sit quietly and watch the squirrel play. I feel like he should have a name, like "Sammy."

I've been watching for dragonflies. It's that time of year and I love dragonfly pictures. We've been swarmed many evenings, but they don't land often. I have had some really great close-up encounters with tiny dragonflies. I am assuming they are babies because they are so small. Their faces look like robot faces. For the past few years, the dragonflies that swarm in the fall have been a silvery-blue, but this year we seem to have a lot of black ones with some kind of pattern on their wings. They are large and beautiful and fly so close to me I can reach out and touch them, but for some reason, they don't land very often. They spend a great deal of time chasing each other, which is most likely a mating ritual.

We are also getting swarmed at the hummingbird feeders. I am refilling the feeders every other day. This time last year I was filling them twice a day. Sometimes there are four and five birds hovering around each feeder. We have a lot of Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds around our house this year. In years past the majority of the hummingbirds have had shiny green backs. Those are here, too, as well as some tiny gray ones. There is a gray hummingbird smaller than my pinky finger that likes to sit on the chain of the plant hanger and guard the feeder closest to the picture window. He's smaller than any of the other birds around, which is probably why he's so tough!

White-Winged Dove season has started and I have placed extra food on the tables to try and attract the birds out of the nearby forests. It seems to be working. We have a flock of close to fifty doves now that flutter around our house. These are beautiful birds with red eyes and feet, but they're not too big and I really don't understand the logic in hunting these lovely creatures. They certainly cannot have much meat on their bodies.

Speaking of hunting, the vultures have been flying very low lately. I read that there are hawks migrating through Central Texas and it's possible that there is competition for food. A black vulture was circling at tree top level over Chewy yesterday. It flew off when I stepped out from behind a tree to let it know I was there. A Turkey Vulture landed on our lawn a few days ago and I took its picture. When I enlarged the photo, it appeared as if the bird has something in its mouth.

I have challenged myself lately to photographing the smallest flower on the property. It's been a fun challenge, but I've found that the harder I look, the more teeny little flowers I find. Every day I find a new hidden beauty never noticed before, so many gifts from God.

The sunsets the past few days have been spectacular! I climbed onto the roof last night to photograph in all directions. It was awesome! Reds, golds, oranges. There was a storm to the south, clear skies to the north, clouds moving in over the mountain behind us and the sun setting in such a glorious fashion you could hear the angels singing. I want to create a scrapbook with pictures and stories of our life here in Texas for my grandchildren so they can know and understand the incredible beauty God has gifted to this land and I think these sunset pictures will demonstrate this fact quite well!

No comments: