Saturday, January 8, 2011


I've been home for five days and it's taken that long to convince the birds and squirrels to return. My husband leaves seeds on the picnic table, but I know all the secret places the little creatures like to eat, the safer places that offer more protection. I leaves sunflower seeds behind the fence beneath the half-dead tree for the male squirrel who lives near the second garage and sunflower seeds in a cup hanging from a tree just inside the forest for the baby squirrel born in the fall who is still too shy to come into the yard. The sparrows like seed on an easily-cleanable tray beneath the grape vines where they sit year-round, singing until nightfall when they hop onto the roof in small groups and fly into the forest to find safe places to sleep. The doves and cardinals prefer the picnic table in the backyard. They are larger birds and it provides a larger eating space.

The first night I returned I was taking pictures of the sunset in the front yard and spotted a young buck walking across the lawn. He stopped to watch me as I took a few pictures, then slowly walked into the woods. I set some corn out for him, but he hasn't eaten it yet. I think he's returned, though. There are a few spots in the grass where it appears as though a large animal has been sleeping.

I am surprised by how many butterflies I've seen considering it's the middle of January. It hasn't been terribly cold here, according to my husband, and last years torrential rains seem to have taken a break, thank goodness. There is still a little water in the creek bed, but the creek is not running and the water is filled with algae. Our two ponds in front of the house are sparkling clean, though. The fish and plants have a solid system going now.

I dropped my husband off for a haircut yesterday and drove down the road to see if I could photograph any vultures. I spotted two about twenty feet away from each other sitting on posts. I spent about half an hour photographing them. They were very cooperative! At one point, a truck driver honked his horn and spooked one of the vultures. Instinctively, I clicked the camera and got a shot of him spreading his wings, looking down at me. It looks very spooky...

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