Wednesday, July 17, 2013

And They're Off

We knew it was time for the tiny wrens to fledge--take their first flight.  For the last two days the parents have taken to sitting outside the nest, holding bugs and chirping loudly.  I thought I had better get a last picture -- and as I stuck the camera in the box one of the tiny puffballs ducked under my hand and flew to a nearby tree.  Although it's a not the usual variety of "flying."  I've seen this before--I guess it's flying because it's airborne.  But I usually regard a bird flying as a sort of horizontal thing--head forward, tail behind, wings out to the side.  The first flight of a baby wren is more vertical--head up, tail down, beating the air with tiny wings.  Kind of the bird version of a dog paddle.

I felt bad for a moment, but both parents immediately flew to him, and he got his bug.  Within the next 15 minutes they had lured the other two out.

Good luck, little guys.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tiny Miracles--Look Before They're gone

Been rather busy the last couple of weeks--several programs for the museum, prepping for a pre-Columbian ceramic and textile exhibit (more on that later) and still working with the hawk.   But one still must take time for the little miracles of life.

The wrens who usually nest on the back deck were late this year.  I thought perhaps we wouldn't have any--but then I spotted the nest.  I have a dismantled pet carrier out there on a table, with the lid askew on the bottom (yeah--cleaning that up and putting it back together has been on the "things to do list" for awhile) and she tucked it inside there.  It's in an awkward position for viewing--I have to stick the camera in there, snap a shot, and then look at the picture to see what's happening.  It's amazing--almost like time-lapse photography.

On  July 1--my first sight of eggs (look at the very front of the nest).

And here's mother wren hunkered down on the nest.  Obviously I couldn't stick the camera in her face, so I had to back off several feet and use the zoom.  She looks a bit grumpy.

On July 7, my first shot of a baby bird.  OK--so some miracles ain't too pretty.

 Then I got busy for a few days and forgot to go stick my camera in there.  Well--not really--but I would remember after the sun was going down and I didn't want to disturb the mother on the nest.  I have to sneak a quick shot while she's out getting bugs.  I was shocked when I took the picture--I thought it had only been a few days, but it obviously had been quite some time.  I double-checked my dates--and it was five days later.  From the little guy above to this one--in five days.  I can't quite believe it.  I think there are three crowded in there.

If you zoom in a bit, you'll see a strange scaly thing in front of the baby.  The mother decided to decorate the nest with a bit of shed lizard skin.  If you zoom more and look in the back, there's a peacock feather.  She is into interior design.

And here's today--two days later.

They'll be gone in the next few days.  I'm happy they were here again this year.  Miracles do not care about human schedules--they will happen whether we see them or not.  I'm glad I did.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Too Close for Comfort

During the biting-fly season we sort of let the garden get out of control.  Now that they've mostly abated, we were doing some weeding.

Sometimes when we're in the garden, we bring Godwin the Goose in with us.  She's elderly now (we
hatched her about 20 years ago) and normally lives in a pen.  But she likes to get out and have a change of view and nibble down the grass.

Then we got one of those sudden downpours.  Buckets of rain--soaked to the skin in seconds.  Bob started towards the goose to put her back in her pen so we could get into the house when it happened.  A flash of light, and a sharp crack.

We have a lot of tomato cages in the yard, many of the staked up with pieces of rebar.  There was also, for some reason known only to Bob, a very tall piece of rebar stuck in one of the beds.  There had been one day that he was going to take it down, but saw a dragonfly perched on it.  Dragonflies eat mosquitoes, so he decided to leave it up there for a hunting platform.

God bless the dragonflies, because I saw the lightening hit that rod, less than 20 feet from Bob.

At the time, we were too startled (and still getting soaked) to react--just grabbed the goose, put her away, and headed to the house to dry off.  It wasn't until later that it started hitting me that either of us could of easily been killed--even though Bob pointed out that with the metal fence around the garden, all the tomato cages, and various other pieces of rebar holding things up, we were in a sort of homemade Faraday cage.

Still . . . . .