Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Mantle Passes

Mr. Big  has been known as the BirdSlayer since he arrived Nov. 8, 2001. Despite his huskiness and slower gait (he'd never have made it as a sled dog; he only has one gear: go), he was so good in his prime, he could snatch birds out of mid-air. He once caught a Cooper's hawk; admittedly, a juvenile, but a hawk nonetheless.

Pipsqueak appears to have inherited the title. Although she's only been here 6 months, she has already caught 3 birds (all northern mockingbirds, if you want to know). The last was yesterday. She raced past me into the house and into my bedroom and I, fearing the worse, followed to see her enjoying her post-breakfast triumph right next to my bed.  Where I sleep.


And they say housecats let out for a day of roaming are decimating our songbird population. Be that as it may, in my immediate neck of the woods, woe betide any mockingbird silly enough to nest in my grapefruit tree. I've probably lost about 5 or 6 to my dogs and at least 3 babies I can think of to the Cooper's hawks. It may be pretty and smell nice, but if you're a bird, it's the Tree of Doom.

A very young mourning dove has built herself a nest on the precarious edge of my Tombstone rosebush, on the patio. Every time I open my back door, and that's probably a dozen times a day, at least, she flies off in a huge panic. I knocked what I thought was an empty nest out from under my eaves on Saturday which in actuality had 2 eggs in it. I felt absolutely horrible when I saw their smashed goo. So I'm letting this little mother stay put, and I hope she doesn't get caught by BirdSlayer the younger, or I may find myself hatching her solitary baby egg out of guilt.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Where Would I Live, the Television Version

Okay, we know from past summers that it's usually around this time of the year, when it's 108 degrees Farenheit out there (41 degrees Celcius for the rest of the world), when it's very humid as the rainy season settles in, when it's too hot to cook or garden or even think, that I start dreaming of living elsewhere.

This year, I've narrowed my choices to two small villages depicted in television shows I watched over the winter. Port Isaac is the setting for the fictional Portwenn in the Doc Martin television series, which my PBS station started showing last year.

My second choice is Downham, Lancashire, where exteriors for the television show Born and Bred were shot. Coincidentally or not, my PBS station also started showing this program last year. Maybe PBS is telling me to move?

Pros of Port Isaac: ocean, and gorgeous ocean views; narrow, winding streets; lovely architecture; what, is that snow in one photo?

Pros of Downham: green; green, and green; beautiful stone architecture; narrow, winding lanes; babbling brooks; what, are those kilts in one photo?

Both offer something I don't really have and which I usually miss out here--green and water. Big trees, expanses of lawn, acres of flower beds, sunlight dancing on waves, sea birds wheeling overhead, gorgeous views with lots of walking paths. I can completely see the dogs and I taking our daily constitutionals on any of these paths.

Le sigh. I wish I could do my job from one of those places.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Backyard Birding

Recent visitors to the patio:
mourning dove
black-chinned hummingbird
northern mockingbirds
house finch
Gila woodpecker

And just because Mr. Big is starting to look very puppy-like in his golden years, this cutie:

And my birthday gift to myself, probably the last thing I buy myself for a good long while:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

June in Photos

June was a crazy month, with a sick puppy (more to follow) occupying all of my time for three weeks. Photos of some of what happened in June.