Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sun in Leo: Dog Days of Summer

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." - James Dent

The West Fort Ann house has a new, extremely unwelcome visitor: a cat. It seems to be feral, very timid of humans. I cannot get anywhere near it, not that I want to. I just want it gone, no defecating worms into the garden and no attacking my feathered buddies. I'm hoping it left alone the green frog I found today. The frog "spoke" to me when I came near; unfortunately, I don't speak it's language. It then hopped into some water and turned back around to look up at me. For all I know, it could have thanked for me providing a cool spot on such a hot, humid summer day.

The nesting House Wrens are still around. It feels like I have been saying this for a month now. I have seen the pair, but I have seen no others. They like to sit on top of the nest box or this metal windmill ornament in front of their "house" and call, and I've watched them catching insects. They don't seem to mind my presence, except that the Mr. has designated a certain spot he doesn't want me to cross. I like to mess with him and sneak up near his nest box, where he will pause in his preening to look at me and open his bill without sound coming out, as if warning me that if I take one step closer, he was going to make noise. And he does, if I come forward. He'll close his bill and go back to preening if I back off. But I usually leave him alone and let the wren family have it's space. Tonight I scared off the juvenile Blue Jays and a Grackle from trying to attack him.

The juvenile Blue Jays are a blast. They hang around the yard, since it's a source of easy food. They sit in nearby pine tree perches and whine, then fumbling with flight to get to a location. One of them is still spooked by human presence. He/she sat completely unmoving on the suet feeder with a huge chunk in it's bill, staring at me to see what I was up to. Another one is trying to figure out how to use a feeder that is way too small. It also seems like they've been alerting each other to the presence of that unwanted cat.

I heard the Red-eyed Vireo today making an alarm call briefly, that hoarse "qwaaa" sound. Not sure why it's here on a daily basis now, with it being the middle of summer.

Goldfinches and chickadees are still in good number here, and I occasionally see one of the young Chipping Sparrows messing around the yard. I have noticed a lack of American Robins suddenly. The Broad-winged Hawk is no longer watching the yard as territory.

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