Saturday, July 29, 2006
This particular robber fly likes the top of a foldable cage that I have for my small tortoises. I have seen this one... or perhaps a few of its friends sitting one at a time in the same place (?), sitting waiting for something delicious to come by. The large red dragonflies (Anisoptera) that buzz the Gulf Fritillaries (Agraulis vanillae), have special tall reeds to alight on to either survey territory or to look out for food.
Here is another naturalist fro last year, with another robber of a different Genus.
Friday, July 07, 2006
While working at Duke University, people said South Carolina had them. I hunted for them, but the one bird I did hear just did not have the same vocalizations as California birds.
Usually, in summer when it was hot, the crickets would whir in the evening and then slow to a chirp in the cooler morning hours. That was when the lonely male Mocking birds would call for a mate.
When I was a child I used to listen to them to fall asleep. I use to try to listen for the different birds they would imitate. Some Mocking birds would take their time going through their repertoire. Others would speed from one song to the next. I hear them now, mimicking pet parakeets and once .... I heard one calling like the Rails I hear in the summer mornings in the Salicornia of Mugu Lagoon.
When I was young and the world was about to blow up from this bad country or that bad leader, I used to think that if things DID go wrong and bombs blew much of our world away the Mocking bird would have fewer birds from which to learn songs. Maybe, the Mocking birds would have to try to remember songs from each other - I thought that they would very quickly forget and their songs would deteriorate into squeaks and bangs and whirrs that came from people.... or maybe they would just go silent.
Silent Spring had been printed and was quite famous when I thought of these things. I was too young to have read the book - well, reading wasn't on my plate until after HIgh School - but, the fear of loosing of birds and bugs and furry animals and plants were. Actually, after working with thousands of children, I find that that is something that little kids DO worry about besides the loss of their parents. WHo wants to grow up in a barren world of nothing but people.... UGH!
Monday, July 03, 2006
Fred, my old pal, loves to keep me company but I don't offer him any excitement up here in my small library nook.... but then again, he only has just so much energy for excitement. Do we, as mammals, have the energy when we get older but just can't get to it? Is it that our cells don't have the stuff to make the mitochondria to get us moving?
Sleep is good. My grandfather loved his dreams. He would wake from a dream laughing and then tried to explain the joke to my grandmother - who he had awakened from a sound sleep herself.... Somehow, the joke was not as funny in wake time. My grandmother would pat my grandfather and tell him to go get the punch-line again and re-tell it in the morning.... and then fall back to sleep.
Sleep. Cats are so good at it. Somehow even in Fred's advanced age, he can get into positions I wish I could. They drool when they sleep just like people.... Why, I am not surprised...
It has been exceptionally hot here. So, hot that Fred has had a hard time finding a good spot to sleep. He will find a spot, flop down, close his eyes - and you can tell by his ears that he is not happy... He will move to a new spot. There is a lot of agitation going on. Sometimes you can see it in the twitching back of a cat... they seem to be bothered by itchy things, too....
Mouse, his buddy, was so upset by the heat he thought perhaps the bathroom sink would be nice. He curled up there for a while - even tolerated the drip, and that was funny to watch - but he got the sink warm and so had to jump down and find yet another spot.... The endless search for a cool spot to lie down and sleep.
Sleep, Ernestine, my leopard tortoise, has a young male friend (also a leopard tortoise) courtesy of the Vet. His name is Jack. Jack has long legs and is shaped more like a football and is a very friendly guy. He loves Mouse the cat, but Mouse the cat does not trust a long-legged-variegated-mobile-rock heading like a beeline to him across the lawn..... EEEK!
Jack loves anything that is black and white or grey and white.... just like him. Ernestine stumps about eating grass and dropped fruit from the trees. then she takes naps.... under bushes where the soil is cool. And, jack goes to find her. He is young and doesn't know what to do with Ernestine. He understands she is something he should explore but he is confused. He tends to climb up the rocks and bushes around her. I will find him hung up dangling from branches just above her. I put him down next to her and in the afternoon I find them face to face or shoulder to shoulder tucked inside and asleep.