Monday, April 29, 2013

Dewlap-py Thing-a-ma-jig

While spending time in the southern US,
I was fascinated with the little lizards -
anoles and geckos.
My challenge was to be quick enough to
photograph them with their dewlap-py thing-a-ma-jigs
displayed.  I don't have a fancy camera
and it wasn't an easy thing to do.
They didn't exactly care for my company
and didn't linger for a photo shoot.
A dewlap is an inflatable flap of skin under their necks.
It is sometimes referred to as a 'throat fan'.
Scientists believe it's display is part of the mating ritual,
as well as to lay claim to their territory
when other males invade their space.
They simultaneously bob up and down, or 'do push-ups', as
a non-verbal form of communication to drive the point home!
I believe they inflate their dewlap any time they feel threatened
because whenever I'd come across one, it seemed my presence
triggered a dewlap extension.  Without the push-ups.
Guess that meant I was warned,
but in no danger from these little 4 - 6" reptiles.
I was thinking that it's too bad humans don't have something similar.
Could eliminate a lot of strife in relationships of all kinds!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

On the Road

I am still in the traveling mode,
having left TX on April 6th,
but thought I'd stop to share a few Florida bird pictures
while I have internet access.
We happened upon a rookery in the most random place
and I was able to jump out of the car
and snap a few pictures.  It was a bright, sunny afternoon-
not the optimum exposure, but what's a girl to do?
Take pictures anyway, that's what!!
The 83 year old friend I was visiting was concerned that
I wouldn't see many birds because I was with her,
but this just affirms what I kept telling her....
It's not a concern because there are birds everywhere!
There were Wood Storks with chicks,

Anhingas nesting,

and Great Egrets performing their mating ritual.
(Click on photo to enlarge.)
 The best display gets the girl!!
There were Snowy Egrets present, as well, but I was
unable to get very good photos of them
as they were obscurred by the leaves in the trees.
They were doing the mating ritual, too.
It was a delightful surprise to happen upon this rookery
while we were out and about!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Just in Time

by Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori & Brian Sullivan


arrived just in time for spring migration.
Last year, much to my delight and surprise,
I was able to observe a partial migration
right from my daughter's backyard.
The sky was full and my eyes were glued
and my neck was sore,
and I have lots of faraway pictures of...
("See that dot?  It's a hawk.")
To this day, raptors remain my nemesis bird,
despite all of the hawk books I have acquired,
perhaps because of the infrequency of seeing them.
Other difficult birds are easier to study,
Jerry Liguori, I knew I loved you when you released
Hawks from Every Angle and Hawks at a Distance,
but your decision to collaborate with Richard and Brian
put you at the tippety top of my list, in a tie with  Pete Dunne!
As soon as you open the cover of this newest Crossley ID Guide
you know you've struck gold.
The composite pictures are big, bold, and beautiful.
Every habitat known to raptors is covered,
different times of day are featured, .
maps and 'detailed species accounts' are included.
Hawks are tough, they fly so high,
they change shape in the sky,
they change color in the lighting,
but nothing is left to the imagination anymore.
This guide shows just what you'll often encounter in the field,
using Crossley's famous digital photographic montages .
It's all right here at your fingertips.
"The book also includes several "quiz" plates.
These plates have numbered birds without ID labels,
with discussion points and the answers given in the back."
Did you know there are
34 North American diurnal raptor species,
not including owls?
If you haven't picked up your copy yet,
there's still time! 
Scheduled for release in April,
your order from Buteo Books helps support the ABA!
There's a mountaintop in Maine just calling my name.
And this year, I'll have my new guide at the ready!!
It isn't even too big to carry
(once in awhile!).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Not Your Usual Distraction

My time in TX is getting shorter and shorter.
I've been sewing and sewing and sewing,
trying to finish up projects that I've started,
and, of course, new ones that I don't really have time for,
(but when Crafty Daughter asks for something, I stop everything
and make it for her).
Yesterday, as I was sewing away, I noticed a little movement
at the window next to my sewing machine.

Well, of course, being the nature nerd that I am,
all sewing came to a stop!

I always sew with my camera at the ready, don't you?
When I'm back up on the island, my binoculars are right there, too!

This is a Green Anole,
(Anolis carolinensis), common in TX.
I'm assuming she's not green because it was early morning, cloudy.
and being on the fence, she took on the color of the fence.
This is a poor picture, but I wanted to show her little
dewlap-py thingy.
Here's a better picture showing the dewlap,
borrowed from the link provided above.

We played hide and seek for a little while.
And then she realized I wasn't going to harm her,
so she posed nicely.  Either that, or I tired her out!
She wasn't out there for my amusement, however.
She had a little friend with her,
had other things on their minds!
I won't show THAT picture:),
but let me just say, that's how I know she's a she!
At that point, I gave them my privacy and returned to sewing my
Jingle pieced block #2
She returned later in the afternoon,
and this time she WAS green.
She changed color quickly.
I was able to get a few close-ups
before I returned to the sewing machine
and made a quick gift for a young TX cousin.
I've been making quite a few bibs and burp cloths this winter.
I discovered that if I purchased a bath towel,
I could back the bib with it and eliminate the need for batting.
Worked great, and I was able to get 6 bibs from one
regular sized bath towel.
Okay, enough computer time,
back to the sewing area.
The mornings just aren't long enough.