A nut case
Monday March 07th 2011, 12:19 am
Filed under: Amaryllis,Wildlife

We have a shed built by a former owner ages ago with a roof over it covered in many decades’ worth of redwood debris and bright green soft moss, spilling over the edges, quite pretty. The birds and squirrels love it.

Motion caught my eye and I turned just in time to see the Cooper’s hawk swooping up across the edge and over that roof–and the black squirrel sitting up there, startled, saw it just in time too and leaped for the leaves of the twisted old olive tree with zero to spare. Made it!

Just as I was blinking from that little bit of drama, a second Cooper’s swooped right there right at the same spot right in the same way, wings and tail stretched wide to second the motion. That is the first time I’ve ever seen two. It must be spring. Wow.

Still trying to figure out what yesterday’s visitor was. It looked (checking my Sibley guide) somewhat like a Wandering Tattler: a barred black-and-white chest, a heathered brown back, long precise bill coming to a straight point and large size, stabbing delectables in the grass. (Our back yarn isn’t the Bay and those would be shorebirds, but if they Wander…) Except that it had a black bib and, later when it flew, a white spot at the center of the end of the tail as seen from below. Any birders know?

It looked up at me, midstride midmeal, as if to question.

No, thanks, that’s okay, you eat it, go ahead, I’m fine.

And since yesterday, a pleasant smell of toasting nuts has wafted through the house whenever the heater has come on. This beats the heck out of our newly-built first house in New Hampshire in the 80’s: hear the fan. Smell the skunk. Here comes the heat. For a year. Our builder was late finishing, and I’d finally told him firmly that I was going to celebrate Thanksgiving in my house–or his.

I do not think he would have been altogether displeased that the skunk hit the fan. (Or whatever took the brunt of the spray.)

Well now. I knew throwing that thoroughly stale brazil nut to that little fluffytail yesterday was a mistake. I didn’t expect him to play gourmet chef with it. That nut smells quite a bit better now than it did when I gave it to him.

Everybody’s a foodie in northern California. (Maybe Virginia too.)

(p.s. With Bev’s suggestion, I looked more closely at the woodpecker section. Gilded Flicker. Cool! That was it!)

7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

What did I miss? How did you get the great scent into the heater?

Comment by sherry in Idaho 03.07.11 @ 8:08 am

Cute post. For some reason, your interact with nature posts always leave me reciting Robert Frost in my mind.

Comment by Channon 03.07.11 @ 8:44 am

Looks like you get more action out of your (wild) life than I get out of my (relatively tame) ones. Although Chipper did fly around the living room-kitchen-dining room once before landing.

Comment by Don Meyer 03.07.11 @ 9:43 am

Just thought I’d confirm your decision to leave New England behind…. We’ve had a faint smell of skunk off and on near our garage for the past few weeks, and one morning last week we saw it ambling down the driveway. (If I were wider than I am tall I’d amble too LOL!) They’re nocturnal so we called to find out if seeing it in daylight meant it was possibly rabid, but no, the snow cover is so deep and has lasted so long that skunks are out hunting 24-7. There was evidence it was living inside the garage. We have a dog, the neighbors have dogs, so if we leave it be, it’s just a matter of time. We called a man who relocated squirrels who had taken up occupancy in the house several years ago to come and trap the skunk. It took several days before it took the bait (leftover ham plus cat tuna), but this a.m. there’s a black and white striped “kitty” in the trap, so he’ll come get it this afternoon. He suggested leaving another one in case this one has a friend! Shudder! Hadn’t even thought of that!

I love your bird stories, and the reminder that they will come back! Right now the bird feeders are still at lunch-level for squirrels, but we’re due to get more rain = more melting of the snowpack, so there’s hope. It rained last night and we can see the driveway!

Carol in MA (who wonders whether her crocuses will be able to wake up before Memorial Day!)

Comment by Carol Telsey 03.07.11 @ 9:45 am

is your new visitor a variety of woodpecker? I saw the first one of the spring here on Saturday — he has a black bib and stripes on him and a sort of reddish underside to his wings

he was having a little snack of something in the yard (and yes, I kept my dog in the house so he could snack in peace!)

Comment by Bev 03.07.11 @ 9:57 am

Ah spring! IT does bring quite a variety of sights and scents….

Comment by Ruth 03.07.11 @ 10:39 am

Wandering Tattler. You said that, and I thought “four year old, up from her nap.”

Comment by Lynn 03.07.11 @ 11:43 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>