Soaring on the Air Lofts AKA OMG IT’S A BALD EAGLE

Friday was perfect weather — low 70s, dry, and totally sunny. 

And oh yeah, THERE WERE FREAKING BALD EAGLES FLYING IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE.

Image

Likewise, when the conditions are right — which is often — our local airspace gets crowded with glider airplanes. The lack of an engine means gliders are quiet and not annoying to have around.

And hey, I wonder what their design is based on? I just have no idea.

Image

The Dawn Don’t Rescue Me No More

I just read that Levon Helm, the wonderfully talented drummer, vocalist and lyricist from The Band, has only a few moments left here on earth before he crosses the sweet rainbow bridge. Another amazing soul lost to cancer.

Anytime I’m reminded of The Band, I find myself hunting down the nearest computer and loading up YouTube, or if I’m at home, watching my DVD of The Last Waltz — to watch my favorite song from one of my favorite movies of all time (all my top movies are rock documentaries, oddly):

Sweltering in SoTex

20120415-141036.jpg

I’m here for a few days, and this sticky, hot weather is too much for me. I grew up in this weather? How? Anyway, here’s a self portrait at beachy Oleander Point in Corpus Christi. Two minutes later I ran back to the car and cranked up the a/c.

Meet Spiky, North America’s Second Largest Rodent, Who Lives in Our Yard

Brendan and I were standing in the kitchen when I said “What’s that round thingy in that tree? Do you see that?”

From a distance, it looked like a large brown balloon had landed high up on a hemlock branch in the middle of the forest that surrounds our home. We grabbed the binoculars, but still couldn’t tell what it was, except that it was not just brown, but very fuzzy, too:

Image

Raccoon? Possum? I grabbed the zoom lens and we headed outside to get closer. Looking down at us, from very high up, was this face (the face is on the top) with two big nostrils a tiny pink mouth, hands with big claws, and a lot of fuzz. The fuzz, it dawned on us, are quills of the North American porcupine. I shall call him Spiky, I thought.

Image

Yet, what you don’t see here are eyes. Porcupines have incredibly small eyes and poor vision. So maybe s/he wasn’t so much looking down at us, but smelling us. Or listening to us. Or getting annoyed by us.)

Obviously, porcupines spend much of their time in trees, chewing bark, their winter food. In the summer, they’ll eat all sorts of plants. Some people hate having them around, as they can destroy trees and raid the garden.

For us, it’s OK — our trees are all part of the forest, and I am happy to have Spiky around.

As Pretty as an Easter Egg: The First Full Moon of Spring

Did you know that Easter traditionally follows the first full moon after the vernal equinox (aka spring)?

The older I get, the more I (passively) realize that almost all Christian/Jewish holidays (cause it’s Passover time, too) correlate with pre-Christian dates of celebration. Perhaps this realization started when I was living in Mexico — where pre-Hispanic religious celebrations, such as the defiant Dia de los Muertos, still thrive alongside the Catholic-approved All Saints’ Day — or perhaps it’s due to living up in the Northeast, where the seasons are far more profound than growing up in Texas, but anyway, wow I simply hadn’t thought about these things much until I got older. Simply, it’s no coincidence that Easter is full of images of young bunnies and birds.

Anyway, that is just my ramblings after taking some so-so photos of the giant full moon last night. Did anyone else see it? It was hard to miss. We first spotted it while watching a movie. Suddenly it looked like there was a forest fire in the mountains across the way, as the trees were suddenly illuminated in a golden light.  I got a little alarmed. Then it dawned us: the moon! Such a stunner.

Fee-Bee! Fee-Bee! I Heart the Eastern Phoebe Bird

Another harbinger of spring is the arrival of the Eastern Phoebe, with their adorable fee-bee! fee-bee! call.

phoebe bird

They're a rather ordinary looking bird, except for their fluffy heads, which makes them really cute. Plus, they're spunky and love to build cool mud nests near or on human dwellings, so we can enjoy watching the hatchlings grow up.

Fat, Fluffy and Happy: American Goldfinch Enjoying Spring Weather

This guy/gal was enjoying the young red maple shoots this morning. I am having a hard time identifying it, but it’s probably the relatively common American Goldfinch in his obese winter form. He’s shaped more like a Common Yellowthroat, but he has stripes on his wings, which is more finch-y.

goldfinch

I just love spring so much. The birds are great today, and this little guy was happy to pose for me.

goldfinch landing on a tree

"Coming in for a landing!"

"Am I adorable or am I adorable?"

goldfinch

"Wait, this is my good side."