Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Friday, November 29, 2019

Friday, October 25, 2019

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Monday, August 26, 2019

Friday, August 23, 2019

Happy Friday

I set Mom up with a new bird feeder on her balcony so she can see them from the bedroom and the living room. Birdfeeding is a long tradition in our family, going back to winters in Minneapolis when my grandfather fed the pheasants that would come into the back yard.  This set-up is from Wild Birds Unlimited, and the seed packet is a no-mess variety, with each piece 100% edible.  Enjoy, Mom.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Friday, July 19, 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Toad Haul

And I thought peacocks were a nuisance.

A Florida suburb is being plagued by thousands of poisonous toads.

Experts say the amphibians are bufo toads, also known as cane toads. Residents in the infested Palm Beach Gardens neighborhood worry toxins secreted by the toads will harm their pets and children.

News stations broadcast images of the small toads clogging pool filters, hopping en masse across driveways and sidewalks, and lurking in landscaped lawns.

Resident Jennifer Quasha told WPBF her family first noticed the toads Friday. She said hundreds of them were in her swimming pool.

Mark Holladay of the pest removal service Toad Busters told WPTV that recent rains coupled with warm temperatures sent the amphibians into a breeding cycle.

Holladay said even more toads are likely to spread throughout South Florida in the coming weeks.

PS: If you don’t get the punning reference in the title, go read The Wind in the Willows.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday Catblogging

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve done this now that Snowball has retired, but when I got a housemate last January he brought along Sombra, which means “Shadow” in Spanish.  She spends most of her time watching the outdoors from her perch in the front window and, like she did yesterday, looking out over the patio at the backyard nature, including the ibises that come by to feed on the morsels in the yard.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Friday, November 23, 2018

Black Friday

I’m all in favor of capitalism and patronizing local businesses, so if spending money for Christmas is what you want to do, go forth, drive carefully, bundle up (if it’s cold), and remember where you parked.

Me, I’m staying home, doing some writing and reflection, and enjoying a four-day weekend.

Last year at this time the vanda orchid was in full bloom.  I haven’t checked recently, but it looked like it was getting ready to do it again.

“Chili pepper” vanda (from the last time it bloomed)

You kids have fun out there.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Moment Of Peace

This is the beginning of a short week for most people here in the U.S.; Thanksgiving is Thursday, followed by the rush to the holidays in the next six weeks.  So here’s something to calm you and remind you that even with snow pummeling the Northeast and traffic at the shops and stores is bordering on mob-like, there are quiet places and sunshine.

Enjoy this view of the hibiscus — one of many — blooming in my front yard.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Birdwatching

One of the many things I liked doing with my dad when I was a kid was birdwatching.  We had bird feeders in the yard when I was growing up and I still have my travel-scarred and dog-chewed1962 edition of Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds.  I also keep a life list of birds spotted for the first time.  It got a lot longer when I moved to Florida and got to add such exotics as ibises, egrets, and anhingas.

Dad can’t get out much anymore, so the bird feeders are strategically located so he can see them from his easy chair, and yesterday when I was at the house I caught up with the birds, including goldfinches, juncos, and woodpeckers.  When it gets warm they’ll put out the bottles with sugar water and feed the hummingbirds.

 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018

Iguana Get Warm

Time for the annual Florida cold-snap post on reptiles, metabolism, and gravity.

Beware the falling iguanas in South Florida.

When temperatures dip into the 30s and 40s, people from West Palm Beach to Miami know to be on the lookout for reptiles stunned — but not necessarily killed — by the cold. They can come back to life again when it warms up.

In Boca Raton, Frank Cerabino, a Palm Beach Post columnist familiar with the critters, stepped outside and saw a bright green specimen by his pool on Thursday morning, feet up.

“It’s one of those ethical things: What do you do?” he said in an interview.

Iguanas, which can be as long as six feet, are not native to South Florida. They have proliferated in the subtropical heat, causing headaches for wildlife managers — and occasionally popping up in toilets. It took a prolonged cold spell to significantly reduce their population in 2010. (The same cold snap also resulted in the deaths of many invasive Burmese pythons.)

Iguanas climb up trees to roost at night, said Ron Magill, communications director for Zoo Miami.

“When the temperature goes down, they literally shut down, and they can no longer hold on to the trees,” he said. “Which is why you get this phenomenon in South Florida that it’s raining iguanas.” (Including on windshields.)

The larger the iguana, the greater its chance of survival, Mr. Magill added.

“Even if they look dead as a doornail — they’re gray and stiff — as soon as it starts to heat up and they get hit by the sun rays, it’s this rejuvenation,” he said. “The ones that survive that cold streak are basically passing on that gene.”

He suspects that, within a couple of decades, iguanas will creep north because they will be able to withstand colder climates.

On Thursday, Mr. Cerabino poked at the animal with his pool skimmer, hoping to wake it up. In a previous backyard encounter with a paralyzed iguana, he said, picking it up with a shovel did the trick.

But no luck this time.

“He didn’t move,” Mr. Cerabino said. “But he’s probably still alive. My experience is that they take a while to die.”

So he opted for leaving the iguana where it was, “and dealing with it when I come home.”

“He’ll either get enough sun where he’ll revive himself and get himself up the tree, or he’ll continue to freeze and turn dark brown — almost black — and I’ll know he’s dead,” Mr. Cerabino said.

The iguana lived.

Now if only the same thing would happen with peacocks: Scoop ’em up and ship ’em out.

Photo by Frank Cerabino/Palm Beach Post, via Associated Press.