Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Wild Life

I've been noticing the increase in wildlife this year. That also has me thinking about the differences between here on Cape Ann and "back home" in Florida. I like Florida wildlife. I don't mean 'gators. We didn't have many of those in our neighborhood! We frequently saw nifty things like possum and armadillo. The possum were naturally curious and would peer in the screen door at night. Sort of startling to see this HUGE, white, ratlike face staring at you with it's pink beady eyes. Armadillo have to be one of the strangest. Just like little, slow moving tanks until they argued with traffic. Armadillo were possibly the most often seen "road-kill".

Then, of course, the birds. My favorite was Eubie, "our" white heron. Eubie was named after Eubie Blake, the famous piano player. That's because every time I had a piano in the workshop that I was playing, Eubie (the bird) would walk right in and listen. He'd stand a bit sideways to me and tilt his head in the direction of the music.

Here's a picture of Eubie standing on the roof rack of my mini-van.

We found out that white herons really enjoy hot dogs! They will walk right in to the kitchen if you let them. We also found out that they will NOT eat giant grasshoppers. Seems that nothing will. Yep, folks, we had grasshoppers sooooo big and sooooo brightly colored that we called them "Nukers". They hatched by the thousands in the garden each June as cute little black hoppers. By July they were as big as a cat and ugly. They were bright green and red and yellow, with just a few spots of black. And guess what? They could even fly a short distance....very short, and okay, they weren't quite as big as a cat, but I challenge you to have the nerve to squish one. They liked to munch on broad-leafed plants like philodendron.

So ......more birds.....our woodpeckers were giants, too. Our street was lined with Washingtonian palms. You can see the better part of one behind Eubie. The woodpeckers loved them. Too much! These trees were about 80 years old and near the end of their life. Woodpeckers would attack them, repeatedly drilling holes around and around the trunk. The next big storm would come along and over the tree would go! Most everyone on the street had planted new palms in anticipation of the demise of the old.

Not all the critters in Florida were big. Squirrels were scrawny compared to their northern counterparts. I guess it's because they don't need insulation from the cold. Here's a picture of the squirrel that comes for breakfast each morning in Rockport. "Squirt" had finished his meal and had decided to put his butt in the dish and relax. In this picture he is watching the sparrows, and Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, flitting to the bird feeder that is beyond his capabilities to dine from. Eventually he fell asleep with his butt in the dish.

I wish there was a way to have my camera ready and then to be able to take photos while I'm driving. Probably not a good idea, though. In the last week or so I've seen 3 wild turkeys along Nugent Stretch. Two, on separate occasions, ran across the road in front of me, and today, there was a large male turkey walking alongside the road. Yesterday, on my way home from a tuning job near the golf course in East Gloucester, a cute little bunny ran in front of me. Then of course last Fall was the large buck.

Now, all of this wildlife talk is just a preview for my next post. AND.....that post will be about the surprise.


deb said...

Oops...forgot to mention. Guess what? There's a boat in the harbor! Not much of one, just a small power boat, but it's a start! Check ou the link for the Sandy Bay Webcam in the sidebar. It's in the second picture (bottom).

dickiebo said...

The thing that we brits love most about the yanks, is that everything in the States is soooo much bigger than anywhere else.
HUGE armadillos; flying grasshoppers soooo big - nearly as big as a cat!; Large buck; Giant woodpeckers. Then you go and spoil it all by showing that you have a mini-van!
Better check out that boat in the harbour though,Deb. Could be a hun! Can't make it out on the webcam.
P.S. Can I stay up tonight to wait for the surprise? Please!

deb said...

We over compensate whenever possible because we are so lacking in other areas!

And it gets worse...I no longer have the *mini* van. Now I've gone even smaller with a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

Click on the webcam photo and it should enlarge it for you. In a few weeks there should be lots (yes, millions!) of sailboats moored.

The surprise will be revealed Friday or Saturday. After all the build-up I'll now have the opportunity to disappoint.