Snake birds and sunshine

The sun was warmer today, mid-70s, gorgeous for autumn.  Passing the school pond, I paused to enjoy the many birds that gather there as the cooler days approach. Ibis strutted the lawns, snapping up bugs. Herons…white, blue and green, lined the banks, and stalked through the shallows and reeds. Loons swooped and dove.

What I stayed to watch were willowy, snaking necks and heads cruising through the water, body unseen until a small fish flashed in the late afternoon sun as it was flung upward and snatched in the long, spear-like beak.   Image result for anhinga images

Image result for anhinga images

photo by Phil Lanoue

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Larger ones were speared.

And after a successful fishing ‘dip’, the bearers of the snake-like necks for which they are named came ashore to perch, spread their wings, and dry off.

Image result for anhinga images

Image result for anhinga images

Anhinga.  Their name coming from the Brazilian Tupi language and meaning snake bird or devil bird.

Welcome to the pond you devilish beauties.

 

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Sunshine and sofas

Today was a beautiful autumn day here in the Lowcountry,  low 70s, clear blue skies, and sunshine. Hard to get better than this when you have plenty of fun errands to complete.

First up:  rescue the small sofa/loveseat I bought yesterday from the second-hand store but couldn’t get into my little hatchback. A dear friend was kind enough to lend me her jeep and with back seats removed it was the perfect size.  Up the stairs to Reesie’s apartment and hoping she loves it when she gets home tonight. It is a nice solid little piece of furniture and in really great condition aside from a small paint smudge on one arm. Tomorrow I will take the sweet lilac crocheted prayer throw the dear church ladies made for David when he was fighting his cancer.  It made him feel better having it, and will be the perfect accent (and smudge hider) for the sofa.  Then I will nab a couple of cute throw pillows and it will be adorable.

Next up, take my ‘helper’ (aka Little A) for a quick stop at McD’s for drinks and a haIf hour break on the playground. This one has a tube-slide almost two stories high…and a sign saying it is for children 3-12 and their parents too!  Challenge was given, and I crawled up the endless spiral tube, through the maze, following a giggling and taunting boy-child, and there it was: the slide. I got turned…and he shoved me.  Middle-aged woman eeeking her way around all the curves and whoosh out the end.

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I survived!  There may be bruises come morning, ha.

The trip home was blessed with a gorgeous orange half-moon over the river.

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Loving life here in the Lowcountry.

 

Fall takes flight

There are, in case you haven’t noticed from previous posts, LOTS of birds in the Lowcountry.  Which birds changes a bit with the seasons, although there are plenty of year round residents.  The last couple of months have rewarded our watching with a familiar resident, but in a new location. Bald eagles have moved to the pond at the elementary school. October is the beginning of nesting season here, so we were delighted to find they have taken up residence where we can look for them every week.

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The pond is prime territory, open flight paths, but plenty of trees for roosting and nesting, and a gator free pond stocked with an abundance of fish.  By next month the eagles should be laying, and by early spring there will be nestlings to captivate the careful observer.

Snipe may be the stuff of stories and campfire pranks, but here they are among our oddball seasonal shore birds.  Wilson’s snipe are hard to spot, they are so well suited to the area, but fun to find strolling through a local ditch or in your yard.

Snipe-One

After another successful breeding season here in the Lowcountry,  our woodstork population continues to make a comeback from endangered to threatened.  They are ungainly to look at, but amazing in flight or roosting in groups in the trees.

Wood Storks

When you don’t happen to see wood storks feeding in

As fall cools into winter, we are thankful for the return of our seasonal birds. Another year of survival, another hope we can reduce climate change and protect these animals for our children and generations to come.

Welcome home.

Full Moon Magic

Tonight the actual full Beaver Moon shines down upon us all.

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The moon is in close proximity to our little blue planet, and it shines upon us bright and filled with hope and encouragement. It reminds us of the slow turning of the universe…always changing and moving forward.  And as the moon reaches its perfection in fullness …so can we all.  Now is the perfect time to turn our dreams into goals and our goals into actions. To reach beyond the limitations we have placed upon ourselves and become more. Dream more. Dare more.

I danced beneath the moon tonight. The tide was soft and the breakers gentle, singing the ancient song of creation and love.

T H E F U L L E R V I E W  ( Fullerview photo)

Then the return to reality…to kids, and dogs, dishes, and deviling eggs for tomorrow when we celebrate not moon, but sun.  The blessed warmth of autumn’s embrace, another chance to cookout at the park, try new recipes, hear the laughter of the children at play. Bird songs, frogs in the reeds along the ponds. Paths to wander and sights to share.  A new abundance.  A new promise.

May we live up to the promises we make tonight…and remember them in all the days to come.

 

Fabulous Friday

Another amazing day. It began early with a beautiful sunrise above the marsh, and melted into a lovely autumn day. At the school pond a flock of white ibis stalked along the water’s edge, periodically dipping their curved bills into the shallow grasses to feed.

Adult

We saw another group strolling along the side of the road at the county park this afternoon, enjoying the warm sunshine as much as we were.

Because it is Friday…and I am typing away at my current fantasy as part of NaNoWriMo with my writing group…I also spent some time staring at the ocean, exploring our local waterways, marshes and islands. So much to appreciate here. And such fertile ground for my wild imagination.

I was a bit surprised to find that harbor seals sometimes visit us even this far south! Didn’t really expect that, but they are such delightful creatures, I am thrilled with the remote possibility of seeing one down here someday; even though they frequent Long Island where some family lives, so I see them there.  A harbor seal pup in Duck. Harbor seals are one of several seal species turning up along the Outer Banks in recent years, according to Coastal Review Online.

Of course, my story veered away from the possible to other realms…sea lions in particular, since there are none on our North Atlantic coast.  Imagine the possibilities with such a gorgeous creature.  Image result for Australian bull sea lion

I do adore fantasies on Fridays…

Wandering into November

A new month and the end of this crazy year draws nearer.  The marsh grass has faded to brown, and cooler water temperatures add a deeper blue to our usually greenish water.

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At the pond at the elementary school, waiting to pick up the littles, I saw a great blue heron stalking along the shore before it lifted in a low, lazy flight to the trees on the far bank.

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Alligators laze in the sun, soaking up the last, lingering warmth of summer.

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New birds have come to call, enjoying our still gentle temperatures and sunshine. Kinglets chatter. Golden crowned flitter through the wax myrtles and ruby crowned scurry amongst palmetto fronds.

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The kids and I have an abundance of park days coming in these short but pleasant days of November. Welcome back. Let’s have fun.