Tuesday, February 23, 2010

man--the shots I miss to keep my chickens alive... (plus spring flowers)

I just chased off our local bobcat, who was SIX FEET outside my window, IN THE SUN. Holy cow. Whatta photo-op.

I hesitated 2 beats, DYING to pick up my camera vs. scare it off, but it was aiming at our Rhode Island red, Fanny, who was foraging innocently in our garden, another 20 yards (i.e. a few bobcat-bounds) away.

So,  I got up and knocked on the window. It turned 180 degrees and ran away. Here are the best shots I got, OB-viously not as good as I could have, but I'm quite sure the only reason I get to see this animal so regularly is that we have tasty, charming chickens luring it from the periphery.

 (per usual, click to enlarge)

(good reminder to get rid of that blue tarp...)

It also set me to wondering if we are now seeing the bobcat more than we had because the fox is gone. I learned years ago (from Kevin Crooks, http://warnercnr.colostate.edu/~kcrooks/, while he was becoming a Dr.) that in southern California, foxes and coyotes don't seem to share territories. Also, just looked it up on Wikipedia (I know, not a thorough literature search), and the ONE study they cite re: this issue indicates that bobcats are not competitively excluded by red foxes or coyotes. In Maine. Which means, for here, who knows? =)

So, on to other matters, like my documenting Spring in the Sticks via photos, and the promised red maids, and other participants...

Charming Calandrinia ciliata, a.k.a. red maids, making my flagstone step welcome and attractive.

Closer shot of actual flower and happy grass.

Also saw this, which is, I believe, red-stemmed filaree, Erodium cicutarium, a non-native little flower who's seed can stab through just about any footwear. A-MA-zing. AND, the dried, detached seed moves with changes in humidity to corkscrew into the soil. Incredible adaptation.

Next up is this charmer, which I did NOT expect. However, thanks to you and what I'm learning from this spring bloom log, I may learn to expect it this early next year.

Baby blue-eyes, Nemophila menziesii, is nativeBe sure and click on the photo to see it's charming companion--v. cool bug with great eyes. Also, to see this flower's interesting anthers--I'd never noticed that before.

Not far from here is a place that gets nearly solid fields of the stuff, so when (and if) it's really going this year, I'll try and get some pics for you.

xoxo the biobabbler

P.S. Am right now surrounded by yellow-rumped warblers and western bluebirds, swooping and hopping all over our grasses.

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