Hungry?

Just a hungry scrub jay hanging out on the deck. They LOVE raw peanuts. I still find a few empty shells hidden in the garden nine years later..

One of my favorite photos from September 2011.

First there was one, then another, and for a while, there were about four jays who hung out and let me hand feed them.

Did you know that scrub jays are very intelligent?

From Wiki: Recent research has suggested that western scrub jays, along with several other corvids, are among the most intelligent of animals. The brain-to-body mass ratio of adult scrub jays rivals that of chimpanzees and cetaceans, and is dwarfed only by that of humans. Scrub jays are also the only non-primate or non-dolphin shown to plan ahead for the future (known as metacognition), which was previously thought of as a uniquely human trait Other studies have shown that they can remember locations of over 200 food caches, as well as the food item in each cache and its rate of decay. To protect their caches from pilfering conspecifics, scrub jays will choose locations out of sight of their competitors, or re-cache caches once they are alone, suggesting that they can take into account the perspective of others. According to new research from the University of California @ Davis, scrub jays also summon others to screech over the body of a dead jay. The birds’ cacophonous “funerals” can last for up to half an hour.

#ThrowbackThursday 

To a Butterfly

STAY near me–do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart! – Wordsworth

This female Papilio glaucus, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, hung around for about half an hour, leisurely fluttering from one flower to another. I almost felt like paparazzi as I snapped photo after photo of this Lepidopteran celebrity. A little research revealed that the first known drawing of a North America butterfly was in 1587 of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail by John White.

It happened in the front yard this time along the dry river bed.

I was enchanted while she took a rest break on the ground, basically right at my feet, long enough for me to take about fifty more pics.

To a Butterfly

STAY near me–do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart!
Dead times revive in thee:
Thou bring’st, gay creature as thou art!
A solemn image to my heart,
My father’s family!
Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey:–with leaps and springs
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her, feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.


By William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Fog + real ducks in a fake pond.

I had to get up at the crack of dawn to walk before the devil heat returns.

Lucky for me there’s a deep marine layer and so much fog that it’s impossible to see across the street from my house. The fence around the school is barely visible; that’s how moisture-laden the skies are right now. Normally, it’s possible to see all the way to the lagoon from here, but not today.

It’s an hour-long walk around the lagoon and up the hill, and I hurried to beat the emergence of the fiery ball. All-time heat records were broken yesterday; it’s easier to comprehend nuclear fusion creating a core temperature of 270 million degrees on days like that.

These are real ducks in a fake pond on the street where all the paddleboarders park. They built this water feature and have since tried in every way to deter ducks from using it–but here they are. It’s literally feet away from the lagoon which is a natural body of water; how could they expect wildlife NOT to enjoy it??? Duh.

Hello, ducks! Have a wonderful swim. Welcome to Carlsbad!

One Tree: Two Hawks

From 2017 for #throwbackthursday

It was a great day to spend time in my garden with these two hawks. Do you know what they were looking at? Me, taking photos of them.

My New Best Friend

This little guy visits me every single time i’m outside. He’s easy to identify because of the dark spot on the top of his head. I’m not sure if it’s a wound or an injury, but he seems healthy. I pet him with a little stick; he also enjoys a back massage.

I see nothing wrong with having an alligator lizard as a bestie, do you?

The Same Day I Saw a Bald Eagle and a Raccoon

fullsizeoutput_e33The eagle was sitting on that branch waiting for everyone to stop pointing at him so he could swoop down and take a better look at a huge dead fish that washed up on the shoreline.

My neck hurt because I couldn’t believe that I was actually in the presence of an eagle, my very first ever sighting, and I wouldn’t look away until he was gone.

Now I can cross that off my mental list….I’ve seen wolves and mountain lions and bears and of course, my favorite: coyotes.

Not all at the same time, but these are the special pearls in my necklace of life experiences, memories strung together since most of them happened so fast and were such brief encounters that I didn’t have time to take photos.

I wish I had brought my big lens in addition to my iPhone, but it’s good enough as it captured the special moment.

These are admittedly crappy photos, but it’s most definitely a Bald Eagle. I know they’re considered a nuisance in parts of Alaska, but this wasn’t a common occurrence at this location. I didn’t even try to look for an eagle feather because I’m aware that under the current language of the Eagle Feather Law, “unauthorized persons found with an eagle or its parts in their possession can be fined up to $250,000.”

fullsizeoutput_e34

“There’s a raccoon. Look at that!”

I thought he was joking because it was the middle of the day and we were on a sandy beach so I continued to keep my head down to look for seashells.

“LOOK!”

When I finally looked up, there he was.

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He scampered up the bluff and was gone.

What an amazing day! An eagle and a raccoon.

Random.

Baby Whale Retrospective #wordlesswednesday

I LOVE whales (I mean, who doesn’t?) and three years ago in August, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time with my camera to chronicle a juvenile California Gray Whale that became confused and almost stranded in our Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Whale August 4

See that post here: https://enchantedseashells.com/2017/08/08/a-full-moon-and-a-lost-whale/

A large crowd gathered and we all took pics and video of the poor little one trying to get back out to open waters and back to mom. It was a magical moment and I’m happy to say there was a happy ending. Several agonizing hours later, s/he safely disappeared beyond the jetty.

This little whale reminds me of that special day. I know it’s a bird feeder, but I filled his mouth with yummy little succulents instead of seed.

And this way, that little baby whale can stay with me forever.

Because nothing is longer than forever.

 

Was it a lucid dream or a visit from beyond?

I don’t know if it’s caused by all the current planetary behavior (as above, so below) but lately my dreams have been excruciatingly real and detailed. Some of them are so vivid that I’m able to retain enough of them to journal before they disappear like a mirage in a puff of ephemeral smoke.

Anyway…

THIS particular dream went beyond the limits of what my brain can comprehend. (If goose bumps and hair standing up on your arms is any indication)

I was exhausted but satisfied by the completion of a tough garden project, replanting a flowerbed from where I had moved about 150 pounds of white rocks. What once was a cool mini desertscape had devolved into a tangled mess of climbing aloe and not very happy succulents and cacti. I removed them all, raked up the truckload of small white rocks that were all dirty and sad looking, and planted Bird of Paradise and Clivia I dug up from another part of the garden. Both have orange-y flowers and will look so pretty against the house.

The next day was going to be full of stress and anxiety because oral surgery was scheduled and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. Thinking about the impending pain triggered all kinds of panicky ruminations.

I must have fallen asleep when I felt Bandit, my cat, jump on me, landing hard like she would do to wake me up (she was the real princess around here), and she curled up next to my stomach just like she always did, and I actually put my hand out to pet her and that’s when I freaked out and woke up.

Bandit spent her nights sleeping with me; most often would end up under the covers near my feet.

Nothing too strange about that, right? That’s what cats do.

Only…

OMG. The fact of the matter is that this is 2020 and Bandit went over the Rainbow Bridge in 2010 from complications due to chronic renal failure.

Bandit has been dead for ten years. She was thirteen-years-old when she died.

IT WAS SO REAL.

I looked at the clock. It was 3:00 a.m. I was now completely awake; my heart was racing. I never could get back to sleep. I still felt the warmth of her body, the silky feel of her fur tickling my arm. I felt her presence and it was REAL. I miss that little girl so much. I really really need her love and her comfort.

Was I in a lucid dream state or did Bandit really and truly visit me from beyond?

All I know is that I was so stressed when I was at the surgeon’s office today,  I  hyperventilated and my blood pressure was too high, so I started to visualize my beloved Bandit and it brought down my BP almost immediately. She was able to offer comfort even though she’s no longer physically on this earth. Her love for me transcended everything that my logical mind has a hard time comprehending.

Have you ever experienced a dream like that?


Lucid dreaming is when you’re conscious during a dream. This typically happens during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the dream-stage of sleep. During a lucid dream, you’re aware of your consciousness.

My darling Bandit.

“Dear Deer, I’m so very sorry.”

In the blink of an eye. 

It’s true. You never know when the unexpected will occur.

We get up in the morning, drink our coffee and make plans for the day. Those plans NEVER include an auto accident or other unforeseen catastrophe.

I love to make lists:

-Traders for tofu, coffee, ginger tea…
-Go to the nursery
-Pick up prescription
-TJ Maxx
-Dentist @11am

Nowhere on any list does anyone ever pencil in, “be involved in a freak accident on a mountain road”. Or is that just me? Maybe a fatalist WOULD include that in a daily schedule. I dunno…maybe now I will.

I wasn’t the driver so I was literally paying zero attention to the road.

I was looking at all the photos I took and remembering how I got altitude sickness on the way up the twisty windy road and vomited everywhere (ick), but now we were relaxed and dusty and exhausted but happy to be heading back home after a few days of camping and hiking where we saw lots of deer and other animals.

I was startled to hear, “Oh, shit!” and the car swerved a bit and then we felt two large bumps that tossed us about and a large crash.

We pulled over to the narrow shoulder on the two-lane highway. Doing a quick triage, I determined that everyone was unharmed.

I turned around and saw a large piece of a car that we had apparently smashed into, but didn’t see a car. At that moment, a highway patrol car pulled up about fifty feet behind us. I ran out of the car and flagged down the patrolman. Fortuitously, he had been driving that way as part of his routine.

That’s when I saw it.

The deer.

The poor dear deer.

The poor dear dead deer.

When I wasn’t paying attention, this was how the scenario unfolded.

A deer ran across the road, the big truck in front of us hit the deer which caused his front bumper to fall off. That horrible man kept going; he never even stopped. The impact must have killed the deer instantly. We were unable to avoid hitting it as there was traffic all around and nowhere to go. So the two bumps we felt was us running over the already dead three hundred pound deer.

The patrolman said that was the third one that day. (There are lots of deer and not enough natural predators.)

Our vehicle was pretty messed up but it still ran and was OK to drive the rest of the way home but it was in the shop for three weeks.

After the poor dear deer was moved to the side of the road, I kneeled down and petted his head and told him how very sorry I was that he died.

I guess the moral of the story is that you never know when something bad is going to happen. As much as I like to predict all outcomes, sometimes it’s not possible to gaze in a crystal ball and see the future.

Honestly though, what kind of a horrible person hits an animal and doesn’t stop???

Out of respect for the deceased, I won’t post a pic of him, but here are other deer enjoying life.

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s the bunny? #wordlesswednesday

Do you see my bunny friend hiding in the foliage?

Surrounded by Silver Shield, Pride of Madeira, Jade, and whatever random ground cover I can propagate, my bun managed to shelter himself perfectly within their protection.

#wordlessWednesday