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It's That Time of the Year

when there are so many photographic opportunities that I cannot help but share mine with you. Just today I saw two new birds, as well as some old favorites. Then too, you might be wondering, and then again maybe not, but should you be, the way I put a blog post together is by first looking through all of my photographs and doing my best to weave a story around them. Today, that means a whole bunch of photographs, but I'll try to keep the narrative as brief as possible in an effort to honor your time. As always, I do so much appreciate those of you who follow my adventures, in spite of the fact that a good many of them are merely mundane!

Bill and Dave turned 38 on April 1st, but for one reason or another, we were never able to get everyone together, however, Saturday we met at the new Mexican restaurant on Lake Ivanhoe, Mesa 21 for lunch. From the looks of things, I should have kept my sunglasses on like Michelle! Seriously, I absolutely cringe when I see a photograph of myself, and that, my friends, is why I am generally the one behind the camera!!
My sweet Davy even smiled in the picture for his Momma though so that's saying something! The lakefront faces the I-4 construction, which is not particularly picturesque, but this guy doing stunts on the lake sure was.
I'd love to recommend the restaurant, but alas, in my opinion, it still has work to do. That said, it is very hard for a restaurant to get everything right, don't you think?

Sunday we finally got back together for a Hill's Happy Hour with pretty much the whole gang in attendance. Bunker and Cathy, our hosts, had only just returned from a trip to Holland and Belgium, so they were more than kind to get us all together.
I remember when they first invited us, now probably almost two years ago, and it seemed so weird to have a gathering in a driveway, but honestly, it works really well.

The last Monday of the month is our Days for Girls sew day, and despite having only about 15 in attendance, a whole bunch of work was accomplished. In the foreground are the washable pads, cut and ready for serging around the edges.
My part was to sew that middle portion on long panels of flannel which are then cut into what you see above. It is surprising how labor intensive the kits are, however, for such a worthy cause, we are all thrilled to be able to do our part. One of the ladies that comes regularly is Sally...80 years young, and all the way from Zellwood. Her resemblance to my deceased mother-in-law is uncanny!
In the parking lot, the baby car sat between two Honda Pilots!
The one on the right is the exact model that I traded in for the MINI, and I can't say I miss it even one little bit.

Today was the first time I had a bicycle ride since the flat tire, and oh my gosh, what a difference! Before it went flat, Bruce had put air in my tires, saying they were very low, as in 20 pounds in the front tire, rather than 60. I'd been thinking that I was getting out of shape because it had been so hard to ride; I can tell you from experience that correct tire pressure makes all the difference in the world. Anyway, I have still not given up on the owls in Southern Oaks, so I went looking there first. I am happy to report that there was a fair amount of poop on Nell's driveway; a very good sign indeed. Scanning the trees on both Sweetbriar, and Buckwood, I, all of a sudden, noticed a large bird back on Sweetbriar! Documenting my sighting first, I rode back over, only to have it fly off as I approached. Although I would have loved to have gotten a closer shot, after watching it fly away, I am delighted to report that it was a Swallowtail Kite, a bird I'd never seen before.
According to this from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it is "the coolest bird on the planet." Woo hoo!

From there I went to check on my eagles, and I must report that it looked as if the nest was abandoned, with nary an eagle, or eaglet, in sight! Because it seemed that the eaglets were only branching, rather than flying, I don't know what to make of it. Naturally, I will go back. :)

As it had been quite a number of days since last I visited Greenwood, well, I just had to go! Bruce was on the phone, so, pointing to my camera, I waved goodbye. Pulling the MINI over to the curb, I saw most of the eagle family in the tree that you've seen photographed before. I'm horrible with distances, but I'd guess it is about 400 yards from the nest tree.
As you can see the eaglets are nearly the size of their parents already! But, of course, what I really wanted to see was the owlet. Remember the nature paparazzi? Just me and the guy John, who originally told me about the owl back in early February. He showed me this little guy..
who must be hiding from all those birds of prey! You think?

After much searching, this is the best shot I was able to get of our owlet, and that is not saying much, is it?
On the other hand, it was a big day seeing that Northern Flicker, well actually a pair of them, still hanging around the nest, although I'd heard the chicks had gone out on their own. PLUS, I saw this bird for the first time ever...
This bird is called a Great Crested Flycatcher. It is here that bird haters may just want to bail out because there are quite a number of photos forthcoming. All I can say about that is, I could not help myself, and neither could you had you seen it in person! Yup, there are two of those birds, and they have a nest just below the Northern Flicker nest.
There was all sorts of action between these two kinds of birds, with the NF sticking his head into their hole!!
The absolute nerve!! The next photo is not great, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does show how cool a NF looks when it is flying.
When I showed Bruce the photo of the NF feeding her chicks he didn't think it was a very pretty bird, but I think he may change his mind once he sees this. I mean, who wouldn't like a bird with polka dots?
And now we know that there is gold under them wings, don't we?

Well, that wasn't too bad, was it? I had planned to save the Wood Duck babies for another post, but I've changed my mind because they are just so darn cute.
Not to mention, that instead of the thirteen we saw in an earlier post, there are now only six remaining.
Life in the wild is mighty tough, or so it seems to me.

Finally, and this has no relation to birds, but it does have a pretty big impact on the Pecks. Our little Baxter, as has been documented before, is having his challenges with getting outdoors before he does his business. Never a good thing, we were both very dismayed to discover he'd wet on a rug by the back door, and it had gone unnoticed overnight. Thus, our brand new wood floor was damaged!! Fortunately, Mr. Peck has a few tricks up his sleeve, and with some ingenuity, along with some serious weights, it is fine for now.
Having never had a dog before, we don't quite know what to make of it, aside from wanting him to stop!

yours truly,

Gail
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