Wildlife advocate, Maria Daddino, receives first honorable mention at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival and two nominations for the 2012 Global eBook Awards for her “Maria’s Duck Tales” … to read more click the link above.
I named her Rose partly because she is so beautiful and so delicate … and partly because she reminded me of someone very special to me. She stayed all summer, thrilling me with her graceful flights and enjoying the nectar from all the special flowers I had planted in my garden for her. She visited several times a day, resting on dead tree limbs or my wrought iron pillars, and I couldn’t help but wonder if her nest was hidden somewhere in my garden.
I hated the thought of her leaving … migrating to Costa Rica … flying non-stop, some five hundred miles, over the Gulf. When she finally did leave, I truly missed her daily visits.
And, then, today, I received another gift of nature … another marvel … or marvels … four ruby-throated hummingbirds were in my garden enjoying my Agastache and my Spigelia marilandica, a beautiful native wildflower with wonderful tubular orange blossoms. They stayed for quite a while just enjoying … but not as much as I!
It’s 5 p.m. and bitter cold … cold enough for beautiful ice formations to form on the waterfall by the pond. I surprised the turkeys when I went out to fill up the corn feeders. They didn’t seem particularly bothered though … they just moved further back into the woods. Misty was with me but they didn’t seem to mind her either … although she was the one who alerted me that they were in the woods.
My feeders have been busy all day with chickadees, tufted titmice, doves, juncos, bluejays, crows, wrens and sparrows and what is this year’s favorite … the red-breasted nuthatches. The woodpeckers enjoyed the suet and a lone robin gobbled up my holly berries.
I was enjoying watching a cardinal eating the safflower seeds I had just put out … his red feathers so bright and beautiful on this late and cold winter afternoon … when out of the corner of my eye I saw something move … it was my doe who pretty much comes at this time each day … almost always alone … but today two of her friends have joined her. Food must be scarce. I’m glad they know there is always corn for them here.
Yesterday was so different. It was almost 40 degrees warmer. In the morning, a magical mist enveloped the pond, and, with the morning sun rising behinds the pines and oaks, it was a most mystical morning. Just exquisite!
Around 10 a.m., I was visited by a flock of migrating grackles. In all my years of watching the birds, I have never ever seen a flock so large … 500 or more. They were all over the pond, the feeders, the trees, the grass. Everything was black. There wasn’t a patch of green anywhere. They have been visiting all week. They stay perhaps 10 to 15 minutes and then they all fly up in a gigantic swirling black mass. Truly amazing … like something out of Alfred Hitchcocks’ “The Birds”.
Life is sweet …