Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Visitors

Living on a summer resort island you would think we wouldn’t have many winter visitors. However we do. They just aren’t human they are birds. Today, after my hectic day yesterday, I took a walk in the woods with my big basket and gathered evergreens for my window boxes. But, I was not alone. There were many birds chatting away in the woods enjoying the beautiful day. My favorites are the winter ducks in the salt water ponds that dive under and eat the greenery and such off the bottom. The Buffleheads were too fast for me today, but the Hooded Mergansers were a little slower. I love both of them with their showy punk rock mohawk looks. The Mergansers have brown bodies and long bills. The buffleheads look very similar but they have short bills and are all black and white.

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We have lots of other avian visitors such as the Eider ducks and the Brant geese that like to hang out and blend in with Canada geese. If I can get good pics, I will share them.

In other news we had a different visitor in the back yard this afternoon. Husband and I were standing on the back patio watching the chickens ruining my latest attempt at raking, when they all stopped cold. Betty started the hawk growl. It sounds like a loud cat purr. “purr purr purr”. Doris squatted as low to the ground as her big body would let her. If she didn’t do it out of fear, it would have been funny to see this incredibly large bright white bird try to make herself invisible by flattening herself to the dark brown leaf strewn ground. Both Betty and Doris have survived a hawk attack at their first home. Betty has the scars to prove it. I love her “street smarts”. The other girls just stood still and looked at Betty for guidance. She was looking at the back corner of the yard. I also stopped mid-sentence and looked in the direction she was.

Husband asked what was going on and I told him there was something in the bushes. He asked how I could tell. So I let him in on the clues. Neither one of us could see anything. It seemed like a long time. Then a Merlin swooped down across the back of the yard. He wasn’t even close to the girls but, I think if we weren’t there it may have gone down differently. Merlins are small falcon like birds. He may have been able to get Percy. Betty and Doris really could have taken him. Maybe that’s why Betty didn’t make a run for it. We quickly herded them into there pen to safety. I will keep an eye out for our new friend. I’m sure Betty will too.

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