wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


25 Comments

Brave or Foolish?

Mother merganser had her hands full. Her brood was something to be proud of, but the full-time babysitting was nerve-racking to say the least. It was especially bad when one (there is always one!) had to march to his own drum.

“I just saw a little fish go by. See him there, just under the surface? He flipped me the fin and said, ‘Bite me!’ So I thought, ‘Why not? It’s what mergansers do.'”

“Seems he got away, but wait a minute. Where’s my mother?”

And yikes! Look who’s giving me the hairy eyeball.

“Muh – muh – muh – mu-u-u-u-um! Help!”

“Oh whew! Those people in the boat scared the eagle away. Wait up, Mom! … What’s that? I should stick with the group?  But, er … I was … just trying to catch us a fish.”

 


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Birds at Vernon Lake

We parked our trailer and unloaded the skiff to have it ready for use at the edge of Vernon Lake.

The campsite was visited by many birds. Here are only a few of them. Many stayed hidden though they sang their hearts out all day.

This is a hairy woodpecker. I thought at first it was a downy, which looks very similar, but the hairy woodpecker has a much heavier and longer beak than the downy.

One of the birds I heard a lot, was Swainson’s thrush. I love the song he sings, “You’re pretty, you’re pretty, oh really.” But he is very elusive and I couldn’t get a photo of him.

He’s a very plain version of an immature robin but without any hint of black or red. If you click on this link you’ll see a photo on the bird site: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Swainsons_Thrush/id

Next to visit, was a Steller’s jay, but I almost mistook him for something else. He is a bit pale and scruffy, and this has me wondering if it is an immature bird.

Below, we have the red-breasted sapsucker, probably the very one I took pictures of for a previous post. He was hanging around the campsite the whole time we were there.

And no wonder! He has already made quite an investment in this tree, sipping sap and nabbing insects.

But do you see what I see? Circling the tree just below the chipped bark is a nasty looking petrified snake. I think he’s guarding the dinner table for the sapsucker.

You won’t see me trying to get near him. He looks mean. Is that blood on his lips?


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Flashy Redhead

Some time ago this bird visited my yard, and at the time I had no idea what it was except that it was a type of woodpecker. Since then I have learned that it is a red-breasted sapsucker.  In the second photo you can see the light dot in front of its eye, one of the main identifying features. It also has a vertical white bar along its wing.

This fellow visited our campsite at Vernon Lake on Vancouver Island last week.

It was a treat to see him there, as they are not seen as often as the more prolific birds of the area.

Don’t you bug me while I eat,

As I’m looking for a treat,

I like insects, but as well

I make holes in trees — don’t tell!

I peck holes into the bark,

What a shame, it leaves a mark,

Not so healthy for the tree,

But provides some food for me.

Sometimes insects, always sap,

Either way it’s food to lap,

With my tongue, I slurp it up,

Better than a sippy cup.

Folks aren’t happy when I peck

In the trees, but what the heck,

Everybody needs to eat,

Tree trunk sap just can’t be beat.


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Hugging Trees

Okay, Junior, forget about pecking at houses. This is how we find the best bugs — on the trees. You hold on with your toes and hop around all sides of the tree. The tree doesn’t mind. It thinks we’re hugging it.

And keep an eye out for hawks. They like to snatch up flickers, especially young naive little morsels like you.

You got that? Look, I didn’t mean to frighten you, but we have to watch out for them at all times.

Okay, Mom.  Sheesh! It sure is a long way down!

Oooooh, look! A rabbit!

Yikes! So it is! Keep looking up, Junior!

Never mind the rabbit!

 


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Persistence

For at least a week I heard this red-shafted flicker pecking at something. I thought he must have found his favourite fir tree. Finally, camera in hand, I went looking for him and zeroed in on the sound. Here is where I found him, on the wall of an empty house.  I zoomed in from afar to see what he was up to.  It seems that the siding of a house was more appealing to him than any of the many trees surrounding it. Why is  he so determined to peck through this siding? Apparently he prefers the density of cedar to fir but flickers don’t eat wood, so he must be after something else.

If you look closely to his left, you can see a patch from where he made a hole last year. Above and below him also on the left are patched places where he had picked at the edges of the wood.  There must be something very tasty inside those walls. Maybe a delicious lunch awaits him.

 


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Quick Like a Bunny

M-m-m! These tall grasses smell delicious!
Oooh! Yummy! They are exquisite.
I wonder if I should turn on the tap and give the grasses a drink of water to make them grow.
This long stem is so good, and it gets better the closer I nibble it to the top. Hahaha! I could come to a seedy end!
Uh-oh! Did I hear the backyard supervisors? Those dogs are F-A-S-T! At least, the little black one is. The other one is getting pretty old (thank goodness)!
I’m just going to hide here for a minute. If I stand straight, I’ll look like part of the pipe. I think I’m slim enough, don’t you?
On second thought, maybe I should crouch down and hold still. This is when I wish my ears weren’t so long.
Just to be on the safe side I think I’ll skedaddle, quick like a bunny, until the coast is clear.

I found some grass with flavour grand,

Beside the tap and in the sand,

I nibbled it and loved the taste,

I could not let it go to waste,

But then I heard a vicious dog,

My eyes bugged out, I stared agog,

I tried to hide but then I thought,

This battle’s one that can’t be fought,

The dog has biting teeth and jaws,

I sure don’t want to give her cause

To bite my soft brown bunny fur,

I’d rather run away from her.

I’ll come back later, in the night,

When she is sleeping curled up tight.

And then I’ll munch and lunch till dawn

Cause I am safe while sun is gone.

But, oh, what is that hooting sound?

I think I’d best not stick around.


41 Comments

Going Squirrely!

The Captain said the other day, “I think that’s enough Lincoln posts. They’re cute and all, but I think it’s time for something different.”

I agreed. I know I have a thing for Lincoln and his girlfriend, Della, but okay, enough is enough. No more squirrel posts.

But today, the Captain yelled, “Anneli, come quick and bring the camera. Della’s got three babies!”

I took about nine videos of them but a lot are blurry or there is background noise (someone mowing a lawn). I picked one that shows Della grooming her babies. They all have fleas or some other little parasites. If you watch closely you can see Della groom the babies and eat the pests that are “bugging” them.

Thanks for enduring yet another squirrel post. I had not intended to inflict any more on you, but you see, with these new additions, they’re so cute I couldn’t resist.

PS Don’t bother to look for Lincoln. Now that the kids have arrived, he’s “gone fishing.”

Della had a big surprise,

We could not believe our eyes,

Three young children showed today,

Leaping, turning, every way,

Della’s nerves are wearing thin,

Squirrel One, where have you been?

Squirrel Two, sit still and wait,

For your grooming though it’s late.

I will find that pesky flea

I will eat it, you’ll be free

Of those bites and itchy pain

Till one lands on you again,

Squirrel Three, be careful there,

One misstep you’ll fall through air

If that happens what to do

Is grab a branch that passes you.

Yes, I witnessed your close call

Hanging by one leg, that’s all,

But you pulled yourself right up

You deserve a golden cup,

Be more careful though, next time,

Or you’ll have the family crying.

Now let’s settle down and wait,

Here comes Anneli at the gate,

She will bring me sunflower seeds,

Always she fulfills our needs.


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Table for One

With the coronavirus rampant, the rules for dining out have changed. I’m waiting for my meal to be served, but am keeping well away from Anneli, my waitress, while she brings my daily breakfast of sunflower seeds.
I hate to do this to my girlfriend, but we just can’t share a table anymore – not until this pandemic blows over. For now, it’s a table for one when I eat out.
Okay, I’m ready to eat. Hope she’s more careful today. She puts the seeds in a little jar, but she always ends up spilling some. What a waste.
HEY! Stay away, Della. Don’t you know the rules for social distancing? That counts especially here in the restaurant. We don’t want to get closed down here too.
Okay, dear, just keep calm. Stop your scolding. I’ll make sure to save you a few sunflower seeds.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah. I want to thank you bloggers for watching this video I’m featured in. Thank you for your patience.
Now if you’re ready, I’ll show you how to peel a sunflower seed without fumbling and dropping the seed inside. Heck, I’ll even show you how to do two at a time, and in record time. Watch carefully.

Thanks, guys! Now why don’t you go over to Anneli’s webpage and check out her great West Coast novels and her copy-editing skills at www.anneli-purchase.com


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The Used Cow Lot

I posted this a few years ago and happened to come across it again. For new followers, I hope you enjoy it, and I thank faithful longtime followers for their patience.

Here goes:

Montana has miles and miles of ideal cattle grazing country. I did a “drive-by shooting” (with my camera, of course) of these cows…do you call them cows if they’re male too? I never know what to call them. There’s probably a lot of bull here too.DSCN4485

Whatever you call them, there were a lot of them dotting the scenic Montana landscape between Helena and Garrison. As we pulled into the tiny town of Drummond to fuel up, I played tourist while the Captain topped up the gas tank. I got out to take a picture of the “Used Cow Lot” across the street from the gas station.

Notice the sign beside the building advertising “Mentzer’s Livest”? It says: Overnight fees, Cattle $3, Horses $5. Shouldn’t the price be the same for all? That’s just plain discrimination if you ask me. And what do you think goes on in that animal hotel? Mentzer’s Livest? I know the animals must go in there naked, but what are they doing in there to make this the livest show around? Your thoughts?

I’m not sure I’d want to stay there. You can see what happened to the Grim Reaper cow that didn’t get past the doorway. But with those long horns, maybe it’s bull once again.

A used cow dealer renting out a cheap shack for naked customers, advertising the livest show? I bet they’re all in there sleeping together and acting like real animals.

DSCN4494

Oh no! Wait! I’ve got it figured out. I found another photo that explains it all. Three letters were missing on that first photo. It’s not Mentzer’s Livest, but Mentzer’s Livestock.

DSCN4495


24 Comments

Little Tree and Big Tree

Wow! Look at YOU, Little Tree! Just look at all those blossoms! But I wonder why they call you a dogwood. Is it because dogs do something on your wood? Terrible thing to do to a beautiful tree.
No, that’s not why they call me a dogwood. But something has stunted my growth. Would you believe I’m the same age as Big Tree across the street? That’s how it is to grow up on the wrong side of the tracks. I’ve missed out.
Big Tree has spent his whole life in the sunshine near a water tap, while I’ve been thirsty for years, shivering in the shade. You’d think that Big Tree would share his food and water since I have so little, but he doesn’t make a move to help me – I mean social distancing is one thing, but he’s downright unfriendly – won’t even talk to me.
Well, it’s not my fault if I was born with a fertilizer spoon in my mouth. My caregivers are simply smarter than yours. I show them my thanks for the food they gave me. And you’re wrong. I would share with you, but I can’t leave. I’m kind of rooted to the ground.
I see what you mean, Little Tree. He’s twice your size. Does that mean you’re the poor relation? Would you feel better if I tickled your bark to make you smile. I could scratch any itch you might have. All I have to do is run up and down your trunk a few times. Make you feel better….
You think about it and let me know, okay?