wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Late Bloomer

I’m hoping this little guy will be lucky and not get picked up by the crows. Robins in our area have very bad luck with their hatches, so they nest two or three times, starting in March. Probably this chick is from a second or third hatch.

He is nearly through the worst of it. He’s getting his grown up colours and his wing feathers are growing quickly.

He still has plenty of camouflage colouring though. He sat so still in the grass that at first I didn’t realize it was a bird.

As I took his picture, I heard his mother call very quietly. He immediately turned to look for her, but she didn’t come right down to him.

As I tried to get closer, he got smart and started to hop away. At first I thought he might have a hurt wing, but he was able to get around quite well.

I find it amazing how the parents know when it’s time to back off, just hovering nearby, but letting the chicks start fending for themselves.

He’s hopping around on the ground, very uncertain of the big world around him. Probably he can make short feeble flights. I hope he makes it, now that he’s come this far.


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The Flying Stick

The campsite is just in the trees near the bottom of the photo, at this end of the lake. We thought it would be good to get some firewood from the logging slash piles behind the camp. If we didn’t need it, we could leave it for the next campers.

In the sweltering heat on the hillside, we cut and loaded a few bits of wood.

“We must be completely nuts to even think of making a fire. It has to be 30 degrees C,” I said, wanting to get back to the shade of the campsite.

But the evenings can cool off, so we persevered.

On the way back, at the bottom of the hill, I saw something.

“Stop! There! Is that a bird … or … is it a … stick? Or a rock?”

From inside the truck and at this distance I couldn’t tell what it was. I had been fooled many, many times by rocks or sticks that looked like a grouse at the side of the road.

“I’ll zoom it and take a picture. Then I might be able to see what it is…. It’s probably just a stick.”

Through the truck window the blurry photo really looked like a grouse, but the … thing … hadn’t moved an inch in the two minutes we had been sitting there in the truck.

“Just wait,” I said. “I know it’s just a log or something, but I want to go over to it and take a picture of the stick that fooled me.”

I got out of the truck. It still didn’t move. With my camera ready, I was about to snap a picture of the stick, when it flew away.

But sticks never fly away with tail feathers spread out in a glorious rusty brown colour. It was a ruffed grouse.

At home I put the picture in my photoshop app and lightened the dark shape. Now, even in the fuzzy picture, I could see the rusty colour and other features like an eye and a beak and a tuft of a topknot.

He was very good at hiding in the twisted roots of a fallen giant tree nearby. Although I looked for him, I didn’t see him again. Just lots of sticks and rocks.


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Preeners Get Clean “Bill” of Health

The local estuary is looking something like a Roman bath house.

The customers flock to the baths for their daily constitutional. The Canada geese are taking advantage of the safety of the tide being out some distance from the road nearby, while they still have the water for an escape from any people or animals approaching by land. Worst case, they can fly away.

But the day is warm and they are comfortable.  They are hard at work preening their feathers, nibbling away parasites, and  splatters of grit and goo after dipping their bills in the greasy uropygial gland on top of their back end at the base of their tail to smear a little Goose Brylcreem onto their feathers. This also helps with waterproofing. Having not a feather out of place improves the aerodynamics when they fly.

Even the mergansers are busy preening. She doesn’t seem to care that she has a “man” on either side of her, watching her tidy up.

 

Everyone is seriously on task.

But this one must have plans to go camping and maybe do a bit of trout fishing. See her testing her newly cleaned wings?

 

While you are waiting for my next post, why not check out one of my five novels? Just click on the cover of the books at the side of this post. Or you can visit my website: anneli-purchase.com


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Robin’s Breakfast

Hi Anneli! I see you up there on the deck. Thanks for scaring that crow away. I’ve lived to see another day and it looks like it will be a good one too.

I’ve learned to hide better.

I’m thinking of eating one of these holly berries. Do you think they taste good?

Oh, I see a good one.

But these prickly leaves are bugging me. They’re poking right into my fluffy feathers.

I think I’ll go for it. They look good, and red is my favourite colour.

Oh, you should have told me they were sour!

I suppose I’ll get used to them. At least I can feed myself these berries. I’m tired of having  my mother cram everything down my throat.

And anyway, I’m sitting on a goldmine of berries here.

Yes, life is good.


30 Comments

Listen to Your Parents

Folks, it’s me. Lincoln. Lincoln the delinquent, my mother used to call me. Remember me?

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2017/06/26/lincoln-the-delinquent/

I’m not such a delinquent anymore. I’ve learned to listen to my parents. But today, good grief, what did I see? A baby robin behaving just like I used to. Not listening to his parents. The young robin just sat right out in the open like he was advertising the most delicious crow’s breakfast.

And here he comes, the black marauder, his black beak sharpened for spearing shish kebabs of young robin. Oh I fear for the baby bird. I call over to the mother bird.

She doesn’t look too happy about her baby being so disobedient. “Come here!” she calls. “The crows will get you if you sit out in the open like that. Come here! Come here!”

Oh, I can tell she’s frantic and really annoyed at Junior. Just look at that scowl.

But Junior just sits there, saying, “I’m fine. See me sitting in the sunshine in the grass? I might even find a worm like I saw you doing. You worry too much. I’m fine!”

Oh, no! Here comes that murdering crow. I can hear him with that ugly raspy call, “Caw! Caw!” You’d think he’d just clear his throat and get a nicer voice to come out. I see the black shadow flying overhead. Oh, dear! Oh, dear. Oh, deardeardear! I can’t look. I just have to look away.

I should probably get out of sight myself.

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Oh, saints be praised. There’s Anneli, waving her arms like mad. The crow is gone. But Junior is still sitting there.

Ah, thank goodness, Anneli is going over to check on Junior. Maybe he’s hurt?

No. There he goes, flying away. Not hurt. Just bit of a dummy.


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Foodies

I have a confession to make. I’m a foodie. One of the best things in my life is having enough to eat.

Alas! The Missus says I’m putting on a bit of weight. She’s no spring chicken herself, and getting a bit plump. She should look into the birdbath one of these days and have a look at her reflection.

It’s a terrible time to try to diet, just when the larvae of the ten-striped June beetles are surfacing. When the next heat wave strikes, the prawn-like grubs will sprout wings and that will be it. No more delicacies for me.  As beetles, they will become the prize of raccoons and bats.

 

Anneli loves it when I help get rid of the grubs. This critter is putting up a bit of a struggle. I hate it when they fight back. It’s so pointless, and I feel like such a bully. There’s no escape once I find them. This one thinks he’s a boxer. Good luck with that, buddy.

He’s tickling my beak, but if he thinks I’ll put him down to scratch an itch, he’s dreaming. This fat “prawn” is so worth the razzing I get from the Missus.

Oops! I just caught my reflection in the sliding glass door of the deck. Hmm…. A tiny bit portly around the waist. Maybe I should have limited myself to just a few of those grubs. But they were so good, and Anneli’s yard is full of them.

But I’m still a handsome devil, don’t you think? I can’t just walk away from a feast. What would you do?


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Hors d’oeuvres, anyone?

Near the mouth of the Campbell River, the Canada geese were having a wine and cheese party, mingling, gossiping, and chatting,  and looking for the hors d’oeuvre platter to come around.

Not far away was a flock of mergansers. When they saw the camera, they got upset. I thought I heard them squawk, “No pictures!” as they fled. But soon I saw that I had misread what was going on. It was the hors d’oeuvre platter going by and they all wanted some salmon fry canapés.

It was a team effort, rushing the waiter who fled with the tray of food. The head merganser called to the others of his team, “Get in a line, quick! Pretend you’re a fishnet and let’s rush the salmon canapés. Surround them if you can.”

“But they’re just small fry,” Alec, the smart one, quacked.

“Silly boy,” Mergan scoffed. “Don’t you know these tidbits are the best?”

“Duh! I guess…. I’ve heard that good things come in small packages.”

“Well, don’t just sit there bobbing on the waves. Swim like you’ve never swum before. If you want to eat, that is.”

*****

Watch this short video, and while you may not see Mergan and her friends rushing the waiter while that smart Alec misses out by being the last – all talk and no action – you will see the water boiling from the onslaught of munching mergansers. The blood and carnage have been censored. I made sure it was all out of sight, under the water. It will help to have the video on full screen so you can see the water on the left, stirred up by the ducks.

 

 

Not that much to see, but under that boiling water, the body count will never be known. The mergansers are very good at hiding the evidence.