Environment/conservation

Pond Visitors

It’s been interesting over the last year seeing who shows up at our pond. Photos will be forthcoming as soon as I get over a particularly persistent cold which is going around our area. Today we spotted a red-shouldered hawk for about the fourth time, so we may have our first winter raptor regular. The west end of the property (1 acre total) is being allowed to revert to native forest, but right now it’s shrubby grass. He’s perching up in a big Douglas fir next door, then flying over to some dead cascara buckthorn trunks and carefully inspecting the ground. Not sure what he’ll find. Mice, voles and shrews most likely. Maybe a frog or two.

Other avian garden visitors these days are juncos, robins, goldfinches and Steller’s jays.

The pond has also drawn a great blue heron (apparently a neighborhood regular named “Bill”), a great egret,  male and female belted kingfishers and, to our surprise, a double-crested cormorant. In the spring, to our utter amazement and delight, a movement caught our eye and we looked out from the living room just in time to see a juvenile osprey lifting off! No ducks yet, which I find kind of ironic, since that is was I thought we would get this fall. A friend gave us some teal decoys for a joke, but even they haven’t worked yet.

Turkey vultures occasionally circle over and there are resident ravens and crows.

I keep my camera handy so I can shoot reference as the opportunity presents itself. Missed the osprey and cormorant, but have gotten the hawk, heron and egret.

Just finished Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in nature! She is an amazing writer.

On the animal welfare front, I highly recommend Nathan Winograd’s new book Redemption, which presents a whole new way of looking at animal sheltering in this country.

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