Coyotes and French Bulldogs

Today, shortly before I was going to sit down and write this post, I was on the phone. As I was talking, I glanced out of the window at the pond and I saw a Nat Geo Wild tableau unfolding right before my eyes. We have had bufflehead and Mallard ducks and Canadian geese on the pond all this week, I think hoping for spring just as much as we are. In addition I saw two great blue herons, and then turkeys flew down from some tree branch perches. Lots of activity to see on the shallow end of the pond.  Then, unexpectedly, I saw a coyote wade into the water and head toward one of the herons.  The heron leapt up into the air and flew over to the shoreline in a deeper area of the pond.  The coyote slipped out of the shallow water and raced along the shore to chase after the heron.  It flapped back to the shallow end and the coyote retraced his steps, wading back into the water. He stalked the herons again as the ducks and geese looked on in amusement.  He dashed about in the water, stirring up both of the herons.  One again rose up into the air.  And again the coyote chased it along the shoreline.  Then both were back in the shallow end.   Finally, the coyote tired of the game and just raced himself around in small circles through the grass at the waters edge before heading off into the woods.  I think everyone knew there was no real danger and that the coyote wasn’t really intent on hunting them.  I think he was just having a bit of spring fever fun.

Of course, since I don’t leave the telephoto lens on the camera, it was all over by the time I got ready.  No photos available.  Still, I have to laugh at the poor stately herons.  It seems as if they are the butt of wildlife jokes and amusement.  This reminded me of the deer stalker incident a few years ago, where the doe harassed another heron around the shallow end of the pond for almost half an hour.  Then I did have time to put on the telephoto and got a few pictures.  Here’s a link to that post.  If it doesn’t work, just go to the July 2011 posts and you’ll find it.

Travelling Trip

Travelling Trip

Now back to Trip, the travelling Frenchie.  I watercolored him over the course of two days.  I had to be careful with the fawn color and not overdo it, over powering the white.  Today pretty much all I did was add to the shadows.  I am pleased with the way it turned out.

And finally, whoo-hoo, tomorrow is opening day for MLB.  I know where I’ll be at 4:00 tomorrow afternoon. Rooting for a White Sox winner. Spring has finally, officially, started for me.

Waiting for spring

Crane statue

Crane statue

It has been cold, cold, cold here the last few days. And more of the same plus the possibility of sticking snow on Tuesday. March – in like a lion……   I am so ready for spring this year. My daffodils are coming up – no surprise there – but nothing else is budding out yet. Last year with the very mild winter everything came out way too early and when a not so late frost hit, a lot of the new growth died, never to be fully replaced. Add that to the last three years of moderate to severe drought, and I am hoping for some normal spring and summer weather for a change.  Maybe the colder temperatures have killed off the tree scale, too. Aside from the damage to the trees, I really didn’t like walking under a shower of sticky insect poo to get down to the lake.  It was that bad.

Yesterday Tom and Jerry, the male turkeys. made their way cautiously across the back yard at a somewhat leisurely pace.  I haven’t seen much of them or the hens this winter.  Ditto for the bucks.  We have seen quite a few of the does and last year’s babies, but the bucks have been hiding out.  Don’t know why.

The Canada geese have been moving about lately, but what I enjoy seeing are the transient ducks.  We keep hoping some will stay for the summer, but no luck yet.  Maybe we will put up some duck boxes on the other side of the lake.  We have seen quite a few ring-necked ducks as well as the usual mallards this year.

I still feel like painting a bit so I have taken a small sculpture of herons I received as a gift many years ago and penciled it up.  I will look at it tomorrow and see if I still like it the way it is.  Sometimes the hardest thing for me is to start the inking. I get attached to the drawing and am “afraid” of ruining it.

First butterfly of the season

Guess what?  It is raining.  Again.  Thunderstorms overnight and now a misty haze.  Just enough to make outside unpleasantly damp.  We did get a few days of nice weather.  The trees are all coming out and the undergrowth is flourishing.  I was none the less surprised when I looked out of the kitchen window last week and saw a zebra swallowtail.  Then yesterday I saw another.  I have heard that the zebras are rarer than the tiger swallowtails.  I can say that I normally see a lot fewer of them.  Several times last summer I saw a dozen of the tigers at one time on my butterfly bush. Truth in advertising, I guess.  Unfortunately, the bush died because of the cold weather and I will have to replace it.  I really liked the iridescent quality of the one I had and I hope I can find one to match.

And with all of the rain, weeds that I pulled and threw aside have lived and tried to regrow. Darn dandelions are hard to get rid of. I had a pile and they all just continued to bloom and grow.  I now have mounds of growing weeds.  I picked most of them up and threw them farther into the woods.   It is supposed to dry out on Tuesday.  Perhaps then I can plant the flowers I succumbed to buying yesterday when the sun was out.

Mallard pair

The wildlife is flourishing, too.  The lushness of the spring growth is matched by the numbers of animals we have seen.  There have been mallards on the pond in addition to a few species that I can’t identify.  Last year we had a pair 0f grebes (I think).  Unfortunately the babies were eaten by the snapping turtles.  We hope for better this year.  And you won’t believe it but early one morning last week, I saw a coyote walking next to the lake.  I went to get my camera, and in that time a doe walked into the picture.  She trailed the coyote for a while and then eventually caught up with him.  Each knew that the other was there, but no difficulty ensued while I watched.  I actually got the two into one picture frame, but the shutter speed was so low due to the light that they were both blurry.  I am trying to get the photo cleaned up, just like in the crime shows, but don’t know if it is possible.  If it can, I will post it.  I never knows what will be out there when I look.  I am still waiting to catch the tom turkeys displaying.  The spring fawns should be out soon too.

I have almost finished the inking on my latest drawing.  It is a little smaller entryway from house in an historic Indiana town.  Much less imposing but inviting none the less.