I was sitting outside painting my toenails — the sunlight is far better for accuracy — when all of a sudden I heard the most awful screeching I’ve ever heard. Moses, my 14-year-old-masterful-hunter black cat, emerged from the neighbor’s sheep pasture through the mostly overgrown fence-row carrying something in his mouth. As he ran past me into the house — still carrying said critter, squalling, in his mouth — I jumped up to chase after him, fussing at him the entire way and not knowing what on earth the cat dragged in. As I reached the living room, right on his heels, he had already dropped his prize. As it scampered away for shelter behind one of the stereo speakers, I finally realized that what Moses brought into our house was a baby bunny!
It was about twice the size of a hamster. The poor little thing was so traumatized that I easily captured it, without touching it, in a small critter carrier after moving a few pieces of furniture around to get to it. I gave it a little while to calm down in the safety of that carrier until I herded all of our cats indoors. This also gave me the chance to look it over, making sure Moses didn’t injure it. Thankfully, it didn’t appear to have any physical injuries, not even any puncture wounds. It hopped around a bit in the carrier, so all bones seemed to be in their proper place.
After doing a quick search online, I realized the best course of action would be to release it close to where Moses brought it through the fence. From what I read online, mother rabbits will call to their babies for their nightly feeding should they wander off from the nest. By this time it was already getting dark; so I ended up creating a little nest out of cedar mulch in the shelter of the fence-row. I was careful not to touch the baby because I didn’t want to take the chance of its mother smelling my scent on her baby. I even placed some lettuce and carrots out there with the hope that this would entice an adult rabbit to come along and help. I sat outside with the baby for another 15 minutes before coming back inside.
After a little over an hour, I went back outside to check on the baby. As soon as I walked out on the back steps, I noticed an adult rabbit sitting in the yard. Flashlight in hand, I walked back over to the fence-row where I “nested” the baby. It was gone. I’m really, really hoping the baby made it back to its mother safely. It. Was. So. Adorable! Aside from the fact that this is probably the most precious gift my cat, Moses, has ever brought me, I have to say that I gave him the most stern scolding I could invoke for having snatched this beautiful baby bunny from its family.
Moses unfazed by his scolding is grounded indoors for the night.
And I smeared every single one of my toenails in the process of all of this, lol.
Over the weekend, my neighbor happened to spot this female Carolina Mantis on the tire of his vehicle and called me over to photograph/relocate her. I moved her to the wheelbarrow first to get a few decent photos and curiously watched her behavior. Something in the yard or on the wheel barrow must have caught her eye as she swayed back and forth in a bobbing motion that made me think of a hypnotist persuading an unsuspecting subject into deep slumber.
Around and around the wheelbarrow support this mantis played hide and seek with me as I tried getting as close as I could without frightening her away. She seemed more cautious of me than others I have encountered.
Sensing her leeriness of me, I moved her to a nearby tree where I figured she would feel safer. Her camouflage was absolute perfection. The “Where’s Waldo” shot below was a little disappointing since none of three photos that I took with her on the tree focused on her head. Before I had the chance to capture anything better, she quickly climbed up the tree’s height away from my prying eyes. Our encounter only lasted a few minutes, but I thanked her for her time, as I always do with my subjects, and wished her well.
I’m at a loss for words lately which has prevented me from posting more often. In order to break out of this funk/self-doubt, I’ll try simply posting photos for a while without the stress of writing. I have a large amount of unpublished photos from this summer (and earlier). As always, I’ve been snapping photos obsessively of anything that catches my eye. Perhaps, it’s the sheer amount of photos I’ve taken that’s given me writer’s block. Hopefully, taking the pressure off myself to “write” and correctly ID everything I’ve photographed will actually help me get the photos out.
These last 3 photos complete my visit to Burgess Falls on April 1st. I have more photos of this waterfall than any other in my area because I visit it so regularly. I’m obsessive about photographing it. I know this, but I’m also fascinated by the differences in each photo I have taken. These differences are subtle on some days, quite dramatic on others. No two visits have rendered the exact same photo, e.g. June 6, 2010, visit and October 5, 2012, visit. Going back through my photos, I found 9 different visits, most of which have no photos uploaded at this time. At the risk of being redundant, I’m not even sure if I should upload the remaining previous visits. At some point, I would like to have a photo representing each month of the year, perhaps, for a future calendar. It’s a little harder to get out there, though, during the winter months, especially if there’s snow and ice. However, my collection won’t be complete without one or two of those.
Obviously, the flow of water depends on the amount of rain we’ve had. I thought maybe there were some larger dams upstream from Burgess Lake that might contribute to the stronger flows; but after looking over Google maps, it appears that Falling Water River flows into Center Hill Lake, not the other way around, lol. Not only do I have no sense of direction, but I think my understanding of potamology is a little off, too.
I hope you guys enjoyed this series of photos over the last week and a half. Please, share your thoughts and suggestions. For me, taking the photos is the easy part, the fun part. Coming up with something to write about them, on the other hand, well, that’s a lot harder for me. Words just aren’t my “thing.” I suppose I could have just simply shared the images, but I think it’s important to constantly challenge myself in this way.
By Robert Lee Frost
It is blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.
But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.
More information about the Spring Azure, Celastrina ladon (Cramer, 1780), can be found at: Butterflies and Moths of North America.