Homage To Nature

Sometimes the ocean in which we are the merest of ripples can deliver tiny joys. Today on our walk through the park, after seeing the rather yucky slug on the walkway, I mentioned that it seemed like years and years since we had seen any Woolly Bear caterpillars and how I remained fascinated (in fun) with their ability to predict the upcoming winter.

We then proceeded to see six of them, all very small, four edging along and two squished. Still have a little tingle from my words made fuzzy flesh.

Brookline “Incidents”: For the Birds

“a caller reported that a flock of turkeys had been separated behind the tennis courts. The caller said that one turkey could not figure out how to reunite with the family on the other side of the fence and all the turkeys were pacing back and forth.”

 

“a caller reported a blue jay appeared ill and had not moved ‘for hours.’ The caller said the bird was near the farm stand and that lots of people had been touching it.”

Scaly Motherhood, Witnessed

I had the general impression that alligators and crocs were indifferent parents. Females laid the eggs, hatched them, and the little pre-dinos were on their own. Not so —

About three decades ago, we were walking through the Everglades in FLA and came across a couple German-speaking tourists who were tormenting a foot-and-a-half-long baby alligator by pulling its tail. I was about to run up to them and tell them to cut it the fuck out when the baby let out this piercing shriek — very high-pitched and birdlike.

Instantly, with a horrendous roar, the mother burst out of nearby reeds and began racing on fully erect legs toward the tourists — this was no slow crawling, she was moving fast as an attack dog. If she had been a yard closer, one of the tourists would not have a hand today. They sprinted away in terror and we got away in the opposite direction as fast as possible. Fortunately the mother began nuzzling the baby and was happy for the hairless apes to get gone quick.

Just a reminder — as every park ranger will tell you, these animals are not to be approached.

PS: Have to add that on the end of the same walk, a full-size alligator was snoozing on the tourist path and people wold bend down and pet it as they went by. Didn’t holler “Don’t Do That!!” But should have.

 

Turkeys Do Not Deserve To Be Pardoned

They’re kind of a menace, honestly.

They’re around here all the time. Have sat and shat on our roof. I watch for them nonstop, because especially groups with a couple Toms can become standout pests. You want to chase them away from any area you care about. Because if they think they can wander around with impunity, they will be back every other day.

I’ve had to smack a Tom with a broom as he raced toward me — his noise was not “gobble gobble” but a screeeeech. Now I don’t approach even a  couple of hens without a broom and waving it at them aggressively seems to work. You think they must have a communications network: “Stay away from grumpy old Miles — he’s not worth the trouble.”

Confirmation that I’m on to something.

Aztec and Eclipse

I cannot resist the notion that the first across-the-USA total eclipse was a sign of evil times. But the happier chips of me left take comfort in one of the huge benefits of science, in this case astronomy, in making a reasonably predictable universe. Otherwise, the sun going out could be the beginning of freakin’ anything, including that it would not come back.

The Aztecs had a particularly creepy mythology associated with eclipses: the sun was under attack from the stars you could see around it when it turned black. These are the female deities/demons Tzitzimime, quite the monsters.

Some images:

TZI 1

TZI 2

TZI 3

TZI 4

TZI 5

TZI 6

The Queen.