Each year, we look forward to the fall migration of Monarch butterflies. In central Arkansas, they generally appear the first week or two of October. This year, we also had a chance to see them on the Floribama gulf coast, those butterflies following a route from the northeastern U.S. Compared to what we saw in Arkansas this year, the ones in Florida were so numerous, you could not go a few minutes without seeing another one southwest bound.
A tarantula is undergoing an involuntary transformation induced by the paralyzing sting of a tarantula hawk wasp. The wasp dragged the limp spider around a corner and up two stories to the eaves of the house, where the unfortunate arachnid became both unwilling nursemaid and pantry to a young wasp.
A warm November day brought out a few characters here in the interface.
This week’s challenge is “Experimental.” Here, we’re flying through the hollow at night.
Saying prayers for all in Florida. We have friends there who are hunkering down in or near Orlando and Melbourne. I think some have already lost power, or are conserving their power for when the lights go out. The number of outages already in Broward and Palm Beach is incredible. (https://www.fpl.com/storm/customer-outages.html)
Despite the days of preparation, you’re never really ready for what a storm can bring.
Slow-moving Frances, 2004, was terrifying. For 36 hours, we waited inside our shuttered home, essentially blind to what was going on outside and unsure if our little house could take the abuse the wind and water were sure to mete out. Would it protect us? Or would it kill us? After all, we’d already suffered Charley. A few weeks later we’d meet Jeanne.
When we lost power, the only constants were the nerve-shredding jet-engine sound of the storm, punctuated by the sharp pings and bangs of wind-borne objects blasting the house. The counterpoint was an eerie creaking of the joists straining as winds lifted and dropped the roof. The weird, regular rhythm made it seem as if the house was breathing.
Brings to mind a line from a Gordon Lightfoot song: Does any one know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
We survived; the roof held.
The house weathered the rest of the 2004 season as well as the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic storm season. And we truly hope that today, the tough little house and its neighbors will keep its current family safe in its arms.
Luna moth, just emerged from its cocoon, waits in the understory for its wings to fully unfold. Taken 12 June 2017.
Sure, the office is in a beautiful setting. Almost peaceful with its trees and wildflowers. Within the canopy, however, different life-and-death dramas play out every day. Here, a red-tailed hawk, harangued by bluejays and mockingbirds, seeks a moment’s respite in a tree with a squirrel he’d caught for lunch.
The rest did not last long. The smaller birds screamed and even bashed him a time or two and he took off for another hiding spot. Alas, that last flight cost him. As he landed, his squirrel slipped from his talons and crashed through the branches.
A a second hawk, who followed the action and withstood an assault by other small birds, cashed in on the lost lunch.
Everyone’s gotta eat. It was incredible to watch this diamond back water snake snag a fish, wrestle it in the water while it flailed wildly. The snake, his jaws still clamped around the fish like a dog with a bone, swam it up on a gravel bar and proceeded to swallow it, as the fish continued to flip and writhe — all in vain. Taken 19 May 2017.