Rattled

We know living where we do that venomous snakes are just part of the package. We’ve seen or heard copperheads and diamondbacks on occasion, but not in our yard. Not ’til a couple of weeks ago that is. We know we have snake burrows under the front porch which house nonvenomous long Eastern coachwhips and hognose snakes. So looking down off the deck, there was a new snakeskin pattern coiled in the grass. “Hey!” I yelled to my husband. “We’ve got a new snake and I think he’s venomous!” He spotted the rattle — and right then we had our first timber rattler — or at least the first one we know of.

Timber rattler

Timber rattler curled up in a warm spot on the south side of the house.

Hatchlings

There’s a trio of waist-high holly bushes on the property that never seem to fill out; never seem to outgrow the term “misshapen.” Over the years we began to realize that all the pruning in the world wouldn’t help them achieve any sort of suburban landscape symmetry. Why? Because the deer do all the trimming, browsing tender leaves and leaving discards all over the front porch. ¬†Earlier this month, we found the hollies supported another life — a tiny cup of tightly woven pine needles bearing three marble sized-eggs. Last night, we discovered the eggs had given way to tiny birds. Blind and almost featherless with their oversized yellow beaks straining upward for motherly fare.

Baby birds in nest.

Cupful of babies — Tiny birds wait on mom to bring some breakfast. Taken June 14, 2015.

Three eggs in a nest.

Three eggs carrying precious life — taken June 6, 2015.

Mother Goose

Goose and pair of goslings on a family outing in the rain in Goshen, Arkansas. There were two families of geese with goslings close in age. The group seemed to move together always in the two days we saw them.

Goose and two goslings.

Goose and goslings on a family outing in Goshen, Arkansas.

Two goose families

Two families of Canada geese stick together in a subdivision pond in Goshen, Arkansas.

Brood XXIII

The sound of insect love songs is filling the air in central and eastern Arkansas as Brood XXIII, one of the 13-year cycle of cicadas, emerges from the ground for its short, post-dirt life looking to make another brood that will emerge in 2028.

Cicada on a branch.

Looking for love. One of the millions of Brood XXIII cicadas that emerged earlier this month on its short mating life above ground.

Hittin’ the trifecta

Hard to believe it’s been almost a month since we last posted. Spring is in full stride here atop the Stanley Shale and there’s been an explosion of birds it seems. Most exciting was the arrival of the Baltimore Orioles. Ever since I was a little kid, I’d always wanted to see one (of the non-baseball variety), and suddenly four appear on our deck! Turns out April 27 was a great day for bird-spotting ¬†and was happy to hit the colorful bird trifecta — orange, blue and red as the orioles, indigo buntings and summer tanagers all came out to show off.