Should we be worried?

The nearest cell tower has been the roost for a small band of vultures for years. In the last weeks, however, some of the vultures have ventured closer to the house for a rest, lighting on trees just past the yard. When you glance out the kitchen window and see the large, moribund-looking birds staring back, part of you wonders if it’s an omen.

A few days later, a lightning bolt crashed near the house, knocking out the power, water, air conditioners and other and  sundry electrics, as temperatures outside soared past 100. Inside, temps in the living room hit 107. Thanks to all the repairmen who have come and gone in the last two weeks, the house is livable again.

Neither of these fellows has come to roost near the house lately. At least none that we’ve seen.

Black vulture in tree
MORBID THE YOUNGER — Young black vulture hangs out on a tree that usually serves as a roost for collared doves and indigo buntings. He’s rather a dashing bird with a sharp look about him. 
Black vulture and hummingbird.
PHOTO BOMB — Fast-moving hummingbird gets a look from one of the local black vultures. (Can’t look at this one and not think of Beaky Buzzard from the Warner Bros. cartoons as he’s bringing home a baby bumblebee. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=na7WqSb6sY0 )

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.

Birdland

Been a while since we posted. We had a couple rounds of heavy winter weather and being trapped away from home for days at a time. Nice to be back home. Between bouts of wintry mix, the birds came out and did what birds do.

Mountain wave

Arkansas is a landlocked state, but it doesn’t mean we don’t see mountainous waves on occasion. Back in July, this thick bank of fog rolled in from the west, breaking over a long fold ridge and spilling down its southern flank. The second shot is the wave just a moment or two earlier as it was cresting.

Mist over mountains 7-12 MistyValley1

The stark beauty of a foggy winter’s day

For most of the last week, winter has cast a foggy, rainy spell over our part of the Arkansas Ouachitas. This is how nature makes her own monochromes.

 fog-shrouded silhouettes of pines, oaks and hickories
The fog-shrouded silhouettes of pines, oaks and hickories describe the angle of descent to the south valley.

 

Blackjack oak
Bared of its leaves, except for a few tatters, this blackjack oak looks almost prickly.