Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Wildlife Wednesday March 2020: Raptor encounter

Caracara or Mexican Eagles have taken up residence in our neighborhood.  Sightings are excitedly reported on the Nextdoor website most often when a neighbor spots one for the first time.  It's no wonder since that bright orange beak and sharp black and white coloring stand out against our late winter landscape.



So why did the Caracara to fly away?  The appearance of an American Black Vulture was the likely cause.  While the Caracara birds live full time in the trees behind our fence the black vultures appear when something dies.  We have an abundance of common wildlife in our little wooded area.  With so many skunks, possums, raccoons, and other animals roaming around there's going to be a few deaths along the way.


 
Turkey Vultures are more common around here but the American Black Vulture seems to turn up when there's something to eat.


They both hunt by looking around on the ground and using their sense of smell.



The Caracara decides to leave whatever it is to the vultures.


You can find more on Wildlife Wednesday at "My Gardener Says...." where Tina has a post on the cutest birds she fondly calls "Butter Butts."

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Wildlife Wednesday February 2020: Another Squirrel's Tale

Our resident Squirrel is at it again!  Nest building season.


The deck is littered with her clippings.  


Even the chairs have to be brushed off before we can sit.


Her success rate is low.  Chewed sprouts are promptly dropped to the ground or deck below and she makes no effort to retrieve the lost clippings.  At this rate I wonder how she will ever complete her nest.

Time out to check the watering can.  We keep bowls of water for wildlife throughout the garden so no need to dip into the can.


And then back to clipping oak sprouts. 


The view from the golf course includes multiple birds and turtles.  Egrets, Cormorants, whistling ducks, Egyptian Geese?  Egyptian Geese are "introduced" in North America.  Primarily found in Florida, Texas, and California.  More study is needed here.


Whitetail deer mating season is finished and this big guy is on his own as new fawns will arrive soon.  He will naturally shed his antlers soon.


He has been injured in the flank.  Possibly in a fight with another buck.  Looks like it's not deep and will heal.


Joining Tina at "My Gardener Says..." for Wildlife Wednesday on the first Wednesday of each month.





Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!


We'll spend a quiet evening at home...


...Until the nearby megachurch lights up the sky with fireworks at midnight!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

(Photos from my Instagram feed this week)
And our annual fireplace gif tradition:








Thursday, December 19, 2019

Pretty in pink (and red) Holidays at San Antonio Botanical Gardens

The San Antonio Botanical Gardens are looking good this year.  Just a few finishing touches left before the final phase of a multi-year update opens.  I treated myself to an annual membership recently so I plan to check in there at least once a month.

Pink Muhly in the parking lot is fully fluffed out in early December.  It might appear that a cloudy day isn't the best for photos but our sunshine can often be so intense as to wash out colors like this.  Silvery artemesia adds just enough contrast.  


The parking lot is now a "parking garden" and the plantings were designed by Christy TenEyck of Austin.  A new entrance (right) is easier for visitors to find and the front plaza designed for assembling groups.  A re-grading of the site allows for level entry instead of a rather steep uphill climb up from the old entrance.  


The old carriage house is beautiful but imagine walking up and down that steep ramp multiple times each visit and trying to gather a group on the narrow space by the door at the bottom of the ramp.


Stopping in at the new discovery center we can see what's in bloom.


What's happening at the gardens this week?  It's tamale season and they are right in sync with the community.


#SABOT with free WiFi throughout the gardens.


First stop is the conservatory and orchid/tropical house set with poinsettias.  SABOT doesn't have a big holiday display but their nice subtle touches are appreciated.




Always lush and full.








Native Russelia in bright red and green dress a walkway in holiday style.


Looking back at the conservatory.  Ornaments pick up colors of lantana at the agave's base.


The colors used here are just different enough to add a fun touch.



Prickly Pear has a few of its natural ornaments left.



More natural holiday cheer in the form of aloe blooms.


The "Muhly Maze" in the children's garden is like walking through tufts of cotton candy.


And back out to that amazing Parking Garden.


Merry Christmas from our beautiful new gardens!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

That Holiday House

There's usually one house in the neighborhood where holidays are celebrated in a big way.  This house just happens to be, obviously, in a very nice neighborhood where you don't usually see such over-the-top displays.  I posted their fall display a few years ago and decided to check out their Christmas display when I was in the neighborhood recently.

They did not disappoint. 


Fun and cheerful from Santa's sleigh to colorful packages.



Nice Nativity scene mixed with a snowman.


Santa in another surrounded by good quality faux poinsettias and trees because real ones won't last in our weather with freezes every few nights and into the 80s on sunny days.  I love the detail with small trees as a border curbside.


Two sizes of real mailboxes for Letters to Santa with a path invite the neighbors to stop by.  "Dear Santa, that sleigh with the red top in the driveway would be nice..."


All the garlands are stuffed with blingy ornaments and shiny ornament trees are very tall.


Giant lighted tree on the side of the house.


Driveway columns decorated beautifully.


Cheerful greeting.


Must be pretty at night too.



Gorgeous!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday December 2019: Crested Caracara

Crested Caracara birds have been residents of our woods for a number of years yet they rarely venture into the yard.  The last few weeks we have been treated to up close views of these magnificent birds commonly known as Mexican Eagles. 

A juvenile perhaps going by size and the beak is not deep orange yet.  They are raptors and members of the Falcon family so not technically eagles.


I was mesmerized as it moved from branch to branch waiting for a chance to get water from a bowl we keep out for wildlife.  One nearly flew into me the day before as I was weeding near the watering station.


Caracara birds are full time residents in San Antonio and their range extends from South Texas to the tip of South America.  Though they generally stick close to the Mexican border they have been spotted up in North Texas on occasion.

What a beauty!


It's our honor to host such magnificent birds!

I'm joining Tina at "My Gardener Says..." for Wildlife Wednesday on the first Wednesday of each month.