Friday, July 4, 2008

Robins, Big Birds and Snakes

Today I trod on a robin. Not a thing I remember actually having done before. Quite an interesting start to the day. It made a scrunchy noise like the one when Bruce Lee steps on the throat of his opponent and then with a sort of twisty motion of his foot crushes his larynx. It twittered and flapped a bit but…. no, I’m only joking, it was already dead. Brought in by the cats which will happily eat a mouse but will never touch a robin. They just kill them for fun and leave them hidden in the grass. Pity because I like robins and it’s always nice to have one chipping away in the holly tree when you are having a spring brekker on the patio.

Quite an interesting day wildlife wise. The eagles/kites were back again. This time there were three of them. This time I had the binoculars. The problem is, they look like kites with enormous wings but they have square tails which kites don’t and then there is the colour which is white underneath. Not just patches either, quite light in colour all over except with round the edges which are dark. So they could have been a short-toed eagle which I know exists in the area. But then as there was a buzzard flying with the birds at a certain point and these creatures were double the size of the buzzards which would count the short toed eagle out and the golden eagle in. So despite having watched them for half an hour or so I am none the wiser but as the short-toed is one of the most vocal of raptors I’d plump for that as they didn’t shut up a moment… but then the shape of the wing looked like a kite so I’ll plump for that too…. but then again the size was that of a golden eagle so I’ll plump for that too just to be on the safe side.

Another flying spectacle in addition to hundreds of fireflies over the last couple of days has been the stag beetles. 3 or 4 of them or the same one flying over 3 or 4 times. Beautiful creatures. I felt very privileged to see it as they are not common hereabouts and I really hope they take up residence. In Luserna which is the next village down there are also rhinoceros beetles which are even bigger. But I have unfortunately never seen one here. The funny thing is that the stage beetle(s) zoom all over the place and seem to have a really hard time staying in the air and look like they have very little control over turning but they just keep going back and forwards without actually landing anywhere. Probably because they can’t get the turns rights so they aim fly miss and try again. You’d think that to conserve energy they’d fly a little as possible. Mind you they might just be having a good time because if I had wings I’d never get any work done I’d spend all day zooming here and there like they do.

Another Friday thing is the ravens. They have declined over the last couple of years but we still have a good few pairs around. They occasionally make a foray out despite the buzzards and crows which seem to take an instant dislike to them. The one today has a primary missing and is recognizable. It has the wonderful habit of flying upside down and croaking as it does so. Only short stretches upside down mind, it just sort of flips over onto it’s back and glides for the space of a couple of wing beats. This particular bird does this quite regularly, normally when on the flight path over the house.
Lost a few years today too. I bent down to pick up a stick and instead grabbed a snake and leapt into the air 9 feet upwards and 7 feet back from stationary (no, I really did, 9 feet vertical) then I regained my usual composure and walked over to see what type of snake it was and it was still there. I spent a while watching it then prodded it with a stick and then again and still no movement and then picked it up with the stick grabbed it with my hand bravely and coiled it and stuck it in my pocket to tie up some sticks with later. I must remind myself to not keep leaving bits of rope lying about. Rope in grass has cost me at least 4 years of my life in wear and tear on my heart.


Palma said...

LOL!@the bit about the snake! Snakes usually try to get away quickly it wouldn't have stayed there for that long. They usually coil themselve up if they are threatened. Do you have Vipers up there? I've had to rescue my husband form a couple of snakes and teeny wee lizards!!! He's a big 'scardey' cat!! LOL

Woozle said...

I though i might have killed it with the scythe hence it being stationary. :-)
At the house we have a couple of grass snakes, an adder down on the bottom terraces at the house, he's been there for a couple of years and is called Ted and a 2meter long softy called Bob where the tarmac ends. He's black.
But in the mountains here in general we have quite a few snakes which are not poisonous, some of them very beautiful and the occasional adder too, like Ted, usually in the stone walls. Very had to see any of them though.
Lizards, like you probably, everywhere.