Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Deer, Dock, Dog, Disapparation

Last week, I grabbed my Sony and took a late day stroll down to the "pond". Now shrunken to a tiny waterhole, it is a magnet for critters during the annual spring drought.

As I approached the empty hole in the ground, I slowed my pace, flipped on the camera, and began scanning ahead.

This is what I saw ... apparently my tiny dock had grown big ears.

I don't think this deer could see me, but she had already heard me, so I knew she would not be in my picture plans.

Another reason why it's important to be on time ... had I been in position ... lying prone on the dock above the waterhole, I might have gotten a nice doedrinkingwatermakeyagoahhhh type picture.

The importance of being on time is a lesson I seem to learn over and over again.
Often I'm late for the lesson.

The deer trotted off into the willows and brush and I lay down on the dock to look and listen. I turned off the camera to save juice while I let things settle down again.

About ten minutes later, I was forgiven my tardiness when the barred owl landed in the willow tree next to the dock. Two tiny kinglets flew in there with him fussing and flitting about.

I turned on the camera and the flash, since it was late and the pond is ringed by large sunblocking oaks to the west. I prefocused on the tiny waterhole and waited.

The kinglets went silent, flew out of the willow, and suddenly the owl was at the waterhole again.
He didn't drink at first, because his attention was drawn to my position.

It wasn't my fault ...

Feather had finished her supper, and nose down, tracked me to my hiding spot. She glared at the owl ... daring him to try and carry her master away.

The owl raised his wings and took two steps in the soft mud. I pushed the shutter release, the flash went off, and this owl vanished.


There was no sound.
There was no owl in the bushes nearby.
There was no owl in the sky drifting silently to a new perch.

One second he was there, the next silently gone.

I was looking at him the whole time and I missed his exit.

No wonder people have assigned mystical abilities to owls throughout time.

Sometimes, they weird me out too.

About Gumbo:
He's been in the vet hospital over the long weekend and we have not heard any news since Saturday morning (positive news).
Today, I'll know something and I'll post an update about him as soon as I get home from the vet's office this evening.
Keep thinking those good thoughts!


Cathy S. said...

That puppy's name is definately gumbo limbo as he is keeping us all waiting. Still praying for him. Great shot of the owl despite Feather's troubleshooting and running interference!

lej619 said...

great photo again! thoughts and prays going to gumbo and you.please post what was wrong with the little guy,would ya?

Anonymous said...

FC nice job on the pic of the owl. He looks like we is about to pick up dinner. Gumbo is in my thoughts also. S T E B

threecollie said...

So glad you shared the owl pic...I will never get bored with them.
and the deer shot is a delight. I spent a second staring at the dock wondering what those things were (I always check the pictures first). Then OH! I saw the deer. Cool

LauraO said...

Barred owls have always been my favorites - they are awesome birds. Thanks for sharing your fantastic experience. It's also great that you have such a loyal protector around to keep you safe. Hope little Gumbo gets well soon.

robin andrea said...

Great owl shot! I never get to see owls, so your sightings are the closest I get.

Still sending good healing thoughts to Gumbo.

kathy a. said...

the owl photo is wonderful!

crossing fingers that gumbo's past the worst of it now.

Labscats said...

Good owl shot!Everybody at my house is pullin' for sweet little Gumbo!

Anonymous said...

Blooger ate my comment. We'll see if it works this time.

I said, "You tipped your Harry Potter hand, Fc."

Floridacracker said...

Cathy S,
Yes, definitely a limbotic journey!

Can I do that on the update this evening?

He thought so too until Feather showed up.

I got that shot just before he bolted.

Feather is my guardian angel.

To quote Groucho, "I gotta million of em".

Kathy A,
I hope so too!
Poor little guy.

Thanks, we are pulling with you.

Recently, a friend loaned me each Harry Potter audio novel and I devoured them in the JEEP while driving to work. I was so sad to get to the end of the series.
I am a convert.

Sandcastle Momma said...

I love your owl pictures. In all of my years I've only seen one in the wild and that's just not enough! I've heard them but have never been able to get a good look. We're still praying for Gumbo. I can't wait to see pics of him healthy and chasing those chickens.

debbie said...

We are patiently waiting for a Gumbo update . . . a favorable Gumbo update. Should we organize a bakesale to cover the upcoming vet bill?

Anonymous said...

Hubby and I love your photos. Barred owls are a favorite of mine, and you have managed to get some really great shots. Have you thought of publishing a book of photos?

We are following dear Gumbo's saga daily. He is a lucky pup to have landed in your gentle care.

Is there a way to contact you privately? I would like to pick your brain on foxes and chickens. Our free-range flock has been decimated times five. (Is there even a word for a 50% loss?) The culprit is a beautiful vixen who is raising kits in the woods next to our house. She hunts in the daytime and at dusk. The chickens are locked up at night.

Any ideas you have on the subject would be greatly appreciated. My email is
Red Dragon Farm
Havana, FL

kathy a. said...

debbie, i think FC has nixed the fundraising thing. but i humbly suggest passing on the good wishes and cash to other animals in need.

there are a lot of pets hoping for adoption. your local spca and humane society and rescue organizations can all use help -- financial, with donations of supplies like food and blankets, supporting free or low-cost spay/neuter programs, and as foster families.

FC, if this is over the top, please delete my comment. but i'm a big supporter of spca, humane society, and rescue groups. all of our pets [2 dogs, 4 cats] came from them. my daughter and i have fostered many kitties, and almost all became adoptable.

the two feral kittens who didn't gain their social graces, we just went ahead and adopted ourselves a few months ago -- but i swear we held out, they were about the 8th batch of kittens.

Anonymous said...

FC just a thought for Judith the fox will stay only as long as the food source remains. another thought if you think that feather is a distraction. Weight till bare & Gumbo start to fallow you around. S T E B

Floridacracker said...

He's back!I guess I have pretty good owl habitat as they are pretty commonly seen here. Thank you on behalf of Gumbo.

I was later than planned in posting it, but it's up! We'll tough it out on the bill, but thank you!


Welcome to Pure Florida! You can email me at natcoast@msn.com. My chickens are in moveable chicken tractors, but a fox could easily dig under them. I'm afraid I have no good fox solution shy of an active protective dog.

Kathy A,
I would never delete good advice :)
Good of you to foster those kittens ... even if they are cats in disguise.

I won't get any photos when that happens!

Anonymous said...

Dominantly done, dude! Despite darkening, dimness; daring depictions! Doggone deer dodging dogs derail digital drawing. Dutiful dock dawdling does develop dozen denizens. Dowels directly disappear doubtfully delerious despising direct deflections. Darn.
Delightful doggy disposition????

lesle said...

Obviously the deer had a little trouble with the Cloak of Invisibility!

Floridacracker said...

Dang dude, delightful!

Yes, he needs to work on that.

Debi said...

I just stumbled across your blog and am looking forward to keeping up with your daily adventures. What a GREAT owl shot! You must be absolutely thrilled with it.

Keep up the good work.