Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Time to Install a Yard-Cam

Sir David Attenborough really ought to haul his ass and a camera crew over to our backyard.  So much wildlife activity is occurring out there, it's just ridiculous.  Beyond the wide variety of birds and Anna's Hummingbirds attracted to their respective feeders, all manner of fauna appearances are delighting us on an increasingly frequent basis.  Following the extraordinary Halloween 2014 Red-Tailed Hawk Sighting, we've had a couple of entertaining wildlife events lately.

Our next door neighbours have a beautiful, ultra-fluffy cat named Bourbon, who likes nothing better than to crap on our lawn.  Short of erecting a barbed wire fence to keep her out, there's little we can do to stop her, but as she's a beautiful animal we cannot help but enjoy her feline magnificence, even if she happens to be pinching one off at the time.  Last week she had cause to make us guffaw, behaving in a way we'd never seen cats do before:

I spotted a lot of bird activity on the black plastic we laid down over the winter to kill off the weeds.  There were maybe a couple dozen starlings ('tatty-heads,' as my dear mum used to call them), excitedly pecking away at something on the plastic.  It had rained overnight and was warm, so I guess there were some bugs on the plastic that starlings savour.  As they pecked away, Bourbon appeared through a gap in the fence, unseen by the birds.  She moved stealthily and rapidly across the yard, belly brushing the ground, then - we could not believe this! - she went under the plastic in order to stalk the birds! A Bourbon-shaped lump moved across the area under the black plastic, causing us to almost spit our coffee across the kitchen (from where we have a great view of much of our yard).  The lump moved slowly towards the birds, then they rumbled the approaching menace and took flight to safety.  Susan was so concerned for Bourbon's safety that she went down into the yard to summon her out, lest she suffocate under there!

A few days later I was doing the dishes, absentmindedly looking out at the yard and bird feeder, when a black variant of the Eastern Grey Squirrel appeared from nowhere, sitting up on its back legs, frozen to the spot.  Not a foot from its face, staring right at it, was an Anna's Hummingbird, stationary in the air.  There they faced each other, stock still, in some kind of Mexican standoff, for a good ten to fifteen seconds.  I watched, fascinated, then the hummingbird decided he/she had had enough of this larking about, so moved like a bullet to one of the feeders just outside the kitchen window.  The squirrel then zoomed across the yard to our gate, climbed it, then immediately jumped off and tore down the back alley at an incredible speed...pursued by two cats!  What happened next, as they disappeared from view, I have no idea.

With so much of this stuff on the Internet, it would be fun to be in the right place at the right time to capture some of this craziness and show the world what goes on in just one backyard in our little town.  Heaven only knows what will happen next, but we would not rule anything out.  If a three-legged cougar came wandering in and started playing baseball with Bourbon, observed by some great blue herons and a couple of elks, it wouldn't feel at all out of place.