Saturday, August 04, 2007

Did you know if you leave a bag of Combos in a car in August, the cheese melts out and all you have left is a pretzel tube?

I took so many good pictures today, I don't know where to begin.
Let's start at the end and work our way back, shall we? After dinner, I headed out to the milkweed to see if any more monarch offspring were to be found. And boy, were they.
I found 11 more eggs.

whole new batch of M eggs
Some of the leaves had more than one. It was like Christmas morning.
Little one and medium one
Everyone seems to be at a different stage of development. The one on the right hatched maybe 3 or 4 days ago. The one on the left just hatched maybe yesterday.
M egg ready to hatch
This one is next to hatch. See the little dark spot? That's the caterpillar's eyes!
I am enjoying this monarch ranching so much. Isabelle and to a lesser extent, Lorelei, are having fun, but I am the one who is dancing around the kitchen. But hey. If Jess needs a life, I certainly do, too. I got a very nice gift from Isabelle (via Swami) today: The Audubon Society Guide to Butterflies. And it is like having a window into the world. It makes it so much easier to look up a B-fly in a book rather than search the Net.
Monarch baby face
Look at the wee monarch baby face! Or, it could be its ass.

Speaking of ass....
The ass end of a car
I was behind this car today. I have to wonder if some letters fell off, or a very creative prankster stuck it on without the owner knowing. I like to think it is the latter.

Powder at the dinner table
Powder is an opportunist. When Isabelle finished her lasagna, Powder jumped up and waited to be served.
Smell my lasagna breath
"Hey, Mom. Smell my lasagna breath."

It was about 96 degrees today. And though my car is fixed finally, we weren't able to have our mechanic fix the A/C. So it was hot. Damn hot.
Cindy, our Bird Care director at RAPTOR, gave me a mist bottle for the program birds while we are out in the heat. After my program, as I dropped off the birds, they were panting a bit (birds don't sweat, so they pant like dogs when they are hot). I tried out the mister on the owls:
Sleepy soggy Elvis
Elvis, or Barred Owl, who never approves of anything, approved of this. This bird hates everything, but when I started misting him, his eyes closed and I almost heard him sigh. He actually LOVED it. I'll be dipped. (If you look close, you can see the water droplets...he looks frosty)
Our red screech owl loved it too.

Warning: The following picture may just make you spit out any drink you might be sipping. Swallow first.

Done? Okay:

Rufous is in a molt right now, and for some reason, the program screech owls molt all weird and during the late summer, look like a cross between Dobby and a plucked chicken. Add water to this equation, and you get this:

Okay...what can you say about this one


LauraHinNJ said...

Oh! Poor Rufous! He does remind me of Dobby!

Remind me, Susan - did you buy your starts of common milkweed or did it just show up at your place?

I think it must be a lot more popular with monarchs than my swamp milkweed because I haven't been able to find any cats yet!

Susan Gets Native said...

I bought two tall, unblooming common milkweeds, and three swamp milkweeds. I was worried that the monarchs might not find the plants since they weren't blooming, but they did find them. The swamp milkweed is only hosting milkweed bugs. All the cats and eggs I have found were on the common. I wonder if I could get a butterfly bander out here when we release everyone?

vicki said...

Jim Henson could not have come up with a wackier looking fellow than poor Rufous- he's comical! Great photos, Susan. And I'm happy you have your monarch caterpillars- I love having them on the milkweed in Florida and watching the cycles. Enjoy! It's been draggy hot here, too and then I notice the Cape May Birders meeting and think, yumm, I love Cape May, October and such a wonderful group of distinquished birders! It sounds wonderful.

Dave said...

Rufous is melting. He also looks like modern art. :) It is the moulting season for sure. 96° yowzers.

Wanderin' Weeta said...

That final photo -- Wow! That is one frazzled bird!

Thanks for warning us to swallow.

nina said...

Aww. Elvis all misty.
It surprised me to hear our barred owl calling Monday evening. It's been really QUIET for a while--and I enjoyed knowing she's still ok.

NatureWoman said...

OMG thank you so much for the warning because I was eating and I would have choked - poor Rufous!!! He's all eyeballs!!! Poor bewd.
Elvis looks very cool happy. Hey, how'd you get the kitty nose without it touching your lens? My Mom's kitty is always rubbing up against the camera lens getting it all cruddy.
Hey, I want "ass" on the back of my truck in small letters for all of the tailgaters to read.

mon@rch said...

Love all your monarch shots (hmm wonder why?)! You cat is soo cute and love the up close shot for sure!

Rurality said...

1. Why do you get monarchs and all I get are squash bugs?

2. Why do owls love misting but parakeets think you're trying to kill them?

3. (Seriously) I mentioned a bird panting once and was told it was gular fluttering instead. So, do some birds pant and others perform gular fluttering, or is it all the same thing?

Oh I almost forgot -- did you still eat the Combos?! :)

LostRoses said...

Elvis and Rufous are quite a pair! And even though Elvis isn't wearing blue suede shoes, it does look like he's gone for the blue eyeshadow! Great post.

Q said...

Your Owls are so fun to see!
I love them.
I too have many cats on my milkweed. I have never "reared" them as you do.
Congrats on your cats!

Susan Gets Native said...

I don't know why I am so lucky with the monarchs this year. But I ain't complaining.
My parakeet thinks I am trying to do murder with the spray bottle, too! Most of the time, I just let him bathe in his little tub.
Gular fluttering is the same as panting. They flap membranes in their throats to increase evaporation. When it's not hot, it's a sign of stress. I can tell when our program birds are stressed out by too many people, too loud, etc. by their fluttering.
And yes, I did have a few Combos....but all the cheese was on the OUTSIDE!

Mary said...

OH MY GOD! WHOOT! That last photo got a burst from me :o) Poor thing...

Susan you are cracking me up lately. Who but you would title your post about pretzel tubes?

Sounds like you're having a blast - great photos and stories.

Stay cool...I'm getting ready for the hottest week of the year.

Liza Lee Miller said...

That is about the funniest picture I have EVER seen. Poor dignified owl. Dobby, indeed! Thanks for the laugh! (And, the warning!)

Julie Zickefoose said...

Wakkk! Love dat Rufous!

I raised an orphaned screech owl that started every day by diving under the cold water tap as I was drawing water for coffee. He'd get himself soaked to the bone and then fly, throwing water all over the room, landing on the top of doors so they'd bang against the wall. He LOVED the racket he could make; he loved bathing under running water. I learned so much about what owls like and are capable of from him. That dreamy look on your barred boy looks very familiar. I never thought of owls as particularly hydrophilic until I lived with Little Ray. Love this post!

Chris said...

Great photos! Great nose :-)

Rurality said...

Thanks! (Light bulb goes on over head.) Now that I think of it, Beaker the Budgie does that too when he's stressed. He will not bathe under any circumstances. He just drinks from the tub!