|The pond is well over 15' out of its banks - we normally ride our 4-wheelers down this path that is now filled with water.|
|3 new failed launches this morning|
Even Olivia seems out of sorts - all wet and cranky. As I was filming her playing hide-n-seek, she stopped on the open deck and turned toward me. As she gazed at my toes, I suddenly realized just how vulnerable my bare feet were. I decided it was time to start acting like I knew how to River dance and I kept my feet moving until I was safely back inside the enclosed porch.
But at its root, I know why I'm out of sorts today. After checking on my colony every 10-15 minutes last night, I was alarmed when my GHO flew out from under my deck. I hadn't seen her come in and when I went to check the videos, I found that she had attacked the Trendsetter in between one of my checks, in a spot where a new fledge had been trying for an hour to get into a cavity. Check out the video below - she comes in from the left and hangs on to the Trendsetter for an eternity. In the video, the fledge flies past the camera during the attack, so fortunately, he lives to tell the tale. Other martins flushed from the other racks too. Silly birds....stay put!! Worst of all, my stupid game camera (seen in the video below) is only 12-13 feet away, didn't capture any of it. I checked it today - 99% battery. In the heat & humidity, I was tempted to boot it across the field. Instead, I rebooted it the standard way - hopefully, it won't have anything to capture tonight, but will be able to if needed.
After seeing a video from 12:10 AM on 6/30, it became obvious that Ellie Mae is going to have to visit the unemployment lines. Absolutely useless. As have been most of the other methods that people have suggested. I am out of ideas - it is check.mate. She will always be here. Nothing scares her.
Lights - tried it - failed.
Radio - tried it - failed.
Lights + radio - tried it - failed.
Motion detection lights - tried it - failed.
Scarecrow - tried it - failed.
Let's face it; the only protection that works 100% of the time are the owl cages. I have plenty of alternate food here - rabbits, feral cats, moles, voles, mice, snakes, etc. Yet, my owl prefers an easy-to-get meal. Well, she won't get one here as long as they stay behind the cages. Otherwise I can't guarantee anything. But I won't kill her. Another one will only take her place. We will just do the best we can with *preventative* measures and accept that I have a beautiful, very smart owl. I just need to be smarter.
I will enjoy the positive things. At least the Compass Plant - after 6 years of waiting - is finally blooming. This makes me happy today. Mag.freaking.nificent!!! Beautiful, isn't it? Definitely worth the wait.
|Compass Plant - 6 years old, finally blooming.|
So, what do you do when you have such an off-kilter, out-of-sorts day? Well, you suck it up. Thaw out some crickets, soak them in some bird-vitamin solution and stuff the wet kids full of food. Leave them in a bucket until they're dry and put them back out in a dry gourd on the rack from whence they came.
You stop and enjoy the clasping milkweed that has grown out of bounds - where no seed has been planted (not by you, anyway).
|Clasping Milkweed (thanks for ID info to Louise Chambers)|
Then you park your butt on the porch with a good book, a glass of wine, a pair of binoculars and your muck boots (just in case you have more launch failures) and watch your colony for the rest of the day. After all, it is still MY little piece of heaven, and despite all the challenges, I am diggin' it here at Gobbler's Knob.