Category Archives: Critters

New Mycelium Attack Plan – Early & Often!!

Okay, gather ’round! Here’s the new plan for taking over Paul’s lawn! Instead of four or five big mushrooms pushing up on Wednesday just to get cut down on Thursday, let’s have a bunch of small ones pop up on Monday!!!

It could work!

(David Attenborough narrator voice: “It will not work.”)

But in that little gap between the sidewalk and the grass was this guy, who freaked out of his pinhead-sized brain and started scurrying around like a lunatic until he went straight off the sidewalk and into the gutter, where he continued to scurry until he suddenly froze.

Smaller than my little finger, maybe he thought if he closed his eyes and he held really, REALLY still and he couldn’t see me, then I couldn’t see him.

I do love my little lizard pals!

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A Spooked Hawk

Yesterday when the Condors flew over, there was another creature in the skies nearby that wasn’t at all pleased with the company.

He was squawking pretty good!

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New House Critter Census

Some we’ve seen, some we’ve just seen signs of…

Rabbits? Check! Some nights you can spook or or two on the lawn if you go out late, some nights you can spook five or six.

Raccoons? Check! Haven’t seen any in our yard or heard them on the roof (we don’t have that super secret hidey hole that they loved like the old house did) but we did see two of them about the size of full-sized beagle or poodle, just trotting down the sidewalk at sunset one night.

Gophers? Check! Haven’t seen them, but their holes are in the yard and I keep filling them in and they keep getting dug back out.

Skunks? Check! There was a dead one in the middle of the road earlier this week… (You fill in the rest of the lyrics!)

Something (probably one or several of the above) has been digging. First I saw a good-sized hole in the back yard (size 10 included for scale):

Then there was something digging in the front garden:

…and here we’ll find little footprints sometimes that make me think it’s raccoons.

Birds? Yeah, we have the usual sparrows and crows and hummingbirds and hawks and now this oriole.

Bats? Check! Not quite the crowd that we had (for whatever reason) at the old house, but there are bats.

I love it!

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New Visitor In The New Back Yard

This one caught me by surprise. We only moved less than a mile, we’re still in the same community, we’re simply now near the top of the hill where before we were at the bottom. So most of the existing wildlife we’ve seen (rabbits, raccoons, crows, lizards, etc) has been pretty much the same.

This pair (and I’m pretty sure it was a pair, a male and a female) were a complete surprise and really stood out.

I’m pretty sure this is the male. There was a similarly sized bird that was never far away, moved around the large tree in our back yard together, feeding. The other one was darker, no bright colors that I could see, but it almost never came out where I could get a clear view at it. When I first saw it I thought it was a mockingbird.

The extremely bright yellow bird was constantly moving, feeding, making it hard to get a good shot. But I can guarantee that I’ve never seen one like this in the nearly thirty years I’ve lived in the area.

A few cropped images (somewhat blurry since it NEVER stood still for more than a second):

Big body, the size of a mockingbird or a touch larger.

Bright, bright yellow, with jet black wings and tail and black markings on the face.

The beak is long, as are the legs.

White stripes across the black wings.

If you Google “yellow and black birds” you get a few options, the first of which doesn’t match. The American Goldfinch is smaller than this bird, and the beak is all wrong.

I did find reference to a “yellow-headed blackbird.” The map shows that they do live in this area. (News to me!!) The only problem there is that it looks like only the head is black for this species – obviously here a big chunk of the body is yellow.

There’s an “Audubon’s Oriole” that looks more like this, but it’s apparently only found in Texas. This pair would have to be way, way lost.

This seems to be a more likely option for me, the hooded oriole. I think that’s our guy. And it says that the females are generally darker with little bright color.

Welcome, my hooded oriole dude & dudette mate. Help yourself to the seeds, and especially to the yard’s bugs!




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No Context For You – June 29th

Chiaroscuro in scale and concrete.

Blow it up. The detail I see here is amazing.

Do you realize what sort of supercomputer/library/entertainment/communication/ubertool we’re carrying in our pockets, that also doubles as a truly amazing quality camera?

How can we have such wonders while simultaneously having such looming horrors?

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Invaders From The Mycelium! (Defeated)

Monday, there were ‘schrooms on the lawn.

Tuesday, they had opened and grown.

Yesterday, they pretty much looked exactly the same, so why bother, I posted pictures of the moon. Much more cool.

This morning, they had started to look a little… wilted. Saggy.

However, as predicted, as surely as Friday is trash day, that means that Thursday is gardener day, and gardeners mean lawn mowers, and mushrooms have yet to develop a decent force field or space-based missile defense system against lawnmowers.

The yard is once more… green. Unsullied by invaders.

But still they lurk.

I can hear them thinking. Plotting. Planning. Patiently.


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Invaders From The Mycelium! (Day Two)

Yesterday, there were ‘schrooms on the lawn.

Today, they continued to grow and open.

It does occur to me that these critters have a limited lifespan – the gardeners come on Thursday. I doubt they’ll be spared the wrath of the lawnmower.


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