Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sky Divers

Morning Commute
Watering a Happy Pie Pumpkin Plant
Belted Kingfisher
Second Sky Diver of the Day
The Water Cannonball
Enter the Red Tailed Hawk
Swarmed by King Birds
Duck! No, Not a Duck...Duck! It's a Charging King Bird
Grinning Grenny (Me, Too!)
It's 7 am and Todd is pulling out of our driveway to go play Santa. He says that delivering for Fed Ex makes him feel like he delivers happiness to some of his customers. One business in Sandpoint even gave him a Santa-with-a-moose coffee mug.

An hour earlier I started frying sausage links and watering according to my plan that follows early morning shade. As breakfast progresses, I pull hoses and sprinklers every 15 minutes to a new spot. By the time Todd leaves, I've progressed to pulling weeds while I continue to water.

With 20 spots and two sprinklers it takes me three hours, giving me ample time to pull stray lawn weeds, cultivate my garden plants in rotation (the never-ending weeding of organic gardening) and tackle patches of knapweed one blasted taproot at a pull.

Of course my eyes drift to the skies or pond.

The great blue frontier overhead is bustling. Now that juveniles are getting the hang of wings, flocks of geese fly low through the valley. The first osprey I've seen all summer hovers over Elmira Pond and I don't dare run inside to grab my camera. I don't want to miss this moment.

He doesn't dive.

Armed with my camera, I weed until another sky diver appears: the belted kingfisher. His wings beat faster than an ospreys, but both birds are similar in their approach -- hover, watch, dive. Kingfisher makes almost as big of a water cannonball as an osprey does. He gets whatever the osprey had passed over.

While talking to my squash plant -- yes, I talk to my plants and no, they don't talk back -- I twist off my first yellow crook-neck of the season. That will go well with pork chops on the bbq tonight. I hear the alarm chirps of the Eastern King Birds, a magnificent gray and white fly-catcher.

They are considered aggressive and I have a blurry shot to prove it. Geez, I was just taking photos!

Eastern king birds will grab a hold of predator birds and ride them like a paddle-board surfer on Lake Pend Oreille. Their alarm has me looking up and this time the sky diver is a red-tailed hawk, a dark brown morph. Looking at his battered wings and tail, I'd say he knows who is "king"  of this pond sky. Three kingbirds swarm him and drive the hawk away from Elmira Pond.

The osprey doesn't return. Maybe he's heard the bad rap about the king birds, but in truth, I've never seen them tackle either the osprey or kingfisher. They must discern their sky divers and realize that fisher birds don't threaten their kingdom.

Strangely enough, neither do they swarm the dogs who cheerfully join me my last half hour of watering as I quit weeding, lured by birds into watching blue skies and still pond. My grin is as toothy as Grenny's.

Nothing like a morning of physical work and sky diver wonder.


  1. wonder Grenny is grinning, priceless photo, what a beauty! Such fascinating bird antics to brighten your day in that North American Big Sky (and water, ha!) that I adore. What a thrill that our kingfishers bring us so much joy on both sides of the shining sea :-) And I've never heard of King Birds...quite the dazzling display you have there Charli, and of course love how your pumkins are coming on. I haven't grown them since I left California. Miss that. Oh for the joys, challenges and therapy of a garden. Fabulous <3

    1. My Internet is behaving badly! Just responded and my reply disappeared! Anyhow, I was thrilled we both have kingfishers on each side of "the" pond. I wish I could mail you a pumpkin, but customs would probably get it! :-)

    2. Oh no, I hate it when that happens! Haha...yes, darn customs, but I would be more than a little amazed to have a pumpkin arrive through the post from the Pond :-) Although with the things my daughter orders, packages of all sizes and shapes, our postman would probably not bat an eyelid, lol :-)

    3. It's worth a try! They are growing each day, so dark green right now. Maybe my strategy will be to address it to your daughter (less suspicious?)! :-D

  2. I'm amazed at how many hours you work in the garden - and still find time to write! How many hours are you awake? :)

    1. I only garden 3-4 hours 4-5 days a week, and I'm able to do other things during that time, unless I'm on a weed pulling mission! We ought to do a "day in the life" blog hop and share one another's writing vs. daily activities!