Today I saw a fairly large bird, about crow size, fly into the trees across the street. I wouldn’t have paid any more attention except for the spot of bright red on this bird.


It was a Pileated Woodpecker, a large woodpecker with a bright red crest.


This was clearly a male Pileated Woodpecker, with his red forehead and red moustache line on each side of his face.


Here’s a rear view of his crest.


He landed on another branch where I had a pretty clear full view of him. Look at that spikey crest.


One more of the Pileated Woodpecker.




A Few for Wednesday

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Looks like fall is on the way.


This leaf will be falling soon.


Lantana flowers with the fence in the background.


And Max, smiling at the camera.



Hurricane Irma

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Hurricane Irma is here, and from tonight into early afternoon tomorrow is supposed to be the worst of the storm for us here in northeast Florida. We are fortunate to live in a zone D area on the A-F flood probability scale, with A most likely to flood and F least likely. We did not have a mandatory evacuation for our area, though all of the A and B zones did have to evacuate.

It’s windy and rainy now, as predicted for tonight, and we’re just riding it out (or hunkering down, as they always say during hurricanes here). No problems so far. The power is still on and it would be wonderful if we don’t lose our power tonight. Last year our electricity was out for a week after Hurricane Matthew went through. Here are a few photos from today.

Wind and rain in the backyard.


More wind.


During hurricanes frogs often just appear on our sliding glass back door. Max was fascinated when this one showed up.


Little bluebird looking for bugs this morning before the storm really moved in.


We have plenty of supplies–food, water, batteries, flashlights and battery-powered lanterns, a propane stove and a charcoal grill, and the rest of the things they always tell us to stock up on when a hurricane is coming. So we’re as ready as we can be for this storm. If the power stays on I’ll check back in tomorrow.


Back on Friday


I’ve been busy for the past couple of days with dental surgery and preparations for Hurricane Irma–not a great combination! But things are going better now. We’re expecting Irma to pass us here in northeast Florida late Sunday night/early Monday morning. We are not in an evacuation zone so we’re staying home. We usually lose power during these storms–sometimes for hours, sometimes for days–but otherwise come through all right, so I hope we’ll be lucky this time too.

Here are a few pre-hurricane photos from today. First, a Gulf Fritillary butterfly in the lavender flowers. There were about a dozen of these butterflies in the yard this morning, all gone by afternoon. Maybe they were migrating away from the coming storm.


Max looking up into the palm tree he’s been working on. He loves to pull on the loose frond bases. Eventually we’ll get some tree people to come and clean it up.


Max and his palm tree.


Cicada shell on the palm tree.


Baby anole on the fence. The anoles in general seem to come through these storms pretty well–I usually see them reappearing on the fences soon after it clears up. This is a tiny anole though, so I hope it’s a lucky little one!


Another anole on a basil pot. Nice red/orange coloring on this one.




Toad in the Palm Tree


Max was alertly watching and poking at the lower part of one of the palm trees, and I went over to intervene. Usually when he’s doing this he’s spotted an anole, and I don’t want him bothering them.

When I made Max back off and checked the tree, I found that it wasn’t an anole–it was a toad. A toad had crawled and hopped up under a loose frond base near the bottom of the tree.


I’ve seen tree frogs and anoles in the palm trees often, but never a toad. We do have toads in the yard, but normally they’re on the ground, not on tree trunks.


It was healthy-looking adult toad, plump and active. It moved back under the frond base, but then poked its head out again to look around.


For the toad’s safety from Max, who was still very interested, I gently removed it from the tree and took it over to a safe area on the other side of the backyard fence. The toad hopped off.



Woodpecker on Saturday

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When I looked over into my neighbor’s yard today I saw a spot of red above black and white stripes in her palm tree.


It was a Red-bellied Woodpecker–a fairly common woodpecker around here. The amount of red on its head indicated that it was a male.


Woodpecker inspecting the tree.


One more of the woodpecker.


Friday Sunset

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A fiery sky at sunset this evening.


Palm trees on the right, in front of the streaks of red/orange.


Tall pine trees silhouetted against the sunset sky.



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