Hey, I'm so awfully sorry for being away so long! I miss all you guys!
I've been spending some "quality-time" with my mom up at the Pond, and do I have stories! It's been a great summer, and I've developed some pretty cool cross-species friendships with the critters that inhabit the Northern Deciduous Forest of the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire.
"The Pond" isn't awfully big: it sits atop a small mountain, and it's not much more than a quarter-mile long, but it's spring-fed, crystal-clear, and it's home to all my good buddies!
In August, the water temperature's about 85-88 degrees fahrenheit, but the air averages around 70, so in the morning, there's this eery mist. It's then that you can hear the haunting call of my good friend, Mr. Loon!
Mr. Loon, of course, isn't really good at flying (his wings are too far back) or at walking (his feet are too far back!), but boy, can he FISH! He'll dive down to the bottom (about 65 feet), using his wings as paddles, and emerge with a trout on the other side of the pond. He let me and my dad get right up next to him in the boat! Guess he's getting used to us. This is the second summer he's taken up residence here! Gavia Immer...hmmmm....dad muttered something about the Latin meaning "Diver."
Mr. Turtle isn't quite as fast underwater, but he's curious! He sits on the shore in front of the cottage, waiting for one of us to go swimming with him.
Ah--My good friend, Alvin! Thank God the girls aren't here--they'd eat him whole! But Alvin and I share the back porch of the cottage sometimes. He's kinda cute. Maybe with a little ketchup...
Now, Mr. Bullfrog keeps me awake at night. I'm waiting for Mom to provide a good recipe for Frogs' Legs, but until then, I tolerate him.
Mr. Bass lives under the dock. Sometimes Dad will catch him by accident with his flyrod and gently put him back in the water. He doesn't seem to mind, because he keeps getting caught. Impersonating a trout, perhaps...
Baby Frog and her siblings live in the grass all around the cottage. Dad has to be careful when cutting the grass, 'cuz they're awfully hard to see.
Mr. Catbird is one of my BEST friends! He and his lovely mate live in the bushes and help us pick the blueberries. They LOVE blueberries. But they also help to keep the evil terrier-eating bugs away. Sometimes I see Mr. Catbird bring a fresh dragonfly to Mrs. Catbird--it's really touching. They're members of the mockingbird family, and they fear humans and terriers about as much as they fear a fresh damselfly. Catbirds are breathtakingly friendly and curious.
Mr. Hummingbird is a bit of a little bully. He tries to chase the other "boy-hummers" away from the feeder, and it looks like the Battle of Britain! Spitfires vs. Messerschmidts, aerobatics, Immelman Turns, Hammerhead-stalls, it's really a pretty nutty show. These little guys are as aggressive and territorial as any rhinoceros. There's only ONE thing that will cause them to retreat...
Ms. Hummingbird! I watched three of these little ladies "take out" an aggressive male in a protracted air battle. It wasn't pretty!
Hummers actually migrate southward from Canada to the Gulf-Coast, then fly across the open ocean to Yucatan. At least the Ruby-throated ones do! What do they eat? Jewel-Weed! Dad tells me that when these little succulent flowers appear all along their North-South range along the East Coast of the U.S., they're ready to fly South. Impatiens Capensis provides the sugar-high they need along the way to propel those little wings. It's also a great poison-ivy treatment, and was used for that purpose by native Americans for thousands of years.
But you know what I most look forward to when I get home?
Seffie and Bailey. They'll give me a piece of their minds for spending so much time away, but I sure miss them!
I've got lots more photos and stories to share, so stay tuned!