April 23rd, 2005


A Prisoner In My Own Home!

I wanted to go out on the deck and check the plants, but I am trapped inside. For on the inside of the screen, right next to the handle, is an earwig as big as the Ritz. The sort of earwig that must have roamed the earth during the Ice Age, feeding on...um...Jumbo Earwig Chow For Large Breeds.* A dire earwig. I know in my heart of irrational hearts that if I risk opening the door, it will utter the mechanical scraping roar of Godzilla and lunge for me, butt scissoring in a mad ritual of death.

Okay, it's probably not that much bigger than any other earwig, but it's got me held hostage. Fortunately, the front door is safe. Or at least opaque.

*What the heck do earwigs eat? I know silverfish like paper, but I'm unclear on the difference, if there is one.

(no subject)

The Great Dismal Swamp was cool! And not at all dismal.

While it was definitely a swamp, it wasn't...y'know...swampy in the dripping Spanish-moss and roving alligator sense. It was more like a forest with a flooded basement.

Didn't see all that many birds, but we can chalk that up as much to my being a neophyte with binoculars as anything else--we sure heard plenty Lake Drummond, in the middle, is supposed to be Chock Full 'O Waterfowl, but my doughy little limbs aren't gonna do a nine mile hike in muggy weather. However, I did see a few--primarily yellow rumped warblers, a few titmice, and then, to my delight, prothonotary warblers! They're spectacular! They're so...yellow. I'm used to yellow birds being sort of like the pine warblers, where they're a streaky, feathery, mottled yellow, but the prothonotary warblers were this pure, solid yellow shading back to gray, a color so absolutely crisp, it was like a musical note. They were fabulous. I wanna paint them.

And I also, with much squinting and straining and focusing of binoculars and consulting of books, spotted a red-headed woodpecker. I've been wanting to see one, because they look amazing in the photos, and I'm glad to add it to El Lifelist, but I wish I could have seen it better--I was trying to spot it against a blown-out white sky, so it was a dark cutout, and while the white breast and big white wing patches were visible, it took a lot of squinting to tell that the head was red instead of black. They're amazing looking birds, and I'd love to have a chance to see one up close. But I suppose that's why people KEEP birding. *grin*

There was something else, too, but I wasn't able to ID 'em--they were hanging out on the very top branches of a tree next to some more warblers, and looked to be about the size of a blackbird. What I could see had a very, VERY streaked breast, to the point of being pinstriped, with a dark tail and I think dark uppers, although since I was squinting upwards against a white sky, take that with a grain of salt. The things that matched the closest were female red-winged blackbirds, which would be a normal species for the area, but why several females would be hanging out together, with no males, and a pack of yellow-rumped warblers, is beyond me. Then again, they're birds. Birds are weird.