Backyard Dreaming: Formerly, A Day After a Colonoscopy

My sweet Ground Dove
My sweet Ground Dove

I am having the most wonderful morning sitting outside with a cup of dark hot chocolate, made with water, 100 calories. It serves as my chocolate for the day, although it is a shame to consume it all first thing in the morning…

My over-producing orchard hung in the Shady Lady tree
Over-producing orchid hangs in the Shady lady tree in back yard

Our small backyard is so entertaining. It faces west, and we have trees, and flowers and the yard slopes toward Lake Iona, which is 11 acres big.

First off, the very proud and industrious kingfisher posts himself on our dock.  He announces his presence, as always, and this morning his crest is extra puffed up. He is glad to be back in the Southland .

Kingfishers are notoriously hard to photograph--this one came from Audubon
Kingfishers are notoriously hard to photograph–this one came from Audubon



The tiny but mighty palm warblers are also chipping away, happy to be cleaning no-seeums off the screen of our lanai. They arrived two days ago from Canada, where they nest and breed in the summer. And just why are they called palm warblers. you might ask, but that question will never be answered, at least not by me.

A woodpecker sounds– throaty,  loud and here he comes — the Pileated’s crest outdoes the kingfisher’s by an inch or two.  And it’s really, really red. Ah, he is interested in our coconut palm stump. We lost two adjacent palms in a lightning strike several years ago, and like all things in the south, time moves slowly especially when it comes to digging things up . So there it sits–a foot high stump just right for the alienated. (I typed pileated, but I like the way it came out instead.)

Now, I hear a single note squacky call and two green herons take off across the lake.  They come by the dock often, jockeying for positions on the posts and displaying their crests, as do snowy egrets, great blues, little blues and tricolor herons, with the occasional great egret, anhinga and eagle thrown in.

River otter pays a visit
River otter pays a visit

And don’t forget the river otter, who comes by to rest when he’s in town as do fish crows and grackles and red wings and once a kestrel stopped to survey the territory.  Ducks and pie-billed grebes also frequent the Lake, and just this morning one of my favorite birds, a timid little ground dove landed just because (above).



Our dock, I might add, is totally useless except to sit on and as a wildlife attractor.  I had a kayak for awhile, but as all fools know you cannot get into a yak off a dock. There is so much to learn here in Florida.

So my cup of hot chocolate is gone. I did re-learn a lesson this morning; one I knew all along.  It is my usual habit to get up and view my Instagram feed, full of gorgeous national geo photos and chickens and flowers and sheep and other stuff I follow.  But today what was happening in my own yard was wonderful. And I got to be in the moment, as all the gurus say.

My Green Heron Guru
My Green Heron Guru



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Retired journalist, writer, editor and teacher. Our lives were lived in the Washington DC area, but I was born in upstate New York. Love nature, birding and reading. Volunteer at Ding Darling NWR . Proud mom of two, married to a wildlife photographer.

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