Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More birds

     With a day off from work I got a chance to begin the day with a little bit of yard birding.  The most interesting birds were a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Ruby Crowned Kinglet.  While the Sapsucker never got close enough to be photographed, the Kinglet spent a little time posing as she was prowling for bugs.  She actually was a bit too cooperative and saved her best poses for when she was inside the close-focus distance(15 feet) of my 500mm lens.

Female Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Hunting for bugs

Playing to the camera

    Later in the morning I headed to Lake Erie Metropark (LEMP), hoping the winds which had lightened up overnight would allow for a big hawk migration day.  A respectable but not great total of over 1100 raptors were tallied with Turkey Vultures accounting for over 80% them. 
Adult Red-tailed Hawk
Immature Red-tailed Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
     Let me rewind to earlier in the morning before sunrise, before any birding took place.  On my days off it's my job to feed our three cats.  Since my wife usually feeds them and can only carry two bowls at a time, out of dog range to the basement. The three cats,who hate each other like they're fundamentalist of different religions,  have to take turns eating.  So when I feed them I monitor them until the least aggressive cat, Comet,  gets to eat her fill without being bullied by either of the other two.   
     The cats' breakfast time started out like any other day until after a couple of bites, Comet suddenly walked away from her bowl to the laundry room.   I waited for her to come back and then went to check on her after I heard an unexpected noise.  Here is what I found....   
  This photo may raise a couple of questions, such as:   1) Why is the cat in the washtub?   2) Why is the tube from the furnace's condensate pump duct taped to the side of the washtub?  
   Cats are quirky creatures.  Years ago, the girlfriend of one of my friends noted " Cats would really be strange if there weren't so many of them".   Comet is as quirky as they get.  She never remembers which side a door opens on.  She'll stand for hours looking at the doorhinge when she wants in or out of a door.  She also once slept on a lawnchair during a light snowfall and woke up with half an inch of snow on her.  She will drink out of puddles but won't drink out of her water bowl.  She also spends a lot of time alone sitting on the counter in the bathroom waiting for anyone to come in and turn on the water in the sink so that she can get a drink.    Her disdain for bowlwater leads us back to the first question.  Answer 1): while she was eating she heard the furnace kick on and knew water would be flowing out of the condensate tube shortly. 
    A couple of years ago, a family member (ticketed co-driver from Yellowstone trip) showed Comet that relatively fresh water comes out of the condensate pump tube into the washtub, Comet figured out she could drink from the tube and not get her feet wet if she pushed the tube up along the upper edge of the tub so that the water would run between the washtub and the dryer.  Answer 2)  After a couple of days of wet floor tiles and a flurry of accusatory finger pointing, the tube was duct taped to the inside corner of the washtub when co-driver theorized that Comet was trying to improvise her new found drinking fountain.  
Letting the tube rinse
Refreshing drink

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