Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wings and Furry Things

A couple of weeks ago, Frank and I went on our first fishing outing of the season. We went to a pond which we visit each spring, and where we usually encounter one of the area's sweetest residents. She's a lovely white and grey feline who has learned to recognize that fishing rods mean she might soon be lucky enough to dine on a fresh fish dinner.

On past visits, this feral beauty has been visibly pregnant and she's made it quite clear how urgently she need to obtain nourishment for herself and her growing babies. For all we knew, she may have been expecting another litter this spring, or perhaps she just knew that she needed to get her meals, and to hoard some of them when she could.

Shortly after our arrival, she came out from the shelter of an abandoned building and made sure we were aware of her presence.

The fishing wasn't spectacular where we were so after a while, we crossed the road and made our way behind the building, where we knew we'd be able to catch some chub for her.

She met us out back and waited patiently.

It wasn't long before each of us had several tugs at our respective fishing rods. One by one, we unhooked several small fish, killed them swiftly and brought them to our hungry friend.

At first we couldn't get too close to her and had to toss them her way.

After a few feedings, she decided she would swat them out of our hands and eventually she gently took one chub right out of Frank's hand, as seen in the small inset image at the start of the page.

We later moved on to a different area and spent a pleasant afternoon watching birds, clouds and bobbing floats. We went home with no fish, fewer worms and a few fond memories.

Below are a some photos of a few other creatures which we encountered over the next few days. I hope you enjoy them.

Bunnies are beautiful critters but I don't think they rank too high on the intelligence scale. Frank pointed this cutie out to me. It must have figured that standing stock still meant that he was invisible to me. He allowed me to approach fairly closely without twitching a muscle.

Finally, when I stepped over the too-close line, he hopped a full six feet away, and stood still once more - his back to me this time. Silly wabbit!

Another not-too-bright but beautiful creature is the mourning dove. In his current and very amusing post, Frank agrees with me about this bird's IQ. Go ahead and read his entertaining tale about a mourning dove and a chipmunk. I don't mind waiting till you get back.

A far more intelligent bird is the crow. If you doubt that for one moment, have a look at this video and you'll see what I mean. There's a 30 second commercial before the crow video begins.

Perhaps this guy was off to his workshop in order to craft the right tool for a job.

These American Goldfinch are still coming into their breeding plumage and appear a bit patchy before sporting their full summer gold.

And speaking of gold, look at the beautiful yellow patch on this white-throated sparrow's head. He has a curious expression rivaled only by...

.. this beautiful male cardinal. Ever watchful and calculating, this guy made sure I didn't come any closer while his partner helped herself to the feeder nearby. A bunny could sure learn from these birdbrains.

Back soon with more photos.


Brian Miller said...

what an adorable little that you went fishing for her snack...excellent pics hilary!

Unknown said...

I'm not usually "smitten" by feral cats, but you presented this one so lovingly. I hope she is able to provide for all her babes.

you get with the birds photos, as always. I think I could birdwatch all day. Which you've now brightened , so thank you.

messymimi said...

Sorry, but the rescue society person in me can't help but wish the cat could be humanely trapped and spayed, and returned to her domain.

Birdbrain indeed! As you know, even we could learn a thing or two from some birds. The doves notwithstanding (we keep having to rescue the babies that fall out of a nest they have built in a really bad location around here).

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

What a lucky puddy tat to have you and Frank pass by! Love the photograph of the mourning doves ... and the IQ evaluations throughout the post!

Joanne said...

Love all the songbirds in the Springtime. But I feel a little sorry for the cat. It doesn't seem that she has an easy time of life.

Mental P Mama said...

Love that sweet cat...and now to learn about the non-mensa doves....

ellen abbott said...

Hilary, your pictures are just amazing as always.

Your feral cat is a beauty. She looks uninjured, well feed and well groomed unlike many of the feral cats I see.

Daryl said...

That cat is gorgeous .. the male cardinale is exquisite and that bunny .. what a wediculous wabbit

Steve Gravano said...

I love the cooing of Morning Doves. The past two summers, we've had one that coo's in the early morning from our rooftop.

Merisi said...

You are a natural with birds, and feral cats too!
You captured the cat in such beautiful light, she looks quite fine out there in the wild (and hopefully getting enough little fish to leave birds alone!).

I observed a stork on the Neusiedler Lake shore, stalking near a fisherman, waiting for the little bait fish. Clever animals!

Tabor said...

So many nice birds now in your area...or are these leftovers from winter? I saw my very first redstart today...but did not get a photo, of course.

CiCi said...

We have cardinals like this one in the back yard. The male and female come by a few times a day to see what there is to eat and watch the other birds. Hubby and I have so much fun eating our breakfast and watching them just outside the window from where we sit. I really like the pics of the sweet cat you fed fish to. Nice photos.

Anonymous said...

the creatures in this have warmed my heart. thank you!

xo Alison

holdingmoments said...

Lovely story about the cat Hilary.
She looks pretty healthy to me. Must be all that fish ;)

Cricket said...

Just checking in and catching up. My earlier estimates of my free time were overly optimistic. Ugh. Well, I'm still out here, still love you, still hoping to read/comment/post again someday.

Them chilluns drivin' me nuts. They'd drive me to drink, but I never drink and drive, and I have to drive them somewhere constantly of late.

There's logic in that somewhere.

The feral cat reminds me of the time the "bird police" stopped by a friend's house, trying to pin ownership of some local feral cats on him, so they could fine him many thousands of dollars for the super-protected piping plover chicks those cats had made into a tasty snack.

Today's pick: Fishin' Blues by Taj Mahal. Many fish bite if you got good bait....

lime said...

all the pictures are magnificent as always (you astound me) but the one where the cat is gingerly stepping around the corner to take the fish from frank's hand is just charming.

Land of shimp said...

I'm with messymimi, the greatest favor to that very endearing little cat would be to arrange to have her humanely trapped and spayed. It would also be a great favor to her litters, as they will grow up to have very hard lives also.

It's kind of you to feed her, and she is a very fetching little animal. Poor thing lives an existence I wouldn't wish for any animal, though.

We have a lot of doves around here, and thank goodness they are pretty, because the poor things are beyond dim. Crows are very cunning, and either we've got a race of extra large crows, or we've got actual ravens mixed in among them. I saw one the other day that was bigger than the average house cat, but his beak was such I wasn't sure if he should be doing the "Nevermore" routine. Big, impressive, and a bird with which I would not like to have an argument.

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

I just love fur baby shots! I've been known to get myself into trouble buy trying to help strays!

Linda said...

Love the cat, of course!

Great shots of the birds, and you are so right about the doves. They are some of the dumbest birds alive, and some ducks are right up there with them. Neither know how to move out of the street/driveway until the last second, as you creep along.

I hear birds singing outside as I type.

Shrinky said...

She sure looks to be well fed for a feral cat, seems she is not only beautiful, but also has enough brains to apply her charms to where it counts! You have the most wonderful of birds in your neck of the woods, I am so glad you share them with us.

Fliterary said...

Wonderful post and photos. Thank you, Hilary!

Frank Baron said...

Well, NOW I know where those new folks to my blog have been coming from. ;) Thanks, Hil.

You know I think the cardinal shot is a great one and the ones of the cat came out very nicely. You even managed to Photoshop out half my stomach in that side view shot. Good work!

As to those kind-hearted folks advocating trapping and neutering - I understand their stance and would wholeheartedly agree if the cat lived in any other than its present, very rural setting. Between the mill, the pond and the nearby barn, she appears to do quite well on a diet of mice, fish and whatever scraps the neighbours might put out for her. This is at least the 4th, and might be the 5th or 6th year I've been feeding her and she's always looked well.

Long may she purr. :)

Sueann said...

Beautiful photos!! You are so right. Bunnies are a little dense. Ha! Lovely cat...very smart. Glad you were able to feed her!

Joanna Jenkins said...

That looks like one well fed cat thanks to you! You really treated her royally! I can almost her her purring.
Tanks for the beautiful nature pics.

abb said...

For being a feral cat, Beauty looks well fed. Nice!
Wonderful photo captures.

photowannabe said...

You are so kind to all of God's creatures. Love the pictures and all of the birds. The BBC video is quite amazing.
I visited Frank's blog. What a hoot. I'm glad you suggested it.
Thanks for sharing your pictures with us.

Karen said...

Great pictures! Couldn't help but chuckle at your bunny stories. :) Wonder if the cat finds those baby bunnies? Wonderful walk with nature again, thanks.

Kelly H-Y said...

I love that you encounter the cat each time you visit the pond. Beautiful pics ... looks like a lovely outing.

Milton said...

Beautifull pix - ah, if only I'd been there...The Milt x

Maggie May said...

Beautiful photos and such clear detail.
You have some lovely birds that we don't have....... like the cardinal.
What a portly cat!

Nuts in May

Country Girl said...

Feral cats can't really help being the way they are, can they? I think it's wonderful that you helped this one out with a meal. And got her to come that close.

Loved all of the bird photos as well as the links. Still laughing over Frank's chipmunk/dove boxing match.

Hilary said...

• Thanks very much, Brian. It was a great day. :)

• Deb, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm glad your day has been brightened. These creatures and your visits do that for me, too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Messymimi, I understand how you feel about the cat. I would agree if she didn't live in a rural setting and doing well. Mourning doves are notorious for nesting in plain sight of cats and other predators - not to mention wind and other perils. Crazy birds! Thanks for the visit. :)

• Bonnie, thanks kindly. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• Joanne, the cat does not have an easy life but she sure is a well-fed creature. She must do OK and I trust she's done as well for her babies. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for dropping by, MPM. :)

• Ellen, I suspect that others look after her too when fishing her waters. Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

• Daryl, she's a beauty, eh? And him. And yes. ;)

• Steve, yes. It's much better to wake up to the cooing of doves than the cawing of crows. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Merisi, they sure are clever. No doubt that fisherman took to sharing with the stork too. Thanks so much for your kind words. They're so appreciated. :)

• Tabor, these were all recent photos. I had to Google what a Redstart looks like.. what a beauty. I've never seen one around here. I hope you manage a shot next time. :)

• Thank you, TechnoBabe. Birds sure are a delight to watch and really, I can't think of a better way to enjoy your breakfast than how you described. You paint a lovely setting. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Welcome, TheNextArrow, Thank you for dropping in and saying so. :)

• HoldingMoments, thank you. She must get her fair share. She's a good looking critter. :)

• Cricket, you're alive! I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit despite your diminished free time. I totally get the logic of what drives you.. in that paragraph anyway. ;) Those piping plover pundits play poorly (say that three times, fast) and need to work on finding homes for those cats rather than trying to make someone else pay for it. I had to look up today's musical choice and realized that I do know that song but it's the recording by Henry Thomas which I think I've heard before. Good choice, as always, my friend. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Lime. I quite liked that one, myself. She was such a cautious but determined cat, and she softened considerably with each fish. Mind you, she never once stuck around to eat it. She always ran off with her catch and either chowed down out of our site or stashed it somewhere. Thanks for your always kind words. :)

Hilary said...

• Shimp, I hear what you're saying and understand how you feel about this feline. She essentially lives as a wild creature yet does very well for herself. She's a clever, resourceful and endearing creature and far too wily for me to catch if I were to try, though I might if she were a city-dwelling feral. You may well have ravens along with your crows. They're pretty big and rather intimidating. And true, best not to engage him with an argument lest you be nevermore. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Welcome, Kristin. I'm glad you enjoyed the critter posts. I know what it's like to get in trouble with helping animals.. raccoons in particular. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope you'll return again soon. :)

• Linda, who wouldn't love that cat? I find the ducks around here to be a bit sharper than the doves. Then again, I've never really seen them on my street.. just at the local pond. Geese, however... ;) Thanks so much for the kind words. Enjoy those birdie tunes. :)

• Shrinky, I think you're right about the cat. She seems to be doing ok for herself. Thanks so much for your always-kind words. Much appreciated. :)

• Lisa, thank you so much. :)

• Frank, I have some of the best bloggie people out there and I'm glad that some of them are treating themselves to your blog. I never Photoshopped your svelt form.. you must have just sucked it in at the right moment. ;) I agree with your sentiments about the country kitty. She sure seems to be in good shape and she's probably happiest in her setting for as long as she is well. I think this is the longest comment you've ever left me... my lips got tired. ;)

• Thanks, SueAnn. They're more than a little dense, but oh so lovable anyway. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Joanna, she sure seems to do alright so she must have a number of things going in her favour. Thanks so much for your kind words. Always very much appreciated. :)

• Sue, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos, the video and Frank's blog. He's often a hoot and always a good read, and darn cute too. ;) Thanks always for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Karen. I wouldn't worry about that particular bunny encountering that cat since they're residing about a two hour drive apart from one another. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Kelly, I think she looks for us. And probably not only us. She's a resourceful thing. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Welcome, Milton, and thank for such kind words. Very much appreciated. :)

• Thank you, Maggie. I guess we each get used to our own bird population. I'm always fascinated by what birds are found elsewhere. Thanks so much for your always kind comments. They mean so much to me. :)

• Kate, of course they can't, so who could begrudge them a good meal? ;) I'm glad you headed over to Frank's blog. His posts are always a great read. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Kitties, bunnies, and birdies. I love this post! Great photos, as always. I've never seen a cardinal in the wild so your pic is a special treat.

Dawning Inspiration said...

What a sweet cat Hillary. LOVE that image of the doves. You get such fun shots ... full of color and life!

Paul C said...

You are building a wonderful collection of nature photographs. Great compositions and perspectives.

Bossy Betty said...

We have feral cats at my workplace and I am always amazed at them. They pop up on the landscape when you least expect it.

Your bird pictures send me into heaven!

Clowncar said...

that video of the crow using the stick to get the food is absolutely amazing!

Kat said...

Awww. Very sweet of you to treat kitty to a meal. I'm sure she was very appreciative.

LOVE that cardinal. WOW!

SandyCarlson said...

That was a great exchange with the cat, Hilary. Well worth the time and effort! I enjoyed all the pix and most especially liked the bunny. They are so pert, so alive.

Althea said...

Love the bunny :)

Dianne said...

she looks pretty good and healthy for a feral
she's beautiful
I always want to take everything home :)
I know it's not possible or even the best answer, it's just me

I love crows - I think they're brilliant
they're the heavy metal rock stars of the bird world

Anonymous said...

I normally dislike cats - mainly because I'm allergic and they make me look like I've been crying for a wee - but this one is adorable... on a photograph!

Zuzana said...

Beautiful images dear Hilary; that cat seems to quiet enjoy her treat.;)
I hope you are having a lovely weekend,

Andrea said...

What a beautiful cat...she is just lovely! Wonderful pics, Hilary. :)

Unknown said...

Beautiful pictures of a wonderful outing! : )

I like cats. That one looks pretty fat and happy to be abandoned.

Hilary said...

I love your cat....she is a beauty!!!

LadyFi said...

What fabulous pictures.. such a gorgeous cat! And I love the plumage on the birds, especially the cardinal.

Sandra said...

Love the cat and her story. Love the (as always) beautiful photography.

Jenny said...

AH! Your pictures! Breathtaking. My favorites are the mourning doves and the cardinal.

Nancy said...

Great post, Hilary. I just love how kind you and Frank are with the creatures you encounter. I'm sure that feral cat knows and loves you for your kindness. I also enjoyed Frank's tale about the squirrel and mourning dove. Ha! Who knew they were so cranky? The cardinal takes my breath away. We don't have them here, and I have always wanted to see one up close.

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Leah. I'm so glad you were able to enjoy this photo of the cardinal. I think this one had a bit more spunk and personality than many. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

• SD, thank you so much. I'm pleased that you enjoy my photos. :)

• Paul, thanks very kindly. Much appreciated. :)

• Bossy Betty, they're a fascinating creature. Domestic by our standards but very much wild by their own. Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm thrilled that you enjoy them. :)

• Clowncar, they're incredibly intelligent and resourceful, aren't they? I'm glad you watched. :)

• Thanks, Kat. Kitty was pretty pleased and no doubt will put in an appearance next time we're there. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Sandy, thanks kindly. I'm happy that you enjoy my nature photos because I know what getting out there and breathing in the beauty means to you. Thanks for stopping by to say so. :)

• Althea, thanks! How goes the traveling? :)

• Dianne, she does seem very healthy. She's done good for herself and her kittens over the years. I suspect this mama wouldn't want to be anywhere but where she lives. But I so understand the urge to take her into the fold. I totally agree with you about crows. The more I watch them, the more I realize they know. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• ED, I can understand your dislike for cats when they make you feel so miserable. Allergies can be so nasty. I would have been devastated if my kids developed allergies and I had to choose to put them through shots or find new homes for the cats. Maybe I'd just find new home for the boys. ;) Luckily it was moot point. We're all cat people. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Zuzana, thank you, my friend. The cat was indeed a happy camper that day. It's been a fine weekend and I hope it's likewise for yourself. Thanks always for the visit. :)

• Andrea, thanks very much. Always good to see you wander back into the blogosphere. :)

• LWK, thank you kindly. I don't know about her being abandoned as opposed to her always being feral. I suspect she was born that way and will continue to be a wild animal.. with a tender side. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Hilary, thanks but don't you go naming her mine now! My own two are enough for me.. especially when Benny comes around. I will keep you posted on her progress next time we're out that way though. :)

• LadyFi, thanks very much. The cardinals seem to know how beautiful they are. They often pose so nicely, albeit briefly. Thanks for your kind words. :)

• Sandra, thank you so much. Your kind comments are always so appreciated. :)

• Welcome, JenniferW and thanks very much for the kind words. Always nice to see a new face and I hope you'll be back again for a visit soon. :)

• Nancy, thank you, my friend. I'm certain the cat knows Frank, who has been coming around and feeding her for years longer than I. Once she was even generous enough with her gratitude to give him a gentle, appreciative nudge along his leg the way that cats do. I'm glad you read Frank's post. His writing always takes you somewhere special. I'm also pleased that you got a fairly close up view of a cardinal. If I find that I have one even closer, I'll send it along to you via email. Thanks always for the visit. :)

Linda Pendleton said...

Great photos!

Hilary said...

Thanks kindly, Linda. Much appreciated. :)

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

love the cat,
both of you are lovely and full of fun!

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

awards 4 u,
happy Monday!

Hilary said...

Thanks very kindly, Jingle. Much appreciated. :)

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Oh wow! I LOVE that you fed the feral cat and I love how you documented all the critters you encountered so beautifully. Spotting a bunny or gorgeous bird can make my day sometimes. I always wish I had a camera to capture it. You're right, I did enjoy very much! Thanks for reading my feral cat story. :)