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July 3rd, 2009                                                                                Spring, 2010Spring, 2010Winter 2010Spring 2011; after a storm which brought down the large Maple next to it!Oct. 2011May 6, 2012

Another day; more rain! Gardening was out today, but I walked in the mall, shopped for a plant and some birdseed, and then picked up a friend for lunch. We went back to the mall, to Panera's and after lunch I bought myself a cushiony new pair of walking sneakers. All this dampness bothers my arthritis!

My friend, who's the nun of 50 years and originally gave Sue's tree her blessing, told me all about her travels. On her bucket list is her desire to visit all of the continents before she dies. She has made it to most of them and is aiming for a cruise that would take her to an hour in Antarctica! Being a nun has some pretty good perks, not the least of which is a lot of vacation time and monetary gifts from loving parishioners that permits her to travel.

On the down side, she's running into a bit of age discrimination and is now finding it hard to find a job! This, after working 3 years at Notre Dame as a religious co-ordinator and heading a parish in Michigan for 5 years! I guess the job recession hits all people in all walks of life!

At Cedric's request, I found all the pics I've taken of Sue's tree since it was planted. The first 6 are pics of pics, and as such, are not of the best quality. The last one I took this past weekend. The tree, as I've said, has not grown so much taller than it's grown fuller. It's now 3 years old and firmly established, so I don't have to worry about it too much anymore. Not like 2010, when Ken and I brought it back from the brink of death by drought! We went every day, twice a day, with gallons of water to pour on it, for about 2 months! My hubby is a gem!

Here's my pics......(which appeared on the top of this post. I have no idea what governs where they turn up)! As you can see, it's slow-growing tree, but it's gets nice and full in the summer and is doing well! I take myself for a drive to the park every now and then to see it. I had it planted on the outside approach of the park, so I could look at it when I drove by. Then if I want to see it up close, I enter the park, go out again onto the Parkway and then exit the parkway immediately which allows me to park by the tree on the grass. Then I swing out onto the Parkway again and go home!

It's not raining right now and there may actually be some sun tomorrow, which means I can go into the garden and do battle with the weeds again! Hooray!

Is there anyone out there who has a knowledge of reptiles? I took these pics a few years ago in FL. In that hole, which is the size of a quarter, was something which moved and withdrew into the little tunnel. If you look carefully, you can see what appears to be eyes and an crooked mouth. I haven't had any success looking up snakes, worms, reptiles, etc. Any suggestions, anybody?
Even a suggestion as to where I might look would be appreciated.

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Absolutely no idea on that one I am afraid. Not easy when you don't live on the continent and so don't know the range of species. I take it it was very small. No signs of scales on the object, so not sure if it is a reptile? One thought. Could it be an object that has been foraged by another species and was being pulled down a hole. Possibly by some sort of invertebrate? Also wondered if it might be a cocoon of some type of moth. Not much use. Sorry. There are various websites dealing with bugs in Florida that answer questions like this. They might be able to help?

I'll try some more entomological sites. Maybe it's some sort of spider hole? It did appear to move back and forth in the hole. Fascinating!

Thanks for posting them. It's a really great ongoing story

Strange things always attract me, as long as they're not in my house.

I feel as though it's a piece of Sue somehow. I'll continue to take it's pic every year and see how it prospers.

OK, here is a long shot. Florida worm lizard - some pictures in this collection of burrowing reptiles http://www.superstock.com/stock-photography/Worm+Lizards

I'm not convinced by the way. Why didn't you grab it before it vanished? ;-)

And touch it! You must be joking! I like to see these things, not interact with them! Aaaaaggghhhh!

I think the FL worm lizard is pretty close, though it didn't look pink so much as bluish-grey, but light can be deceiving. The little burrow was so nicely constructed, with the pine needles incorporated into the lip of the hole, raising it slightly above the ground.

Actually, I found a site: www.archbold-station.org/discoveringflscrub/unit2/proj2b.html

This is the burrowing wolf spider, and if you read paragraph 12, this type of opening is exactly what my pic shows! Perhaps what I saw was, as you thought, something the spider was taking into its burrow.

Yes, and what you might have seen was the egg sac?


Well done!

I have been buying books on US wildlife. Off to California in the summer - can't wait. Though some of your species look familar loads don't. Going to be a great experience.

You are right, that's exactly what I saw in the hole, the egg sac! Gross, but nice to finally know what I took a pic of.

You will love CA. It's got loads of great birds and plants. What part will you be in? If you get to the quite Southern part, you might see some Mexican birds. If you see a Green Jay, send a pic. That's the only Jay I haven't seen.

San Francisco, then Yosemite, and finally Monterey. At some point I want to try to get to Pinnacles National Monument if time permits. I like corvids, but top of my list are probably hummingbirds, which I have never seen before.

Ravens are fantastic, so large! I have seen a few hummingbirds, but haven't had any luck attracting them to my backyard. I did see a hummingbird moth once! Do you have magpies where you live? They are lovely. Saw them out in Yellowstone and in Washington State.

I would love to see San Fran but Ken will not drive in crowded CA. Maybe I'll get to Yosemite one day. Enjoy!

30 years or so ago you had to go to the north and west of Britain to see ravens, but their numbers are increasing and they are starting to recolonise the south-east - fantastic birds. Magpies are very common over here, in our garden most weeks. Although I like them they are among the least popular UK birds as they eat the young and eggs of other species, so they get the blame whenever a songbird declines.

We have Ravens out West; dark-billed Magpies in the Southwest and Yellow-billed in the Northwest. It's a shame Magpies are so destructive, they are so pretty.

These are my favourite magpies - Spanish azure winged.


Something has to eat those small birds!

WOW! I wish that we got more of the exotically colored birds here! You are so very lucky to see these gorgeous birds!

You kidding? I have been reading through the Sibley guide to birds of the North West and thought yours were much prettier! Grass always greener on the other side.... Sad we will not see any cardinals over in San Fran.

I guess that's true; I only wish I could see all of the beautiful birds in person. So Cardinals don't reach the West Coast? (I haven't looked at my bird book in a long time, I just know what I'm looking at, or, sometimes, hearing). Remember, if you see any Green Jays, try to get a pic. We don't hang around by the Mexican border long enough for one to appear. With all the drugs and killings by the border, I guess that's wise.

Actually just to the right of the egg sac I think you might just be able make out a pale spider leg, positioned as in the photo I sent you before.

The website said that these spiders are not usually seen in the daytime; I just happened to spot it's tunnel and whatever was moving in it. I usually have my eyes on the ground when we hike, because if I step in a hole or something, my knees will give me hurt!

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