Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cat Feeding Commotion

This morning the 4 cats were doing their winding and weaving, and begging dance on the cabinets asking for their breakfast. The cats are fed on the kitchen cabinets to keep the dogs from taking their food.Morning is the only time they get canned food. The rest of the day it is dry food. So I put out the 4 bowls, and divided one small can of cat food between all 4 cats. Of course Twinki had hers done in 3 seconds as she always does and was trying to take the others. I pushed her back from one of the other cats and she stepped up on an almost empty plastic container that is used for hard candy, (mostly peppermints for the horses) and the way she stepped on it caused it to slide across the cabinet into the dry cat food bowl spilling all of it and then both the dry cat food bowl and the plastic candy container crashed to the flood scattering peppermints and cat food kibbles. Of course this caused all the cats to spook. 2 took off for the bedroom and the one cat that eats on the other side of the cabinets, about 4 feet away jumped straight up into the air, came down in his food bowl causing it to fall to the floor, right beside where one of the dogs was eating, where it decided it was a top and twisted round and round and round. I couldn't believe how long it kept going. The dog, Ziva, had disappeared as fast as the cats. I think they all went to the bedroom which is considered a safe zone.
I couldn't do anything but laugh, as Twinki who had caused all the commotion came back out and sat calmly on the cabinet looking at all the mess of 4 cat bowls scattered and a lot of the canned cat food with it. One bowl had landed in the 1 gallon container of pet water and splashed water all over the kitchen. Tuffee our Border Collie was peaking around one end of the cabinet to see if it was safe to come out. Slowly the other 3 cats came creeping back from the bedroom to see what had happened while I started cleaning up water and cat food. It took about a half an hour to get Ziva to come back out and still she didn't want to finish her food for about another hour.
And the camera was in the other room, but it all happened so fast, that I would have never had time to get it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Uninvited Guest

We had an uninvited guest for breakfast this morning. I went out to feed the horses at 8 am. I know, most of you have already fed your horses by then. But I bet none of you feed at 9 in the evening like I do, so I can sleep in a little and feed a little later. And yes, they get a light feed at about 3 in the afternoon, too. And yes, they are very spoiled.
Anyway. I went out to feed. Fed Nita. Fed the ponies and was leaving their pen when the dogs cut loose and ran up to the front gate almost beside me. Now we frequently have loose dogs, (I won't call them strays as they have homes and owners that don't want to keep them home) plus the corner of our property is where the schoolbus picks up the kids and lets them off in the afternoon. So when the dogs started barking I expected to see a loose dog or someone on the street. Was I ever surprised to see a coyote standing about 20 feet from my fence. And there was my old black cat, Murphy sitting by the dogs watching the coyote, too. (Of course I didn't have the camera.) For about a half a minute I watched the coyote and it watched me, my 2 dogs, and my cat. I don't know if he was planning on having cat for breakfast or was just curious about what was going on.
I decided he needed to be on his way, so I yelled at him which made the dogs bark worse. He turned and walked back into the road. I yelled again and with a backward look at us he walked up the road to where I couldn't see him any more.
I quickly looked around to see if I could see our other boy cat, Wiley, as both these 2 cats insist on going out with me to feed the horses every morning. Also, so that they can use our huge sandpile of a yard instead of having to use the litter box. (I refuse to let our 2 little girl cats get in the habit of this.) There was Wiley under one of our trucks watching the goings on.
I finished feeding the last horse, Star, and ushered the cats into the house for their breakfast.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rio Grande Nature Center State Park

The Sandhill cranes are big birds about 3 feet tall, gray with the bright red spot on top of their head. Cranes, as well as the geese, migrate down from their nesting areas in Alaska and Canada in the fall to winter along the Rio Grande River, mostly at the Bosque del Apache Refuge which is about 2 hour drive south of us. There are a lot of these birds that go to Texas to winter, too. They usually start arriving here in November. In late winter, about now, they start their migration back north to the nesting grounds. There used to be so many of these unique birds that it was unbeleivable. My grandmother told me of watching them in the fields especially of doing the stange dance they do when mating. I have seen this at other times but none were doing it on this day. The sandhills almost were gone at one time but they came under the protection of many bird groups and now there are lots of them again. If you are lucky and I mean very lucky you might see one of the extreamly rare hooping cranes in with the sandhills. The hoopers are almost white and taller. I did get to see one at a distance in the Bosque del Apache Refuge a long time ago. We had planned to go there but decided it was to far on this day. Link to the Bosque del Apache http://http://www.friendsofthebosque.org/Friendsindex.html#whatsnew

And a link to the Rio Grande Nature Center http://http://www.rgnc.org/index.htm

This state park of New Mexico is set on the edge of the Rio Grande River in an older section of the city of Albuquerque about 20 miles from my home. The nature center is home to many native plants and animals and lots of birds. There are many people who enjoy birding that come here to see the birds that live here and the ones that are just passing through as were the geese and cranes that we saw yesterday when we went there. It has been about 10 years since I have been here but not much had changed except then it cost $1 to get in and now it is $3 per car. We didn't see any of the sandhill cranes in the park but did in a field as we were leaving. One of the most interesting birds we saw was way off at a distance and I didn't get a close shot of him. It was a Kingfisher bird which I had never seen before.

He is the tiny bird in the top of the tree in the photo.

From the Windows

These photos were taken from inside the Nature Center through the big windows. In some photos are dirt smudges that were on the outside of the windows.

Inside the Nature Center

Inside the Nature Center is an information center where there is always someone to explain about the center. There are displays explaining about birding and about the Rio Grande River. There are big windows where you can look out and see the river and the ducks, geese or other small birds that come to the Center. The first two photos show a bird in the corner that is not real. The

nest is the area where there is furnature where you can sit and watch the birds in front of a huge window show in the next photo. The birds can not see in to get upset by the people looking out at them. The last photo is a shot of the big room with the big window that sits out over part of the river that I took from one of the small 'blind' window.

Look Out Places

The Nature Center is set up so that there is no way to get up close to the ponds where the ducks and geese hang out the most. It is for the protection of the waterfowls. They are kind of like the things that hunters and reserch people or photogephers set up to get close to birds or animals without being seen that are usually called 'blinds'. They have put up block walls with square holes in them to look out onto the ponds and where you can take photos. All of these and the ones of the previous post with the geese were taken from one of the 'blinds'.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Canadian Geese

This bunch of Canadian geese were on a pond to the side of the Nature Center. Those are the Sandia Mountains in the background as they are in so many of my photos.

Duck Butts

A lot of ducks feed off the bottom of a lake or pond and when they do they turn their little tails up to get their beaks down to where the food is. These ducks were doing that. I think they are mallards. I decacate this post to my niece who, as a tottler thought that duck butts were funny. She is not the only one. There will be a Birdwatchers Guide to Duck Butts Workshop at the Bosque del Apache Refuge this weekend. Check the link http://http://www.friendsofthebosque.org/Friendsindex.html#whatsnew

Chainsaw Art

On our outing today we stop at the Pueblo Montano Trailhead area and took a walk around to view the chainsaw carving done by firefighter Joesph Mark Chavez after the fire of 2003 that killed so many big, beautiful cottonwoods. He used his chainsaw to make the sculpures and to remind people to be careful with fire. Unlike so much of the art work seen around Albuquerque that has cost the taxpayers untold amounts of money, these were done for free by someone that could see the beauty that the dead trees held even tho no one else could. Thank you Mr. Chavez.