Friday, March 6, 2015

Ding dong, hawk at the door!


Yesterday evening, we were just about to sit down for some spicy taco soup (so wonderfully prepared by you-know-who–moi!) when the doorbell rang. Then someone knocked. Very insistently. I opened the door to find our friend, Thomas, with his teen son, Jonathan. 

"We found this bird injured on Mesquite Street," Thomas said, holding a brown jacket in his arms. "A cat was about to get it. What should we do with it?"

"Take it to Wildlife Rescue!" I immediately answered. Thomas didn't look so sure. Out in his pickup, some dogs barked. I knew Thomas already had a full enough plate to handle.

"We'll take it," I offered. Thomas nodded with relief. And, sure, he nodded, we could borrow the brown jacket that he'd to capture the hawk. I didn't want to disturb or stress the bird any further by taking it off. Then to keep the bird calm bird, James placed a blue cloth napkin over the opening where its head was visible. 

 Then off we went!  

At Wildlife Rescue, we were ushered into an office/exam room, where a volunteer carefully unwrapped the hawk from the coat. She kept the napkin over its head. Then she placed it in a large pet carrier. We could tell that its left wing was definitely injured. "It's either broken or dislocated," the volunteer told James.

Another volunteer said hawks can be injured or killed when they're fixated on prey down below on the ground and don't see an oncoming vehicle. That's probably what happened to our little hawk. But we haven't heard back yet on its diagnosis and condition. We'll let you know when we do.

Oh, yes, I must add that the second volunteer also said that the aforementioned cat would NOT have fared well in a tangle with this hawk (lucky cat). And, yes, we returned the brown jacket to Thomas and then enjoyed our spicy taco soup. Finally. :-)   

UPDATE David from Wildlife Rescue just called (2:30 p.m.). Our hawk is a MERLIN, not a kestrel (which is what we'd thought it was). The bird is doing fine, he said, and likely has soft tissue damage in the wing, which should heal. It probably hit a window or a car. They'll likely call us once our merlin has healed so we can pick it up and release it back in our neighborhood!  

* * *
My taco soup 
(recipe for Cynthia)

Minced garlic
Chopped onion
1 can corn
1 can red beans
1 can Rotel
1 small can tomato sauce
Half cup or more water
Pkg of taco seasoning (I used the rest of two opened pkgs)

I used less than a half pound of meat and two big cloves of garlic. Brown the meat in a pot. Add and saute garlic and onion until limp. Then dump in the canned ingredients (I poured off some of the liquids but not all). Then add water and seasoning. This is soup, not chili. I simmered the soup on low on the stove all afternoon. Voila! 

Some taco recipes call for a package of Hidden Valley Dressing mix, which is suppose to add a twang.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bulbs bulbs bulbs

Yesterday, James and I spotted this interesting plant growing from a rock in our front yard, where we have a white fence and daffodil bulbs. Judging from the emerging bud, I think it might be a hyacinth! But I have NO clue how it got THERE. We're gonna keep an eye on it. We also staked protective branches around it to keep those pesky deer away. Darn deer. 

Not too far away from our mystery plant are these...death camas (Zigadenus nuttallii) that I planted two years ago as bulbs. Oh, I guess I've never posted about them. Never mind how I came by them. The flowers are GORGEOUS. Just wait and see! 
And our neighbor's white daffodils are blooming. I've noticed the green foliage for years but had never seen them in bloom. So pretty!

Spring has sprung

First official daffodil of spring!

The quince has been blooming for a few days.

New flower species

Meet whitlow-grass (Draba cuneifolia), a new species in our Wildscape but not new to me. I found and identified this plant on our property northwest of town in March 2012 (see "Surveying our rural land"). Whit-low-grass is tiny and sweet. I don't remember seeing it before. Another early bloomer!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Martin season here we come!

Go ahead and get your laugh of the was breezy outside, folks!  :-)
Purple martin scouts have arrived at Matt and Martha's martin houses in town. So it's time to put up our one lone house. Again. James and I were laughing as we walked out to the Meadow with our house. The neighbors must get such a kick out of us...this is our seventh year to try and attract martins. We added two more gourds and capped all the house compartments ( to keep out sparrows and starlings). James is cutting down two old pecan trees in the Meadow, too, in hopes of eliminating "sparrow perches." Wish us luck. Here we go!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dastardly Malta star-thistle

Malta star-thistle rosette
 This week, I was dismayed to discover that more of that invasive Malta star-thistle has come up in our front yard. Sigh. I've been pulling pulling pulling. You'd think that since we've gotten pretty good control of it, the stuff wouldn't show up any more. But nope. I heard or read that the seeds can remain viable for up to 10 years. So I guess some seeds are still hanging around.
Another rosette coming up
And another....
But these are NOT Malta star-thisles. Can you tell the difference?
Which one is the bad guy? (Answer: On the right)

Nope, this is NOT a Malta star-thistle! It's an Engelmann daisy.

Any bad guys in this photo?  (Yes, on the right. Engelmann on the left.)

Another Engelmann. You sure don't want to mistake these for Malta star-thistle!

Meadow mowed

 James mowed the Meadow today. Last year, he mowed about the same time (Feb. 14). Today, he took "before" photos....

 After he finished, he took "after" photos for me. Now come, bluebonnets and other wildflowers, let's GROW!
(Thank you, James!!!! Looks great!)