Sunday, December 21, 2008

Afternoon Birds

I just stepped out to try the digiscope on whatever birds might be around, and found this Red-headed Woodpecker catching the last rays on the shortest day of the year.

Down by the pond were three Pied-billed Grebes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cougar Hoax

Yesterday I got an email from someone who was genuinely excited about a series of trail cam photos of cougars that were allegedly from Choctaw County, in southwest Alabama. He'd gotten them from his brother, who he thought had gotten them from the owner of the camera. A look at this map shows how significant that would be. I got a little excited about it myself, having long heard of unconfirmed sightings from this area. The region's low human population density, extensive timberlands, and high feral hog and white-tailed deer population would afford excellent cougar habitat, if they were there today. But I was not prepared to accept the photos as evidence until I could trace them with certaintly to the original source. There have been similar reports in the past that turned out to be hoaxes, like this one. Unfortunately, after doing some searching, I found this article that says the cats were photographed in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Further searching turned up the original series of photos from Outdoor Life magazine's website. Although I like to think there may be cougars in Alabama, I still have seen no evidence that will convince me. Bobcats are thriving here. Maybe someday their larger cousins will return, possibly from the west, now that the prey base is restored and they are no longer relentlessly persecuted.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Family

The quintessential southern redneck Christmas song. One of my all-time favorites. Thank you Robert Earl Keen.

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade egg nog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn't know what to think of him til he sang
Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad

Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins from his second wife Mary Nell
Of course he brought his new wife Kay
Who talks all about AA
Chain smoking while the stereo plays Noel, Noel
The First Noel

Carve the turkey
Turn the ball game on
Mix margaritas when the egg nog's gone
Send somebody to the Quickpak Store
We need some ice and an extension cord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites
A box of tampons, some Marlboro Lights
Hallelujah everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the family

Fran and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can't remember how I'm kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motor home in
They blew our Christmas lights
Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited out on our front lawn
He threw a breaker and the lights came on
And we sang Silent Night, Oh Silent Night, Oh Holy Night

Carve the turkey turn the ball game on
Make Bloody Marys
Cause We All Want One!
Send somebody to the Stop 'n Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprites
A box of tampons, some Salem Lights
Hallelujah, everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the Family

Feliz Navidad