A Missouri Nature Lesson

190729_StormJuly 29 – On a recent evening we sat on the front porch for quite a while, watching a thunderstorm to our east and enjoying the constant flashes of lightning, and thunder. The lightning area reached for miles along the horizon, never getting high into the sky. Appropriately, lightning bugs (fireflies) were performing for us too and speeding around the yard and pastures. In past years we had often noticed them coming up out of the lawn in crowds but this year so far they are acting differently and we don’t even see where they are coming from. They just streak past us on their ways to somewhere from somewhere.

One of our neighbor’s peacocks has come to enjoy our company this summer, and has been here in our yard for a number of days already. He is a noisy bird and gives out frequent, loud calls which we don’t hear his friend answering from the home down the way. Last night he was on our roof, and during the day he spends much time lying in the bird feeding table, which is just his length.

170808_SourCherriesOur sour cherries ripened well this year, and all three trees got redder and redder as the days went by. To no one’s surprise, the birds enjoyed the fruit, flying around amidst the branches snacking. We were pleased that they didn’t seem to damage the crop, at least not obviously so. Right next to the three trees is a large purple mulberry tree and those berries also ripened nicely. Even crows like mulberries and we hear them in the upper branches at times, cawing and picking berries. We were glad to have the mulberry tree next to our cherry trees, acting as a lure to save our cherries, but this year the birds seem to be enjoying them both..

190729 TurtleTurtles are out crawling around these days, probably females looking for good areas to dig holes and lay their eggs in. I found a quite large red-eared pond slider on our front lawn the other day, and Chris took some pictures of her and then days later found her again in our bamboo patch.

One day on a single trip to church we saw a snapping turtle, a box turtle, and a pond turtle, all crossing the road – miles apart, of course. Our son saved the life of a snapping turtle a few days ago when he drove past and saw it was planning to cross the highway. He stopped, got out a cardboard box, and got the turtle to crawl into it and then carried it off to the roadside and pointed it away from the road. Many motorists would probably have just run over the turtle and we applaud the lifesaver. Snapping turtles can be carried by their tails, with caution, so a box is not essential.

And thus endeth the nature tale for this time. – DALE

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