Sunday, April 29, 2012

Encounter with a River Otter

I've been having some close encounters with a river otter lately. Some people around here aren't too crazy about otters because they sometimes get into boat houses, eat their smelly fishy meals there, and use the place as an outhouse. But I have a fondness for otters.

The other day I was photographing some gulls down by the ocean shore at low tide. I was just leaving when I heard a splash. I thought I saw a head in the water. So I snuck back down the ramp to the dock and sat down. Sure enough, an otter surfaced with a big fish in his mouth. He was swimming straight towards me...I assume he was planning on enjoying his meal on the dock.

By the way, my husband tells me that he thinks the fish is a greenling. Anyway, when the otter saw me he dove under the dock and vanished. He was about six feet away when I took the picture. We were both very surprised by this encounter!

The next day I hoped to meet with my new friend again so I went back to my post on the dock. I wasn't disappointed. The otter seems to like to fish for eels around low tide and there he was, catching one after another.

Soon the otter left the water and climbed the rock cliff to a grassy area. I've never seen a river otter out of the water before and was quite surprised at how big and powerful he looked. He reminded me of a dinosaur...a brontosaurus, to be specific.

River Otter on Land

I watched as the otter found a shady spot under a tree and began to roll around joyfully. Every once in awhile he'd stop rolling around and survey his domain.

River Otter

By the way, if you see an otter out of the water, chances are very good that it's a river otter and not a sea otter. River otters have dens on land and sea otters spend almost all their time in the ocean. River otters walk easily on land and can be found in either fresh water or the ocean.

After about 45 minutes of rolling around his grassy haven under the tree and occasionally spraying the perimeter of the area (!!) the otter descended the rock cliff so that he could return to the important business of catching more food.

River Otter on Rocky Cliff by the Seashore

Another good way to tell the difference between a river otter and a sea otter is that the river otter swims belly down, so that you see some of his back in the water. The sea otter swims belly up...they're the ones you sometimes see pictured with a buffet of clams or some such delicacy spread out on their belly like a buffet.

Otter watching can be kind of addictive, so I think I'll head down to the ocean now and see if I can have another close encounter with my furry friend!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My First Ebook...About Funny Squirrels, What Else?

If you like funny squirrel pictures and could use a laugh or maybe some inspiration, you might be interested in the new ebook I just published called "Life Lessons from My Squirrel Friends". The book features 25 photographs of squirrels I have known over the years, as well as funny or inspirational captions to help brighten your day.

Life Lessons from My Squirrel Friends Ebook

The ebook is available from either Amazon or Smashwords. Each company sells the ebook for different e-readers. You can download a free sample on either site.

Publishing an ebook was an interesting and sometimes frustrating adventure. I published the Amazon version on my birthday this past was a goal I had for quite awhile. I have this squirrel book (and another book of other animals) in an earlier print version and always delight in watching people laugh out loud when they read it at the craft fairs where I sell my work.

I've taken so many photographs of squirrels since doing the original print version of the book, I thought it would be a good idea to update it and get it online. People who have bought the ebook have told me that the pictures look great on different e-readers. I've also downloaded it to my computer (which you can do through Amazon if you don't own a Kindle), and I'm very happy with the look of it.

So if you need cheering up or know somebody who's feeling a little uninspired, you might want to check my little book out. I'm pretty sure you'll like it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Attract Hummingbirds with Flowers

I've just completed my second Squidoo lens about attracting hummingbirds, and this article is specifically about how to attract hummingbirds with flowers.

The Rufous hummingbirds are buzzing around our place full-time now, the males battling it out over who has the rights to the feeders in the front and back yard as well as general territory. From what I can tell, we have at least two males and one female now.

Today I gathered some dried grass and moss that I thought they might want to use for nest-building. My next goal is to finally find a hummingbird nest with babies!

Here's a male rufous hummingbird showing off his beautiful red gorget (his neck feathers that almost look like sequins).

Male Rufous Hummingbird

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Hummingbird at Feeder in Costa Rica

O.K., you might not need to know how to attract hummingbirds to feeders if you happen to live somewhere like Costa Rica, where the above photo was taken, and where you see a hummingbird about every five minutes. But for the rest of us, if we're lucky enough to have hummingbirds around, getting them to stick around isn't always so easy.

That's why I wrote a Squidoo lens (my first!) on how to attract hummingbirds. Please pop on over to have a look and leave a comment if you care to!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Baby Ducks and the Banker

Baby Ducks

Today a friend emailed me a heart-warming story about ducklings and...a banker! Unfortunately I can't embed the YouTube video, but if you click on the link, you can check it out.

Let's say "awwwww!" altogether! Baby Ducks and Banker video.