Turf Wars

Everyone else was busy today. The Snarl had her best friend from back home fly in last night (U-M’s winter break) so the two of them plus the best friend from down here are history. They talked us out of the old clunker Jimmy that is in retirement down here so they could do the beach thing this week. The Snarl was ready to literally ride around the neighborhood on her bike and buy the first car with a for sale sign on it under 2,000 she could find- sans inspection, test drive, history- just so she would have a car while Caitlin is here. We decided haste would mean just more car waste and our tolerance for that right now is zero. So she has the Jimmy. I give that truck, with it’s 160,000 miles and the Snarl at the wheel until about Tuesday night at 10:33 pm. We could take bets on when the car gives out but a hundred bucks say Caitlin goes back to the airport in a cab. Please, please, please Higher Power- gimme some good car karma and prove me wrong.

And Rich was busy writing some proposal or another so I took off on my bike for the Bay to see what I could see. Coincidentally, I found some cars for sale. They’re having a big car show at the waterfront by the Vinoy, the fancy pink downtown resort. Which one do you think the Snarl would like? Too bad- she’s at the beach.
CarThen I went and ate a leisurely lunch at The Moon Under Water, a swell British Colonial Tavern where you can get both the best fish and chips in town and also the best Indian curries. I settled for a cobb salad and some pappadam with raita. I read my book and ate slowly and didn’t particularly care that there was a growing line of snowbirds. I’ve decided that home ownership, especially now that we’re hanging a new garage door today, gets me out of that crowd.

My primary focus was on the green parrots. Actually these are Quaker or Monk parrots. They are a “non-native”, otherwise known as an invasive species. I’ve been at odds with the U-M Birders list members forever because of their running warfare against non-natives, including sparrows, cowbirds and my mute swans. Many members act like they should be eradicated like purple loosestrife along the highway; my favorite part is that they act like these “non-native” species just waltzed past the border patrol under cover of night on their own steam. I mean, I’m not an expert when it comes to who’s crowding who and to what degree but I certainly know who had a hand in the problem. (Remember the spreading chestnut tree?) And as though these birds also aren’t creatures of the earth and I believe there’s a Book that repeatedly sings the praises of the lowly sparrow and…okay, topic drift. That’s my rant for the day, but if you ever want to engage in a discussion about non-native species in the greater scheme of things- well, let’s go. You and me. In the alley. (And Hoss, I don’t want to hear about killer bees…)

The parrots. These clowns are a great way to kill an hour by the Bay, any day. There’s a very large flock of them that live in the botanical palm garden in the park and most months they move as a raucous and brilliant crowd from tree to lawn to light pole to tree.
Today, I could hear them- the racket was deafening in a background kind of way, once I tuned in. But I couldn’t see them, other than an occasional quick solitary flight. That’s because they are all paired up and on nests right now and the low undersquawk was the sound of hundreds of baby Quakers. They’re not yet fledglings because I darn near got a migraine straining to see up there and didn’t see anything but scolding parents. The nests are up a good 50-70 feet and these were the best shots I could get with the telephoto. At that, they wanted me to just leave. Go. Get out. Stop with my invasive, non-native tactics.PalmQuaker3_1Quaker2

8 responses to “Turf Wars

  1. You might make a case for them based on the fact that Florida once boasted it’s own native parakeet, the Carolina. Extinction left a hole in the ecosystem shaped like a monk parakeet.

    Whew…that’s as good as I can do in favor of an exotic species. I just don’t like ’em.

  2. Your day sounds leisurely–full of delicious sounding food and beautiful sights. Alison is bugging me about making an appointment for her drive test, and I am pretending not to hear her. (I shudder at the thought of the insurance costs for two teenage drivers-ouch!)

  3. FC- I’ll take it- the space left by the Carolina. I’m being mostly facetious on the invasive species problem. It’s serious and I recognize it. I do take exception to this business of acting all up about it and forgeting that we bring these problems on ourselves. Besides, these parrots make me laugh.

  4. Florida sounds heavenly. I was thinking just this morning how I wish I could pick up and pop down to the keys for a week. -Day dreaming again!

  5. Any ideas about the safflower seeds here? I still have no takers. Need some, because I bought a whole bag of the things. The thistle bag, on the other hand is rapidly becoming depleted and will need filling soon. The finches arrive early and have become so used to cats and people moving inside that they don’t even pause in their repast. This morning I counted nine hanging on the little bag. They must eat their weight in thistle each day.

    The parrots sound lovely. OK, I can’t hear them but they look lovely.

    I’ll just give my input on the car thing. One word:no really two words – used Honda. I’ve had Honda’s now for almost 20 years. I had to have a car that would run and not break and they have always been reliable. The last one I traded in was a 94 Accord sedan and it was sold to someones son for his first car even before I turned it in and got my van. Nyssa has a 2001 Civic sedan. This was new, and will be the ONLY car she gets from me. The next one is hers to pay for so she knows to take care of this one. It is five years old now and only has about 30,000 miles on it so it’s good to go for several more years. She has already decided to purchase herself a hybrid Civic the next time. I’m waiting for the job and the hybrid Odyssey that comes out in 2007. I love my van but might go back to an Accord now that I don’t have to haul the basketball team around.

    How’s it coming on the bee front and the internet front?

  6. I second the vote for the Honda. My daughter bought one right after college and it is still going strong (about 12 yrs. later) with over 150k miles on it and only about $500 spent over the whole time for repairs other than regular maintenance.

    I am sort of down on the parrot species right now. Last weekend, my daughter-in-law’s sun conure attacked me for the 3rd time in 3 visits. He hates me (and her mother too) and he takes every opportunity to let me know it, this time biting the top curl of my ear. He had to fly about 3′ to get to me, too. I am calling him bad names right now (you just can’t hear me)…..LOL

  7. *sigh* I could sure use some beach time about now 😉

  8. I love the sound of your day! What book were you reading? Good for you for eating slowly. You are truly above the fray, outside of the cares of that crowd. 🙂

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