Coffee, Conga, & Hawks!

You know you’re doing the parenting thing right when your twelve-year-old is looking at you with a combination of doubt and amusement. At least, that’s the way I figure it. So the other morning, my beloved dog woke me up at 4:30 as she paced back and forth down the halls and up and down the old wooden staircase of our house over and over. I finally convinced myself to give up on the tossing and turning bit and groggily ventured downstairs and to my fuel, ahem, coffee maker at 5:58. As I was pressing start on my favorite kitchen appliance, the electricity went out. Noooooooooo!

The first five minutes of the power outage I was optimistic. I lit some candles, chatted with my ten-year-old, (who was so excited to be using her new flashlight in the dark), and I decided to start my Bible study. But all I could think about was that coffee. So when the power came on about forty minutes later and I had the first cup of deliciousness in my hand, I was dancing across my kitchen. Now, some people know that kitchen dancing is kind of my thing, but this morning I got lost in the moment. All I know is that I glanced up mid-one-woman-conga-line to see that look I mentioned a minute ago coming at me from my 12-year-old. I was singing the Conga beat, (da-da-da-da-da-da), coffee in hand, my favorite cozy robe on, dancing across the kitchen and in place of shouting “Con-ga! Con-ga!” I was singing, “Cof-fee! Cof-fee!” What can I say? I like my coffee.

A little while after my earlier than usual kitchen dance party, I had just finished my yoga and was at the sink, when I spotted a hawk on my neighbor’s fence. I got excited. I always do when I see hawks. I think they’re so cool I had to include them in my teen fantasy book series, HARMONY RUN. I showed my daughters, who both thought the bird of prey was neat, and enthusiastically alerted my husband. Meanwhile, the hawk flew to another tree. By the time Charles got to the window all he could see was, “something black.” Based off his description, I gathered he didn’t quite seem convinced his dream woman had seen a hawk. (Maybe her overactive imagination had gotten carried away again?) To be honest, I think he was only on his first cup of coffee, so maybe he wasn’t as alert as yours truly. Still, in my ongoing quest to prove to Charles I’m holding onto a bit of sanity, I tugged my boots on, grabbed my camera and a winter coat to go with my yoga pants, and headed out into 23-degree weather.

The hawk moved from branch to branch despite my stealth-like approach, (snow boots snapping every twig and crunching every leaf in my yard), but I kept praying that I could just get one picture to show that man. And voilà. I got one, and only one, picture. But thank you, Lord- that’s all I needed!

When I went back inside, my 12-year-old was laughing, the doubt still lingering on her beautiful face. She nodded towards my yoga Capri pants and shook her head. “Cold, Mom?” she asked. “Yes, but I got the evidence I needed for your dad,” I declared triumphantly. The girls were impressed with the photo. And Charles…well, he took one look at the photo and said, “Oh…wow!” surprise evident in his expression, and that made my dash into the cold worth every freezing moment.

I may be a coffee-chugging-one-woman-Conga-line, but I’m not seeing things. Well, not all of the time, anyway. 😉 Don’t forget to look out your window, friends. You never know what you may see. And the next time your morning cup of coffee brings a smile to your face, why not consider doing the kitchen Conga line? I promise I won’t judge. I’m too busy amusing my children.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Hey there, beautiful hawk! 🙂

I love hawks.

Red-shouldered Hawk

I took at least a dozen photos of wildlife this morning, most of them behind my house. There were three gators cruising the pond, that I could see, and an assortment of birds. While I got some good photos of those big, bad gators, this was my favorite photo of today. I’m not sure what it is about hawks that I love. It could be the simple fact that I don’t fear for my life when I photograph them! Hope you enjoy the hawk. I’ll share the gator photos very soon…I promise. 🙂

It’s not just a Hawk…


Ever since I can remember, I have liked hawks.  Seeing one always brings back fond memories of growing up and the umpteen times the Bird Woman, AKA Mom, almost swerved off of the road to point one out to me and my siblings.  Sure, we had a few close calls, but between the Bird Woman and our father, AKA Rambo, one thing about our youth we can all agree on:  It was never dull.  In fact, growing up with the Bird Woman and Rambo was thrilling.  You may have heard me refer to the Bird Woman by her other nickname, G.I. Jacque.  (My parents are quite dear to me, and there are countless stories to go along with how they earned these precious nicknames.)

Today, seeing the Red-shouldered Hawk sitting outside my home, I smiled and laughed.  I recalled one of the many times the Bird Woman swerved her car to point and shout, “Look at the hawk in that tree!”  As my head narrowly missed hitting the window, I remember thinking how crazy, but exciting, the Bird Woman was…

The truth is, the Bird Woman still is fun to be around.  She finds the excitement in all things, especially the little things.  To some, it might just be a hawk, or a Red-shouldered Hawk, sitting in a tree.  To me, it won’t ever just be a hawk.  It’s a lifetime of memories, full of endless excitement and adventure.  Sure, there are a few near-accidents sprinkled in along the way, but the journey wouldn’t be nearly as exciting without them, and for each one of those moments and all the hawk-spotting ones to come, I am forever grateful to the Bird Woman.

May each of you find adventure in the little things…




Taken from inside, before I ventured closer.

Are you looking at me?


I saw a couple of hawks in this tree the other morning and had to stop for a few photos.  Is it me, or was one of them really looking at me?  I think these are Red-shouldered Hawks.  Hope you enjoy!  I am back to work for now!  🙂

Call of the Wild

Red-shouldered Hawk ‘calling’

Usually, when I hear a cry or ‘call’ like I did coming from this Red-shouldered Hawk this morning, it is coming from one of my kids.  Seriously, my kids sound like hawks or descendants of dinosaurs a lot of the time.  So this morning, I was on my wildlife patrol, (I know…I am such a geek, but I don’t care,) and I saw this hawk.  I pulled off the road, got out my camera, and was SO excited when the hawk called out!  What a cool sound.  (Again, I am easily excited in this stage of my life, I know.)  Of course, Sanibel being the town of Mayberry that it is, someone driving down the road recognized me as a parent from the school and pulled over as I was waiting for the ‘big’ picture.  (I wanted a photo of the Hawk in flight, since the one I have isn’t very clear.)  Obviously, the hawk decided to fly away right as the car stopped in front of me, and I didn’t get that photo.  Guess that means I will be back on bird patrol again soon.  I am so cool I can’t stand it, ha ha ha.  Hope you enjoy the photos! 🙂

Look at the Hawk!

Red-shouldered Hawk

The curse of Jacque has been cast upon me…  You see, Jacque, (my dear, dear mother,) is the original ‘Bird Woman’…(Well, that’s one of the names I have given her over the years in addition to G.I. Jacque…You can read about my life with Rambo and G.I. Jacque and my first manatee encounter here.)  Growing up, my siblings and I got into the habit of pointing out birds we saw along the highway or road as the Bird Woman trained us to do this.  (I have heard stories of how this bird trait has been passed down over generations…Jacque was taught to look for birds from both of her grandfathers.)  Even as adults, we still do this.  “Look at the Hawk!” we will cheer out excitedly, and whoever is in the vehicle with us will generally give us a strange look and say, “I didn’t see a Hawk…”  We are constantly looking for birds…We can’t help it.  THANK YOU, Jacque.

I think it’s getting worse for me.  Now, I find myself purposefully looking for places I have spotted certain birds before.  I make my way to certain trees…A few days ago, I was on my ‘bird patrol’ when I spotted this Red-shouldered Hawk in a tree.   Kind of hard to miss I suppose.  I was alone when I saw it, but I couldn’t help but laugh at myself as I called out loud, “Look at the Hawk!”  I glanced around.  No one was there to hear me or say, “I didn’t see a Hawk…”  So, I took some photos to share with cyberspace, and in the hopes that someone is paying attention to this post I will once again proclaim, “Look at the Hawk!”  😉  Again, thank you, Jacque…   🙂

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk in tree

I promise I did not cause a traffic accident when I pulled off the road after randomly spotting this hawk in a tree.  I very carefully parked, grabbed my camera, and took a couple of photos.  After studying three of my bird books and searching the net, I am 99% certain this is a Red-shouldered Hawk and not the very similar-looking, Cooper’s Hawk.  Of course, I could be wrong….One of the ways to distinguish between the two hawks is the rounded tail of the Cooper, and as you can see, I did not get the tail in my photos.  Still, the photos I got look most like the Red-shouldered Hawk, as far as this amateur can tell.  🙂  I would have gotten some different angles, but the hawk remained quite still the entire time I was hanging around.  In any case, Red-shouldered or Cooper…I just am SO excited I got a photo of a hawk.  If you can’t tell, taking photos of cool birds and animals in general makes me happy!  The heroine of PRISMATIC would get a kick out of this island for sure!  😉