Friday, May 11, 2007

rain and the joy of Tony

This is a sight for sore eyes - our street, wet with rain. This is such a rare and wonderful scene, I had to take a photo. Even though we had only a couple of millimetres of rain, it was lovely to see our neighbourhood all washed fresh, and to smell the clear morning air.

Where I live, as in most parts of Australia, we are stricken by the worst drought in a thousand years. It has been dry for days and days on end. Very occasionally, clouds gather, and it rains lightly for a few minutes. Mostly, it simply doesn't rain at all.

In my city, there are such severe water restrictions that we are forbidden to wash our cars (apart from the windscreens and mirrors); we can water plants only by bucket, and only 3 days a week, during set times. We desperately need rain to fill the water reservoirs, which are dangerously low. I heard a meteorologist talking about some upcoming predicted rain which may ease the drought, and he said, "The thing is - we need rain that measures in metres, not millimetres".

Fatty grumbles these days when it rains, because it never rains for long enough or hard enough. I know this to be true, but I'm still happy it's raining at all. Every little bit helps.

And then, there is Tony, who cheers us no end. 'Tony' is a tawny frogmouth - an owl-like bird (though not actually a member of the owl family) who has come to stay in a tree in our yard. We have seen tawny frogmouths off & on over the years since we have lived here, but this fella (gal?) has been spending his days snoozing just outside our dining room window for over a week now.

One day, my son Ben checked for Tony, and he wasn't there. We all sighed, "Oh, no", and wondered if he'd ever return. The next day, Tony was back, and we were thrilled to see his funny pointy fuzzy little face.

There is something inspiring about a creature that chooses to slumber in a tree overlooking noisy children and a barking dog, underneath roaring planes, beside a street where garbage trucks rumble loudly and hoons whizz by in their souped-up cars. Tony is a resilient dude. We like him a lot.

I hope you are all having a happy week. May you be filled with gladness for the funny creatures and the rain (or the sun) in your life!


Remiman said...

I like funny creatures and rain. We need some rain, although we're not near as needy as you all are. They did get a storm a few hours ago in a town not 15 miles from here that we did not get. However lightning struck a church there and it burned to the ground. No rain turned out to be a blessing for us this time round.
Funny creatures? Aside from the one I see in the bathroom mirror every mornig, we have a gray squirrel whose tail looks like an oppossum's. It must've narrowly escaped capture by a resident carnivor ie; cat.
No surgery today! What's up with that? Hospital census is way down too. We are spending the weekend with 2 of our 3 children at that bed & breakfast that D. and I stayed in and I wrote about in Feb. Should be a grand time.
Happy mother's day to you Jelly.

Val said...

I loved reading about your interesting visitor, funny-looking as (s)he is. Melbourne too is celebrating a rare visitor to the city itself: a female powerful owl has been sighted in Flagstaff Gardens in the middle of the city!

The water situation is hopeless though. Today's headlines say we are millimetres away from driest 12 month period on record. What I wouldn't give for the much maligned Melbourne weather of old!

fifi said...

I love those birds! they try to act like sticks, dont you think.
I could almost SMELL the passing shower.
I have ringtail possums in my olive tree, they have large and bulging eyes and I let them eat all the olives this year, all of them.

There is a large white owl in my suburb. When such creatures visit I am plunged into the anxiety of thinking that they have probably been driven from their usual habitats by drought.
Black cockies especially.


Alice said...

We are having absolutely beautiful autumn weather at the moment - and we HATE it. We don't want clear blue skies, sunny days, and gentle breezes. We want leaden skies, pouring rain over the catchment areas and gentle rains, increasing in velocity elsewhere. AND WE WANT THEM NOW!

There are many places along the coast of course which are lovely and green and there seems no shortage of water, but the vast majority of farming areas and towns/cities are becoming desperate.

So, I can understand how delighted to receive even a little rain - may it be a taste of even better things to come.

susan said...

I love to read your post, the different spelling of your words, and a few surprises, like "hoons whizz by in their souped-up cars". What is a hoon? A teenager? a race car driver? a physician late for work? Why is the owl-like bird called a frogmouth? Does he eat frogs? Does his mouth look like a frog?

So much to learn, so little time. I hope you get more rain. If there is any here, Buddy would gladly send it your way (rain is not welcome in the construction trade). Have a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day!

thisisme said...

What Val said, we desperately need rain here in Melbourne. I would give almost anything to go to sleep listening to the rain falling, and wake up hearing it in the morning.

Mum's got a tawny frogmouth too - I think we will spend some of Sunday visiting it.

Have a very happy Mothers Day Jelly!

TUFFENUF said...

I guess the whole world is affected by global warming. We are having a drought here in Florida too; wildfires are making it smokey outside all day, hiding the sun. Is this what we have to look forward to in years to come?

Gwen said...

Hi .Just thought I would pop in and say hello loved your tree friend.

meggie said...

Jelly, lucky you, to have Tony so close! I love those birds, -in fact love all real owls too.
Happy Mother's Day. I hope you get spoilt really well.
We have had some welcome heavy rain..but it never goes into the damn catchments.

Sandy said...

Tony looks like a pretty good sized bird and I could see that she/he is a blogger because I could never see it's face. Reminded me of you in your "Real Mums... " post.

I hope you get more rain soon and and in meters. There is nothing worse than watching the water in your reservoir going way down and drying up. It happend here and it was quite a wakeup call that really made us appreciate and not waste the water that we do have on hand now, even though there is now plenty of it here.

I wish I could send you our rain...we are looking forward to dry weather for a few days and we are rejoicing.

Rebecca said...

Wow, sounds just like our summer here last year....we are NOT hoping for a 'repeat'!

Puss-in-Boots said...

Oh Jellyhead, how lovely to have a tawny frogmouth so close to you. I wonder if it's because of the dry?

My daughter has tawnies at her place, too.

Have a lovely Mother's Day, Jelly, hope you didn't have to work.

John Cowart said...

We are havging an 18-month-long drought here in Florida too. A wild fire just to the north of us has burned a 300-square-mile patch and smoke drifts all the way down the Florida peninsula.

I'd never heard of a fronmouth before. What a great bird. From your photos I see that the layering of its feathers match the tree bark behind him so that he blend's in perfectly. Isn't that a wonder?

I hope rainy days lie ahead for us all.

Mimi said...

We've been through some serious drought here in Virginia too but are ok at the moment. I hope you get some wet stuff soon. I love Tony, what a neat bird. What does he eat? He looks well camouflaged.


Kerri said...

Oh how wonderful that you were able to see and smell a little bit of rain! I hope you soon have lots more. And to think we generally have to dodge between the rain showers to get the corn planted. But lately we've had a couple of dry weeks, with just one good rain storm last week. Ross has most of the corn planted. He's enjoying the field work....except for the rock picking!
What fun to have Tony outside your window...a nice experience for the kids. I hope he stays for a while. The frogmouth sure is a strange looking bird. Amazing camouflage!
Great photos Jelly.

jellyhead said...

Thanks everyone for all your greetings and comments!

Susan, a 'hoon' is (according to the dictionary) Aussie slang for a lout or an idiot. Hence, hoons speed up and down our street!
And tawny frogmouths are so named because of their colour (tawny) and their wide, frog-like mouths.

Mimi, you wanted to know what these birds eat? Apparently (I had to Google this!)they eat mainly nocturnal insects and spiders. They also eat slugs, snails, mice, lizards and frogs. Got all that?!

Hi Gwen and Rebecca, thanks for leaving a comment!