My husband and I are visiting relatives in Florida. They do not live in the Amazon. They do not live in the Everglades. They live in a community that backs onto a golf course, a block or two from the beach.
We usually sit in the “Florida room” and talk about family stuff, what’s going on in their community, politics and the like. The subject of flora and fauna in their yard doesn’t come up. Except, oh look, there’s a duck.
Until yesterday afternoon.
I glanced up at a tree in the yard and thought holy shit is that an eagle in the tree? How is that possible? I’ve never see an eagle in “the wild,” although calling a community like this “the wild” is stretching it. I walked up to the tree slowly, afraid to freak the eagle out, which would then freak me out.
I was so excited.
It flew away and that was breathtaking. I grabbed my phone to take a video but it was too late. The wing span was amazing and the white and black wings flapping slowly, but with incredible strength, blew me away.
Within about 5 minutes, the eagle returned to the tree.
Eagle #1 was joined by another. While the one eagle is a resident of the neighborhood, my relatives had never seen a second one.
As I was craning my neck to watch every movement of these fabulous birds, my uncle started to talk about the fauna of their little yard and the lagoon behind it. The word “storks” got my attention. A few weeks ago, they looked out of their kitchen window and there were a number of storks standing on the back lawn. My cousins walked outside and the storks didn’t fly away.
I live in rural-ish New York. We get deer, fox, coyotes, even minks and bears on occasion. But storks? I’m not 100% sure that storks are even real.
Then my uncle said that a couple of weeks ago he moved a planter on the patio and hidden under it was a mother snake with about 6 little baby snakes slithering around her. Medusa! Everyone laughed, and I realized I said it out loud. My uncle got the pool skimmer thing, scooped up the snakes and introduced them to the lagoon. I guess eagles don’t eat snakes. I would have been running screaming from the premises. I was very impressed with how calm my uncle was.
My cousin said “Oh, and remember the turtle in the pool?” I’m imagining a Dr. Seuss book and then realized that there really had been a large turtle in the pool. Too heavy for my cousin to lift. Plus he was too busy chasing it around the edge of the pool. I would have paid to see that. A couple of men who were working on the neighbor’s lawn jumped in the pool and threw the pool net, scoopy thing around it. While it was caught in the net and protesting in a violent, yet slow, turtley way, they carried the turtle to the lagoon.
Note to self: Buy my uncle a new pool net/skimmer. On second thought, buy two.
And then there was the “gator.” You know you’re in Florida when the word “gator” doesn’t start with “alli.” I forget where on the lawn the gator was, but it wasn’t in the pool. My aunt called the fish and game people and they came and took the gator away. Phew.
Who would have believed in this upscale community in northern Florida, while overlooking the golf course, we discussed wild birds, giant turtles, nests of snakes and alligators.
The eagles have landed.