The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Monday, May 26, 2008

Snake and Eggs

This morning I decided to step out front to look around for a good photo opportunity. Yesterday I spent a few minutes on the front porch concentrating on a small green spider in its web. I wanted to see if the sunlight on the web would be an interesting photo. It was not.

The orange lily beside the front step was very pretty in the bright sunshine. I took a couple photos of it. As I was taking these photos – I noticed the noise that the cardinals were making in the Japanese maple. When we moved here 10 years ago, I planted a Japanese maple in the little area in front of our porch. It is about ten feet from the porch and the branches now reach the height of the roof. Just about every spring, a cardinal couple has a nest in it.

I kept trying to get a clear photo of them as they hopped around making so much noise. I thought they were squawking at me. As I looked up into the tree – near the top – where the nest is – I saw a snake at the nest! In a moment I needed to decide what to do. Do I interfere? Do I leave the snake alone? Then I remembered the extension pole In the garage – so I interfered.

I thought all I would have to do is poke the snake and it would move along --- wrong. I poked and poked and poked and it seemed to grip around the tree limb tighter and stayed in the nest. I had to try to becareful to not knock the nest from the tree. Finally I wedged the pole between it and the tree and it started to move down in the tree. It moved down and acted like it was coming on out, then it stopped and started to turn around again. So I poked it some more --- and it began to wrap around the leafy branch tighter. This was when I grabbed the camera to get a shot of the snake wrapped in the leaves.

After I had a couple shots, I wiggled the branch and poked some more. The snake head started out of the leaves and hung down about a foot below the branch; it's tongue was darting in and out. I took that opportunity to slide the snake off of the branch.

It fell down into a holly bush near the side of the house. All this time the cardinals are still making quite a bit of noise and hopping around all in the tree. I sat on the bench on the front porch to wait to see where the snake would go. Before I saw the snake do anything I heard different sounds from the birds. They also seemed to be calming down. I wondered if the nest had eggs (or HAD eggs) or baby birds? I had not heard baby birds chirping in it yet this year.

I got up from the bench and walked out the sidewalk to look up into the tree again. I saw the female cardinal stepping into the nest. She was quieter still, but still making almost a barking noise, as was the male. It was then I noticed the snake moving from the holly bush to the one next to it. I grabbed the camera again to take a quick (and not great) photo of it making a getaway. After it went under the second holly bush, I lost track of it.

The whole time this is going on, our dog, Rosebud, was quite irritated that I was carrying on something very interesting outside and she was not included! After I lost track of the snake, I decided to bring the dog out, keeping her away from the area I last saw the snake. When I was coming back in with the dog, I looked up into the tree again at the nest to see the female cardinal sitting on her nest calmly and quietly. I was thinking, hoping, there were some eggs left in the nest.

I think this snake "lives" somewhere near the front porch. I have found a skin (large), intact, right by the front step before. The dog always sniffs like crazy around there. But I do see chipmunks running all over in the same area. Who knows?

Oh, and after I ran the snake off from the birds' nest, I came in and made myself an egg sandwich for breakfast.

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