I was sitting on the steps of my back porch, having an afternoon smoke and a cup of coffee. I had my camera with me, because I was hoping to catch something interesting in the sky, so that I could begin participating in the old Skywatch Friday linkup again. (Just this morning I discovered that after all these years, it's still going strong).
Several buzzards began to congregate above me. First one, then two, three, and four. I began snapping photos, just hoping I was getting nice shots, because it was really quite painful gazing up into the bright summer sky, and my eyes were squinty and watery.
|buzzards circling overhead|
I was pretty pleased with the results, and I continued to sit happily on the porch step. Then I noticed several birds gathering in the tall Magnolia tree that rises from the ground just a few feet away. They almost seemed to be posing for me, and making a great deal of noise...to get my attention, no doubt.
Although I could clearly see them on the branch, flexing their wings and hopping about, I had a tough time catching it on camera, so I walked out into the yard a bit to find a better angle.
From my new vantage point, I could see what the commotion was truly all about... there was a snake coiled around a branch in the tree! The group of birds were relentlessly protecting their nearby nests which no doubt, at this time of year, contains babies.
The snake was coiled tightly around the branch, and postured in the typical defensive figure-S, trying to strike at anything that came at him. And they came at him! One by one, one after another, and screeching obscenities, these birds (Brown Thrashers) harassed and pecked at the serpent until he could make a break for it. I lost sight of him at one point, but picked him up again simply by following the birds' movement to another section of the tree.
Now, I am standing on the ground, and I don't want the snake on the ground with me... not that I really wanted him in the tree either. I don't want him anywhere, but I especially didn't want him near my porch, which is where all the activity was slowly gravitating toward. I began yelling "Geeez, don't make him fall!", at which time he fell. Of course.
|the best shot I could get while running away|
But the birds weren't satisfied with that. One fearless Thrasher followed the "beast" to the ground and continued to peck at him until the snake had no choice but to take refuge underneath my back porch.
Sooooo, it took me quite a few moments of watching and waiting, and not being able to see where he went from there. So I very tentatively made my way, eyes totally peeled, watching like a hawk (where is a hawk when you need one?), and then lept about two feet onto the steps, and another quick leap onto the porch. Like lightening. Like Flash Gordon. From there I peered over the sides to see if he was going to head toward the trash bags on the right or to the garden greenhouse on the left. I saw nothing. I came inside, and I'm not sure if I'm ever going out again.