Saturday, August 12, 2017

Just a Baby

Yesterday, I noticed that the Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds were going a little crazier than usual in the tamarind tree.  Now, they are always pretty crazy; zooming around and chattering in rage as they chase each other off favorite perches and away from the feeders we have nearby, but this activity was particularly focused on a single branch of the tamarind and not at each other.  What was going on?

This was going on:
A baby boa constrictor curled up on on a branch.
The Rufous-tails were harassing the boa just like songbirds harass raptors and snakes.  The boa just hunkered down and endured the onslaught.

Curled up into a tight knot to present a smaller target.
Later, it moved a little higher into the tree and stretched out on a slender branch at just the right height for me to photograph it from the sunset balcony; much easier than the first photos I took from the veranda with the camera stretched overhead while I balanced on a step stool.
Its head is no bigger than the end of my thumb and the full length is probably 20-24 inches.
It stayed in that location for the remainder of the day, catching the sun, and was still there when we went to bed last night.

This morning dawned cool and rainy with far distant thunder rumbling like the stomach of a hungry god.  Low clouds and waves of torrential rain isolate us from the madness of the world; I revel in days like this.  But what about that little boa?  Did it find shelter?  I fully expected it to have made its way onto the sunset balcony and perhaps from there into our loft.  But no, it was right where it had been the night before, still on the same small branch.
On the same branch, only a little wet.
Look how the markings continue through its eye with the bottom half darker that the top half.

It stuck its tongue out at me, as snakes do, but seemed content to remain stretched out on the branch.
A closer look at the eye markings.
The hummingbirds, to their possible future undoing, are ignoring the boa today.  Staying still and aligned with the branch may be the boa's strategy for catching an unwary meal.  After all, hummingbirds are just the right size for a baby boa's breakfast.

12 comments:

  1. I suspect boas can take pretty good care of themselves.

    Love,
    Janie

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  2. How beautiful! And what a very good eye you have! And paying attention to the birds- they definitely mean it when they chatter loudly about snakes, don't they? So do squirrels.

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    1. Thank you. The grackles have alerted me to many a snake, usually a boa or a green vine snake. This is the first time I've noticed the hummingbirds getting antsy about one.

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  3. Very kind of the boa to move into a better spot to pose for you. But, I really hope it doesn't succeed! (Sorry, boa.)

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    1. I know, Mitchell. I have very mixed feelings. But a snake's gotta eat.

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  4. I'm amazed you can be so cool at the sight of a snake, take a photo of it, and write about it!

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    1. I am very fond of snakes; wary but fond.

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  5. What a sight, Wilma! Amazing photos. Thank you for your kind comments on my Puffins!

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    1. Thanks, Caroline. Those puffins look adorable.

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  6. Wilma, I'm utterly impressed by your courage. Looking at my computer screen is scary enough. But you got close enough to take such detailed photos of that snake. Yikes. Kudos to you, brave lady! Great shots!

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    1. Thanks, Robyn. No courage involved, though. Seriously - it was only about as big around as my skinny little finger; more like a worm with scales. Precious even. Sorry if it gave you the willies. ;-)

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