Category Archives: Clance Photos

One need not leave the patio…

…to enjoy a bit of the natural world.

This weekend I have spent my time doing the on-call thing for work.  Right now I feel drunk, although not from alcohol.  From lack of sleep, yes.

I’ve had perhaps two hours of rest since five in the morning on Friday.

Needless to say, it’s been a hell of a weekend.  And not in a good way.

Still, my want to take walks and snap photos suffers no lasting damage from such times, for it is with a great sense of gift that I can stand outside on my own patio and get a fix for my need.

Nature comes to me, you see.

Clance standing outside the patio fence (20081005_13300)

Clance[1].  For some time I thought I would never see his cross-eyed face again.  He disappeared for more than a year with but one or two minor visits in early 2007.  I hoped for the best and feared the worse: that he had been adopted and that he had died, respectively.

Then he suddenly reappeared maybe two months ago.  Now he comes running when he sees me on the patio and he purrs and meows as he speaks to me with trust and affection.  I’m thrilled to see he’s alright.

A male house sparrow (Passer domesticus) perched on the patio fence (20081005_13353)

A male house sparrow (Passer domesticus).  Whilst kneeling on the patio floor trying to snap photos of a lizard, I heard the tiniest bit of noise beside me, something much like a dry leaf rustling against an old log.

Slowly I turned and looked over my shoulder.  There hardly an arm’s length from me perched this little bird.  He clung to the fence and glanced about as though he’d lost something.

In truth, I put birdseed out every day.  The sparrows join the cardinals, the blue jays, the mourning doves, the rock doves, the Carolina wrens and a litany of other species as they each vie for their bit of the bounty.  My little sparrow friend probably wanted to make sure no threats lurked about before he dove to the ground for a bite to eat.

A friendly fly (a.k.a. government fly or large flesh fly; Sarcophaga aldrichi) standing atop the patio fence (20080516_05296)

A friendly fly (a.k.a. government fly or large flesh fly; Sarcophaga aldrichi)[2].  It sat atop the patio fence soaking up sunshine.  If I approached too closely, it scooted off in one direction or another, but it never flew away—at least not until it was ready to do so.

I enjoyed watching it, appreciating its behemoth size and dazzling contrast of colors.  And the fact that it was so tolerant of me made it even better.

A male green anole (Anolis carolinensis) challenging me from the tree with this throat fan fully displayed (20080613_06520)

A male green anole (Anolis carolinensis).  He spent a great deal of time challenging me as I stood and watched him climb down the tree rooted just outside the patio fence.  Having been confronted by my share of anoles, I thought nothing of this contest save that it made for a good photo opportunity.

What I didn’t know would be discovered later.  He defied me only because he meant to woo a lady of his kind who hid in the branches above him.  Minutes later I returned to the patio and discovered his display had so impressed her that she had succumbed to his ways.

Yes, the two of them stood on the side of the tree and consummated their meeting in a public display of affection that would so offend James Dobson and his bigoted ilk that they—the lizards—likely would have found a new constitutional amendment being passed to stop reptile procreation altogether due to its immorality.  But I found the exhibition mesmerizing and educating.

A rock dove (a.k.a. common pigeon; Columba livia) looking away (20080202_01690)

A rock dove (a.k.a. common pigeon; Columba livia).  Ancestor of all pigeons, this species, despite the unwarranted disgust by many humans, brings a profound beauty to its surroundings.  The iridescent feathers, the amber eyes, the tolerance for our ways and our places…  Well, I find them intriguing and beguiling.

A Virginia opossum (a.k.a. possum; Didelphis virginiana) eating cat food outside the patio fence (20081102_14542)

A Virginia opossum (a.k.a. possum; Didelphis virginiana).  Part of the cleaning crew, in fact, as you can see this one readily went to work on the cat food I had just put out for Clance.  After the cat had his fill, he walked away.  That’s when, much to my surprise, this opossum scampered around the corner, ambled up to the table so to speak, and began munching away.

Oh, and the marsupial knew I was there.  I knelt next to the fence only a yard/meter away, so every sound and movement I made set off alarm bells for this small juvenile (not as small as the baby, though).  But I know something about them: their eyesight is relatively poor, although they can hear and smell like a top predator.  Staying downwind of the little cutie and not making a lot of noise meant it only looked at me with suspicion if I moved too much or accidentally sounded my presence with some clumsy racket.

A male cicada-killer wasp (Sphecius speciosus) perched atop a leaf (20080620_07043)

A male cicada-killer wasp (Sphecius speciosus).  My favorite insect in all the world, and a most gentle and placid leviathan if ever there was one.  The huge colony of these beasts that surrounds my home thrives only for a brief period before falling under the heels of time’s onward march.  But during that short life they captivate me to no end, and they give of their calm nature the companionship made possible only by two disparate lives sharing a clear understanding: we can be friends.

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[1] Many would argue that domestic cats are not natural.  I beg to differ.  The wildcat who gave life to this species has been pushed to near extinction by humans.  What can fill that ecological niche if not the very children of the parents put to death by the march of our intelligent advancement.

That said, I don’t like the idea of outside cats, I don’t like seeing them outside fending for themselves and being exposed to all manner of illness and danger, yet the humane side of me—the part of me that knows what it means to be human—likes even less the idea of seeing them go hungry and without compassion.  I put lots of money into no-kill shelters each month in hopes that some of these lost souls will find a home; meanwhile, I have no intention of turning my back on them when I can afford to offer a meal, a bit of attention and friendship, and a kind soul to whom they can speak.

[2] Amazingly, this is not a macro shot.  I stood some distance from the fly and zoomed in to take the picture.

[3] The photo is bad, I know, but I took it in very poor lighting and with the camera on the wrong settings.  I was more intrigued and enthralled with the opossum than I was with making a piece of art.  So sue me.

Some new shots of Clance

I’ve been trying to get a few new photos of Clance mostly with the purpose of showing off his black tabby features.  I find this kind of feline coloration to be the most unique.  Just as is the case with Kako who herself is a black tabby, their fur is actually almost all white.  It’s only the outer third of the hair that is black.  That’s one thing that makes them so unique, but they also have the classic tabby stripes—except they’re black on black, which makes them difficult to see while being equally beautiful.

I was finally able to grab a few close-up shots of Clance in natural light that was perfect for showing off his stunning coat.  Here’s the first.  (Pardon the edge of the fence you see in the top-right corner.  I didn’t realize I’d captured that until later.)

A close-up of Clance while he eats (155_5589)

And a similar shot sans the fence.

A close-up of Clance while he eats (155_5581)

Finally, here’s a shot more from the front that again shows off the tabby stripes across his chest as well as around his face.  Note the classic tabby stripes crossing the cheeks from the eyes.

A close-up of Clance while he eats (155_5582)

Clance glance

Here’s a much better photo of Clance that shows a close-up of his face.  Cross-eyed much?  You bet!

A close-up of Clance's face showing how cross-eyed he is (155_5584)

And I’m a tad worried about his right eye.  Take a look at this close-up of his eyes.  It almost looks like the pupil in the right eye has exploded.  I’ll keep an eye on it to see if it clears up or if that’s just the way he is permanently.  In any case, the poor feline seems to get along fine even with the various eye problems.

Clance has gotten quite used to me in a very short time.  Even if I go outside to put more food down, he/she doesn’t move or run away.

Kako’s double

Kako has a dopplegänger.  But it’s no mere double.  This cat is much larger than she is.  Although I’ve only had a few personal encounters with the feline, it seems to be relatively friendly and not so feral that it runs if I’m outside while it’s around.  That said, it’s also not completely comfortable with me and does keep a watchful eye on my activities.

I already showed one picture of the little beast as it grabbed a bit to eat while Larenti watched.  In fact, I noticed Larenti is now following this cat much like she did with Vazra before I rescued him.  She’s a lonely sort that way.

This new visitor to jason’s world of wildlife mayhem is cross-eyed.  I’ve noticed this trait as I’ve gotten clearer views.  Nonetheless, it’s a spunky cat with a laid-back personality.

And let me apologize ahead of time for the quality of some of these photos.  This cat isn’t interested in my direction even when I beg for it to stand still long enough for a portrait.  Oh, and I had the camera on the wrong setting and didn’t realize it, so the shutter speed was too slow for moving objects and moving hands.  Can I still blame it on the cat?

Clance watching me (154_5401)

One, take note of the stripes across the chest.  It’s a black tabby like Kako, and just like Kako, it has ferret-like fur that is black on the outside tip but is mostly white.  This could be her larger cousin.

Another thing that’s obvious is a problem with the poor cat’s right eye.  You can get a closer look (albeit sans focus) here.  It’s either a broken blood vessel around the pupil or is damage to the pupil itself.

Clance looking up at me (153_5364)

That’s another view of the eye in question.  You can make out through the blur how the damage is part of the pupil and extends to the bottom of the eye itself.  I’m not certain if that’s a genetic trait, if it’s related to being cross-eyed, or if it’s from an attack.

After a meal, where do you go?  Elsewhere is the answer in this case.  Again, pardon the focus error.

Clance walking away but looking back at me (153_5366)

You can see some of the stripes on its body and its tail in that photo.  While Kako is petite, a trait that makes it hard to clearly identify her tabby traits, this cat is much larger.  That makes it a bit easier to see the stripes.

Here’s a much better overhead shot while the kitty was eating.

Overhead shot of Clance while it eats (154_5421)

And a side view.

Side sot of Clance eating (154_5407)

I’ll continue trying to get better photos of the rascal.  I also intend to befriend it as much as possible.  I’ll keep you posted.

By the way, this seems to be the cat that makes such a mess of the neat pile of food I put outside the fence.  It’s eating habits are… well… let me just say it wouldn’t be invited to any fancy dinner parties if that’s how it was going to dine.

[Update] Subsequently named Clance.