Stop, look and listen.
It's an easy enough mantra for learning the ins and outs of crossing the street, but often is lost in translation. Sometimes it really does take all three to notice something that would otherwise be missed -- like this screech owl hidden smartly away amid the trunks of a large bamboo palm in Bradenton's Southwood Village.
Presumably napping (sorry about waking you up), or just waiting -- with one eye open -- for a snack to present itself, he had been perched mere feet from my favorite courtyard chair.
Judging by the absent crowd of normally rowdy lizards and songbirds -- two other details I seem to have missed during the holiday rush -- this little owl, not much larger than a mug of coffee, has laid claim for some time now to the terra firma around my house.
Tiny, yet seemingly plump and obviously well fed, I fear he has gained the upper hand in the daily struggle for survival outside the kitchen door.
Who knows how long he'll remain, but for the time being at least, it's a little less lonely outside if you just stop, look and listen.