Saturday, February 26, 2011

Faster Than a Speeding........

Hummingbirds have nothing on Kinglets when it comes to nervous never stand still behavior. I have seen hummingbirds sit still longer.
I went out this morning to see what was out and walked to a spot where the Kinglets (both Ruby Crowned and Yellow Crowned) have been hanging out in hopes of getting some decent shots.

It was like an adventure in speed photography. Twenty minutes of intense follow the bird with the camera and hope it lands and sits still long enough for a shot. I laughed at all the shots of just catching the tail or nothing at all. I did manage to get a couple of shots showing the "Ruby" in the Ruby Crowned but not what I hoped for.

It was a fun morning but will try again in the morning. The wind was up quite a bit blowing things about and the camera at times seem to have trouble focusing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mycoplasmal Conjunctivitis in House Finches

Over the last couple of days, I had noticed some odd flying behavior among several House Finches. They seemed to be very disoriented and when I approached, they didn't fly until I was right up on them.

After observing them I noticed that those exhibiting the behavior had issues with one or both eyes. My friend who lives approximately 15 miles away has also seen the same thing in some finches at her feeders and did a little research.

House Finches were originally only found in western North America and were only released in the east after pet stores stopped the illegal sales of "Hollywood Finches".

1994 seems to be the year when the disease was first noted in finches on the east coast. Populations declined over the next 2-3 years. So I hope this is not a forbearer of another round.

This afternoon I took down the feeders and washed with a 10% bleach solution that was recommended on several websites. I am hesitant to put back up because the minute one goes back and reaches its head in for a seed, the cleaning has just been voided. So I will have to do some thinking on what is the best way to still provide seeds to all the birds and lessens chances of spreading the disease.
If anyone has encountered this and has recommendations on a feeder that will lessen chances of aiding in the spread, please leave a comment.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Night Crawlers (not the worms)

The deer have started coming up again I am sure looking for something edible. As the grasses and other vegetation have not yet begun to put out soon to be spring growth, it is whatever they can find. They have been pawing the yard searching for acorns and in the process doing a job on the lawn (what little grass I have). Most of the yard is kept very natural and with a bumper crop of acorns in the fall, I suspect they are finding quite a few.

Over the past few days, I have put out a feed tray of deer chow and corn mix and have moved it closer to the woods each day. I set up the trail cam to check progress and see if the deer progress on past the food source. Each day I have been moving the tray further towards the woods side of the house hoping that if they are satisfied with what they find. Yesterday afternoon I moved the tray completely out of the yard proper.

So far working great. A couple of my neighbors say it is attracting, it is the same number in the herd that have been roaming the street visiting their yards. The nay-sayers are the ones who are still tucked in their beds when deer visit on their nightly roam. As I am up around 0400 every morning, I would always see them in various yards up and down the street.

Last night, they stopped at the feed tray and did not come up any further in the yard. So I say success. Until the green vegetation comes in, I don't mind feeding them if it will keep them from from digging in the yard.

Seems that other things also didn't mind sampling a little of the deer chow. A raccoon came to visit and in subsequent photos, sat down and had a little snack.

Two days earlier when the tray was still up in the yard, an oppossum stopped by to investigate. Nothing new on that though I see it almost nightly searching under the bird feeder.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bird On A Wire

What an unfortunate weekend to have to work with the weather finally turning almost springlike. In this day and time however I guess I should be thankful for a job. The only reason I looked forward to going was in hopes of seeing a Veery that has been hanging around since Thursday. But of course, taking my camera the last two days and I haven't seen it although I have heard its song.

I went in at 0530 this morning so left a little after 1430 and did a drive by to a place I have spotted a Kestrel. Was hoping to get a couple of shots. No luck on that but a pair of Shrikes were working a field hard. I pulled over a watched a little while but as I eased forward in the car ever so slowly, I got a couple of shots before they moved out further in the field. Oh well, at least I am thankful for a couple of decent shots.

Have set up the trail cam this afternoon so hoping for some action tonight. About 0315 this morning, I heard Ali barking and that low serious growl. I came in to see what had her so upset. There were five deer out in the front yard just walking about so I hope they come back tonight. Hopefully some good pics to post tomorrow.