Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's Who's Corn?

Over the last couple of weeks, this buck has become very bold about coming out during the day.  It is almost like he knows that hunting season is over.  He has become a pig when it comes to the corn coming early to eat and eating everything in sight leaving little for the others that show up later.  I have gotten so I open the door after he has fed for a while so he will move on and leave some for the others.  I have watched it on several occasions even chasing the squirrels.  They appear to be at a stand off here.

I am still watching for when they show up without their antlers so I can go searching.  With February starting tomorrow, I am guessing any time now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Spring Day in January

If not evidenced by the calendar, the weather today would have fooled anyone.  Ice was on the ground only three days ago and today in the mid 70's..... crazy weather.  It definitely added to my developing  case of spring fever.

A late morning start so I just did some practicing today with the extender on the camera taking some test shots to determine if my eyesight is good enough for some decent shots using it.  Such a shame the auto-focus will not work with it on.  If I really took my time, I came out with some decent shots but definitely could not use it for any rapid fire photography.  Anyway, it was a pleasant morning out and gave me a chance for some experimentation.

There is a subtle but definite change beginning in the bird coloration.  The richness of their breeding colors is slowly increasing.  The yellow of the Goldfinches is becoming bolder and a very noticeable change in the Yellow-Rumped Warblers.

 The Pine Warblers today have been very vocal.  The males are really becoming striking bright yellow.

I don't have any comparison for the Red-Breasted Nuthatches since this is the first year they have been here,  but their colors are definitely becoming richer from the time they first arrived.  I will be anxious to see whether they go back to where they came from or perhaps will take up permanent residence.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Pine Siskins

While yesterday was dominated by Bluebirds, today it has been the Pine Siskins.  They have been hanging around for about five days now.  They nudged the finches away from the thistle sock but would rarely go to the feeders not standing a chance against some of the larger birds.

With so many here today, I spread some seed out along the deck rail.  Let the show begin!  The finches, siskins and sparrows tried for the best positions resulting in quite a few squabbles.  As I stood and watched, I was quite amazed to see the transformation of normally relatively docile birds to beast with wings.

Twice today, a mystery bird has shown up.  Once just watching the activity and about 30 minutes ago, I walked and looked out the window and it was bathing but by the time I got back with the camera it was gone.  I have the tripod sitting up for the remainder of the day and hope to get at least an identifying shot.
The closest thing I can compare the mystery bird to is a  Redstart however they are not suppose to be here now.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will return.  I would at least like one documenting shot.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spilish Splash

Despite the cold temperatures, the water fountain has been popular today serving both as a drinking and bathing fountain.  The fountain is located in a fairly sunny location and mostly protected from the wind.  The water is underground so there is some thermal effect to keep it from freezing.  There has been a steady flow of birds bathing with the Bluebirds visiting several times.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mostly Sleet and Freezing Rain

I haven't posted in a while and still having issues with Blogger.  I have also been very busy working on a new work venture and have been having to discipline myself to get serious on work to meet my goals.  Hopefully within the next 30-45 days, I will be ready to launch my website with embroidery designs.

Brief snow flurries followed by lots of sleet and freezing rain started about an hour ago.  I stocked up on bird seed and made suet yesterday in preparation.  This should however be a very brief event but after several days of cold, the birds are seeking energy food.

It has been a very busy morning at the feeders.  That is the only good thing I can possibly say about frozen brings the birds in close.  The pictures are not the best as it is very dark outside and the windows also have a bit of tint so shooting through them it is difficult to get much shutter speed without a high ISO.

I have noticed over the last week that the Yellow-Rumped Warblers are already beginning to take on more color.  We usually only gt a brief period of time before they depart in April  to see them in their breeding plumage.

Yellow bird (parakeet) that showed up under my feeder last March that I rescued has been having a field day today sitting at the window.  It has chirped and squawked at all of the birds coming to the suet feeder.  It seems hard to believe I have had the bird for almost a year.  It still will not come to my finger but I hold a piece of wooden dowel out and it will fly to me.

It particularly goes nuts over the Goldfinches.  I wonder it it thinks they are kin?

Sunday, January 20, 2013


An absolutely beautiful day.  I took the dog out for a long walk in the woods today.  Both of us are tired out tonight.  Any birding with her is next to impossible so late this afternoon I went out for a bit by myself.  The ducks were enjoying the warm weather and sunshine.

I know that Mallards are so common but I thought it looked very nice with the water on its feathers and the sun reflecting off of it.

I am looking forward to taking my nephew out tomorrow for some photography.  He is out of school tomorrow and weather looks promising. I had wanted him to put a photo in an upcoming contest so I am keeping my fingers crossed we find something worthy tomorrow.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Red-winged Blackbird

The last couple of days have been rain and more rain.  Thankfully the snow predicted for last night did not materialize to any great extent.  The ground was far too warm for any sticking.  Ice did coat surfaces but melted away quickly.
I have noticed over the last several days that large flocks of birds are coming through.  Not sure what is going on.  For the last three afternoons, a large group of Red-winged Blackbirds comes in and roost overnight in the woods behind the house.  They are quite a noisy bunch.

A couple will always come to the feeders and hunt around on the ground for seeds.  This is probably an adult male in his winter coloration.

Not sure what is going on with blogger the last couple of weeks.  I can't upload photos using IE and when I do a post in Google Chrome, the alignment doesn't hold so I have to go back to IE to fix.  I hope they get it fixed soon as it is becoming frustrating to do much of anything on posting.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Impatient Red-Bellied Woodpecker

I had let the supply of suet cakes run out as the birds have been mostly hunting insects over the last several warm days.  With the weather going to turn cool again, I decided to whip up a batch late this afternoon when I kept seeing birds going to the empty basket.

A Red-Bellied Woodpecker that had been checking the basket on and off all day immediately flew in when I walked out to fill the feeder.  It was so impatient flying from nearby tree to nearby tree and fussing at me to hurry up.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mother Nature - The Temptress

Warm temperatures and sunshine beckoned everyone to come outside today unless you were a die hard couch potato.  Overnight the daffodils grew with many starting to set bud.

Oh what a temptress Mother Nature is lulling us with a case of spring fever.  The cruel part is temperatures are suppose to drop by 30 degrees on Tuesday then moderate to mid 50's for the remainder of the week.

The bullfrog that lives in the disappearing fountain came out and sat on the rocks and bellowed off and on all day.

A walk down by the pond found a Red-Bellied Brown Snake basking in the sun.  I was surprised to see it so exposed and in the open.  Hawk bait!

Late this afternoon I went down to my cousins farm to let the dog run.  As I walked across the freshly harvested field (dog was way ahead of me by now), a Red-Tailed Hawk circled above watching for anything I might stir up.  Walk finished and a bag of corn to carry home, off I went.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Finally...The Sun

Gray day after gray day.  The morning started out with a lingering fog that rolled in yesterday afternoon.  Finally around 1300 the sun came out and temperatures soared.  It was unbelievable temperature wise for January and tomorrow temps should be higher.  It was so nice to open up the house and let fresh air in.

The birds were having a field day with insects stirring.  Frogs were croaking at the pond and crickets chirping in the woods.  A walk about in the yard showed that daffodils are already emerging and the iris are growing. The lengthening of the days is really beginning to be noticeable.  Now at 1730 it is still fairly light out.

In October when the Yellow-Rumped Warblers first arrive, they seem to be everywhere.  Slowly their numbers dwindle but over the past several days there has been an influx.  There seems to be quite a lot of flashing the yellow so I wonder if some are beginning courtship.  If you think about it, spring on 20 March is not that far away.

This Titmouse was seriously working on an acorn it found.  It would lose its grip, the acorn would go rolling but the bird would retrieve it and back on the piece of the wood it would go again.  It tried on the ground the I guess there was not enough resistance.

While taking the dog out for a walk, in what I guess is a privet tree, the Cedar Waxings were going nuts.  When I got back from the walk I went back up to try and get some shots.  I didn't want to go in their yard since no one was home so my angle with the sun was not the best.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Angry Bird

I watched in amusement today as several times, a group of crows came to the fountain to splash about.  One of the crows was quite determined to try and reach the suet feeder.  As it would start to lean down, it would lose its balance and go to the ground.  Up again for another try.  After several failed attempts it sat on top of the hook looking mad with the world.  All of the small birds were sitting in nearby trees fussing away and eventually, the crow gave up and left when the others in the group flew away.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Who's Your Daddy?

A face to face meet between dad and son?  I figured that the buck would not tolerate the small one but seemed to take it in stride.  I was not sure at first if this was its offspring but a shot a little later I could see the  mark.

Watching all the young ones born over the last couple of years, those from this buck all have a mark inside the leg.

Later in the night, was this a family reunion?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Following the Sun

A great Blue Heron spent the day in the pond behind the house moving from place to place wherever the sun happened to be.  I figured it would fly when I walked down to put out some corn but it seemed content to just stand in the sun.

A beautiful day but I didn't get out much.  I was heavy into a project and the day slipped away from me before I knew it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Home Sweet Home

I went out for a little around 1000.  Lots of Kinglets, Bluebirds and sparrows .  I think I had more bird action at home than at the park.

I did spot this little guy who has been calling this tree home off and on for a couple of weeks.  Based on the size of the hole, I can only guess this is a very small raccoon.  Definitely not some of the monster coons around the house.

I was snuggled in for a nice nap on a cool day.  Sorry for the fuzziness.  I had to use a high ISO and still lighten up a little to see the face.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Butt Sniffing

The perpetual gray skies for the last couple of days finally cleared today.  I had hoped to get out but already had a vet appointment for Ali's yearly physical and vaccinations scheduled for today followed by a bath and nail trim appointment.  After a couple of days of flu like symptoms I just didn't have the energy to do much else and didn't want to go out and get chilled.

I got a good laugh when I went out to get the trail camera today.  I am not sure what is up with the bucks and their butt sniffing.  It happened on two different nights with four different deer.  If it was male/female it wouldn't surprise me but the action seems strictly a thing with the bucks.  Needless to say, the closeness was not tolerated.

I was glad to see them show back up after not coming around for about a week.  I think all the fireworks on New Year's Eve spooked them.

I have been trying to watch to see when they finally lose their antlers.  A gentleman showed me some jewelry he made by cutting and polishing the antlers.  It almost looks like ivory.  I guess if I would be lucky enough to find the antlers in the woods I would be hesitant to cut them though.
Hopefully I will feel like getting tomorrow.  Cabin fever is setting in.