Friday, March 29, 2013

Northern Parula

Several more Northern Parula came in today or should I say I spotted them today.  They have been coming to the water fountain off and on all day.  After missing the photo op yesterday I kept the camera by the window.

We had a brief break in the weather today that will be short lived.  Tomorrow should be good with more rain on Sunday.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

This and That Day

Not too much going on today however I did see my first Northern Parula of the year drinking and bathing at the bird bath this morning.  I was so busy watching it that by the time I had a V8 moment and thought of and retrieved the camera it was gone.

Ali dog was feeling a bit under the weather from the vaccinations yesterday.  Not sure if it is one specific or a combination of but she always is a little off the day after.

I made 6 dozen cookies today for a get together/pig picking Saturday and will keep a dozen.

I am still sewing out my designs and making any changes as necessary to the design or sew out sequence.  This is the latest hawk design.  I am trying to make the most of the 8x8 sewing space and hopefully the designs have visual impact without being too difficult to sew out.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Field Mouse

The string of cold temperatures continues and strong winds make it feel even cooler.  What happened to spring?????  During a brief period of sunshine today I went out for a bit to see what was out.  As I was watching some wrens I kept hearing the rustle of leaves and expected to see either a Towhee or Brown Thrasher making the noise.

A little field mouse was searching among the leaves looking for something to eat.  With the hawks screeching overhead, I would have thought the little mouse would have been still.

Vet appointment tomorrow for annual vaccinations for the dog.  It is always quite an adventure getting her there and back home.  She loves to ride a little too much and once at the vet, it is dog gone wild time.  She has never met a stranger and thinks everyone is fair game for a visit.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Below normal temperatures continue and look to continue through around the 4 April.  Saturday morning started off overcast with the sun making a brief appearance late in the afternoon.  This morning is a ditto with drizzle and rain moving in from the south west.

The late afternoon appearance of the sun was welcome and temperatures rose quickly but still below normal.  The birds took advantage of the increased period of warmth to hunt for stirring insects.

This female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker took her time exploring the holes in a pecan tree.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

On The Sidelines

I have been laid up with a badly twisted ankle for the last several days so no outside time.  I can finely put some weight on it today so I hope by the weekend I can go out.  I really hate it so badly this early in the year.  After doing the same several years ago, it seems like that ankle now twists very easily.

I have taken the last several days to start trying to sew out what will be my new line of embroidery designs.  I have been working really hard on them trying to do things that are not currently available.  I  have done a series of hawks, owls, ducks and warblers so far.  The process was slow as I am trying to teach myself and after much trial and error I think I finally have digitizing designs down.  I am having to sew out each design to make sure it sews out correctly.    This one of a Harris's Hawk will be made in to a messenger style bag.  The colors look funky on the computer for some reason.  No, there is no pinkish/purple hue on the original.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hawk Happenings

The morning started out with drizzle but the day turned beautiful by noon.  I didn't go out as I had started projects at home when the morning drizzle started and by the time it turned nice, I was deep in to spring projects.

The hawks were very active today.  With weather warm enough, the female took some time out away from the nest.  The male stayed in the area always within eyesight of the nest flying from tree to tree.  Some crows landed in the nesting tree and immediately the male flew in.    He then stayed in that tree for a while.

After about 30-40 minutes of the female being gone, I heard screeching over the pasture area beyond the trees.  To my surprise, the male took off and headed that way.  It was only a few minutes and they both came back in with the female taking her place in the nest.

 I guess dad hawk was tired of nest guarding and immediately took off.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Red-Shouldered Hawks Mating

The for last several weeks, the Red-Shouldered Hawks had been checking out trees around the house. Yesterday I finally spotted where they had built their nest.  Early this morning I watched as the female brought in additional sticks for the nest.  Rain began so I called it quits.  This afternoon I heard the screeching so I went out with camera in hand.  The male came in bringing food for the female who was on the nest.  I was not sure until I saw her rise out of the nest is she wast sitting yet.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Cedar Waxwings

It is beginning to look and feel more like spring every day.  A group of about 20 waxwings came in on a budding tree going from bud to bud.  Not sure what they were finding to eat but they stayed for some time until they had gone over the entire tree.

Spring arrivals noted today was the Chipping Sparrow.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Duel for the Lady Downy

There was a female Downy checking  out a tree;
two males arrived displaying in hopes she would see.

Wing flaps and spreads with beaks held high;
hoping he would be the one to have her by his side.

With a slight interest she gave them a glance;
I don't think she was impressed with their dance.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Grrrrr-ackle Migration

Around noon today I went down to my cousin's farm.  After watering the plants in the greenhouse I decided to see if anything was out.  There is a driving path through the woods but I decided to park and walk in hopes of sneaking up on anything that might be out.  I had not gone far when the noise of hundreds of birds could be heard.

I could distinguish the sound of the Red-winged Blackbirds but was uncertain of the other until I got closer.  Hundreds of Grackles!  Yes, there was also a group of blackbirds mixed in with them.  They moved from pine tree to pine tree like a swarm of locust.  Bits of bark rained down as they were flipping bark off looking for insects.

They found to the two patches of millet that had been grown and left as part of the wildlife land management program and the ground turned black with birds.  I kept trying to sneak up but no way.  They would get up and fly in mass to the surrounding trees.

It was hard to capture a picture that showed the shear numbers of these birds.  I have cropped down a couple just to give you an idea.  It was really quite an amazing sight to see so many in one location.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Seeds in the Wind

March winds bring April showers and April showers  bring May flowers.  So far, the winds of March have been true.  A noticeable change today in the number of trees budding out.  Slowly Mother Earth is springing back to life.

 A Carolina Chickadee was aiding in the dispersal of cattails that have gone to seed.  Every time it would pull at some seeds to eat, hundreds of seed would get caught in the wind drifting for long distances.  It is easy to see how and area gets a dense population of these plants in a relatively short time..

Thursday, March 7, 2013


What a difference a day makes.  While still a bit on the windy side, the strong winds of yesterday's cold front are gone, the sun is out, and if you could get out of the wind, not a bad day outside.

There was almost a palpable feel today that spring is almost here.  Trees are beginning to bud out and there is an excitement in the birds behavior.  A Golden-crowned Kinglet was doing some serious hunting on a Pine Tree.  I am not sure what it was finding but explored each tip in depth.

A group of Pine Siskins came in and swarmed on this tree eating seeds.  They have hit it several times so I am surprised anything was left there to eat.

The transformation to their breeding colors changes almost on a daily basis.  The aggressiveness of the Yellow-rumped Warblers seems to increase as their colors become bolder.  The differences between the Auduboni and Myrtle sub-species is unmistakable with the Myrtle sub-species becoming very handsome now.  I have more in the yard now than I have had all year and guess from the large numbers they are beginning to mass for their northern migration.

While I have had a large number, more Red-breasted Nuthatches have also flocked in and their colors are also changing.  When they first arrived, the red of their breast was very pale but is now becoming a rich rust color.  I will still be curious to see if they depart and if so, will they ever return.  I have enjoyed them immensely over the winter months.

The blue of the male Bluebirds is becoming an electric blue and their rust colored chest is deepening.  The pairs have been steadily scoping out the next boxes and nest building should begin soon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wild and Windy Day

I went out for a little while this morning before the wind picked up too much.  Winds have been building from the northwest all afternoon 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph and feels like they are coming off ice.

I went out to watch the otters for a bit this morning.  They really put on a show.  I try to enjoy them while they are here as their visit is all to brief.  They swirled and played in the water, running up on the banks and sliding back in the water.  It was like watching children at play.

I was thrilled to see a Wood Duck on the pond this morning.  It has been a disappointing winter without them.  Hopefully additional will come in for nesting.  Not many brave souls out in the cold and wind this morning and the creatures responded to the quite by coming close in.

A usual visitor, the Great Blue Heron was not so skittish this morning.

The Cooper's Hawk sat nearby intently watching for an opportunistic meal.  All in all despite the weather, it was a really good morning.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

River Otter

Though spring is only about 15 days away, we have had a fairly colder than normal March so far.  A sure sign that spring is nearby is the arrival of the otters.  One or a pair usually come through and stay at the park for a couple of weeks at the beginning of spring and appear again in October.

I headed out to a neighboring town this morning to go get some fabric and since the park is on the way, took the camera.  Clouds were building and I hoped I could get in a few minutes before the rain.  It was worth the detour as I was treated to see the otter.  I didn't get but a few shots because it started to drizzle and I definitely don't have the camera out in the rain.  Hopefully more opportunities in the next few days for some better shots.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hermit Thrush

Despite lots of sunshine, cool temperatures and a steady breeze made for a cold day outside so  I only went out for a little bit.  For the last several weeks, a Hermit Thrush has been hanging around a particular area.  As soon as I would try to get set to take a shot, it would go in to the underbrush.

This morning hunger beat out the desire to flee.  This Smilax vine is always loaded with berries in the fall through winter that look like blueberries.  You would think that the birds would really go for the berries but they never get eaten until very late in the winter and then only be a few species of birds and occasionally by the squirrels.

This Hermit Thrush took a liking to them and stayed for a bit giving me some good photo op's.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Palm Warblers

Off and on sunshine today with more off than on but I chanced going out for a bit this morning.  Very cool and a wind that cut through you so I didn't stay out too long but with the weather going down hill all day and rain projected for the next couple I wanted to get out.

I stopped by one area to see what was out and was treated to at least a dozen Palm Warblers all gathered in a small location.  It was quite a sight to see so many together.