Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Wonderful Day

You could not ask for a better almost end of October day.  Temps were around 75, very little wind and blue skies for most of the day.  My friend and I left my house around 0330 and arrived at Lake Mattamuskeet just before sunrise and a beautiful one it was.  As we were sitting up the cameras waiting and otter came swimming by.  Oh for it to have been light!  The sunrise was beautiful over the still water of the lake.

Birds came to life quickly.  Already thousands of Northern Pintails, American Wigeons, Lesser Scaup, Northern Shovelers, Coots, Canada Geese, Mallards and many more are filling the lake.  It is quite a sight to behold.  Later in the afternoon a formation of Tundra Swan came flying over.  We plan to go back in December when many more will have arrived.

Several deer were roaming in the marsh area unconcerned as they were surrounded by water.

Two adult eagles and their offspring were hanging around the back part of the lake.  I had to take this through the scope as they were out of my camera lens range.

The young eagle took great pleasure in buzzing the ducks on the lakes and they would take off in one large group.  The sound was  of so many taking off together was amazing.

There were lots of cormorants around finding a snag to sun on and dry their feathers.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Golden-crowned Kinglet

I am killing some time this morning waiting for the man from the natural gas company to come and set the meter.  Trying to get the service company to coordinate with the town inspector to do an inspection has been an almost impossible task.

As I was fixing some breakfast, I noticed a bright splash of orange in the fountain.  A Golden-crowned Kinglet was splashing away and excited enough to display some orange in the generally gold and flat head feathers.  I would have loved some better light.  Since there is no heat in the house, I just raised the window to try for a better shot.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Quiet Sunday

It has been a fairly quiet day today.  I really did not feel like doing much.  I have been getting my equipment ready for Wednesday's trip trying to make sure all the batteries are charged and everything I need is in order. I am really looking forward to getting away if only for a day and seeing somewhere else.

After a cool start to the morning the sun felt good this afternoon.  Ali (dog) and I sat out on the deck chasing the sun and being lazy.

A bold Brown Thrasher hunted in the area all around us.  It showed absolutely no fear and on occasion when it would create a ruckus after something Ali would show some brief interest in it then put her head back down.

More and more Yellow-rumped Warblers have arrived and creating a stir among the local birds.  They are always good for some activity.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Gray Catbird

I was so disheartened this morning when I arrived at the church for my friends memorial to find I was a day late.  I think the hectic schedule of back and forth to the hospital, the frustration with the heating company, and long hours of working at the house have taken their toll.

In an effort to regain some balance I finally just went out for a walk today.  The first time in two weeks I have picked up a camera.  I needed some outdoor time to regain my balance.  I didn't even take a camera on my walk choosing to walk only to clear the head.

Back home, I noticed that a Gray Catbird kept hanging around in the backyard.  It tried to chase away any other bird that attempted to use the bath.  It seemed more like a game of challenge than anything else.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Sad Week

Very little positive has happened this week.  My happiness over how the house was coming together has been overshadowed by sadness.

Last Sunday evening, my sister-in-law was rushed to the emergency room.  She was diagnosed with three tumors on her brain and was immediately sent to UNC Hospital.  After seeming to overcome cancer in another location last year, this news is not good. This news took the wind right out of my sails.    I spent yesterday with her at the hospital as she is scheduled for some surgery tomorrow that will hopefully help improve her quality of life for the remaining time.   I try to remain hopeful.

On Tuesday evening, I received a call from my best birding friend's wife.  My friend whom I tried to meet at least on a weekly basis for birding passed away suddenly on Monday.  Our sharing of photos of what we were seeing in nature will be missed deeply.  We were looking forward to the winter season with high expectations of a good waterfowl season.  Through our mutual love of nature and birding, I quickly became friends with both he and his wife.  I will miss our discussions on birding and his friendship. Tomorrow I will attend his Celebration of Life memorial.

Next week one of my other friends and I are going to take a day trip to Lake Mattamuskeet.  Hopefully this will help pull my out of my current funk.  Right now I feel as worn out as the dried lifeless leaves that are covering my driveway.      

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Phase 1 of Renovations Nearing End

Between the majorly sucky weather over the last week, renovation projects in the house and school, I have not been doing a great deal of birding.  During a brief break today when I walked to the kitchen to get some tea, a Black-and-White Warbler was out bathing.  I have missed several things just because it is too dark outside for a decent shot.

The floors were completed last Friday night and I have been putting down shoe molding and painting baseboards.  I am pretty happy with the way things are looking.  The living room/den will have a rug.  I am just waiting for the floors to cure a bit.  Friday the new couch and chair are coming and Saturday I have hired a teenager up the street to help me move furniture back in place.

I had hoped to take a day or two to go to Lake Mattamuskeet while the floors were drying but the refuge was closed thanks to the J.A. politicians who can't get their act together.

Phase 2 will be my room.  It was an add on after the original house so there were no hardwood floors.  It is over a half-basement so I will carpet that room just to help with warmth during the winter.  I will be taking up residence in the guest bedroom while my room gets cleared out.

The final phase will be new flooring in the kitchen and laundry room.  I am just going to stick with vinyl flooring since it is such a high traffic area.  Much easier to clean up paw print tracks, spilled water from the dog bowl and kitchen oops.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

The floor folks have been here sanding most of the day and have finally begun putting on the first of three coats of stain.  They are really looking very nice.  I  think this was definitely the way to go over carpet.  No more bulk in a landfill somewhere in 10 years when the carpet would start looking bad.

Off and on today I would go to the kitchen window and look out.  It has been a very gray and cool day with occasional mist.  The birds have been very active today.  I noticed this one bird sitting on the back side of the bird feeder where I could only get a little look at it.  I thought the head look like a Rose Breasted Grosbeak.  It finally came forward a bit and I was able to get a couple of shots before the Cardinals chased it off.

Other bird visitors today included a Northern Parula, Black-throated Warbler and several Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  I guess the one Kinglet I saw last week was not a fluke as there were several here today.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

American Redstart

I went out this morning with some friends for a bit but the lighting was horrible the entire time.  Almost as soon as I arrived home the fog lifted and blue skies were fairly plentiful.  Had the light been good it would have been a very good birding morning.

I am getting to the point of being almost ready for the floor man on Wednesday.  A last bit of painting today to give it all a day or two to dry well.

During a break I walked to the kitchen to look out.  A female Redstart that I had spotted a couple of times earlier today was back.  A Northern Parula has also come by several times but never in a very good spot for a picture.  Looks like the migrating birds are beginning to come through now.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Kinglets Have Arrived

I stopped by the park for a very brief period this morning as I had another mission close by.  There was one tree where there was a great deal of activity and to my surprise, they were Ruby-Crowned Kinglets.  It seems very early for them to have arrived.  It sort of goes with my gut feeling that we are actually going to have some winter this year,

The house projects have been going well and I am finally ready for the man to come in and refinish the floors.  It has been a heck of a job clearing out everything then painting the rooms.  In the process I have cleaned out the attic, the basement, catch all utility room and and garage.  At this point I am nearing exhaustion.  Once the floors are completed it should be a fairly easy task to get the furniture back in.  I am going very, very minimal so not much will be coming back in.

After that, new flooring in the kitchen and laundry/utility room and new kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts.  I am keeping the existing base units in the kitchen and having new doors done.

I am hoping in the week that the floors will have to dry before anything can be moved back, I can fit in a few days for a road trip.  I desperately need a break and that will be my treat for all the hard work.