Friday, January 31, 2014

Walking on Water

This young eagle seemed quite perplexed by the ice on the lake this morning.  With the rising temps, it should not be long before the thin ice disappears.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Injured Deer

Late yesterday afternoon when I put the food out I gave the deer and extra portion.  With snow on the ground and the exceptional cold, I figured they needed a little extra.  They came fairly early when it was still light out.  I stood and watched one that was trying to maneuver on three legs.  The doe were shunning the injured deer which of course is a natural act since an injured animal is more susceptible to becoming prey.

From the window I thought that is was a doe since it was with the herd but after looking closely at the trailcam shots, realized it was a buck that had already shed its antlers.

I sent a couple of photos to my friend who is a large animal vet and asked her for her  best guess.  It did not sound good which is what I suspected.  As hunting season is now over, I guess my only legal option is to call the wildlife folks and see if they will send an officer out.  I really think it would be terribly cruel to let the animal continue to suffer and die a slow horrible death.

What a difference no antlers make.  When he had his antlers and would come to the feeding site, all the doe would scatter.  Now with no antlers and an injury to boot, he has been relegated to the back behind the doe.

I will watch this afternoon and check the trailcam tomorrow before making my decision .

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day Portraits

I took advantage of the snow day to get some bird shots.  Since we don't get that many snow days and by the weekend it will be gone, you get what you can.  There were tons of birds today all trying to get their share of the food.  It is quite amusing to watch the hierarchy of  who feeds first.  When a Robin showed up, it thought it was the big bird and spent most if its time trying to chase the other birds.  I got quite pissed with it as it seemed to really have it in for the Bluebirds.

At first one single Blue Jay showed up.  It ate a bit and left and before long was back with two friends.  They then became the "big birds" on the block.

The Yellow-rumped Warblers only chased each other and generally same with the Cardinals except when the Towhees showed up.  Lots of Cardinals with the males looking exceptionally red against the white of the snow.

The biggest surprise was having a Grackle show up.  I usually never see one until the end of February at the earliest and usually arriving in the first part of March.  Maybe signs of an early spring?  Who needs a groundhog when you have a Grackle!  And yes, he was "big bird" on the block when he showed up.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


For there to have been so much talk about snow, if it is coming at all it is taking its time.  The cold is absolutely miserable so it might as well snow.  At least you could enjoy some pretty scenery.

The birds have been steadily visiting the suet feeders and the birdseed feeders all day.  They really like this last batch of suet where I added some apple sauce to the mix.

Bird list today:  Pine Warblers,  Downy WP's, Red-bellied WP's, Houses Finches, Cardinals, Eastern Towhee,  Eastern Bluebirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers , Dark-eyed Juncos,  White-throated Sparrows, Doves,Tufted Titmice, Carolina Wrens, Carolina Chickadee, Winter Wrenn, White-breasted Nuthatch.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Polar Wave"

The waves of extremely cold air masses moving in seem endless.  I am so ready for spring.  Tomorrow is suppose to be fairly nice before the next cold air mass moves in on Tuesday.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get out and enjoy the weather.  The only benefit of the cold is it has pretty much forced me to get back to the house renovation projects.  I took a break in December and most of January but have now started back.  I am up to the kitchen which is turning out to be a major project.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pine Warbler

After a couple of days of spring like weather, when the cold front came through late yesterday afternoon, old man winter definitely let us know he was not done yet.  I don't think it the temperature rose above freezing today.  Fortunately the "big snow" was a bust.

Birds have been steadily visiting the suet feeder today.  I have noticed that for whatever reason, the arrival of the Pine Warbler brings on aggressive behavior from the other birds.  The aggressive behavior seems to only apply to the male and not the female PW so I can only assume it has something to do with the bright color.

The male house finches are beginning to get a little deeper in color.  I have also noticed that quite a few of the Yellow-rumped Warblers are begging to change a bit to their breeding colors.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Eagle Count

I went with a friend today who had signed us up to participate in an eagle count this morning.  We were to be at a specified post from 0700 to 0830.  From our position, we only saw two.  Later, for grins and giggles, went to another area where lots of eagles had been spotted.

What can I saw but an amazing sight.  We counted 23 eagles within about a 150 foot area along a river.  Tried as we could though, we could not get to a favorable position where we were not shooting in to the sun.  It was still quite an enjoyable day to watch and listen to them.  They were a feisty group.

Most of the eagles at this second location were young.  Based on their color, there were some probably as young as one year and most under 5 years.  Even those with white head feathers still had either a small patch of dark feathers somewhere on their head or tail feathers still tinged dark.

Last year when they came to this area they stayed around three weeks then departed.  We are going to attempt to go back tomorrow during the afternoon when the sun should be in a better position.  Out of more shots today than I care to say, I think maybe only three that I think are even presentable.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Things are Looking Up

Much improved weather today and even better tomorrow.  Feeder activity has been high over the last two days with the cold and to alleviate some squabbles at the feeder, spread some additional seed along the deck rail.  Lots of activity and interesting to watch the various bird behavior.  I crumbled a suet cake and mixed among the seed.  This Red-bellied WP kept coming, getting a piece at the time and flying off.  I suspect within a short time it had a little stash hidden somewhere.

By noon is was above freezing and after being stuck inside yesterday headed out for a bit.  As I was headed out to the car I looked over and saw that even the raccoon was peeking out of its tree enjoying the sunshine that was flooding the tree.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014


By the time the drizzle and gray clouds cleared up today, the  blast cold air started flowing in.  Single digit temps in the morning with high of 24.  Too cold.  It will be short lived thankfully with temps back up to around 60 for the weekend.  That is a good thing because I am helping with an eagle count on Sunday.  Just hope the rain holds off too.

After leaving the trailcam out for several days without checking, I decided I better go check it.  Good thing as the card was completely filled.  Also a raccoon had smudged the camera lens so all the shots for two days are a bit misty.

A doe and her offspring were there when one of the bucks came up.  She eyed him warily and both doe soon departed.

Two young bucks, and I mean young showed up.  Not sure where all the big bucks that came last year are.  Hopefully they did not meet the fate of a hunter encounter.  These two young ones were feeling their oats and clashing antlers a bit.

This afternoon I put a little extra out and spread out further so if the piggish bucks come up, hopefully some will be left for the doe in another spot.

The fox couple also came through.  This pair has been together for at least three years.  Each year it is fun to watch the way they interact with each other and I always look forward to when they bring their young out.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sad Day - RIP Yellow Bird

The gray skies today pretty much match my mood.  Yellow Bird who came in to my home back in March of 2012 was a parakeet that showed up in the yard one day.  After attempts to find someone who may have lost the bird, I ended up keeping it.  The bird had been flying from tree to tree during the day and ended up on the ground under the bird feeder.  A cat in the neighborhood was trying to creep up on it so I immediately went out to try and capture it.

The bird without hesitation came to a wooden dowel held out so I knew it was probably a recent escapee or someone just let it go.  Anyway, it was mine now.  Late yesterday it began not being able to sit on its perch.  By night I knew time was limited.  Yellow Bird passed this morning and I am quite surprised at the void it has left.  I guess you sort of get use to the chirping and murmuring they make.

Tomorrow looks to be a bit more promising weather wise before the bottom drops out late in the afternoon.  It will be good to get out for a bit/

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wind and Cold

Winter finally hit.  I am not sure if it got above freezing today and if so, surely not by far or for long.  The wind made if absolutely miserable to be out so I stayed in putting finishing touches on my presentation I will give in February.  After several days of the trailcam being out I finally did go out and get it this afternoon.  The matriarch doe and one of her offspring that was born last spring have learned quickly that the early bird gets the to speak.  They are coming around 1600 and getting their share early.  She is teaching her young one well.

One good thing about doing this upcoming presentation is it has forced me to do some cleaning out of old photos that I wonder why I ever kept.  Every now and then you come across a long forgotten photo.  Don't you just love a pleasant surprise?  I remember when my friend and I had gone down to Pungo Lake.  It was a bitterly cold and windy day but there were some payoffs to toughing out the cold.  Love these birds.  They are one of my top 5 favorite.  It would have been nice if it had been on a non man made object but you can't always get what you want.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

I haven't done much over the last two days except work on an upcoming presentation to a local birding group.  It has taken quite a bit of time to go through so many photos finding either the best or rare sightings and get them in some sort of logical order and timed properly with music.  Very pleased with the outcome.

Very, very tired of the gray days and ready for some sunshine.  I am looking forward to the spring and the promise of the migratory birds coming in.  Hoping for a good year.  Just think...only 77 days until the first day of spring!

You can always look back, but the future is forward.

May your new year be filled with color.....

May the sun always be at your back.....

May you soar through the year without stumbles

 Happy New Year!