Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Early Return!

Today, my second day participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, I strolled from the bay window over looking the back yard, in the the kitchen to view the side yard.  In the distance, I could see movement as the sun reflected from some light colored feathers.  I grabbed my camera.

After zooming in, it didn't take long for my excitement to grow.  I quickly realized that I was seeing a bluebird--then I realized there was a pair of them checking out the nestbox closest to the house.  We are fortunate enough to have had a pair of bluebirds here every year since I put up the first nestbox our first spring here (10 years ago).  This is not the box they usually choose, and it is too early to know if this is the one that they will use.  I am just thrilled to see them.

The funny thing was, it took me a couple of minutes to realize that I had to check the time and document them for the Great Back Yard Bird Count--maybe because they don't come to the feeders, it just didn't occur to me that these too are birds! ;)

Each year, I wonder how devastated I would be if they did not return and raise their young here.  Although we are experiencing several unusually warm days (40s and 50s--near 60 yesterday), we had an extended period of frigid weather earlier this year; I was afraid they wouldn't make it through.  So, today was an extremely pleasant surprise.  It has really felt like spring to me lately, today, even more so.  That said, the snow that is predicted for tonight has started falling outside the window beside my computer screen.

Bluebirds bring happiness...


Great Backyard Bird Count 2018

Yesterday and today, I, again, began tallying the variety and number of birds (of each species).  I enjoy this each year--I think it forces me to sit, observe, and enjoy the birds more.  Too often, I just glance out from time to time.

Bekka was "helping me out" by lying on my paper...and knocking my pen on the floor. :)

Squirrel Antics

This post is supposed to be about the Great Backyard Bird Count...but, instead, it is about squirrels. :)

This morning, while watching and tallying the birds that came to our yard, I witnessed activity up in the trees by the property line.  Squirrels.  Two of them.  Leaping from branch to branch. 

Here are some of the better photos that I was lucky enough to get from the second story window.



Oh...and then there was that one chipmunk. :)

It has really felt like spring for the past few days...temps in the 50s--even close to 60 one day.  Today, was more seasonable...with snow in the forecast tonight...but more warm weather starting tomorrow and into next week.  Hearing the birds and seeing these active mammals really has me longing for spring.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Red-bellied Woodpecker

A red-bellied woodpecker showed up today! 

This year, I was "complaining" that I have not seen any chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmice, or woodpeckers.  I did see a downy woodpecker last week and a nuthatch recently...and now a red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus).  Nice.  

Tree Sparrow

I am not good with identifying sparrows...in the past, I have probably referred to this as a chipping sparrow, now, I believe it is an American tree sparrow.  To be fair, my Peterson's Guide referred to it as a "winter chipping sparrow" under the description.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong. :)

They are welcome, regular visitors to our feeders and to our property.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


With mild weather at the end of 2017, I didn't start feeding the birds until November. By the time the weather had finally changed (and became brutally cold by the end of December), I was feeding regularly--mostly black oil sunflower seeds, but I also added a fruit and nut mix, some peanuts, and a nyjer seed sock.

Although, I saw bluejays, juncos, mourning doves, a white-throated sparrow or two, and a very occasional pair of cardinals, many other bird species were missing.  I hadn't seen any chickadees (normally the first to show up) since the fall...not a single tufted titmouse, no goldfinch, and until this past week, no downy woodpeckers.

This morning, brought a flock of goldfinches to our recently snow-covered ground. 

(We had 62 degrees yesterday...20 something today.)

...Oh, and I finally saw a nuthatch early this afternoon. :)

I enjoyed the new subject matter...with no further ado, I present the goldfinch:

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Colorful Spring

For a long while, I have been planning on posting about biodiversity--my plan has always been to photograph each wildflower as it comes into bloom each spring...and document the diversity of native wildflowers that I have added (or been lucky enough to find already growing on the property--these are few and far between...but they are here).  Instead, my first post about biodiversity will be reflected in a few bird species that really caught my eye this spring.

Growing up, aside from the more common feeder birds, I never had bluebirds or indigo buntings...and only a rare sighting of a Baltimore oriole (perhaps not even on our property).  Living in the country (and creating habitat) has given me the opportunity to see several species here that I was never lucky enough to see before.

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet...I've got close to a rainbow...all spotted this year:

Of course, the biodiversity doesn't end there...I have many others--many common, some never common to me.  With spring, the catbird returned, later, the Baltimore oriole--which has nested here for several years (perhaps as long as we've been here...but I've only noticed in the past few years).  I am pleased to have spotted a rose-breasted grossbeak again this year as well.

Hopefully, some day I will document all of the biodiversity of plants and animals that have visited...or even made a home here.  For now, I had to share my colorful spring birds.