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

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Video of Brown Creeper Creeping

Problem solved. Here is the video I took yesterday.

Aww...after viewing it on my blog, I was disappointed that it is not nearly as clear as it is on my hard drive. Oh well, at least it is finally posted.

Video Issues

Currently, I'm experiencing an issue with uploading my video.  It is not on my end!  My partner is so good to me; he searched for and found the cable needed to transfer the video to our hard drive.  He transferred it for me, and opened a new editing program for me.  Not only is he so good to me, he is also a computer whiz.  Thanks, Jeff, for getting everything ready for me. :-)

Luckily the editing program was very user-friendly and I condensed it a little to make it easier to watch.  However, the icon for uploading video on my blogger page is no longer there! :-(  I was pretty disappointed seeing that we had everything ready on our end. 

Oh well, anticipation is good for the soul--or something like that.  (Actually, I made that up.)

Red-winged Blackbird

I couldn't get a good shot, but at least this time I got a picture showing that the red-wing blackbird came back--with two signs of spring in one picture. That is a pussy willow tree (Salix discolor) that the bird is perched in.

This morning, I woke up and could hear the birds. One sounded familiar; I assumed it was the red-winged blackbird's song. I hope to learn to recognize birds by their calls. There must be a website out there that allows one to learn to match the bird with its song.

Wow, as I type, I looked out the window and can see the brown creeper again!


Just got back from taking a video of the brown creeper. If I find the cable that will allow me to transfer it to the computer, I'll upload it as a new post.

Although I sort of thought of this blog as my journal, I've already posted things out of order, and I will likely be doing it again. This past week or so, I've been under the weather. When I have had the energy, I've worked outside and did a few things that I've yet to post about. Hopefully, I'll go through the pictures I took and post about my recent projects. At least the red-winged blackbird and brown creeper have motivated me to post again. :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Brown Creeper Picture

I have tried to include pictures in almost every post.  Lately, I've uploaded a couple posts without picture, I'm sure it will happen from time to time.  Luckily, after spotting the brown creeper and posting about it, it returned.  This time I grabbed a camera and was lucky enough to get one fairly good shot.  (I'm not including the several more blurry ones I took.  I really need a better camera!)

Brown Creeper

This morning, some movement caught my eye on the tree outside my kitchen window.  It was a small bird the blended almost perfectly with the color of the tree bark.  As it crept up and down the trunk, I knew I'd seen a picture of one before.  In my bird book, on the same page as the nuthatches (just as I remembered, I found it:  a brown creeper.  ~smile~  I was thrilled to see one live and on my own property too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Red-winged Blackbirds

Today I looked out the window to see all the activity at my feeder.  There were several newcomers there.  At first I noticed the grackles and then saw the red-winged blackbirds!  I was thrilled.  Both species are most welcome.  So, I guess spring is really here. 

There is the beginning of a twinge of red on the hillsides.  The red maples are getting ready to bloom.  These signs of spring have helped me for years to know that the long winter is ending.  This year we've had a week or so of warmer weather (45-55 degrees F.) so, I guess it feels like spring...a little more sun would help it feel a lot more like spring!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures.  When I went to get the camera, I guess the birds saw me through the window and flew off.  Hopefully, I will be able to post some pics later.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

...And Some Welcomed Visitors

Although today is damp and chilly--especially after almost a week in the 50's, I keep going outside.  The yard keeps calling to me.  My second time out, I took down the nesting box which was poorly placed anyway.  I decided to go back out a third time, and just before I opened the back door, I saw several robins hopping around just outside the window--very close to the house.  As I looked around I realized there had to be at least half a dozen.

I didn't open the door, but ran back to get my camera instead.  When surveyed the yard a second time I counted at least a dozen.  Again the camera doesn't do it justice, but I shot a few pictures to document what I saw.  Personally, I've never seen so many robins at once.  They really were a welcome lift to my spirits after the house sparrow from earlier this morning.

Once it is March, I always feel that spring is here--whether the weather is cooperating or not.  The days are getting noticeably longer and I start seeing signs of green and growth.  I was thrilled to see the robins today...but I'm still waiting for another harbinger of spring.  My ninth grade Biology teacher told us that robins are often year-round residents, but when one sees the first red-wing blackbirds, then spring is right around the corner.  According to Mr. Fresch the males arrive first and about two weeks later the females arrive...and so does spring.

Even so, I was thrilled to see so many robins in my backyard.  I only wish I didn't go outside, because I guess I scared them off.  I always thought robins were pretty comfortable with people.  Hopefully they'll be back in droves!  ~smile~

Unwanted Visitor

I was walking the property this morning, when I came around the corner of the garage/barn and saw a bird exploring one of my nestboxes.  I was excited, but it didn't last long.  As my eyes followed the bird as it flew away from me, I finally focused on it as it stopped on a nearby branch.  It was a house sparrow.  ~sigh~  I kept walking closer to it, chasing it away.

House sparrows were brought here from Europe.  They are notorious for their harmful affect on the native bluebird population as well as other native cavity-nesting birds.  See http://www.sialis.org/ for more information.

Anyway, I'm really hoping not to have to deal with house sparrows trying to make a home in my yard.  So far, I've not had a problem with them.  Hopefully they will move on.  That box they were exploring is sited in the wrong place.  I will remove it and, hopefully, relocate it to a more appropriate site.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring is Coming

Our first year here, I fed the birds all winter and left the feeder up into the summer.  Once or twice, I found the feeder on the ground.  I assumed it was deer.  Later, one of our cats (we have two) excitedly ran from one window to another window in another room.  I followed knowing something was up.  I was a little suprised but hardly shocked to see a bear at the feeder.  I got my partner and we watched from the safety of the house.  Bekka watched out the window too.  She surprised me; I would've thought she'd be afraid, but she seemed fascinated. 

I got my camera phone out and took a couple of pictures through the window.  As the bear wandered off, my partner pointed out that one of its front paws was injured.  I felt bad, but was glad it found a quick, easy snack.  After that, I stopped feeding during the spring and summer.

Spring is coming.  I'll keep feeding for a bit longer, but will have to stop before too long.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Barn Swallow Shelves

I have always loved barn swallows and after buying a house with a barn/garage, I decided I might have a chance at attracting them to nest here.  After reading up on how to attract them, I feel more confident in my attempt.  Although one suggestion is to leave a window or two open so that they can enter the barn to nest, I prefer to keep them on the outside.  The websites state that they will nest under eaves, porches, bridges and the like, so I'm hoping they will take a liking to my offering.  One site suggested that they do not like to nest on a continuous shelf, so I changed my original plan.  Actually, I think I like the individual shelves better.  At a distance they are barely noticeable and do not detract from the look of the barn.

After getting home from work today, I decided to walk the yard.  As often happens, this will spark a project.  Yesterday, after researching, I found some loose boards of old barn wood.  So, today, I thought there is no time like the present.  I got three shelves up before the light started failing me.  I will put more up soon.

I found this website very informative: http://www.americanartifacts.com/smma/per/b4.htm

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Flooded Seeds Motivate Me

Today was in the mid-forties and I walked the yard this morning.  The snow was firm and frozen under my feet which surprised me.  I enjoyed looking around the yard.  One thing that caught my eye was the seeds that I had finally planted were more than saturated they were sitting in about an inch of water.  (There is a pane of glass missing from the roof of the greenhouse --another project, so all the snow we had fell inside and on my planter.  Apparently there were no drainage holes.  So, I got the drill out and put some in.  I hope the seeds will still germinate...but, I've a feeling they will all be washed to one side.

When I decided to get the drill out I realized I'd better work on another project I have:  a rustic birdhouse that I bought for another bluebird box.  The hole opening was too small and originally I thought I could just by a 1 1/2 inch flat drill bit, but because the hole was already there, there was no way for me to expand the hole as planned.  So, I decided to just use a regular drill bit and scrape it along the sides of the opening.  It is not a perfect circle, but it is now the size it has to be to allow bluebirds in but keep the European starlings out.  I am also removing the nail that was placed there as a perch.  Bluebirds do not need the perch to use the box, and having no perch helps keeps other birds and predators from getting in the box.

I had the birdhouse hanging inside the house until I got around to drilling the hole bigger.  It can finally be set up outside--I'd better get to it soon, I've already seen the male bluebird checking out my other boxes.  The ground is still frozen, so I'm not sure how I'll get a post in the ground.