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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On a Brighter Note

Around 8:00 this evening, I went out again to walk the paths (trails?) in the second acre. I startled a deer that took off. I circled around the upper path and toward the corner of our property farthest from the house. There I spotted what appeared to be a doe and a rather large fawn. As I've done before, I stopped and began signing slowly to her--she seemed mesmerized. The two stared back at me watching intently. I only had my cell phone with me. I slowly took it out and snapped a few pictures from quite a distance. I kept moving a little to the left to get a better shot. Then I stopped and turned around, not wanting to scare them...and hoping they'll be more likely to trust me if I encounter them again in the future.

I cropped the pictures, so imagine how far away I really was. Sorry it is blurry, but the memory is clear. ~smile~

Sad News

Today, I went out to clean out the nestbox that the bluebirds used for their first brood. Sad to say I found the remains of one of the fledglings. I'm not sure what happened, but a member or two of WildlifeGardeners have lost some cavity nesting fledglings to house wrens or the non-native house sparrows. I'm hoping the other four made it...and I'd love to see the young birds and know they are okay.

The male has been sitting on the second nestbox. I'm hoping they will have better success on their second brood.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Earlier today, I was walking the paths of the second acre, taking pictures. Above me I caught sight of a bird circling. I've had turkey vultures circling a several times in the past few weeks...and they remind me of an embarrassing moment: Years ago, Jeff and I were at a campground with friends. I spotted a bird circling above and preceded to tell Jeff that it was a hawk. Our friends looked at each other (and probably laughed) and preceded to tell me that it was a turkey vulture.

So, needless to say, today I snapped off a few shots of the circling bird, transferred the pictures to the computer, and preceded to work out in the yard. I came in to eat, sat down at the computer, and began looking through the pictures I took today. The first two were way out of focus, but a little thrill went through me when I spotted a lightness to the tail. Sure enough the next photo affirmed my hope: I had taken a picture, not of a turkey vulture, but of a bald eagle! I am so thrilled!

A year or two ago, I spotted one flying away--never saw its head but did see the white tail feathers. I'd suspected it was a bald eagle (my first), but had nothing to confirm it. Now, after today, I feel certain that it was...and now I have a photo or two of one to share.

Unfortunately, it is not in clear focus, but it is still worth sharing...and as it sunk in a couple of seconds later: interesting that I spotted it on Memorial Day. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bluebird Pair Feeding Their Young

After all of the rain, we've finally had moments of sun and even a couple sunny days in a row. I set up to catch our resident bluebirds actively feeding there babies--who, I'm sure, are quite big by now...I believe they fledged the day after I took this video.

(I've had this video for a couple of days, but I couldn't upload it directly--thanks, Jeff, for suggesting posting the embedded Youtube video here.)

Just a Glimpse

I just saw a blue heron flying high across the back yard. :)

Someday I hope to get some pictures.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

First of the Season

I saw my first hummingbird of the season today. :)

No picture, but it was a beautiful moment. Took me a second to realize what I was looking at, but then he came right into focus with his ruby throat, he stopped in mid-air for a moment, then flew off toward the second acre.

He must've been pretty close, because he looked much bigger than I remember them being.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rain, Concern, Relief

After a full week of (near constant) rain and drizzle, I became a little concerned about how the bluebird parents were faring at finding food for their young. Seems to me not many insects are out and about in this kind of weather.

We were away last weekend, and with all of the rain and commitments this week, I never went out to check on the babies. Yesterday, after work, I headed out. Seeing the father perched at the entrance hole, I realized the young had gotten big enough that the parents didn't have to go inside to feed them. Too late in their development to open the box, I decided to take pictures of the entrance hole, hoping to get a glimpse of the young. No luck. However, they were actively chirping away inside and the father began swooping to scare me off. Seems all is well. ~smile~

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Baby Blues

Here are the babies...several days old:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Blues

I went out to check on the bluebird babies, unfortunately my new cellphone doesn't seem to take as good pictures as my old one--I've yet to get a good shot of the babies inside the nest.

Here are some of the parents who were watching nervously from a tree.

I'm hoping the house sparrows cause no harm. They are notorious for attacking bluebird nests. I'm hoping the nest boxes are far enough out in the clearing that the house sparrows can't fly that distance to the box. Last year, a pair passed through and the bluebirds raised two broods.

House Sparrows, Too :(

Unfortunately, I seem to have attracted a pair of house sparrows, too. :( Maybe I won't feed over the summer. I've never seen the house sparrows come to black oil sunflower seeds before. ~sigh~

Second Surprise of the Day

I glanced out the back window again while getting ready to go outside. I was stunned to see an indigo bunting--another bird I'm not used to seeing. I missed a good close up because there was no memory stick in the camera, (duh!) but I got this one at a distance.

Maybe I'll throw a few seeds out sporadically through the summer and see more varieties I normally miss.


I was pleased to see a rose-breasted grosbeak coming to the few sunflower seeds I threw outside yesterday. At least I think that is what they are called...too busy to get the birdbook out.

There were two, hopefully a pair. I grabbed the camera and was happy I didn't scare them away.

...After typing "hope they are a pair" I did grab the book. Females are streaked brown, so these are two males. :) (and I found that the correct spelling has only one "s" not two. ;)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mama and Her Babies

They've hatched. :)

We were away for a day or two, and today I took two quick pictures with my phone--blindly--not very good, but it shows that the babes have hatched. :) I'm hoping to get some better close-ups of the parents as they feed their young.

Here to Stay

After a week or two of seeing a tree swallow popping its head out of the nestbox, I had yet to observe any signs of a nest being built inside. The other day, they were agitated at my walking past the nestbox. Today, I spotted them perched on an electrical wire. After snapping a few pictures, coming inside, and uploading them to the computer, I noticed there was a piece of dried grass in one's beak. Looks like they are building a nest and are here to stay. :)