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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First Firefly

I just saw my first firefly--or lightning bug as I grew up calling them. :)

I always associate their blinking near the Fourth of July--a week or so earlier...so, I guess, he is right on schedule.  No picture...not that I didn't try a video in the dark, but lost patience when if flew out of my field of view.

Monday, June 23, 2014

And Then There were Four

I took another couple of pictures today.  It looks like two more nestlings have hatched...until I saw the photo on the larger monitor, I thought all five had hatched...I can see a hint of blue between the sleeping babes.

They all look a bit fuzzier today. :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bluebirds are Hatching

The bluebirds second brood is finally hatching...after checking almost daily lately, all I've seen were the eggs...finally, today, I checked and saw these tiny, gangly, nearly naked hatchlings.

I'm thrilled with the photographic capabilities of my new phone. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Oriole Feeding Young

I was able to take a video of the female oriole feeding her young.  I had to edit it because it was upside-down (I took it with my phone)...so, I decided to add a title...and captions to make it accessible. :)

Oriole at Nest

I got this shot of the female oriole as she and the father took turns feeding the babies.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Amazing Encounter

 I had a surprise visitor today while working in the yard!

I thought I'd be posting about moving rocks and planting some of the thousands of seedlings that germinated from my winter sown collected wildflower seeds...and the frog I spotted sitting on a rock under the deck where I was working.  However, the frog was not the only encounter I had with wildlife today.

While I was taking photos of the frog, somehow I realized something was behind me...I can't remember now if I heard a little huff or something before or after I turned around.  Before, I think.

I turned around, and startled, I gasped!  A small spotted fawn had approached me while my back was turned.  It was so close; I swear it might have nudged me had I not turned around.  My gasp startled the fawn who jumped back and darted a few feet back.  I quickly recovered from the shock and made a soft clicking sounds which seemed to reassure it.  The fawn stopped and watched me...luckily it stuck around long enough for me to get my phone out and the camera app open.  After I took a few shots I got a video of it going back to its mother.  ~smile~

Very cool encounter.

Nothing like this ever happened to me before!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Baby Pictures!

After seeing that the bluebirds had started their second nest, I spotted one (from a distance) sitting on the nestbox.  Once I was inside and had it uploaded and cropped, I realized it was not one of the parents, but one of their offspring--which I've read sometimes help their parents raise more young.  Good practice for them, I'm sure.

I'm including this as a "baby picture" even though he is probably more like a teenager:

While walking the paths that evening, I spotted another little guy perched in the branches of a meadowsweet shrub that I put in a few years ago. It makes me smile to see so much new life in our yard being nurtured by the habitat I'm creating and all that it attracts.  I wasn't sure what kind of bird this fledgling was, but he stayed perfectly still aside seeming to watch my every move.  I took a few pictures with my cell phone, then left.  After grabbing the better camera from the house, I went back through the trails hoping to see him still there.  He was.  I got a few more shots, and noticed another bird on the wire above.  I felt pretty confident that it was one of the parents, and if I could get a decent shot, I should know be able to identify the baby.  It seemed clear that it was a bit concerned that I was so close by.


The caterpillar in its mouth also validates my theory that it is the father.  So, now it would seem that I had chipping sparrows nesting nearby as well...that is if I was correct in ID'ing the adult bird.

The caterpillar in its mouth also validates my theory that it is the father.  So, now it would seem that I had chipping sparrows nesting nearby as well...that is if I was correct in ID'ing the adult bird.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Within One Day!

Last night, I finally went out to clean out the nestbox after the first brood of bluebirds fledged (and I've yet to even post the few pics I have of the first brood.  I removed the old nest (and the two non-viable eggs that I found after the three birds were gone (I never seem to witness the fledging itself).  I scrubbed it down with water and bleach solution and left it open all night to dry--and, hopefully to alert the pair that it was ready again when they are.


This morning, I went out to close it.


I came home between assignments (yes, I actually worked this Saturday) and walked the yard.  Even though I had just closed it a few hours before, I decided to check inside--maybe having seen a female bluebird on the overhead wire when I got out of the car influenced me.  Sure enough, before I'd even reached for the latch, I saw a thin stalk of grass sticking out.  Once opened I was still shocked to see the progress made on their second nest of the year!

I don't really know how much time they need between raising the fledglings and starting another brood, but I usually give them a week or so.  After this experience, I am thinking I should remove the old nest as soon as possible.  I want them to have as much time as they can to get a third brood in. ~smile~

It's Happening!

With a bowl of cereal in my hand instead of a camera, I walked over to look out the bay window into the back yard.  Within a few seconds I saw a chipmunk dart across the stone sidewalk and into the plantings opposite me.  Just then, a hummingbird appeared fleetingly feeding on the lupine that is a remnant of the previous owner's flowerbed.  It was gone before I could even think to go for the camera...but I love that I will likely have more and more moments of my own private nature show--and not just bursts of activity, but something to keep my interest any time I look outside.  I have to wonder what I miss going on around me all of the time because I either don't look or don't stay still enough and wait.