Tag: Bird

Hay Field, robins and horses

It’s Friday afternoon, a sunny beautiful day beginning Memorial weekend. I walked out my backdoor and thought the horses looked stunning in front of the neighbor’s hay-field, which is (unlucky for him) blooming in mustard flowers.

Photo taken from ground level and cropped to remove some extraneous foreground.
Photo taken from ground level and cropped to remove some extraneous foreground.

I took some photos from the ground level feeling grumpy about the fencing and the shrubs and the raised garden beds wanting to get in my way.

Photo taken from 10 feet up (deck).
Photo taken from ground level, more telephoto.

So I went up on the deck. Which raised my angle, but maybe not enough to make a significant difference. Except the foreground miscellaneous shrubbery was no longer a problem. Then upon looking at my screen I felt the span of the field was really the most interesting part of the scene.

Same 10 foot up view, landscape setting, no telephoto and cropped to highlight the spread of the field.
Same 10 foot up view, landscape setting, no telephoto and cropped to highlight the spread of the field.

A very pastoral scene, so quiet (except for the robins who feel I am too close to their nest and are making a major racket). So I went to investigate and found out the babies were leaving the nest. Only one remained and as it saw me looking at it, decided it was time to take flight.

Fledgling decided, despite days and days of me walking under this same spot, now is the time to abandon the nest..
Fledgling decided, despite days and days of me walking under this same spot by the dog kennels, now is the time to abandon the nest..
First it clambered up and out and perched between a support and the metal roof.
First it clambered up and out and perched between a support and the metal roof.
Then making the decision it wasn't a good enough location...
Then making the decision it wasn’t a good enough spot…
Out onto the horn to launch, briefly flying with parental encouragement and landing in the raspberry patch to rest.
Out onto the horn to launch, briefly flying with parental encouragement or maybe threats and landing in the raspberry patch to rest. Wow, caught the takeoff.

Now to help out, at least temporarily, a happy ending. I will keep the dogs in for several hours to give the fledglings a chance to find better spots to perch, or somewhere I don’t see their demise. And hope whatever eats them is actually hungry.

And with that … have a great Memorial Day weekend.

It’s August Already

Newly opened stargazer lily, photographed at midday with Canon Powershot A710IS. Couldn't resist the colors and scent.
Newly opened stargazer lily, photographed at midday with Canon Powershot A710IS. Couldn’t resist the colors and scent.

My gardening rules include all flowers need to have scent to be included here. The thing about this rule is it makes it a butterfly and hummingbird garden too. One of my favorites for outside scent is the stargazer lily, this far north it just started blooming this week.

Stargazer lilies in the blooming catmint
Stargazer lilies in the blooming catmint

Also great is phlox

Phlox, good scent - tends to spread.
Phlox, good scent – tends to spread.

and bee balm.

Bee balm, mint family (just about all the mints are blooming now - thyme, oregano)
Bee balm, mint family (just about all the mints are blooming now – thyme, oregano)

The cone flowers are just starting to open and the hydrangea are also beginning.

Some of the leaves are starting to turn dark burgundy red, especially on maples in boggy areas.  Grasshoppers are thick in the tall grass, jumping in clicking waves. The milkweeds are blooming emitting their lovely scent, I feel bad about weed-wacking them out of the pastures. I watch for monarchs, but haven’t seen hardly any. Bull thistles are over 6 feet tall, spiked leaves and spiked purple blooms, I’m cutting them down like small trees, jumping back to avoid impalement. The horses like to gingerly eat the thistle blooms, feeling with their lips and then pulling their lips out-of-the-way to bite just the purple flower head off.

I heard a cardinal singing a spring song this morning (weird) then flying an odd pattern as if he didn’t know where he was going. There is a bat hanging on the outside of one of the east side of the house shutters (that’s weird too), he’s still there now four hours later, I think he’s sick or maybe dead? The deer are eating our Brussels sprout plants and bean plants in the garden much to my husband’s irritation and despite organic repellents. This year there are lots of small toads and frogs in the yard, probably because we have had such steady rain (no periods of drought). The last time I remember seeing as many was back in the 80s.

The pines I planted this spring are 50/50, up ’til this year I had a hundred percent survival rate on transplanted pine trees (I don’t count the ones the horses ate). Sham always likes the taste of pine needles.

Sham - no small pine trees in the immediate area to munch on.
Sham – no small pine trees in the immediate area to munch on.

These flowers that are opening now are the last of my blooms and will carry out the season … the northern summer is almost over.

Hurry, hurry, hurry and gather flowers while you may….

Large, sturdy songbirds – Blue Jays

Blue Jays have come to the feeder in great numbers, five at once, this morning. I love it, of course as soon as I was back with the camera the quintet disappeared. Blue Jays are a crow relative in the Corvidae (family) and relatively large =  3 oz., 11 inches long, 16-inch wingspan.

Blue Jay planning on entering feeder for sunflower seeds.
Blue Jay planning on entering feeder for sunflower seeds.

These guys are delightfully noisy and aggressive. They will eat almost anything – insects, to fruit, to seeds and acorns. Lovely bright blue wings and tail, with white patches.

Closed-wing jump off of the stick.
Closed-wing jump off of the stick.

Their calls/voice can be shrill and very harsh, scream or a clear whistle and they can mimic hawks, expertly. This group was traveling with some chickadees and later a morning dove was in the feeder at the same time too.bluejaysFeb172013 001

Finches in the foggy morning

Common redpoll, distinguished by streaked flanks, small size and stubby yellow bill.
Common redpoll, distinguished by streaked flanks, small size and stubby yellow bill.

finchjan102013 010

Updated with a new January, but this time a snow day and finches a little argumentative.
Updated with a new January, but this time a snow day and a little argumentative.
Often if seeds get covered with very much snow, they can't seem to find them.
Often if seeds get covered with very much snow, they can’t seem to find them.

Finches came to the feeder in a large flock on this foggy, gray January thaw day.

They stayed for maybe five minutes eating black sunflower seeds.

There were some goldfinches and some purple finches, but they were being  less photogenic.

The flock left in a burst of wings. I wonder how they all decide to do that?

Birds of Winter-they eat, they leave, they complain if seeds are needed

Blue Jay, I think he saw me move.
Blue Jay said he wants more suet and more black sunflower seeds… and “what you look’in at?”
We've got more Blue Jays coming to the feeder than I've ever seen before.
I could give her my best profile or fly away, which will I do?

Sure they’re pretty, but so are plastic flowers. Plastic flowers have all the colors and they’ll stay where you put them all day. You want to get a photo, no problem. You want to get closer, absolutely clear and focused and use a flash, OK: they don’t immediately leave if you look at them or make a noise.

Add them to your bird feeder and your neighbors will be amazed. “Such color and they bloom in winter!” Henry Smith said as he dropped in yesterday.

“So do you have to heat the water? Give them black sunflower seeds, suet? Clean the feeder area regularly?”

None of the above. Mess free, problem free and color at your bird feeder at all times of the day and EVEN in the night!

But Henry whines that he really wants to see a bird.

Well, bird needed, try beanie babies Blue Jay, stays where you put it, wings out, wings in, interested and looking at photographer, no problem. And if you want to add realism, have your photos slightly out of focus.

Real birds fly away, duck down, like the non bright side. They just are never close enough long enough, here’s some examples:

I mean really, fake birds and fake blooms are so much easier…and more modern too.

Birds in your house? I bet you have some.  In the article below…well she’s getting some gorgeous cardinal photos and has the real deal tips.

Bird chime - the pink headed heron.
Bird chimes – the pink headed heron.

Trying to catch the elusive chickadee – the caped crusaders win again

Their taunting dee-dee-dee cries, warning all other little black caped crusaders to stay away from that yummy peanut butter encrusted photo lure because the photographer is lurking. Key word photographer, otherwise they don’t seem to care.I made a fake gingerbread house bird feeder to try to get the Chickadees to sit still long enough for my slow digital.

I made a fake gingerbread house bird feeder to try to get the Chickadees to sit still long enough for my slow digital efforts.

They initially made several forays in, landed in the shrubbery, dashed to the feeder but didn’t eat, moving constantly and flipping away. Then they realized I was trying to capture them – digitally.

This bird feeder came about because we had a  – make a gingerbread house over a 8 oz. carton of milk contest, at work. I don’t particularly like gingerbread houses. And my husband, seeing the empty milk carton on the counter, garbaged it.

So after some thoughts about skipping the contest entirely I came up with using a heel of homemade bread the size of the fated milk carton, smearing it with peanut butter and then using the various grains and seeds we had on hand, plus some dog biscuits to create a version for the birds.

Caught one, barely.
Caught one, barely.

For the indoor contest I added a branch with a beanie blue jay on top, so it hung outside the corner of my cubicle, daring people to knock it off. I didn’t see sunflower seeds on the carpet, so either the resident mice cleaned up or the plate worked.

Outside, after standing, as still as I could for 64 breaths (I didn’t want to move to look at my watch) and becoming really chilled, it’s 6F, I gave up, for now.   This isn’t the first time those Chickadees have thwarted my photographic efforts. They seem strangely camera shy.

Oatmeal roofing tiles, craisin soffits, whole wheat noodle perch.
Oatmeal roofing tiles, craisin soffits, whole wheat noodle perch.

Do you like Gingerbread houses? Should I give up my pursuit of the Chickadees?  I see them all the time. And are they telling me where to go in bird language?