30 April, 2012

The Antics of Howard the Squirrel

I heard a rattling of noise, both plastic smacking sounds and chattering of birds out on the deck this morning. I wondered what could be blowing away. It has been pretty windy these past couple of days, and that does startle our 'regulars' at the feeders.

I looked out the door and saw one of our squirrels, lying on his back, tail flapping in the wind. I honestly thought he was dead. Then he rolled over and I grabbed my camera. I captured the rest of his antics, shared below...

So much effort!!

Trying to get this thing under his control :-)

Oh, I see now...he wants to take this feeder up to his tree...

He freezes, because he knows I see him. This is a pretty typical pose.

He watches me briefly, and I think surely he will eventually drop this thing, then I can rescue it and take it back inside and refill the hummingbird nectar inside.

Then...what does he do next?


Do you see what he has done?? In one quick second, he slipped off the little rope and hooked the hummingbird feeder high up in the tree! There is no rescuing that thing now!

He knows this is food for the birds. I wonder if he thinks it will magically have food in it now, just for him. Perhaps he will knock it out of his tree when he realizes that the one who feeds them will not be able to reach that high. Not to mention it is the wrong type of feeder for him to break into and steal food for himself. Why didn't he drag the old, green seed feeder across the yard and up the tree? These and other questions likely never to be answered ;-).


26 April, 2012

Sometimes Nature can be Harsh

I was all excited to find two nests on our small property this month. I identified the first one right away, as the Mother Mockingbird was already incubating her eggs when I spotted the nest out front in a live oak tree.

Then just a week or so ago, I spotted this in our grapevine:

I look in all my birding books and online for photos, to guess at what kind of nest this must be. That egg is pretty small! Our "regulars" are generally very stealthy about their nests here at the cottage because I suspect they are keen to the fact that we have a Cooper's Hawk and a Red-shouldered Hawk that are pretty regular, as well. :-(

The following day, I walked toward the nest again, this one in the backyard, and both cardinal parents were near the area.

To my excitement, it was confirmed to me that this was a cardinal nest and eggs.

Yesterday, I thought I saw one more egg in there, carefully spying on them before my Spanish class students arrived. I may have seen wrong, as I didn't want to interfere.

This morning, the inevitable happened. Mother Cardinal was no more. Her body was picked half-clean by the merciless little Cooper's Hawk.

I saved a few feathers, and watch to see if the father will take over incubation...but I doubt that he will. The fathers only rarely spend any time on the eggs under normal circumstances, from what I have read.

Poor Mrs. C should have chosen a better location than right near the fence, where the hawk loves to sit and look for prey.


The male cardinal sings out a song. I just thought he was keeping watch over the nest and the momma at the time. I was photographing evening primrose and a painted lady butterfly.
In hindsight, I wonder if he was already calling for another mate, or simply calling out for the original one who laid the eggs.

Now I wonder if he will stay around here, or go on toward the lake and look for a new mate far away from here. He knows there is a good food source here. We shall see...I will let you know.

Until next time, keep your eyes on the trees and bushes and watch for movement.


What I've been sewing

Another prom has come and gone, but this is what I was sewing up exactly one week ago!

Guitar buttons,for that extra touch!

Also whipped up a pocket square and a bowtie! (easiest bowtie I've ever made, and I've made a handful. Finally, a decent, simple pattern and instructions for one! Can't say that the vest instructions were great, though. In fact, they were bad.)

Ds trying on his new accessories

Our youngest son's junior prom - Not your ordinary prom!

This photo is from one of our Metro newspapers!

Some of the many amazing props at the homeschool prom

sitting down to a nice dinner

Knights of the Round Table

 Mirror image

What projects have YOU been working on?


24 April, 2012

Missing My 'Regulars'

Since the Great Backyard Bird Count, Spring migration has begun and some of my regulars with it :-(.

The good thing is that I am not partially obsessed by photographing birds everyday. I also don't need to buy as many bags of seed either. Some of the regulars are just nesting, I am guessing. But the American Goldfinches are among those that have moved on for now.

Our Cedar Waxwings have stayed around! This has been quite the year for them in our yard. They love hanging out in the large trees that we have.

I've observed the feather changes in our sparrows and house finches over the past month. Some of them look so funny.

My current desire is to photograph a scissor-tailed flycatcher. This is not easy to do, as they don't come into the yard much, since they just snatch at bugs in the air. I have seen them about a mile from the house, but it is more rare for them to land on our own yard/power lines. I've seen that happen only once this year, and was not quick enough to grab my camera.

                                   Two Cedar Waxwings chasing each other back to the tree

I did spot a new bird probably migrating, just passing through, and happened to have my camera in my hand. I was spying on the Cedar Waxwings at the time. After some digging around, I finally identified it! It is a ~

 Summer Tanager

Hey what are you lookin' at down there?

What an amazingly pretty bird. My two favorite colors, as well. I have never, ever seen (noticed) one before this. I think they are rare for our part of the country.

Seen any new bird species in your own yard just passing through this spring?