July 31, 2016
Stuck in a Hard Place
I've had some plants out on the back porch getting watered by Mother Nature in a rare rain today. Although still sprinkling, I was looking at the sky judging if it was going to drop more precipitation or not. I heard something drilling on the bird feeder and turned to see who was so brave to be there with me just 2 feet away.
I didn't see anything, but heard the noise again, so looked on the back side. Nope, nothing there. Then I looked in the lower port hole:
I thought it was chippy I was seeing (Rita has been watching him most of the day as he shovels seed into his mouth and carries them off for future feasting). I watched for a minute and only saw breathing motions, so decided maybe he was stuck. I poked it with my finger (barely as the cage is several inches away from the tube), and it turned a git. And I saw this.
Her wing was twisted a bit, so I turned the feeder over on its side and she repositioned a bit, but not enough.
I put on a garden glove, and poked at her neck a couple of times, and she was finally able to free herself and fly off. Glad that worked, it would have been quite the chore to take the feeder apart.
July 04, 2016
Squirrels and a Bird
To keep the squirrels off the bird feeders, I have been getting big blocks of seed and placing them close to the tree line out back. This has produced interesting behaviour by the critters. Namely, that the gray squirrels, who normally don't tolerate reds being close (and vice-versa), are peacably eating side by side.
And, a bird chose to alight on the fence as I was taking pics of the squirrels.
And, a manipulated pic of said bird
September 06, 2015
I've had a couple of small projects that I wanted to get done, but had more pressing things to do. I finally found time to do them last weekend while I was feeling lazy.
The first project was to move one of the fence gates. Whe the EX put up the fence, one gate was placed at the corner of the house that is directly next to the lowest end of the ramp. At the time that made sense as it was protected by the eave of the house, so the gate entrance wouldn't get muddy. However, since having the standing seam roof put on last fall, I found the placement just didn't work anymore. The problem is from the roof dumping the snow, which is normally a good thing. The dumped snow compacts to a very hard mound and I was having trouble trying to keep a path from the yard to the gate open. The snow blower was not effective, so I had to chop and shovel.
Well, the obvious solution was to place the gate at the section directly across from the ramp. This improves the situation two ways; the gate is outside the area where the snow dumps, and it makes it more convenient to snow blow from the propane tank into the pen and up to the ramp. Of course the project took way longer than it should have because I went thru every socket I had to try to loosen the nuts on the bolts, then finally had to go buy a deep socket to reach - but at least the job got done. The first picture is the section placed where the gate used to be and the 2nd picture is of the gate's new location.
Another project that came to fruition was staining the landscape timbers to the front gardens. I had to wait for the pressure treatment to dry out enough for staining, and it was finally time. I think the stain helps distinguish the garden are from the house nicely. Also seems to help the plants look more "green" for some reason (all to the good of course).
And then the town almost completed a project; on the 28th I rode home from work and was delighted that they had laid some asphalt! I think they still have one more layer to go, but this is a vast improvement over the previous pavement and the dirt after it was torn up. When I rode in on the 27th, it was mud as apparently they had either oiled or watered the dirt (it hadn't rained) and that was a bit scary feeling the bike slither around. Anyway, I am quite happy with what is there now - and there is no big sinkhole directly in front of my driveway!
March 29, 2015
Still Snowing at the End of March
Although it is slowly warming up, and the birds are flying up from further south, we are still getting snow. The storms aren't big, mostly dustings - and we got about an inch yesterday, after heavy rains on Thursday (the garage did get some water, but not nearly what I got last year, and not entering the basement, so I am good.
Pictures taken yesterday and today of the snow pack remaining.
In my area, a big flock of redwing blackbirds arrived about 2 weeks ago and they have hung around. I can hear/see them in the trees in the trees in back, and to the side of my house. Pictures of other birds at the feeder a couple of weeks ago (3-7-15).
It is supposed to get in the 40's this coming week, but even then Easter egg hunts next week may be in the snow.
February 21, 2015
Couple of Wild Bird Pics
Taken by my cheap, old digital camera on Sunday during the bird counts
Purple Finch - distinction from house finch is the bars on the chest of females and the red on the back of males with the notched tail.
Male Downey Woodpecker
Some sort of Sparrow - I want to say it is a chipping sparrow, but there is not enough info for me to say it definitely so (had a bunch of these)
Record Year for Birds
This winter, both the NH Audubon Society Winter Bird Survey, and the Cornell / Audubon Back Yard Bird Count were on the same weekend. This pleased me as I had a record number of species to report (for me) and I could use that for both counts. There were also sparrows that I wasn't confident of the identification, and some I couldn't even guess or find in a book to my satisfaction. Without further ado, here is my list for this year:
- Blue Jay - 2
- Crow - 2
- Goldfinch - 16
- Chickadee - 2
- Cardinal - 3 (1M & 2F
- Purple Finch - 12 (Cornell tells me that is an unusually high number, but I am positive they were purple, not house finches)
- WB Nuthatch - 1 (too bad I didn't see both of them that are usually around)
- Pine Siskin - 4
- Junco - 2 (a really low number as far as I am concerned)
- Starling - 1 (first one I have seen in NH and was thumbing thru my bird book when I looked up saw the bird on the railing, looked down and I was on that page in the book - funny how that worked out)
- Tufted Titmouse - 2 (usually have 3)
- Downey Woodpecker -1 male
- Mourning Dove - 4
- Pileated Woodpecker - 1 (seen pounding on a dead tree in the empty lot/swamp next door. Was super excited to see it!)
- Sparrows of indeterminate species - around 20
I reported today on the Cornell BYBC site, and will mail in my list to the NH Audubon on Monday
October 26, 2014
Birding at Home
The wild birds have gone into the pre-winter feeding frenzy. Where during the summer, I rarely had to refil the seed dispensors, now the hanging feeder is filled every 3-4 days.
In addition, the leftover Birdie seed that I place in a platform feeder, used to feed squirrels and the occasional bird. Now, the squirrel don't have a chance because of frequent visits of the avian kind.
I won't cry for the squirrels just yet. I am not aiming to feed them. However, it seems that we have had a total acorn failure this year - I have seen 1 acorn in my travels, so it may be a hard winter for them and other wildlife.
April 05, 2014
Animals of the Wild
Saw a tom and his hens crossing the road at Deering Town Hall the other day when I was headed to a job fair.
The tom was all fanned out and there were 10-15 hens. You can only see one hen to the right of the nearest tree, but trust me, there were a bunch there. They were crossing the road as I was getting the phone out to take a picture.
I got a peanut feeder in an attemp to keep the multitude of squirrels off the birdfeeders on the back ramp. It is working as long as I keep it filled.
Since we are just now getting thawage down to the ground, there are no flowers yet. Humingbirds start appearing in April so I made sure to get a feeder out for any early migrators. I had to get a new pole to put the feeder on and chose one that I could attach to my railing so it will be close to the house - both for viewing and for a bit of protection by the roof from predator birds.
I'm loving the area I am in as there is a large variety of birds that use the trees in the backyard and the shrubs in the swampy area just to the side of my property.
March 16, 2014
Had a cardinal visit the other evening. He was sitting on the crabapple surveying his kingdom.
February 17, 2014
Bird Counts 2014
Now that both the NH Audubon Society Winter Bird Count and the Cornell/Audubon Great Back Yard Bird Count are over, I can share my excitement over what I was able to record. For both counts, birds only made an appearance on 1 day (even the GBYBC, which last 4 days - they only appeared on Sunday).
Ror the Winter Bird Count, I was excited to have White Breasted Nut Hatch, Juncos, Cardinals (1 male and 1 femal) and the greatest sightings were cedar waxwings (3) and Eastern Towees (5). The Eastern Towess are rare for winter and I supplied photos to help confirm my identification. The towees were infatuated with my crab apple (or cherry - have to wait for summer to identify). Sorry the pictures are crappy, but they were taken thru plastic covered windows and at a high digital zoom, so you gets what you gets.
For the GBYBC, I had chickadees, titmice, the WB nut hatch, purple finches, juncos, downy woodpeckers (male and female) and another 12 Eastern Towees, 1 red bellied wood pecker and 4 chipping sparrows (rare for winter).
I was thrilled the birds showed up as I don't seem to have regualr visitors so far. The red bellied woodpecker was a surprise at the end of my watching yesterday and attacked the suet feeder with gusto (much to the woodpeckers' chagrine).
This bodes well for my summer bird watching, expecially since there is running water just over the property line which will help to attract them.