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Bird Sightings Part 2

Posted by comettose 7 (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 2, 07 at 13:25

Because the other thread was getting so long I thought I'd start Part 2.

Today I saw a Sharp-shinned hawk fly into my backyard and land on the ground near the feeders. All the birds that were there saw it coming and fled moments earlier. So the bird sat on the ground for a minute, then flew up to my fence, moving along the fence towards a large Leyland cypress I have next to my fence in the back. Then, all of a sudden it dove right into the cypress and swirled in and out of the tree like an expert. Tons of small birds came shooting out of the tree and took off. Mostly juncos and sparrows hang out in the tree. I watched longer and didn't see the hawk fly out after any of them. I watched longer to see where the hawk went, and after a few minutes I saw it on the ground under the tree. I think it caught one of the small birds in the tree and took it to ground to kill it. After a minute more it flew off so fast I could not tell if it was carrying anything as it went out of sight so fast to my front yard area. I ran out front to see if had a bird on the ground out front but it was gone.

Wow - I thought that cypress was a refuge for when hawks swooped in. That bird worked that tree like nothing flat, flying in and out of it in a downward spiral pattern starting at the top. The birds hidden in the thick branches had some protection obviously, as opposed to being caught out in the complete open, but thick places are not safe either. It happened so fast I was simply amazed at the speed and agility that hawk worked that tree.

CT


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

hey ct! you have had first hand experience why some raptors are called accipiters (SP?)

these birds have longer tails and shorter wings to manuever through woods/trees than buteo "hawks."

Here is a link that might be useful: descriptions of accipiter, buteo, falcon


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

They are amazing to watch, I've seen them flying in and out of the cedars trees too. I also witnessed it chase a finch out of the cedar tree and pursue it in flight, that finch really gave it a run for it's money by twisting and turning and eventually got enough ahead of the hawk that it gave up. I think the sharpies are more relentless than the coopers. What's interesting to watch is the birds reaction to a fly over. The bluejays will sound the alarm and everyone jumps into the rose bush and freezes. They will stay that way for 10 minutes until they are sure it is safe. They don't move a muscle but their eyes will be scanning the area. The chickadees are always the first ones to return to feeding, then suddenly everyone is back to normal.

I am participating in a bird count for the Ohio Winter Bird Atlas so I had to spend 4 hours yesterday watching the birds (a reallly tough assignment). I decided to take the Christmas tree down while I was keeping track of the visitors since it was in the window and the activity at the feeder was pretty slow. I had my camera close but really didn't plan to take pictures as it was really dark and misting and shutter speeds on days like that are so slow that the pictures are always blurry. But when I look out and see the pileated in a tree just 15 feet from the house, I grabbed the camera and gave it a shot anyway. I got these two shots before she flew away. I am really hoping she was checking out the platform feeder, I've not been able to get either of them to come to any of my feeders. And I hope I didn't scare her off!

A pileated's head
Full shot


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

Thanks for the link FTM - I'll give it a read. You are right - it was a first hand witness and so fast I think my mouth was hanging open. I was hanging in my pajamas in bed. All my feeders can be seen from my bedroom window. How lazy it that - watching birds from bed every morning! LOL

Jean - lucky! I have yet to have the pileated come to the suet or nut/seeds. I did see a fly over one time. I just don't have the deep woods near enough to my house, but 1 mile away there is St. Mary's River State Park, and the Patuxent River NAS is 2 miles the other way. Both places have the Pileated. Great photos! I can just see you racing to get the camera with your heart pounding!

My group just finished a large scale atlas. I did not participate since I prefer backyard feeding watching more than concerted field work. I'll leave that to my more dedicated group members! LOL

My consistent hawk announcers are the crows. My jays have not been around the past few days. If I hear the crows going off there is always a hawk of some kind. They mob them until they fly off.

This morning I felt a hawk was near as I heard a strange feather whooshing sound to the right of my house near the woods and I thought - hawk! Birds were taking off and I had one woodpecker in the freeze mode at the suet. Not two seconds later the hawk came in from that sideyard direction. They use my house itself as their sneak attack approach method. They come whooshing around the house into the feeder area like lightening.

I've seen a much larger bird nuber'freeze' before when they had no crow warning. Anybody that doesn't make it outright to fly away freezes solid. Obviously the hawk is geared to movement, but this one knew those little birds went into that cypress as their escape hatch.

I know they have to eat but it still bothers me because I've come to know some of my feeder birds so well. Hawks have really increased in my area in the past few years. So have owls. I even have a Bald Eagle fly by on occasion. He never stops to hunt the feeder birds. I see eagles all the time when I'm at work. They like areas where there are tall, dead tree snags near the water.

CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 3, 07 at 11:13

Although it is sad for me to see the little guys get caught, hawks are just so awesome to watch! I don't get to see them in my yard that often, but they are all over the open fields between our house and town, usually perched on the top of utility lines...waiting. :)

I've only "heard" that silence from the finches and sparrows once, but it was so eerie, I'll never forget it.

I just got through reading an article in National Geographic about the (supposed) ivory-billed sightings, but I'm satisfied with the pileated. :) Such beautiful, and LARGE, birds! Love your pics, Jean!

The yellow-rumped "Audubon's" warbler has been hanging around quite regularly the last few days. He has me worried, because he's so less skittish than the finches and sparrows. He really is gorgeous, though, with those yellow patches! He really brightens up the dreary, foggy days. :) I finally took the screen off the front window so I could get a somewhat clearer image.

Warbler on the wire

Nibbling on berries and seeds with a house finch

Sitting pretty

Brenda


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speaking of bald eagles! this is the time of year i get to see them without even going to their more populated spot locals refer to as "the wide waters." all i have to do during this season is cross the bridge dowtown. i saw one today!


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Brenda, lucky you! What is the little guy eating? I have never had a butter-rump come to my feeder, they just forage in the trees.

I have one window on each side of the house without the screen and those windows get washed alot!

I envy anyone who gets to see bald eagles regularly - heck I envy anyone who has ever seen a bald eagle. They have returned to SW Ohio but are still irregular visitors in my neck of the woods.

Speaking of eagles, check out the link below of the golden eagle and a fox, absolutely amazing photos (the fox series is the fourth one)

Here is a link that might be useful: Golden Eagle


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Wow Brenda - what a pretty fella! Nice photographs too! I don't get that bird at my feeder either!

Yes, Eagles have made a comeback it seems. When I used to live in Chestertown, MD there was a 6000 acre farm behind our community and they had these 3 telephone poles clustered together like a tripod and this eagle pair would nest there every season. The nest got to be huge because they would keep adding to it and because the three poles were so strong they held it. I swear some of the 'twigs' they used were logs!

Thanks for the fox/eagle link Jean.


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Wow Jean - I just looked at all the eagle photos (and the fox). What a huge bird - that fox was almost a goner. I like the photos of the black and white bird (a magpie?) moving around in the photos staying the heck out of the ruckus! That B/W bird reminds me of the Pied Crow I see on the Africam streaming video.

Lovely photographs and the snow is beautiful. I bet it's colder than a welldigger's a$$ though!

CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 4, 07 at 9:14

I would love to see a bald eagle...ok, ANY eagle in person, in the wild. That would be so incredible. Those pics are amazing, though! That poor fox. LOL I was checking out those black-and-whites, too.

It appears that my little yellow-rumped was eating some nuts or berries from the bag of Nut N' Berry stuff. I haven't seen him visit the actual feeders, though. The white stuff is safflower seed that I bought after spotting the the ringed turtle-dove, hoping to lure him (and her!) onto the ground in the yard. I still scatter it around after I spot them, which has been quite a bit lately. I'm hoping the finches and/or sparrows will enjoy a nibble or 2 of it, as well.

Oh, and I saw the song sparrow out at the creek the other day, right along side the yellow-rumped! Too far away to photograph, but DH can attest to my excellent shouting abilities. :D

Brenda


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I thought I'd share with you guys that I got a digital Canon XTi for my birthday yesterday! I really would like to get a telefoto lens before spring migration.......but man are those things expensive! I better start saving my pennies today!
jeanner.....your pics are an inspiration!
I have reading/comprehension problems, so it will be a challenge reading up on this new camera....but hopefully I can get it done. The other difficult thing will be fighting my 17 and 20 year old kids for the camera. But I tell them....it's MINE..........ALL MINE!! hahahaha
Hopefully before long, I'll have some pics to share with you!


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i had no idea that "our" golden eagle was so widespread!

jeanner, all the reason why i have become so attached to where i now live. i didn't grow up here. i have always had an attachment to bald eagles, thanks to my kindergarten teacher (i was trying to remember her name the other day!) this proves that teachers influence their students. i have to say i became a treehugger when i was 4/5 years old. i recall asking my mom for a quarter to save the eagles. my teacher or the school had the fund raising program for the bald eagle recovery. it is so wonderful to see the results during one's own lifetime!

catherine, i share the stress of figuring out a new camera, though happily! i truly think they make them more difficult than necessary. i have a new nikon coolpix L5. iam not sure i like the scene selections b/c you can't get out of them. but, i can slide the button over to point and shoot. hhmmm. maybe i just figured it out :) must do my affirmations, or what i call verbal thinking....i also have "macro"...yippee can't wait till bug season.


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LOL ftm......"Can't wait till bug season".....It's good to know there are others around who find bugs interesting too!
I'm afraid I'm going to get even less housework done now! Oh well.
I see you're in central Illinois. Is it getting overrun with development there like it is here in central Indiana?
I'm afraid I'm developing quite an irritation with this state. No one seems to have any appreciation for any other habitat than the human one. Its an excessively short-sighted view.

I was driving home from my son's drum lesson in Indianapolis one day about a year ago, and I looked over, and there was a bald eagle flying right over me!! It was soooo exciting! There is a huge park on the Northwest side of Indianapolis, and its a real birding paradise. I sure hope they keep it that way.
Have fun with your camera!


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Okay ladies, we'll be expecting to see some photos some time soon! Even if it's just a picture of a thumbnail, start practicing now so when bug/bird migration time is here you are ready to go!


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My bird photos stink! I need a new camera!

BTW - been having fun in the Name That Plant forum. Ladies - if you get a chance post some plant photos over there to see if you can stump them! I put a few up and they were guessed in nothing flat. I just posted a few more that might stump them like the Tillslandia. I know they will get the plant, but maybe not which ones. They are good at IDs! CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 5, 07 at 8:18

Belated happy birthday, Catherine! And congrats on your new camera, and yours, too, FTM. I can't wait to see your pics!!!

Love that forum, CT. I checked it out the other day, hoping to see something from my neck of the woods that no one would know. Ha! They're right on top of things over there. There was a velvety-leafed one with dark veins which looked so familiar, but...I'll have to see if they figured it out yet. :)

Brenda


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Thanks for the birthday wishes Brenda! :)
(Although at this age, I sort of want them to pass quietly. But as they say.....they are better than the alternative!!).
I didn't even know there was a "Name That Plant" forum!
I know there was a guy on one of the other forums (wildlife, maybe), who posted a couple close-ups of plants and we were guessing what they were. It was fun.......so I'll check out that other forum!
I'm not sure how close up I can get with the "regular" lens that came with this new camera........I might have to get a close-up lens (after the telephoto lens!).
My husband used to be into taking close-ups with his "old" 35 mm camera. I wish I had those pics on the computer. We have a pic hanging in our house that he took of a close-up of part of a hot air balloon, just as it was being inflated. You can't really tell what it is, but one of my friends always thought it was a pic of 3 ladies standing together with long skirts, with their backsides to the camera, and they were leaning over!! hahahaha So now that's what I see when I look at it!
These super-close shots of plants open up a whole new world to look at.


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hey cat, dh picks on me all the time b/c i am lookig and photographing bugs and little frogs :) my town is getting more sprawl. we recently had a super walmart added. the old walmart now stands empty. the old kmart is empty. two new shopping strip malls. that just drives me insane that is is cheaper to build new than refurbish and existing building on an existing lot. nope, less just pave another field. more housing development on my end of town. one thing i always found intersting about indianapolis...it is the capitol city, tall buildings, and corn fields so close surrounding it. i never have seen that in illinois.

hapy bday as well. i would also love those true macro lenses that really are near microscopic photos, imo. oh! i read someone actually using a camera and microscope for photos but i dont' remember how!

jeanner, i was about to add some pics but i hve to figure out my new photo program i just loaded up this morning! i could fly by the seat of my pants, but i am anal.


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Happy belated Cat - funny description of the hot air balloons! LOL

FTM - I am with ya on that. Sprawl really wastes the land instead of a policy of re-use of existing resources. They do have a land use management poliy where I live which is an area zoned for more concentrated development including using razing older buildings or remodeling them. The planning commision is pretty good about saying no to some builders unless they want to use existing locations and some say yes and others go away. Our county wants to preserve the rural nature and concentrate the development into the development districts. We also have laws that prevent development near the Chesapeake Bay and all the rivers on the bay.

I like taking macro photos (well, not true macro) but with my camera and a small tripod I can get some fairly decent close-ups of flowers. I don't know about insects as I've not tried to get that close and it takes me so long to get the right shot they would throw up there little legs in disgust and walk off!

Here are a few samples of about the best I can do to capture flowers (sorry no birds in the photos to keep on topic, but what the heck right - so we meander a bit). Maybe we should rename the post thread to birds, bugs, flowers, animals and camera sightings!

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Hey a bumblebee on this one! That has wings.

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Indulge me - two more!

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I think it would be neat to get an even closer photo of that last one and go all Georgia O'Keefe on you.


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Thanks for the birthday greetings ya'll!
Great pics Comet! I'll try to post a couple that I took with my Canon Powershot A80. I'm sure it had alot more potential......but since I never learned the ins and outs of it, I just always took it on "auto".
I would love to figure out why I can't read. I CAN read....but its painful. I think my eyes jump around too much. Can you believe that I've never read a novel in my life?? I have a couple of degrees.....but I sure have never read for pleasure. So instruction books are hard for me too.
I need to learn how to post a link, like some of you did above, so I don't take up so much of the space here.
Here's a couple pics for you (with my older camera). Sorry they aren't of birds!
The first one is one of my lotuses. The second one isn't for the coneflowers, since they are so ragged.....but see if you can find "waldo".
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


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Catherinet, actually you can get some pretty decent macro shots with the kit lens. I think a macro lens is on my list too but I was really pleased with the few macro shots that I did try last year.

Heres a shot of a robber fly that I took with the Rebel and the kit lens - at least I think it's a robber fly, maybe someone else can positively id it ....

Here is a link that might be useful: Robber fly????


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RE: What fun!

Comettose, I love that last one - is that a spider peaking out of the right side? I love when you take a picture and there are little surprises like that! And it looks like Catherinet got a little tree frog (and boy is that a little one) on her coneflowers. Great pictures!!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 6, 07 at 8:32

You ladies are killing me...with beauty. :D

CT, I want that first flower in my garden...tomorrow! LOL All of them are so beautiful, but that 1st one...wow!

Cat, I have lotus envy. And Waldo envy, too! He is so handsome!

Jean, other than the usual "Wows!" and "Ahhhs!", I'll let my DH's comment tell a story -

"Hey, check this out, Chris. Jean, took a pic of some sort of fly."

"Oh- hey- what IS that?? WHOA! It looks so dinosaurish! Amazing!" LOL My thoughts exactly.

MORE!!

Brenda


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Comet........I'm trying to guess your pics. Is the first one a perennial bachelor button? (don't know scientific name).
Is the second one from a fothergilla minor?
Is that a bumblebee on the coneflower? I don't know what the next 2 orange ones are....maybe something tropical?
And the last one is one of those hens-and-chicks type plants, right?
Are you getting unusually warm weather now? Maybe you'll have flowers growing much earlier than you thought!
I've heard that bulbs are peaking out in some areas, and I guess the cherry trees are starting to blossom in D.C. I've heard its because its an El Ninjo (sp?) year.
My garlic is growing right out the top of all the mulch I put on it! We're supposed to get cold and a little snowy next week. YAY! I need snow! I don't feel as ready to go in the spring, if it hasn't been a real winter!

jeanner......did you get to pick the lens you got with your "kit"? I told DH you must have the same lens as I do, and he said that some places let you pick what lens you get in your kit. Can you believe I haven't even played with it yet? I'm still recovering from the holidays!


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Jean - you know I think you are right and I never noticed it before but I think that is a tiny crab spider peeking out. It is the same color as the plant. At first I thought you were talking about the drop of water under one of the 'leaves' and then I saw it!

I should have named the plants when I posted but it looks like cat had some fun with our own little version of name the plant!

Here is what they are, except for the coneflower we all know that one.

#1 Centaurea montana (Mountain Bluet). Brenda - this plant self seeds and I can send you some seed heads next summer after they dry and you will have all you need. Zones 3-9.

#2 Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf hybrid 'Mt. Airy') Great fall colors and it is a native. It was developed at the Mt. Airy Arboretum in Maryland.

#4 Columnea arguta which is a tropical plant I grow indoors in all but summer. I put a great link to columnea below. I had mistakenly thought this plant was a hairy leaved Aeschynanthus but it was mislabeled.

#5 Aeschynanthus speciosa (unknown hybrid) aka RedLipstick Plant.

#6 Aeonium arboretum

Here is a photo of a cactus flower I posted in name that plant forum. It is an Echinopsis hybrid called 'Los Angeles'. Because I got two of these cactus over 20 years ago from my ex-husband's grandmother, when they were the size of a pea, I thought the cultivar must be old. susanc on on the other forum ID's it and said it was old and was one of the original Paramount series hybrids developed by Harry Johnson, who died in 1987. Harry was a pioneer hybridizer in the 1950's. I am delighted to know this information. It blooms at night and the flower closes in 24 hours. The scent is heavenly to attract night flying moths which I also have in my gardens here, some the size of large hummingbirds.

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CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Columnea


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Cat - beautiful lotus - I want one! I've been wanting a lotus for 3 years now and have not gotten one yet.

Jean - great fly photo. I simply must get 'real' telephoto and macro abilities. I can just see me now stalking around my flower gardens looking for tiny photographic subjects!

I think the insects make fantastic photographic subjects because unless you see them close one does not truly appreciate the magnificent detail of their structure. Tiny insects flit by so fast unless when one gets the opportunity too see one of the 'biggies' like a luna moth or a rhinoceros beetle. But even those with a macro would pull in the details and record them to share.

I am missing out on really seeing a huge part of the world that surrounds us all. Sure, we can go on websites and look at these things, but it better to be able to go outside your own front door and see who is living with you up close and personal.

CT


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Comet........just order a lotus! They are so easy. I've been growing them in big pots in a couple of 100 gallon stocktanks for several years. This year, I finally had DH and DS dig me a couple big holes and put in 2 300 gallon tanks.......one of which we filled back up with soil and it will be just one big (or rather less little) lotus pot.
I've seen them in small pots too. There's something mystical about them. The hardest part for me is lugging them in and out for spring and fall. (hahahaha.....I mean the hardest part is me watching DH do it!)
An email buddy of mine received a pic of bug that had been impaled on a barbed wire fence. We were trying to decide if it had unfortunately just run into the fence while flying, or if it had been put there by something like a Shrike?? Its sort of a creepy pic, but if you'd like to see it, I can post it. Shrikes do things like that...but I don't know if they do it to small beetles.
I got a pic (not so good pic) of a walking stick on the side of my house this fall! I hadn't seen one of those in a long time. I see lots of mantises, but not sticks.
Hahaha.....talk about a whole world out there that we can't see..........I think about microbes and go a little crazy!!
I used to date an electron microscopist.......talk about close-ups!!


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Hi Cat - I will have to get one but I don't want to have to dig anything else! I could put one in a pot and sink the pot. They are beautiful. My pond is already so crowded with plants I'm not sure I can fit one. Maybe I'll put a miniature one in my mini-pond that is out front and nothing else. It's about 2 x 3 and 24" deep with a filter and fountain.

Could I just plant the lotus on the perpetually damp side of the big pond (outside the pond in the soil) where I plant other plants that like wet soil, or does it have to be sunken in water? Over on that side (and across the back) I have various eupatorium, lobelia, LA iris, and a new hibiscus that has single red flowers (called Military or something like that). Also, some goldenrod and some type of clumping grass that came on it's own. I get many plants the birds bring in that are probably native to the area. I'd like a fairly big one if I plant outside the pond. I thought they also grew in damp ditches as long as it's warm.

I saw a photo of 13 lizards impaled on some type of thorny shrub that was done by a shrike. Now I can't remember where I saw that but it was a picture of the month. It was spooky looking to see the face of the closest lizard. Go ahead and post the pic of the bug on the barbed wire fence. I'd like to see it. I don't think anyone cares if this thread weaves around on subject. It has become the Brenda, Jean, CT and FTM zone anyway and I'm enjoying the thread.

I've seen a few walking sticks in my lifetime and because of that I thought they might not be common, but it may be we just don't notice them unless they are on a surface that is plain. I don't think we have a chance in hell noticing one in a twiggy tree. I had one on my windshield of my car once and I thought it was a twig and was getting ready to turn on my windshield wipers when it started walking. Good thing it moved! LOL

I have lots of mantis and once I stepped on one by accident and it bit between my toes and hung on. It was OK though - I didn't crush it and my toe was OK too. I was swimming once and a crab bit between my toe and it didn't come off so I swam to a shallower area and brought my foot up to see what the heck was going on, because usually they nip and run, but this one bit in pretty good and then dropped it's claw, so only the claw was biting me. The crab was long gone.

Oooh - an electron microscope - we get to see the critters that live on our eyelashes with those. I watched on TV one time where they showed the audience what lived on their eyelashes and the many people started wiping their eyes and lookng all itchy. Funny how people will do that when before, when they didn't know, they were just fine. I had a friend eating the crap out of some Swedish meatballs I brought to her party - raving how good they were and how did I make them. The minute I said they were venison she about puked. I felt kinda of bad for her for about 30 seconds. LOL I guess I should have posted a sign, this meat is not beef. I don't get that in people. If you like something how can you not like it two seconds later?
CT


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so the moral of the story? don't wear open toed shoes. hey! can you go barefoot in a diamond mine for me?


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 7, 07 at 11:18

Venison, not so bad. The innards of some hard-shelled beetle from Madagascar...THAT would do me in. LOL

CT, that would be wonderful to get some of those seeds from you! This is my first year trying to grow seeds, and it actually worked! I got the whole setup - fluorescent lights, heat pad, domed seed kit...seeds. Hollyhocks were my Guinea pigs (Summer Carnival mixed colors), and 99% of them have sprouted. Woohoo! They're still tiny, and I'm hoping I can keep them alive long enough to see them bloom! So, if there's anything on my plant list (on my page here) that you'd like in return, just let me know. I've only tried collecting seeds from some Salvias, my Gaillardia (might be dead now...), and my Aquilegia this last year, but my mom says that, so far, none of them have sprouted. I'll keep trying, though! :)

AHA! I found a mistake in my Sunset Western Garden Book. It shows your 'Mt. Airy' as being a cultivar of F. major. The fall color sounds like it would be gorgeous, though!

Cat, I remember when you first started growing lotus, and you've done so well with them! I've been wanting to try for about 3 years, as well, but I just haven't yet. Maybe this year....

Brenda


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CT......I'm waiting to hear from my friend if its okay to post that pic, since it isn't mine. (the bug on the barbed wire).
No, I don't think you should plant your lotus there. Lotus are extremely invasive, and I think it would take off and cause you lots of problems. I think lotus are best in a container......but you could plop a big container in the ground there, where you could keep your eye on it.
I have mine in an 18" diamter, 10" deep container that I keep submerged in a 100 gallon stocktank (on a milk crate)....and that thing, within 2 years put runners all through the stocktank.......so I think it could major problems in a small (or large) pond. I guess reproduction is always the name of the game!
My Rubbermaid stocktanks look like poop aesthetically.......but they do the job. I've learned to ignore the looks, and just appreciate what they bring to my yard.
Have you ever seen Joyce's lotus pond? Its gorgeous.....but I think sometime soon, she'll have heck to pay to thin it out. I've heard, though, that you just walk through it with hip boots on, pulling everything you can out. (But who wants to do that??).
I have no idea what to expect from my inground 300 gallon lotus bog. This spring, I will lay a tuber in there, and watch it explode!
Oh gee.....I can't imagine getting something stuck on my foot like that. I would really freak out! Was it hard getting just the claw off?

Brenda.......your memory is much better than mine! So often people remind me of things in my past that I can't even remember!
I think I started growing lotus about 4-5 years ago. Unfortunately, my lotus died in storage over that first winter. Now I "plant" them in the ground over winter, and cover them with leaves, and then bring them out in the spring. They've done well that way. Although if I lived alone, there would be no way on earth I could move those containers myself! Too bad things don't grow to the size we like, and then stop!
Even my water lilies have gone crazy. This spring will be my first time at trying to divide lilies and lotus. I hope I don't kill them!
By the way.....has anyone heard from Joyce recently? I sure hope her cancer treatment is going well.


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Cat - I think I will get a bowl lotus and keep in a container. That would satisfy my lotus envy as I certainly don't want a big lotus acting like bamboo! I'm sure that constantly wet clay soil would be a piece of cake for the tubers to spread like wildfire. But oh, wouldn't it be pretty!

Brenda - no need to start these seeds in pots. They grow quite easily from direct seeding in the garden. In fact, they can be transplanted but they don't like it (kind of like asclepsia tuberosa) easier from seed. The plant is somewhat course but it gets covered in the flowers and if you deadhead it will bloom again in fall. Be warned - they will self seed, often quite far from the original plant, but you will quickly identify them by seedling and can take them out if you want to.

I would be happy to share. Please email me at 123susan58@tqci.net and then I will respond to your email using my new email address which I don't share on any forums. But do it soon as that old email is going away soon.

I'll check your trades list, although my free garden space is almost nil without having to dig another bed and I don't have the inclination to do that. I seriously have solid clay here and a new bed of any size is a MAJOR undertaking to dig and amend. I can make some space in my butterfly beds by ripping out the last remaining mint. I do like your Salvia collection! he he

I have a good recipe for fried grasshoppers! LOL


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Okay........my friend gave me permission to post this pic. I hope it doesn't offend anyone, or make them think I'm into weird gruesome things. I guess a friend of her's sent her this pic, wondering what the heck happened? ......was it just incredibly bad luck on the beetles part......or a shrike saving a snack for later......or what? What do you think?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


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I doubt anyone would get offended by a beetle doing a nose dive into a fence. Hard to say how that happened. I would think a shrike would just eat it since it's small, but like a potato chip snack it might want to eat it later.

Odd photo all the same - not gruesome at all IMO. It's interesting.

Perhaps the beatle was depressed when he heard they were breaking up:-)

CT


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

"Perhaps the beatle was depressed when he heard they were breaking up"

Heyyyyy.... that was funny! LOL!

One thing is for certain... he did want to Twist & Shout.


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"AHA! I found a mistake in my Sunset Western Garden Book. It shows your 'Mt. Airy' as being a cultivar of F. major. The fall color sounds like it would be gorgeous, though!"

I've seen that error too, but this is a dwarf, or it had better be since I planted right near my front steps.

Thanks Semper - glad you liked it. Did it inspire you to start a caption contest? I have not thought of anything witty yet to say about the two campers but I'm working on it. LOL -S


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

regarding the beetle pic, i have days when i feel like that :)

isn't there another bird species that also does that? one to small to impale a mouse.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 8, 07 at 11:26

That pic is awesome, Catherine! I mean, if you're going to go, it might as well be a quick head shot. :)

You know what, Catherine? I might have gotten your lotus-starting thing confused. LOL I thought you first posted on GW about growing them, wanting help, etc., but...my memory ain't what it used to be. A mantra for all time. :D

CT, the main problem I think I have with starting seeds (or nourishing them enough to make reseeding possible) is that I haven't put actual cultivated, amended beds in my yard. When I put a plant in, I dig a hole and plop it in, usually adding some bagged stuff around and in the hole. Not sure if the seeds just don't care for the regular, fast-draing clay with scattered weeds and a general wildness to it. That's why, when folks say that a plant reseeds generously, I say, "I hope so!" So far, no reseeding has happened in my yard. I like keeping it "wild", though. :D

One wild and crazy area of my yard

Brenda


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Brenda - I can send you enough seeds to try it both ways, but you better email me so I can get your email address again. I am going to be shutting down my old email soon (the one you have). Thanks! CT

BTW - the wild part of your property looks GREAT! I love gardens like that.


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Brenda......I'm thinking you ARE right. I asked a ton of questions on the pond forum, when I first got started with my lotuses. And I love your wild part of your yard.
We have a geothermal loop in our backyard, so I have to be careful where I plant things.......unfortunately.

FTM "I have days when I feel like that".....hahahahahaha yup.....me too!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 9, 07 at 9:02

Thanks, ladies! I sometimes lose perspective after staring at it all year. The lawn thing doesn't work for me, and my yard is full of weeds (especially the dreaded dried foxtails in summer!), but I do pull them when they get in my way. :)

You should have email, CT!

Catherine, I have gophers, not a theothermal loop, so I have to be careful, too. LOL Looking over some old pics I have of my yard, I can't believe how many plants I've lost to the little bastiches over the years! :( I've been experimenting with pond baskets, though. I put the plants right into them (medium and smaller sizes, depending on the size of the root ball) in the ground when I plant. We'll see how that works out. :D

Brenda


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Brenda.......I think people who "let their yards go" are frowned upon by alot of people, but to me, those yards are habitat to soooooooo many things. Once we started letting more and more grow up around our house, the happier I felt the earth was. We could see the "cycle of life" going on all around.
We lucky in that we live so far off the road, no one can see our yard and complain about it. But I honestly feel that a yard like the one in your picture is an enlightened yard!
I've always had mice problems. I can't grow things like tulips. But I've heard that if you wrap the bulbs in 1" chicken wire, the mice leave them alone. Would the gophers chew through a plastic basket? I wonder if they make wire ones??
I finally got DS and DH to put up a fence around our big backyard. I was losing everything to deer and waskely wabbits. Its nice to be fairly sure now that when I go out back, everything will still be there! (except what our crazy dog Suzi digs up!).
Since its been sooooo warm this winter, our yard is mostly entirely made up of mole tunnels. And with all the rain, its like walking on quicksand out there.


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After being in bed for 4 days (sickie in the head), I come back and whammo! the forum has gone nuts. I'm not even going to try and catch up .... except to say, cool bug picture!


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Jean - hope you are feeling better now. I was wondering where you were and I thought we had better post a photo of a bird soon to keep you from going nuts. See what happens when we don't have someone to keep us on track! LOL

I'm still waiting for these lucky new camera owners to come forth with some new bird photos! I wish I could contribute, but not with my point and shoot!

Welcome back - I've been starving for some new bird photos! See, no rest for the weary (or sick)!

CT


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Sorry to hear you were sick jeanner! My DH and DS have had a chest cold that has lasted forever. I don't think its getting cold enough this winter to kill any germs off!
About my new camera........my children are mortified that I haven't even looked at it yet! I'm still recovering from the holidays! I'll get to it.
Hardly any birds to take pics of in the middle of winter, since I don't feed them anymore. I'm pretty sure I heard a towhee the other day......which is pretty strange at this time of year. It has that "sher-ee" call.
Lots of carolina wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals and bluejays.........and a partridge in a pear tree.
Hope you're on the mend, jeanner!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 10, 07 at 10:03

I hope you're feeling better, too, Jean! Lots of folks seem to be getting sick this year, with or without the 'flu shot. So far, so good, here! *fingers crossed*

Catherine, I tried using hardware cloth to "wrap" the plant roots, but it was SO hard to work with, I just gave up. I'm pretty sure the gophers could chew through the baskets eventually, but I hope they prefer the path of least resistance. This is my first year trying the baskets, so I'll know for sure by spring if they're worth a hoot or not.

Living in the arid (for the most part) west, it's always hard for me to see manicured, green lawns, rather than a yard full of less water tolerant plants. I see folks watering their lawns during the heat of the day (4-6pm!!!) spring-fall, and I just want to pound on their door and ask what they're thinking! LOL I do spend a good amount of time watering each individual plant by hand, but it's worth it to me. And the birds seem to love it, too. :)

Ok, so DH and I took a trip up to Indian Grinding Rock State Park (Miwok territory), one of our favorite places to visit when we need a little peace injected into our lives. :) Other than the usual bounty of birds (the naughty Stellar's jays being at the top of my list!), we saw a new one...new to us, anyway. I bought Sierra Birds, A Hiker's Guide, in the roundhouse museum, and there was our bird, the spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus). It wasn't in my Audubon book, though! Our not-so-clear image is linked below. :)

Spotted towhee

Brenda


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Hi Brenda,
I see your towhee has the black head and bibb like our Rufous-sided towhee. What call does it have? I hear "sher-ee" alot in the spring, and then it changes to "Drink Your 'Tea'dledledlededle"
I'm wondering if 1" chicken wire would be alot easier for you to work with, rather than the hardware cloth. The hardware cloth is really inflexible. I covered my entire chicken run with it, and I ended up with tons of scratches.


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I think the towhees are such handsome birds, but really tough to photograph, the eyes tend to turn black, but they are really red, which I think is one of their most striking features. I am right on the line where the towhees are year-round so most winters I don't see them in December or January but they return in February and will join the other ground feeders. During the summer and fall months they are less likely to come to the feeders but they are always around singing their little hearts out.

I got these pictures last March ...

Eastern Towhee 1

Eastern Towhee 2


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RE: Papa Smurf

CT, you were right about Papa Smurf! I emailed pictures of Papa to Cornell as they were requesting information about abnormal birds for their feederwatch program. Today I got response back (from a PhD no less!). This was his response...

"Your Blue Jay sure is an interesting bird! It is lacking pigment on the head and body, making it partially albinistic. That is not too unusual.
However, the "frilly" appearance truly is remarkable. It appears as though the feathers on the bird's head and breast lack barbules such that adjacent barbs lie free instead of being interconnected. This causes the feathers to act more like hairs rather than forming the expected feather shape. This is a recessive trait that has been selected for in certain breeds of domestic poultry and pigeons (called "silky" or "silkies"). I've never actually seen pictures of a wild bird that appears to be expressing this recessive trait."

He also requested permission to use the pictures in one of their education labs so Papa Smurf may become a celebrity!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 11, 07 at 10:00

I LOVE that 2nd pic, Jean! So handsome! This "guy" was silent, Catherine, so I'm not sure what he'd sound like. Now that you mention it, I would not be surprised if the Hiker's Guide (by John Muir Laws, btw) is totally wrong, and what we saw was indeed a rufous-sided. I think I trust Audubon a bit more. They're both described as having spots on their backs/wings, and Audubon says the rufous isn't as skittish as the others.

That is amazing about Papa Smurf, Jean!! How exciting! He's already a star in my book. :D

I would love to be able to use chicken wire against the gophers, but I think it's so thin, they'd nibble right through it. They're tough little suckers, and not having any distinct beds in my garden makes it harder to deter them.

I'm so excited!!! I saw a ruby-crowned kinglet out near the pond yesterday!!!!! <----(note excessive use of exclamation points) And his little red spot was glowing like crazy! That's the only reason I knew it was a ruby-crowned; otherwise, I would have quickly assessed him as a goldfinch. He was really flitting around, and I think I saw him chase another bird (not sure what kind). My book says they show the crown when they're "aroused". LOL Then, I saw him at the caged nut block thingie! Now, I just need a pic. :)

Oh, and the punk rockers (white-crowned sparrows) are back! Did I mentioned that I'm excited? LOL

Brenda


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Great photos Jean - one of most favorite, but rare visitors. Good to hear the Blue Jay will be discussed in such esteemed circles. Did you tell them his name was Papa Smurf? That name would be well liked with the students. When I was searching the topic I did run across those fowl he mentioned.

Hey Brenda - are you excited? LOL I love the name Punk Rockers! CT


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Hey Ladies - found this photographers site while searching native iris of Oregon. I like the photo of the artist on the About Me link. It's funny.

I wish he would add birds to his collection. Anway - just thought I'd share the link in case you wanted to look.

CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Ash Creek and Other Places


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Brenda I am so glad you got to see a kinglet!!!! Aren't they a riot to watch? And you saw the ruby crown, I've only seen that once. I can't believe you can get warblers and kinglets to come to your feeders, they absolutely ignore any of my offerings.

Any time I see a white-crowned sparrow I think of your "punk rocker" description, it's perfect. Unfortunately I only see them and tree sparrows when it snows, which has only been once this year and it was a mere inch that melted that afternoon. So this is the only picture of the punk rocker that I have gotten this year.


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does look a bit like billy idol.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 12, 07 at 10:29

LOL @ FTM! I LOVE the fluffed up crown look! And check out those little stick legs. That is one handsome devil. :D

I don't think my kinglet was happy about my offerings in the block feeder, though. I bet he would have preferred a homemade blend like you make, Jean. I just haven't had the time to get the ingredients together!

That's a great site, CT! And a funny personal pic, too. I love some of the perspectives and lighting of his images.

Brenda


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I was looking for some kitty pictures that I took last fall for the OCD contest and I found out that I had a new yard bird back in September and didn't realize it. That's the second time I have done this so now I think I need to go through all my pictures again, maybe I can hit that 100 mark yet!

Any one want to venture a guess what my new yard bird is?
Not the best pictures, probably why I didn't notice it before.


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allthose little greenish birds look alike to me! maybe b/c i haven't taken the time. help me, jean! all i can say is vireo persuasion at a guess.

you know what would be cool? some site that lets you enter identifying marks and it gives you a list of species based on those!

hmmmm tennessee warbler, basic/female/immature? http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i6470id.html


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Orange-crowned Warbler is my best guess.

Peterson: A dingy warbler without wing bars or distinctive marks, olive-green above, greenish yellow below. Note faint breast streaks, lack of wing bars, light eye line. "Orange" of crown seldom visible. Many birds in fall and winter are decidedly gray.

Cornell Photo in link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Orange-crowned Warbler


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Note Cornell said sometimes confused with a dull Tennessee Warbler if seen in more eastern locations. I don't consider Southwest Ohio eastern. If you saw this bird it was migrating through. Not common.

Or I completely blew it. LOL


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 14, 07 at 8:29

Hmmm, I'll have to agree with FTM & CT (either of those birds), since the closest thing in my book is a female common yellowthroat, and I'm sure that's not it. That faint eye line is the kicker.

On a sad note....I found my little yellow-rumped dead in the creek yesterday. :( I hadn't gone out there on Friday due to the freezing winds we were having, so I'm not sure how long he'd been there. It just bums me out, because he was such a joy to watch. The creek is very shallow, so I don't know what could have happened. I wouldn't be surprised if the unusual cold spell we're having had something to do with it.

The ruby-crowned was still around yesterday, though, trying to cheer me up. He wasn't aroused, though. :)

Brenda


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Aw, Brenda, that is sad. Maybe he died of old age after a happy life of freedom (and hopefully procreation).

Actually FTM is the closest. It is a philadephia vireo. I was wrong too, I thought it was a warbling vireo. But all the guesses were close as the female tennessee warbler, orange-crowned warbler, warbling vireo and philadelphia vireo are all very similar, especially in fall. I thought it was a bad picture but the guys over at the OOS website thought it was pretty representative of the bird. Their comments were ...

"Note the nice little blackish stripe through the eye - lores - that extends in front of theye, and the nice bright yellow throat. And the dark eye, of course. Orange-crowned Warbler is a good guess, as they are similar, but that genus of warbler, Vermivora, has among other differences tiny needle-like bills.

Warbling Vireo would be closest, and they can be somewhat colorful in fall, but this bird has those nice dark lores and a pretty bright yellow throat."


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i keep hearing something this month. at first i thought it was a robin but not. so, what could i mistake for a robin when it is obvious it isn't. strange question, i know. well, i know it isn't a rosebreasted grosbeak.

i may hvae just heard it on my cd. memory fails from half and hour ago but possibly a brown thrasher? hmmmm then again, it was probably a cardinal. i don't know! this always happens in winter, i forget what birds sound like.

so sorry brenda!


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Sorry to hear about your yellow rumpy Brenda:-(

So it is a Philly vireo. I had looked at those along with all the others mentioned above, but all the photos of the vireos had eye bars. I struggled with the beak and should have gone on that. Tough bird ID due to late season coloration. It looks immature to boot. Oh well - keep em coming - the challenges stimulate the mind!

I could add some for fun, but they would not be my photographs, if nobody minds.

FTM - go to the Cornell site and listen to the song for each bird you think it might be and see if you recognize one of them.

CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Robins and Other Songs


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Should have added - that link is for the Robin, but if you look at the other links there are other bird sounds and other resources. I'm going to buy the Stoke's CD set of bird sounds. The quality of the recordings is excellent.

Going to price check at Barnes & Noble and Borders first, intead of just the Amazon link. If I can save a few bucks that is more mula to buy seed! The current price at Amazon is just under the $25 bucks to get free shipping. Grrr, but probably worthwhile to get someting else as opposed to paying shipping.

It would be fun to play the songs outside to see what birds respond back, although it would be mean to play a hawk and watch your feeder birds freeze, but I bet they would.

Brenda - The Stoke's may or may not have a western version. I've not checked, but the one on the link is for mid to eastern parts of the US.

Does anyone already have this or maybe another that you recommend? Thanks.

CT


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thanks for the link, ct. i was just about to answer your question before i read it. that is b/c i am excited about the stokes field guide to bird songs (it was what i was listening to earlier). it has three cds with a booklet inside. very good recordings! as a matter of fact there are more sounds for each bird than i have ever heard anywhere else, except nature, of course. stokes is the only reason i figured out that screech i have heard at night for so many years is a great horned owl. they also have the rasps for owlings. :)

i saw another guide once but i can't remember where or the producer. it was a computer "program" cd b/c it would show a picture of a bird and play the sound at the same time.


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Taken from the Maryland DNR Wild Acres website. Link to the site is provided. They have a good newsletter called Habichat which features native plants, birds of the region, projects to enhance wildlife, etc.

I am going to make a hibernacula this summer. I already have amphipians but I want to add it anyway. Jean - in case you have not been in Discussion I've re-posted two photos of my Eastern Red-back Salamander at the end.

From the DNR Site:

"Build a Hibernacula for Amphibians

Anyone with a backyard pond knows that it does not take long for frogs and toads to find the oasis. Some of the amphibians that will visit a backyard pond include the Red-Spotted Newt, American Toad, Fowlers Toad, Green Frogs and Leopard Frogs. All pose no threat to pond fish. Predatory fish such as bluegills will eat amphibian larva. Most ponds only provide summer breeding habitat. Amphibians need places to hibernate as well, particularly in recently urbanized areas where natural habitats have been destroyed or severely degraded.

The English Nature-Scottish Natural Heritage and the Countryside Council for Wales have these plans on how to build amphibian hibernacula on well-drained sites, poorly- drained sites and incorporated in a garden pond rockery.

Instructions

Dig a hole 18" deep total area should be a minimum of two yards.

Fill with whole and half brick rubble so there are plenty of spaces among the rubble. Also mix leaf litter and bits of wood for humidity.

Place flagstone, concrete slabs or other flat heavy material covering the edge of the bricks. Make sure there are entry gaps leading under the flagstone.

Cover the entire area with soil making sure the entry gaps remain clear.

Top with straw. For the garden pond, the edge can be planted with rock garden plants, such as sedums, as long as entry gaps remain open. Trees and garden plantings near the pond provide important habitat for herps during the terrestrial part of their life cycle."

Red-Backed Salamander - photograph 05Jan2007 - Great Mills, MD

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Here is a link that might be useful: Building Wildlife Habitat


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 15, 07 at 10:46

Thanks for the condolences, ladies!

Since I don't have the Philly vireo in my book, I Googled pics. Amazing how it looks just like yours, Jean. LOL I never would have guessed that one. Very pretty little bird, too! Love that light yellow color.

FTM, does the bird sound like it's making the robin's "distress" call (or "fired up" call)? Or just the regular robin call? (I'm obviously not sure of the technical names..LOL) My ladder-backed woodpeckers have a "distress" call similar to the robin's, but maybe another woodpecker sounds like that, too. Or maybe I'm not even close. LOL

I'm definitely going to put that CD collection on my "gimme!" list. I'm curious as to the sounds on there of the common raven. When we were camping up at Indian Grinding Rock State Park a couple years ago, we would hear this sound like percolating coffee, albeit magnified big time, every morning. Then we saw this huge bird fly over and into an equally huge nest (made me think of prehistoric times!). The museum folks didn't have a clue, but a week or so ago, the same lady at the museum said it was probably one of the common ravens that hang around. The only sounds I've been able to find online are the usual raven sounds. I haven't heard the sound in over 2 years, but I'll never forget it. Haunting!

Brenda


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This weather is so strange. It's 70 degrees here today and it's been warm all winter. I think we traded winter with Cali. Took these two photos today. Buds on the ornamental grass and daffys in bloom! I keep thinking winter is going to strike but it doesn't. I actually went out and pulled some chickweed from the gardens. The ground is really wet. Frogs up, flying moths at night at the lights, fruit flies on some cantaloupe thrown on the compost pile, worms out. Next thing you know the birds might start building nests! I hope not if it does turn cold in February.

Photos 15Jan2007 in Zone 7b.

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Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com


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same thing i was fearing but we have snow today.

as far as that mystery bird, i cn't even remember what it sounded like. that is most of the problem. i have wanted some kind of mechanism that will pick up and record those distant sounds so i could compare them later.

that definitely describes a raven, brenda. nevermore! :)


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stokes cd

verifyied the raven brenda. yep, percolator. i wish had ravens!

i just have to say that i saw quite a reaction from two felines in response to the long eared owl catlike sounds. poor romeo has been staring in my direction for the last 10 minutes. yesterday while on my lap he started looking above my desk for birds (he never peers that way any other time).

so, there you have it. real recordings and can almost fool a cat. frost's ears are scanning all over the place right now and she has probably only heard five different birds in her lifetime.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 16, 07 at 9:32

LOL @ your kitties, FTM! I've done that from online bird sounds, freaking out my Pookie. And thanks so much for checking out that raven sound! I wish I could have recorded it, too!

Your descriptions and pics REEEALLLY make me miss spring, CT! This is day 4 of temps down to 23 & 24F for many hours overnight. Right now, it's 24F, so I'm thinking it'll drop lower the closer it gets to 7am and dawn. I hear that mid-western freeze is in the northeast now! Yikes!

Oh, I almost forgot! I think I saw a female northern "Bullock's" oriole out by the creek yesterday! The white splotch on the wing is the main reason I'm thinking that's what it was. I hope I can get a better look at her today. :)

Brenda


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After days of rain (road is flooded again) and now freezing temps, it is refreshing to see your bright daffodils in bloom! I am tired of cloudy dreary days, I would actually prefer some snow.

Interesting article on the Hibernacula. The first time I saw a five-lined skink was around my "bog", which isn't really a bog but a big hole in the ground where my french drains dump into. The sides are lined with scraps of liner and it is filled with rocks, dirt and peat moss and planted with some moisture loving plants with mulch on top. There is a small retaining wall along the back made with flat rocks. Heres a pic of my five-lined skink, rather tropical looking for Ohio :^)

Brenda, have you heard a male brown-headed cowbird? I think they have a "percolator" sound too. Much as I dread having them in the yard, I do get a kick out of hearing them.

FTM, does your new camera also have video with sound? My sister used her camera to record the bird songs so she could then compare it to song recordings. I thought that was pretty clever.


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The common Raven could be in our area but I've not seen one before (at least one I could identify anyway). They are more north in my Peterson's guide. We do get American and Fish crows.

I'll have to check out an on-line photo of the Bullock's Oriole as I've never seen one. We get mostly Baltimore (or Northern) orioles and on occasion the Orchard. Not real common, either one on my property.

I think that five-lined skink is a young one. I've seen the adults in books and they are bigger and brown. We get many young ones at work, and about 2 months ago I actually saw one scoot out from underneath a file shelf inside the building, and then scoot right back under again. I guess it finds spiders to eat, but they fumigate at least once per year. I have them at my house and never near my pond, but mostly on the concrete wall foundation of the house or sunning on the concrete driveway. I thought they liked heat, more like a lizard, than moisture like salamanders. Nice job of catching one in the photo. They are fast!

We have some cowbirds here in summer. I know I'm not supposed to, but if I see one of their eggs in the nest of some other bird nesting on my porch, I chuck it out. (ducking and weaving). They can do their parasite activity somewhere else. There is no shortage of them, that I want to watch their egg hatch first, only to push all the other rightful babies out of the nest to die.

Well, if it is any consolation, the weather is colder here today, about 25/30 degrees colder. I can't wait until the stomach flu goes around here in February. Every year since I've moved here (which will be 10 years in May) I get the flu in February, some years twice.

CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 17, 07 at 9:28

Beautiful skink, Jean! It looks tropical even for Cali. :D

I could see the silhouette of the possible "Bullock's" oriole, and that's another thing which made me wonder, "What the heck IS that?" Different from any of the usual visitors to my yard, but SOMEwhat like a jay. Didn't see it yesterday, but hopefully I can get a chance to pay more attention today. :)

I've never heard a cowbird, that I know of, anyway. They sound like very naughty characters! BUT the Eurasian collared dove (or ringed turtle dove, whatever they are!) paid a visit to the yard the other day! The poor things are so awkward in flight, as well as in perch. LOL One of the little birds (goldfinch or maybe the ruby-crowned) thought the dove was a threat, because he/she was chasing it like crazy every time it tried to land and eat in peace. :D

Sorry for the cold you're having! It's definitely warmer here today, 32F at 6:30am. We're making progress. :)

Brenda


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HA! 10 degrees! where is scott when you need him to irritate with his florida weather...still kicked off i suppose?

love the skink


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

FTM - I was wondering where he was. I missed many months of posts I think. I don't know what went on and don't want to know. It's best that way.

For no particular rhyme or reason I didn't feel like posting anywhere, about anything, with anyone, so I didn't. GW is the only place I post now and most of it is right here in this one thread. LOL

CT


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I want a skink.


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sorry i missed your question, jean. i do have recording on my camera-cool!- but i was unsure how well it would pick it up.

ct, it wasn't anything bad.
so do i sandy!


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amazing

i was just talking about this! all i had to do was read my online newsletter.

Here is a link that might be useful: online bird guide,


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

FTM - I've not tried it yet but that on-line bird guide looks like a lot of fun! I'm gonna quiz it first putting in a bird I know to see what pops up! I love things like that! Thanks.

Sandy - you want a skink you better put on your super, duper racing shoes!

CT


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Maybe the skink was attracted to the rocks around the bog? The picture was taken on the foundation, I've also seen them skooting around the pots on the deck.

FTM, her camera picked up the songs really well .... this is her recording of a screech owl (it's a .mov file and 804K) taken at night.

Here is a link that might be useful: Screech owl recording


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cool! and i just love a screech owl twitter. sounds like it was a summer night.


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 19, 07 at 8:25

I guess I don't have Quicktime on my comp! I'll have to download that thing, because I want to hear it, too! :)

I haven't used the audio recording on our camera since first trying it out when we bought it. We record videos with it a lot, though. I can't imagine not having that now.

Hey, I found out that what I thought was an oriole was actually a northern mockingbird! The white wing patches threw me off, since the pic in my Audubon's doesn't really show them. It visited the creek to drink at least 3 times yesterday. Now I want to HEAR it. :D

Brenda


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Brenda - The mockingbird is my absolute favorite. I have one that sings at midnight and I'll tell you it makes me laugh he mocks other birds sounds so well. He does crows, warblers, calm and alarmed robins, hawks, you name it. I don't know how many. There are birders in my group that don't like them because they think they have an uncommon or rare bird about to come into few only to have the Mockingbird mock them. LOL And I say, go baby - that's my bird:-) How can one not love a bird that does that!

Here is a link to many bird sounds which opens with Real Player. The Mockingbird recording is most likely just the 'real' mockingbird's song, not the mimics. I did hear one recording I found some time ago that had the mimics but I don't remember which group or link, I think Audubon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


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Brenda - I said Real Player - I meant Windows Media Player. You will just have to try and see if it works, but I have QuickTime too and it didn't need that. Hope it works! CT


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here is my red bellied woodpecker. not a good pic, but way better than my old camera would do.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

saw another bald eagle today while i was crossing the bridge. gorgeous! oh to have slowed down time. it was barely above the window level of my car. what a shot that would have been! saw one yesterday perched adn i wished i hd my camera. of course, i take my camera today on my way to school. was it there? ha! that's how it always goes.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 20, 07 at 9:36

Thanks for the link, CT, and yes, it worked! I have no problems with WMP files. I haven't heard that mockingbird sound around here, but what I've thought was something else was probably my darling mocker. :D Very handsome bird, even though it's coloring isn't dramatic.

I LOVE woodpeckers! We don't get the red-bellied here, though. Beautiful bird, FTM! And I've love to see a baldie! It's ok, you'll catch it on "film" eventually. Well, I hope you do, so we can see it, too! LOL

Brenda


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I love woodpeckers too! I would love to see a Red-headed woodpecker at the feeder. I don't think they like people much and stay in the deeper wooded areas. Jean - have you seen and/or photographed one yet? For me, the Red-headed is the holy grail of woodpeckers, not the Pileated.

My hawk was back yesterday sitting on the limb between two feeders! He reminded me of a parrot sitting on his perch. A new tactic - sit on the perch real still until the birds come back. LOL He was fairly close and I thought I would run for the camera, but he flew off the next second! I didn't see him fly in and just happened to glance out the window when passing and there he was!

Brenda - perhaps the mystery bird will make a closer appearance soon! The suspense is killing me!

CT


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Yeah FTM, definitely a red-bellied! They are so fun to watch, I love the way the wag their heads back and forth.

CT, I thought I had seen a red-headed woodpecker last spring but it did not return for me to get a closer view. They are much rarer here than the pileateds. Hopefully someday I can get a confirmed sighting.

I'm not sure why but I don't get mockingbirds very often. Had one this spring and a young one a few weeks ago. The mocker was number 90 on my yard list, I find that odd considering how common they are supposed to be.

The white-crowned sparrow was back today but very early in the morning so no pictures. I did get a little while this afternoon to take some pictures and I was fighting strong backlighting but a couple of them turned out.

Titmouse

Cardinal

White-throated Sparrow

Tomorrow we are finally getting some snow! Just a couple of inches but enough to bring the birds to the feeder. I hope the tree sparrows show up!


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before i forget everything i want to "say"... then i will look at the pics :)

dh and it took out the scope today, with window mount, and off the widewaters we go...saw all kinds of bald eagles. none close enough for pics, though. oh, to be in this one persons yard. an eagle was perched in a tree not far from a flag on its pole. that would have been an awesome pic. real cool if it was actually on the pole. that was waaaaaay across the river though and dh only saw it by accident. we also saw some common mergansers. others too, but we were too busy looking at the eagles. sounds like i am bragging. oh wait, i am :)

on the way home were two red tailed hawks having territorial disputes over a road killed deer. i told dh he should have turned around and waited for one to come back. we probably could have gotten a really cool pic. red tails do not seem to be too bothered by cars or are at least accustomed to them (except where i work, they will not let you get near them in a car). i will admit i thought they were geese at first because they were walking on the ground hunched over. it reminded me of how geese chase off with the neck all stretched down and forward. one stomped back to the deer (that i didn't see) all full of itself. only when the second flew off with the other one in pursuit did i realize what was going on.

red headed woodpeckers are my fave woody. i dont' see them often. i was so thrilled a couple of summers ago b/c we had one or two hanging around near the house and even excavating a tree barely across the fence from our backyard. they moved on though. possibly in response to flickers? are they more aggressive? they just seem like they would be. i love that prrrrp sound most woodpeckers make.


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The books say Mockingbirds are common and they used to be, but not anymore. I think they will move into the Brown Thrasher rating of 'less common' when more recent atlas work is calculated. It's strange but hardly any of the birds at my feeders dominate much over each other. The biggest numbers are house finch, junco, and this morning I had about a dozen mostly male red-winged blackbirds. Even the starlings are not plentiful (which is a good thing) with two regulars. Two is enough - they are so pushy. I'll tell ya, I don't want more RWBB either. When I lived in the country I'd get 1000's at a time and they would come down and wipe out all feeder food in a matter of minutes.

I've not seen them in more than onesie/twosies, except in the last few weeks so the pickings elsewhere must be dwindling. Or, it could be that the latest see mix I bought has cracked corn in it and that always draws birds I don't really want at the feeders too much (crows, bluejays, crackles, and RWBB). The store where I buy feed changed to all Kaytee mixes which have too much cracked corn in the mix. I might have to stop feeding for a day or two to discourage the BBs as I know my small bird regulars will still be around.

Red-headed woodpeckers are seen on most Audubon walks in the St. Mary's River State park. The edge of the park (and you can barely call it a park as it is almost all wild than a people oriented park) is about 1.5 miles as the crow flies, but they don't come into the neighborhoods. If I lived on the edge of the park, then maybe I would get lucky. A friend's house does back to the park but she is not a regular bird feeder. I I lived there I would try to attact the tanagers in summer as they are lots of them sighted there.

Thanks for the pics ladies. Jean - you seem to get mostly female cardnals. I don't beleive I've ever seen you post a male photograph. I have just the opposite, more males than females. They nest nearby so sometimes I'll see them bring the young to the feeders in spring and summer. Both are very pretty.

Hey, I noticed this morning the male goldfinches are turning yellow. It's a tad early but with this warm weather we've had all winter. The last few nights have been cold enough to cause a real thin skim of ice on my pond where the thalia sticks up in one corner. There are even berries and acorns around still, so nobody is going hungry this winter.

CT


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Brenda - almost forgot but I did not get an email so I emailed you at the optional email adress on your GW page a few days back. Not sure if you got it or not!

Not birds but two flowers: Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid) and Hippeastrum puniceum.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 21, 07 at 12:27

Jean, as always, I just love your photos! I really enjoy the ones with a bit of blurring in them (i.e., the white-throated image), because it makes it look like a painting. Gorgeous! I wish we got cardinals out here...and red-headed pecks!

We've heard mockingbirds around here before, as well as in the populated areas of town. In fact, when our grandson was born, there was a mockingbird singing it's heart out right outside his mom's hospital room. :) I hope mine sings for me soon!

Hawks are so awesome to watch! I've never seen them do that goose dance thing, FTM. I bet that was so amazing! There's a Swainson's hawk that we see whenever we drive into town. It's so pale underneath when it's gliding over the fields, looking for munchings and crunchings. We saw it dueling with another hawk (we THINK it was a red-tailed) for the first time yesterday. Such beauties!

We have tons of the red-wings in the area (lots of farm fields), hanging out in the cattails growing in the irrigation ditches, but they don't visit my yard much. I like their smooching sounds. Reminds me of summer. :)

The little ruby-crowned is still here! And I saw a couple yellow-rumps in town yesterday. Maybe I'll get another visit from one or 2 of the cuties. :)

Brenda


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i love orchids! i don't dare try one though, even the "easier" moth orchids. as it is, i have kept the room with my two plants open so the frogs can get more heat. thus, frost has been grazing...including the mini rose dh got me. just the tips but it must still hve some thorns. i can't believe she hasn't puked from irritation.

i love redwings, though i have read that in the major sunflower producing areas they can cause heavy crop loss. i never get to hear or see them in town. they can be quite defining in a fave location, but i love to listen to them anyway.

here is something i just read, from illinois audobon: "A light coating of Bon Ami can cut reflections on windows. "

Here is a link that might be useful: healthy feeding station tips


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I put a link to another link that was inside another link that I already posted. Did you get that? LOL

I am still not sure that bird was a Philly Vireo. It has no eye stripe! LOL

CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Good Bird List Site


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I would like to try orchids too but the only place I could grow them would be in the basement where I can keep them away from Smokey. Growing seeds in the winter is always a battle with her, first she wants to roll around in the flats of peat pots and then when the seedlings come up she wants to trim them for me. She's only allowed in the basement when she can be supervised. Gorgeous pixs BTW!

FTM, I am quite jealous of your baldies. The rare bird alert here had a posting that one had been sighted just 10 miles north of me. If they continue to report sightings, I will have to go.

Mockingbirds are still very common here as is the brown thrasher. I always have at least one pair of thrashers mating each summer, so maybe that is why I don't get mockers.

Brenda, I am so in warbler withdrawal. Even my yellow-rumps are hiding. There have been several reports of pine warblers at feeders in the area - but not at mine! I'm guessing they may also move on since winter arrived today.

CT, I didn't think that was a phili either, it had me really confused. I'm going by what the local experts are saying. I believe it is a young bird, and there is a faint hint of an eyestripe. It would help too if the picture was a little clearer and it had been a brighter day.

I do have alot of male cardinals but surprisingly not alot of pictures of them. Cardinals are actually hard to get, they twitch alot! I do have some pictures - I will post some tomorrow.

We got snow today (aobut 3 inches), the first real accumulation of the year. I was really hoping the tree sparrows would show up - they are usually absent until we have snow cover or really cold temps. But no, they didn't show up, but of course, the starlings did. I only get starlings when it snows and then just a few but boy can they go through the suet! I have to say I am fascinated with their winter coloring.

The white-crowned also came back so heres a new picture of the punker sparrow.

White-crowned sparrow


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 22, 07 at 8:53

CT, I totally missed your message when I posted yesterday! I didn't get an email, but that's not unusual, since I have some domains blocked when I get too much spam from them. No main ones are blocked, though, so I hope it comes through. My email is csgale at yahoo dot com. This will work eventually. :D

Gorgeous flowers! The uniqueness of orchids makes me wish I weren't scared to try them. :)

Brenda


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jean, do you have a major river near you? we have our main populations in the winter, but will still see one occassionally in the other seasons. also, plum island is a nesting reserve now...thanks to a lot of people and organizations hard work, and the eagles!

thanks to brenda's positive attitude, i got pics today! one was this am on my way to school. about 9:30. i got a few more on my way home this afternoon. if i were quicker and not driving i could have gotten two flying right over me. i stuck around long enough to watch 5 soaring in a group, but way too far away.

man its colder than a brass *** out there!

ok, sorry i am putting so many pics in a post. i dont know how to do it otherwise other than a subfolder in photobucket. but, i already put them in the main folder and it took them forever to resize/upload as it was.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

i drove to in front, sort of, of the tree. a lot closer and the eagle obliged me. this is a digital zoom
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
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even more of a digital zoom of above:

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my trip from school, when the eagles left me. i believe these are common mergansers. a bit harder without binoculars or a scope. i didnt even see the canadian in the second pic until i reviewed my post:
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digital zoomed version of above:
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this eagle is closer than the group of five. may nt be visible here:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

i was giving up, drove barely down the road and got this one:

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
digital zoom version again. i like this type of digital zoom. very different than the other camera.
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

these are at the widewaters area. i wish i knew how far across it is here. i don't, but it is far! the shipping channel is on the other side. the side i am shooting from is the "shallows." the shallows are a long way across, though i am unsure of how deep. usually this time of year it is frozen solid (except for the shipping channel) with some open areas. when that happens, the eagles are more concentrated, standing on the ice in front of the openings. the mergansers were so far out there i didnt' think they would even show up. that is partly why there is so much blur. also, the last eagle pic was out a ways. the "unseen" eagle with the shipyard/barge silos in the pic is pointed upriver.


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Fantastic!!!!! I am so excited you are posting bird pictures, and not JUST bird pictures but EAGLES!!!!! And in flight, no less! I like the uncropped pictures too, they show the birds environment. Thank you FTM.

We actually have 4 rivers here but none of them as big as yours. They eventually feed into the Ohio river south of us and that is where the eagles are nesting. They are also at several of the state parks around here but not on a regular basis. But the sightings are becoming more and more frequent so I can only hope.

Aw well, back to my little yard birds :^)


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 23, 07 at 9:44

AWESOME pics, FTM!! I'm glad that you're posting bird pics, too! I LOVE the ones of the eagle on the log and flying off. So amazing! It's almost like seeing a rock star in person, I bet. Surreal and screamlicious. :D

Brenda


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careful, jean. my head is going to inflate :)

you would be surprised. one year an eagle roosted in someones yard on my route to work. no water bodies and a good 2 miles (?) from the river. when it flew off in the morning, it didn't fly in the direction of the river. it flew off toward a large creek area. kankakee river is not as large, either, but some years ago the state park had a nesting pair (1980's). they are still increasing numbers so your time is coming!

i occassionally see them flying at work, when i work daylight hours. they either are flying b/t the nuclear plant cooling lake toward the river, or just soaring on the northern end of our area. which, with eagle eyes you can still see minnows from there. on that end we are probably a mile south of the river. one day i saw one perched on a fallen branch in the gravel pit but it flew off as soon as i drove around the corner. what a site though. i never take my sightings for granted and hope i never do.

and when it warms up i get to watch the turkey vultures!


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Great photos FTM - very exciting! I'm so glad to see you having such a blast! Good shots in flight and well all of them were enjoyable! Thanks. CT


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I had a late night visitor to my feeder tonight - a flying squirrel! I thought I had seen something on the feeder a couple of weeks ago but couldn't tell what it was. He seemed oblivious to me standing at the window with the camera although he did manage to stay on the opposite side most of the time. I wasn't even sure it was a flying squirrel until I saw it leap to the tree.

Not a great picture ....


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 25, 07 at 9:01

What an amazing sight, Jean! Are they nocturnal? I think I'd have a heart attack if saw one at my feeders. LOL

Brenda


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Cool Jean - it likes the peanuts! You will have to keep your eye out for a flight shot - all spread out like a sheet!

Geez - she says - CT, get a camera so YOU can lose some sleep watching for flying squirrels! LOL What, we can't expect you to stay up all night looking for a better shot (not that I think that is a bad shot at all!). Grin! I love that photograph - it is the only one I've seen up close. What a cute little guy or gal. CT


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oh i love it!

i have another eagle pic but no time! not even time to watch for them but i hope to tomorrow. i would have had one in flight right in front of me if i had better timing (Like not stopping to photo the two in the tree before i got to the lock and dam)

now for something VERY exciting to me! i "think" i saw a pileated woodpecker this am!!!! never seen one, ever, ever, ever, especially around here. i was driving hills and curves through the state park area en route to school. i couldn't stop, needless to say, and it disappeared into the trees. i initially, for a split second, dismissed it as a crow. the flight caught my attention- typical woodpecker flight pattern! otherwise, all i could see was a crow sized, black bird for about a three second time span. well, i am sticking to it. :)


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I don't think I will be getting any shots in flight - the camera had a hard time focusing so it was taking seconds before it would take the picture. But the flash didn't even faze him which surprised me.

FTM, sounds like a pileated to me, the crows around here fly above the trees not through them. So I think congrats are in order! I'm looking forward to more eagle shots!

As promised here are some pictures of the male cardinals, not nearly exciting as EAGLES and PILEATEDS but I can't imagine not having them around.

Cardinal
Cardinal - closeup
Cardinal in the snow

Here are some pictures of the starlings that came to my feeders last weekend. I know they are a nuisance bird but I only see them a few times a year and their winter plumage fascinates me.

Starling 1
Starling 2


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Way to go FTM! Next time that PWP will be there when your camera is ready!

Jean - lovely cardinal photos and like you I think the Starling has beautiful colors. I really like your first photo where the feathers look wet. What a rainbow of colors, similar to the sheen on crackles. My favorite photo out the cardinals is the last one in the snow. Speaking of cold and snow - we are getting our artic blast right now and we are supposed to get light snow, but it is not expected to amount to much. But, because of the extreme cold I stocked up all feeders to maximum and put out extra ground feeders and several seed bells, woodpecker bars and finch bars. Socks are filled up too, and one extra suet. My birds are not used to this artic blast so I wanted them to have lots of food in the morning!

CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 26, 07 at 9:45

FTM, that's great about the pileated!! I hope you get a pic of it eventually, but mostly, I hope you just get to see it again soon!

Cardinals are so intensely beautiful! I sure wish we had them here. And all "nuisance" birds are safe in this forum, Jean. :) I never realized how gorgeous the plumage is on starlings! I wish they would come closer and visit my feeders instead of staying in the old cottonwood tree behind our house.

I love looking at the "plain" ol' male house sparrows, so any color variation on plumage is exciting to me. :)

Brenda


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hey, jean. i don't care what the critics say. orange and red do not class. i just love those beaks. gorgeous pics as always!

i have mobs of starlings. the last time there were two grackles mixed in and some cowbirds.

i doubt getting a pic of the pileated, but look what i know! there is just no pulling over or stopping on this road. now, if it would just warm up i can park and walk. speaking of freeze...10 degrees again teh other day, 0 if you figure in wind chill. brrrrrrrrr. no wonder my hands were about to fall off when i was at the lock and dam. did they hurt! i was only out for 5 minutes.

praise my national geographic bird field guide! i saw a hawk on the way home from work this am. i knew it wasn't a redtail..though that is usually all i see at work. it was the underside wing pattern- too much dark. then the white patched on top..which i only saw b/c it was hovering. like the crow flying like a woodpecker, that caught my eye for something that big to hover (i normally only see kestrals doing that). so here i am, it looked like a dark morph broad wing hawk but no dorsal view for the wing. moving on...hmmm anoter dark morph with the same pattern for rough legged. hmmmm, white patches, hmmm same @ size as old red rump, ...in the reading, "often hovers while hunting". shazam! i will admit it may not have been the dark morph from my distance but highly likely. it was only another few seconds gander. wouldn't that be cool? the book says the dark morph is less common.

at work, i once saw an extremely light colored red tail. beautiful fawn color with and orangish "wash" at the tail feathers.


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i mean

orange and red do not clash.


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I was watching a kestrel one day as I was driving down the road that borders a county park and I got pulled over by a ranger for driving TOO slow - just a touch embarrassing. He suggested I go into the park to do my bird watching - what a spoil sport!

I'd love to see a broad-wing hawk, and maybe I have but didn't know it, but my id skills of hawks in flight are pretty bad. The red-tailed is easy!

FTM, have you tried those hand/feet warmers? I was using them last winter when I was under my deck (as a blind) and my feet would get so cold from squatting on the ground. They really helped to take off the chill.

Brenda, I didn't realize until a few months ago that cardinals weren't out west. I was really surprised! It's a bird we take for granted and we really shouldn't - they are such pretty birds and so well mannered.
CT, did the cold bring in any new feeder birds? I'm STILL waiting for my tree sparrows :^(


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 27, 07 at 8:54

I had to look up the broad-winged, because my book doesn't cover that. What an amazing experience seeing the dark morph, FTM!

Speaking of weird hawks...we've been seeing a white one between here and town. At least, we THINK it's a hawk, but DH says he got a good look at it yesterday, and none of the pics in my book seem to cover it. He said it was very pale (white?) all over, even the head, but that there was a very dark area (black?) around the eyes. Also, lines (bars) across the chest. And he said it's about crow size or even smaller. I thought maybe the gray hawk, but no dark eye area (and they're probably not in this area of CA, anyway). Then I thought maybe the northern goshawk...or Swainson's (I've always thought that)...or the northern harrier. Again, DH says wrong head color. And it likes to fly low over the fields; we hardly ever see it perching, which describes the harrier.

I really need to get a better look, because, as much as I love him, details aren't one of my DH's talents. :D

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

Not something I sighted myself, but two beautiful photos of a albino peacock someone sent to me. It looks like a snowflake or something from a fairy tale. CT

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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

hey! its brenda's mystery bird :) nice one.

oops! i meant to say my sighting matched the rough legged hawk! sorry about that. broad winged was the first entry i came to. you know, i do this when speaking also. my brain gets ahead of my speech.

i have hand and feet warmers, jean, but never tried them. i couldn't squat long enough without my feet going to sleep!

brenda, is it all white or just the underside? ferruginous hawk? too big though. oh,oh, check white tailed kite! no chest bars, though.


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 28, 07 at 12:25

Oh, I'd forgotten about the peacock, CT! So dreamy! I keep expecting to see a unicorn peek around that tree behind it. :)

Ooo, the rough-legged is beautiful, too, FTM. I love the shape of the head!

You know, just when I think we've found the mystery bird, something just doesn't match. I saw it at 5:45 this morning when driving DH to the airport. It was glowing in the headlights cast off the side of the road, flying along like it was high noon. To me, it looked bigger than a crow, though....I just have to pay more attention to the side of the road when I'm driving. I'm sure the oncoming traffic won't mind. LOL

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

OK, don't laugh but I tried to take some photos from my kitchen window. My darn camera is just no good for this, but you can at least tell what kind of birds they are. I just cannot get that mid-range focus with my point and shoot. I can capture up real close and this time I tried 2.5M and also distance, but as you can see the resolution is better BEHIND the feeders. They are in that elusive range of about 10 or 12 feet! I NEED a good camera - I have the subject matter popping in and out all day and with a prime lens or two and a SLR I know I could get great shots with some practice. Grrrrr.

I wish a hawk had come in, at least they are big and hold still for more than 3 seconds. Those chickadees and wrens are real flitters. I did get one photo of a Downy woodpecker but most of him was behind the suet. A red-bellied came in and had my camera not been so slow would have had a shot of him flying away from the feeder. And to think I had to climb up on the countertop and prop both my feet in the kitchen sink to put my crappy camera on a mini-tripod. Both my feet fell dead asleep - I had a hell of a time crawling out of the sink! LOL

Anyway - less than stellar (i.e. lame) photographs of today.

Carolina Chickadee on a seed bell (I use bungee cords to hang the bells or woodpecker blocks, etc.)

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Carolina Wren and Carolina Chickadee together.

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Carolina Wren at suet and if you look close a goldfinch on the feeder behind the suet. I had about 50 goldfinch today, lots of sparrows and house finches, about 6 cardinals, tons of juncos, Sapsucker, RBWP, Downy, Tufted titmouse, yellow-rump warblers and others.

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Cardinal and other birds. Please excuse the large skyhook in the photo (that has another feeder on it). Blurry goldfinch in flight about to land on the feeder with the cardinal, another goldfinch at the thistle sock, and if you look at the bottom, on the fence in the corner by the fence post there is a White-crowned sparrow with it's tail in the air, and head down. It is either immature or the brown stiped phase I get here.

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4 Male Goldfinch at thistle feeder.

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OK, no crop at all shot of one male goldfinch at the feeder. He is clearer now, but small.

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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

your holly makes a great backdrop! mostly, i want a pic ofyou in the sink :)

i had a bunch of almosts today. i almost got a kestrel in hover at work, but my camera kept saying out of focus. then, it dove and i lost him. it was also snowing so maybe it just thought it was out of focus.

those frustrating red tailed hawks at work!!!! can't get within a half mile of them in a truck, even further away on foot. not that i was on foot since wind chill brings the temps down to 0 and below.

chickadees kept flying away, juncos kept flying away. oh, and i only saw the juncos afer the sun finally came out at 2 pm. not much activity today.

my highlight: seeing two bald eagles on my way home from work, about a mile south of the river. it appears they were hunting the corn fields for something other than fish.


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 29, 07 at 8:43

Those are GREAT pics, CT! Chickadees are SO precious, I wish they'd visit me. :) Our goldfinches & houses (both) have been pigging out here, too, most especially since we've had such a COLD January. I love all of your feeders! I thought my paltry 3 were a lot of upkeep. :D The easiest one for me is the old fountain (girl w/umbrella poised above the water basin) I now use as a feeder. I had an old, plastic, green feeder, shaped kind of like yours where the cardinal is perched, and I decided to "upgrade" to a copper one. I waited 2 months before taking it down, since the birds wouldn't go near it! LOL

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, too, CT! I hope you get tons of bird sightings today. :)

Poor FTM! I've tried taking pics once while it was snowing, and the camera kept trying to focus on the flakes, too. So it's not your fault! LOL And the 2 baldies ended your day with a bang. :)

I was out doing some watering yesterday (not enough rain this year), and the darling little ruby-crowned kinglet came to visit me!! He was checking me out from about 3 feet away (such curious cuties!), then decided to splash around in the creek. That was a truly heart-warming encounter. *sigh*

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

Oh geez, did I miss another birthday? I am so sorry CT, hope it was great!

As for the pictures, I love seeing pictures of what other people get at their feeders. So what is the deciduous tree where the suet feeder is hanging? I love the "rows" of branches.

When I was using my point and shoot to take bird pictures I found it would sometimes be better to put it in macro mode. It seems to focus better on the closest subject rather than the background. I think my manual said it had to be at the shortest focal length to use macro but I found that if you aren't trying to focus up close, it would let me use macro at any focal length. Don't know if that makes sense of not.

I got home earlier today and the birds were still active. I had a golden-crowned kinglet in the cedar tree next to the deck. And a coopers hawk in the same tree just a few minutes before. I tried to get pictures but it was getting too dark, especially since the sun was behind the tree. But it was nice to see some birds in the middle of the week.

My husband and I watched the pileated this weekend working on a tree that is down in the ravine. Today I get home and he has created a few more holes, one is quite large. And around the base of the tree is a pile of chips! It's amazing to see them drill these holes, the muscles in their chest and neck must be quite impressive.


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

i still haven't posted my pics! oh well. i was going to go out again today, but with 10 degrees, add in wind chill, it was equal to 0 and below. and, it wasn't like the wind was calm and tolerable! i decided it wasn't that serious.

i did notice, the wide waters are starting to freeze. this means the eagles will concentrate to the open areas adn will be more attracted to the lock and dam. those would be great pics if i can get them swooping for fish there.

should we start a new thread?


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

Thank you ladies for the birthday wishes!

The tree is a Nyssa sylvatica (aka Black Gum, Sour Gum or Tupelo). I have 9 of them growing on my property that were here when I bought the land. Many smaller ones have popped up since. Only a few of the big ones bear fruit. They like wet or dry woodland soil, will create groves over time, and are native to E. North America. They get non-messy blue fruit in late summer/early fall, neon red or orange fall foilage that stops you in your tracks, need no pruning unless you want to, summer leaves are deep green and glossy, and they are pest free. Down side, you never see them for sale in garden centers, but I've seen them available on-line (mostly native sites) as seedlings. You can start them from seed. (OK, does anybody want seed - if I can get it before the birds do - or maybe a small seedling, as I find them?) They are bird magnets in fruit and bee/hummingbird/nectar insect magnets in bloom. They do not grow exceptionally fast, but the wildlife value is high as a food source, if they turn out to be female trees.

FTM - hope you get some great photo ops when the ice closes in - I'm excited for you (and us)!

Brenda - lucky you - getting regular visits from a friendly RCKinglet! They are so pretty and like many little birds have a personality, or so it seems.

Jean - those holes are huge. I've not seen them before - thanks for posting them. I wonder if any will become nest sites or are they drilling for insects and sap only? I have a pair of RBW that have drilled their nest site into the top of a broken off trunk, of what was once a double trunked oak. The big oak was hit by a small tornado or something that whipped through here a few years back and it wiped out one of the two trunks. A real big tree and so high up I can see their nest hole from afar.

P.S. FTM - Yes, I agree - next poster please start a Bird Sightings 3 so it will be easier for Brenda to open quicker until the broadband fairy visits her home! I wanted to put my reply post here, rather than have it look out of context as a first post on a new thread, since I added no new photos. CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Nyssa sylvatica


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 1, 07 at 9:55

CT, since I don't have any pics, either, I'll post here for now. :D Thanks for thinking of my slowness, too! It's always worth the wait, though.

I'm SO tempted to get some of those Nyssa seeds from you. Since we don't get much fall color here in this area (some sumacs, liquidambers, hey, my native grape!), that tree sounds like a winner. Not sure if I have room for it, but maybe I could talk my mom into growing one. :D

Those woodpecker holes are amazing, Jean! It's almost like someone took a sander to the edges, they're so smooth! My little ladder-backs don't have the pecking power of those big'uns. :)

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

They grow slow so by the time you might have to worry about it being too big it will be someone else's worry. Let me know - they are a challenge to propogage period so it may not be an issue either way:-) LOL

I'd also like to add talking about planting for birds in this thread if nobody has any objections. Just here and there. I'd like to know for instance what plants everyone has that are bird or other wildlife magnets, or good for shelter, ease of growth, etc.

No new pics for me either - so one she goes. CT


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

I think they are just drilling for bugs at this time of the year. As soon as the pileated left, the downies and red-bellies had to go investigate. I didn't notice any new holes today.

Here are some holes made by the yellow-bellied sapsucker. I tried to hide out in the brush and get a picture of him in the act but never did get to see him.

I think I've become a bit obsessive with my bird feeding ...
here is my "stash"

There are shelled peanuts, sunflower chips, and nyger in the big tubs. Walnuts and unshelled peanuts in the rectangular containers and the smallest container has peanut chips (mostly for the suet but I also add some into the sunflower chips) and a container of meal worms.

Here is the latest batch of suet which has raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, peanut chips, lard, peanut butter, corn meal, flour, and oatmeal.


Next time .... new thread!

And now I'm going to read about the Nyssa sylvatica - I might have to plant some of those!


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

Leave out the lard and that suet mix would make a healthy breakfast mix! Yes, you have a nice seed collection. I buy many different kinds but I mix them in one big trashcan, except for whole peanuts I just toss out straight from the bag. Do you ever get pantry moths? I made the mistake of forgetting about 1/2 a bag of unused sunflower seeds, in the hull, most of the summer. Ick - worms eating it and then a batch of pantry or meal moths. they are the devil to get rid of, seeing one here and there for months, inside my kitchen. The bag of them was in the garage.

The sapsucker always lines up the holes. That drives some homeowner's to madness to see their trees drilled up like that. Those are some pretty big holes from the sapsucker holes I've seen in Maryland, they must really work it over and over. The one's I've seen are more the size of a large BB - about like that hole in your photo - third row from the left - very top hole. A very round hole, not jagged and enlarged like the others. I wonder if other birds are coming along and enlarging them or that is just a really tasty, sappy tree.

CT


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RE: Bird Sightings Part 2

here's what i did once...blondes unite!

i could not figure out where, oh where, did all these tiny moths in the house come from. it was like snow! well, the cats had a blast for some time. finally, a few weeks later, i am cleaning out the kitchen. ew! caterpillar cocoons all in my paper towels, regular towels, crawling in the microwave AFTER it had just been running. they were everywhere! well, i started tossing. lo and behold, on the bottom of my microwave cart that sat right next to a rather large heat duct was my bag of cracked corn i forgot about. well, duh. forget about it maybe, but give it a heat source, too? :)

let's just say there was a lot of protein in that bag still. the corn appeared to be alive.


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