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Bird Sightings 3

Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 2, 07 at 10:47

Here we go! No pics, but I have new bird sighting reports (see below)!

Just to update, Jean has tree holes (and a great suet recipe which I've "clipped"!), and FTM & CT are familiar with "food that moves"...yikes! :D

Ok, yesterday, I saw THE fattest bird I've seen in my life! It reminded me so much of a robin (bouncing on the ground, standing stock still, bouncing again), so with that info, I'm thinking it's a Swainson's thrush...big eyes, black and white spotted chest, pretty much plain over the rest of it. Ok, maybe it could have been another thrush, after reading through the other descriptions. They're just not real stand-outs in the color dept. LOL But why so fat?? He could play Humpty Dumpty in a movie of that same title! :D

I also wondered why the yard was so quiet...should have known to look in the walnut tree! A hawk, not too graceful, looking inexperienced in his hunting skills. He was moving around the tree a lot, before thrashing around in the nearby oleander. What the....? I wonder if he has crazy chicken syndrome (different from mad cow disease)? Anyway, I'm thinking it was a Swainson's (he's popular out here!), but again, I'm not posi-track. I did notice his black-and-white banded tail, but....that could make him just about any of them! He looked right at me, too. I had to change my pants. LOL

(No pics, since Caribbean-hopping DH has the camera! I forgive him....)

Brenda


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bird Sightings 3

A Swainson's Thrush and a Swainson's Hawk? What - they can't think of any new names? I have to get myself the western species bird book. Swainson's Thrush is in my eastern book and like you said - fairly dull, but it lacks an eye ring of other thrushes and looks less warm brown on the back. Maybe it was just fluffed up because it was cold or sick - or maybe just making itself look bigger with that hawk hanging around.

FTM - yup - blondes unite. I dumped that bag of protein on the compost pile and I bet my resident wrens had a wormfest. I did not get the heavy infestation in my paper towels, etc. but I did see them, one or two, for a longest time. I did throw out all opened 'meal' type foods, four, cereal, breadcrumbs, etc.

You can can buy traps for them to set in the cabinets or so I found out after I did a mothball stunt. I stuck one mothball in the way back of my cabinets (inside a tiny tupperware container with holes punched in the lid) - and a friend thought for sure I was going to poison her when she opened a cabinet and smelled it. I don't think mothball smell can get into the food and kill you can it? I'm not dead from the experience, but it did stink sufficiently enough to take them out after a few weeks, but after that no more moths flying around either. I don't recommend doing that however, just the traps for that purpose. I don't keep any birdfood or any meal type foods for any length of time anymore, and thankfully no bags of corn slipping down behind a major applicance. LOL

Geez - seed comes with that stuff sometimes when you buy it. I bought a bag of sunflower chips and I was at the register I saw a small worm in the bag, but nothing else. I bought it anyway and it was fine, but stuck the whole bag, inside of another plastic bag, into my freezer. The seed was not rancid so that is why I bought it - despite the one small grub or worm I saw. As my Dad would often quip when someone found a bug on something, 'no extra charge for the protein". LOL

CT


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AAAAAAAAAAAH! this is not funny!
so i go brave the cold today. 3 degrees, radio said 14- with the wind chill. just when i have two in flight eagles right in front of me, my batteries die. this afternoon, same thing! same spot, same day, it's like they are showing me their primaries, flipping me the bird, even! and when i left, i had two more right above my car!

i may have gotten a wing. we will see this weekend. here is what bugs me about my camera. you don't have a peephole. when the sun is out, you can barely see the viewing screen. let alone how much that drains the batteries. then, operator issues: trying to find them on with the screen. i have to find them, then zoom. of course, they are gone by then. they don't just cruise. they cover a lot of air space in a few seconds :)

ooh, oooh! brenda reminded me that i need to inspect my guide for a sighting today. and, i saw a sharpie fly right across my path in town on my way home :)

well, i don't know. its hard, rubbernecking at 60 mph. it is either male harrier, broad winged, or rough legged. all i remember is black wing tips, but not whether they were on top or bottom. that would be cool for a harrier since numbers are dwindling in illinois.


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

I've not gotten any bugs from the seed - my seed doesn't last very long though. I'm up to six cups of the peanuts and walnuts every day and they are gone by mid-afternoon. I go through a couple blocks of suet every day and I give the ground birds 4 cups of sunflower seeds plus whats in two different feeders. Did I mention I spoil my birds???

It does sound like a swainsons thrush! Hooray, at least SOMEONE is getting new yard birds! I hope you get a positive id before the hawk gets it :^(

I'm STILL hoping for tree sparrows. On a good note, I saw both the yellow-rumped warbler and the golden-crowned kinglet last weekend. Missed getting pics on both of them though, well actually I did pics of the kinglet but they you would be hard pressed to tell with all the blur.

FTM, I can't imagine going out in those temps, you are a better bird photographer than me! Anything under 40 degrees and I am in the house, they can just come to me! Did you by any chance leave the camera in the car for awhile? Those batteries will drain really quickly in those kind of temps. Brrrrrrr. Unfortunately we are headed into single digit temps with wind chills below zero for the next three days.

Here is my new Screen saver (a whooping 2.3mb in bmp format), it's just a white-throated sparrow but I really like the tones in it. Heres a Smaller version (just 59k) of it.


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FTM - cold weather does wreak havoc on batteries. You can sometimes get a bit more out of them if you warm them under your armpit (don't laugh)! My camera fogs up in summertime going from the AC to the hot outside and I just have to sit and wait for it to clear. Don't worry - you will get those eagles yet.

No new birds today, but I picked up some real glasses for the first time in my life and I can see the birds better! I actually could see the field mark 'heart' on my song sparrows from a long distance. The glasses are driving me crazy though - progressive lens.

Great photo Jean - will that one be in Birder's also as wallpaper? What a super sharp image! I am going to try that macro advise you gave me. I should have tried it today with a real big RBW on the front of the suet for a change.

I saw a big bird on the side of the road driving today, but whizzed past it before I could get a really good look at it. It was not a vulture and for a moment I thought immature eagle as it had no white head, but darn it, some guy was tailgating me! It was slightly down a small hill and it was probably eating some road kill that I could not see, but I did get a 3/4 body view of it for about 1 second! Big like an eagle - multiple colors of browns in the feathers, no solid color. Really hooked solid yellow beak.

CT


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

oh, jeanner, i love how the background turned out! it is almost like a studio backdrop and the central light is right behind birdiekins.

yep, brought my camera out of the car each time, even into school. i didn't spend more than 10 minutes gazing, i think. i have a very warm coat. i have to get out in it anyway so don't think i am too diehard. it is nearly as bad walking from the parking lot to school.

ct, i realize that was a quick gander...did it look like some white was peering out from underneath those dark feathers? kinda like bleached hair when the roots grow only reverse the colors.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 3, 07 at 10:17

Yeah, William Swainson may have been from England, but we sure loved him out here. LOL I just hope I get to see the phat little thrush again.

BRRRR, FTM! You're much braver than I would probably be. But...if it was such an awesome bird, I might dig out my parka and have at it. :D

Jean, that little white-throated is adorable! I love the splash of yellow, and just check out that breast! Plump and delicious. I love fat, fluffy things. LOL

I love new glasses, CT! I'm always amazed of the things I'm able to see after. The comedian Brian Regan does an hilarious skit about glasses and focals.

From the color of the beak, I'd think it could only be an eagle, CT! Are there any other such large birds with all yellow beaks? Awesome, if it was one!

Brenda


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Well today was a great birding day and I didn't even plan on birding today either. I went to the store to buy more seed and suet and decided to take a spin around the base to see what I could see. I also bought another birdfeeder and suet holder so I can watch what comes up when I am on my computer.

I just went over the Harper's Creek bridge and sure enough the two resident breeding bald eagles were there. I stopped and got out and they flew off their usual dead tree perch and saw solid white heads and tails.

Next up saw a few sea ducks on the open Chesapeake flying low and fast along the waterline. Stopped at the back end of Harper's Creek and saw 21 Tundra swans and a seagull I can't indentify yet.

Further inland with mixed field,woods and hedgerows I saw tons of cardinals and white crowned sparrows. The sparrows had really long tails and they were eating worms. The sun was really shining on that part of the hedgerow so it was warmer than other places.

Went up a remote side road where the EMT test area is I spooked a big Red-Tailed hawk out of shrubby small tree in the field. I thought I would not be able to see what kind of hawk until it turned and the sun caught it's tail, widespread and red. Saw that guy 3 more times and I switched back, once right over my car after I stopped to watch about 30 cardinals flitting in and out of the hedgerows near the road.

Then on to the another backside drive on Harper's Creek (this drive is inside a wooded camping area with no people) and as I drove around almost right on the waterline I saw a pair of wood ducks about mid way out on the water, tons of ducks on the other side I was too far to see, and lo and behold right in front of my nose on the bank I was about 6 feet away (still in my car), from behind the tan grass that grows on the bank 13 Hooded Mergansers came swimming out. They were so pretty with the colors glinting from the sun. Photo op galore and me with no camera! I could see their eyes (yeah for the new glasses). I also saw a few Buffleheads. They are unmistakable in IDing.

Further on my drive saw 6 crows up real close. They are handsome when you get to see them close. 4 took to flight, sort of hovering/flying and fussing.

Around the next bend on the right there is a swampy pond that had a nice Great Blue Heron standing real close.

The next pond I passed I saw 17 resident Canada geese, one was on the bank until I pulled up my car, then it joined the others.

And on my drive out got one more view of an eagle (not the pair) flying over my car. Also, some black vultures.

The good thing about the base this time of year, and especially on the weekend, is the place is deserted mostly. If I had three cars pass me on the main loop that would be a big number. No cars on the network of tiny sideroads or campground mulched roads. It is full of varied habitats, from open shoreline on the bay, to protected salt water coves, brackish water coves, creeks and wet bottomlands, sandy beaches with sand dune grasses, mixed hardwood forest, pine forests, open fields and old meadows, hedgerows and crops, swamps, and 9 freshwater ponds, some are in the woods and some open or mixed.

If I had a spotting scope I know I would have seen many more ducks out in the bay and across the creeks. I didn't even have a pair of binocs. Next time I am taking my camera (which you have to watch what you photograph on the base) and my binocs. Jean - I would have killed for your camera and skills today!

I collected a branch from a shrubby, small tree that was covered with red berries and some milkweed pods that were growing alongside one of the ponds. I don't know what the berries are in case you can identify. The milkweed is probably common milkweed, it was about 4 feet tall. I'm still going to plant some near my thicket.

All and all a good day that started out without birding in mind. Total trip time was 1 hour. If you ladies ever get this way I'd love to take you on a quided tour of the base and other birding areas near by. CT

Red-berried branch and milkweed pods and seeds. I imagine if the winter had been colder those berries would be gone. The cardinals are just starting to eat my American Holly berries. Oh, almost forgot - I saw a Black and White Warbler this morning at the suet. Striking fellow.
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sounds heavenly, ct! and all those habitats in one place. i have my guesses on the branch, but i get things confused (such as chokeberry and chokecherry!)

whhooohhhooo, more eagles! i would love to see those sea ducks...and tundra swans. we also get winter visiting sea gull/tern types that we don't have any other part of the year. but, i don't even attempt to tell them apart. i do know they are much larger than our regulars. and i do love buffleheads- so comical looking.

i am glad to know others that can appreciate the crows' handsomeness. i don't get to see them close up anymore,but i love the subtle irridescent feathers.

i am NOT going out today. it is 7 degrees with wind chills 37 below, gusts to 40 mph. nope, not even in my warmest coat and long johns.


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typo

don't want to misrepresent! wind chills not -37. they are -20. i had brrrr on the brain :)


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CT - glad you had a good day of bird watching, sounds like a great place to go birding. I love the wood ducks and the mergansers and I agree, crows are very striking. There were 6 crows last week at the training center that came in very close, I considered taking my camera to class but I was worried it might get stolen.

I was hoping to get to the park today, a harrier has been reported there but we got the same arctic blast that FTM is getting so I stuck to the house and watched the poor birds huddle up in the cedar for protection from the wind. I am really worried about Papa Smurf, with his fluffy feathers, I'm guessing they don't hold in the heat as well. While all the other birds were puffed up, his feathers were blowing in the wind. Poor thing. It's supposed to be colder tomorrow and for the next 4 days, I hope he makes it. Picture from today ...


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 4, 07 at 8:06

Excellent bird watching day, CT! I agree that it sounds like you have some really great areas for viewing. I hope DH and I can get back up to the state park and see that probable (percolating) crow again. The size alone is enough to leave me in awe.

Ohhhh, my goodness, Jean! Poor Papa!! I wish I could snuggle him, and I sure hope he makes it, too. :(

Brenda


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Awwww. Poor Papa! :-( He does have troubles! Too bad he doesn't have long-johns.

Does he eat suet or those pellet snack thingies that are for Bluebirds? Our Blue Jay eats both but the Bluebird pellet thingies need to be soaked in hot water to soften.

C3D


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Papa will be fine IMO. He might even be warmer with more trapped air up close to his body because he has fur, not feathers in those areas, but he also has many normal feathers on a great part of his body. Is this the first winter?

What keeps the birds alive is lots of high energy, fat storing food available and dense evergreen shelter (and water of course). Jean - you provide all three and every bird that has the good fortune to know of your generous and consistent feeding stations benefits with a longer and healthier life.

I wonder if Papa Smurf is really a Mama Smurf? It would be exciting if you see a few Baby Smurfs this spring, which means they are passing the recessive gene onward because it works in the survival scheme of things. Have you passed on the new photo to the Cornell lab?

CT

P.S. Good luck on the Super Bowl pool ladies.


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that pic is just hilarious! oh the wonders of nature.


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photobucket is beyond slow today!

testing...this is from a couple weeks ago and quite far away.

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well that took forever

and tothink i was going to catch up today! some scenery photos of the lock and dam area are included. same day as above.

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i thought this was a heron nesting tree, but in fridays photos not yet posted, one eagle looks like it is standing in a nest, but it probably isnt'.
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can you spot the great blue heron? i cropped to make it easier.
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my frustrating day at work a week ago today:

old rumpus red:

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does that look like a blue colored bird is front and left from the hawk?

anther one in flight, all blurry
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can anyone see the little bird in front of the bushes and oak leaves (on the ground). they were in a small flock and i couldn't see what they were. they kept flying to cover. reminds me of house finches, but i don't think so. or, i see an oak bird :)

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another, different, red rumpus.
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i edited this one quite a bit so it could even be seen:
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wednesday last week, wide waters area where the freeze is taking hold:

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back home, i saw this red bellied woodpecker with all kinds of down sticking out. i used to think these were late season young birds, but after papa smurf and others...what do you think?

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back to the lock and dam area, my very frustrating day there.
friday morning. just some scenery and sea gulls. i think i was trying to catch an eagle but lost it. they would also fly right at the treeline's level- lose them completely b/c of the colors
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one flying above water level and almost into the tree color. i had to work this pic a bit. it was also a surprise, as is the next one. i didn't know they were there til i loaded them up.
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i had to do a lot of lightening on this one b/c of the tree background.
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partial image of an "immature" eagle
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here it is being a smart aleck :)
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same day , but in the afternoon. nto sure if anyone is in the tree

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i think there are three in here:
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and the one that "looks" like it is in a nest.
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it's a wonder these even turn out at the lock and dam. in the morning, the sun is shining right at me at my left shoulder. afternoon, it was even worse. more head on but slightly to my right shoulder. i wanted to go at noon but that is my classtime.


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FTM - are we going to have to schedule an intervention? LOL

Now seriously, I love the one with the eagle out in the middle of the frozen water. It is a peaceful photograph and you can see the eagle well.

I don't know what the fuzziness is on the woodpecker. I've not seen that before and it does not look like a baby or anything. Oh- the nest tree is wild. I've not see that before either but it should give you some great photos of chicks in the spring!

If I had my camera with me yesterday I would have taken a similar photo of my two eagles in their dead tree. You can really see their shape well that way.

CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 5, 07 at 8:52

Wow, FTM!! First of all, that tree is a trip! Do you know if there's a reason why they choose that tree specifically over neighboring ones? You have so many eagles there!

Yesterday, the most beautiful day we've had this year (63F!), when out gopher hunting (Pookie and I caught and dispatched 4 of those suckers in one day!!), I saw the hawk fly up on the neighbor's fence from their yard! I couldn't believe it was so close (maybe 20-30 yards), with me out in the yard, thrashing around with the water hose and thumping gophers. Then, it hopped over to the next neighbor's fence, and....it dove into this really thick shrub, moved around in there for a few seconds, then flew out across the street into a tree. I wonder if it was sparrow/finch hunting! Amazing sight, to be sure. I'm really missing my camera now!

I tossed the first gopher out to the end of our driveway, in case the hawk wanted a snack, but I think they prefer live prey. :D

Brenda


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Tie the gopher to a string - and when the hawk goes for it pull it away. (only kidding). So how were you dipatching gophers - by drowning them with a hose, letting the dog kill them, or shooting them? I cannot imagine you gopher hunting. Do tell. LOL


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ct, you are on a roll the last couple days. you're killing me :)

i saw a flock of robins when i went to school today. haven't they heard the weather forecast?! it was 2 below this morning. i don't even want to know what it was last night. i stayed in my work vehicle as much as possible.

this site gives a knickname for g.b heron as "big cranky." lmao! http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildwatch/heroncam/index.html

that site also lists a video "gbh standing guard as bald eagle attacks." no wonder the eagles liked that tree (as i am pretty sure those are all heron nests).

no eagles at the frozen widewaters today, though there were some open areas. that is my usual route to school. the lock and dam is on the other side of the river. i did start my morning out right, though. i am so blessed when driving to the north side of town (over the bridge) and i get to see an eagle without leaving home, practically. today was an immature eagle. i was on my way to aerobics and it turned into a pretty good day (subject to change when i get my quiz back!).

oh, about the woodpecker photo i posted: all i can say is through my binoculars, it looked like very long down feathers sticking out from under the regular feathers. i saw a grackle like that once in the winter. too bad the photo doesn't show it well.

i cannot figure out that little bird! it ground fed in a group like juncos and is shaped like a sparrow. it reminds me of pink sided junco (J.h. mearnsi), but they are supposed to be in the rockies. even male common chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, except i don't see a wing patch. that should also be another definite no. then again, my book is not accurate on american white pelicans. supposedly, they don't migrate east of the mississippi (pics should be coming soon- i usually start to see them in march)

Here is a link that might be useful: gbh nesting info


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Papa Smurf seems to have survived the worst of the cold. And I did google silkies and read that they are able to maintain body hear fairly well so I think CT is right about that.

C3D, my bluejays (all dozen of them!) all seem to prefer the peanuts and walnuts. I offer crumbled suet in a platform feeder but I've never seen any of them go for it. But I will have to try the bluebird pellets (seems approriate for a blue jay :^), I'm always looking for alternative foods for my birdies. The mealworms have been a hit this last few days, although I have to hide them from the starlings as they demolish them in seconds!

Wow, FTM you've got all kinds of goodies packed in there! I would venture to guess that the tree of nests is a heron rookery. I think Eagles nests are much larger, they add on to them every year and can get quite massive. But what do I know since I don't get to SEE ANY !!!

Interesting red-bellied, it looks like papa smurf with those fluffy feathers. Keep an eye out for that guy!

I think the lower bird is a junco, possibly a hyemalis cismontanus or shufeldti. It could be a pink-sided but from what I've read the head is very pale and obvious dark lores. All are rare but regular visitors to the east coast so not impossible for you either.

I have had this oregon junco for the last two years - fairly rare for Ohio (although this year there have been several verified sightings).

And I had (and unfortunately that is the key word) this second junco this year. Tragically the bird crashed into the window after the sharp-shinned attack.

According to an ornithologist who currently runs the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (long story about how he got involved), the first bird is an h. oreganus and the second bird is a h. montanus (also of the ooreganus group). I have no idea how I managed to get two in my yard, although one of the other sightings was made just a mile away, so possibly the same bird.

I have spent the last two years studying the different color patterns in my juncos and I am amazed at how different they can be. Here are a few of the different ones, I believe them all to part of the dark-eyed junco hyemalis group but could include some of the cassiar interbreeds.

An obvious male ...

Females ???

The next two are the same bird ...

Obvious immatures (due to the streaking)

This one may be the same as the previous two with more streaking

And this last one, much browner than the others

I'd love to see what other variations everyone else sees!



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Oops, sorry FTM, I missed your comment about the heron nests .... now I'll have to go check that link!


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Jean - I noticed some of them seem to have more underbelly coloration than others. The brown one is very different for your area. My juncos all look alike - very dark grey on top - typical light breast, and the classic flash of the white tail feathers. I lost a junco today to either the sharp-shinned or cooper's as I found it's plucked feathers drifting on top of my frozen pond, some in patches. They seem to get mostly juncos. They have become regulars at mid morning and late afternoon like clockwork. It's cold here now - 6 to 8 degrees at dawn.

FTM - we have many herons here and I've seen them roost (even regular roost spots known on some) but I've not yet found 'the tree'. I'd like to find one.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 6, 07 at 8:19

Great pics showing wonderful variation, Jean! I wish I was more familiar with them, but I've only had the one visit me this year. The "obvious immatures" have to be my favorites. Just look at those heads! LOL

"I cannot imagine you gopher hunting."

My mom was surprised at the violence hidden within me, too. LOL

Actually, I don't have a dog, CT, but the cat was a big help. :D This time around, I flushed them out of the holes, then thumped the heck outta them with the hose attachment. Very hands-on, but I'm sure I'll have nightmares for weeks, since it's pretty awful...let alone when they're trying to bite before I even get a chance to whack 'em. I've tried shooting them in the past, but it's hard to get a bead on the little bastiches. It helps if I scream something like, "Say hello to my leedle fren!" before pulling the trigger.

Last Feb., I got 6 of them, so I'm hoping I can get a couple more before too long.

Brenda


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HOLY CARP Brenda - I had to read that 3 times before I rolled my bottom lip off the floor. You beat them to death with a hose attachment? OMG!

You must have the deluxe water wand model with optional mace attachment. LOL

What's with Cali folks and gophers? I am presuming when you say gopher, they are similar to what we call ground hogs? Or are they some little things? If I tried to whack a ground hog with a hose nozzle he's probably run up and bite my nose off.

You might want to skip your Uzi "fren" and use a double barrel with OO buckshot since you are that close. NO need for bead. Relatively close will do just fine. LOL

CT

P.S. Note to Self - don't dig holes in Brenda's yard. LOL


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ct, better yet, those ground hogs would just grab the thing from you adn whack YOU with it :)
you'll find that tree yet!

love the junco pics. this one has me. if i had my binos i could have said whether they were all that color in my other post. i was aiming blindly with my camera. i can say that we commonly get the slate colored.


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LOL FTM - a link to the Ground Hog (pssst - I told him the story:-) CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Poor Little Ground Hogs:-)


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 7, 07 at 9:01

LOL @ deluxe water wand model! Well, it's sturdy, I can say that about it. *wince*

It appears that your groundhog (a.k.a. woodchuck?) is a lot bigger than our little pocket gophers, which get to be 8 inches maximum, with a 4 1/2 in. tail. These were not 8 inches, though. Much smaller.

Don't let their cuteness fool you - I can't even count how many plants I've lost to them, and they're prolific as all getout. My folks have moles up north, but they don't eat plant material, just earthworms (which can't be good sometimes) and other critters, so they're left alone. I only wish I had moles!

It's not the digging of holes that angers me; it's the plant damage...and they've been digging around the creek area, too, so not sure how long that will be safe. The pond is double-whammied - hard preform covered with liner - so that's fine. I'm trying out pond baskets for terrestrial planting this year (figuring that once the roots grow out of the basket, the plant will be too big for a gopher to kill), but...a lady on the CA forum just reported that a gopher took out her BIG Agave. :(

Brenda

Here is a link that might be useful: pocket gopher pics


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We have totally different critters here. Our ground hogs are also called Woodchucks and they are also vegetarians.

I've only seen them in the wild but I suppose some folks get problems with them at the homestead as they can be found on Pest Removal sites.

They can run 4 to 14 pounds. We have some 'biggins' in my county. My son and I used to have a contest to see who could spot the most 'fatty pants' as we drove along country roads looking for wildlife. I think they look like small beavers without the flat tails, when one doesn't look too close. We have beavers here too (and otters).

Yep, we have moles and shrews, the moles make tunnels but you can just step on the tunnels to flatten them if you want.

I have not had any problems with any of them on my property thankfully, so I don't have to make that decision as to what to do about them.

CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Ground Hog or Woodchucks


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lol at fatty pants! not much gets them excited either, as long as you don't mess with em.

"The sylvan folk seem to know when you are on a peaceful mission, and are less afraid than usual. Did not that marmot to-day guess that my errand did not concern him as he saw me approach from his cover in the bushes? But when he saw me pause and deliberately seat myself on the stone wall immediately over his hole, his confidence was much shaken. He apparently deliberated for awhile, for I heard the leaves rustle as if he were making up his mind, when he suddenly broke cover and came for his hole full tilt. Any other animal would have taken to his heels and fled; but a woodchuck's heels do not amount to much for speed, and he feels his only safety is in his hole. On he came in the most obstinate and determined manner, and I dare to say if I had sat down in his hole, would have attacked me unhesitatingly. This I did not give him a chance to do; but, not to be entirely outdone, attempted to set my feet on him in no very gentle manner; but he whipped into his den beneath me with a defiant snort."

Vol.4, Locusts and Wild Honey, "Birds' - Nesting" (1872), p.195.

from http://www.johnburroughs.org/food/woodchucks/wc_general.htm

other great quotes on there! i am still reading :)

my grandmother lost a good sized dog to a ground hog.


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FTM - Oh my that is funny! LMAO with a defiant snort! I'll have to check out the site. What kind of dog did your Grandmother lose?

Took my son around the same trip I took on the base a few days back and most of the water was frozen. We did see a few cardinals, the tundra swans out deeper, and the same Red-Tailed Hawk in the same place I first saw him. Grabbed another branch of those red berries. I saw a squirrel eat one this morning from the first branch I stuck out on the suet cage. He only ate one. I tasted one to see if it was a choke cherry, expecting it to taste horribly astringent, and it tasted like nothing, so it cannot be choke cherry. I'm going to put the photo on Name That Plant.

I saw a Catbird eating barberry berries this morning in the front garden. I know I'm not supposed to have barberry as the birds spread the seeds, but I have not dug them out. For some reason I don't get many catbirds, yet they are supposed to be common. I'm hoping when my thicket takes off to get more.

Many years ago I was looking for one of my cats that escaped through the dryer vent all of things and I kept hearing this mewling sound in the bushes.

I'm calling, here kitty, here kitty kitty, thinking she might be hurt, only to find a catbird making the noise. And no matter how many times I heard that bird I just had to check again to be sure it wasn't really the cat this time! It drove me crazy!

The cat came back on her own one week later and pregnant. I already had her scheduled to be spayed, so I just moved the appointment up. It was her first heat (and her last).

CT


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ct, i may be wrong but i think her dog was a coonhound. i do know she said hounddog and led me to believe it was larger than a beagle. i can hear her words today, "they get down in a hole and pull the dog down."(not their burrow, but it seems it was a shallow hole such as a chuck hole in the road. maybe that is where the term originated?)

that was one ornery, defiant hog.

that line is what made me pick that quote! love it :)
lol on the catbird!


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FTM......is that lock and dam and big rock in north central illinois?? I didn't know that that's the kind of land you have there!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 8, 07 at 9:07

LOL @ fatty pants, too! That's cute.

Fourteen lbs.!! No wonder your grandma lost her poor puppy, FTM! That is terrifying....I wonder why they haven't made a horror movie about mutant ground hogs? :D What makes it even scarier is that they're so cute!

Love that quote, and the others, too! Do they really snort? I'm going to have nightmares...

What would be even weirder than the catbird, would be if the cat started making bird calls....LOL

"I tasted one to see if it was a choke cherry..."

My dad would have a heart attack over this one. He spent years pounding it into our heads that eating unknown stuff from the wild is SO not good for your health. LOL Glad you're still with us, CT! CT? Hello?....:D

Brenda


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Much to the disappointment of some I'm still kicking. LOL Thank you for thinking of me with the warning.

It was only a smidgen of a little taste - I didn't pop a whole berry. I was seeing if it was astringent, which doesn't take much, and then you spit it out. It was not like it was a bulging can of botulism!

I AM cautious with outdoor fodder and I also have studied up on my own, including a few formal college classes regarding wild plants and their uses, and dangers.

I stand clear of all unknown mushrooms, all aconitum, and tons of other herbs that have historical significance but are too dangerous to use.

Actually - The branch has been ID'ed. It not even a berry. The size of the fruit is what threw me off. It is a Malus, perhaps the hybrid 'Sugar Tyme' or maybe 'Red Jewel' or 'Donald Wyman', all of which are crabapple trees that have tiny, persistent fruits throughout winter. Imagine making a pie from them:-) First ingredient: 2,000 crabapples, .....

I am going to propagate from that exact tree and plant on the outside fringes of my thicket. The squirrels like them - they have been plucking them off the branch I stuck out on the suet cage.

CT


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WOW, I leave for a few days and Brenda's on a mission with a lethal hose and CT is taste-testing the flora and FTM is chasing down woodchuck quotes.

I love the catbirds, besides their cat sounds they have a beautiful song. I enticed them to the feeder with walnuts, once I had them hooked, they even ate the sunflower seeds.

I spent a snow day at home with the birdies, it was a fun day. The towhee was back but refused to have his picture taken. I also had a pair of cowbirds (very early for those pesky birds) And a new yardbird, a rusty blackbird! A strange looking fella with his white eyes ...

A few other pictures ....

Another pic of the white crowned sparrow

A nuthatch just hanging around

A titmouse on the run

A carolina wren keeping an eye out on his stash of mealworms

A red-bellied up close and personal

Still, no tree sparrows :^(


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brenda, they make all kinds of grunts and snorting sounds! once i was picking blackberries at a church camp. there were little cabins behind us. well, the ground hogs loved those structures, having tunneled all under them nearly excavating that area entirely. i never saw so many hogs in one place. my back was to them and they kept running around chasing each other like we wern't even there. quite hilarious to watch and hear.

cat, yes we do but it is an odd thing really. go a few miles east and you would never know. as a matter of fact, i had no idea until i moved here 8 years ago. there are also some "dells" like formations along the fox and vermillion rivers. the area in the photo is actually starved rock state park (other side of the river). the flag is in place of an old fort location, if i remember correctly. or that might even be eagle cliff. i can't keep them all straight. many names i learned from don. i dont think you can even get to devil's nose anymore- fenced off for safety and erosion prevention. someone usually falls off the cliffs every year. then, there is starved rock with the starved rock legend, lover's leap..i just love how they are named.

there are beautiful canyons throughout the park. also with great names! not on the scale as the grand canyon, though!

"First ingredient: 2,000 crabapples, ..... " lol, ct!

jeanner, that bird isnt' rusty. it's gilded! love it. now i need to peak at the other pics.


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Jean - lovely birds. The Rusty is not common and it sure is pretty. I love your captions on the photos! As usual I am saving them ALL! I have quite a collection of bird photographs thanks to you - I wish I could say I took them! You have a fan club here in Maryland as I share some of your photos with a few friends that clamor for more! Glad to hear you had a lovely snowed in day. We are supposed to get whammied next Thursday! I hope so! I'll have to get stocked up on plenty of bird food!

Those nuthatches are funny the way they walk up and down a tree appearing to defy gravity. I only get the white-breasted at my feeders but we have both kinds. I have some kind of warbler or vireo coming to my suet but I can't get a good photograph to show anyone and I don't know what it is. Small, greenish body and breast - no wing bars, sort of yellow at the rump, yellowish legs, pointy beak.

Another junco killed and that hawk keeps pulling the feathers so they land in my pond. The pond looks like it has snow on it, but it is all plucked feathers and they are stuck in the ice mostly! I wish he would fly somewhere else with his booty! All these feathers are going to be nasty when they sink to the bottom.

Saw a young squirrel drinking from the pond. He could not reach from the sides like the big squirrels so he just leaped out onto the clear (and thin) ice. What a dare devil - I'm glad he didn't break through or I would have had to jump outside in my nightgown with a crab net to save him. Do squirrels swim?

FTM - great story on the hog heaven day. We have tons of those guys but never have seen them in big groups like that. I never see them in people's yards but always in remote farm places near hedgerows by open fields, and even one that has bay front property about 25 feet from the Chesapeake (the base worker filled in his hole with concrete as it was near some underground pipes) - ha, ha -he just exited through his multiple escape tunnel openings.

I like the names of the places, although the name Starved Rock hit me kinda weird at first - how does a rock starve when it doesn't eat?

CT


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You know it just caught my eye. I don't know why I didn't notice before, but that third picture of the Rusty Blackbird is funny as hell, and yes Jean, you go away for a few days and we are off on tangents like looney birds! LOL


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 10, 07 at 7:43

GREAT pics, Jean! That rusty is gorgeous, and I agree about that last pic being hilarious. :D

FTM, I would have loved to see all of those hogs running around, grunting! That would be cute, a "herd" of hogs. LOL

CT, I'm glad you didn't have to save Mr. Squirrel...while wearing your nightgown! LOL

This is day 4 of rain, and the birds are getting tired of waiting for me to drain out the fountain feeder each day. Tapping their feet, "Ahem! Hello, we're ready for our feedings now!" :D Haven't been able to do much bird watching lately, but this rain is wonderful for flora and fauna alike.

Brenda


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Rusty Blackbird: "Cocaine problem? I don't have no stinkin cocaine problem."


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LOL at the cocaine caption - I didn't even think to use that picture in the caption thread.

I haven't seen Mr. Rusty again. After doing some reading I found out that occassionally they will eat small birds and I did notice the other birds would scatter when he flew down from his roost. How do they know that??????

I have critter tracks all over my pond, including dear tracks that are dangerously close to the edge. I really don't want to fish any dead critters out of the pond in the spring.

No bird watching today - we have to dig the snow blower out of the back of the garage and take Mom to the grocery before the next winter storm hits (possible 8" of snow with several inches of sleet and freezing rain....yuck)


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We had a flock of 32 Robins this morning! All on the front porch. They had cleaned out the holly bushes last week of all the berries and they waited.

I put out a smorgasbord of food ... chopped up apples, chopped grapes, a mix of warm Nutri-Start baby bird food + equal parts of ZuPreem Fruit pellets for Finches and Canaries + jarred Gerber baby food (chicken), Purina Puppy Chow softened with water, Krazy Korn ~ Rainforest Rice Pudding~ a cooked mix of veggies and fruits for parrots and others, a can of Pedigree Dog food. LOL! I also put out some fruit cocktail with the syrup drained. (No artificial sweeteners.)

The Robins came before I left and cleaned out the chopped grapes then started to work on the chopped apples and then the Krazy Korn and Pedigree canned food.

The Dark- eyed Juncos came and cleaned out the Nutri-Start baby bird cereal mix with the Carolina Wrens! They also were eating some of the canned and moistened dry dog food.

The Blue-Jays and Cardinals came and tried to finished off the Krazy Korn and the canned dog food.

The Starling *~*Finally*~* had a chance to come in and they are feasting on the moistened Pedigree dry food and the Krazy Korn.

The Robins and Cardinals finished off the fruit cocktail!

There was a lot more activity at the front of the house with all these foods rather than the backyard with the seed and nut mixes and alllllllll that suet.

The Red-bellied WPs, the Downy WPs, the Brown Creepers, Nuthatch and Chickadee(dee-dee) stayed on the backyard and were enjoying their usual breakfast of suet and the nut mixes.

By grinding / smearing the bark of several trees with the various suet we found a lot more birds are able to feed at the same time rather than having to wait their turn to peck at some suet that is hanging here and there.

C3D


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Mmmmm - Brunch and Mimosas at C3Ds house! I find Robins like cherries, raisins, grapes and sliced peaches quite a bit. I have put out dog food before but it attracted the meany birds (starlings). I do that too C3D - spreading peanut butter into the rough bark of trees. I'll have to try the suet, which after they find it, woodpeckers, nuthatches and wrens will go for it. The birds seem to gobble up overripe bananas tossed out onto the compost pile (over the fence and out of reach of my dog). Some grapes I slice in half or quarters and others I hang on a branch just the way I find them in the store. They will be pecked at for some time that way (and my dog won't eat them). He is a real scrounge for anything 'delectable' on the ground. EAT FRESH! (Jon Lovitz for Subway)

Sorry to hear ice is coming your way Jean - snow I like, but ice is the pits. I've not put much bird food out on the ground because we might get snow Tuesday. It just gets covered too much if we get a doozy. They can't decide yet, if southern MD will get an inch or a foot. I'm hoping for a foot! We've had one measley little dusting this winter! I like dry snow - sweep it with a broom as it falls, and when it is done snowing the walks and driveway are clear and the snow still looks white and beautiful. My neighbor that had a snow blower moved away - he always came over and did my walks and driveway if we got a real dumping and I would send steaks his way. It worked out real good. Nothing is worse when you just finish breaking your back to clear everything and the damn plow comes through and makes a 4 foot ice wall at the end of your driveway!! You feel like chasing them down the street with a pitchfork and a torch!

CT


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I had tried offering fruit before and no one ever ate it but today (after reading C3D's amazing menu) I chopped up apples and put them in the platform feeder and when I checked a few hours later, they were gone! I have no idea who ate them. I'll have to try some of the other suggestions next time.

I also rub suet into the bark of the trees, when I can get to them without sliding down the ravine!

I had three towhees this morning - 2 males and a female. Such striking birds. I tried getting pictures but haven't had time to go through them yet. They are such fun to watch, they are never still either they are hopping around or scratching around in the snow.

We have the driveway from he!!, long, steep, with a curve and a steep dropoff on both sides. We can deal with snow but ice is a real problem. One broken hip is enough to teach you respect!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 12, 07 at 9:45

Oh, Jean, I'm sorry about the bad weather there! Your driveway sounds so spooky! When did you break your hip? I can't even imagine, since I'm already so klutzy. *shudder*

Wow, Chicka! I definitely need to try some fruit the next time I go shopping! I thought I was finally getting with it when I got some grape jelly. It took me long enough. LOL And the kinglet is still choosing the hummer feeder over it. Ah, well. :)

My finches are just now realizing that the (expensive) safflower seeds are scrumptious. I tried to tell them that before, but NO! :D

I've been mixing my nuts & berries blend with Adam's 100% Natural peanut butter, and smearing it into the tree. The ruby-crowned kinglet and the female ladder-backed woody have been pigging out on it! One of the few scrub jays discovered it, as well, and he's very pleased. :)

Brenda


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It was my husband that broke his hip and had two surgeries to fix it. We now have cleats on our boots and are VERY careful. We are seriously considering a heated driveway, but I'm having a hard time finding any local contractors. But we both want to stay here and I guess it's the price you pay for being King of the Hill!!

Here are a couple of the towhee pictures, one of the males is quite a porker!

And here's the female ...


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 13, 07 at 11:23

They're beautiful, Jean! I love the chunkiness and "big hair" of the last 2 male pics! And the female looks like she's wearing fur on her head and chest. I love your pics!

That's awful about your husband! I've never heard of having a heated driveway! That's a great idea, though, especially under your circumstances. There's no way I could navigate that terrain without seriously damaging some body parts.

Oh, I almost forgot! DH and I went to the river for a little fishing yesterday, and we saw 2 golden eagles while they were hunting!! They were SO beautiful! Too far away for my camera, but we watched them for a long time with the binocs. Never did see where they're nesting, but I can't wait to see them again!

Brenda


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Geez, so now I'm the only one who hasn't see an eagle!! Not fair, I'm going sit here and pout!

It was a miserable day, it sleeted all day and was really windy. The poor birds even looked miserable. Usually I hide some mealworms for the carolina wrens but our secret spot was covered in snow and ice. After seeing them picking out dead bugs from the siding under the eaves, I put some mealworms out on the windowsill. It was so fun watching them come up, bobbing up and down in the window to see if I was watching and then steal off with one. It really brightened my day :^)

Heres one of the little guys ...


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That little wren is darling, so happy to have a fresh worm! Glad you were perked up! I'd like to see a Winter or House Wren, but have not seen them in St. Mary's.

I'd trade an Eagle (or any number of Ospreys) any day for some of the woodland birds you get!! Great photos of the Towhee BTW - you caught the red eyes. I've never seen any females but I imagine we have them or I wouldn't have the males. Maybe I'm not looking close enough.

We had some ice last night and the trees were beautiful with a back light on them, but overnight the temps went above freezing (only in my county) and it all melted. My son was mad this morning because we are the only county with the schools open.

Good deal on the Golden Brenda - we don't have those - more a Western bird and highly scattered in the East.

Happy Valentines Day ladies! I hope you and your special person have a great day!

CT


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One of my SMAS members sent this link which is a photo story of the life of two Cockatoos (and more) living in Australia. It's a Love Story, perfect for Valentines Day!

Enjoy!

CT

Here is a link that might be useful: A Birdy Love Story


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 14, 07 at 10:13

Awesome site, CT!! I'm only on page 2, but it's wonderful so far...and very touching.

LOL @ Jean pouting. Hey, I agree with CT in that I'd trade the golden eagle sighting to have HALF the birds you see in your yard! That wren is so plump and cute!

I remember snow days here in Cali, CT, so I feel your son's pain about having to go to school. LOL The ice sounds like it was really beautiful!

Brenda


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The eagle has landed!!! Just 20 minutes from me, I really want to go and find it this weekend!

Wanted to remind you ladies (and any lurking gents) that the Great backyard Bird Count is this weekend - any excuse to sit and watch the birds!

Here is a link that might be useful: Backyard Bird Count


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 16, 07 at 9:38

Cripes, I always seem to miss the BBC! I think I was out of town last year, too. :( It's funny, on that link, how all the red dots are back east so far today...since it's still dark here on the west coast. LOL

I hope you find the eagle(s), Jean! I can't wait to see any pics you might get, too.

I don't know if you all recall my Oregon junco sighting from a while back. I thought he'd come and gone, but NO! That little darling has been hanging out down near my gate and a brush pile I have there. It's a difficult place to see from the front window, but this is the 2nd time I've seen him down there. He must be sneaking in and cleaning up some critters for me! I'll be vigilant today, and try to get a pic. He is so handsome!

Brenda


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good luck, jean!


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Hi all,
We had about 16" of snow recently. I usually don't feed the birds anymore, for various reasons, but I felt so bad for them with all this snow, I'm feeding them again for awhile. I bought several of these suet balls at the grocery store. The wood peckers and titmice seem to like them. Here's a pic of a red-bellied.
Its not too bad a pic for using my smaller digital, plus shooting through a really dirty kitchen window! haha
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


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ooooooooooo, good one!


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Nice photo Cat - glad to see you back! I'd like some snow please! All we ever get lately is freaking, frigid wind! It's harder on the plants than a nice blanket of snow.

CT


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Backyard List (morning)

2 bluejay
1 crackle
2 white-breasted nuthatch
4 tufted-titmouse
2 carolina wrens
46 slate colored junco
37 American goldfinch
2 yellow-bellied sapsuckers
3 red-bellied woodpeckers
2 downy woodpecker
1 hairy woodpecker
11 white crowned sparrow
3 song sparrow
1 American robin
1 catbird (heard it)
14 house finch
2 some kind of warblers I can't tell what they are!
1 cooper's hawk - distance
2 starlings
6 mourning dove
3 crows
11 red-winged blackbirds
4 cardinals
3 carolina chickadees


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What an accidental twitch this morning on the way to work. In fact, I almost swerved off the road as I watched a Snowy Owl take off from a guard rail and make his way toward the woods near the highway. What a beautiful bird as he glided away from me.

The sighting was less than a minute because I was driving on the road and he was going in the other direction but there was no mistaking his identity!

As usual I did not have my camera but I doubt it would have made a difference. Had I been able to stop and focus a camera I am sure he would already have been gone.

I *do* hope he stays around or have come with friends! The next time I am in the area, rest assured I will be ready with camera in hand. Being on time for work is very much over rated, dontchaknow?!?!?

C3D WoooooooooHooooooooooo! :-)


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Great picture of the red-bellied! It's hard to resist feeding those beautiful birds. Doesn't sound like it took long for him to find it.

Oh, C3D, you gotta get pictures! I would love to see one (since I will probably never see one in person).

I had an amazing day today. The 10" of snow already on the ground, a week of single-digit temps and 2 more inches of snow today really brought in the birds. The feeder out front was low so they all came to the back and I have never seen so many cardinals in my life - I counted 33 (and recounted several times)! It was beautiful (and a little overwhelming). Both feeders in the back are now empty. I had a new yard bird today, two red-winged blackbirds. They are all over the place out hear but I think they like more open fields than what I have so this is the first time I've seen them in the yard. The cowbirds are back (unfortunately) but this is the earliest that I have seen them. I didn't get to count the pileateds or the rusty blackbird - both were no shows. And I haven't seen the yellow-rumped and sapsuckers in awhile. But it was fun!

Here are my totals ....
Mourning Dove - 32
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 4
Downy Woodpecker - 5
Hairy Woodpecker - 2
Northern Flicker - 1
Blue Jay - 11
American Crow - 3
Carolina Chickadee - 14
Tufted Titmouse - 5
White-breasted Nuthatch - 3
Brown Creeper - 1
Carolina Wren - 3
American Robin - 1
European Starling - 26
Eastern Towhee - 5
Fox Sparrow - 5
Song Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 28
White-crowned Sparrow - 2
Dark-eyed Junco - 24
Northern Cardinal - 33
Red-winged Blackbird - 2
Brown-headed Cowbird - 2
House Finch - 5
American Goldfinch - 14
House Sparrow - 2


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You did have a great day Jean. You have lots of Cardinals. I wish my Brown Creeper would come back. I have not seen one in a year with all the building going on in this county. My list is my regulars. I only watched for one hour from about 1/2 hour after sunrise.

C3D - the Snowy Owl is so rare - glad you were able to see one!


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Additional sighting today at noon:

6 Bluebirds (4 male - 2 female) at suet, below suet on ground, and at the birdbaths. VERY blue and looking good. I have these 3 pesky starlings that are hogging the main suet feeder - everyone has to be careful trying to squeeze in a turn. The bluebirds and woodpeckers are being cautious. I wish those 3 starlings would get eaten by the hawk! I am going to put up an additional free-hanging suet basket. The starlings like the one that sits flat against a tree trunk with nearby branches. The WP's can use the hanger type better. Not sure if the bluebirds will go to it. Wrens, and nuthatches will.


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Ahh ... I want BLUEBIRDS!!! CT, do you know how much open space they need? They are all over the place around the farm fields and the park meadow but I only get glimpses of them here. I have about 1 1/2 acres of mowed grass, do you think thats enough? The rest of the surrounding area is dense woods. I tried a blue-bird box last year but I think I had it too high and got it out too late so I am going to put it back up this spring.

My starlings have NO problem with the hanging suet feeders, they just camp out on top and peck away. I finally bought a starling-proof suet feeder and it has helped although a few of them still manage to get to it but they don't camp out on it like they used to. I felt so sorry for my hairies, they are too shy to fight them off. I have also been putting out chopped apples, bananas and cat food (thanks C3D!)in three large pot saucers. The starlings seem to prefer that to the suet and it keeps them away for a little while at least. The bluejays also like it.

It was much quieter here today, I think the regulars appreciated it. And the sharp-shinned made two attempts this morning so that spooked alot of them. I only spent a few hours today, I had to catch up on what I didn't get done yesterday!

Here are some pcitures from this weekend .....

White-crowned sparrow
Bluejay
Cardinal
Nuthatch
Towhee
Red-winged blackbird
Fox sparrow
Carolina Chickadee
Titmouse


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

Hi Jean.

Stunning pictures as always!

We put the dog food in an area away from the more civilized birds so all can eat in peace. The Starlings, Blue Jays, Robins and Gulls all enjoy the moistened dry dog food. The canned dog food ... the Robins, Jays and Carolina Wrens seem to like that more than the Starlings.

The Robins *LOVE* all the fruits that are put out.

Our birds are scarce for the last few days as a Cooper's Hawk has found a nice place to dine on pudgy Robins and Mourning Doves.

Mike, the children and I went back with camera in hand to try to see our owl today. *SIGH* we did not see him but did talk to five other people who had the same idea. We did succeed in freezing though!

Tomorrow is another day.....

C3D ... but no Owl picture yet


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Beautiful photographs Jean! That nuthatch has big feet! You know I never noticed female RWB because all the birds I get are all black with either a strip of red or yellow when the wings are closed, and of course the bright red epaulettes when they fly in. They do a spiral or circle landing pattern when honing in on a feeder.

We have lots of bluebirds in my county because there are many large rural field areas and an active bluebird trail group, but their numbers are less each year where I live as they continue to build new communities. I have a few large fields nearby. You land is certainly big enough so it is a matter of they are probably just not in your area. My yard is only 1/3 acre and half wooded.

When I first moved here, before all the building in general in my county, I put a nest box out on a pine tree on the edge of my small wooded area, facing due north, with only my lawn in front. I am 5' 6" and I put it where I could reach without a ladder. I swear it was not but a few hours and a pair moved in, but that was in 1997 when I first moved here in May. I would see lots of bluebirds every day - I was delighted there were so many and common. In other counties in Maryland I never saw them. Over the years however, they are not as common and a month or more will go by and none. They just show up out of nowhere in small groups. Like today, it was 12 noon and I peeked out my upstairs bedroom window and saw them. 10 minutes later they were all gone. They ate some suet and got a drink. They really are quite pretty - the blue color on the males and the pinkish breast really stands out. After a few years my neighbors cats harrassed the nest box area and the parents must have abandoned the nest. I found all dead young (almost fledged) still in the box. I cleaned the box out but they did not come back. Then, over time something chewed the hole open so I took it down. I've not had one up since. I might get another and try again, but I still have the neighbor with 20 or so cats, with at least 6 of them that are indoor/outdoor, despite my requests she keep them all indoors. I have a wren house I am going to put up this spring. I'm hoping to attrach a house wren, as opposed to the Carolina, but whoever moves in will be nice. Funny, in the past (in previous homes) I would not notice any wrens, and the minute I put a wren house up, they show up.

I had a big purple martin house - one of those triple apartment types with the railings. It had a telescoping pole, but I found out we don't get martins, so I sold it new in the box at a yard sale for $50. That person got a good deal that day. I wish I had kept it then I could give it to you or Brenda! Do you get purple martins?

Well, I just had the most hellish car drive tonight. We went to Annapolis, MD to eat out and see a movie and it started to snow (not mentioned on the weather report) and apparently it all melted and refroze. I just drove 25 miles on black ice. I was going 50mph when I first hit it and just took my foot off the gas until I was going 10mph. I passed a few SUVs and big pickups that had spun off the road. When I got to my county, nothing, completely dry road. Our weather is so different than the rest of MD. We are much warmer, but this time I was so glad to see a dry road! The whole distance is 65 miles each way and 25 of it was scary as hell, in the dark. I can drive in snow if not too deep, but ice - I had no clue that was going to happen!

CT


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

C3D - you get gulls??? I had no idea they would come to feeders. I do hope you get to see the snowy again - we have rare sightings here and everyone flocks to see it. Maybe if I would get out of my hermit-ness I would get out and see some of these rarities.

CT - Ice is the pits, sounds like you needed to come home and do some bird watching! We have freezing rain forecasted for tomorrow night. And why do people who drive SUV's think they are better off on ice?

I get barn and tree swallows every night in the summer, soaring over the front yard. My husband flies his R/C plane out front and they follow around behind it as he flies over the grass disturbing the bugs. They don't seem to mind sharing air space at all! I had a small flock of martins last fall - they flew within just feet of the house but not a one of them landed! I thought about a martin house but got stuck on how to mount it on a pole.

Heres an aerial image of where I live, as you can see there are lots of farmfields around and I see the bluebirds in the area behind me.

I think I am going to try to put up the bluebird box again. I had it on a pole with a baffle to keep the snakes and raccoons out. I do want bluebirds, I do, I do, I do!!


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

Hi Jean.

No, the gulls didn't come to the bird feeders. They flocked around the bowls I had placed on the ground filled with the softened dry dog food. They also scarfed up the grapes! LOL!

I e mailed someone at another bird forum who lives near Cleveland and let him know about the Snowy. He contacted someone else who had seen the bird too! I keep a look out for him and have my camera and binoculars....

C3D


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 20, 07 at 15:39

I'm still catching up! Amazing how much I can miss in just a couple days. :)

GREAT red-bellied pic, Catherine!

Awesome Snowy Owl sighting, Chicka! Can't wait to see pics.

Excellent bird sighting lists, Jean & CT! The starlings only visit my yard to splash around in, and drink from, the creek. Would LOVE to see a bluebird in person!

Awesome pics, as always, Jean! I finally saw one of my punk rockers (white-crowned) on the fountain feeder the other day. They usually stick to the ground, but it was neat seeing one up there. :) LOVE that nuthatch pose!

CT, according to my bird book, we could very well get purple martins here, but they're becoming very scarce ("probably due to competition with Starlings for nest sites."). They also say, "Unlike martins in the East, it tends to not occupy martin houses places in gardens, preferring the open countryside or downtown areas." The former definitely describes our area. That sure was thoughtful of you to think of me, though! :) I'd LOVE to see one, too! Sorry about that awful trip you had the other night!! Cripes, that would have scared me like crazy!

Brenda


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C3D:

I work in downtown Cleveland. There is a pair of snowy owls that nest on one of the runways of Burke Lakefront Airport every winter. I have walked down to the airport on my lunch hour many times to try to see them. They must camouflage very easily because I can never see them. Of couse I can't get beyond the gate for security reasons. You think the one you seen may be one of them?

Jenny


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

Hi.

Mike has seen the ones at Burke a few times. The one I saw was in N. Ridgeville on Rt. 83 at the new overpass they constructed above the railroad tracks. He was flying along the tracks going east. The owls made it this far. I don't know if a trip from Cleveland to N. Ridgeville would be a big deal for them.

C3D


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

I saw a Pileated Woodpecker the other day while driving. It flew straight across in front of me clear as day. I almost ran off the road watching it fly into the woods. That makes two so far - both flying. CT

Has anyone seen a Barn Owl? We have them, but not common, but I've never seen one in the flesh (err feather:-)


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 22, 07 at 9:39

I know what you mean about almost driving off the road, CT! That hawk on the way into town gets me every time. I'm lucky we don't get much traffic on that road. :D

I've seen a barn owl!! When we used to have our big dog Red, I'd take him walking down the road to the farm fields early every morning before sunrise. One day, just as the sky was starting to lighten, it flew right in front of us. Silent as can be, but there was no mistaking that face! It was such an extraordinary sight, even Red stopped and gazed in awe. :) I used to find their pellets in the yard and hear them out there early in the morning. But I haven't heard them or found their "gifts" for well over a year.

DH says the burrowing owls are even more awesome. He's seen them several times during his construction work days. They were in groups, like little kids, just staring and looking adorable. I'd LOVE to see those!

I'm SO excited!! I had a golden-crowned sparrow in the yard yesterday!!!!!! It was so beautiful! I really tried to get a pic, but there wasn't much sun, so the pics didn't turn out. They say the goldens hang around with the punk rockers, but this one was pretty much sticking to himself (even though the punkers were around the area later on).

I LOVE (pre-) spring!

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

Coool - owls! and pileateds! and golden-crowned sparrows! Ladies, where are the pictures????? You know I gotta ask. Brenda, I am eagerly waiting for spring and migaration and warblers and GREEN. I am starting some seeds this weekend, it's time!

I am now the proud host of a mockingbird! It's those apples, he is fighting the starlings over them! I know mockers are common birds but I have waited 2 years to have one frequent my yard, up until now they have only been rare visitors. It's a young one, still has some streaking on the sides. I may regret this when he chases away the warblers but right now he is most welcome here.


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

We had Mockingbirds MANY years ago but I have not seen or heard them for quite some time.

Barn Owls? I see them frequently on my way home from work. Lots o' raptors on that 45 minute drive.... Turkey Vultures, Cooper's Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Peregrines, Barn Owls, Screech Owls and now the Snowy (once).


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 23, 07 at 8:50

I really need to try some apples! I put out some grapes, cut and whole, but there are no takers yet. I'd love to see a mocker in my yard! So exciting!

It would so great to see more owls, too. As much as I love the hawks and eagles, owls are the holy grail to me. :D

Brenda


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Brenda, maybe try chopped fresh cherries or chopped dried cranberries. I've not seen my mockers much this time of year but come spring and summer I have one known repeat nesting tree right across the street, but as I look at that tree right now, with no leaves on it, there looks to be a small squirrel nest in there. I'm hoping it is maybe the mockers nest that has built up over the past few years, but I don't know if they do that. I'll have to do some research.

Jean - you have no idea how much I would love to post pics but with MY current camera I don't want to even think about it. I just bought new binoculars and they came yesterday. I compared all kinds from $50 models to $1800 in the 8 x 42. I ended up buying Zhumell 8x42 with long eye relief, center focus, adj. diopter, porro-prism lenses, and waterproof rubberized housing. What sold me was customer reviews of folks that wear glasses (which I am doing now). My current binocs hit my glasses and the new pair has extended, retractable rubber eye cups which I really like (with and without my glasses).

I compared them side by side, by feature, with the $1800 model and my (way cheaper) model had better closer focus range which is what I wanted too - for feeders and butterfly viewing. They also come with a 25 year warranty. Maybe I'll cash in on that warranty when I'm 74! LOL

Now - if they only had a camera in there to snap what I'm seeing. I just looked at a starling on the suet and like you became facinated by the feathers, especially on the head. I've not seen them this close and clear except in your photos! I am carrying these binocs with me all the time! Not a good birding day today with 50mph wind gusts, but our temps are going up to almost 70 this weekend.

C3D - lucky you on having such a Rapt-O-Rama where you live, with the barn owls so common. My local chapter of SMAS has an adopt a Barn Owl program where you can donate to sponsor a chick that gets banded and they tell you sort of where it is located and you get a picture of 'your chick'. They have the same for ospreys which surprises me as we have no shortage of ospreys. I saved a Red Morph Screech but sadly it had to be put down. I have an owl in my wooded area but only hear it late at night or before sunrise. It's a Great Horned. I have an owl hooter, from my turkey hunting days, and I sometimes hoot it out my window at night in high summer, and my neighbors think they have an owl right in their face they can't find. I know - sick birder humor, but harmless. LOL

Brenda - when I was out in Cali (Santa Barbara county) I saw many Red-shouldered hawks and also your bluejay that has no crest! Are there two kinds of bluejays out west? I notice the Scrub Jay is considered rare so did I see one of those or some other kind I wonder? It was more blue-grey, with a hint of green, not the intense all-over blue of our Eastern jays, but boisterous just the same.

Hey, I'm missing FTM on the thread! Hope to see you back soon! I can't wait until summer FTM - I hope you get some photos of bats with your new camera!

CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 24, 07 at 10:56

I've added the cherries AND cranberries to the list, CT, thanks! I've also been smearing the nut & berries mixed with peanut butter onto the truck of the tree. It's interesting to see how much will stick, and how much plops to the ground. LOL The ruby-crowned kinglet loves it, as well as the ladder-backed woody!

Another who loves it is the (very familiar) scrub jay! They're the ones with the black face, white eyebrow, brownish shoulders, white frontal area. They're pretty common in this area, as well as north. They used to terrorize my kitties when I lived at home with my folks. Here where I am now, they only show up in ones or twos, squawking, heads bobbing...definitely not as pretty as your Blues, though...more scrubby. :D

My favorite jay out here is the Steller's, which we get to see when we go up into the foothills. They're typical jays, very brave, somewhat pushy, but always honest. LOL

Ok, here's the (terrible) pic of my golden-crowned sparrow. Hope you can see him! I tried to mental telepathize him into some sun, but...he was happy right where he was. :D

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

how very sweet of you, ct :)
i've been a bit "busy."

oh to see a barn owl! even a snowy. dh saw a snowy one winter. i do get blessed at work with barred owls, great horned, and occassionally i hear a screech owl. funny, where i used to live i only heard screeches. we even had one roosting in the tree across the street (in town). are they less common throughtout the horned and barred stomping grounds?


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 25, 07 at 10:40

Here's a pic of one of the scrub-heads in my yard at the fountain feeder, CT. Is this what you saw?

Aren't I so handsome?

Brenda


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That's it Brenda, but I remember a greenish cast too (or maybe I'm delusional)

" They're typical jays, very brave, somewhat pushy, but always honest." LMAO! You are so funny.

OK, I'm off to lie down now.

CT


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That golden crowned looks quite proud of his find! Your yard list is really growing. Do you get the stellar jays? I'd love to see one of those someday.

SO guess what visitor I had this weekend? Finally - a TREE SPARROW! Not a rarity at all, but the tree sparrow was the first sparrow that visited me two winters ago when I started feeding the birds again. And I hadn't seen any since.

The mockingbird has become my starling patrol. He leaves all the other birds alone but just let one starling come close to HIS feeder or HIS birdbath and he swoops out of the cedar tree and chases them off. It is too funny! I am surprised to see him eating sunflower seeds though.

And my poor, dead, frozen oregon junco is soon to be immortalized in the Cinncinati Museum of Natural history. I delivered him to a woman who prepares them for display. We met at a local state park where they were having an owl symposium. As I walked in they had a saw-whet and a short eared owl - I only got a glimpse (kind of felt like I was cheating since I didn't attend the symposium). That saw-whet was so cute!

And I found horned larks in the field behind the wooded area behind me! I kept saying I really needed to drive around the block and see if there were any ... I wish I had gotten pictures, they'll be gone soon too.

And the local kestrel landed on a post just 10 feet from my car on my way home the other day. I see him perched on the wire all the time but this was the first time I had been eye-to-eye with him - what a beautiful bird!


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RE: binoculars

CT, I just looked up you new bins - very nice! I just have a pair of 10X50 Bushnells - I got them as an anniversary gift at work. It's one of those things where you get to pick from a list of items, most woman go for the jewelry!

So now you need to try digiscoping - I have heard of doing it with binoculars instead of a scope. Just a word of warning - thats what I was trying to do when I dropped my point-n-shoot and broke it :^)


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

What! I thought a digiscope was a scope with a digital camera built in? You mean I can take my point and shoot and take a photo through my binoculars? That will take some practice and a few extra arms! I might give it a try by using my mini-tripod on the camera and setting up the binoculars focused on a set point and the camera on the lens, and wait. My binocs have a spot for a tripod too, so I may have to buy another mini-tripod to make them the same height. I have a feeling duct tape may come in handy:-) You can do anything with duct tape. LOL


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do tell, jean! we have a window mount on the scope :)


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 27, 07 at 10:21

RIP Jean's Oregon junco! I LOVE reading about all of your bird sightings!

CT, your new binocs sound awesome! I don't know much about them, but do yours do well with some closer things, too? One complaint I have about my DH's is that the hummers are too close (living room window) for me to see from here, even though I'd like to really zoom in on them when they're feeding.

That would be great if you could get the camera and binocs to work together, too!

Brenda


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A link to the binocs I bought - they have so many models that are 8 x 42. I thought they were waterproof but apparently I mixed that up with others I was looking at. It does have a rain shield that came with it, the case, and nice strap and lense wipe cloth.

Brenda - these let you look at things that are 15 feet away and a bit closer once I tried them. I can sit in my livingroom and look at my birdfeeder on the front porch with no problem (it's about 15' or less I'd say). Since you wear glasses if you buy a pair for yourself get one with long eye relief of at least 18mm. That is why I bought these - they have retractable rubber eye cups with 19mm, which lets me wear glasses and be comfortable. Many people have trouble with binocs - seeing one circle of view and the diopter will adjust that for you.

They are a tad heavier than compact models but the view is sharp and the wide-angle is good for birding. I always rest my arms when using binocs most times anyway. They are easy to focus - barely have to move the center focus which is firm and smooth, but not tight. They feel good to hold, ergonomic. Wide-angle helps you locate an object by letting you see the surroundings too.

Buying binocs is a personal thing, but these meet my needs and do what I want them to do - bring in the birds with a wide view and also I can lay in the grass near flowers in the summer and see butterflies, but also switch immediately to birds with a quick move of the center focus. I also noticed while using them I can focus out very far and the mid-ranges look clear too.

I didn't really want butterfly only binocs because it is hard to get that close to butterflies anyway without them flitting off and they are crappy for switching to birds quickly. I'd rather sit back in a good location and be able to bring them to me from 15 feet or more away, as opposed to 3 or 4 feet.

The 25 year warranty is a 'no fault' which is nice!

They list at Zhumell for $129 but I bought them at Binoculars.com for $89 plus no shipping charge. They were on my doorstep in two days. You might want to check out their signature series which are lighter (and more expensive).

CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Zhumell 8x42WA


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Jean - I should read better. What a day you had taking the Oregon junco to become history! Also, all the birds you saw there. You are running in some important birdy circles now! Keep up the good work.

Yes, mockers don't mind chasing anything they feel like it. They harrass the heck out of red-tailed hawks here and anything else, including cats! Just wait until your bird finds a mate and they have a nest.

Never seen a Horned Lark. I live on Meadow Lark and we have those, but I've never seen one of those either. All of our community roads and courts, except one, are named after birds (wren, blue jay, oriole, mourning dove, mockingbird, purple martin).

CT


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My apologies for not explaining digiscoping before. It's a fairly new technique for bird photography, but when done right, the results far exceed even the most expensive telephoto lenses. Basically it is adding a digital camera to a spotting scope. It sounds easy in theory but it has some complexities - first you have to get the scope focused, and then without moving it, you have to get the camera to focus on the image of the scope. ALl this of course has to be done before the bird moves! In the beginning it was mostly used for waterfowl or large accipters that don't move around alot. There are now mounts available to mount the camera to the scope. Originally the camera was hand held and camera shake is a real problem, just as in macro photography. But if you get good at it, the results are unbelievable. I was just going to mount the bins on a tripod and point it at the feeder and then TRY to handhold the camera. But I never got a chance to try it. Some cameras work better than others, the line of nikon coolpix (which is what I had) was the camera of choice because the zoom mechanism was inside the camera so vignetting was not a problem. The Nikon 995 was the best as the camera rotated so the view finder was always on top. But now there are all kinds of cameras that are being used with a wide variety of scopes - of course the most expensive scopes are the best and can be very costly.

I couldn't find the reference that I found about digiscoping with binoculars - I did find this site ...
Digiscoping with binoculars

This is a good site too ...
A good digiscoping site with lots of links

I know I had some sites bookmarked with some knockout digiscoped images but I'm not sure I moved them to my new PC, but I'll find some ....


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Thanks for the info Jean. I might try the stationary mount of the bins and then take a shot. I can see what it looks like by taking a photo of the suet with or without a bird. That way I can see if it works before I climb into my kitchen sink again for an hour or more only to find the photos stink!

I saw two Bluebirds today. A male and female showed up as they were interested in the nut and berry mix this time. My sister is visiting for a few days and I am going to take her to the base to see if we can find any birds. We will be out and about for the next few days so not sure how much I'll be posting. Wishing all some great birding!

CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 1, 07 at 11:33

Kisses to the bluebirds, CT! (Really wish we had those here...) I hope you and sis have a GREAT time watching birds and hanging out!

Brenda


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Papa Smurf is missing, I haven't seen him in over a week. I am hoping he has just moved on to claim his own territory. I can't believe how attached I have gotten to that little bird, I really miss seing him :^(


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 8, 07 at 9:35

Oh, Jean, I sure hope he turns up soon! Any sign of spring there yet? Maybe he's looking for a sweetheart? :(

Brenda


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Awww - I hope he turns up. He is a superstar with lots of fans! Give it some time - he might just show up and is off staking out a claim somewhere. I had a frog (I know not sweet like a bird, but a frog I'm attached to) disappeared for over a month and I figured a heron ate him (his name is Droopy). One day out of nowhere there he was again. I just saw him a week ago before our weather turned again. Did Papa disappear when the weather was extremely frigid or did you just notice he was gone after a few days? Did you see him every day before?

On another note - two days ago I had 8 Cedar Waxwings in my crabapple tree. The tree has long since lost it's apples. They were just sitting in it and I ran for my bins and got a good look. Every so often one would dive into my garden. They were eating barberry berries. I've never had them in the yard before.


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Hi every one!

Can you believe it? I still cannot believe my luck and I was there!!! Again while on my way to work this morning there was someone white and *quite* chunky looking flying across the road.

I pulled over, backed up a bit, and admired a stunningly beautiful snowy Owl perched on top of a utility pole. This one was much larger than the first Owl I had seen and was more heavily barred. The barring seemed darker / black. I believe this Owl was a female as her face, nape of the neck and center of the breast were white. From what I was able to research that does describe the female snowy.

Maybe this was an immature but I did not find much description of them. Any way ... I am 113% sure this was another Snowy Owl! What a wonderful start to the day! As my luck would have it, I did not have my camera in the car for the past week. Had the camera been there then for sure the Owl would NOT! LOL!

So that was a great start to the day. I was 20 minutes late to work but work is just soooo over-rated. LOL! The rest of the day was downhill but who cares? I saw another Snowy Owl!

The Owl was about 1 mile south of the earlier sighting on Rt. 83 in N. Ridgeville again.

C3D and 2 Snowy sightings this year!


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cool, chicka! i believe, but don't quote me on this and i am too lazy to do a search, that the younger the owl the more heavily barred they are.

as for me, on my way home from work this am there were 3 bald eagles in the bean field. seems kinda odd, really. but hey, they eat carrion too. it was a ways off but the size suggested a deer carcass. two white heads and one dark eagle. otherwise, i haven't been looking much or have my camera with me. i have yet to try another kestrel pic even though there is always one perched on the same power line daily.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 9, 07 at 9:04

Cedar waxwings are one of the birds I REALLY would love to see in person, CT! You're so lucky to finally have them! They are stunning.

Same with the snowy owls! I can imagine how excited you must have been, Chicka! Wow, that would be pretty close to spiritual for me. :)

Mmmm, your eagles were mOWing (how DO you spell that?!) down on protein. I know that I always feel better after some beef carcass. LOL

I finally got a REALLY good look at the mysterious whitish bird on the way back from town yesterday, and it's definitely a male northern harrier! At night, I kept confusing it with an owl, because of that face. It was hovering over a canal, looking for munchings and crunchings yesterday. I hope he got what he was looking for. :D

This little Oregon junco has been hanging around quite a bit lately. The finches try to get all up in his bidness, but he don't take no smack talk. :D He is SO handsome with his dark "shawl"!

Alone but not lonely


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

Cute Junco Brenda! Lucky sightings C3D and FTM!

Here is a white squirrel that was in the backyard of a neighbor of a friend of mine. They both live about a mile from me. I wish I had one sort of, but then I'd get all attached and know it from the other regular greys.

Photo is taken from inside the home so it is a bit far but still pretty good.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

The redwinged blackbirds are back. They sure take over the place for several months.
I've also been hearing the drilling of a pileated back in the woods, but haven't seen him yet.
I heard a bluebird about 10 days ago.
And almost all winter, I've been hearing a roufus-sided towhee.
Can't wait for spring migration. I'd better learn how to use my new camera!
We've sure had a ton of squirrels around this winter.
I hung up a couple suet balls when it got so snowy and cold here. Mostly around those are nuthatches, titmice, tree sparrows and downies.
Can't wait for the call of the orioles and wood thrush!


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

we had upper 50's yesterday! i saw two meadowlarks and the turkey vultures are back. yay!!

today is warm again and this time it is sunny outside :)

gorgeous squirrel.


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 11, 07 at 9:47

That squirrel is awesome, CT! Wow, I'd think I was seeing a ghost if he was around here!

It appears that birds all across the country are ready for spring. Ooot and aboot, as the Canadians would say. :D

In the field across from our house, I spotted a crazy grouping of birds - starlings, Brewer's blackbirds, red wings, a Western meadowlark, yellow-billed maggies...I'm sure I forgot a species or 2. It was strange seeing them all eating together...in harmony. :)

Oh, and I saw a largish bird squatting at the top of my creek yesterday! What the...? It was a northern flicker, refreshing itself.

Life is good.

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 3

Definitely spring here too! Most of my juncos and white-throated sparrows have left as well as the tree sparrow that hung around for a couple of weeks. It seems everyone is chasing everyone and the mornings are filled with bird song again! C3D, I'm glad you got another glimpse of the snowy, I'm betting they'll be leaving soon.

My phoebe is back and calling his little phoebe song - always reminds me of the chipmunks and how they would yell "Alvin, Alvin, ALVVVIIINNNN". The turkey vultures and the killdeer are back too.

On a sad note, I found the remains of the northern flicker in the woods yesterday, looked like the work of a hawk with a pile of down and bright yellow tail feathers. And Papa Smurf is still AWOL but so are half-a-dozen other bluejays so I can only hope.

I'm looking forward to April and warblers!


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