Saturday, August 21, 2010

bye bye birdies...hello frogs

The hawks were driving me crazy- I was at the window from dawn until dusk and then one day they were just gone. Weird. But the last night I saw them, one came down and sat on our car almost as if to say goodbye.



This video is for the ladies at work.
We rescued these african dwarf frogs from a very small container that they shared with a betta. The betta repeatedly punched the frogs in the belly with its nose and the frogs cowered below hardly ever moving. I couldn't stand it any longer and moved the frogs to a larger bowl to finally this tank. We started feeding them bloodworms instead of the fish pellets (that the betta ate anyway) and we can tell they have grown. I adopted them and after a traumatizing drive home- they are adjusting and seem in good spirits.


video

Monday, August 2, 2010

Backyard Wildlife (and frontyard)

Cooper's Hawk
We have transformed our front yard into a wildlife viewing area with a wide variety of birds, raccoons, squirrels and garden snakes. However with the abundance of birds at our feeders we attracted some Cooper's Hawks too. One morning I counted 5 in one sighting- 4 came out of one tree alone.




Juvenile Male Downy Woodpecker sitting on our powercable





Raccoon paw prints in the bird bath (if you look closely)





Sunday, June 27, 2010

Birds in the garden

Although this happened a few weeks ago, I thought I'd update what happened with the robins. After one week since I discovered the nestling robins, I was lucky enough to see them fledge the following Saturday afternoon. I only got to see the last remaining nestling take flight to the neighboring cedar tree where the mamma robin continued to feed it.

I haven't seen the robins since then and they didn't take up the same nest for a 2nd clutch. Oh well...I did have a visiting goldfinch...



This is the first sighting of a cedar waxwing for me. I saw him yesterday and again today in the cedar tree.

Here is one of our new squirrel proof bird feeders. They are both great and bring me lots of satisfaction.

The female downy resting on our patio glider.

The male downy in the new cage feeder.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Meet the new neighbors...

I had a great discovery for the holiday weekend when I decided to find the robin's nest on Friday night. I knew there was a nest close by because I had seen a pair of robins for the past few weeks hanging around and darting in to trees while I was toiling in the front yard removing turf and creating borders.

The nest had to be close and my first guess was the snag of cedar trees until Brian said they never go directly to the nest. So I went outside to the side of our house where there is a beautiful overgrown flowering tree. I poked my head under the branches and resurfaced underneath the dense, sheltered perennial amongst the pink blossoms and yes, when I turned my head- the robin's nest.
I was face to face with the mamma robin! Perhaps a foot separated us and she dare not move- hoping I would not see her. I slowly retreated to leave her in peace. But we did snap a few photos while the parents were away. (Brian took the awesome photo of the nestlings!)



We can watch the young feeding literally from our doorstep.


The pileated woodpecker has been very active too- I wish I could find its nest!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Birds in the Garden (and things with wings)

I almost mowed over this little guy. I found him planted face down in the lawn. Such a beauty and not a scratch on him. It seemed like it fell from its perch the way its claws are curled.

There seems to be a pair of western tanagers nesting somewhere close to my yard! I've seen these two for the past few days and I've read that the male only has the orange head when it's mating. I've only seen a male western tanager once before hiking. I'm not sure, but I think that is the female below.

It seems I have competition in the photo category. Brian just got a new camera and is already taking great photos! Check out the beautiful swallowtail butterfly.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Welcome to the Southwest

We just spent a week in New Mexico visiting the Gila National Forest and Silver City. I read an article about the Gila River in the Defenders of Wildlife and was intrigued by the ecosystem created by the river and the wildlife and birds it attracted.

After a little research on the internet me and Brian booked a week at the Casitas de Gila which was recommended by Sunset magazine as one of the top 10 places to visit. Ok- I just looked it up and it was actually top 10 romantic cottages, but I think everyone who has visited would say top 10 places to visit. We were hooked with the description and sign posting of a "stress-free zone".

Casitas de Gila get big thumbs up! I loved every detail from the freshly baked pumpkin bread upon arrival to the great cooking pans and comfy mattress! Becky and Michael provide an exceptional retreat I truly hope to visit again.




Sunset at Casitas de Gila.




Hooker Loop Road to Casitas de Gila.
Sorry about the smooshed bugs on windscreen.


Here's our lovely Nissan Altima Hybrid rental. What a comfortable ride with zip!
Love that car.



Where I had my morning cup. The first morning we were there I was awoken by the sound of frantic wings beating- the hummers feeding at the window.


What a view!


Brian brought his harmonica and serenaded me (and the neighbors).


Vultures of Gila.



Red-tailed hawk



Definitely a highlight- seeing kestrels for the first time!
They are so cool!



Western Meadowlark seen near Ft. Bayard on the Forest Rd.


Black hooded oriole seen outside the casita.


Seen at the Catwalk entrance.

Vermillion Flycather seen on the way to Gila National Forest campground in between Cliff & Gila.
This little guy was so cute- we went to see him again a second day.
He was in the same area hunting and posed for more photos.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

DIY Squirrel Baffler

The first thing I saw when I drew open my curtains this morning was a Coopers Hawk. It made me happy.

The male downy woodpecker that has been visiting our yard introduced his mate to the suet feeder.


The resident squirrel gets denied

For some time now, the resident squirrels have been running the suet feeder- scaring the birds away. I saw the male downy woodpecker try to defend the feed by buzzing the squirrel a couple times to no avail...I quickly grew tired of chasing the squirrels away every time they neared the feeder so I turned to the internet. I read online that some people have greased the pole with petroleum but did not like that idea. I even sprinkled chili powder on and around the food- they say birds don't mind it but squirrels do. I have found that to be false.

Finally, my brilliant husband made his own squirrel deterrent by shielding the post with steel wire mesh. The squirrels have made several attempts to get to the feed, but so far no luck. One squirrel climbed a tree about 20 feet away and looked longingly at the suet. He seemed to be surveying his options and wondering if he could make the jump. And the birds don't seem to mind the mesh at all. Flickers and downy woodpeckers both fed without incident after we installed the new squirrel deterrent.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Longfellow Creek Sunrise

I was late out the door to work yesterday because I wanted to photograph the sunrise over the Longfellow Creek watershed. So beautiful!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Visitor

I finally put up my Christmas present from two years ago...a suet bird feeder and a lovely Downy Woodpecker has been visiting ever since!