Been a while since the last time I posted photos (and even that was mostly garden stuff)….
Sunday evening I went out to pick strawberries and found this:
(picture actually taken Monday morning)
It looked to me like something with teeth had been at the strawberries. And every single ripe berry looked like that to some degree. Oh, there was some obvious bug damage, but THATs not bug damage.
I was mad as heck, sprayed all around the tire with deer/rabbit repellent, and started keeping an extra eye on the strawberry tire.
But I never saw anything except Robins anywhere near it. Well, maybe they’re coming by at night……
Then today I read this. Do those damaged strawberries look familiar? Yah, me too…..guess its a good thing I have bird netting left over from trellising the peas…..
Passing by some fields this week and I caught sight of this:
Thats a Killdeer chasing off a female Northern Harrier. There were actually two Killdeer, but I couldn’t get an angle on the 2nd one. I assume the Harrier came to close to their nest.
And I saw my first Pileated Woodpecker:
Now that I’ve gotten a good look at him I think I’ve actually been seeing him flying around but hadn’t been able to ID him from those glimpses.
And I saw my first Indigo Bunting!
The Bluebirds might not be nesting in any of my boxes but they are in the area at least:
We set up a second humming bird feeder in the back, the fights over the one in front are fun to watch, but still…..I’ve been slowly working on inching my way closer and closer to it while the hummers feed, and as a result have managed to get some awesome shots out of it:
I also discovered that at least one of the male Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (the only breed that normal here) thats hanging around is actually gold throated:
Did some research and it looks like that golden/orange throat isn’t abnormal, but they don’t actually know the cause of it yet. Theories range from a genetic quirk to feather age to some combination there-of.
Managed to catch some shots of a young Bald Eagle being harassed by some crows, but I won’t post the pictures cause they’re pretty horrid. I had to get help IDing the birds on them because of the long range and horrid lighting.
Seen Osprey several times. There’s definitely a nest somewhere not to far south of us, in a straight line over us from the lake, as I’ve now seen an Osprey powering over with a fish headed in direct line flight over my head on several occasions.
The Orioles have completely stopped coming into the feeders. I haven’t changed what I’m putting out for them, and they’re definitely still hanging around the yard as I see and hear them regularly. They’re just not coming in to the feeders. Not sure what happened.
The Ceder Waxwings are back! Haven’t found any nests yet this year though.
Not a whole lot going on here. I’m out of a job again, having finally quit my job at *major retailer who’s not long for this world if they keep doing what they’re doing*, which I should have done a long time ago, but I kept hoping to find something else first. But I finally decided that I needed to quit before I lost my temper at the store manager again. Its easier to find a new job when you’ve QUIT your last job vs having been fired from it.
The garden is mostly doing very well. I’m not sure that the sunflowers and corn are going to make it, not sure what I did wrong there, but I have some guesses, we’ll see I guess. Everything else is thriving, though I added some bloodmeal to the dirt under the cucumbers and the sugar snap peas yesterday as they were looking a bit yellowish. We came within a few degrees of a frost just a couple days ago, but everything seems to have survived the experience.
We almost ended up with another Tibetan Mastiff this month. There’s a breeder in Oregon who has a special needs litter, and as such is struggling to place them into appropriate homes. The number of folks who can handle TMs is limited. The number of folks who can handle TMs AND the potential medical costs and needs and heartbreak is even smaller. Unfortunately we were unable to arrange suitable transport from OR to upstate NY. Apparently NO ONE flies direct flights from OR to any of the upstate NY airports. I found 1 flight direct into JFK, but thats a 5-6hr drive each way depending on traffic. My parents who’re in MA offered to pick up the pup at the Boston airport and drive her to us, but even there, direct flights were almost non-exsistant, and none met the needed requirements. At that point I started looking at what it would cost for me to fly out there and pick her up and fly back (that way we could do a layover), but it would have been $950 just for the plane tickets, another $200 to check the puppy as baggage (she’s to big to go as a carryon), plus crating and medical cert costs. And since I can realistically expect to have to drop at LEAST that much money on vet appointments within the pup’s first month here I just didn’t have that to spare TOO.
On that same note, if you’re up to a Tibetan Mastiff (think bigger fluffier Akita with extra guardian), and up to the potential medical and heartbreak please let me know, I’ll put you in touch with the breeder.
On a happier note, last week while taking the dogs on their property rounds we discovered that the warblers had invaded the pines on the back lines. There were a TON of little brightly colored birds hopping around in the pines. They’re such little jumpy little things, I struggled to photograph and ID them, but I managed to catch solid looks at a Yellow Warbler:
A Chestnut Sided Warbler:
And a Magnolia Warbler:
The late migrating Snowy Owl who was hanging around a nearby farm finally moved on, but not before I managed to snatch one last picture:
This year I decided to experiment with putting out orange slices on a platform feeder to see if I could entice in the Orioles, and boy did I ever!
The above are all Baltimore Orioles, and I’ve been enjoying watching them. Though I could have done without the one male who kept trying to attack his reflection in the window…..
What really made it all worth while though was this bird:
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a female Orchard Oriole! Not technically rare here, but often hard to spot, and I’d never seen one before. She’s been back a few times since, but so far no sign of a male, cross your fingers for me!
Ok, he’s not truly white. He’s got just the faintest tint of yellow to his feathers.
He’s not albino, if he was he wouldn’t have the black feathers, and he’d have red eyes. Due to the faint gold tint he isn’t technically leucistic. So I’m wandering between a weird mutation and a diet problem causing him to grow in feathers in the lighter shade this year (we didn’t have an abnormally pale Goldfinch hanging around for the winter). But he’s still cool to look at!
I need to get out earlier in the morning more often!
This Osprey was eating his breakfast on a telephone pole on my way to the doc’s yesterday morning
Then while passing by a local farm I spotted this sight:
I’m not sure if that’s a late migrater, (since Snowy Owls were reported as far south as Florida this past winter), or if he’s hanging around. A Snowy’s been reported there for the previous several days, so he may be hanging around.
And then I spotted this Red-Tail looking for his breakfast:
….when I step out my door. That way when I say things like “the Great Blue Heron barely cleared the house!!!” and “The Osprey was low enough I could see his markings with my bare eyes!!!” everyone will believe me instead of rolling their eyes….
Anyway I managed to catch a few pictures yesterday dispite my forgetting to bring my camera out with me at one point.
This Osprey was collecting nesting materials near me:
And then this Red-Tailed Hawk, with a notched wing, which makes it really easy to ID this bird, decided to claim a spot on my neighbor’s property as his, and proceeded to defend the surrounding airspace with great vigor. I managed to catch some of it on camera.
At any rate, the garden expansion is in progress, which is a good thing since I’ve been told I need to get the sugar snap peas in the ground NOW. Hopefully I’ll get them planted this weekend…..
The Osprey are back:
And the ice melting on the pool (just cause it was a cool picture):
I spotted these deer in a field a few roads over a couple weeks ago, they weren’t pleased to see me though!
My little greenhouse got blown over in the gusting winds a few nights ago. Looks like most of the plants will survive the experience, but several of the peppers lost their tags…..I’ll be planting those peppers in a mixed group together rather than try to guess I think. Oh well.
It HAS to be spring, the Bluebirds are back!!
This fellow and his mate were checking out the Bluebird houses yesterday morning. I was so thrilled! After something killed mom and babies last year I was so afraid we’d not get any Bluebirds this year.
Course, there’s still snow on the ground. And although the grass is poking through in a few places most of the yard is still a good foot deep. So I dug out the mealworm feeder and filled it with dried mealworms and some “Bluebird suet” and hung it on that clothesline post.
Here’s hoping they stick around!
Not a whole lot going on right now. Or rather, what is going on I’m better off not talking about in public till its settled…..lets just say that attempting to screw with my career cause you have issues with women in power is a really bad idea.
Anyway, to top off my lovely New Year I’ve just found out that the one and only antiperspirant that I’ve found that I can wear reliably without breaking out into a rash has been discontinued. Their clear gel version is still availible, so I may have to give it a try. I’m not a fan of the gel antiperspirants, but its better than breaking out in a massive rash on a regular basis….
I have some very happy pepper seedlings:
And Shadow is definitely becoming more comfortable in our house:
though we’re still trying to convince him that Arty isn’t really devil spawn.
The birds have been clearing the feeders almost as fast as I fill them, hard to blame them, its been a hard winter:
Turns out they’ve had help with the feeders though:
we’ve not had much of a squirrel problem the last few years, but I’m pretty sure I recognize that particular one from last year…..Apollo was also very happy to “scare off” an opossum the other night. I think it was me flipping on the lights that really made it decide to leave the feeders, but Apollo’s sure that it was responding to him barking at it.
The deer have been back, though I don’t have time right now to upload those photos, I’ll do it later. They’re looking skinnier, not sure if they’re just shedding their winter coats, or if this winter is finally taking its toll.