Saturday, August 30, 2008

Determined Or Just Plain Stubborn?

This morning I had a plan. I would fill up the birdfeeder with lots of goodies, hide myself in the corner of the kitchen and finally get lots of pictures of the many birds that come to eat breakfast. This is being determined!!

So first I made sure I had dark clothing on (one time I tried to blend in not realizing I was wearing a bright orange t-shirt. That really worked well)

Then I got my coffee ready. Can't sit still for long without my morning coffee. Figured I'd use a long straw so I wouldn't have to raise the cup to my mouth while holding the camera. (Trying to cover all bases.)

Then I perched on the kitchen counter under the pot rack, hoping my face would look like just another frying pan, ( I'm sure it did.)

Then I brought the camera up to my face. This shouldn't take too long because they usually come within minutes after I fill it up.

I waited. After a few minutes I began to think this might take longer than I had planned on. But I was going to stay there no matter how long it took. This is being stubborn!!! Finally after about 20 minutes with aching arms and back I climbed down from the counter to upload the results of my morning endeavors.

That's right. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. No need to click on this picture because there's nothing hiding in the background either. Of all days to go elsewhere for breakfast, they had to choose today.

Friday, August 29, 2008

There's Good, And Then There's Great!!

All day yesterday, a little hummer was flitting around my feeders, teasing me as I was trying to take his picture. I must have taken 20 shots before I finally got one that was half way decent.
At least I thought it was decent until I looked at some that Laura had taken a couple of years ago.
Look at his little feet curled up as he uses the Orioles' feeder.
Coming in for a landing
Enjoying the cardinal flowers
Now those are some GREAT pictures!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hiding Spot

I have a couple of chairs outside close to my back door where I have my morning coffee. About 5 feet in front of these chairs is a trellis covered with one clematis and some annual Asarina. Don't let the delicate stems and little flowers fool you, this is one tough little climber and fills in the trellis completely.

Since my back yard is fairly open to others, I sit behind this trellis and am completely hidden from view. My own little hiding spot, seeing others but not being seen, feeling like a kid again while I spy on birds and critters and anything else that wanders through the backyards.
And then I discovered that I'm not the only one using my hiding spot, seeing others but not being seen. He was watching me the whole time I was taking these pics but I never saw him at all.
Not until I uploaded them to the computer and zoomed in for a closer look. Click on the last picture and get a better close up view.
I wonder how many other eyes are watching me out there. Spying on me, as I spy on them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

How Do You Spell Relief

A hot, humid, sunny August afternoon,
A small lawn sprinkler,
Everyone getting along for at least 5 minutes

Enough said

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Squirrely Shenanigans

Squirrels are a definite pain in the butt. Digging where they're not supposed to, trampling little seedlings, sticking their noses into places they have no right to go .....But sometimes they can be so darn cute.

I know there's something good to eat down there, but how do I get to it?

Well that didn't work

Maybe I'll try up here

Almost there

Whoo hoo, got one
Ugh!! Safflower seeds. I hate safflower seeds!!
I think I'll try somewhere else.
Whoa, hang on, hang on, you can do it

Success!! Sunflower seeds, my favorite.

Oh oh, now how do I get outta here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Eeenie Meenie Minee Mo

Deciding who gets to the peanuts first.

Although I think Cardinal won the chant, blue chased him off anyway, because of course he can.

No sooner did he get rid of one contender, he got another.

Even though they don't use the same feeder, blue didn't want him around either and sent him on his way.

After all that, blue didn't even use the feeder. Maybe he just wanted to show them who's boss.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Single Mom

Good news. After 10 years of seeing peeling paint and rotten wood, the back neighbor decided to paint his garage. Bad news. The occupied wren house was only about 5 feet away from the site and I had to move it over about 15 feet.

After a little confusion and searching, mom and pop finally found it and continued to feed the kids all the while chattering and dive bombing the painters who were using a power washer and paint sprayer. In the resulting chaos, pop disappeared. Don't know if he got hurt or just left on his own, (hope it was the latter), but mom stayed and continued working.

The painting finally got done and she was left in peace, but flew herself ragged trying to keep them fed all by herself. Poor mom. But she rose to the occasion and even let me close enough to get these, after I stood there for 10 minutes with arms outstretched holding a 15 oz. camera that slowly turned into a 50 lb. camera and cramped all my arm muscles.

A mouth full of ewwwww

Inside, stuffing that ewwwww into open mouths

Coming back out and yelling at me

After about a week it was time for the babies to leave the nest. She would call them, sometimes from the bushes and sometimes from the roof of the house until they were all out and in the nearby shrubbery. There were 4 of them this time. No wonder she was so tired and thin.

I tried to get a picture of them coming out, but she would have none of that. Every time I would try to get close enough she would tell them to stay in there and hide. So no pictures of their first flight. But they all made it and I can hear them in the trees. GOOD JOB MOM

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Watch The Birdie

A while back I wrote that although the Brown Thrashers always showed up in my backyard in the spring, they always left to raise a family elsewhere. This year they decided to stay here and build their nest in the back jungle. All summer they rummaged through the leaves and branches to find yucky things to feed the kids. Never saw the nest but finally did see one large baby following them around getting fed, squawking the whole time.

Then one decided he would try the feeder hanging by my window and discovered the peanuts, shelled sunflower pieces, and the suet cake. Eureka!! That was it. No more scrabbing on the ground to find bugs when he could have the good stuff with very little effort. At first he was very shy and would grab and run. Not so any more. When he sees me he'll wait till the very last minute before he flies off. He'll even pose for a few pictures before he goes.

These were taken through the window, so they're not very good, but you get the idea. Click on them and you can see his little golden eye.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Oh Dear, I Mean Deer

Just now while sitting inside at the computer, I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye, so I stood up and looked out the window into the back yard and immediately grabbed my camera that was sitting on the nearby table. I only managed to get one shot through the window before they ran away......

Thinking that they might be running around to the front, I raced through the house and out the front door, but before I could bring the camera up they were already disappearing around the neighbors house. But at least I got one picture for the naysayers (you know who you are) that don't believe me when I tell them I see deer here.
Keep in mind that I live in the middle of a well populated neighborhood in the middle of a well populated city!!
Hmmm, looking at the grass in this picture I guess I should water more often. No wonder they left in such a hurry.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Night Stalker

Walking outside this morning I saw that the dirt around my calla lily and new bleeding heart plant had been dug up and there were gaping holes all around. What the....... I quickly filled them back in while swearing at the squirrels for messing in my flower beds again. And then of course I remembered that squirrels don't dig around at night and I better check the rest of the yard before I wandered any farther. Sure enough......there he was

And he was headed back this way

Now's the time to get back in the house, and so I did.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cardinal Flower??

Have you ever wondered why they call the cardinal flower, cardinal flower? Oh you have not, and neither have I until this morning. Wandering around outside drinking coffee (again), I looked over to the clump of flowers and it struck me that they (whoever they are that decide which names are assigned to which flowers) picked a funny name for that particular flower.

Sure it's red, but there are a zillion other red flowers so it couldn't be that, and it doesn't attract cardinals such as a butterfly bush attracts butterflies, bee balm attracts bees, etc, etc. So what were they thinking?? I decided to take a closer look.

And then a closer look

And finally a really close look
Ah ha!! Problem solved!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Who Is That Masked Man?

How can he look so cute

So mischievous

And so sorrowful

And still be able to cause so much mayhem when he's in your yard, your garden, or worse yet, down your chimney or in your attic?

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Dragonfly For Flydragon

Glancing out my window one morning I saw this little fella hanging on the screen so out comes the camera.

I watched him for a while and he never moved. Not being able to sit idly by while something was taking a well deserved rest, I finally I poked on the screen with my finger. He still didn't move. So of course I poked a little harder and he fell off and plopped into the flowerbox. Poor little thing was dead. How was I to know?

I went outside and searched inside the box, saw him lying on his back and not leaving well enough alone, I reached in and picked him up. EWWWW.... MOVING.... NOT DEAD....DROP IT!!!! I'm fairly certain that I didn't actually scream that out loud, but I won't swear to it. And I wasn't really afraid of him, it was just that I was startled. Uh huh.
So there he was again, lying on his back in the flower box. This time I left him there in peace.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Just A Few Bits & Pieces

There has been rain all around but missing us completely, darn, and I had to break down and water the lawn yesterday. (That black cloud hanging over my head evidently has nothing to do with moisture.) If I didn't know it was Wednesday I would have sworn it was Saturday night and bath time. Five orioles, two catbirds, three robins, one cardinal and numerous sparrows all decided to get clean. I have a birdbath out there and keep it filled but evidently they all wanted to take showers instead. They were all over, flying through the sprinkler, on the ground, and in the leaves of the wet shrubs. They were all having such a good time I was tempted to join in, but I managed to control myself, after all, it was only wednesday.

A little pop up in my front flower bed. No, not the weeds, I mean the viola. I planted a bunch of these about 8 years ago, and every once in a while one will show up. Cute little buggers.

There are dozens of bumblebees around my flowers but hardly any honeybees and this one took a liking to my spiderwort. I don't blame him, I like my spiderwort too. This flower is actually a dark purple like the viola above, but is shy about getting his picture taken and fades out a bit. I know it can't be the fault of the photographer.
That's enough rambling for today.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mirabilis - Marvel of Peru - Four O'clocks

I've had these easy, colorful, self seeding plants in my gardens for at least 10 years now. You only have to buy seeds once and will have new plants every year forever. The only time I do buy more seeds is when I would like a different color. Last year I bought seeds called Kaleidoscope and planted them among the red that I already had.

I figured that this year I would still have a nice mix of red and kaleidoscope in the garden. The only problem was not knowing which new seedlings to keep and which to pull up. There's no way to tell which is which until they flower but I thought that the odds of keeping some of each was pretty good, so I just left the ones that were pretty much in a line under the window and pulled the rest up. And there are hundreds to pull up, but they come up easily and it's no big deal.

So this is what I ended up with this year. The kaleidoscope is in there but very hard to see in the picture. I have only had one problem with these pretty flowers over the years. They have never opened their flowers at 4 o'clock. Never. No matter where I have planted them, in front, in back, on the side, more sun, less sun, they will not open at 4 o'clock. They do not even begin to start opening until 7 o'clock.

This was taken at 4 o'clock

This was taken at 8 o'clock.

They must be on Pacific Time.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I mentioned a while back that Mr. Wren decided he wanted to start a new family after the first batch was raised and on their way. He finally did talk the Mrs. into joining him and they filled the smaller house with twigs and fuzzy stuff. After watching them this afternoon going in and out feeding the little ones, I decided I would try to get a picture this time. I snuck up to the house, (how can you sneak up to a birdhouse that's sitting out in the open on a sunny day?) stuck the camera right by the hole and snapped these three in rapid succession. The first one caught the wren by surprise, and you can see her head, but she ducked down immediately so the second one is empty, and I'm not quite sure what she was doing in the last one. But I got her!!!!

I also discovered something else. If you get near the house while they're building the nest, they will chatter at you until you move away. If you get near the house while she is sitting on the eggs, he will chatter at you until you move away. If you get near the house after the eggs have hatched and they are feeding them as I did this morning, not only do they chatter at you they also will fly by the back of your head until you move away. They get close enough so that you can feel the breeze from their wings on the back of your neck. Neat!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

What's For Lunch?

Yesterday while standing outside drinking coffee, I noticed something floating down from the huge oak tree in the back yard. Taking a closer look I saw that it was a bunch of feathers. No tinge of blue so not a bluejay, I figured it was one of the pigeons that we have flying around here.

Knowing where this was going, I looked up. It took me quite a while to spot him as he was really high up, hiding behind all the leaves and it took me a lot longer to get a halfway decent picture. At that, I still could only get his silhouette so you'll have to take my word for it that it was indeed a hawk.
Hawks are one of my favorites. They get rid of some of the rodents (where was he when the big rat was running around?) and also keep some of the nuisance birds in check. They're welcome to catch and eat their lunch in my yard anytime.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Invaders From The North

When we were kids, we lived in a house with a front porch. Loved that porch. That porch was used for everything, from just sitting quietly on the swing, using it as a hiding place (it had solid sides up to the railing) having all the kids in the neighborhood just hanging out, sitting around, talking, laughing.

And once a year it was used as a meeting place for the invaders from the north. I don't know what their real name is, but we called them Canadian Soldiers. They would come by the hundreds and meet on our front porch. Covered that porch. We would come outside one day, and there they were. We could pick them up by their large wings and set them on our arms. They didn't bite and they didn't try to fly away, they would just sit there, tired after their long journey. And soon they would die. Don't know what their purpose was but they enjoyed our front porch for a few days just as we did.

Took this picture yesterday. These were the only ones that showed up on my back wall. Maybe more would have come if I had a front porch.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Okay, I'm Ready

It's August 1st. The day I expect the hummingbirds to bombard my feeders and cardinal flowers. Well, if not bombard at least show up.

They first come to visit me at the beginning of May and a couple of them will hang around here for the next week or ten days before leaving to spend their summer in Mentor, of all places. What does Mentor have that I don't?? Nothing!!!

So for the next couple of months I might see one a week or two if I'm really lucky. Some weeks I won't see any. The last time I saw one was on July 19th. Bummer Hummer

So, I'm waiting. The cardinal flowers are in bloom and the feeder is ready. So where are they??

As I am typing this one has appeared, right on schedule.