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fairy_toadmother

bird sightings 4

17 years ago

the american white pelicans are back! but bad pics b/c they are on the other side of the river :(

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had to do some lighting on this one

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today we inadvertently flushed out some woodcock :)

Comments (99)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Cometose......did you get a new camera? Great pics!! And your yard is gorgeous. Makes me think I'm in the wrong neighborhood here! lol!
    You'll all be ashamed of me......I still haven't learned to use my new SLR digital. Menopause has really turned me into a zombie!! Its sitting here just 4' away, and I haven't touched it yet.
    Seeing a few new birds this spring is motivating me a bit. I don't want to miss the migration and all the pics I can get of it.
    Saw a bunch of golden crowned kinglets the other day.
    Must.....learn.......new camera NOW!
    I got a very bad pic with my old digital of 7 turkey vultures in a tree out back. That was exciting. But not good enough to show you all. I'm still hearing the pileated drilling in the woods, so hopefully one day I'll get a pic of him.
    All of you with your beautiful bird pics and beautiful yards have motivated me to get down to business! (now if my body will just cooperate!).

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OK - three posts in a row by me (LOL). I am confused about my Yellow-bellied sapsucker that for years I thought he was a male due to his red cap, but 'he' has no red throat. This bird also has lots of yellow on the breast.

    I didn't think anything of it until another one showed up that does have a huge patch on the throat and head, plus lots of white on the body and hardly any yellow on the belly. I think this may be a Red-naped Sapsucker (see link).

    In the link it states YBSS can interbreed with Red-bellied woodpeckers. I think my original guy, very yellow breast, red-cap style head, and a coal black throat must may be hybrid of some kind because of no red throat at all.

    Jean - do you have photos of the YBSS from your neck of the woods?

    Below, the first two, are photos I took of the newcomer. In the first photo you can see the red cap head and part of the red throat, which looks just like the photo in my link of the Red-naped Sapsucker. The body has alot of white, and no yellow belly as far as I can see. In the second photo, taken a few minutes apart from the first, he is pointing his head straight up, so you can no longer see the red cap head, but you can see the huge red throat.

    That is what is throwing me - I always thought my sole YBSS (in the last photo) was a male due to the red cap on his head, the yellow belly, but he has no red throat at all. Should he have some red on his throat or is he a girl with a red-cap, or is it a hybrid. His throat is coal black. His overall body coloration seems muted to me.

    Just when you think you know your woodpeckers! LOL

    {{gwi:166655}}

    {{gwi:166656}}

    No red on throat at all, and females would not have that red-capped head.

    {{gwi:166657}}

    Other Links:

    http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Red-naped_Sapsucker_dtl.html

    Appalachian subspecies: http://biology.mhc.edu/ybsa/

    Good photo of the male and female. My oldtimer has no red on his throat at all, but a full red-cap, so what is he?

    http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i4020id.html


    Here is a link that might be useful: Red-naped Sapsucker

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  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hmmm, not sure about the hardiness of 'Roger's Red' (or V. californica in general), CT. The only hardiness info I could find was in my book, which lists it as hardy to Sunset zone 4, which has average winter lows of 34-28F, with extreme lows averaging 8-0F. I was wrong about the little grapes. They're little flowers. LOL This is my first season, so I can't be held responsible for my ignorance. :D

    Re the unknown thrush in the photo (or is that the Hermit you saw after?). My book also lists the gray-cheeked thrush -

    "Dull olive-brown, with pale, spotted underparts and no rust color in plumage; sides of face tinged with gray; no eye ring. Swainson's thrush similar, but has buff eye ring and buff, not gray, cheeks. Other spotted thrushes show rust color on upperparts or tail."

    Also -

    "Breeds from northern Alaska across northern Canada to Newfoundland, south to northern British Columbia, New York, and northern New England. Winters in tropics."

    Maybe?

    Brenda

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    CT - the female yellow-bellied sapsuckers do have red heads. Most my pictures are males and immatures or unidentifiable back shots. Cornells site shows the red head on the female, although it is not a good picture and their description notes the only difference in the male and female is "Chin and throat red in male, white in female". I can't see the black throat in the picture. The yellow belly is very variable from what I have seen.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Yellow-bellied sapsucker (Cornell)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It just doesn't look like a hermit thrush to me - too stocky and the hermit thrushes that I've seen have bold spots. Gray-cheeked looks like a possibilty - Cornell shows the gray-cheeked and the swainson's migrate through your area.

    Mr. Phoebe's persistant calling seems to have won him a mate! Mr and Mrs came to call today and sat outside my window for a few minutes before continuing their house hunting. Wish we had a little more sun today, lightning was a little flat ...

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  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I guess my sapsucker (the first one I've had for years) is a girl. Maybe that is why I have the boys here now! She is a looker;-) The Phoebe's are cute and look a bit top heavy.

    The thrush in the photo may be a different thrush. The one I observed today in the bins had a very rusty tail, much more coloration that the rest of the body, which makes it a Hermit. It is highly possible I have seen two different birds, but I cannot be sure until I see the 'other' one again. I know Swainson's moves through here but I've not heard any of my SMAS folks talk about the grey cheeked before, but with migration anything is possible.

    Has anyone ever seen a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Pine Grosbeak, Lapland Longspur, or an American Redstart? I've never seen them, and I've also never seen a Scarlet Tanager yet I hear there are some not 3 miles down the road in the deeper woods. Any photos of any of these birds?

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We get alot of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks here, but I rarely see any American Redstart. The grosbeaks show up about the same time as the orioles, early may. Sorry, no pix.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Awww, those Phoebes have the cutest big heads I've ever seen! LOL

    I've only had one sighting of a Grosbeak in my yard, and it was a black-headed female. I hope you get to see all of those in your yard this year, CT!

    Brenda

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wish I had some pics for you, but I don't. Actually, I have a pic of 2 scarlet tanagers in a tree....but they are just red blobs.
    I have redstarts alot in the spring/summer. They are so quick, and do alot of "flitting".
    We have rose-breasted grossbeaks too. The females look like larger female house finches, except their beaks are big, and they have that white eye line.
    I have pewees that show up every year in the same places on our property. I love their call!
    Occasionally we have phoebes. Its funny, I had never had any around. I was getting something out of the trunk of my van one day, and without thinking, I began immitating a call I was hearing......Phee---beeee.......and then it hit me........I had a phoebe!
    Tanagers don't seem to stay around much after spring.
    I hope to get some good pics with my new camera this spring. I also have towhees and baltimore orioles and orchard orioles that nest here. I need to invest in a macro lens (isn't that the one that gets close-ups of far-away things?).
    What I find cool is that the different birds come back to the same spots every year. The brown thrasher, the hermit thrush, the peewee, the orioles, the flycatchers......they all can be heard every summer in the same location on my property. Home-sweet-home, I guess!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We only get the rose-breasted grosbeaks during migration. I don't believe I've ever seen the male in mating plumage - would love to though!

    {{gwi:166602}}
    {{gwi:166603}}

    The Blue Grosbeak and Pine Grosbeak are out of my range and don't migrate through here but I would love to see a blue grosbeak!

    Redstarts are migrants here, I have never seen them in the spring, but see them every fall.
    {{gwi:166604}}

    Summer and scarlet tanagers are residents here.

    The scarlet tanager nests in my neighbors yard. The male rarely comes out of the tops of the trees (so no good pics of him), the female and young do come to the feeders on occasion in the fall.
    {{gwi:166615}}

    The summer tanagers are very secretive - they nest in my other neighbors yard. I've had glimpses of the male and seen the female only once.
    {{gwi:166617}}

    Speaking of my neighbor, he tore down his old house and build a new house and removed dozens of trees. I'm worried the summer tanager and the great-crested flycatchers that normally nest there will not return :^)

    I also get pee-wees, great-creasted and least flycatchers (hmmm, do you think I might have a fly problem???) The phoebe follows me around on the tractor, he has figured out my cutting pattern and will snatch a bug as I mow and then fly to the next tree and wait for me to pass. The problem is I have to go full bore (little tractor so full bore is about 2 mph) or he won't play. Which I normally do a power cut anyway but we have hilly areas that make it a little tricky to cut in a hurry.

    I saw a blue-grat gnatcatcher today!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    jeanner.......I've never heard of a male rose-breasted in non-breeding plumage. I don't believe I've ever seen one. Would that just be a juvenile male?

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thats a good question Catherine, and I'm not sure I know for sure if it is a non-breeding male or a juvenile.

    According to Cornell's BNA website
    "Adult male in nonbreeding (Basic) plumage acquires some femalelike plumage characteristics while female plumage is similar throughout the year.
    Adult male has a distinctive nonbreeding plumage, with pale head-stripes, and extensive brown feathers partly to largely concealing black-and-white pattern on upperparts and pink breast. Some individuals closely resemble adult female, though wings and tail remain pure black and white, and underlying pink breast usually still visible.
    First-summer male similar to adult, but with more brownish primaries, secondaries, and (often) tail-feathers, and usually some brownish body-feathers. "

    Heres a picture of his back, although I'm not sure if that helps ...

    {{gwi:166619}}

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "hmmm, do you think I might have a fly problem???"

    No, Jean, it means you DON'T have a fly problem. Unlike me, who needs more of those birds in my area! LOL

    I just looked up a pic, and the blue-grays are beautiful! Is that your first sighting of that particular gnatcatcher? In other words, was that 100?! :D

    Brenda

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks Jeanner.....
    I never knew the males ever looked any differently than how I usually see them......with the red and black. Interesting!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Cat - just a quick note on something you said up several posts. A macro lens is for taking close-up pictures of very small objects. Like the eye of a fly for instance.

    You need a zoom lens, and Jean had mentioned at least 400mm for good bird photography (or higher). The zoom will give you range. Or, use a prime lens which has a set focus range but better resolution (that is if I understood Jean correctly). She gets her outstanding details by using her prime lenses.

    I'm going to check out the photos folks posted now and get back on that. CT

    P.S. All of my sapsuckers left for more nothern locations to breed. They always leave sometime in March, but for the past 4 days I've not seen them at all (which means they are gone). I will look forward to their fall return!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The blue-gray gnatcatcher is not a new bird for me, they nest closeby (I think in the trees/brush in the dry pond). But I have yet to get a good picture, they are very fast and tend to stay in the tops of the trees. This is the best I've done ... a gnatcatcher feeding a juvenile cowbird. Poor thing was working very hard to keep the cowbird satisfied!

    {{gwi:166658}}

    Catherine, CT is right about the lens. However, I use a 100-400 zoom for the birds and not a prime lens. The 400mm prime lens that Canon offers does not have image stabilization so I opted for the zoom's versatility and image stabilization. But your camera has more pixels than mine so your pictures will be larger and allow for more cropping.

    Good news! Some one is nesting in my bluebird box. DOn't know what as I haven't seen any activity but when I opened the side today I found a wall of grass. I don't have a clear view from the house and it is 300 feet or more from the house.

    I took a little stroll through my woods tonight to see what was blooming (before the cold blast moves in). The bloodroots are blooming and some spring beauties. My twin leaf is not up at all but the trilliums and may apples have emerged. The hepatica should be blooming soon, assuming the snow doesn't get it. I have touch-me-not seedlings all over the place.

    Heres a few of the bloodroots...

    {{gwi:166660}}

    {{gwi:166661}}

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I like the action photograph. Too bad the gnat-catcher was visited by the cowbird though. I despise that about cowbirds.

    Beautiful wildflower image Jean. I like the woodland flowers and plants. Do you get showy orchids? You obviously have moist woods. My woods are dry shade so unfortunately I don't get mayapples, orchids, spring beauties, or jack-in-the-pulpit. I've not even tried to grow any of the moist woodland plants.

    I'm always looking for dry shade plants, that also must like an alkaline, poorly drained clay base with an acidic top soil of rotted pine needles and oaks leaves. Tough environment. I do get a creeping evergreen vine with white flowers and red berries that is interesting. I identified it a while back, on a Maryland wildflower site, but have forgotten what it is at the moment. I thought it was winterberry creeper because it looked like that, but it was something else. I'll have to go and find the name again.

    Any ideas of what to plant in my environment that will also be beneficial to small mammals and birds? If I had consistent moisture it would be nice. When it rains heavily I get the most unusual mushrooms on my property. This year, if and when they show up, I will photograph them and post. I have no clue what any of them are.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the info about zoom versus macro. I swear, I lose more of my brain cells every day!!
    I'm hoping the nighttime freezing that's predicted for this week doesn't ruin all the wildflowers and leaves. I really have to figure out what to do with all these lotus tubers I just harvested. I think 19 degrees F is too cold for them outside....??
    jeanner....that poor gnatcatcher!! Trying to keep up with that huge baby cowbird.
    I guess I have a different opinion about cowbirds. They have been doing this for centuries and its how they adapted to following the bison herds for food.
    I think if we have a songbird problem, is because of us humans, not the cowbirds.
    I saw a PBS special on them once, and it changed my feelings about them. They look long and hard for the best area and the best nest for their babies.
    I have faith in nature knowing what its doing. What causes problems is when mankind messes up the flow of things. Sometimes it really hard to identify where the problem actually is......but I honestly don't think its with the cowbirds.
    I took a lawn chair back in our woods yesterday. My husband spends all his summers pulling out invasive honeysuckle that has taken over our property, and now it actually looks like an "old-fashioned" woods. Not many birds out for some reason........but I did see a brown creeper going up and down a tree. The temperature was perfect, the woods were perfect. I had to be careful, or I was going to just meld into the air.....and become one with the universe........ohmmmmmmm :)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    what a pic,jean!

    i see i need to get busy and post my springers i photod last week. i thought about starting a diff thread for plants, but i haven't gotten around to it. no matter to me! i like looking at all the pics :)

    wintergreen,ct? though i believe they like moisture. or is it bearberry?

    lol, cat!

    Here is a link that might be useful: bearberrry, kinnick kinnick, uva ursi

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That's a great pic, Jean! So sweet. :)

    Those bloodroots are gorgeous! They're not even in my Sunset book, so I'm sure they wouldn't like it here. I've seen Trilliums growing up in the foothills here near streams, and it's one of my favorite plants of all time. You live in such a beautiful area!

    The only dry shade plants I can think of at the moment are some of the Mahonias, CT. One in particular (M. nervosa) is an excellent choice for dry shade, but many of the others take little to no water, as well.

    I sure wish you could get answers about your lotus, Catherine! I've seen your posts over in Discussions, and I wish I knew enough to help you out! I agree about the mankind issues, too. :)

    Brenda

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks Brenda,
    I ended up collecting all those lotus tubers and putting them in a big bucket of pond water, and I'll bring them in at night. I just know all the flowers, etc., are going to get their bippies froze off this week!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Catherine, can you share how your husband is getting rid of the honeysuckle? I was told by the local park ranger that you can cut it back in fall and apply full strength roundup to the ends but that didn't work for me. I just ended up with fuller bushes the next year. Digging it up doesn't seem to work either. My woods are overrun with it and I can't seem to even make a dent in it. It's so thick in some areas that you can't even begin to walk through it. I have a few small areas where it hasn't spread - I avoid walking through those areas as I was told it is very quick to spread to areas that have been disturbed. Which I have seen as the worse area is where the power company drove their trucks in to trim trees and now I have an alley of solid honeysuckle that didn't used to be like that. I am also hesitant to rip it off the slopes as it is the only thing stabilizing the hill. But it just makes me sick to see how overrun my property is compared to my neighbor's woods that is pristine and full of wildflowers. I think the cows that were pastured here and the wild (as in, out of control) kids that lived here before really did a number on the wildflower population. Last year I dug up some trilliums and twin-leafs that were in danger of being overrun with honeysuckle and gave them to friends where they would be safe!

    CT, have you tried mayapples? Mine grow in heavy clay and do quite well, they don't seem to be that picky. Box turtles love the blooms and I find a few every year munching away. I think wild ginger is also fairly adapting. How about snakeroot? I'm not sure how beneficial it is to wildlife, although I am a firm believer that a variety of vegetation is a bug attracter and therefore a bird attractor. It is beautiful when blooming and has an dark green leaf that is quite pretty. Heres a picture of it blooming ...

    {{gwi:166662}}

    FTM, get on the stick girl, we're waiting!!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    As for cowbirds, they are just doing what comes natural. Unfortunately they are having a major impact on the wood thrush population. They cite habitat fragmentation as the reason, which is due or course to humans. There is an increasing opinion that even parking lots at parks are a problem because of the abrupt change in habitat. These types of habitats are prime for cowbirds and other predators but are forcing the birds who prefer the deeper woods to nest closer to the edge of woods. It's sad but certainly not the fault of the cowbirds.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Wood thrush decline

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Trillium and Dutchman's Britches just starting to bloom around Milacs Lac, Mid east central MN. I've tried to transplant trillium here in west central MN, but haven't done it in the right spot yet I guess. The Dutchman's Britches are so delicate, pure joy:)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    and bumblebees love those britches! hmmm, don't say that too fast :)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Jack-in-the-Pulpit

    {{gwi:166663}}

    Dutchman's Britches
    {{gwi:166664}}

    Paw Paw tree blooms
    {{gwi:166665}}

    Jean - the snakeroot is lovely and I also love Mayapples. I get many box turtles passing through and I didn't know they liked Mayapple fowers. I do know where 1000's of them grow and I made take one or two and see how they do. They are common around here but I thought I always saw them in low places. Oddly, I have 9 (or more) of the Black Gum (Nyssia) and they are listed as for moist, poorly drained soil, so maybe my woods are not as dry as I think they are. The top soil is about 4 to 6 inches thick and consists of rotted oak leaves and pine needles. It looks like peat.

    I still have yet to find that plant that DOES grow in my woods. FTM - it is not Bearberry. I thought it was that but it is not. This plant is completely flat on the ground, gets small, 3 petaled flowers, followed by one red berry per each flower. It almost is like a chain pattern with opposite leaves along the trailing/creeping stems.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sheepco, I'm surprised the trilliums are blooming there already. Mine are just leafing out. Could they be the snow trilliums (very rare in these parts)????

    I love the paw-paw! How big is yours? Have any idea how old they have to be to bloom? Mine is only about 3 feet tall. Do you get fruit on yours?

    The dutchman's breeches and jack-in-the-pulpits are such cool plants. I don't have any wild jack-in-the-pulpits but my neighbor has them so I always have to go take a peek. I've been trying to get a little patch of blue-eyed grass to grow but it's not doing so well. I hope the cold didn't get all the wildflowers.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    very nice!

    ct, why does it look like there is a butterfly transposed into the dutchmans breeches? or, do i need to adjust my meds?

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Jean - Not my Paw paw but one near by my home in the woods. It is 15 to 20 feet high is my guess, or more. It is a wild specimen in the woods and yes they get fruit.

    FTM - that is a Zebra Swallowtail which are fond of Dutchman's Breeches.

    BTW - it is snowing right now and we are expected to get 3 to 5" with some freezing temperatures that might harm fruit tree flowers. I hope this does not cause a bad year for berry production on the wild cherry trees. I have a huge black cherry that some years is loaded with fruit and a major bird attractant. All of my scarlet elders, black chokecherry shrubs made it through the winter. Not sure if any of the American Bittersweet did, but it may be too early to judge.

    CT

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That image of the Dutchman's with the butterfly is awesome, CT! Good eye, FTM! I didn't even see it until you mentioned it.

    Really love those Paw Paw blooms, too. So rich and Asian looking!

    Brenda

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks Brenda!

    I took another photo of that thrush this morning. I tried to get one from the side with the tail showing, but no dice. We had wet, gloppy snow this morning and this bird was coming to the front porch for hulled sunflower seeds and suet. This photo is closer with the bird on the first step of my front porch. The rusty color seen on the tip of the wing is also on the tail. Is it a Swainson's or Hermit???

    {{gwi:166668}}

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    ct, perhaps you will understand my confusion if i say we never get butterflies and breeches at the same time! :)

    our newly awakened queen bumblebees love them though. oops, repeating myself again.

    i would so love tohave a paw paw.

    here goes:

    {{gwi:166670}}
    {{gwi:166671}}

    sharp lobed hepatica. i think the main diff b/t these pics is i was playing with my portrait setting (fuzzing out the background)

    {{gwi:166672}}
    {{gwi:166673}}

    bloodroot. what is interesting jean- mine bloomed and the leaves were still twisted around the flower stems while yours seems opposite:

    {{gwi:166674}}
    {{gwi:166675}}

    i can't remember exactly what this species is, but it is native and dies back when the temps climb.
    {{gwi:166677}}
    {{gwi:166678}}

    i didn't get my spring beauties, or my breeches. now, it is just plain too cold. 34 right now and was way colder last night. so, i didnt bother looking for asparagus again. i tend to pick the free spirits growing at work here and there. i don't eat it and i don't like the smell of my hands after picking it, but it is one of the few veggies dh likes.

    i remember talking about those spears somewhere, but i don't remember which thread!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi jeanner,
    The honeysuckle has been so awful for us. The guy who built this house, bought it from the DNR and planted long rows of it. We let it grow for 20 years, before realizing how awful it was.
    My husband goes out every weekend, for almost the whole day, and pulls alot of it by hand. We don't use chemicals, although I'm getting close to agreeing to use them.
    someone on the woodlands forum told me about this really neat tool that we ended up buying. Its called a "Weed Wrench". It comes in 3 different sizes. Its unbelieveably good at pulling out stumps easily. But as you know, most older honeysuckle has big multiple trunks.
    My husband usually cuts it down to about a foot with the chain saw. Then goes back the next year and cuts it again. Then the next year, he can usually pull the stumps out.
    But.....as much as he's pulled out over the years, alot of the entire property is covered with baby honeysuckle. Its just a nightmare.
    He's disturbed so much of the ground while pulling all this stuff out, I think he's just been preparing the perfect bed for more honeysuckle to grow.
    Because of my physical limitations, I can't help him. I'm trying to talk him into hiring a group of people to come work on it, so we can finally get ahead of it. But he doesn't want to do that. So I think its pretty futile.
    Also.....I believe we have spread honeysuckle to all the properties around us, and if the neighbors don't want to get rid of their's........then it just comes back to our property.
    Its totally unbelieveable how huge this stuff gets.
    I'm seeing it more and more elsewhere in this state, and I think it will get to the point, where the officials will realize that it has to be removed somehow. I just can't believe how aggressive and invasive it is.
    On the stumps that DH has cut, and its sprouting all around it, I'm thinking of spraying it with a salt solution, or vinegar or ammonia.......but I haven't tried that yet.
    We're also overrun with wild raspberries and just a few years ago I found "hop vines" growing everywhere.
    Living in the woods isn't nearly as easy as it sounds!!
    But check out the "Weed Wrench". Its a pretty amazing tool.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Try cutting the honeysuckle to the ground and using double strength Round-Up while the wounds are still open, then cover it with black plastic to block all light (and hopefully all water) for several months.

    I like the white flowers with the yellow centers. They look like Anemone of some type.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    cometose.........we have thousands of these.
    I LOVE their blossoms! They smell so heavenly. But the honeysuckle are like the Sirens......luring the sailors to their deaths! lol!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Those bloodroot flowers are beautiful, FTM! And that last thing (fern?) is wonderful! It looks like a little alien visiting us earthlings. :) The Hepatica is gorgeous, too!

    Brenda

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Anybody going to guess the Thrush or do I need the tail in the photo?

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just a quick note CT - I'm having a hard time with your thrush. It certainly doesn't look like a hermit thrush to me and I would think you would be able to see at least a vague spectacle for a swainsons. I'll check BNA in a bit and see what photos they have for both .... have you asked your local birders? Any thrushes being reported on your listserv?

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm taking a wild guess at either a gray-cheeked or bicknell's thrush - but I haven't seen either so it's just a guess. Heres BNA's synopsis of the difference between the two ...

    gray-cheeked
    Medium-sized thrush, slightly larger than any other Catharus thrush (1617 cm, 26Â30 g).
    Upperparts and tail fairly uniform cold grayish (brownish gray to grayish olive).
    Rather plain, cold grayish face with indistinct whitish streaks or mottling on ear-coverts,
    narrow grayish-white area mainly along upper and rear portion of eye (never a bold eye-ring),
    and grayish lores. Distinct dark lines at sides of throat coalesce with prominent brown-ish-black
    triangular spots on lower throat and breast; belly and sides marked with oval-shaped spots
    (spots wider than long) distinctly paler than breast spots.
    Underparts starkly white except for slight buffy wash usually confined to breast and sides and
    cold grayish wash on flanks (this color similar to upperparts).
    Contrast between darker triangular anterior spots and pale oval posterior spots,
    combined with cold, grayish sides and flanks and minimal buff wash on breast highly distinctive.
    Veery similarly plain-faced but has only diffuse dark line along sides of throat,
    rather weak spotting that is restricted to breast, and upperparts rich reddish brown, although populations with duller, darker brown (less rufescent) upperparts breed in Newfoundland, s.-central Appalachian Mtns., and Rocky Mtn. region and may be encountered on migration across e. North America.
    Veery also has pale, silvery gray flanks that tend to contrast with rich brown upperparts (little contrast on Gray-cheeked Thrush)
    and lower mandible has orange-pink base.

    bicknells
    Most BicknellÂs have olive-brown or brown dorsal coloration, whereas most Gray-cheeked
    have olive-gray or olive (Ouellet 1993).
    In comparison to Gray-cheeked, BicknellÂs shows contrast between chestnut-tinged tail and wings, and rest of upperparts.
    This may be obscured by worn, dull tail and wings, or low contrast in warmest brown birds.
    Also shows warmer brown upperparts and a lighter buffy wash on the breast
    (underlying the dark spots) than continental subarctic Gray-cheeked Thrush (C. m. aliciae).
    This, combined with bright yellow to yellow-orange basal half or more of lower mandible,
    provides a subtle but generally reliable method of separating BicknellÂs from aliciae Gray-cheeked Thrush.
    Potential confusion with Gray-cheeked Thrushes of Newfoundland and nearby St. Lawrence estuary coasts (C. m. minimus), which show some chestnut edging on wings and tail, are generally warmer brown than the more olive-gray aliciae, and often have extensive pale yellow on the lower mandible, although apparently not as bright as BicknellÂs (McLaren 1995). In BicknellÂs, color of legs purp-lish flesh, with toes darker than tarsi and soles of feet flesh to dull pale yellow; in Gray-cheeked, tarsi lighter flesh color, with toes invariably much darker and soles of feet brighter yellow than in BicknellÂs (Ouellet 1993).

    Since the color is hard to tell in a photograph, I'm guessing gray-cheeked based on the buff on the chest and sides and the amount of yellow on the bill.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Both Hermits and Swainson's being reported. Not helpful I know. Maybe it is a cross. The tail is rusty colored but the body is pale and the spots not prominent. There are no spectacles of any note that I could see.

    Is it an oven bird? LOL

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I posted the photo on my SMAS site and received this back:

    Susan:
    It's a Hermit Thrush. The lack of the white spectacle rules out Swainson's and the overall warm brown coloration rules out both Swainson's and Gray-cheeked (as well as Bicknell's). There are lots of Hermit Thrushes moving north right now. In fact, before this cold front settled in forcing us to turn our furnace back on, we could hear them singing shortly after dawn. I still here them singing as I'm heading off for work around 0700 but it's not the same as hearing them while you're still in bed!
    Another field mark to look for which will clinch Hermit Thrush is a ruddy or brick red tail. The tail is distinctly redder than the overall brownish wings and back and they have a tendency to bob it up and down frequently when perched on even when just on the ground.
    Nice photo!
    Tyler

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Glad you found out what it was - the spots fooled me because every hermit thrush I've seen has been much more heavily spotted. Maybe local variations come into play here, or perhaps a young bird ???

    FTM, your photos are wonderful. I feel like I can reach out and touch your bloodroots. The second to last one with the fern(???) coming up out of the dried leaves is a great shot. I did notice your bloodroots seem to have double blooms compared to mine. I can't believe your hepatica has already bloomed, I hope I didn't miss mine blooming.

    I actually used the Roundup concentrate on the cut ends of the honeysuckle and that didn't do it, and didn't help much at the local park which is what they did too. I've thought about cutting it down to a manageable size and spraying the leaves with roundup and then covering it with black plastic bags (which is what I had to do to get rid of some english ivy) but it will be tough to get very far that way considering how much I have. I have been digging some of it and then planting a bush in it's place but it's not feasible to do that with much of it. I am also hesitant to do too much until fall considering how many birds nest in the thickets. Too bad the emerald ash borer doesn't like honeysuckle instead ... big SIGH. That weed wrench looks like a handy tool though, and if it doesn't disrupt the ground as much as digging the bushes up than it might help in preventing new seedlings.

    I had a major explosion of gold finches this weekend. I stopped counting at 100 - they were fighting over the feeders so bad I did some serious ground feeding. And I think every one of them was singing and chirping, it was incredibly loud. And alot like the peepers, they would all suddenly stop and then one would start, and another and then all of sudden they would all be at it again. Very cheerful on a cold spring day. Also had 5 purple finches, all females and perhaps a young male just starting to show some color. And had a dozen chipping sparrows and three field sparrows, they make the fox and white-throateds look like giants! I was really hoping that I would get Number 100 this weekend with the cold weather but I guess I will have to keep watching.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here's my goldfinch explosion - I have two of these feeders, they each have a double platform which were filled with the finches plus a couple of little feeders and a thistle sock. They are in a variety of molting stages and some were looking a bit ragged!

    {{gwi:166679}}

    {{gwi:166680}}

    Like that pretty lawn?????

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    thanks, brenda, et al (in case i forget to acknowledge someone!).

    jean, i thought my bloodroot looked different! it must be a bit subtle. our hepatica tends to come up in the cold and the foliage was still curled and fuzzy. when it warmed up, it acted like it was going away. now, with 30 degrees, it was amazingly still up.

    i found that fern in the flower bed at just the right time. those pics are thanks to my new diggie from christmas! it can be fussy though. it will not focus on the sky!

    i have been too busy for the birds again. i did notice something today. growing up in kankakee, we never had sea gulls, EVER! they are there now!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Jean - that lawn does look pretty to me as it has biodiversity and is not the ecological wasteland of the golf course lawn that overuses pesticides/fertilizers/insecticides and water resources. Yes, that is a grand lawn! I love the finch photos! Gregarious birds. I've had a few banging into my window but thankfully is is only a few feet from the feeder so crazed birds or deaths.

    Regarding the honeysuckle (I did mean cut it back and spray the whole plant (cut ends included) with double strength round-up and cover with black plastic for as long as you can. You are right not to do it now with nests in there, but will there ever be a good time? Fall might have winter shelter interest. Maybe late winter/early spring next year before the birds nest and hard winter is over. It will probably take more than one or two seasons to claim success only to have the birds poop more seeds into the area from elsewhere.

    I had three more answer it is a hermit and you are probably right it is an immature bird as I thought it was a tad pale color overall. My group said Swainson's and Grey-Cheeked are very shy and the Hermit is almost tame. One of the members has one he calls 'The Town Crier' because it sings so much up close. LOL

    Hermits are here in mass right now, moving north to breeding grounds. The others are not here in force yet as per my group, although I did hear of sporadic Swainson sightings.

    CT

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I know what you mean about the goldfinch explosion, Jean! Mine is still going on, and I ran out of thistle for them! The guilt is killing me. I have to make a run into town today to rid myself of this feeling! LOL Since I only have one feeder, I should pick up about 10 more. :D

    One problem that comes with the tons of birds is the odds of them hitting the window. :( We found a dead one the other day after returning home, but one hit pretty hard while we were home. He was still alive, so I craddled him for about 5 minutes, whispering sweet nothings, until he realized I wasn't a bird and took off. :) Amazing experience, looking into the face of one of those little darlings.

    Brenda

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My daughter and s-i-l came over for dinner on Easter Sunday. It takes them about 30 minutes to drive from their house to mine. With the two feet of snow we had I really didn't think they would make it. I told them to arrive around noon. They got to my house around 1:30. I asked them if the roads were bad. They said it wasn't the roads it was the robins. I looked at them and asked them if they wanted to explain. Once they passed Avon Lake heading toward Cleveland (where we got all the snow) the only thing that was clear of deep snow were the roads so where were the robins landing? On the highway. She said they had to go slow in order not to hit them. Good thing there wasn't a lot of traffic out. She told me to look out the window at the street and sure enough there were about twenty robins hopping up and down the tire tracks. When my son and s-i-l started shoveling the driveway they knocked on the front door to point out my crab apple tree housing about thirty robins (of course I didn't take a picture). The tree only stands four feet tall and there were more robins than tree. Once they were done shoveling the driveway the robins flew out of the tree to the driveway. First time I ever seen anything like this. But the snow was so deep everywhere there was really no place for them to land. Only had oranges in the house so I cut one in half and put it in the driveway. Wished I would have had some raisins on hand.

    Jenny

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Aw, Brenda, I know what that's like. I held a kinglet this fall for just a brief moment to be sure he was okay. I was doing pretty good last summer preventing window strikes with some white stickers. I found out this winter that white stickers on a reflection of white snow is not all that helpful! So I know have a variety of boards, cardboard, etc in all my windows until it greens up again. I have strings with bright colored feathers that attach to the sliding glass doors with suction cups. But I also went through a month of no hawks hanging around so there was alot less panic flying.

    Jenny, I had a few robins hanging around all winter. They look so miserable in the snow! I had one camp out in my platform feeder eating sunflower seeds. But thirty in one tree, that must have been a sight!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What an awesome sight, Jenny! I'm always a bit surprised, and a little taken aback, when I see only ONE robin in my creek. A tree full of them would be so amazing! They are the cutest chunk-style birds. :)

    I've been trying to figure out what the best thing would be to put in the windows, Jean. But you're saying anything is better than nothing, right? :) I hear ya. And I better get to it, since I'm counting at least 25 goldies (plus assorted house finches) on the old dog runner, and 8 more on the new thistle feeder...not even counting the ones on the ground. One false alarm and....yikes!

    Brenda

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    jeanners spring photo in here is just ethereal! lol, i first typed etherear. look out ether! its your rear!