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claireplymouth

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #10

This thread is intended to give people a place to post photos and/or talk about birds, critters, wildlife, fish, whatever - topics you might not want to start a whole thread on, but are still garden-related. You can see the range of possible topics in the previous threads:

All of the threads in the "Birds and other mobile features in the garden" series prior to 2013 are now stored in the New England Garden Forum Gallery. See the top of the main page to switch between Discussions and Gallery. For 2012, see the links posted in Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7. These threads have been moved to the Gallery but there may be problems with some of the links. I've corrected those I can edit and I made an Index for threads from 2008 to 2011.

And for 2013:
INDEX: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013

2014 threads to date:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #2
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #3
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #4
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #5
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #7
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

......................................................................................................................................

Harvest time and this bumblebee is loading its sacs with goldenrod pollen.

Claire

Comments (76)

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    Boy, it's an active day out there today.
    Gargling

    Nuthatch ground feeding? Stayed on and off all day-he's fine.

    Nuthatch on speed


    (sorry, couldn't help myself)

    Not a murder, just planning one maybe


    Jane

  • homegrowninthe603
    9 years ago

    Such awesome photos all of you have posted, one after another. Thanks nhbabs, Jane, Claire, and arbo-retum for your bluebird comments.

    In case anyone thinks bluebirds are always beautiful and charming, here's a very short video (24 sec) taken recently of my other birdbath. My first try at posting video clips on here, so please let me know if you have any problems viewing. There's no sound. Susan

    Here is a link that might be useful: birdbath dust up or splash up

  • Related Discussions

    Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #2

    Q

    Comments (85)
    Nice owl! From the back I wouldn't have been able to identify it as an owl. It's amazing how similar raptor backs look - I guess that's a very effective camouflage pattern for a tree dweller. I wonder if sparrow backs work best in grassy environments. I can empathize with your DH slipping while trying to photograph the owl. When I was leaving my NYC neighborhood I wanted to take a photo from the sidewalk of the Siberian Elm outside my window. While backing up I tripped on the railing of the building steps next door and almost fell into the stairwell. I managed to grab the railing and pull myself back up without damaging me or the camera but it was a close call. Claire
    ...See More

    Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #7

    Q

    Comments (73)
    No bunnies here even though we have clover. Years ago our cat used to catch the babies and leave them at the back door .... that was sad. Also no coyotes in the last few years. There are woodchucks and mice/rats along the river but probably better hunting elsewhere. I do see the Sweat green bees like the one you photographed, Jane, among all the others in the gardens. And sadly, we also have the dreaded Greenhead flies. Those monsters are making it difficult to work in the garden, especially in the afternoon, without long pants and sleeves. Many mornings a Black-crowned Night-Heron comes to fish for breakfast along the river. The one from yesterday looked particularly "blue". He'll stand a long time at the edge of the dock waiting for the glimmer of fish. He fishes from the edge of the river. I love to watch him "creep" along the bank towards the best spot. The white plume coming off the top of his head.... Finally... a dove nestled into the top of the garden shed roof .... between the Black Mulberry tree behind him and the feeders below.
    ...See More

    Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #12

    Q

    Comments (79)
    Well, I'll be...thanks, Susan. GW is one of my 'Liked' pages, but seldom do I see it on Facebook. They used one of my robin with berry pictures earlier this year and one of nhbabs's landscape scenes. Today I got a deal on a SX50, so I sold my Sx40 (there is a 400mm difference in focal length) so we'll see what the future holds. It was kind of you to bring this to my attention, thanks again. :). Hope you don't get snowed in again this weekend. Jane
    ...See More

    INDEX: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014

    Q

    Comments (0)
    These threads are still on the Discussions side, but I'll link them here to make them more easily accessible. Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #2 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #3 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #4 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #5 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #7 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #10 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #11 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #12 Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #13 Claire
    ...See More
  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Jane: That looks like a gathering of this year's brood of young crows - finally comfortable in their new home.

    Susan: Very funny! A bluebird in no mood to share its bathtime with another.

    Claire

  • User
    9 years ago

    LOVE the BBBath & Beyond!
    I have a very similar bath bowl in my garden, with a small statue of Three Graces in it. Cardinals love it especially, but so do the Carolina wrens, who are the progeny of nesting pairs for as many years as we've lived here.

    What would we do as gardeners if we lost the favor of such helpers and entertainers!

    Meet the "Pig Family", 5 babies in 2012 ready to come out of the pig flower pot sitting on our deck railing....third year there, previously nested on top of the broom rack before we enclosed the back porch. Now they get inside the workshop through a hole for a fan exhaust, and I think they are nesting in my canoe hanging from the rafters.

    Speaking of the goldfinches, for the last two years they arrive here in winter. By the time they are ready to migrate north to your areas, the males have molted and look transformed. They should go forth from here fat and sassy. They consume monthly in the winter, along with the bluebirds, buntings, cardinals, chickadees, towhees, and so on and on, MONTHLY mind you, at least four 35 lb bags of the black oil sunflower seeds. I now have up 3 hanging feeders and one platform feeder, plus suet in the shaded areas. I know when the birds disappear from the feeder there is a hawk circling in the sky, looking for lunch.


  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Those Pig Family babies are adorable, moccasinlanding, and I love the idea of wrens nesting in a canoe!

    I hadn't thought about goldfinches migrating since they're here all year round, but I guess an Alabama summer is too warm for them. The big winter flocks disband in the summer here as breeding season starts but I'll see a few at a time at the feeders. I was hearing them a few minutes ago, until I played the songs on All About Birds. They're probably scratching their heads now trying to figure out where the invader goldfinches are.

    I'm not seeing the big turkey poult flocks now - I guess they've grown up and split into smaller groups.

    I think these are mostly adult hens taking it easy now that they don't have to protect babies.

    The closest turkey may be the lone tom who's been exiled from the flock.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    Claire - those turkeys certainly are prized ornaments in your garden.

    Question: Is that dark red Munstead Sedum to the right of the turkey? And if so, does it split in the middle? I only have one of those plants, and it needed a peony ring to hold it together despite being not very tall. The chipmunks have expanded their ring of excavation which now includes the front gardens so who knows what happened to Munstead. All of my sedums are weird this year.
    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Jane: No, that's a good old Autumn Joy.

    I do have other sedums (variegated) that are floppy but I moved them a few times in a droughty summer so I expect them to recover next year.

    Back in July I noticed a new chipmunk hole in my bluestone path

    I ignored it for a few months but it kept getting deeper and I began to worry that the pavers would be undercut and cave in. I had been regrading other parts of the pathway so I had pea gravel on hand and I filled in the hole level with the surface of the path, figuring that would be the end of it (no photo). The next day I looked at it and the pea gravel was gone. No piles, nada.

    The chipmunk probably now has pea gravel paths in all of its tunnels.

    I have to admire the little rodent and I wonder if this is the same chipmunk that feeds on nuts on my deck and climbs up onto the arm of the chair and then to my arm or hand and stares at me when the nuts are gone. It only stays for a few seconds, long enough for me to get the point, and then jumps down. I put out more nuts.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    Thank you, Claire. Don't believe I can blame the chipsters. Frosty Morn sedum that was 42" tall (an anomaly) last year, this year is maybe 15" tall and bent over. Beats me. I've played the fill-the-hole game with the 'delightful' rodents also, but like you, to no avail. They're living inside a downspout having excavated around the spout end which use to be secure within a stone wall. No peanuts for them here, despite their earth moving cycle continuing.

    A shadow was instantly cast over a window this morning and knowing that Mary Poppins retired, it could only be Fluffy...and it was. He then soared upward and did the most incredible barrel rolls in the autumn blue sky. I'd miss Fluffy.
    Jane

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    I think this is a 2 Star Downy with a peanut.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Jane: If it weren't for Fluffy's habit of eating smaller birds, I'd say that the hawk and the woodpecker would make an attractive pair - the plumages complement each other. In fact, the hawk would look good with a red cap, and the woodpecker could use those hefty talons to run up trees.

    Claire

  • defrost49
    9 years ago

    Loved all the photos and the cranky bluebird video! I hate to say goodby to September. We have a small flock of killdeer my husband discovered while he was working in a field that is being cleaned up. They are hanging around a wet area. A local bird expert told me they are probably just passing through. I saw 4 but my husband counted 10. They blend in with the dirt.

    Having serious damage to carrots in the garden. I hate to dig them all but might have to. I suspect a vole since I saw one scurrying between the vegetable bed and the overgrown asparagus patch. This is WAR. We have had another visit from a pair of 6 point bucks. So odd to see males roaming together.

    Only small flocks of Canada geese have stopped for a visit. Maybe it's too early for the big flocks. They tend to circle the field before landing and there are times when they decide they don't want to land.

    Phoebes are still hunting insects. They like to perch on the pea fencing which stays up all year. I also see them perched on flower stalks.

  • homegrowninthe603
    9 years ago

    Recent visitorsâ¦

    A pretty flicker working the lawn


    A downy woodpecker who was frantically flying back and forth between sunflower seedheads and this crabapple tree

    A squirrel stealing walnuts. He raced up into the pine tree and parked there, never losing the nut in his mouth. I should name him âÂÂLuckyâ because DH wasnâÂÂt around. lol

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    A squirrel with walnuts must be like a bee in clover - lucky squirrel! Good pictures, Susan.
    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Nice pictures, Susan! Flickers are such dapper birds, you never see one looking mussed up. Sweet squirrel pic with the curled tail - looks like a female fattening up for the winter.

    The goldfinches have returned from the woods wearing their drab winter plumage. No more flashy yellow males. I put the second nyjer feeder out a few days ago. That's a suet feeder in the background.

    I've been seeing a grackle occasionally for the last month. He's apparently by himself; maybe he missed the migration or couldn't fly for some reason.

    I bought some Indian corn today at the farmer's market, but remembered I've had allergic problems with the husks indoors so I wanted to put it outside. After I got home It occurred to me that the squirrels would probably go for it so I put it out on the deck to see what would happen. A few minutes ago I heard a thump and sure enough there was a squirrel chewing on it.

    Somehow I don't think the empty cobs will be very decorative.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    This morning I was finishing breakfast on the deck (wearing two layers of fleece) when I saw a small flock of turkeys heading south in front of me. They passed by and went on the neighbor's yard, but apparently met another flock of turkeys there. There was a lot of running around and squawking with one flock eventually heading back north and the other flock continuing south. There was no fighting - I think most of these were juveniles.

    I grabbed the camera halfway through the event to see if I could capture the sounds as well as the sight.

    Upset Turkeys

    Claire

    This post was edited by claire on Mon, Oct 6, 14 at 15:40

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    That's neat. It was like being there, good show. Wouldn't it be great if all boundary battles were that peaceful?

    I'm over the edge of something natural. Short version: I decided a viburnum, now 10' tall and growing through a rhody, should come out. Went to the garage for the kneeling pad and pruning saw. Approached shrub with gear and a loud chorus of about 12 sparrows began yelling at me. I went around the other side of the shrub still looking for their reason to really yell at me, but to no avail. Saw nothing, felt everything. The viburnum stands in place, the sparrows are quiet and I'm in here typing knowing nature got through to me. The viburnum won't die today. Maybe not at all.
    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    I know that feeling, Jane. It's how I felt when I went to regrade one section of the bluestone path, pulled up a paver, and saw frantic ants trying to protect their young (where'd the roof go!!!!). I put it back and worked around it - so the path isn't perfectly graded but I can live with it. And so can the ants.

    Just a reminder that our yard is really not just our yard. Sure you can do whatever you want in your own yard, at least by human standards, but should you?

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    9 years ago

    So here was my excitement for the evening . . . movement right outside the dining room window (3') caught my attention, and when I looked out, there was a bear! A young one, I think, but I've never seen one this close to the house. They are harvesting the corn field, and I think he must have been disturbed. The photos aren't great (I was just a little excited) and s/he started running about the time I grabbed my camera. I think s/he must have seen me at the same time I spotted him.

    (Sorry, Jane, not a moose.)

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    9 years ago

    Just before he disappeared around the corner of the spruce.

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    HOLY COW!!! WoW! Sooo glad your had the camera near. That had to be a shock. He may be young, but I'd shy away from any bear hugs. Beautiful animal. That's great. Do you think he'd be brazen enough to come that close if people were outside? That would concern me a tad...at least keep me very attentive while outside. Do be mindful...we like having you here.
    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Great that you could capture the bear (in photos that is, I don't think you'd want to capture the bear in reality - what would you do with it?).

    That must be a big shock for a young bear when the whole corn field disappeared. Maybe it hunted in the corn and was looking for the critters at your house? They must have gone somewhere.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    9 years ago

    The bears are fairly omnivorous, so while they may eat little critters they find in the corn, I think that their main interest is the corn ears, based on the bear scat I've seen in the field area. The funny thing was that s/he was running toward the part of the field with the tractor and corn chopper still working and making quite a racket. Perhaps s/he was planning to scoot down the river bank. Usually either the bear doesn't know we are there, or if it does, it is running at a good clip in the opposite direction. DH says there has been something doing some digging in the field areas by the shop, so perhaps the bear has been the one doing that. Based on size I think it may be one of the two cubs that my BIL caught on camera with their mother this spring behind the shop.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    9 years ago

    A week ago on a ramble through the next farm south in what used to be ornamental tree fields I caught some more common critters. There was a large group of perhaps a dozen flickers that continued to move ahead of me along the edge of the river. I've never seen more than a couple at a time. They were feeding on something on the ground, but I didn't see anything in particular.

    From September 28, 2014

    From September 28, 2014

    From September 28, 2014

    This turtle was crossing a sand bar where the stream meets the river.

    From September 28, 2014

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    9 years ago

    This weekend a large fat ant-like bug struggling to move through the grass and fallen leaves. It was at least an inch long.

    From September 28, 2014

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Nice photos, nhbabs! I don't think I've ever seen more than one flicker at a time. Maybe they were eating your ant-like bug since they are great insect-eaters.

    Northern Flicker food habits

    I like the flicker in flight shot and the turtle with the water reflections is excellent.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    OK. That new camera has opened our world too. We knew you lived in a great wild kingdom, but Wow! now we can really see it! I've never seen more than a pair of flickers at one time. You are a lucky duck! The moose is coming...I just know it. Did I mention that I had to settle for a stuffed moose in Maine?

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    It's not as dramatic as a BEAR! or a MOOSE! but I have a deck opossum like Jane's. I first saw it a few nights ago while I was sitting on the deck but I didn't have the camera with me. Tonight I put out some nuts and had the camera set for low light and sure enough the possum came back about ten minutes ago. It looks like a young one.

    It stayed for a little while but seemed nervous about ten feet from me and left.

    Brightness adjusted

    Brightness adjusted

    Brightness adjusted

    While I was preparing the pictures for posting the possum came back again but wouldn't let me photograph it. I'm going in soon so it has another chance.

    Claire

    Edit note: I adjusted the brightness on the original photos and added these.

    This post was edited by claire on Wed, Oct 8, 14 at 11:32

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    9 years ago

    In the last couple of years we are starting to see possums in this part of NH in significant numbers for the first time. I don't know if it's more due to warmer winters or better food supplies or what.

    Clarie, I am impressed by the variety of critters you get in your yard considering the relative density of houses nearby.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    nhbabs: The houses are close to each other in a line along the road (and lined up on the edge of the coastal bank), but there's undisturbed woods across the street and the coastal bank is heavily vegetated so there's plenty of habitat for wildlife. Also, most of the houses are empty during the winter - this is a seasonal community - so there are few people around off-season and little traffic to disturb the critters.

    Claire

    Note: I just edited the pictures to increase the brightness and show the possum better.

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    When the first opossum moved into our garage at wintertime years ago, the animal control lady here in town told me that if you have to have a wild animal on your property, opossums are the best of the local bunch. Other than the males giving off a musky smell at mating time, they're pretty harmless and nonconfrontational. Olivia had playing dead down pat and had a gourmet cat food palate; easier than racoons and bears. Your nocturnal nut eater will surely be back, Claire. No Heineken to wash down the peanuts?

    I looked out my office window and there, about 3' away, was this brown body and despite my temporary blurry vision, I thought, that's no bear. I definitely live in a tamer area.
    Jane

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    She checks everything for a bug. And when she's tapping away on aluminum, I cannot focus on anything else. But she is cute.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    9 years ago

    Jane, for a several years we had yellow bellied sapsuckers that used the antenna on the house for drumming to declare territory. It wasn't bad most of the time, but when he began at 4:30 am, the sound was transmitted through the house structure into the upstairs bedrooms - not a welcome sound that early. He also sometimes used the transformer box on the pole by the road which was noisier outside, but quieter from inside the house.

    We haven't had one for several years now, other than just passing through, and I can't say I miss the early morning pinging!

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    The possum came back again last night. I didn't try to photograph it - I just sat there quietly - and it slurped up all of the peanuts on the deck and ambled off.

    I'm glad possums don't make noise banging on metal objects (as far as I know).

    Boston.com today had a great video of a hawk taking down a drone. I think it's a red-tail but I could be wrong.
    Hawk 1, Drone 0: Video Captures Hawk Attack on Quadcopter

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    YES! Hawk, 1: Drone, 0. That was great. Of course I didn't pay for the drone, lol.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Apparently this is not that uncommon. I found this article which lists other bird-drone encounters. Check the eagle carrying off the drone.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    I think the above link is the same as the Boston Globe link.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    The video shown is the same as in the Boston Globe link but the text is different and lists more examples.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    Even as a former golfer, I applaud the goose in the above story. Can't believe the guy sent the drone back up for another round with the goose. Must have $ to burn. Goose, 2 : Drone, 0. hehehe

    Not a great shot (cataract surgery is tomorrow) but the bluebirds are back and splashing out back in the font. I'm glad they're back. Winter is good for bird photos...okay, that's one good reason for winter.
    Jane

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    lazy poster here...what do think? Is this guy a young red squirrel? A little larger than a chipmunk, not as large as a gray. I did hear one while on a neighborhood walk last week. They have a different voice and chatter pattern. Maybe he's a hybrid and gets more seed to the gallon.

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    Okay, last individual post. Too lazy to upload today. I heard the Pileated first - it's an unmistakable call. Again, not the best clarity, I'm not a left eye shooter, but here he is showing his stripes:
    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Looks like a red squirrel - I saw one in May, 2010, but not for very long. Cute little thing.

    That woodpecker looks like he's bundled up against the cold with a striped headscarf.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    9 years ago

    Jane, I agree that it's a young red squirrel. They are gray before they are red. Quick healing after the surgery tomorrow. My FIL was amazed by how much brighter colors suddenly became.

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    Thanks, nhbabs.:)

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    In the Land of Firsts: red squirrel, eye lens and female Eastern Towhee. It's a tribute to current digital technology that all of this is possible. I'm always amazed. Had to get her - my first sighting of a female towhee.
    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Pretty towhee, Jane. For me, they rank along with female cardinals in being just as attractive as the male, even if they're not as flashy.

    She probably looks better through your clearer eyes now.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    I'm pretty sure this is a first year female RB Grosbeak. A family was born here this year. Just checked Cornell, and I think she should be on her way to South America. Doubt that she would listen to me, but does anyone still have any RBGs around? Of course, I could be wrong and maybe she's a hybrid Lowes/HD sparrow, but she's the only one of her kind here.

    Jane

    This post was edited by corunum on Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 17:25

  • Thyme2dig NH Zone 5
    9 years ago

    I've really enjoyed catching up on everyone's critters. Barb! A bear?! Wow, that is awesome!

    Jane, coincidentally we had a female towhee here yesterday on the deck. She showed up twice. We were thrilled!

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    No grosbeaks here, Jane, but I don't usually see them anyway. I did see the first White-throated Sparrow of the season a few days ago (no picture yet) so the winter residents are moving in.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    9 years ago

    huh...did not know that. I thought they were here all the time. Just saw a few the other day. So, I looked up White-throated Sparrow migration and found this neat map of their seasonal timing.
    "White-throated Sparrow Migration"

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Nice map!

    75 posts and time to start a new thread. It will be up shortly, more or less.

    Claire