Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #7

claireplymouth z6b coastal MAJune 29, 2014

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

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The combined turkey broods (four hens plus about 20 poults) passed by my deck this morning and many of them stopped for water. Turkeys are known to be voracious tick eaters so I'm hoping they're clearing the yard of nasty insects.

Maybe I should get a bigger saucer, or at least level it so it's fuller.

A couple of poults climbed onto the old chairs which are too rotten for people to safely sit on but fine for turkeys.

Listening to them is fun - gurgling and chortling and purring.

Claire

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Tina_n_Sam(CT-Z6)

They are cute!

How wonderful the way they make themselves at home in your yard!

-Tina

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:29AM
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defrost49

Great photos! I have been disappointed not to see any baby turkeys last year or this year. We've seen some hens but don't see any little ones following.

We're pretty sure we have a bobolink nesting in the field that's just beyond the lawn/garden area. We had never seen one before so this area won't get mowed until August 1. In the meantime, looks like tree swallows are nesting in one of my new bluebird boxes. We think we saw a female bluebird gathering nesting material. She had a huge hunk of dried grass in her beak. Might be using box #2. The third one doesn't seem to have any takers although a bird occasionally perches on it. Yes, the boxes are far apart. My husband followed internet instructions and had our young granddaughters nail the boxes together and use a drill. They were thrilled.

We have a lawn vs garden bed issue and the inside curve of a kidney shaped bed is impossible to mow. My husband has to show me how to use the weed wacker every year and I hate to use it. So tall grass grew up along the edge and was getting into the bed. We started to edge it (the sod is tough!) and then I started weeding. I went to grab some dried grass in a small summersweet shrub but realized it was a nest with 4 beautiful little eggs - blue with brown speckles. I have left a 5 gallon bucket of weeds in front of the shrub to help camouflage it. There are now skinny little hatchlings. One is one top so I hope the others are ok. They seem sleepy but I've seen the top one move.

Tree swallows are also new to us this year. I left the huge sage plant un-trimmed and glad I did, a hummingbird has been visiting the flowers.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 6:17AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Tina: My yard is just one of many in the range of these turkeys. The hens and poults keep moving and seem to be mostly concerned with eating (feed the growing kids), so they don't stay in the yard. The other adults will sometimes lounge around and preen as if taking a siesta.

defrost49: I hope your granddaughters get to see all of their boxes in use.

Your "lawn vs garden bed issue" and the nests gives yet another reason to postpone weeding and mowing. Birds are much more interesting than grass, (IMO anyway).

Claire

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 10:20AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Glad to see so many poults alive and thriving. Claire - have you considered a baby swimming pool?

Yesterday I was at the CT River's edge in a small inlet and learned something new about male mallards. From Cornell:
" In mid-summer after breeding, the male Mallard has a complete molt, producing a dull-colored basic plumage, aptly termed the eclipse plumage. Male Mallards in eclipse plumage look remarkably like females, but their bills are light olive green, while females' are orange marked with black. Because flight feathers are also molted at this time, the birds become temporarily flightless and tend to be very secretive. The male Mallard's basic plumage is kept only a few weeks; it is soon lost in a molt of the body feathers which produces the brightly colored head and other distinctive features of the breeding plumage. The timing of this molt is related to courtship in Mallards, which begins in the fall." I knew that the male also moulted and became flightless for a while, but had never heard the term 'eclipse'. Interesting choice of terms.

Here is the picture I took that started the query about his red/rust breast feathers, etc.

All worth it, because he may be these little guys' Dad:

For fellow duck lovers. Jane
Edited to show full male adult plumage in last picture.

Here is a link that might be useful: birds.cornell.edu

This post was edited by corunum on Tue, Jul 1, 14 at 11:48

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:37AM
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pixie_lou

Thanks for the info Jane. I guess that explains why I haven't seen Mr Mallard for a while. He had been dropping by the pond daily for a while.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 1:36PM
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tkln

Oh the turkeys are so cute!!! And the ducklings are beyond adorable! We haven't seen any baby anythings. :(

Did see a cute fox about a month ago...but haven't seen it since. Was hoping for a family portrait lol. (not the best photo but I was happy I was able to capture it at all)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 6:01PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: The mallard drake in the eclipse plumage sort of looks like a guy who's relaxing in his favorite scruffy old shirt and five o'clock shadow, glad that for a little while he doesn't have to impress any one.

Lucy: Your fox looks relaxed in your yard too.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 7:09PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Not the best shot, but it's the first time I've seen the male RB Grosbeak feeding his daughter. The fledgling's wings went a mile a minute and she watched him most attentively every time he went to the safflower feeder. I hope to have a new 'customer'.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 11:34AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: Fledgling feeding is fun to watch - the parent is so solicitous and the baby so demanding.

I particularly like the stage where the parent has finally gotten the kid to the feeder (or the ground-feeding area) and the kid is clueless that food is within reach, and waits to be fed. At some moment the lightbulb comes on, maybe the kid pecks at the ground while waiting, and it realizes I'M STANDING ON FOOD! and feeds itself while the parent looks on, probably with a mixture of relief and regret.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:20PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Chickadee today, roosting time - the chokeberry shuffle.

This must be the bird version of the yoga mountain pose: one leg stand

One wing stretch:

Two wing stretch - and they he flew away. Think he may be a fledgling.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 12:41PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Your chickadee looks dry, Jane. All of the birds here are soaking wet - it's been raining most of the time since before noon, and more rain to come as Arthur plows by (luckily well south of us) tonight.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 1:55PM
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spedigrees z4VT

That is interesting about the mallards, Jane, and something I just recently learned too, from a nature documentary. Apparently all species of ducks go through a flightless molting phase each year, instead of shedding old plumage and growing new simultaneously like most birds, so they lay low during this vulnerable period.

Here is one of my nibbling pasture bunnies, and a photo of my 21 yr old cat relaxing on her "crow's nest" platform atop the porch railing while a hummer drinks from the feeder. The spot where the barn swallows nested in the past remains vacant. I think I may touch up that corner area with flat white paint this summer; it could be they do not like the new high gloss paint.

The tree swallows in the bird house appear to have fledged, although I missed seeing them take to their wings. I think Mr. and Mrs. Titmouse in the barn are still caring for their brood.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 12:19PM
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spedigrees z4VT

This critter was a present from the hubby this spring. The welder who makes these really has the feline look down pat! He's on guard in the pet memorial garden.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 12:29PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

spedigrees: Is the green material on the railing a runway to help the cat get up to her perch?

Love the welded cat!

I was out today checking my yucca 'Color Guard' which has a nice long stalk with buds on it, when I noticed that a few of the lower leaves were stuck together. I pulled them apart and found a spider in there apparently defending what looks like an egg case, although I suppose it could also be dinner. I tried to put the leaves back together - I hope the spider repairs it.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 2:34PM
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spedigrees z4VT

The white ball looks like an egg casing to me, Claire.

Yes the old kitty has a ramp leading from the railing to the porch floor, covered in fake grass, indoor/outdoor carpeting, washable and durable. It's one of a number of ramps for arthritic pets, and we arthritic humans often also use the dogs' ramp leading from the back steps down to the yard! (picture from last summer)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 3:42PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Nice solution, spedigrees, to the aging cat's need to be on the observation deck. There's that moment when you notice that the cat (or dog) no longer lies in the favorite place and you think, Duh, he/she can't get up there without help. So help!

Claire

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 4:40PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The turkey school flock came by late this afternoon as the sun was going down and reflecting in the window (excuse for the mediocre pics).

Something scared them, I suspect my camera eye in the window, and half of the poults flew up to the trees. I stood there with my mouth open and the camera in my hands and missed the flight. I hate when that happens.

These poults stayed in place on alert.

This poult looks like one of the hens on alert, just a lot smaller. They're growing up.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 7:58PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

It's a turkey paradise. Very nice. Saw the below (link) story and thought maybe others would like to see it. Plymouth turkeys are luckier than some thirsty Dutch swans-- (but they got lucky).

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: goodnewsnetwork.org

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:43AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

What a lovely Dutch story! You don't think of the Netherlands as being lacking in water, being mostly below sea level and surrounded by dikes. It's amazing that the swans followed that very good man.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:57AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Interesting about the swans! Probably these swans were somewhat familiar with human presence, perhaps having food tossed to them, much like the mallards in Boston, and deemed this man worthy of following. Poor thirsty birds!

Yesterday I attempted to trim out some of the willow bushes alongside the brook, and found these. Are these bird babies not the cutest things ever!? I'm wondering what species both the eggs in the one nest and baby birds in the other are. In any case, note to self, wait until late August to hack away at the willows!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:22PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Hi Sped, I have no idea which bird species the eggs belong to, but I did find a site that may assist in the identification. Wonderful pictures you took, sure hope they aren't HOSP. As soon as I saw the speckled eggs I could see you in your little red car doing the relocation stint. Hard to tell from the picture...do they eggs look like HOSP?

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: egg id

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:16PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Ah, Sped.... that view of the Kitty Ramp is so dear. Reminds me of when our cat (18 yrs) passed away. Baby Girl hated everybody and everything except for my DH, but as her arthritis became more painful, she welcomed having our new puppy Brody rest up against her. I think his warmth helped to ease her pains.

A whole slew of photos follows. Sorry for the amount, but we had such a wonderful morning.

Today we had a Birding Jaunt because we final remembered to pack the camera on our way to the PO. After the tragedy with the osprey nest near us, UI put up a nesting tower along the road. It's in a great spot... near several bodies of water and set high between two trees. The pair arrived back in early spring but left in April. Maybe no eggs? Then they returned in mid-May. I'm sure there are eggs up there as one of the pair is always in the nest. Then we drove to the Audubon Observation Center at Milford Point. Saw more osprey and also these Purple Martins.

Guarding the nest along Anderson Avenue, Milford...

See what landed under the osprey's wings?

Squawking out warnings to anything that dares approach

Has eyes on me....

The beautiful CT Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point

Having lunch....

Condos at the beach... for Purple Martins

Here's my DH's shot of one at rest... they're beautiful in flight

Molie

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:21PM
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spedigrees z4VT

No Jane, definitely not English sparrows. I can tell this from the nest construction alone, as well as nesting location. HOSP eggs also tend to have a blue-greenish tint under the speckles which these don't have. (Had they been, they would be gone now, trust me!) Flycatcher eggs have the mottled reddish pattern of these eggs but the nest construction doesn't look the same. A pity there is not a comprehensive photographic ID site to all New England birds' nests and eggs. It will remain a mystery I guess since I intend to leave them strictly alone after disturbing them as I did, and removing some of their camoflaguing foliage before discovering them. I did notice a small indeterminate brown speckled bird flitting in and out of the willows in that spot today, so I imagine it is the parent.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 3:33PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Sped, could they be song sparrow eggs? From your pictures, that's as close as I can come on the eggs.(see link below) Your sighting of "brown speckled bird flitting" is the mystery. If only it had been a green or aqua speckled bird, then we could have nailed it! (hehehe)

Molie? THIS is what you get on a trip to the post office? Wonder what you get when you go to the bank? Holy cow. Marvelous! Now I have to go to Milford Point. It is on my list, but you just pushed me into Thursday. So glad UI did the right thing.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Song Sparrow, Cornell

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:14PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

No idea what the nestlings and eggs are, spedigrees, but that first nest is of marvelous construction. I found The Birders Report site on Bird Egg and Nest Identification which has some wonderful pictures of Carolina Wren nests among others. Unfortunately it's not just New England birds.

Molie: Is that a cardinal checking out the osprey's nest? I like the beach cabanas for the Purple Martins.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:49PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Claire, from his view my DH thinks it was a sparrow who landed there briefly then flew away. When the osprey comes down our river to feed, we often see sparrows, blackbirds, and finches chasing them out of "their" territory.

Regarding those cabanas... this morning I saw the same cabanas in a link from Longwood Gardens. Interesting article about Purple Martins... I know we'll be going back to the Audubon Center.

Molie

Here is a link that might be useful: Purple Martin Moments: Bird Talk in the Idea Garden

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:53PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

I 'enlarged' that picture on my iPad; it is definitely a sparrow. DH is right.

This is the most attentive bird father I've seen. Close to this level is the cardinal dad, but the rose-breasted grosbeak father seems to be feeding his two daughters alone. No sight of Mom.

Jane (time to prune branches in front of feeder)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 2:18PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Molie: Looking at the bird in the photo again, I think what I thought was a crest was actually the side of the bird's head and the top was pale. Male House Sparrow looks reasonable. I love the idea of a house sparrow chasing an osprey.

That's a great story about the Purple Martins at Longwood Gardens! The nights of July 11 and 12 they're having a special gathering to watch them. Too far for me.

Doesn't look good for the female grosbeak, Jane, unless she's incubating a second brood.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:46PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Today as I drove down the drive way I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of more than a half dozen little black and orange butterflies flitting around in a shaft of sunlight that made it though the trees. They were about an inch long and a bit wider, and were moving really hyperactively. In several minutes of watching I only saw one actually land and stay put for 20 seconds or so. They were so lovely, wings catching the light as they moved through the dappled light.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 7:33PM
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homegrowninthe603 6a SE NH

Male bluebird on the tomato fence post

Female

Bluebirds feeding the second brood this season


The fledglings flew the coop sometime last Sunday evening. Alas, we did not see them. Never do. We hear them up in the trees as the parents teach them to feed themselves.

Susan

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 9:24PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Beautiful bluebirds, Susan. I see them in the winter, but haven't seen them in warmer weather. Nicely perched on the railing.

Not blue, but purple...martins. Following Molie's trip to Milford, I went yesterday and captured a few shots. They are incredible birds. Also found a mockingbird hunting in a large juniper. Link to some more shots below.

Feeding the baby:

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Flickr - CT Coastal album - public

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:56AM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Susan, those are wonderful shots of the bluebirds. The one of the male on the rusted post would be great in a calendar.... love how his orange color is carried down into the support below him. Others on this forum also have bluebirds, but I've yet to see one around us. How long have you had the nesting boxes?

Great, Jane, that you made it to the Audubon Site! You always take the best photos .... that baby's open beak and an obliging parent with its tail feathers spread out. I followed the link to your album....loved the ones of the PM carrying a dragonfly home.

Nhbabs... sounds like you had one of those days when a camera was just too far away and so your mind had to videotape the scene. Your description was lovely .... what a nice "gift" that was on your way down the drive way.

We went out today and passed the osprey nest... no camera for us either. In a split second a mini-play took place. There was the osprey ... perched at the edge of the nest, just looking. And a sparrow landed right next to him/her on the nest.

Said the osprey, "Oh! I didn't know that McDonald's delivered!"

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 12:28PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

What a lovely sight that must have been, nhbabs - butterflies dancing in the sun!

Susan: You're so lucky to have those bluebirds and to be able to photograph them so well. I've never even seen one; it's just too woodsy here.

Excellent photos of the martins, Jane, as usual. Such an elegant bird.

Molie: It's a good thing that ospreys don't like to eat birds, or that would have been a real food delivery.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 5:24PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The turkey poults are learning to relax in the yard.

One poult lying down near the hen. The hen is eating nyjer seed I spread on the path.

Another poult appears.

And decides to lie down too - must be something interesting to look at there.

And maybe it moved?

A couple more poults walked by, distracting the two on the ground.

And then they all left.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:25PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Claire, has the turkey flock increased in size this season? Your home is becoming a sanctuary. Yes, it was funny about the bird and the osprey, especially because the bird landed on the nest for just a split second as if saying 'oops!' Surely any animal that lands under the nose of its prey is not the brightest of its species!

Molie

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:31PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Molie: The turkey flock seems to be split up and the adults are mostly elsewhere, I really don't know where. What I'm seeing is four hens with their broods in one big mob, and separately one little hen and one tom.

The mob with poults follows its own schedule and lately has been appearing in my yard once or twice a day to eat.

The little hen and lone tom are often together but don't associate with any other turkeys. They'll hang around the yard just lounging and eating. They know my schedule and I'll see them waiting for me to put food out in the morning.

I'm not seeing one big turkey flock. What I'm seeing is some adult hens, a whole bunch of babies, and one tom that I suspect is an outcast. Somewhere there must be a a lot of toms but they're not here.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:07PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Claire, I'm just glad you have the turkeys back. Those poults focused on something are special shots. They look so intent.

The sparrow on the osprey nest and sparrows housed in purple martin plastic gourd houses does say a lot about the Lowes and HD dwellers. Their chatter is now gone thanks to the safflower switch and more species come bringing their own styles of communication.

Mr. House Finch brings the kids to the pool and this gathering looks like dad was checking junior's landing in the second picture.

Jane
(thanks for the compliment Molie and Claire. Luck and timing play their part because most photos end up in the trash can)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 3:04PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Homegrown, your bluebird photos are wonderful, as is your family of house finches, Jane.

My family of tree swallows have apparently fledged unseen. I miss hearing the din of chirping when I make the rounds by the birdhouse with my watering can.

We have a group (a murder I guess!) of 5 crows that walk about our pasture hunting bugs early in the mornings and late afternoons.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 12:48PM
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pixie_lou

Eastern Swallowtail (I think) on Echinacea White Swan.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 4:00PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, my favorite butterfly! (Well it's tied for favorite with the Eastern Black Swallowtail actually.) The past few years must have been good for the tiger swallowtails because they have seemed more plentiful. Before that I was worrying that that they were in decline, but I guess populations wax and wane periodically.

Nice photo!

This post was edited by spedigrees on Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 17:25

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 4:10PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Dad Finch looks proud but vigilant, Jane. Serious business keeping the kids safe at the pool.

spedigrees: The crow pest patrol is a welcome sight, keeping the pasture bug-free.

Butterflies and echinacea belong together, pixie_lou. Pretty pic!

Claire

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:10PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

A Crow family crossing the lawn like line dancing means fewer beetles! Good for you, Sped. I hope they start here soon. I think we feed them too well -they get all meat scraps.

It's not only butterfly time - good capture, pixie - BUT..Ta Da! I found the perfect pond just 5 miles away! And, I found dragonflies that I've not seen before. Of course I don't know their names, but I think this one is a blue dragonfly:

And for fun, I turned the exposure down to highlight him:

Did see one I've not seen before and searching Google, I only came up with "black and white dragonfly". Well, I could have figured that out:

And lastly, a real charmer on a lily pad:

I do love water life...she said while sitting high and dry at the top of a hill.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 6:28PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Beautiful pics of beautiful insects, Jane. The black and white one might be a Widow Skimmer. Or it could be something else entirely, all I know is from Google.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 8:11PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

I think you're right, Claire: Widow skimmer it is. The top blue one I think may be a Blue Skimmer. Skimming is exactly what they all were doing, hence...

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 9:50PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Claire - remember the sound inside the downspout that you guessed might be a bee? It's a chipmunk. He has taken up partying inside the aluminum downspout and raises particular hell in there. The end of the downspout is curved and for 61 years a downspout has peacefully and effectively survived doing its job covered by a stone wall raised bed. There is now 12" of dirt piled outside the stone wall.

A trip to the hardware store for some mothballs and I'll see if I can stuff some screening in there, but there is no way I'm touching that wall. His cuteness is diminishing daily.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 9:16AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The bottom dragonfly might be an Eastern Pondhawk. I found a nice website with pictures of New England Dragonflies.

edit note: Another nice website Odes for Beginners.

I sometimes hear chipmunks run into downspouts, usually when I walk by, but I can't imagine why they'd stay there unless it was a real droughty season with no rain to flush them out.

My current chipmunk problem is holes in the bluestone path. I guess it's a nice safe, well insulated space under there with nothing but ants to deal with.

At some point this summer I'm going to regrade part of the path that iced up last winter; I just need to get some gravel and sand. I'll use some of it to fill in the chipmunk holes in the path itself before the path caves in.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 11:32

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:05AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Firstly, thanks for the dragonfly sites and secondly, I have great empathy for you after all that stone laying work last year. After researching how to 'deal' with chipmunks and consulting my gardening goddess within, I've decided to clean up the dropped seed area which will shorten his grocery list and just live with it after repairing the excavated stone wall area. My Buddha-Disney approach is the only liveable path for me and I own the land, so that's the way it'll be! He'll only go dig somewhere else anyway and when his time comes, there will be many of his kin to replace him. So don't sweat it, just repair it and carry on.

Meanwhile, in the catbird world, this was not a diving accident:

he's just athletic.

Jane

Edited for people like me: Just had a dragonfly ah-ha moment: Just learned that 'Darners' are a family of dragonflies. Darner spawned the name 'sewing needle' which we used to call dragonflies when we were kids. Darning needle sounded too strange, apparently. And that only took decades to learn.

This post was edited by corunum on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 13:20

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 12:56PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Love this dragonfly photos, Jane.... nice that you found a water viewing spot nearby! And your catbird... must be a competitive diver.
Molie

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:31PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Mrs. Rose-breasted Grosbeak is fine. Here feeding her daughter yesterday and this morning. I count 2 girls and a boy from this brood.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:36AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: Clean catbirds and a grosbeak family - you have a busy yard.

I wonder if the grosbeak fledglings have a problem cracking the safflower seed shells, and that's why the parents are still feeding them at the feeder. Otherwise I'd expect them to feed themselves soon after they get there and figure it out. Maybe the parent cracks the shells for them?

Claire

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:57AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

I wondered the same thing. IF that is the case, the finch family has the same situation. It has been incredibly and suddenly very busy out there.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 11:30AM
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homegrowninthe603 6a SE NH

Claire, love the turkey pictures. They wander through here from time to time but weâÂÂve never seen any poults.
Jane, so many great picsâ¦especially the Grosbeak feeding the baby on the feeder.
Spedigrees, great âÂÂcatâ and beautiful pic of the babies in the nest
Molie, great shots of the Osprey
Nice butterfly pic, PixieLou

Wren exiting house after feeding babies

Catbird pausing for a moment after thrashing around in the elm tree

Goldfinches on the poppy seed heads

Thanks for the comments on the bluebirds. Yes, we do have a good place for them. DH built boxes several yrs ago. The only ones that they use are in the middle of a big open field/lawn/vegetable garden area. ThereâÂÂs a dwarf crabapple tree around 20-25 feet from the box and they have that for cover (and a close pIace for the fledglings to get to when the time comes). I wasnâÂÂt posting to this forum in February, so I hope you donâÂÂt mind seeing this now. 3 bluebirds just parked on the feeder looking very tired of winter. Defrost49, I hope you do attract some to your boxes!

Susan

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:10PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Susan: That's a very picturesque wren house/apartment building - do you get multiple families in there at the same time?

Those bluebirds look like they're hunkered down basking in the sun (grumbling under their breaths about the winter). I remember that season - glad it's gone for now (I say while sitting out on the deck with temperature in the upper 70's).

It's ant swarm season now. As usual I have no idea why they're swarming and where they're going to. They just suddenly rose out of the path and started milling around. These ants look much smaller than the usual ones I see.

Last year I lifted some pavers to regrade part of the path and exposed a network of ant tunnels with panicky ants running around carrying eggs and larvae to safety (the roof is gone!). I closed the path up without burying them, but this year I really do have to regrade to prevent winter icing. Maybe swarm time is a good time to do this.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:11PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Susan - wonderful life in your yard. I like that wren house and must remember to plant poppies! Great bluebirds huddled together.

Claire - is it my imagination or did the ants almost form an S in the top picture for swarm? Not enviable. We used to have swarming large flying ants. They rank right up there with sn*kes.

Two Mourning Doves come every day to stuff as much safflower seed down as they can. I've named them Bertrand and Russell and it seems that Bertrand has a focusing issue:
He tries so hard-

Nearly -

Rats. So close and yet so far. He flew away.

Come dusk, they both make it onto the feeder which is no small fete, and they stay till almost closing time.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:02PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Claire, well at least those aren't carpenter ants. They were so hard to get rid of .... we suffered through them at my first house.

Jane, you are really talented when it comes to bird photography... also very patient! The feeding shots are all lovely ... I've sent those and others to my DH for future paintings.

Oh my, Susan!.... real bluebird envy here. That's a great winter shot of a trio of them. Thank you for posting that picture. I also loved the one of the goldfinches on the poppy seed heads.

I'm mighty thrilled to be posting a shot of the trio of osprey that live in our neighborhood. For days we've spotted osprey hunting along the river. Then this morning on the way to Whole Foods, we saw three of them on the nesting platform. It was like a trifecta... so we, of course, went back home to get the camera.

Here are some shots from this morning.

and finally....

Molie

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 4:53PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: I guess that is sort of an S formed by the ant swarm, like some sort of a display you see at half-time at some sporting event. Maybe the ants are coming out for the World Cup of whatever sport ants like.

I enjoy seeing the swarms suddenly appear - but then I also enjoy seeing snakes rippling across the scenery.

I'm glad the doves finally managed to land on the feeder. That's hard work for a bird that's not particularly agile.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 17:50

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 5:15PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Molie: You posted while I was preparing a reply to Jane's post.

Those osprey shots are magnificent! I wonder if the two on the nest are preparing for a new brood while the third is just a bystander? Or maybe a juvenile from last year?

Claire

edit note: Or maybe the three are siblings from a recent brood?

This post was edited by claire on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 17:25

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 5:22PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Claire, I couldn't answer your questions and so I looked on the CT DEEP website for osprey information. This is what I found.

"Both sexes are similar in appearance, although the female is larger. Full adult plumage is achieved at 18 months. Juvenile osprey strongly resemble the adults, except that the brown feathers of the upper body are tipped buff-white, and the streaking on the breast and crown tends to be heavier. The eye color changes from brown to yellow as juveniles mature."

And... regarding nesting, I found this:

"The month-long incubation period is usually completed by the female, who is fed by the male during this time. Sixty days after hatching, young osprey make their first flight. After fledging, the young remain with the parents for up to two months. Young remain at wintering grounds for two to three years until they return to the north to make their first breeding attempt."

So... looking at the larger photo, I'm guessing that the bird on the left with the brownish eye is the juvenile living with mom and dad.

And do you all need a laugh? Here's our resident baby heron... a typical "kid" .... comes down for breakfast at the edge of the river without bothering to comb his hair!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 8:41AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Thanks, Molie; that makes the osprey pictures very understandable as well as being fascinating.

That baby heron is adorable! (I am awake, I am awake, just give me a few more minutes....)

Claire

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 9:44AM
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homegrowninthe603 6a SE NH

Great pictures Molie! Glad you identified that last bird. I guess I had no clue what a baby heron looked like.

Kind of attractive, in a disheveled sort of way. :)

Susan

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 3:13PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Green Bees
First one I've seen. Interesting (to me anyway) life cycle in link below. Found him this morning in my street garden (aka hell strip).

Jane
Edit note: Just found out this is a boy. Apparently the females have a green abdomen - no stripes. So the next time you see a 'Sweat Bee", you'll know if it's a Mr. or Ms.

This post was edited by corunum on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 14:06

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 1:44PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Pretty pic of a pretty little green sweat bee. Nice insect, not like the Greenhead Flies that plague New England beaches.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:31PM
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pixie_lou

Ospreys and baby herons. Sweet.

I opened the front door and startled Peter yesterday. He was sitting on the stoop in front of the door. He hopped off the steps and started feasting on the clover long enough for me to grab my camera. Excuse the dirty glass.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 5:47PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Pixie, this is a bunny year. I plant lots of clover and some years there are a few bunnies, some years I see none, but this year I see them nearly every day. Gone from my view are red foxes and coyotes. I've noticed a 4 year cycle of these animals. Just my observation - nothing to back it up.

Claire, ref. above link on greenflies, I was at Hammonasset aside the marsh 2 days ago and whatever the little buggers were, I got back into the car rather quickly. Was trying to capture marsh wrens - got 3 pictures before the bugs won.

Ref: July 15th photo above, the Rose-breasted Grosbeak family now dines together. Yea.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 9:18AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I am enjoying seeing all the bird youngsters. As I was walking around the garden this morning I was aware of a persistent chirping, but was a bit startled to see this little flycatcher(?) perched on a daylily stalk as I came around the dogwood in front of it. Still no tail feathers, so I think there must be a nest in the dogwood, the only tree near enough. I hope those feathers grow in quickly so he doesn't become dinner to someone.
From July 20, 2014 house

My Stokesia (really more bluepurple than this pinkish tone) seems popular with the pollinators
From July 20, 2014 house

as does the Helenium Mardi Gras.
From July 20, 2014 house

And this coyote has been hanging around the shop the last couple of weeks. I hope he's eating voles (the big bed at the shop which is just out of the frame to the right is plagued by voles.)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:29PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

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.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:25AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

nhbab's coyote looks very determined as it lopes over to its lunch spot. I haven't seen any coyotes or foxes since last winter. Maybe that's why we have so many woodchucks and turkey babies. The town is also enforcing the leash law so free-ranging dogs are scarce and probably get reported if they get near the beach, where there are nesting plovers and terns. Every house in the neighborhood along the coastal bank has at least one woodchuck in residence.

That's a beautiful Black-crowned Night-Heron, Molie! I've never seen one.

I glanced at my granite tortoise which guards a path,

And noticed a little green fly on its back. Maybe it's another hoverfly; it's too small to be a greenhead.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:44AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Finally got a hummingbird shot. This one ignores my feeder but comes to the Monarda at about 7:00 p.m. each night.

Steve

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 8:52PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Great shot, Steve, and good persistence on your part. Do you see them on anything else besides Monarda?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:49AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

It was pointed out to me that this is a female. I have seen her on some hanging baskets of petunia and calibrachloa, but she ignores the feeder. I even have Cardinal Climber and she hasn't found that yet.

Steve

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:09PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

This guy/gal was holding onto a label in the Hosta seedling bed this morning allowing me to get a really close picture.

Eastern Black Swallowtail

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:12PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Nice hummingbird shot, Steve. Maybe it's a youngster from this year's brood and she hasn't figured out the feeder yet. I have a few hummers that readily feed from the feeder on my deck railing while I'm sitting there. Others see me and fly off in horror.

Good thing that the swallowtail was engrossed in reading the label and didn't notice you - such a gorgeous insect!

Claire

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:30PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Oops - just noticed that the post count is 72, which is a lot for people with slower loading systems.

I'll start a new thread (2014 #8) very soon. As always, you're welcome to continue discussion here if you want.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 4:31PM
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