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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 4, 11 at 12:26

Time for a new easy-loading thread. Spring is lurking out there somewhere!

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:

Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Birds and other mobile features in the garden #2

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2009

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #2

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #4

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #1

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #2

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The late winter sun is getting stronger and stronger and there are some very shiny birds out there now. Here is a Common Grackle newly arrived and ready for a show.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And of course the turkeys are always beautiful, at least to my biased eyes.
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I know it's not a bird and not even shiny and it's on the tube feeder where it shouldn't be, but this squirrel is still cute.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Lovely, clear pictures of shining poses. Turkey feathers always appear to have a shell-like iridescent quality to them.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 15:55

Thanks, Jane, I'm beginning to get a handle on my new camera. I just had to realize I can't use the same settings I use on the old one and get the same results.

For the last week I've been seeing a small flock of Common Redpolls - I rarely see them here and never more than one. Usually the one is all fluffed up with the cold, but it's in the mid-fiftties today and the feathers are all sleeked down. Eight of them today, all feeding together (this view has most of them). I wonder if they're in transit, heading north because of spring coming. In any case they're scarfing down the nyjer seed and I hope they're filling up the energy stores for the next stage.

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Redpolls and goldfinches coexist nicely on the nyjer sock, redpoll on the left.
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Redpolls belong on matching red socks.
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Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 9, 11 at 15:49

Not to belabor the point but there were twenty-eight (28) redpolls here a few minutes ago! Last year the winter finch invasion was Pine Siskins - this year the redpolls look like siskins wearing red berets, some with red ascots. They're probably heading on their way north from Cape Cod where they've been hanging out for a while.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Throwing nyjer seed on the ground right outside my computer window has been great for seeing little birds this year.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Look at them all! What a delightful flock you have, Claire!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

That's a great gathering. The most redpols I've had here is 3-4 at one time. However, with the help of a nyjer seed feeder, the flock of Am. Goldfinches has grown to 39 and sometimes, a redpoll is among the nyjer noshers.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Blue Bird house hunting has begun here. And, the goldfinches are more yellow with each passing day. The titmouses (titmice?) are doing aerial dances similar to what I saw hummingbirds do last summer. Been through 8 lbs. of nyjer seed in a tube feeder in one week. The season has begun!!!!


They have two made-to-order houses to choose from, so here's hoping. At the feeder, daily, I see 4 female bluebirds and 2 males, so who knows. The Carolina Wrens and BC chickadees still prefer my picket fence for nesting.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Hello Jane,
Picket fence? I am always surprised at some of the nesting locations selected. We are in "the woods" with
so many great trees to choose from and one year a bluebird selected the small tree right beside my most trafficed doorway!
Hello Claire,
It looks like word is out where the tasty seeds are in your neighborhood!
That is quite a gathering you have there.
Beautiful photos...appreciate everyone who shares them..
and by the way, you are all quite accomplished photographers.
Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Mr & Mrs Mallard have returned to our skating pond this year, so hopefully in a couple months we will have a flock of little ducklings visiting. This is the 3rd year in a row for them to arrive in the spring and set up a nesting spot - granted I'm assuming it is the same pair that comes each year.

On the one hand, they are late this year. On the other hand, this is the first time they have arrived when the pond is still covered in ice.

Photobucket


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Not exactly IN my garden, but I heard geese yesterday for the first time. Along with the turkey vulture that I spotted last week, that means spring to me. Yesterday I also had one robin working on the holly berries in the Christmas buckets that are just emerging from the snow bank.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 18, 11 at 20:23

That's a lovely photo, pixie lou, with the reflections on the water and the light on the snow.

The Carolina Wren is still singing on my deck - I'm thinking I'd better get the Christmas garlands off the railing before the wrens consider nesting in it. My plan was to remove the remaining holiday stuff by the first day of spring or the first bulb flower, whichever comes first. That's this weekend for sure.

I think I saw the first female Red-winged Blackbird yesterday - the males have been here for a while staking out their turf. The big red-wing flock has left already but the grackles have stayed. Turkeys aren't displaying yet but they're getting frisky, skittering around. A frisky turkey is kind of endearing. The redpolls have all gone although juncos are still around.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

I knew it was spring when I heard a mourning dove in the garden. March 8th they showed up. One of my favorite birds, I find the sound so soothing.

We just couldn't keep up with our feeders or birdbaths this winter. The snow was just too much to deal with and the bird baths that are even further back in the yard were buried under all that snow, which was a first too.

They've been filled and the birds are starting to find them again. I've seen a cardinal and the chickadees and a few juncos are still around. Surprised to see goldfinches but ours are not turning yellow yet.

You have a new camera, Claire? Nice photos! Love that photo of the bluebird Jane, Is that a birdhouse next to a gate and at what height? I have a small yard and I'm reluctant to place a birdhouse in so many places that have traffic. Must be very enjoyable to have a pond with baby ducklings, pixielou.

Always enjoy everyone's photos and comments even when I'm not posting.

:-)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 19, 11 at 16:35

Today a squirrel was industriously gathering dead grass and/or leaves, probably to line a nest for some babies. I love seeing them stuff their mouths and race up a tree - I'm not quite so happy to see yet more squirrels here.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Some turkey toms were displaying today, with the classic fanned tail. There were a bunch of young hens here all ready to be impressed. I tried to get photos but the toms were staying behind some shrubs. They'll probably get bolder in the next few days.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Hi PM - the bluebird house is about 7' up from the ground on a cedar post. It is next to the top of an arbor, not a gate. The bluebirds like an open space, which they have here, so we'll see if Mrs. Bluebird approved of the house or not. She's been inspecting the 4 houses within my view. Two Christmases ago, we gave 4 neighbors bb houses and cedar posts, so in our area we have 6 new houses including my two. The birds are nesting somewhere nearby because two males and 4 females were at my feeder and suet all winter.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Today's color - it's coming.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 21, 11 at 14:14

I don't know what color my goldfinches are because they've gone away! For the last few weeks I've only seen a few here - maybe they went looking for the redpolls? or believed the redpoll propaganda that the nyjer is better in the north? Maybe the snow today (yes, it's snowing today) will send them back.

The juncos weren't fooled, twelve so far today (my first PFW count day). I did see a robin though.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Jane, that's a very pretty arbor, I like the detail. The cedar post looks like an actual tree trunk without the bark. That's a great idea for gifts for the neighbors. You've made it a neighborhood project! Very clever. :-)

Our goldfinches were a gray/green yours are really turning. Ours will probably not be far behind. Thanks for that photo.

Saw a couple of robins here too.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 22, 11 at 17:54

Spring may not have come to my garden per se, but the turkeys have embraced it. The birdsong includes periodic gobbling as the toms parade around. There are two toms displaying, one of them is dominant but is allowing his buddy to come along, usually a few steps behind.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
The colors are amazing.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

They seem to move up and down the street, to the great amusement of traffic. I saw one guy in a pickup truck very politely beeping his horn to get them to move to the side so he could pass.

When I first saw them this morning my immediate thought was that they might attack when I went to get the paper, My second thought was no problem, they recognize me as the provider of food. My third thought was I didn't really want to embarrass the toms in front of the hens by scaring them, so I waited a few minutes until they moved away. At one point I considered stopping traffic to help them cross, but decided that was going a little too far.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

First and foremost - good heart, good pictures.

No question, the turkey's feather display is the result of a skeletal/nerve wonder. Incredible design. When I see a tom strutting his stuff, all I can think is some prehistoric creature has run through a rainbow head first at mach 2, lost the outer head covering, and was slowed by his chest smacking into a pile of pine cones. Something has gone terribly wrong when the head and neck look like they should be worn on the inside. I dunno, maybe there is something to the Archaeopteryx- dinosaur/bird theory. To me, turkeys look like they are still evolving, but then again, so do some of my relatives. Good shots, Claire, keep 'em comin'.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 23, 11 at 11:50

I like your description, Jane, particularly "Something has gone terribly wrong when the head and neck look like they should be worn on the inside." They do look more like they're topped by an internal organ than by an external feature.

I'm no longer worried about attacks - I went out this morning while the gang was here and they respectfully parted for me. In fact, the two toms did a little circle dance in front of me as if they wanted my approval. I went to refill the feeders and this was gratefully received. I think they consider me their great turkey stepmother. I don't look much like a turkey (although some might disagree) but I keep saying "Eat! Eat!" like a proper mother.

Of course I move slowly so as not to startle them, but that 's normal behavior when wildlife is around. Terrified animals are unpredictable.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 24, 11 at 11:25

This morning I was eating breakfast with my back to the computer window. I got up to do something, glanced out the window and discovered I was being watched! " All right, all right, I'll get the camera!" The ham paraded around for at least a half hour before the show moved on.

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Hey, a guy's got to eat even when he's all dressed up.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Not everyone was impressed - this crow perched on the shepherd's hook and looked disdainfully "Now what are those stupid turkeys doing..."
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Was on my way to plant more seeds and thought I'd stop by - SO glad I did. What a joy to see all those turkeys. That new camera is doing a great job! The crow is the perfect finial for that hook.

No turkeys, but there are daily goldfinch wardrobe changes. This morning's outfit:

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 24, 11 at 16:13

Jane: Your goldfinches are definitely further along than mine, but at least mine are coming back from wherever they went (maybe a neighbor got a sale on special nyjer seed and enticed them away).

Several of them have hints of yellow and one has a few patches. No black cap though.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Claire, you definately have some fans there! The pics are terrific.
Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

We have duck wars going on! Apparently another male mallard has decided he likes our pond. But the orignal Mr. Mallard keeps chasing him away. I guess our pond isn't big enough for the 2 of them! The 2 males keep chasing each other around while Mrs. Mallard just hangs out in the background.

Photobucket

In other positive news, I saw our Kois and Comets for the first times yesterday. I saw a school of about 35-40. Didn't have the camera out to photograph them. Spring is definitely here.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Ah, pixie, you're the lucky duck to have that lovely pond!
Wouldn't worry about the Messrs. Mallard, but those exotic pinks in the background could present a problem, lol. Super - now I have pond envy! Good shot. Let us know when there are ducklings. Yup, it's spring pond envy...again...

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Jane - those "exotic pinks" in the background are actually quite hardy. They took up residence a few years ago. And have withstood numerous coyote attacks!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Pixie, I have serious pond envy! What an idyllic place you have.

I encountered an unpleasant guest on the bank of our brook this afternoon. I spotted this nutria rat (invasive non-native pest) swimming about in our swollen brook a couple weeks ago, but hoped it had retreated downstream as the melt water flood began to subside. Now today here it was on the bank. I should have turned on the video to capture the spectacular leaps the creature made out across the brook into the wetlands when it spotted me. Now I'm faced with the prospect of trapping and removing (killing) it and its relatives before the one becomes legions. Not good. I wish I had Mr Possum back and this beaver/rat thing gone!

Has anyone else here experienced a nutria invasion? (I hope they stay away from your pond, Pixie!)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 29, 11 at 12:59

I didn't know that nutria were found in Vermont - are you sure it's not a muskrat (a lot more benign)? What does its tail look like?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Actually I'm not sure, Claire, but a 2006 habitat map shows nutria in eastern Canada bordering on my state, so it's not a huge leap to think they have traversed the waterways and landed in my brook since that map was drawn.

The differences between nutria and muskrats are fairly subtle so I need a closer look. The tail on this rodent is rat-like, but I need to see if it is actually truly round or slightly laterally flattened. (Muskrats' tails are supposed to look like this as opposed to the nutria's round rat-like tails with sparce hairs.) Also nutria are supposed to have orange front teeth. I definitely need to see this critter up closer before I shell out for a live trap and plan how to humanely dispatch them if they do prove to be nutria. Please let it be an ordinary muskrat!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 29, 11 at 14:54

I hope it's a muskrat! Is there a local wildlife department you can talk to about the presence of nutria? And maybe they'd do the trapping for you if it is nutria.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Oh yippee! I finally got a closer look at the rodent through the binoculars, and its tail is definitely the scaled, laterally flat tail of a muskrat (as opposed to a completely round sparcely haired tail of a nutria.) What a relief!

Unfortunately it appears to have some sort of neurological problem. It was walking carrying a branch in its mouth, and it kept toppling over, although it did make it to the brook still carrying his branch. (I suppose it's possible that the branch was catching on low-lying brush or the uneven ground and was simply causing him to lose his balance.) However one sick muskrat is better than a hundred healthy nutria!

I'm thinking that the aquatic wildlife moved in because of the small pool that we had dug in the brook last summer to handle the overflow from our new well. The new fountain and pool certainly attracted dozens of frogs that were not there before, so I guess the muskrats too answered the call.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 31, 11 at 16:38

That's terrific! (NICE muskrat, NICE muskrat). Sounds like that new pool is going to be a source of interesting observations.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Yes indeed! Delightful muskrat! Welcome little beast! I've done more research into this benign species. Apparently it is common in spring for males to fight one another, frequently to the death or to the point of serious injuries. Perhaps there was one heck of a muskrat battle and the one I saw today was the victor, with injuries to prove it. I hope he recovers.

Muskrats like to dine on cattails and sometimes frogs, and we have plenty of both, so this one has set up camp right next to a large grocery store.

What an immense relief. I had envisoned a long, stressful, and unpleasant war, worse than my fight against the English sparrow plague of several years ago. I much prefer the role of passive observer to that of exterminator.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

We also have muskrats that we occasionally see at this time of year in the brook and river that flow through our farm. I can remember seeing one several years ago, gathering dried grasses (I assume for nesting materials) with a large gash in his scalp. So it's interesting to me to read about males fighting. Thanks for that answer to a puzzle that's been floating around the back of my brain for a few years.

We often see beaver, but only sometimes see otter and muskrats, so it is always a treat. One summer I actually spotted a muskrat under water when we were swimming with diving masks.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Spedigrees - glad to hear your dreaded nutria rat is actually a muskrat.

I've seen muskrats and otters in my pond. I know there has been some beaver activity - evidenced by the downed trees - but I have yet to actually see a beaver. I *think* I actually saw a groundhog the other day. We had one living in our brush pile last summer - he destroyed my gardens. So I'm hoping he found somewhere new to live this year.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Confirmed: Bluebirds in residence. Too far a distance for my camera to be super clear, but Mrs. B is gathering materials and building while Mr. B keeps watch. This has been going on for about one week.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 5, 11 at 12:42

Congratulations on the new, very photogenic residents! It looks like swelling buds on those branches - are they surrounding the nest? If so, the birds will have a cozy shaded shelter - good for them, not so good for visibility for you.


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RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 5, 11 at 13:23

Yesterday I saw a Northern Flicker checking out one of my suet feeders, but it flew away before I could get the camera.

Today she came back - a female and you can see the yellow feathers on the tail that is characteristic of the eastern flickers (western types have red feathers).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Claire,
Don't you think it's time to post the hummingbird migration map? For some serious bird-envy! And I love that flicker. No one like that comes to my suet. But the cardinal has been chirping (?) like mad -- is it a mating call or is it just scolding me to get more seeds out!
lucia


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 6, 11 at 16:23

EEEK!!!! I just checked and they're close! I'm on it.

Clalre


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RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 6, 11 at 16:43

Lucia: Well, that was probably the fastest I've ever posted the hummingbird migration map. It took a little over ten minutes after I saw your post (thanks for the noodge) to find the map, check it, see the latest reports, find last year's post to check the format, and post the current map. I think I'll rest now (zzzzzzzzz).

Claire


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RE: hummingbirds

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 6, 11 at 16:48

Oh, and this is the Hummingbird Spring Migration 2011 post.

Claire (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

Thank you all so much for sharing the birds! My real camera is sad, so all I have is my phone's camera. Not so helpful for bird shots. ;)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2011 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 14, 11 at 16:51

And thank you, wispfox, for watching! I'm starting a new thread (2011 #4) because this one is getting long and slow to load.

Claire


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