Return to the New England Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 5, 14 at 16:46

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

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

Since I've been giving peanuts to the squirrels when I'm sitting out on the deck, they're not quite so afraid of me.

It's raining and chilly today so I was sitting at the computer by the window that looks out onto the porch rather than sitting out on the deck. Apparently one squirrel decided to come looking for me.

Hey, you in there?
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

There you are!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It's cold out here.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And it's wet.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And it's windy. Got peanuts?
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'm doomed.
Claire

edit note: A Blue Jay just came and perched outside the window looking in at me. They come for peanuts too. I'm doomed.

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Jun 5, 14 at 17:01


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 5, 14 at 19:37

Great series. Peanuts are paid for wildlife entertainment. It's a critters' Ritz Carlton.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

I like the photo composition also, with the rose in the background.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

We are thrilled to see a bobolink in our meadow but it dawned on me that they are ground nesters and my husband usually mows a parking area for our 4th of July party. He says he can have people park elsewhere. A birder gave me a tip on how to locate the nest without upsetting the birds but we've seen one particular area that the male bobolink seems to favor. No mowing until August 1!

Looks like we have tree swallows in the bluebird boxes which didn't get up until late. We have bluebirds but I don't know where they nest.

Today I watched a pair of brown headed cowbirds. The male would puff up his neck feathers when approaching the female. She was not interested and would turn and glare at him.

After a couple of years of quiet nights, I heard the coyotes VERY close. There were tracks in our driveway. No frantic yipping, thank goodness.

The birds like the pea fencing and even the unattended spading fork stuck in the ground as perches.

Looks like black fly season is over!


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 17:40

Lots of activity in your yard, defrost49. It's good that you can delay the mowing so the bobolinks can nest.

It must be great to have black fly season over - we're living in dread of greenhead fly season yet to come.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 6, 14 at 20:04

I went out this afternoon to make a deposit in my compost bin and while I was there I was reminded that I really need to turn the compost pile that's right next to the bin. I got distracted though by the interesting living things inhabiting the pile.

I think these are carpenter ants.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And this is the infamous Dog Vomit Fungus, AKA Slime Mold!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Of course, by the time I ran back to the house for my camera and then took lots of photos, I didn't get around to turning the pile. Besides, I'm curious to see what the slime mold does next.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 7, 14 at 18:07

You have to admit,(smile) this thread is fun. A direct quote from the link above referencing Dog Vomit Fungus: "Like many humans, the mold matures into a harder, larger mass that loses much of its bright attractive color. "
Well, I'm sure there are days that I may fit that image, but I will not ruin any further aging by thinking self-deprecating thoughts that I may resemble dog vomit fungus. BUT, thanks so much for bringing this to our attention.

The picture of what I think is an adult Cooper's hawk is intentionally cropped because he/she is standing on live prey outside my window. I turn my head when sn*kes appear on TV, and I crop pictures when pain is evident. I've already admitted my wimpiness in prior posts. However, I think this is a rather telling picture; the eyes have his own skill and fear built into this expression.

Jane


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Takes my breath away, Jane, even without the prey. Just awe-inspiring.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 7, 14 at 20:05

Magnificent picture, Jane, and perhaps the hawk is afraid that something, or someone, will take its prey away after a very hard hunt.

It makes me realize that I rarely see adult Cooper's Hawks - it's mostly juveniles every year.

Thomas Hobbes said of the natural state of mankind without a social contract: "...and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

This, I think, also describes the life of a hawk.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 7, 14 at 20:48

Excellent example, Claire. I fully agree. Somewhere I read that many Cooper's do not survive after their first year and that sexual maturity isn't reached until age two. We have Great Horned Owls and other predators of hawks. Most of what I see is young Cooper's and Sharpies.
Jane


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 15:36

Serious consideration is being given to creating a local Chipmunk Relocation Service. He not only dug up my lettuce again, but he was making tunnels in the newly planted Livin' Easy rose - in a large pot on the deck as well as building condos once the lettuce was gone in a raised veggie bin. Just when I thought there might be some relief in sight when Ivy brought him onto the porch this morning, during the hour the chipmunk hid between two bags of bird seed, the cat fell asleep one foot away. I woke the cat up and tossed her back into the house, opened 2 porch doors fully, and that chipmunk ran outside so fast I could literally see all four feet off the ground at once.
I now have dark green tulle and some plastic bird fencing trying to hold my veggie bin off limits - much like a certain Phlox Protection Zone. Once more tearing up lettuce and I'm borrowing a Havahart! I had to move my greenhouse onto patio pavers to keep this guy out last year after he built condos and I lost lettuces 3 times; it was not a small job for me. There is a price on that little head.
Signed,
Losing Lettuce and Patience


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 9, 14 at 20:10

Perhaps Ivy needs an apprentice?

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Oh Jane, the lengths we go to to coexist with nature!

I put 2 lounge chairs down behind the pond, in the whimsy garden. I sat down there a couple times yesterday and discovered there is a whole new (to me) ecosystem back there. I was hearing bird calls unfamiliar to me. And I was seeing birds I could not readily identify. Didn't have my camera with me. But I was able to determine that I had a male belted kingfisher back there. And I think I saw an oriole. Neither have ever ventured up to the house.

But I was able to catch these 2 dragon flies on my front walk.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

No photos, but this morning crows were mobbing something large and dark in the trees along the river. From the shape, dark color, and size, it was probably an immature eagle, since there was no white on it, but I didn't get a great look at it. The flycatchers are using my trellises as perches, though they are too quick for me to get a photo, and I am still hearing the broadwing hawks, though they aren't perching on the laundry line posts or in the red maple by the house any more after several weeks of seeing them there almost daily. We also haven't seen any turkey poults yet, though we do see the single female birds, so I am assuming that they are still sitting on eggs.

Unfortunately, we are also having a banner year for moles, and I am squishing tunnels daily as I see them or the plants' wilting in reaction to having roots undermined. (No woodchucks yet, though, knock on wood!)


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 17:43

pixie_lou: Please bring your camera down to your new sitting area! We need pics of kingfishers and orioles that hang around the pond.

Nice dragonflies too.

nhbabs: No turkey poults here either - just one hen who comes every day and seems to enjoy my company.

I also saw a dragonfly today. I was staring at a peony ('Serene Pastel') and noticed a bit of blue on the edge.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It's a lot nicer than seeing ants crawling around in a peony.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Another bumble bee shot; they really make their presence known when they are in the garden.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Claire - it's hard for me to see, but I think that may be a damsel fly. Damsels fold their wings back when they land. Dragons keep them outright.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 14, 14 at 8:31

Looks like blue-tailed damsel fly - nice peony.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Darwin decided to wait until I planted the sunflowers and corn to show himself. Otherwise he knew he wouldn't get such tasty treats.
darwin photo IMG_0259_zpsc11efc81.jpg

It's turtle season. First I noticed the tracts in the grass.
turtle tracks photo IMG_0260_zps39c93813.jpg

The tracks led me to Myrtle
myrtle 2 photo IMG_0265_zps0ee477d6.jpg

 photo IMG_0262_zps39374a37.jpg

myrtle 3 photo IMG_0267_zps339338c2.jpg

 photo IMG_0272_zpsf92afabb.jpg


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 14, 14 at 17:37

Damselfly is fine with me, thanks, pixie_lou and Jane.

Nice to see Myrtle again, pixie_lou. I hope she lays lots of eggs and at least some of them escape the heron.

I saw a bunny today; haven't seen one in years.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It ran when a turkey came by and took shelter by the Dragon.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I guess it's a cottontail (that tail looks like a ball of cotton), although whether it's an Eastern Cottontail or New England Cottontail is beyond me.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Cute Bunny Claire. I usually don't see the bunnies until my veggie garden is better grown in.

OK - I need birdy help. First, what is this brown bird? I'm guessing a juvenile something?
brown 1 photo IMG_0322_zps334f2420.jpg

brown 2 photo IMG_0323_zpsf06068fc.jpg

brown 3 photo IMG_0324_zps54a303c8.jpg


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

And now for the slightly more exiting bird ID help - my guess is an albino grackle?
white 1 photo IMG_0376_zps66eee575.jpg

white 2 photo IMG_0377_zps1779ae7e.jpg

 photo IMG_0380_zpsebaad17b.jpg


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 15:48

Pixie - before the ID guess, I really want your pond. Myrtle is wonderful and surrounded by irises? what's not to like. You've done a nice job.

Now, for the bird ID, my guess is Common Grackle also, the brown being a juvenile and the white being leucistic. The brown juvi looks like it also could have reduced pigmentation under the 'chin' and a bit over the eyes. The same brood, perhaps? Claire is better at this than I, so we'll see what she thinks.

Today I change the bird feeding world outside my window. Regularly, for the past few weeks, I counted 7 squirrels, 3 chipmunks, 4 cowbirds, and 8 HOSP all raising havoc. Pricey birdseed going on the ground and all the ruffians bullying the good guys, like Mourning Doves. So today, I did not fill the feeder for hours and refilled it this afternoon with straight, white safflower seed. It was funny and quick. Within 90 seconds of walking away, the Cowbirds and HOSP bellied up to the seed bar, took one look and if birds could say YUCK!, they said it. They flew away and haven't been back. Now the smaller songsters should be returning.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Leucistic grackle - Google images


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 17:59

pixie_lou: I'm not certain about the first bird, but my guess would be juvenile European Starling. The coloring about the eyes and the markings on the back and breast don't look like a grackle. The tail looks short too, like a starling, although that's hard to tell from the pics.

I agree with Jane that the second bird is a leucistic grackle.

Jane: I''m curious as to what birds eat the safflower, not to mention the rodents. Do squirrels and chipmunks eat it?

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 18:49

I tried this last year and the 'safflower solution' reduced the sparrow population by more than half. The bully group dominated to the exclusion of all others since the end of May, something had to be done. Most of what I
Consider peaceful song birds eat safflower.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Safflower..wild birds unlimited


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 17, 14 at 14:34

A more complete answer to your question, Claire, is 24 hours after the food change, there is very noticeable quiet outside. The rowdy crowd flew the coop and for the first time since egg-laying time, a titmouse returned. The woodpeckers (all 5 varieties) never leave because they'll eat safflower. We all have our thresholds in life and for me, 80 lbs. of good birdseed every 3 weeks was too much. Safflower isn't cheap, but because it doesn't end up on the ground feeding 7 squirrels, 25 house sparrows, et al, it's less expensive. I hope the chipmunks are less enthusiastic should they decide to try whatever safflower may fall. They were like kids on a sugar overdose. So far there has been just one chipper cleaning up the old seed on the ground. After destroying my lettuces twice, digging up every new seedling and tunneling under the roses that are in large pots on the deck, a little chipmunk despondency I will learn handle.

Jane


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Pixie Lou, I like the leucistic bird and the turtle tracks through the dewy grass.

Here the birds at times seem good about ignoring me and sometimes seem cranky that I am in the garden since they don't quite trust me. As I have been knocking rose chafers (who are eating my Deutizia and Clematis this year) into soapy water, there have been a pair of chipping sparrows that have been perching nearby with green caterpillars dangling from their beaks, so I am not the only one on pest patrol. I haven't had my camera out at the right time, but I am wondering if they have a nest nestled under the clematis.

This oriole was flitting from tomato cage to compost pile to tree branch as I was stomping mole tunnels in the veggie garden.

From June 17, 2014


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Thanks Jane and Claire for the leucistic grackle confirmation. I've named him Ivory. Another source also thought juvenile starling for the brown bird. So that's what I'm going to call it. (But in all honesty, does the bird care what I call it).

Claire - I also feed safflower. Since I have one of those weighted feeders, squirrels weren't my problems. It was the grackles. As much as I love my grackles, they would empty the feeder in an hour. I made the switch about 2 years ago. It took about a day for the birds to adjust. My biggest visitors are house finches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals. I now fill the feeder once a week. I also have a thistle feeder, which is the preferred food of goldfinches, and I serve plain I rendered suet (organic grass fed beef) which the woodpeckers love.

I still have plenty of grackles, but they more time down by the pond or feeding in the grass.

Does anybody recognize this bug in my Shasta Daisy? For now he gets to live. He goes back in front of the jury after a positive ID.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 18, 14 at 13:01

My only guess on your bug, Pixie, is a white-spotted rose beetle - and that I looked up. Turns out there are many white-spotted black beetles. Apparently black with pearls is just universal.

CHIPMUNKS: I've discovered that after Stuffy and Chunky filled their cheeks, dug up the lettuces and tunneled through the roses, herbs and geranium pots on the deck, that they deposited their cache everywhere and now there are sunflowers growing in every pot and raised bed. It must not occur to them that their food storage areas are fertile growing grounds.

Before delving into a vein of chipmunk pseudo psychology or referring to them even remotely as gardeners, I'll be in Plymouth tomorrow, Claire. Want 3 more experienced chipmunks?

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: What's that bug


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 18, 14 at 16:51

nhbabs: I like the pic of the bumblebee on the alliums. Those flowers always look as if they've been given an electric shock and the hairs are sticking straight out.

It does sound as if you were interfering with the delivery of food to little chipping sparrows in a nearby nest. Or worse yet, you were stealing food out of their mouths!

pixie_lou: I have no idea what your bug is, even after looking at a whole lot of beetle pics.

Jane: I have plenty of chipmunks already, some of them quite noisy, so I don't need anymore, but thanks for thinking of me.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Yesterday I found this crab spider in one of my festiva maxima peonies, and was amused that he not only matched the white, but also had pink streaks to match that as well. I was not so amused that he was ignoring the rose chafer just visible in the flower with him. I think I am their only preditor as both the chipping sparrows and this crab spider are ignoring them.

I found an interesting link about how scientists can't find an advantage to the crab spiders matching the flower color where they are hunting.

Here is a link that might be useful: color changing spiders


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 10:58

That's a pretty spider, nhbabs. The link says the scientists were concentrating on the advantage to the spider while hunting prey and didn't find much, and they didn't really look at the advantage to the spider not to be prey itself. They just mentioned that there were birds around and only one spider got eaten after being moved to a flower it didn't match.

I'm betting that not being eaten by a bird is a big advantage to camouflaging oneself and that this study needs to be expanded.

I saw turkey poults today! I only got one lousy picture as they trotted by my window, but it looked like about eight poults with at least two hens shepherding them.
Turkey Poults 6:19:14

I'm so glad the predators didn't get this year's broods.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 11:44

Correction! The broods came back while I was out on the deck and I got a better look (and pictures). There were three hens shepherding fifteen to twenty poults! I couldn't get a shot of all of them.
Turkeys and Poults1 6:19:14

Turkeys and Poults2 6:19:14

Turkey Poults2 6:19:14

I'm hoping the hens are showing the babies where all the ticks are.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 11:46


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 15:15

Yay, they're back! Wonderful...and so many poults. So far today I've only seen a RW blackbird on sea grass, 2 mallards and a seagull at low tide. Maybe the wind will change.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Loved seeing the turkey poults back again this year, Claire!

Here is my only recent visitor, not exactly a garden visitor, but perched on the doorsill to the cellar. I wonder if this beautiful luna moth had just emerged from its chrysalis. It appeared to be drying its wings


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 19, 14 at 18:00

What a magnificent moth, spedigrees! I've never seen one.

I found a YouTube video showing the life cycle with the moth crawling out of its chrysalis. Astonishing!

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 16:09

Good find, Sped! Excellent video, Claire. I'll have to look even more carefully at moths in my path.

I think this bird is a Least Tern judging by the white half-moon shape above its eyes. I know trying to photograph them in flight is not a 'least' effort. If my ID is correct, these 9" long fellows can fly up to 100mph and dive straight down into the sea for fish. I haven't 'met' a bird I don't like, but the more I look at water fowl, the favorites rise to the surface.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Terns


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 17:04

Excellent photos, Jane! You've really mastered the art of capturing birds in flight.

That picture of the tern diving straight down to the water is startling.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 17:31

Yesterday I put on my sunglasses and discovered something was blocking my view. It turned out to be a pair of beetles mating. When I tried to get them off they bent a little but stayed attached. I managed to shake them off onto the porch railing, still attached.

I just posted the pics on BugGuide.Net and got them identified as Ellychnia corrusca, the Winter Firefly. This is a firefly that doesn't light up and comes out in the daytime. Talk about taking the road less traveled.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 21, 14 at 21:57

Eternally darkened diurnal fireflies tossed off cool shades to a hot railing during a procreation effort? Oy...there are just too, too many lines for this exhibit. I'm thinking it's a road few would want to travel again.

Anyway, back to the peaceful safflower perch, Mrs. Cardinal hasn't enjoyed such a respite this year. The bullies did vacate and later today she jumped on the opportunity till almost dark.

Jane (still chuckling over those poor, perpetually dark winter bugs stuck together in the blazing sun under the watch of the Yankee Paparazzi Co. No fire and can't fly. Misnomer for sure.)


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 11:09

I tried putting safflower seed in one of two side-by-side tube feeders, with my regular mix in the other. It was ignored for a day and a half until I couldn't stand it any longer and mixed the safflower in with the other stuff. I may try putting the safflower in a hopper feeder that gets quickly emptied by the squirrels. The cardinals like that feeder so it may be more successful there.

The leucistic grackle is back. Judging by his jousting with a normal feathered grackle it's a male.
Leucistic Grackle1 6:22:14

Leucistic Grackle2 6:22:14

Leucistic Grackle3 6:22:14

Leucistic Grackle4 6:22:14

With the Fourth of July coming up, I'm thinking of this one as a star-spangled grackle.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 12:16

Claire - Spangles is attractive. Just a note about the safflower - which you've probably read online - it can take a few days, up to a week for the birds to acclimate. The bullies were so bad here that, like last year, I did no mixing of saff with the old mix. I went cold turkey and it's the only feeder up. So I went without antics for a day or so, but when I left Thurs. morning, the feeder was full. When we came home on Friday, feeder was nearly empty. So apparently they have not suffered much. And, I still hang suet which is popular with the larger birds. My problem may not be yours. The HOSP population was rising (again) and the feeder was fully dominated by them, cowbirds, and a few grackles. So it was truly a feeding station excluding all others. Not acceptable to me - nor was $78 every 3 weeks for seed for one feeder. Safflower in the summer works here.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: trails


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 18:11

Jane: I don't have the problem you do - I have various feeders to attract different birds and also spread seed on the ground for the perching-challenged types. There aren't that many house sparrows, and the cowbirds mostly drop by in the early evening.

I'm just curious and wouldn't mind having another feeder the grackles stay away from (they shun the oriole and hummingbird feeders) but I want to see enthusiasm from other birds. I'm sitting on the deck now with some peanuts spread out. A chickadee just grabbed one and a blue jay filled up a few minutes ago. A male cardinal usually stops for peanuts too. I've never seen a grackle on the deck but a hummingbird just visited its feeder hanging from the railing.

I refuse to calculate my birdseed expenses, but it's considerable.

I expect the grackles to leave soon when the fledglings are flying well. I'll miss them.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Spent the weekend up in Freeport. Stopped for Lobster Rolls at Cindy's - where we were entertained by Purple Martins feeding the fledglings in the bird house. (Freeport is in New England, so figured it was fair game to post here).


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

On the drive home, we saw this moth camouflaged on a post at the New Hampshire State Liquor Store in Hampton.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

The moths are such lovely colors!

Our turkeys have hatched their poults and we are seeing them in the back field, popping in and out of the recently mowed grass. This female had 6 poults around her, though only one was visible in this photo, and there was another female nearby in the field as well.

From June 22, 2014

The chipping sparrows have fledged from their nest under the clematis, so I snuck a quick photo. I am not sure if the parents will raise another brood, though I would think that there is still enough time.

From June 22, 2014

We've had hummingbird moths several times, but it's hard to take a photo since they seem fairly skittish.

From hummingbird moth June 20, 2014


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 8:57

Seriously...does it get any better than a lobster roll and purple martins? Or, an amber moth on blooming catmint? I think not. There is a nearby nursery that serves lobster rolls and has very unique dwarf conifers. My kind of people!


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 10:25

That's an astonishing moth, pixie_lou, or is it a butterfly? The closest thing I can find is the Common Buckeye.

Your turkey poults have such a wide field to explore, nhbabs! Here they just get to roam connected backyards and a quiet road.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 10:46


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

This is the snapping turtle that we first saw last summer in the pond when we moved in...saw her again last week and we're guessing its a female as we saw her in a bed near the pond and then found some areas that were dug up - for a nest perhaps?? We haven't swam in the pond yet and I most likely won't if it will be filled with baby snapping turtles ha ha.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 18:27

Hey, Lucy, you've got a pond and a snapping turtle too, like pixie_lou! Are there any eggs buried in those dug up areas?

If you have herons you may not have to worry about baby snapping turtles in the pond....

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

We didn't want to mess with the possible nest so we left it alone, but I guess we'll find out soon enough - we definitely don't have herons! Hawks, falcons and some occasional eagles though - maybe they'll help? lol

Unfortunately our pond is not spring fed so it's only really nice early in the spring...we're trying to figure out what we can do to improve things but it's not too high on the to-do list now!


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 19:48

Lucy: I think hawks and falcons and eagles will probably be interested in hatchling turtles, so your pond may still be safe.

I just caught the tail end of the turkey poult parade today.
My neighbor said he saw the four hens and something like 35 babies. I'm hoping for a good photo op in a wide open lawn space to document this brood, but it's hard to get a long view here.

The sun was low and reflecting off the windows (got to wash them) so the photos aren't too sharp. One hen is always on guard. I wonder if she's a descendant of the hen that managed to raise five or six poults a few years ago. She has that same calm, determined look. I like to think that the four hens have learned to cooperate to protect the joint broods.
Turkeys and poults1 6:24:14

Turkey poults1 6:24:14

They're using the water baths.

Turkey poult 6:24:14

Turkey poult2 6:24:14

And still cute, but not so desirable, are the four, yes four, baby woodchucks I saw in the yard yesterday.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 20:04

Four? ah, boy. Troubles, they're a brewing.

Lucy, that's a good-looking turtle!


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 25, 14 at 9:07

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks love safflower seed. I think these chaps are first year because of their brown feathers. One caved in and perched in the birch: No two males on the same feeder at the same time. No wonder testosterone begins with test...
Males RGB

That beak was made for cracking
RBG Beak tough

The less aggressive of the two - just waiting his turn
Young male waiting for feeder

Jane


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Beautiful grosbeaks Jane.

I startled a fawn in the front yard yesterday. He/she was just steps from the front door. No mama in sight. (photo taken thru the front door, decorated with window markers!)

fawn photo IMG_0430_zps81a44583.jpg


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

I'm not sure if there are more leucistic birds than normal this year, or if I'm just noticing them more. I now own a really great pair of binoculars, and my camera has a super long zoom. I see Ivory, my white grackle, almost every day. Plus I've been seeing another grackle with a splotchy head, similar to Claires friend. And today I noticed this what I'm guessing is a leucistic Robin.

robin 1 photo IMG_0434_zps894dcd66.jpg

robin 2 photo IMG_0436_zps3ba017aa.jpg

robin 3 photo IMG_0440_zps46eb1de7.jpg

robin 4 photo IMG_0442_zps66da2233.jpg


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 10:53

Pixie - according to my Crossley Guide, that's a juvenile robin - not leucistic. Always room for error, but I think it's a juvenile. Glad you got a good camera! Too great a property and observations not to have one.
Jane


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 11:19

I agree with Jane, pixie_lou, that's a juvenile robin (scroll way down). Cute fawn, that. Mostly legs and has just learned how to use them.

Do you have any female grosbeaks, Jane? I tried the safflower seed in my hopper feeder, which is out of view of my window. Something emptied it so there is a taste for it.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Well, what do you know. A juvenile. I thought for sure the white breast put it in the leucistic category. But what do I know?


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 13:01

Hi Claire, yes, Mrs. RBG comes, but far less frequently than the boys. I can say after the week plus of straight safflower, I have seen/photographed the following birds at the feeder: timouse - big time, nuthatches, BC chicks, Mr & Mrs. Cardinal very often, Blue jays, M&F House Finch, mourning doves - bellied up to the bar and knock the seeds back like it was popcorn. Other than BC chick who flies to the birch tree to crack his seeds and the nuthatch, when the rest come, they perch and stay. Unhappy and not visiting are the grackles and sparrows. I'm out of suet, and the catbird is outside filing a major complaint. Thus far, he doesn't prefer saff. Also, I've noticed that at evening time, they really stay at the bar and stock up. So have a look at your feeder at late twilight and perhaps you'll see who has taken a liking to your hopper fare.

Jane


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 16:07

He leaves me (fairly) speechless. Maybe with a small crowbar he could stuff more into those cheeks. Everything he plants, grows. I have sunflower shoots everywhere.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 16:33

Little furry Roombas bustling around, the chipmunks are.

I'm phasing out the suet as the weather gets warmer and there are lots of insects for the new generation to eat. I really don't like handling suet cakes that get gooey as they warm up (although some of the products available aren't so bad). One cake a day until the supply in my refrigerator runs out - I just have to stop replenishing that supply.

The catbirds and grackles and woodpeckers will manage somehow.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 16:36


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 17:28

I'm out on the deck and I just heard a loud clucking sound. A bunch of poults flew up to the trees in unison while three hens walked by. I guess the alarm was rescinded because the poults came back to the ground and strolled on. I counted about twenty babies and three hens. Maybe the fourth hen split off with her brood.

The first picture is askew because I was leaning out over the railing trying to shoot past the viburnum.
Turkeys and poults1 6:26:14

Turkeys and poults2 6:26:14

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Nice shots of the mamas and poults, Claire! I didn't know that you had that much lawn.

Pixie - I was painting glysophate on poison ivy by the shop this morning when a movement caught my eye - a fawn that looked quite similar to your photo galloped across the far end of the small field where I was working. I just stood and watched, so no photo.

We are overjoyed to see the dragonflies as they are great predators for the little bugs like midges, no-see-ums, and mosquitoes.

From June 26, 2014


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 26, 14 at 19:18

nhbabs: That's not my lawn; it's next door and the lot past that. Many of the back yards here are more or less connected by lawn along the coastal bank so the turkeys consider it their greenway. Some of us, like me, have established a visual buffer zone with planting between the houses, but the turkeys and other wildlife can filter through without trouble.

I hadn't thought of the dragonflies as being predators of mosquitoes, yay dragonflies!

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 28, 14 at 10:37

This morning a Blue Jay was spread out in the sun, enjoying Summertime.

Blue Jay in sun2 6:28:14

I watched to make sure it was OK, and it soon got up, looking a bit sundazed.

Blue Jay in sun3 6:28:14

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 28, 14 at 15:07

The jays are always special at this sunbathing spread.

Question: Under my office window around 2PM, a sound which I have not heard before continued for about 20 minutes. I went outside softly to see if I could see anything, nothing. So I held my camera up to the window to record the sound. The video is 26 seconds. (turn your sound up) If any reader here has heard this sound before, do you know what it was? Thanks for looking.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Sound?


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 28, 14 at 15:33

The only thing I can think of is a bumblebee stuck in a drainspout, and it stopped when you got near.

Weird and interesting.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Just enjoyed looking through all the great bird and turkey pics ... that fawn was brilliant! I see the usual birds at my feeder, but this was a surprise ... a red-bellied woodpecker. My 35-year-old field guide says the northern limit of their range is Maryland, but the online guides now have them as far north as Mass. Another sign of global warming :(


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

I witnessed a small natural drama today. I was enjoying the cool morning air in the garden when a commotion of chirping and screeching birds arose. I couldn't figure out why they seemed to be fighting until I saw a chipmunk dragging a bird by its neck! I initially scared away the chipmunk but the bird, though still alive at that time, was clearly a goner. I ran in to get my camera and then witnessed the chipmunk drag the bird under some lilies and begin to eat it. Interestingly, it started with the brain and had devoured that in under 10 minutes. I'll spare you the gorier pictures.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

The chipmunk feasting.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

The postscript to the story was a couple of hours later when I returned to look for the carcass of the bird. There was not a feather in sight, but there was a garden snake sitting coiled up contentedly at that spot. It had a distinct bulge in its mid-section. When it saw me, it kept trying to "escape" into a gap between the bricks of the wall it was next to, but it couldn't get in because of its full belly. What I don't know is whether the snake scared away the chipmunk or simply devoured what the chipmunk had left behind.

I had no idea that chipmunks could kill birds. This one managed to keep the whole thing to itself ... there were other chipmunks and squirrels in the area but somehow none of them got wise to the situation ... the squirrels particularly would have easily been able to scare off the chipmunk and steal its kill.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Here you can see the bulge in the snake's mid-section.


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Love to see the turkey poults growing, Claire. Great pictures. I am sort of following two parallel threads showing young turkeys, yours and a facebook thread of the organic farm where we buy our thanksgiving turkey every year. Theirs are a heritage breed, very close to the wild turkeys, and out on grass, as turkeys are meant to be (not scrunched up into tiny pens and fed GM corn). Both sets of photos make me happy!

I think your moth may be a promethea moth, Pixie. Also I love your photo of the running fawn.

Jane, your beautiful pictures of the rose breasted grosbeaks made me recall the huge flocks of evening grosbeaks we had long ago during an era where we fed the birds. Since I haven't seen any photos of these beautiful yellow birds on any of the threads, I looked them up and am very sad to see that their populations are in decline now.

Since we had the house painted last fall, we have had no swallows build a nest on our porch as in past years. Perhaps next year... However a pair of tree swallows have raised a large brood in the birdhouse out in my orange garden. You can hear the chorus of loud chirping as you walk by! Here's one of the parent birds ready to deliver a meal to the little ones. They spend all day, every day, collecting bugs to feed the babies. I expect the small ones will be taking flight shortly and the parents will finally have a well earned rest! It makes me so delighted to have beneficial birds nesting in the house once again now that I have prevailed in my campaign to rid the area of HOSPs (English sparrows).

PankajT, nice photo of the red-bellied woodpecker. Seeing these birds in New England is one of the least objectionable effects of climate change, much more welcome than influx of ticks for instance!


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 28, 14 at 18:25

PankajT: The red-bellies are great woodpeckers - I hear them more than I see them in the summer, although they're here all year-round. They kind of whinny.

The pics of the predator chipmunk are a cold slap in the face. You get used to the idea of the cute, cuddly, little critters and forget the dark side. I'll bet that was a fledgling the chipmunk caught. I also wonder if the snake's bulge was the carcass of the bird or the chipmunk (poetic justice), although chipmunks are probably too big for the snake to catch.

spedigrees: Promethea Moth looks like the correct ID for pixie_lou's moth! Yet another bug I didn't know existed.

I miss your barn swallows; the pics of the nestlings were delightful.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 29, 14 at 10:38

74 follow-ups is pushing the limits of loading for some folks. I'll start a new thread (2014 #7) in a few minutes.

As always, people can continue the discussion here if they want.

Claire


 o
RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

Jane, I am inclined to agree with Claire that it was a buzzing insect (bumblebee, large fly, ect) inside something manmade - between two layers of a window, in a jar or birdfeeder, stuck under an empty overturned flowerpot, etc. Must have been some type of material that amplified the buzzing or had great reverb.

PankajT, that chipmunk photo is a real shocker. I had no idea that they would kill and eat meat. I like snakes - fun to hear about how s/he was unable to go through the wall due to dinner.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the New England Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here