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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 20:47

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

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

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

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

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

Orioles are much bigger than hummingbirds but they still are wary of bumblebees (and yellow jackets). (reference Jane's pictures on the previous thread of hummingbirds screeching to a halt upon seeing a bee).

This oriole seemed to carefully eat some grape jelly but I don't think it was very happy about it.
Oriole and bees1 8:17:14

Oriole and bees3 8:17:14

Oriole and bees4 8:17:14

Oriole and bees8 8:17:14

The goldfinch and house sparrow are lucky - bees don't like nyjer.

I'm not sure how to deal with the bee invasion of the oriole feeder. Maybe I should try cutting up fruit rather than putting out jam/jelly. Very liquid jam drowns the pollinators which is not a good solution.

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 18, 14 at 13:03

Do you think there is an answer? Your bird banquet tables are famous. Have a feeling that separating the birds and bees might best be left to Mother Nature. They'll manage. I put regular mixed seed into the feeder late last night and this morning awoke to a bevy of depressed doves. No safflower breakfast? Life will go on.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 18, 14 at 14:40

Their depression has lifted. But apparently, they still think of themselves as small songbirds. Maybe I should think I'm a size 8.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 18, 14 at 15:50

Doves do seem to have a short attention span. Safflower? What safflower?

The bees are now clinging to the nyjer feeder, maybe waiting their turn at the jelly. The two feeders aren't really as close as they look; they're both hanging from the same shepherd's hook which is set at an angle. The goldfinches deserve a little peace without stinging insects nearby.

I think I'm going to phase out the jam/jelly when this batch is gone. The orioles and catbirds already have some wild fruit to eat - the black cherries and arrowwood viburnums are fruiting and the pokeberries will soon be ripe.

I'm not comfortable with so many bees and wasps next to the path and they'll just have to eat whatever they would have if I didn't give them the jam.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 11:23

Claire said, "...they'll just have to eat whatever they would have if I didn't give them the jam. " Yup, and they'll survive.

The doves are still at it despite a food change. They're in that 'small, songbird' mentality. It was too obvious that Bertrand was not going to move for Russell's landing, and he didn't. Size really does matter.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

That's a beautiful picture of the doves, Jane.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 17:09

Well, thanks, Sped. Maybe you bird lovers can help me. I dunno. If anyone had told me that my feeder area would go from a gang of sparrows to a busload of doves I'd have laughed. Maybe what happens here, that is the overloading by one species to the exclusion of others, is fairly typical --is it? I either need to find another feeder for safflower with adequate size openings, or maybe I should just shut-up and be happy I have contented doves.

Moments ago the feeder began to look like a clown car; how many can we stuff in here?
4 on feeder

4 on feeder+1

4 on feeder+2

4 on feeder+3

Four is the limit for now, I guess. Maybe I should simply change feeders with seasons and be glad they all come! Yes, 50 sparrows became 20 mourning doves - the other 15 were on the ground cleaning up the spillage.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 17:17

Bertrand has a lovely pink wash over him. It's a very peaceful picture.

I saw a Blue Jay today that's really having a bad hair day.
Molting Blue Jay1 8:20:14

Molting Blue Jay2 8:20:14

Molting Blue Jay2R 8:20:14

Apparently this isn't a horrible disease, it's just a problem with timing of molting and Blue Jays are susceptible to this.

According to Cornell's All About Birds FAQ,

"Q. I have a bald bird at my feeder. Is it sick?

A. In fall, we receive many inquiries about bald birds, especially Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals. In late summer and fall, when a bird molts, it usually grows and replaces its feathers gradually, but occasionally a bird loses all the feathers on its head at once. This is particularly true of Blue Jays, many of which molt the feathers of the head, or "capital tract," in synchrony. The result is a very strange looking bald bird! This bald appearance lasts for about a week before new feathers replace the molted ones.

It is possible that in rare cases baldness might be caused by environmental or nutritional factors, feather mites, or lice. To read more and see photos of bald birds, visit the Bald Birds page on the Project FeederWatch web site."

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 12:41

Always feel sorry for them at this stage,(above blue jays) but oh, they are gorgeous in a few months.

Well, I'm finishing up the bag of mixed seed and the news went viral among the sparrows. They're back. Nobody does pool time better.
Jane

This post was edited by corunum on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 15:43


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

That mixed seed attracts a lot of undesirables like English sparrows. All members of the dove family also like it too however. When I used to feed the birds long ago I fed only sunflower and nijer seeds and it limited the visitors to goldfinches, evening grosbeaks, and other more typical songbirds.

I think it was neighbors feeding mixed seed with a high percentage of millet that brought in the HOSPS. Thankfully, and serendipitously, whoever was feeding them apparently stopped at the same time I trapped and removed them all.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 16:59

Cute picture of the pool party, Jane. I feed mixed seed in some places and nyjer or safflower seed in others - not to mention suet and jam as well, trying to separate the feeding opportunities so every bird gets a chance to eat. I like to see many different species of birds - there's such an interesting variety of behaviors.

Twenty or more turkeys trotting through puts a different perspective on an over-representation of a smaller bird species.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 24, 14 at 13:21

Who knew mourning doves could become drunk with power? Yesterday morning at 7:30am I filled the red Audubon 'made for small songbirds' feeder with 4lbs of safflower seed. By noon it was completely empty. Much on the ground, but the mourning doves had conquered landing on it and completely took it over. I do the household budget, so no new food until they cleaned the ground. Late last night I put the 'tree clinger' feeder back up and this morning there was a mass exodus of doves and sparrows - despair. Obversely, the nuthatch that had been ostracized for so long, is now in a Zen state and the feeder is still relatively full.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 24, 14 at 17:15

Nuthatch is probably thinking "If you wait long enough, all things will come around again - my feeder is back!" Nice birds, and they don't travel in big flocks, at least I've never seen more than a few nuthatches at one time and that was in nesting season.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Very nice pics and thread with great info. Thanks guys!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 24, 14 at 18:36

You're welcome, surya55. We also talk about snakes, butterflies, frogs, foxes, deer, etc. - anything that moves and inhabits our gardens.

Jane: I went back and realized I somehow missed your post on Aug. 20 with pics of the doves mobbing the feeder with the mixed seed. I think you posted while I was preparing my own and I just didn't check again.

You asked:
"Maybe what happens here, that is the overloading by one species to the exclusion of others, is fairly typical --is it?"

My approach is to add another feeder, and then another with different food, and to spread food on the ground so everyone can eat. This works fairly well but can get costly and time-consuming. I also rely on the change in seasons, so there may be an overloading of blackbirds (grackles, etc.) in the spring, but they'll move on when the babies fledge and someone else will come in and try to monopolize the food. And then there are the turkeys which monopolize the groundfeeding areas but leave to go on walkabout fairly often.

I enjoy them all and wouldn't want to eliminate any one species.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

You guys are really hysterical! I came here to tell you about something and you got me all side tracked reading through your posts!
Claire, i'm addressing this to you bec you're in MA yes? I was researching an unusual grass i grow that i brought back from CN 20 yrs ago, called Melica. Well, lo and behold, it is wicked popular w/ those of the winged persuasion! Anyway, it's in a part of the garden i don't get to very often and that i cannot see from the house. Do you (or any other bird GWers) ever get up my way? I have an awful lot of it and would love to share it w/ you..........
Anyway, open offer...

Here is a link that might be useful: melica for birds


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 27, 14 at 10:36

Mindy: Your Arbo-Retum is on my list of places I'd like to visit, but I don't get up there very often (or at all). The same with Tower Hill Botanical Garden - one of these days I'll go there, probably.

Melica sounds like an interesting grass, but I don't have room for any more grasses. The ones I have are self-seeding and my yard is stuffed!

Thanks for the offer.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Been so busy that I haven't checked this thread in a while. I started out reading the tail end of #8.

So .....

Thank you, Jane, for the link on butterflies/fruit. I learned so much from reading that and have bookmarked it for reference. I'm the fruit lover in our family and sometime the fruit turns before I can get to it. Later I'll share that info and your "seed woes" with my DH. He'd become so discouraged at how much seed is consumed that he switched to a cheaper brand. Four lbs. of safflower seeds a day... yikes! Those Mourning Doves are expensive guests.

Loved the photos of the tree frog, nhbabs. I used to see ... and hear ... so many frogs at my first house, which was near wetlands. But I've never see any frogs along this river. Bird food, maybe?

Mindy: Cher .....pretty funny imagery! Now you know what I'll think of every time I see another Ibis.

You also made me think about bird house maintenance. We have two small wooden houses on our deck that should be cleaned. What are some techniques you all could share .... protective gear to wear? ... cleaning product to use?

Claire, your August 28 mention of the word "flocks" while discussing nuthatches recalled some activity we've noticed lately. Last weekend we heard an osprey's call and the squawks of other birds. Off the deck we saw a large flock (20 .... 30?) of smaller birds chasing this osprey. As the osprey dove left and right and then soared higher up into the sky, the whole flock followed. It was like a ballet with the lesser dancers mimicking the prima ballerina.They were too far away to identify the "chasers".

Then a few days later there was a similar scene on the river. Only this time less than a dozen birds chased the osprey. The osprey landed in a tall tree across the river and the birds settled around him. From the photos we were able to get, it looks like blue jays were in this mix of birds. None of them hassled the osprey and they all flew off eventually, leaving him alone on the branch. Sorry, the photos aren't that clear. It seemed strange that after the chase, they all ignored each other in the tree.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 17:12

88th mystery of the modern world: Why to birds flock to Molie's when Jane isn't there? Oh, well. He is a handsome chap and the smaller birds look like blue jays to me.

Off to Maine tomorrow now that the puffins are out sea, no one I know has seen any moose and the seals took off, BUT, my friend has chickens and an old one-legged rooster that lives in the house and crows at first light, so all is not lost. At least not yet. To be con't.

Sept. 1st and an hour ago is the first time I've seen a monarch butterfly this year. He's a boy and should be heading south, I believe.
Jane

So where is nhbabs with that new camera?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 17:29

Mindy and Molie: I don't keep birdhouses so I have no experience on maintaining them (I struggle to maintain my human house so I'm the wrong person to comment anyway).

Molie: The Bird Watcher's General Store has a nice article on Hawks getting mobbed that makes a lot of sense. Better to mob a big hawk like an osprey that doesn't maneuver all that well than a little Cooper's Hawk that might retaliate.

Jane: Lovely monarch pic - I haven't seen any this year.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 4, 14 at 19:45

I was sitting on the deck tonight finishing up dinner when I heard a squirrel climbing up onto the deck around 7:30 PM. It sounded like a very big squirrel and it was darker than squirrels like, so I wasn't too surprised to see a raccoon. I've been suspecting that raccoons occasionally tilt the hummingbird feeder and drink it at night - some mornings the feeder will only have an inch or less in it. I also found unusual poop a few mornings ago on the deck, which didn't make me very happy.

Anyway, I grabbed the camera but the raccoon climbed down again and went partly up the oak next to the deck. Luckily I had the SCN program set for low light.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It stayed on the oak for a little while watching me:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and then went down to the ground and left.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I probably should have yelled and screamed to scare it away but I was too focused (pun intended) on getting some pics to post.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 13:46

For nhbabs or others considering new cameras, this is what happens when I edit the brightness on the pics I posted yesterday.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It looks like the raccoon didn't actually climb the oak, it just stood behind the tree holding on.

It didn't come back last night - the hummingbird feeder was still full this morning.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

I did get a new camera and have taken some photos, but am having computer issues, so can't post. It's hard enough typing on the iPad., and my iPad is old enough that it doesn't have a camera. Even with the phone photos, I always loaded into the computer and did a bit of post-processing such as cropping or correcting color balance.

I ended up buying the Nikon Coolpix P600 and have been having fun playing with it in the 10 days or so I've had it. My biggest issue right now is sun angle, since the birds right outside my west-facing kitchen window are usually right into the western sun when I am hanging out in the kitchen. Once I get my computer back I hope to have some photos to share, but I don't yet know what the issue is.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

claire, maybe she started a no-sugar regime. :-)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 16:15

On my iPad in Maine, so forgive errors. Lobster was $3.50/lb, 2 pounders , and today the chickens in my friend's yard are dining on the shells. This is the first time I've seen a reversal take 'chicken lobsters'. Hope the picture comes through. No moose.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 16:59

nhbabs: 60X zoom sounds fantastic! You'll be able to count the kernels in the ears of corn in the field. West-facing kitchen windows are a problem for me too - I haven't really figured out a good way to deal with it. Judicious moving around can cut off the sun, but the reflections in the not-quite-spotless window can mar a photo.

Mindy: I wish the raccoon well on its diet - somewhere else. I wonder what the camera looked like from the raccoon's viewpoint, I could see green reflections in its eyes as I pressed the button but they didn't show in the actual photos. Maybe the green light is part of the focusing sensor and doesn't occur when the picture is actually taken. I hope the raccoon decides the deck is just too dangerous to visit.

Jane: The picture is upside down but if you click on it it's right-side up. Happy chickens, I'm sure, with lobster shells to nosh on. No butter, though.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

i have become aware of color blindness in humans and non (men have a much much higher rate of color blindness than women) ever since seeing a fascinating presentation by a british gardener years ago. he explained, iirc, that it is red (or is it yellow?) that bees can see and that is why many flowers have 'runways' of that color on their petals.

and i just read that cats are colorblind to red and green. So i wonder if raccoons have their own version (possibly your pretty thing can't even see those green camera lights.?)
Do you not want her on your deck because of potential rabies? Because i would just be thrilled to death (child of Rascal that I am!)
mindy


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 6, 14 at 11:38

Mindy: I just did a little searching and bees not only see colors differently, but they see ultraviolet as well.

I found a great site which has photos of many flowers in both visible light and UV light.

Apparently raccoons are color blind but see green very well.
"The eyes of the raccoon which are thought to be color blind are especially well adapted for sensing green light but they have poor long distance vision."

I'm mostly concerned about the destructive side of raccoons. I have a lot of plants and a few feeders on the deck. When I used the peanut feeder the coons pulled it off and dropped it over the side of the deck once or twice. It wasn't broken but I did have to go down to retrieve and then refill it. I stopped using the feeder because I couldn't keep the squirrels off, but the hummer feeder is still being vandalized. At least they don't drop it.

The poop on the deck was the most annoying - I've had no such debris from the birds and squirrels and chipmunks even though I deliberately feed them peanuts on the floor boards. I think that's a red line for me. No messing on my floor. I'm happy to watch them in the yard.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

No raccoons (that I know of) yet. I did see my first Monarch of the season two days ago and saw two more yesterday. I guess it's time for them to migrate South. I was reading that Goldenrod is an important food source for them during migration, but I haven't seen them on the Solidalgo yet. The do like the Buddleia.

Steve


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

First of all... no photo of the skunk that our puppy briefly "met" a few weeks ago ..... you can all imagine what it was like having Brody around until the scent finally washed out of his fur. Don't think he'll be making that mistake again!

Jane.... soooo..... chicken love lobster shells .... who knew?Well, I guess that is one way to get rid of them, though I do love using the shells for lobster bisque.

Steve, I love the Monarch photo. I've also seen a few in the yard lately even thought I don't grow any of their favorite hosts.

Also spotted this morning..... an Ailanthus Webworm Moth on our Agastache. Anyone else have them? My DH took some shots of it with its curled wings, so we had no idea that it was a moth. I Googled "orange, black, and white insect" and saw this creature in all its forms and also found this information about them:

"The ailanthus tree has its own moth, Atteva aurea, the ailanthus webworm moth. The moth holds its wings rolled and close around its body while resting, so it looks a little like a long beetle."

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 6, 14 at 15:39

Such beautiful insects, Steve and Molie! The monarch is a classic photo and I've never even heard of an Ailanthus Webworm Moth, much less seen one. Very decorative additions to the garden.

I sympathize with Brody's mishap, both for Brody and for you. Probably a very embarrassed puppy for a while there.

No monarchs here yet, but the goldenrods aren't blooming yet so there's still hope.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 8, 14 at 13:42

How lucky can a girl get? Walked into the house and there, on the deck railing, was a female Scarlet Tanager. Ran down the hall quietly, grabbed the Rebel, and here she is below. No processing, straight out of the camera, only cropped the right side where the mullion had cast a shadow. What a surprise - heart doing the happy dance!
Jane :)
Got 8 shots of her before she flew up into the maple. Saw a male this past spring for the first time.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Wow - great! Didn't realize they were so colorful. On a rare occasion, spot the males when we are in VT, but I've not seen one close up.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 8, 14 at 14:19

Claire - hope you are still willing to have New England pictures posted here. If not, let me know. I think this may be a 2nd-w. Iceland Gull. On the Maine coast last week, I watched this guy catch his crab lunch. Two of many shots.
Jane

IMG_4672

IMG_4712-2


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 8, 14 at 15:59

Jane: Marvelous pictures of the gull, whatever it is! Professional quality.

And to see a female Scarlet Tanager is really a treat (that's a misleading name considering her coloring). I've never seen either a male or female.

Pictures taken in New England, or by a New Englander visiting somewhere else, are always appropriate, so long as they're vaguely related to mobile features, preferably outdoors or capable of going outdoors.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 8, 14 at 17:06

Thanks, Claire. Seldom do I see loons, and this chap's black legs and web feet were just wonderful to watch. May have to go to New Hampshire to see a moose. Only saw stuffed ones; no fun for them or me, lol.
Jane

This post was edited by corunum on Tue, Sep 9, 14 at 6:29


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 10, 14 at 16:37

Lovely loon pic, Jane, and the water has a great Jello quality to it! We occasionally hear loons calling here after they migrate to us and before they shut down for the winter (they don't seem to breed here so no haunting summer calls). Always startles me.

Did someone say that House Sparrows don't eat safflower seed? I took down the bee feeder and decided to move the safflower feeder to where I could see it. Suddenly the feeder started emptying out very quickly and I suspect this is the reason. Now that the myriad blackbirds are mostly gone more house sparrows are appearing.

House Sparrows2 eating safflower 9:10:14

House Sparrows1 eating safflower 9:10:14

House Sparrow eating safflower 9:10:14

They eat nyjer too.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 10, 14 at 17:18

They'll eat anything even if it is nailed down. They mostly left when I went to straight safflower. A few returned and apparently adjusted to the new fare and there were perhaps 6 that called my place home. However, yesterday, me being out of bird seed altogether, Agway had a sale on the fancy Lyric seed, 40lbs for $35, so I brought a bag home and filled the feeder. This morning, after reading the Sparrow Gazette, I guess, there were and remain now, some 15 of them. In addition to the sparrows, the woodpeckers also returned as did the jays, C.Wrens, etc. So, pick your battles, I guess. On sale for $20 off, I may go back and get more because I refuse to pay $54.95 for 40lbs of seed no matter who does or doesn't eat it. Mrs.Cardinal particularly seemed to really enjoy the safflower.

As steady readers may recall, I don't care for sn*kes - no matter what anyone else thinks of them. The picture below shows what Ivy brought onto the porch this afternoon to play with which I saw only as I began exiting the kitchen. Fortunately, the local heroine came to my rescue and holding it by its tail end, it was escorted across the street into woods. Ivy has been told that she will be replaced by a Golden Retriever if this happens 1 more time.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 10, 14 at 18:14

Nice picture, I'm amazed you managed to take it, given your feelings towards snakes. Sometimes the urge to capture and share is stronger than the feelings the subject elicits.

Ivy looks pleased with her capture, you should be pleased with yours.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Jane,

I am with you on the reptile issue. I appreciate their place in the ecosystem and don't wish them harm. I just don't want them in my space or even near it!

Susan.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 11, 14 at 14:47

Claire said, "Ivy looks pleased with her capture, you should be pleased with yours. " Bear in mind I was safe behind a closed, glass French door. Chicken heart when it comes to those things.

The finches are still feeding fledglings and Papa looks like he's just about had it. Many broods this year for both finches and sparrows.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Jane, wonderful coastal Maine photos!

I am seriously amazed at your photo of Ivy's snake, even with an intervening glass door. Perhaps you are slowly becoming acclimatized to our scaly friends?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 12, 14 at 14:37

nhbabs, Glad you like the Maine birds, but no, unequivocally, I am not becoming acclimatized to anything reptilian. Anything that slithers is out of the question. My Brahman Indian friend says my fear is totally a Western-induced fear. Big subject; maybe yes, maybe no, but I've got it! Claire was right - the desire to share (from behind glass) momentarily rose above my fear.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Claire: the article about hawks getting mobbed made perfect sense. Our very narrow tidal river draws so much bird life ... of course, they all have to learn how to "share" it or at least to tolerate their neighbors. Now that it's mid-september, all the Osprey have left. Instead, mobs of Canada geese call out and challenge each other on the river. Is there anything GOOD about Canada geese?
Your raccoon shots are darn cute. Poor little guy .... looks like his feelings are hurt.

Jane: Loons... nice! I'd much rather have them around than the geese. You took so many great photos in Maine. The one of the gull "crabbing" reminds me of the scene with the seagull holding the crab aloft as bait in "Finding Nemo."

But....heh, heh!... my favorite has to be the one of Ivy and the snake. I can just picture your terror and trembling hands as you aimed the camera. (I guess I shouldn't tell you about the garter snake nest at the bottom of our deck stairs?)

We don't get many Scarlet Tanagers around here, so I showed your shot of the female to my DH. His comment: "Very cool!"

As for "Cool".... that's what we've got outside today. What's happened to Indian Summer?

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 13, 14 at 13:47

Molie said, "(I guess I shouldn't tell you about the garter snake nest at the bottom of our deck stairs?) " Your mean streak still needs a bright red parka, Molie! At least Susan agrees with me. And, I like Canada Geese, so there, lol. Anyway, poor Claire, she may be ready to shut us down here.

This morning I noticed a brightly colored House Finch only to see that the little guy has eye disease. According to what I read online, the Cornell survey and citizen reporting of the disease has ended, but can still be reported if you are member of the Project Feeder Watch program (thank you, Claire, it's been 5 years of reporting). Regretfully, this bacterial disease is now found in other birds, so citizen reporting is again important - see link below, if interested.

Did I miss anything here, Claire?

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell Ornithology, eye disease


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 13, 14 at 14:15

Jane: I have no desire to shut down free-ranging discussions so long as they're vaguely related to the original topic. The idea is to have a place to ramble on about gardening-related issues such as snakes and birds and whatever moves us.

That's sad about your House Finch having the eye disease. I didn't know it was so wide-spread, affecting forest birds as well as feeder birds. I wonder if the mycoplasma can be spread through water sources used by many birds. Wikipedia has a disturbing article noting widespread distribution including sinusitis in turkeys.

Molie: I'm ready for some Indian Summer myself. My bay-side deck which is wonderfully cool in summer with the sea breeze is getting downright chilly now. I may bring in a few houseplants if the nights get down to the low fifties they're muttering about. The street side of the house is much warmer.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 13, 14 at 14:47

We may be in 'Squaw Winter', so hold on to your mukluks. For those of us who do not want to do anything this afternoon other than look things up on the net and take bird pictures, interesting (according to me) 'Indian Summer' link below.

I don't know which insect makes the cocoon under aronia leaves, but watching this BC Chickadee moments ago, only when dreaming of flying can I imagine being THIS light.
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: BBC -Indian summer: What exactly is it?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

jane, when i was in 3rd grade, we lived in a Norfolk VA neighborhood w/ a small swamp behind the houses across the street. My friend's family had brother and sister Siamese cats who were known to be great hunters. Well, one of my most vivid childhood memories is of the adult MUSKRAT they brought up to their yard. The tail was 2" caliper at its widest point!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 14, 14 at 9:11

Mindy - that's one big muskrat. I'll settle for Ivy's smaller offerings and be grateful.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

I wonder.... am I seeing more unusual animals and bird sightings because the animals are getting ready for migration or for the colder weather? Today we saw "parallel' grooming" of an osprey and a heron. They sat side-by-side for quite a while at the edge of the river .... preening and grooming themselves and ignoring each other.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 14, 14 at 19:56

Jane: That chickadee looks like it could float away like milkweed fluff - great pic.

Mindy: Those must have been two proud cats with the muskrat capture. What does a person do with a gifted muskrat when the cats are watching?

Molie: That "parallel grooming" is fascinating! Maybe it's a territorial display? (This is my territory but I'm not going to attack you because I'm not sure how fierce you are so I'll just stand my ground being nonchalant) - or maybe it's something totally different.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Today lived up to the billing of a real “bluebird day”. As we sat in the yard in the late afternoon, a flock suddenly showed up. They never totally left us this summer, but they are not always around. We counted at least 10, but I couldn’t capture them all at once. Glad that I actually had my camera with me!

 photo IMG_1325640x327_zps78ef6780.jpg
 photo IMG_1319640x530_zps4e7706d8.jpg
 photo IMG_1317454x640_zpsfe294d60.jpg

Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 15, 14 at 10:23

Molie - seems natural that peaceful coexistence would be on your river - great shots.

Susan - now THAT's bluebird heaven! Wow. You're a lucky duck. Keep the camera nearby - wonderful!
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Wow, Susan! Those are amazing shots of "Bluebird Day" in your yard ... great that the camera was so close. As I've said before, I've never seen even one bluebird in our yard.

With your permission, I'm showing that last photo to my DH? He paints and would, I know, love to use that bluebird closeup in an oil or pencil sketch.
Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Jane, if I had your skill at capturing birds in flight, this picture would not look so much like a blue squirrel coming in for a landing. lol

Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Molie, thank you. Feel free to share the pic. Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 15, 14 at 11:59

Great photos of the blue bird convention, Susan! It's impressive how they can perch on a barbed wire fence without piercing their little feet. It must be a hasty last minute foot placement as they come in for a landing. That last pic does look like a blue squirrel tail - at least the bird didn't have to deal with barbed wire.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

MOLIE,i don't know enough to know if this is even a valid question, but is it possible that the grey bird is an immature version of the adult white bird?
mindy


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Mindy... although egrets and herons are from the same family .. .Ardeidae... and although egrets are a form of white heron, they are different species. (I think I got that right.... biology was not my major.)

I believe that the bird on the left is a Great Egret (Casmerodius albus...yellow bill and black legs) and the one on the right is a Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). I know there are others on this thread with more knowledge of these birds and can certainly correct any misidentification.

We get lots of both along our river but don't see them together. Here's another shot I took that gives a closer look.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 15, 14 at 16:51

Susan - just keep shooting, that's the main thing. I credit my lens and sometimes good timing for the better bird shots. But I still erase most of them.

Here is the little male Rose-breasted Grosbeak who was born here. That's a Downy on the other side. Have not seen his 2 sisters, but the suet was just put out. Can't believe I went into Agway today and came out with 120 lbs. of seed, but I did. A sale is a sale.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 15, 14 at 17:03

After seeing pixie-lou's tithonia last year, I planted some seeds in a raised bin on the deck this year. Pixie's were much, much better, but this little orange-bottomed bee seemed to find them attractive.

He carefully and enthusiastically flew in
Tithonia 1

Then seemed to have had a crash landing
Tithonia 2 (2)

When he came up for air, I wondered if he could drive home with a face full of pollen
Tithonia 3

But apparently he could
Tithonia 4 flying
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Thanks, Susan.... I did share your photos.
Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 15, 14 at 19:08

Molie, we were posting at the same time, apparently. Yes, I agree the dark charcoal crown certainly looks like a black crown heron.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Claire, I wouldn't worry about the bluebirds feet. They seem to like the barbed wire! It's just an old section of pasture fence that survived, but they have a great vantage point between two veg gardens and the insects that reside there. They have a lot of other choices for a perch. The only things we saw them have a problem with were smooth surfaces (ceramic garden markers I put on the end of my tomato garden fences)! They were back in force again today. I think the fact that yesterday we tilled one of the veg garden plots to prep for planting winter rye might have stirred up the insects.

Susan

This post was edited by homegrowninthe603 on Tue, Sep 16, 14 at 9:36


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 16, 14 at 15:03

At noontime today, Fluffy arrived under my office window by way of one of his thunderous, broad-sweeping approaches. He's quite theatrical, and IMO, very good-looking. He left empty taloned (?), but not before posing. I think it was decided last spring that Fluffy is a Sharp-shinned hawk. Edit: somebody on Facebook said it is a juvi Cooper's. It's just my yard, I'm not his owner. Whatever he is, we'll still call him Fluffy.
Jane

This post was edited by corunum on Tue, Sep 16, 14 at 16:52


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Just stunning, Jane.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 16, 14 at 17:57

Great pics of the bee rolling in tithonia pollen, Jane, and Fluffy looks majestic. I'm leaning towards Cooper's Hawk also (lower belly is pale, tail is rounded) but accipiters are notoriously deceptive.

Claire


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the egret and the ____?

What cool photos!I have looked through all the black crowned night herons on this linked site, below, but none look like that big grey guy to me. He is as big as the egret, isn't he?
mindy

Here is a link that might be useful: extensive photos of herons and egrets


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Great website, Mindy. Thanks for sharing. Yes, he is as big as the egret. And as I've said, I hope that someone who knows more about birds than I could correct any information I gave, especially those with great bird identification skills and better field guides than mine.

We get many large birds like osprey, turkey vultures, blue herons, cormorants, ibises (at certain times) and other birds along the river, but the egrets are the most prevalent.

Jane, great bee shots on the tithonia. That plant's color surely says "Fall" and must look great on your deck. Fluffy is also strikingly handsome.

I thought I posted here... but obviously didn't... that we had some deer at our bird feeders the other day. They came in the early morning, headed downriver and then later in the day, going upriver. A few nibbles on my roses and some weeds. I'm guessing they were mighty impressed with the convenience of the feeders as well as beverage nearby.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 17, 14 at 19:36

Molie: When in doubt about bird ID's I post photos on the Bird Watching Forum. There are a few experts who regularly check that forum and can definitively identify almost any bird in this country and elsewhere. There are also a few well-meaning but not very knowledgeable people, but that's easily weeded out.

Nice of you to hang the feeders at deer browsing height. They look very well fed.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

molie, what a very beautiful place you have there. I have to tell you, I am partial to egrets, so i love tp hear about all the diff birds and widlife you have there. what a treat for you and all of us who get to see your photos!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 17, 14 at 22:21

Mindy, on my iPad I stretched Molie's first egret/heron post, and in the 2nd picture of that first post, the black crown on the heron is very clear. If you Google ' egret , heron together', there are pictures of other egrets and herons chumming, preening, and stealing fish from each other. Not that unusual apparently.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Thanks, Claire, for the suggestion about posting on the Bird Watching Forum, which I'll do later today. Most of the time I'm often not sure what's out there, but it sure is fun watching them.

Mindy, even as winter comes, we have great sightingss along the river . I never realized how interesting and fun it would be to live along a tidal river. Because it's so narrow and not easily accessible, there aren't many folks on it ... just those with kayaks and canoes.

Does anyone ... especially those up north....get moose, mountain lions, bear or fox on their property as the seasons change? We took a drive yesterday up to MA through the Mohawk Mtn. areas, staying off highways, but only saw one turkey.... not even a squirrel! That was surprising to us.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 18, 14 at 14:48

Molie: I would suggest a Great Blue Heron, perhaps a juvenile, for the darker bird.

These are photos I took in August of a rather mangy looking Great Blue Heron preening in Ellisville Marsh. The dark crown is visible.
Great Blue Heron1 8:24:14

Great Blue Heron2 8:24:14

Check out All About Birds - scroll down to the Field Marks section and then click on the arrow to see more photos. About five photos in is a juvenile.

Claire

Edit note: One thing that bothers me about the Black-crowned Night-Heron ID is the fact that they mostly hang around at night. According to All About Birds:

"Black-crowned Night-Herons are common in wetlands across North America - you just may have to look a little harder than you do for most herons. True to their name, these birds do most of their feeding at night and spend much of the day hunched among leaves and branches at the water’s edge. Evening and dusk are good times to look for these rather stout, short-necked herons flying out to foraging grounds."

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Sep 18, 14 at 15:06


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 18, 14 at 15:49

Good shots, Claire. The day I was at Ellisville, there was one duck in sight. Same trouble at Molie's. At least I got some Terns in Plymouth. On the heron ID, it's the dark crown and maybe juvi status that adds to the confusion. Then again, I still mix up Cooper's and Sharp-shinned, but Great Blue certainly looks correct. Nice birds and a lucky places to live, you two!

Sometimes when focusing so much on one bird, I don't see a spoiler until the picture is up on the computer screen and enlarged. Such was the case in the daily sparrow bath today. The expression on the guy on the left is priceless.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 18, 14 at 19:43

"It's my turn, hurry up and get out of the bath!" Very cute!

You really have to time the tides to see birds at the Ellisville Marsh. If the tide is low enough that the mudflats are exposed there are usually a number of birds, except when there isn't. And the time of low tide in the marsh is a few hours delayed compared to the bay so it's tricky to use a tide chart. During GBBC I always agonize over the time and I usually end up making several counts on different days, which are often quite different.

I take a quick look at the marsh when I drive home from wherever.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 19, 14 at 16:39

This thread is getting long so I'll set up a new one (2014 #10) very soon. As always, people can continue the discussion on this thread if they want.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #9

Molie - Was just reading thru the end of this thread. Just thought Id post a great blue heron photo I took in mid July. You can see the dark head on this guy. Did you ever get a proper ID on the bird watching forum?


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