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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 8, 13 at 18:10

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

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

And for 2013:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #1
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #2
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #4
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #6
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #7
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #8
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

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The 2013 #9 thread is getting long (and I just happen to have some new turkey photos) so I"m starting a new thread.

There was ice on some of the birdbaths this morning but one of the Wild Turkey toms was in full display to the hens. This is how it looked from my kitchen window.
Turkey Display1 12:8:13

A second tom was standing by but didn't seem to be interested in joining the action.
Turkey Display2 12:8:13

And the hens didn't seem very interested either.
Turkey Display3 12:8:13

Turkey Display4 12:8:13

The display didn't last all that long (as far as I could see) but the flock moved on and who knows what they were doing out of sight. Lately I've been seeing a flock of 15 to 20 turkeys parading around various yards in the neighborhood. It seems to be a movable feast with many tables set for them.

Claire

typo edited

This post was edited by claire on Mon, Dec 9, 13 at 10:24


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 9, 13 at 13:30

What lovely 'window on the world' pictures these are, Claire, - especially the balance in the first one. I don't think I've ever seen 20 turkeys at once. Usually they are in broods of no more than 10 or so here.

First day of icing for the season this morning. Poor little feet had to be freezing. Birds are really, really tough!

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 9, 13 at 17:07

Lovely picture of the dove, Jane! The color echos and the textural contrasts (two kinds of bark and the feathers) are really striking.

Tomorrow may be our day for ice - so far today it's just been rain and mist.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 10, 13 at 12:55

Well, the first 3" of snow of the season did not dampen this Song Sparrow's spirit. He was quite methodical in churning up the earth in search of seeds which the Mourning Dove that walked the sparrow-cleared path, applauded. The Sparrow/Dove combo had no problems being being in close proximity to each other. But, as another Sparrow entered the area...

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 10, 13 at 13:16

Two days ago, there were 24 Mourning Doves here under the feeder. Yesterday, there was one who spent the day eating a little, but perched on an icy branch in the birch. Today, there is just one dove, eating a bit, and he/she has been perched since early this morning. My guess is a hawk took the mate. I've seen the mourning before. Anyone else ever had the 'lonesome dove' wake happen?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 10, 13 at 13:41

Jane: A Ninja Song Sparrow! Feisty little bird.

I'm not surprised at the lonesome dove wake although I haven't seen it so pronounced. Usually here the single dove feeds separately from the pairs, although it may roost with them. I often see one dove in the yard all day and then the flock comes in to get water as the sun goes down. That one dove seems to be deliberately keeping itself apart.

And this is the main reason for the disruption in pair bonds, a juvenile Cooper's Hawk - here in the snow. I sort of felt sorry for the hawk that hasn't fed yet and has to hunt in the snow storm. There were few birds around earlier before it started snowing so I figured a hawk was around.

Cooper's Hawk in snow6 12:10:13

Cooper's Hawk in snow4 12:10:13

I also made a video of the hawk just to see what I could capture; hoping for some interesting movement. It's not very exciting - mostly four minutes of a hawk moving its head around - but it's here if anyone is interested. It does show the snow coming down.

video of Cooper's Hawk in snow

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 10, 13 at 14:12

And what a difference a day makes - no turkey toms displaying today - just a bunch of turkeys busy foraging in the snow in my yard.

Turkeys in snow3 12:10:13

Turkeys in snow1 12:10:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 10, 13 at 14:45

Lovely winter picture. Despite the hawk not performing for you, it's nice to be able to hold a camera that still for 4 minutes, lol. I didn't realize before seeing the very gray adult Cooper's recently that not a high percentage of young adult hawks reach maturity. Once in a while a hawk will come in when we've given chicken skin or meat scraps to the crows then the crows torment the hawk. Not an easy life. If they'd settle for granola...


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 11, 13 at 14:25

It was a very busy bird morning and this Blue Bird really wanted a ripe berry:

But the berries on the Blue Princess holly are not ready.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 11, 13 at 17:23

Bluebirds in snow always startle me (pictures that is, I've never seen a real bluebird). Such a pretty little bird and the pics are great.

I wonder what shrubs have berries that ripen early (besides pokeberries). Maybe rose hips fill the gap before holly berries ripen.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 12:50

The robins have been coming to the bird baths every day now that it's been below freezing. Today several of them tasted the winterberries and I suspect that a few more cold nights will ripen them enough for an invasion.

Robin on winterberry 12:13:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 15:26

That's a great shot in a lovely, bountiful shrub. I planted winterberry some 5 years ago and the deer tormented it to the point of non-growth, plus the area may be too dry. The deer don't touch aronia, so I keep putting in more. But your winterberry is spectacular. Lucky robin! Do cedar waxwings also show up for the invasion?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 13, 13 at 17:10

I sometimes see waxwings, but not every year. They seem to have their own set tours and travel in different circles than the robins. I've noticed cardinals surreptitiously nibbling at the winterberries too.

My big winterberry is located near the septic field so it has its own constant irrigation and fertilization system. In the last few years I've found seedlings within my garden areas where I water as needed and spread compost.

This year I moved a bunch of seedlings (one about five feet tall) across the street when I realized that they were going to totally overwhelm the established plantings in the yard. These were of an age where I could sex five of them by the flowers - two are females and three males. A few others are too young to flower. I'm hoping for a nice berry display there as well as having male pollinators for the big one. I have no idea where the pollinator has been all these years but one year there were no berries, probably because of a cold spring inhibiting the insects.

Naturally, this was a really dry summer so I spent the whole time carrying watering cans across the street as the transplants started to wilt (it's too far for a hose). I'm hoping they'll be OK when they're fully rooted even though it's drier than I like. I notice that there are some fruiting winterberries in the woods downslope so they can handle some dry conditions. The pond down the hill is probably the source of all the local winterberries.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

The quality of the photos are spectacular!

We have a large flock of 15-25 turkeys that visit the corn field most days at this time of year. Yesterday they were at the end of the field closest to the house, scratching through our thin coating of snow and ice to glean leavings from the corn harvest, so that there are now large dark areas where they were feeding.

From turkeys Dec. 13, 2013

All of a sudden, they all decided to leave, scooting across the small frozen wetland and up the driveway into the field and into the road. Once they got into the road, they were taking their time, picking up grit from the sand deposited on the road until the schoolbus came along, and then they hurried to get out of the way. There is a hemlock swamp across the way, dense enough to provide good shelter to various critters on cold nights like last night.

From turkeys Dec. 13, 2013


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 14, 13 at 10:24

Lovely wintry photos, nhbabs! The sunlit clouds in the first photo are very striking and the fence grounds the scene.

Maybe it's just me and my interests, but my eyes immediately pick out the turkeys in the vistas. A vestige of the primitive hunter - dinner is out there?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

I have turkey envy after looking at Claire's and NHBab's photos! Perhaps flocks of wild turkeys would be a low maintenance, more manageable alternative to the chickens I opted not to raise. I have a swamp. Perhaps scattering hemlock cones out there could turn it into a turkey friendly hemlock swamp. Hmmmm....

I love the "march of the turkeys" photo!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

I haven't checked here in a while and, truth, I haven't taken the camera out in a long time. This morning after the snow and ice storm, I felt the old urge coming back and went for the camera to take pictures of the river.

Jane, those are beautiful bluebird photos. Like Claire, I've never seen one in our yard. What's the secret to attracting them? Do you have a nesting box?

Nhbabs, your landscape views are magnificent. I enjoy seeing the winter sun go down in a gray sky --- don't know why but it's always appealed to me.

Claire, all the shots of the hawk are great. Early this morning, my DH took these photos of a hawk across the river in the tall trees. He thinks the poor thing was trying to de-ice its wings.

He sat like that for a long time, wings outstretched, perhaps to catch the morning warmth, though there wasn't much sun in the sky today.

Poor guy looked cold, but still sharp-eyed

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 15, 13 at 17:14

That hawk looks COLD, Molie! It's a beautiful picture with the ice on the branches but COLD! I'm guessing a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk but I'm not a raptor expert.

Sun coming through those iced branches with a hawk would have been fantastic (but COLD).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 16, 13 at 15:40

Six robins here today but they seemed mostly interested in the bird baths - one heated bird bath and a couple newly refilled.

But I saw a Cedar Waxwing! The first of the season just looking around. Maybe it's a scout checking out the ripeness of the winterberries.

Cedar Waxwing2 12:16:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 16, 13 at 16:36

OMG! This thread is getting better and better.

nhbabs - those turkeys are in New Hampshire heaven. Beautiful shots. You know, you could make a calendar of your field shots. I'm sure we'd all supply our addresses.

Molie - the hawk pictures are fantastic. The first one captures it all for me. Yes, DH is probably right about the de-icing and resting. I saw de-icing type preening happening here Sunday morning. Lovely.

Claire. How gorgeous is that bird? The light across the bottom is striking. So glad he came to your yard. I would say that they will swoop in en masse when the winterberries are palatable. When they came here for the chokeberries and crabapples, there must have been 50-75 of them with the robin scouts and were here for about 3 hours. It's a one-shot deal; you either see it or you don't. They are striking birds. Now you can't leave the house till the berries are gone. Call Peapod.

This has been a very good birding time. This is the first Hermit Thrush to ever visit and he likes to go swimming in the heated bath:

And, the chickadees, 3 of them, are bouncing and leaping as usual. Here is a little guy leaping - look at those tiny feet:

Calling for his mate, I think:

93 days until spring 2014
Jane

This post was edited by corunum on Mon, Dec 16, 13 at 17:10


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 16, 13 at 18:08

Wonderful series of pictures, Jane! The thrush seems to be posing for its picture and then looking to you for applause, while the chickadee is thoroughly disgruntled (snow! yuck!).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

The color and clarity of all these various close shots is so impressive!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 8:28

Turkey fans and feeders have to read this article.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: YANKEE MAG,Dec.2013: Jim Collins, Wild Turkeys in New Hampshire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 9:52

Thanks for the link, Jane.

I enjoyed this line when Walski was surprised that the turkeys continued to thrive even when dairy farms dwindled:

"“The corn in the cow manure,” Walski quips, “turned out to be not nearly as important as backyard birdfeeders.”"

The gorilla in the room for me, though, is the fact that so much of the restocking of turkeys has been done to provide game for hunters.

Claire (who could never shoot a turkey)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

I read the turkey article with deja vu. It was shortly after we moved from Boston to Vermont in the early 70s that the re-stocking of the turkeys took place. It was astonishing how quickly they began to thrive and remarkable to have seen it in my lifetime. It was a thrill back then to see the first few wild turkeys. Now they are everywhere.

Actually Claire, hunters have financed most of this country's wildlife habitat and preservation/management. Without the hunting interest and money, many game species would be in trouble or would simply not exist, lacking the protection of game laws. I do admit to viewing the turkey flocks here with half an eye for Thanksgiving, but they're quite safe from me, given my unfamiliarity with shotguns, my increasingly poor eyesight and less steady hand, and inability to tolerate the cold! I settle instead for buying heritage turkeys raised organically nearby without injections of chemicals, and similar in taste to their wild relatives.

On another note, I meant to remark on the absolutely beautiful bluebird photos, Jane. Claire is right that the blue color is startling. They always look like a bit of bright blue sky come down to earth, almost unnaturally blue.

The poor hawk does look very cold, Molie. I hope this cold snap does not persist all winter.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

Thanks for the article, Jane. When I moved to central NH in 1980, I didn't see any turkeys, and I think it was late 80's before we began seeing them here. Now they are quite common all over town.

We don't have birdfeeders (those pesky bears!), and as far as I know, only a couple neighbors do, and I don't usually see the turkeys in their yards. We are a prime example of Ted Walski's original theory, I think. There's the corn missed in the harvest and the manure stockpiled on the fields ready for spring spreading (and added to as possible during the winter) so the tops of the piles tend to be available no matter how deep the snow in general since the wind takes snow off the tops. We also have great habitat, with lots of evergreens for shelter, ready supplies of water, and a mix of field and forest. The fields supply a lot of their food as well, insects when its warm and seeds when it isn't.

While the turkeys may have been stocked for hunters, they provide a lot of pleasure to those of us who just enjoy watching them (not that I have problems with hunting even though I don't hunt). I think I spend about as much time enjoying and taking photos of our local flocks as I do of the garden or of all the other critters combined - there are so many of them, and they visit pretty much daily for much of the year.

Sunday afternoon I went skiing in the woods and flushed an owl, probably a Great-horned judging from the color, though I only saw him from below and behind. DH said there's been one hanging around the shop, and since I was almost there when I saw him I expect it was the same one. There have also been barred owls calling in the woods in the evening, though it seems a bit early. For a while this summer we had one perching on the wires by the road, but I haven't seen him in some months.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 14:40

You're welcome, turkey fans. I had no idea that Northern New England had ever been 'out' of wild turkeys, so to speak. Typical flatlander remark, I can hear Sped saying. We moved to rural suburbia in 1975, when there was one car per hour on the road, and turkeys trotted freely. So this article was news to me. I have to stay out of any discussion on hunting or culling because I'm somewhat Disney-imbued and never want to meet any meat I could name or consume. Those discussions always lead me to a dilemma somewhere between Darwin's fondness for hunting and the moral of the Everyman Plays -- and those discussions are best had in a pub. Just another city wimp.

The Blue bird male is always striking and this morning, I caught him drinking. This is literally two successive shots.
It's a shot like this one that makes me remember birds don't have lips ( I know, I know, I can almost see your head shaking) but when they tip their head back to get the water down, I think, no lips. Did I mention city wimp?

On a clear, snow-less day, the female - cute but not brilliant blue:

nhbabs: Any chance you could pocket a little camera in your ski jacket? An owl and no camera? Oh, no. It's not too late to ask Santa.

Jane

This post was edited by corunum on Thu, Dec 19, 13 at 18:18


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 18:14

Great pictures, Jane - I can almost hear the male bluebird gargling. The female bluebird is a little like the female cardinal in that she's not brightly colored like her mate, but she has her own beauty. That is, to human eyes; I'm sure male birds see things differently.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

I actually had a camera, but it was zipped in a pocket and I was wearing mittens. The owl was faster than I was.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 18, 13 at 13:14

One hunting-related conservation program I was aware of is for waterfowl: the Federal Duck Stamp.

"What are Duck Stamps?
Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps,” are pictorial stamps produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They are not valid for postage. Originally created in 1934 as federal licenses required for hunting migratory waterfowl, Federal Duck Stamps have a much larger purpose today.

Federal Duck Stamps are vital tools for wetland conservation. Ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated by the sale of Federal Duck Stamps goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Understandably, the Federal Duck Stamp has been called one of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated and is a highly effective way to conserve America’s natural resources."

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I've been hearing gun shots from the direction of the marsh; I hope the hunters bought their stamps/licenses.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Wed, Dec 18, 13 at 18:07


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

Ducks Unlimited is another such organization. My grandfather (a hunting enthusiast his entire life) used to donate to them, along with other groups. His letters used to be liberally decorated with various wildlife stamps, probably some from the group you speak of, Claire. My grandmother used to cook a game dinner every New Years Day which was mostly duck and venison, but other small game birds and animals as well. I miss those days!

My own comfort meter is pretty much set to "if I'm feeding it and it lives here, and I have some sort of relationship with it, I can't eat it." So raising farm animals, even chickens, to eat is out for me. Hunting would be acceptable to me, but I don't hunt.

That's a lovely sequential pair of photos of the bluebird drinking, Jane.

Pigeons and doves drink in a different manner than most birds. Instead of tipping their heads back, they suck water up through their beaks, and captive pigeons require deeper water dishes than most birds in order to drink. (No I didn't know this until I acquired a pigeon!) Just a bit of bird trivia!

I can hear Sped saying. We moved to rural suburbia in 1975, when there was one car per hour on the road, and turkeys trotted freely.
LOL Jane! Actually the one car per hour (if that) on our dirt road was pretty accurate, but no turkeys back then! Like nhbabs, I think we started seeing them here in numbers around 1980.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 19, 13 at 12:29

I can only hunt with a Canon and this morning I shot a Northern Flicker. He is such a pretty bird.

The birch tree was a busy airport this morning:

Male Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker in pursuit of suet:

I'll have to learn how to shoot at night. Right outside my house almost every night, a doe and a friend come - how lucky can a gardener get?-, but they're so peaceful and last night under the light of a full moon, I regretted not having learned more about my weapon.

Jane -
did they remove the edit button or should I bump up my eye doctor appointment?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 19, 13 at 16:43

Lovely photos, Jane - is the Blue Jay coming in for a landing or just on an invisible branch? How do you do the muted background? Portrait settings?

I see the Edit Post button under the clippings stuff on my last post, so it's still around or was yesterday. I'll see what happens when I post this reply.

I ordered a Duck Stamp ($15) from the Postal Service webstore - an end of the year gift for wetlands. I'm curious to see what the license says.

Claire

edit note: edit button is still there

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Dec 19, 13 at 16:45


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 19, 13 at 18:14

Thanks, Claire. The Blue Jay is coming in for a landing and was a bonus in that shot because I was focusing solely on the Flicker. All the photos were taken with my SLR, Canon T2i, using the 70-300mm lens, all manual adjustments. The muted background is because the focus is totally on the bird. I did a little post-processing to the picture, and it is possible through the Lightroom software I have by using 'Recovery' to further mute a background. Here's a shot taken at the same time. It is totally untouched and you can see the background is still 'unfocused' or muted. It's the camera, not me.

Thanks for addressing the editing ability question. Some posts have it on my screen and some don't. All this because I misspelled too and wrote to. So, I guess the editing is left at - TO be or not TO be (and that's without wine)

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 19, 13 at 18:28

Ah, you're getting much more sophisticated, photographically speaking, then I am. It's a great effect - I think I'll try playing with the Portrait setting on my Canon point and shoot and see if I can mimic it.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

Jane -

I've been meaning to ask - is that a Heritage birch? It is beautiful on its own, and adds so much muted color and texture to your various bird shots. I think I need one at some point.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 18:11

nhbabs - (enjoy Colorado and nice NH house shot)

Yes, it is a Heritage, Bitula Nigra and I think it's 'Cully'. Missouri Botanical refers to it as Curly on one web page and Cully on another web page. (Maybe they couldn't find the Edit button either.) I had 2 clumps placed in Spring of 2009 and could not be happier with them. They were B&B about 12'-14' tall when placed and are now reaching 22'-25' tall. Point is, if you can buy one ( or many) a little smaller, they are, indeed, very fast growing. Not only because the river birch are less disease prone, I chose this tree because I wanted it closer to the house and if it was felled by a storm, it wouldn't crush the house.

More info than asked for, but, by storm, age or choice, this property has lost 55 mature trees in about 34 years. So for the past 5 years, I have replaced large maples, conifers and oak with 21 ornamental trees of about 8 varieties that grow no more than 40' or so and are lightweight if felled, but provide airy shade in the summer. In the first picture is one of the clumps in a garden where the bird pictures are taken - over to the right - it really anchors that elongated kidney shape garden that is about 25' long. In the rear garden behind the red dot that is Hino Crimson azalea, that tall conical, slender, green leafy mass is another clump of Heritage Birch. There is a young Trompenburg Maple in front of the birch and thus far, they coexist well.

The bark when smacked with snow from the snow blower shows just how much color variation from white birch there is in this variety:

Of the new trees I planted, during the horrendous storms we all suffered in the past few years, none of the other ornamentals fared as well as the birch. Bent to the ground under heavy snow, not one broken limb - and they were still fully leafed.

The only thing I had to address was the beginning of sawfly this past Spring, and that's when the chemicals came out. Otherwise, no troubles. Love these trees.

Kindly,
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Missouri Bot. - Heritage, Cully


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 21, 13 at 11:24

You know that saying, 'Never say never and never say always', well, these birds always make me think 'Hitchcock', they always make me think 'Starling' instead of Grackle, and they always empty the feeder, and I may never ID them correctly. Grackles. They're Grackles. Pretty sure.

Jane (always)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 21, 13 at 14:32

Jane: Nice bird habitat in your yard with all the multi-strory trees and shrubs - and so many grackles! I saw one last week but the multitudes are long gone (I think, there's always tomorrow).

I also have trouble with naming starlings and grackles. It just seems that grackles should be speckled and starlings should be shiny. But life doesn't always turn out the way we expect, if you haven't noticed.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

Thanks for the tree info, Jane. That's a pretty spectacular shot of the grackle flock.

Here's how I remember Starlings have Spots and Short tails. (So the other ones have to be the grackles, though I don't have a mnemonic for them.)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 25, 13 at 12:17

86 days to spring...or is it? On Christmas morning Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird are house shopping. This house is at the end of my property and at the end of the camera's range, but they are checking the house and 'hood on Christmas. I read that bluebirds can start nesting as soon as February. We'll see.

Happy Christmas.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 25, 13 at 15:35

That's a very cute picture, Jane, of the house inspection.

Maybe the warm spell we had for about a week tricked the bluebirds into house-hunting. I was beginning to worry about bulbs prematurely sprouting, then it turned cold again (for a few days) and the birdbaths are freezing up again (except for the heated one).

Spring looks awfully far away, but not impossible.

Happy Christmas to you too.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 26, 13 at 16:49

December friends in the snow today. Lots of blue bird activity lately.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 9:54

Chatting at the water cooler - no doubt discussing the latest results of the favorite sports teams. Toronto Blue Jays? Saint Louis Cardinals? Probably not the Atlanta Hawks...

The Stories Behind Professional Sports Teams with Backyard Bird Nicknames

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 15:00

Gray afternoon today and at least twenty, and probably more, robins worked on the winterberry buffet. They kept flying back and forth so it was hard to count (and photograph)

I count about 19 robins here:

2:15 PM
Nineteen robins on winterberry 12:27:13

Closeups:
Robin on winterberry1R 12:27:13

Robins on winterberry1 12:27:13

Robins on winterberry2R 12:27:13

I expect my major landscape feature will be greatly diminished by the time they finish today.

Claire

edited to add 2:15 PM to first pic

This post was edited by claire on Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 15:41


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 15:39

A hard core berry-eater finishing off the fruits:
Robin on winterberry3 12:27:13

and now I have a minor landscape feature to look at out of my kitchen window:

3:25 PM
Winterberry et al2 12:27:13

There are a few more berries left but no great swath of red.

Claire (sigh)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

Amazing that in just over an hour, they stripped those berries! Nice that you have had them this long, and that they attract the robins so well.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

Beautiful photos of bluebirds, Jane, and of robins, Claire. Oh, I wish I had more land to plant many varieties of trees and berry-laden shrubs, but at least there's the river bird population. Below are some shots of the hawk that visited yesterday, looking for slow, stupid birds, I guess. He began his hunt in our neighbor's crabapple tree where his colors were hidden by the branches. Then he flew to the top of the arbor and looked at the bird feeders. But all the wise birds had fled.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 17:04

Nice article on ball league names, thanks.

Molie - looks like a young Cooper's. The most recent bird sighting I got on the Oyster River was that of a mallard bottom side up in the water. Another time, perhaps. Nice shots of the hawk.

A big bush of berries wiped clean in under 2 hours is not startling once you've seen it, and it's an amazing event to watch and photograph. It is a shame to lose that beacon of red life in the winter garden. Did the robins not tell the cedar waxwings? Only once did I see cedar waxwings come with robins. Nobody has devoured the chokeberries or crabapples here yet, but it's just a matter of time.

I think he's just using the tree for cover, but the only hermit thrush here (the daily bather) uses the prairie fire crabapple as a lookout.

This post was edited by corunum on Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 17:13


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 17:22

nhbabs: I've loved having the red berries to look at, but I also love watching all those robins stuff themselves with fruit. Since they don't usually come to the feeders, I enjoy being able to feed them something, even though it's only for a short time.

I'm already shifting over to evergreen appreciation mode.

Molie: Nice pics of a juvenile Cooper's Hawk there - slow, stupid birds don't last very long in the harsh, real world, but fast, healthy, wise birds have a good chance. It's nerve-wracking to watch, though.

I'm amazed, Jane, that you're seeing a Hermit Thrush regularly. Maybe it's hanging around waiting for the crabapples and chokeberries to ripen.

Claire

edit note: According to Cornell's All About Birds they do eat fruit, including berries, in the winter. Thinking about it, robins are thrushes, too, so eating berries is all in the family.

This post was edited by claire on Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 17:32


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 10:48

Got the duck stamp, purchased from the USPS online store, in the mail.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'm not sure whether this could be considered tax-deductible, but it's a nice way to donate to support wetland conservation.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with a $15 stamp that doesn't serve as postage.... I can always stick it on the refrigerator with all the rest of the clutter...

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 9:17

Claire, keep it safe and leave it to somebody you love. See link for various 'old duck stamp' values. Probably deductible and just think, if you buy another 200 of them, it may matter on your taxes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old Duck Stamps


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 10:18

It's because of the chokeberry bush that he comes close to the house where I can get close-ups. Always thought BC chickadees had black eyes. Looks brown in the sun. Cute little guy. Berries are still intact.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 12:41

Jane: Hee-hee... the chickadee looks a tad menacing. Good thing it's not two feet tall.

I think duck stamps are going to be in my future charitable giving plans - I don't know about buying 200, but at least more than one.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

I was living in town when Mr. Walski was giving talks about the wild turkey project. Although the article describes the CT River valley, I think there were other release sites that weren't mentioned. I thought our town was one of them because of the corn, apples and water. We don't have apple orchards any more but although we are down to one dairy farm, a neighbor has quite a few beef cows (and lots of manure). We used to enjoy seeing the turkeys roost in pines along a corn field. As day was ending, they would gather and one by one fly up into the trees. The cattle farmer made improvements to the field since years of not keeping up with things let trees encroach on the field. About 100 feet of pines were cut back. There are plenty more pines but too much heavy equipment activity. The heavy equipment is now parked a distance away and finally we saw three male turkeys in our yard and then exploring the corn field. Last winter we counted as many as 60 coming down from the pines to see what they could get in our yard before making the tour to other places.

I don't recalled seeing blue birds in winter before but this year we probably have 8. I counted 4 females and one male picking up suet scraps and thistle seed. We do not have nesting boxes up so I have no idea where they nest but it is probably somewhere behind our house.

Thanks for posting the wonderful pictures. A friend has been getting some good shots at the Nashua airport and posting them on facebook.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 1, 14 at 9:00

I'm working on a new thread for 2014. It should be posted soon.

Claire


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