Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Springlike Hike

The weather here in February has been unusually mild.  Temperatures have been in the 50s and 60s.  So Finn and I have been hitting the trails more than usual at this time of year.

Most of the vegetation is still brown with trees still leafless.  So, there weren't too many opportunities to take pictures. 

My son Eric and I were discussing this old foundation that has been on the side of the trail for many years.  We think it may have been an old spring house.  Back in the 70s and 80s when we hiked these trails with our kids, the parks used to provide trail pamphlets that explained the different things along the trails.  Eric ran into one of the park naturalists the next day who said she didn't realize the foundation was there.  She asked Eric to take a picture and send it to her along with the location.  Imagine that!  Us telling the naturalist where things are in the park.  I thought that was funny.

This little fungi is usually white.  I just thought the green (though actually kind of gross) perks it up a little.
Looking over one of the bridges, I spotted these cute little "hands" imprinted in the mud.  There are plenty of raccoons in this park.
Today, Finn and I spotted our first duck of the season in the Kingfisher stream.  It was great seeing Mr. Mallard!  Spring isn't too far away for sure!
A longer look of the Kingfisher stream.  You can see part of the other trail on the opposite side of the stream.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Meet Some of My Friends

I love taking pictures of the birds I see, but some are more challenging to get a good picture.  They are usually small, and quick moving birds.  They never sit still, and dart away quickly.

My favorite little bird is the Carolina Wren, and I always try to get it's picture and share every time.

When I started counting birds 6 years ago, I rarely saw a Hairy Woodpecker.  A Hairy looks just like a Downy Woodpecker, only larger.  After 6 years of counting, I finally see a Hairy or two almost every week.  Here is a male Hairy.

Always have to take a picture of the brilliant male Northern Cardinal.

When it's cold and/or snowy, I usually have a Northern Yellow Shafted Flicker stop by, this is a female.

This is one of the hardest birds for me to get a picture of...the Tufted Titmouse.  I wish this would be a profile picture, because it would be easier to see him at his best.  I'll keep trying to get a better picture.  I do like his eyes!

 I have quite a few Red Bellied Woodpeckers coming around too.  This is a female.

The last few pictures are of a White Breasted Nuthatch.  He too, is constantly on the move.  I have a ton of blurry pictures of this guy...here are a few of my best.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Birds of a Feather...

I haven't been hiking lately, either because the weather was nasty and/or I was just too lazy and not motivated enough to get up and get going!  However, I have been doing some decluttering of the house, so that's one good excuse...but it's the ONLY good one I have.

I did go hiking yesterday and the day before yesterday.  I went without Finn because I just didn't want to have to try and catch him first.  He likes to hike, but for some reason, he makes me run around the house after him to get him ready.  Then I have to get his seat ready in the car.  My car is fairly new, so Finn sits on an old blanket along with his seatbelt.  He also wears a harness and sometimes a sweater.  Then I have to make sure I have his Kroger "poop" bag in my pocket.  I just didn't feel like dealing with all that, so I went alone.

I find myself walking faster now that I have a new knee and without having to stop and pick up poop, or wait for Finn to sniff everything, I can cover pretty much ground in almost an hour of walking.  Today was really, really cold, and I had laundry to do, so I skipped hiking.

This past Sunday and Monday, I did my bird counts and took lots of bird pictures.  I will have to split them up into at least two, maybe three entries.  When I count birds, I can only count the most I see at one time.  I know there are a lot of birds that come to the feeder, but how many times do I see the same individual bird?  This past Sunday I saw 25 cardinals all at once.  I managed to get 3 pictures, before they all flew off.  There were also many cardinals in the tree that I didn't a picture quickly enough.

Here are 5 Cardinals sitting under one of the feeders.

Here are 5 more Cardinals under one of the pole systems I have.  Those two gray birds are Dark Eyed Juncos.

Six more Cardinals and more Dark Eyed Juncos

Though I like to take pictures of individual birds because I like to  look at them closely, I've been trying to take some pictures of groups of birds, to show how many different kinds come to my feeders.

This next pictures includes, cardinals, mourning dove, house sparrows, two female brown headed cowbirds (they are the larger gray birds).  The male cowbirds actually have brown heads.  Herb always teases me saying he just saw some elephant birds....bad joke.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Who's Watching Whom?!

As I sat "counting" birds for The FeederWatch Program this past Sunday and Monday, I had to laugh at the observances I made at who was actually watching whom.

Of course, there I sat with my binoculars, camera, clipboard with tally sheet, pen and coffee behind closed patio doors. About 10 feet away were my feeders hanging from the tree and other pole systems.

Lovely, little every day birds I watched and counted.  Cardinals and House Sparrow.

All of a sudden I spotted this gray fluffy intruder!  Not one of my cats!  Mine stay indoors at all times.  Such a pretty cat...who had obviously been watching all of my birds at the feeders too.  I'm not sure what she was rolling around in.  The other day Finn was rolling around in that same area and I looked to see what might have been there, but saw nothing.

I didn't want the cat to get any of the birds, so I sent out my buddy, Finn.  As soon as he went flying out the door, the cat ran.  However, he did check out the area where it sat.
Finn giving the icy stare...DON'T COME BACK!
A little later, this beautiful Cooper's Hawk landed about 3 feet from where I watching behind patio doors.  I was so excited...I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hold the camera steady!  I'm sure this is the closest I'll ever get to such a magnificent bird!  I'm having enlargements made of these pictures so I can enjoy them every day!  He didn't catch any little birds either.

So, I guess I'm not the only one out there watching.....

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Beautiful Colors and Markings

Included in this post are some of the birds I really just love to stare at!  Their beautiful markings and colors just fascinate me.  Since I'm not always around to see them I try to take a picture of them so I can look at them whenever I want.

The next pictures are of a female Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker.  Some pictures are a little fuzzy but I included them to show their markings from different angles.

You can tell this is a female because there is NO black slash mark (kind of like the Nike trademark) under it's eye. 
A little out of focus, but I like the squirrel in the background.
Again, a little fuzzy, but showing her back markings.
Now, a pretty Blue Jay.  This shot was interesting because there was some fog in the area, but after brightening the picture to show the color of the jay, I lost the fog.  I thought the color was more important.
A bit out of focus picture of a Red Bellied Woodpecker.

A Blue Jay about to take off with a peanut.

Finally, a really strange "bird" on the platform feeder.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Little Birds and Silly Squirrels

In my previous post I included some Carolina Wren pictures that weren't the best.  In the meantime, I've captured a few more pictures that are quite a bit better.  I still get excited when I see these cute little guys.

I know it's really hard to distinguish this little bird, but you'll have to take my word for it that the next two pictures are of a brown creeper.  I know it just looks like a wet leaf in these two pictures, but it is a brown creeper.  I'll have to continue to try and get a better picture of this cute little guy too.  It is situated at the top of the picture right below the large twig.
 You can see in this picture he has changed positions and is sitting upright.  Sorry the pictures are a bit out of focus.

I love this next picture, because the squirrels were chasing each other around the tree.  Can you see all four of them?  The hardest one to spot is on the upper right portion of the tree.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Carolina Wrens and Friends

I love the little Carolina Wren when it comes to visit my feeders.  In past years, he was a rare visitor...at least I didn't see him very often.  This year, I've been able to spot two at the same time!  I see them both nearly every week.

I think they are the cutest little bird.  I love it's colors, it's jaunty little tail and their pudginess.  I tried to take some decent pictures of the two of them, but birds don't sit very still.  Besides the fact, I get excited, my camera tends to focus slow at times and I end up with blurred pictures at best.  Here are a few:

One little Carolina Wren showing me his backside!  A House Finch, and the other Carolina Wren behind him,

 Both of the Carolina Wrens, but blurry.
A female Northern Cardinal and a super pudgy little Carolina Wren.

I usually don't see too many American Robins in the winter.  This one was all by himself enjoying some water from our new bird bath.

And finally, a meeting of minds, I guess.  I thought they all looked cute sitting here.  Many people don't like Mourning Doves, but I think they're sweet.