Visitors

It was Monday late afternoon.  I stepped out of the house and onto the end deck on my to the garden.  That’s when the aerobatic show caught my eyes.  They were swallows, but not the barn swallows that come out and “dance” with me when I mow the lawn.  (The barn swallows love to go after the insects that the tractor stirs up when I mow.  I enjoy watching their moves to gather in their treats on wings.)

These birds fly in a different pattern.  They look different in color and body shape.  Yet they are obviously swallows.

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It’s a tree swallow.  There were a few dozen of them and they loved to light on my antenna at 75 feet in the air.

By sunset, they were gone.  I haven’t seen them since Monday.  I will, however, keep watch for these delightful little creatures.  They put on a good show

Harvest

I’ve recently had some troubles posting to this blog.  The problems seem to be solved, so here goes.

My most recent post (a week ago) featured a photo of Sylvia in the garden.  She was harvesting zucchini.  A couple of days later, I harvested six zucchinis and two jalapeños.  Two days after that, Sylvia brought these in.

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We’ve been wanting some poppers, so a trip to the store for bacon was next.  We enjoyed immensely our first jalapeño poppers of the year.

A couple of days passed and Sylvia went out to the garden to “check on things.”  She was gone a long time.  When she did come back in, she brought these with her.

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She also had a plastic shopping bag half full of green beans, some broccoli, an onion, some beets, and a cabbage as big as your head.  That first coleslaw of the season was super good.

We had to prune the butternut squash vines before they took over the entire garden.  Could it be the 15 loads of manure that we put on the garden last fall?

As I look out the window I see day lilies in blossom.  Beside them, the large hosta is also in blossom and an American gold finch visits to check out the blooms.  An earlier visitor was a humming bird–always fun to watch.

 

Excitement

I was mowing the lawn when I noticed several vultures circling over the neighbor’s field.  It is not unusual to see a vulture or two–a pair nests in a hollow oak tree a short way from here.  This time, I easily counted a dozen and more were on the ground.  I parked the tractor and went into the office and opened a window.  With camera in hand, I tried to capture the action.  (Note to self: Next time try video.  Stills don’t capture the dynamics of this action.)

The vultures were doing horizontal circles above the field.  A couple of American kestrels would swoop down vertically and pull out of their dive just above the ground.  It was great to see.

I did capture one usable image of turkey vultures on the ground.

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I think the spread wings are to promote cooling.  At one time, four of them were in this same pose.

Speculation leans toward an unsuccessful raider of the neighbor’s hen house.  I’m sure he’d see that as a fitting end to the failed attempt.

Tree Discovery

Today, there’s a breeze in the trees.
Pollen too, and I want to sneeze.
Achoo!

On her most recent visit, Sharkey identified the species of the maple tree on the north side of our house.  It is a Tatar Maple, which is native to Russia.

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The apparently leaning tower on the right side only indicates that I was pointing the camera at an upward angle.

It doesn’t show well in the first pic, but there is a bird’s nest in one of those shaded areas.  Let’s take a better look.

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The wire is one of Sylvia’s amateur radio antennas.  She doesn’t use it these days.  Otherwise, I’d have to trim the tree around it or move it to another location.

This morning, I’ve been watching the birds make frequent trips to the sour cherry tree.

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The power pole is vertical.  The camera angle gives an illusion of leaning.  Can you see any cherries in this pic?  Take a closer look.  It’s loaded.

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The birds fly in and land on the branches.  Evidently it’s difficult for them to get what they want.  Soon they come to the ground and sort through the cherries that have fallen on the lawn.

This fruit is good for people too, but seldom gets ripe enough for us.  The birds get it first.  That’s okay . . . they’re probably sour anyway. :rolleyes:

Baby Bird Season

As I mowed the lawn yesterday, I saw a newly fledged robin.  It would hop away and seek cover when I came near.  A couple of times, I had to stop to give that young bird time to get out of the way.

Later, I was sitting in my recliner and reading when I heard a strange sound.  Almost like a dripping faucet–but not quite.  I headed for the kitchen to locate the sound’s source.  I heard it again.  Not from the kitchen, but from behind the door that leads to the end deck.

I peeked out a window and then carefully opened the door so as not scare this little guy.  Yes, it’s the same one I had seen earlier out on the lawn.

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Here’s hoping this youngster is able to fly before being found by the neighborhood cats.

Sad Discovery

The other day, I was walking down the driveway on my way to the mailbox.  As usual, my eyes were searching for anything different or unusual.  That’s when I saw it there in the driveway.

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Some egg thief seems to have enjoyed a meal.  You can see small puncture marks on the left end of this egg shell.  Do you think it was another bird?  Or perhaps a mammal?

Fortunately, that is not a green egg. :laff:

Hooray! Hooray!

‘Twas the first of May.  Robin sat in the apple tree with his feathers fluffed against the chill air.

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Hand-held shot with my Lumix zoomed into a 1200 mm closeup.  The anti-jitter algorithm in that camera is fantastic.

Robin’s breast looked much redder to the eye.  Sylvia saw him first and called my attention away from the Sunday funnies.

They say the early bird catches the worm.  If I’m a worm, I’m sleeping in.  That’s all I have to say.

Daffy & Birds

Until the other day, the only daffodils that I saw in the flower beds were the dark yellow variety.  Then these with lighter petal appeared.

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Hiding, almost out of sight, I found these.

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Oh, yes!  Aren’t they beauties?  There’s still another variety, but it usually appears later than the rest.  Okay by me.  That stretches out the beauty.

For the Birds

As I sat at the breakfast table this morning, I finally saw him.  I’d been hearing his song for the last week or so, which meant he was close, but not visible.  The bright red of the cardinal sitting on the garden fence caught my eye.  I was glad to see him.

As the cardinal left, a robin landed on the lawn near our window.  He would do his bob, bob, bobbing along routine, then stop, cock his head to one side and get a little closer to the ground.  Then he’d pop back up, bob, bob, stop, tilt head, peck at the grass and come up with something to eat.  I watched, enjoying the show until he flew off on another errand.

These are good days.

I Believe in Spring

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Yesterday, as I was enjoying a [seasonally] warm day, I heard what I consider one of the first sounds of spring.  The red-winged black bird’s trill.

It looks like we may be in for an early spring this year.  I can handle that.

You may look for robins, but I’m watching for the turkey vultures.  Okay, I’m looking for robins too.

A Fanciful Tale

Two weeks ago, I was sitting in the dentist’s waiting room.  There, I found myself once again looking at a framed picture on the wall.  It shows a split-rail fence with iris and larkspur growing beside it.  On the end of the second rail down, an American gold finch sits eyeing the world around him.  I’ve always enjoyed that scene.

As I sat there, my thoughts strayed.  I began to put myself into the picture.  As I did, appearances began to change . . .

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In my mind I was walking along a little-used trail.  At the edge of a meadow, a large rock beneath an oak tree provided a seat to rest my feet as I drank some water.

It was one of those Michigan-perfect days.  Blue skies and a warm gentle breeze set the scene.  Behind me, I could hear a woodpecker at work.  Near my feet, ants went about their urgent business.  How relaxing.

Then, I heard a flutter of wings as a finch found shelter on the near end of the second rail down of the fence.  There she sat not moving, nearly hidden in the shadow.  All was quiet.

I looked up and saw the kestrel as he flew over, his sharp eyes searching for the next meal.  After a short while noises began to return, and the finch flew off on her way.

That’s when they called my name and I stepped out of the dream and back into reality.