Saturday, February 26, 2011

Challenges to getting Critter Photos

I was sitting down already when a cardinal landed on the window feeder this morning, so I thought I'd be able to get a photo that included the head.  The color showed up beautifully, but the focus was off.

I decided to take the top shelf down to get a better view of the feeder.  Still, I was too slow to get both of the birds eating, and the rosemary plant was in the way.

A sparrow and a black capped chickadee came next.  I'm sorry I cut your head off, birdie!

Well, there are still some obstructions due to the ice on the window.

Here is a female cardinal, and I still wasn't smart enough to move the rosemary plant.

After I thought to move the rosemary, no more birds came around for awhile.  I kind of like the look of the feeder with the cap of snow on it. 

 After a couple days of snow, I threw some seeds out for the birds this morning.  The squirrels had destroyed the sock thistle feeder we had put out after Christmas, so I put a pile of thistle down to see if any birds would eat it from the ground.  In less than five minutes, the sparrows and dark-eyed juncos noticed the fresh food.  The mouse did, too, but I wasn't fast enough this time to get it in any photos.

After a few minutes, the female cardinal flew in for a brief snack.

When the male arrived, the female left.  I got more photos of the male, because it stuck around longer.  The only birds I saw eating the thistle seeds were the dark-eyed juncos.

When a couple birds did come to the window feeder, they didn't stick around long.  I'm sitting in the dining room to do this post, looking up at the feeder, which is not currently attracting birds.  I wonder if they don't like being able to see into the house.  

I keep going back to check to see what critters are out in the back yard.  This blue jay came to eat for a few minutes.  I know the behavior of blue jays is not supposed to be so great at times, but I think they are pretty.

Larry had seen the squirrel earlier, when he went out to put 2 new suet cakes into the double feeder, and refill another feeder, but I didn't until early afternoon.  This one seems to prefer the sunflower seeds in the bird food over the corn Larry put out for the squirrels. 

It was sunflower seeds in the window feeder when the squirrels knocked it down.  That's why we put safflower seeds in it when we put it back up, because they say squirrels don't care for it. 

I don't think the woodpeckers have noticed the fresh suet yet.  Larry put the piece of uneaten suet cake left from the suet feeder with the corn he had put out for the squirrels.   This junco spent quite some time munching from it.

Larry moved this feeder to where we could see it from the back door. It's supposed to be squirrel proof, but they still tried to mess with it when there were sunflower seeds in it, and I'm thinking they've knocked it down before.  They are not bothering it with the safflower seeds in it.  I enhanced this photo of the sparrow on it in my iphoto edit program.  I didn't see the manual adjustment feature I used to use before the last update.

Finally, some black capped chickadees came to the feeder, as I was typing, but still didn't stick around long enough for me to get great photos of them.  I guess I'll take what I can get.

 While the above photos were being loaded, one came and stayed awhile.  It was pecking the edge of the tray for some reason.

It is a pretty bird.  I love the striped look of the feathers.

I had been thinking about participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count last week, but was not feeling well, so I didn't get it done.  I am tickled, though, over the variety of birds in our area, and that I get to see them from time to time.  I haven't seen mourning doves lately, but expect to soon.

(Added at 5:57:  Look what I saw out the door at suppertime! It was darkish, and I did the "enhance" thing again.  Oh, and Larry showed me where to go if I want to adjust things manually.)

I have been working on this post off and on much of the day, and need to get it published so I can participate in Misty Dawn's Camera Critters. The link is in my sidebar.  I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Cardinal

We've had a few mild days, but winter is not finished.  The last couple of days, we kept hearing something about the probability of snow today.  I kept looking out of windows at work, as the clouds got thicker and thicker.  Around 1:30 this afternoon, I saw a few flakes falling.  I looked out again every few minutes, as the snowfall got heavier and heavier.  When I got off work, there was at least an inch on the vehicles.  I needed to stop at the store after work, and there were at least a couple inches of snow on the car after I got my 4 bags of groceries.  By supper, the news said we'd had 3 inches, and could get several inches more by tomorrow.

I know some of you are part of this system, too, or have had your own to deal with.  Where should we hold our pity party?  Well, I guess I should be glad for more moisture for the plants.  I am just having a harder time waiting for spring to get here than normal.

I took some photos of the snowy sky for SkyWatch Friday after work.  I am posting my sky photos on this blog now.

As we were eating supper this evening, Larry lightly tapped my arm, then pointed to the window feeder.  I went for my camera, but the cardinal he had noticed flew away.  Later, I saw one again, and started taking photos from the hall, but had problems because the glass shelf is in the way, and the top part of the bird was either distorted, or not in the photos.  I was able to get into the room and sit down, but when it's warm enough, we need to figure out where to put the feeder so I can get better photos.

 The bird turned around and faced the window after I took a few photos.  I'm not sure if I realized the belly was that much lighter than the back.

Finally, I got a photo of the head, but not much of the body.  Now, I'm wondering if the male flew away and this is a female.  (Thanks to those who told me this is a female.  I think what happened, was, that the male flew off as the female was landing.  I thought he had turned around, but it makes sense that the movement was them switching spots.)

Poor thing, out in the snow!  Enjoy the safflower seeds!

I hope all is well in your world.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I didn't get a chance to show some critter activity the last part of January, when we were having cold temps, and I'm thinking, these were from days school was closed due to the snow and cold.

After the last winter critter photos I took, Larry asked me if I'd taken one of the place the opossum, we assume, dug out the entrance to its home under our deck. 

I tried taking some photos of the inside.  Is that a dead mouse to the left?  (Larry thinks it's a rock.) One of the photos had some fur, which was about the same color of Heidi's, so maybe the wind blew it there.  I really would like to see what it looks like under there.

The next ones were taken a few days after the previous ones.  A lot of snow had melted, and there were mud tracks.

I'll have to look up opossum mud prints like I did critter prints in the snow.

We had some very cold temps in January.  I felt sorry for the critters.

Can you see it was 5 degrees here?  I really like the dark-eyed juncos.

I finally got some photos of the woodpecker.  There was no red on this one.

I've seen a few cardinals, but they fly off too fast for me to get a photo.

I tossed some bird seeds on the sidewalk out the back door so I could get some photos.  We have lots of sparrows.

The blue jays were wary of me watching from the house, but stuck around long enough for a few snapshots through two door windows, like most of these were.

The woodpecker was still around later when I took more photos.

At supper Thursday, I spotted my first robin of the year out the window.  I had noticed one of my Facebook friends from my city had already seen one, and I was a bit jealous.

The rest of the photos were taken Friday.  This is the feeder that squirrels had gotten down to the ground so they could eat the sunflowers Larry had put in it.  He had to wait until the temps got above 32 to put it back up.  I had gotten the mixed seed for it, but Larry didn't know that, and put the safflower seeds in it.  I wasn't sure if the black capped chickadees would eat it, but was pleased to see them back after it had been up a few days.  There was also a beautiful red male cardinal, but it flew off as I was slowly moving my hand to my camera.

Heidi has been eating some of the seeds we put on the sidewalk, so Larry put some corn for the squirrels up higher.  I added some bird seed to see if I could get some bird photos.  Sure enough, the sparrows showed up.  The dark-eyed juncos came, too, but I didn't get them in a photo.

Heidi knows there are critters under the deck, and where the main entrance is.  I have planted clematis in that area, but the critters clear the area and the plants don't survive.

It didn't take long for a squirrel to find the bird seed.  Hey, squirrel, you are supposed to be eating the corn!

I was spotted, and scolded a bit, but stood my ground inside the door, taking a few more photos.

Well, it's not just opossums that live under the deck.  After the squirrel took over the spot with the seeds, I put a few on the ground in this one spot by the herb garden.  I watched this mouse RUN back and forth, getting a seed, then taking it under the deck.  It was very hard to get a photo, because it moved so fast, and didn't really stop as it was picking things up.  I have been wanting to take the deck down because it is so huge, and takes up so much of the back yard.  This gives me some incentive to do it as soon as we can.  Plus, it will be in need of repair soon if we keep it.  The yard isn't level, though, so I'm not sure how much of the work we could do, and how much it would cost.  I'm thinking I'd like a covered gazebo of some kind, and a brick patio under it. 

How common is it to have mice in one's yard?  I suppose most of you with larger properties have cats to keep the population down.  We had mice in the house a few years ago, but we haven't seen any signs of them for a number of years.  I wonder if they will come in if we take the deck down.  Anyone know about these things?

I am going to link in to Misty Dawn's Camera Critters.  Her link is in the sidebar.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Thanks for the get well wishes on my previous post.  I didn't get a fever, so it must just be a cold.  I drank some tea with echinacea in it this morning, and have taken vitamin C a couple times.  I also resorted to using an inhaler.  I get viral induced asthma, which seems to be kicking in.  I don't have much energy, but am not severely ill.  (I just told Larry, who was in the next room that I think the inhaler helped.  He came in and said, "What?  Van Halen needs help?  LOL)

Heidi kept getting her hopes up when I would open the front door and look outside today.  Finally, around 3:00, I mustered up the energy to pick up my camera, and she followed to the door.  We enjoyed going around seeing what foliage we could find for Pam at Digging's foliage follow-up, the day after GBBD.  This is not the normal pretty foliage post, but a very excited signs of spring one.  I am going to quickly scroll down, and write the names of the plants that come to my brain right away, and put I'm not sure one the rest.



A volunteer, maybe knautia or poppy

Grape hyacinth



Pine leaf penstemon




Drumstick Allium

Pasque flower


Fireworks goldenrod

Rudbeckia, 'Herbstonne'

A hellebore getting ready to bloom


 Three photos of another hellebore that's getting ready to bloom

I was thinking this was a primrose, but didn't find it in a quick search.  It has yellow blooms.


Can't remember

Can't remember


 Basket of gold

Not coming to my brain, but it's a spreader

Volunteer daisies in the veggie garden


Asters will always be asters to me.



Lamb's ears


See, there is still a little snow on the ground, but the sage is not minding it.


I think this is the hardest time I've had waiting for spring to get here in awhile.  I am even having the urge to move to a couple zones warmer, and closer to an ocean, but wouldn't leave the rest of the family members to do that.  Larry said we should get some land and move everyone to it, but we both know it's just talk.

The moon was pretty tonight.  Did you see it?  It's supposed to be up to 70 tomorrow, 30 degrees above the average temperature for our area.  I think it's time to get some lettuce planted.