Author Archives: JoSanz1217

Sometimes life throws you a curve…

Totally unexpected, I might add.  It may take a while for me to get back to the straight and narrow path, but I am determined to do so.  I have two more tests to take…Nov. 20 and Nov. 29.  Shortly after the last test and barring any complications, of course, we will leave here and be on our way eventually to FL, getting there sometime during the first week of Dec.  But, this is a place to discuss birds, not health concerns……

I haven’t been following the posts lately, but did so today and, as usual, enjoyed everything….it was so nice to see the humorous posts…..well done, SLB and DaLo…..especially enjoyed the “tagged” Red Knot that wound up on someone’s plate.  Glad to see that the Whoopers are getting closer to their goal.  Jenn, your pictures of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher are great!  I’m envious, but I know what you mean about devoting so much time and effort to one bird….I did the same thing this past winter with the Fork-tailed Flycatcher…hundreds of pictures of him.

Not much going on around our yard, although we did have a few Pine Siskins show up at the feeders today….they’re not a new bird for me, as they’ve been here before, but we seldom see them from one year to the next.  One lone male Goldfinch fed right next to them.  The Black Ducks are still around, as many as 15 waddle up the hill to get the corn.  The Jays have been reduced from 18 to 6 or 8, which is normal.  Chickadees and RB Nuthatches continue to eat as though there was no tomorrow.  Perhaps they know it’s going to be a harsh winter, which is all the more reason for me to want to head for FL soon….it was 28 this morning.

By the way, Jenn….just remember this….once we’re back in FL, meeting with you on a Monday would be fine…..looking forward to that.

I am in complete agreement that it’s great to be a FL birdwatcher, even if it’s only done part time.

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Thanks!

Thanks, DaLo….I may need lots of good luck….and I’m definitely not a fan of socialized medicine.  I gather you’re not either. 

After posting earlier, I checked for the origin of the quote and found out it was, as you posted, from the Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson…..

 

 

My, my, but I’ve missed a lot….

Just read all the posts….enjoyed all of them, as usual.   I haven’t read the story yet about the WWII pigeon, but maybe now that DaLo has broken the code….well, I’ll read it anyway.  Since I also have conversations with BJ, and he doesn’t always agree with me, either, it’s not surprising to read that SLB and Rocky converse with each other.  He may not want to chat with everyone he meets, but he obviously has found a buddy in the maintenance man.  I do believe that dogs know how to chose friends wisely, and he also chose a beautiful picture to post….what a pretty shot, SLB.  As for Florida’s voting system….it obviously needs a complete overhaul….Chad needs to be retired and the sooner the better.

And, Jenn, you are certainly doing very well with your new camera.  That’s a nice variety of birds that you found at Merritt Island.  I guess we can all relate to locked keys in car or house…..I did that, too, but mine was even more of a problem….as I walked away and went to put the keys in my purse, it dawned on me that I had opened the door, pushed the lock down and walked away without turning off the ignition or removing the key….this all happened many, many years ago on a Friday the 13th.  Thankfully, I worked in our town, less than a mile from home, so my father was able to bring an extra set of keys to me.  I also managed to cut myself when opening a can of tuna for lunch that day….quite a day.  I’ve also locked keys in my house….one time I wound up crawling through one panel of the jalousie windows on the porch, (it didn’t close fully, thank goodness), a very tight squeeze and I was thankful that I was relatively thin.  I managed to land head first on the floor, but uninjured and also thankful no one called the police on me.  Oh, yes, the joy of doing dumb things where keys are concerned.  As for using the key fob, I usually check to make sure all the doors lock, but perhaps you’re right, DaLo, it would be better to use the key.

Jenn, it was so nice to hear that the Federal Duck Stamp serves as an annual pass….all the more reason for me to buy one when we get back to there..

The Kingfisher photo….nice shot, especially with the fish that’s about to disappear.  I know how difficult it is to capture them and the Kestrels, too…they are very aware of any movement.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Brewer’s Blackbird either.  I’ve also read the article on eBird about the possibility of seeing a lot of new species this month.  That should help you reach your goal of 200 birds, DaLo.  There are still numerous reports about sightings of the Red-breasted Nuthatches and the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.  The R-B Nuthatches should be easy if they’re in your area, since you hear them before seeing them….they sound like a little duck….listen to a recording of their voice….it sounds very much like a duck quacking.  They are very friendly little birds so getting a picture should be easy, too.  Good luck!

I’ve seen the video of the little ducklings that were saved…..it happened in 2009 in Spokane, Washington and has been making the rounds of the Internet ever since.  Here’s another link, one that goes to the original article….    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/45367342.html

It was even nicer, though, to read about DaLo and the woman rescuing the Laughing Gull.  What a pity that that happened because of fishing line.  Lucky for that bird that there were people around to help it.  Well done!

It’s amazing how gas prices are falling like a lead balloon. It is a mystery, especially with the situation in the storm-damaged areas in the Northeast.  Of course, the stock market also plummeted, but I never understand why that happens either.  Who was it that said, “Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die.”  Guess we just have to roll with it.  As mentioned, gas prices here are regulated by the government, and only change every two weeks, so it will be interesting to see if they go down….they went up by 5 cents the last time there was a change, just the opposite of what happened in the US.  Go figure.

Speaking of change….our plans to leave here next Wednesday, have been delayed….the test that I had done has led to yet another and thanks to socialized medicine, we wait and wait and wait some more…..talk about bad timing.

Follow the leader up the hill…

SLB, rather than search my files, I took these pictures today as the Black Ducks made their way up the hill from the river to get the cracked corn….

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As you will notice in the first picture, there is one lone Blue Jay trying to get as much corn as possible before the ducks arrive and chase it away.

DaLo….I hear you loud and clear about the time change…..it absolutely makes no sense, since we cannot change the way the rotation of the earth.  Instead of taking advantage of the shortened daylight hours, we do just the opposite.  Why not just leave DST all year long?  Oh, well….nothing we can do except complain and that falls on deaf ears.

That’s an impressive number of snakes that you’ve seen and you have to thank your lucky stars that none of the poisonous ones ever did bite you.

Okay, gotta run….off to get some test results…..

I do not like EST!!

It’s tough to adjust to the changing of the clocks….makes me think I should get up as early as the birds to enjoy more of the daylight.  Why is it that the hours seem to go by much too quickly during the day no matter what time I get up….before you know it, it’s dark again.  Nope, don’t like it one bit.  And, really, who are we fooling anyway?

SLB…..I believe I do have some pictures of the Black Ducks waddling up the hill from the river….I’ll look for them and will post them.  We had 11 of them today, and it’s not as though they just come up from the river once a day.  They paddle around the river and when they’re hungry, which could be at any time, they waddle up the hill, expecting to always find cracked corn.  I have no idea when they’re in the front yard.  I don’t see unless I happen to walk by the front windows and see them waiting patiently by the area where I scatter the corn.  As soon as I open the front door, they start leaving the yard and sometimes even fly back to the river.  They’re very skittish, although that wasn’t always the case.  In past years, I could walk outside, down the steps, scatter the corn and then stand nearby as they quickly gobbled up the corn, fighting and pecking at one another.  Now, they have no trust in me at all and I have no idea what changed.

DaLo….gas prices….how odd that they’ve fallen again in the US, while they went up here by five cents a liter last week  Difficult to imagine that they have to ration the gas in the NY/NJ area, although with so many people without power and using generators, I guess that’s why.  That was very nice of you to contribute “bits and bobs” to the people in need of so much…..my heart goes out to all of them.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but anyone trying to get a picture of little birds can understand the frustration involved….they just don’t stay still long enough.  The Kinglets are such cute little birds, though, and they’ve been around the yard for several days now, although, no good pictures of any of them.  Not sure if the RCK has yellow feet, too….does it?   Also, as you may know from posting on eBird, DaLo, this monster storm has caused a lot of birds to fly off course, so you can expect just about anything down there.  Your picture of the Yellow-throated Warbler….beautiful shot of a very colorful bird.

I don’t fear snakes the way I do spiders, but that’s a very handsome rattler.  Last year, my brother Eddie slid open the screen door to his garage so he could get his golf cart out to go golfing.  As he did so, he felt something hit his arm….it was a pygmy rattler, which he wound up running over and killing with the cart.  I guess you could say that he’s not a fan of snakes at all.  I’m sure you weren’t about to kill the rattler that you saw, but they are not something that I would want to run into while out birding. 

Not much happening around our yard, although the birds are eating us out of house and home.  I wonder if they’re trying to tell us something about the coming season.  We’ve never seen so many Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches at the feeders.  Today, two male Goldfinches showed up at the same feeders, but they like to sit and eat and eat until they can’t eat any more.  They weren’t able to do that, because the Chickadees and Nuthatches kept up a steady stream, which disturbed the Finches, so they went over to the nyjer feeder and ate there. 

Thank you, DaLo, for posting the whereabouts of the Whoppers…..with any luck, they should make it to their winter home before too long and let’s hope they all arrive safely.

A couple of nights ago, I tried to look at Jenn’s pictures on the WBIT? site, but when I clicked on a picture, the message popped up stating that I did not have permission or some such thing to look at the picture, and there was a place to sign on to WordPress, which I had already done by going to this site….so, I gave up.  Haven’t checked again, so have no idea if there’s still a problem.  I’m very curious as to what her mystery birds are…..red-winged blackbirds?

 

 

Flashing a crown of gold like a beacon….and with golden feet, too!

There were two of these cute little birds with golden feet and equally golden crowns flitting through our Mt. Ash tree yesterday afternoon.  Try as I might to get a decent picture of them, it was a trial, as they rarely stayed still long enough.  Just as I would focus on one, it flitted off after an insect….frustrating.  Along with the fact that it was very overcast, my pictures are far from acceptable, but I wanted to show their golden feet and crowns….the very appropriately named Golden-crowned Kinglet….a very cute little bird and full of energy.

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This one didn’t look too happy about having its picture taken…..love the pattern on its face.

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As mentioned before, there was also a Brown Creeper in the yard a couple of days ago, but when I looked at the pictures I took, they were just awful….a brown and white blob that looked like a growth on the tree.  The bird blends in with the tree trunk it climbs and it, too, moves quickly up the tree, making it difficult to get a photo.  It’s interesting to watch, though, since it climbs up the tree trunk, as opposed to the Nuthatches that climb down the tree trunks.

Jenn….to answer your question about the monster storm…..we did get a very rainy day two days ago, but we’ve had worse rainstorms.  I just spoke with my brother Eddie, who lives near us in FL, but prior to that he lived along a lagoon in Manahawkin, NJ.   A friend of his whose home is for sale there, said that all the homes there are under four feet of water.  It’s difficult to imagine the damage this storm caused, not to mention the loss of lives.  My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy. 

I also agree that “seeing is absorbing”….I like to think it’s like having a “bird in the hand” to help you with identifying birds.  It would be great if those Evening Grosbeaks came to the yard more often.  Their colors are so striking, but we see them so infrequently and I think the little flock that was here was just passing through and migrating.  What we do have in abundance these days are the Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches. There is a feeding frenzy every day at the feeders hanging off the roof overhang in the back of the house.  We’ve never had this kind of activity before, nor have we had to fill the feeders so often.  During the summer, I fill them every few weeks, but now I’m filling them every few days.  Since it’s impossible to get an accurate count for these two species, I have to assume that we have dozens of them.  There are at least six birds at each of the two feeders at any given time and after they’ve taken their seeds and flown off, there are others to take their place immediately.  Both birds store their food for future use, so it makes me wonder if they think it’s going to be a rough winter.  They had a mild winter here last year, but perhaps they know something we do not.  Makes me glad we’ll be in FL soon.

We’ve also had an abundance of Mourning Doves in the yard over the past couple of days, sometimes as many as 30.  The number of Black Ducks has increased over the past few days.  Where we often had two or three, yesterday there were 11, but even that number is low, because we’ve had as many as 48.  It was always fun to watch them leave the river and waddle up the hill in single file to get to the corn that was scattered on the ground for them.  I wondered why they just didn’t fly up from the river, since they always fly back after they’ve finished eating. 

By the way, Jenn, thanks for the info on what a half-marathon is.  If you think you can find the time to train for the marathon, good for you.  Go for it. 

SLB, I do have some more photos from Ft. De Soto.  I thought you had seen the Yellow-throated Warbler when I did.  I tried so hard to get a decent picture of it.  We will definitely have to go there again.  I also have some photos from that visit to post to the WBIT? site….shorebirds and Terns…as usual, they always give me trouble.

DaLo, I’m glad you found out what happened to the Crane that died.  What a pity that it broke its leg while landing.  As for those petrol prices….I will never be able to figure out the difference between gallons and litres…I leave that up to Terry, but yes the Canadian gallon is 4.5 litres…..the Imperial gallon, as Terry keeps telling me.  By now, you may have noticed that the price per gallon went up again, since that’s what happened here today…..yesterday it was $1.20.9 and today it’s $1.25.9/litre.  Unlike the US, prices here are only changed every two weeks as regulated by the government, and there is little to no variation from one station to the other.  That’s not the case in the US.

Sometimes a miss is a good thing, especially when it’s a Hawk that misses you

Beautiful day here in NS…sunny and 60, which I’m told is partly because of that stormy weather that’s creating quite a fuss along the Eastern Seaboard and we will most likely get touched by her this coming week.  Anyway, while sitting on the front porch steps, watching the Sharpie make countless attacks at the Jays, it decided that it needed a new target.  I watched it leave its perch in the Pine tree and instead of going after a Jay, it headed straight towards me….coming within a foot or so of my face before swooping up and away.  What in the world was it thinking?  This all happened within seconds and I almost had no time to think….it was quite scary! 

Congratulations DaLo on reaching 19 birds….surely you’ll reach the 200 mark before the year is out.  We’ve been in Levy and Dixie Counties, but I don’t recall if we went through any others when we went to the Suwanee State Park this past April….it’s up near the Georgia border, on the north side of I-10.

Speaking of Hawks, when I went outside to enjoy the weather, I scared a Northern Goshawk that was sitting in one of the Spruce trees in the front yard.  It was then that I noticed that there were absolutely no birds in the yard, testament to the fact that they know enough to hide when one of these Hawks is around.  Unlike the immature Sharpie, this one wouldn’t be practicing.  Earlier, I had scattered more cracked corn on the ground for the five Black Ducks, but had they walked up the hill from the river, they would have been quite literally sitting ducks for the Goshawk.  Shortly after it left the area, the Jays slowly returned to the feeders and the Sharpie continued its attacks on them and included me, too.  When I went back inside, the Ducks came up to eat the corn and so did one Crow.  There’s never a dull moment around the yard these days.

Congrulations, DaLo, on your 196th bird….you should have no trouble at all reaching 200 before year’s end.  I have been in Dixie and Levy counties, although when we went to Suwanee River State Park near the Georgia border this past April, after passing through Pasco and Hernando, we may have gone through more counties but I don’t recall any of them.  I’ve never counted the number of counties I’ve been in…..from Jacksonville to the Everglades, all along the southern portion and up the west coast to the Panhandle, and several inland places.  It’s a very big state!

Wow!  Terry just alerted me to a Brown Creeper working the trees in the backyard….I tried to get a picture, but this birds climbs up trees so quickly and is difficult to find as its colors blend with the tree trunks.  I went outside to try again, took a couple of pictures of a bird hopping around the branches…not the behavior of a Creeper, so when I checked my image, it wasn’t the Creeper at all.  My pictures were blurry, but it was easy to see that the bird had yellow feet, was tiny with two wing bars and olive green in color….a Ruby-crowned Kinglet…..as I said, never a dull moment around the yard and I think that ups my bird count to 183…and here I thought there would be no new birds around the yard this year.  Well, I’ve seen these two before, but they’re new for this year. 

As SLB mentioned, the title of the Whooping Crane article was really misleading…..someone should have edited that title.  I also wondered how #10 broke its femur, especially since it wasn’t the same bird that landed and had to be rounded up.  The only other information was that the other birds were still flying.  It was very sad to hear about the loss of one bird, since there are so few of them.  The dedication of the people who work with these birds is amazing.  They are to be commended for the efforts they make to maintain the species at a great cost of time and money.  There is a place to leave comments on their website, so perhaps we could ask what happened….surely that wouldn’t be inappropriate….what do you think, DaLo?

Jenn, congratulations on finding a job and for running the race.  I hope the job works into a full-time one or perhaps leads to to another that is full-time….either way, I’m sure you’re quite happy and I would assume this is your field of interest.  As far as the race, I don’t quite understand what a 13.1 race is….is that kilometers or miles?  Forgive me, but I know nothing about running, unless it’s trying to run after a bus that has just pulled away from the station…or would that be a sprint?  I join the others in hoping your area didn’t suffer any damage from Miss Sandy.  Your story about playing “mom” to those baby Crows was amusing, especially with the one who was very particular about how it was fed.  So, what’s with the mystery bird and the flock of birds…haven’t checked WBIT? to see if you’ve posted new photos there and I think we all love a mystery, so fire away.

Your odd ducks, DaLo, are quite pretty….the one with the purple sheen has the curly tail of a Mallard, although it’s not curled enough to be a Mallard.  Too much interbreeding among the Mallards.  Isn’t there a concern that the Florida Duck will disappear because of interbreeding?  Of course, we humans cannot put a stop to it…they answer the call of nature and it’s any old port in a storm.

SLB, your comment about having evenings but no Evening Grosbeaks made me laugh….guess I have to wonder why we don’t have Pine Warblers or Pine Grosbeaks here since we have lots of Pines around the yard.  🙂  What we do have in great numbers are Red-breasted Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees, two of the friendliest little birds you’d ever want to meet.  When I went outside to look for the Brown Creeper, the Nuthatches and Chickadees were at the feeders hanging from the roof overhang.  They barely moved as I walked past them, completely unafraid, chattering away, each grabbing a sunflower seed and hurrying off to either stash it in a crevice of a tree, which is what the Nuthatches do, or hold it between their feet, peck at the shell until they get to the seed, which is what the Chickadees do, although they do stash food away for future use.  As I stood outside near the feeders, they flew past or around me to get at the seeds.  Two of my favorite birds, and I would love to see either or both extend their range into Florida.  Even the Carolina Chickadee’s range doesn’t get as far south as our backyard in FL.  

One more note….gas prices….we went to the drug store yesterday and I noticed that the price of gas had gone down my 10 cents since a week or so….from $1.31/liter to $1.21….although even that is totally outrageous.  Surely the election in the US has nothing to do with here, but it is a world-wide commodity….who knows?  I’m definitely not complaining!