Saturday, March 21, 2009
Skip mentioned a problem with commenting on blogspot, you have to sign in. I am sorry about that, but that is their policy. In any event, I have decided to post future posts there. So, go to blogspot to get the latest bird pics and videos.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Last time I said that I did not see any pine siskin, but I was wrong. Now that I know what to look for, they are popping up all the time. Look for the yellow near the tail. Here are some, one, two and three. So, I wondered if there were any redpolls masquerading as male house finch. This one had me going for awhile, but it is a HOFI. So far, I haven't seen any redpolls.
Skip caught this with the web cam. The Birdcam caught one, too. Speaking of the Birdcam, the Wingscapes people extended my warranty by another year, since they sent me a new camera. Very good customer service!
I finally got a good pic of a dark eyed junco. It only took about a year and a half! The carolina wren makes another rare appearance. Since I moved the web cam, I don't see many pics of this guy anymore.
At first I wasn't sure what this was, but I believe it is a mockingbird. I caught one on top of the feeder, too. Here are a couple of titmice, one and two. And you always see chickadees with titmice, one, two and three.
Finally, we are expecting a snow storm tonight. Here is one to help get in the mood.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Once again it is time for the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 13-16. The Bird Count and participation is down for the first time in five years. I am sorry that I do not have time for it, kudos to those that do!
The hanging feeder sort of took the fun out of the birding pics thing. In the first two full days, I had pics of almost all my fav species. Since then, I have been getting hundreds of pics a day, mostly similar to this. When I see these pics, I keep trying to find something new, like Pine Siskin. They are similar to female house finch, and they show up with goldfinch, but so far I haven't seen any. Sometimes doves fill the feeder, and sometimes sparrows. I have been using a fruit and nut mix with seeds, but I tried Trail Mix, a Waste Free feed. This is advertised as inspired by the Peterson Field Guides, so I assumed it should be good! Well, it attracts too many starlings. I have three bags to use up, I will not buy more. I hadn't seen the Carolina wren lately, but it showed up here. The titmice and cardinal still visit and the chickadees make the occasional stop. The goldfinch started to get their golden color, and the male HOFI have turned a dark red.
I wouldn't be surprised to see robins show up soon. I am thinking about getting a ground feeder with a roof. The one I have is not covered, and the suet went bad before anything ate it. Duncraft wants $79.95 for this one. That seems kind of steep to me.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Lots of Pics
I saw a page about house wrens. They take over the nests of other birds, such as chickadees, nuthatches, bluebirds and others. They destroy the eggs, which will wipe out the other species. I panicked, knowing that wrens started showing up here. Luckily, the wren that I have been seeing is a Carolina wren, which is not destructive to other nests. The Carolina wren has a stripe over the eye.
Continuing my trend of never getting a good pic of a junco, here is one, and here is another. Late this afternoon I saw what looked like a fat HOSP. The lighting was not good for trying to get a pic. Here and here are a couple of heavily edited pics. I'm not sure what it is.
I've seen quite a few pics of titmice. Here and here are a couple. I always see the titmice and chickadees together so it is a mystery why I don't see more chickadees in the pics, but here and here are a couple.
One thing I do see is a lot of goldfinch. I thought they liked nyjer seed, but I don't see them on the nyjer sock. Here is a goldfinch posing. seven goldfinch, eight Goldfinch, can't even count the goldfinch!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The Wingscapes people sent me a replacement Birdcam this week, at no cost to me. My camera was over ten months old, so I was very pleased. I only had it out for a couple of days, but I caught the male and female cardinals. I wanted to point the camera at the platform feeder, but the weather has not been cooperative.
I think that I figured out the problem with the webcam, so I moved it outside again. As soon as I had it outside, before I even had a chance to adjust the picture, I saw this wren. Later, it started snowing, so I clicked this pic. I will have to keep an eye on the webcam. If it stops again, I will try insulating the enclosure. I don't think the problem was caused by the cold, but who knows? I didn't have it outside during the extreme cold weather that we had. I recorded a low of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit the other night. I couldn't blame it for not working in that kind of weather!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I moved the web cam to the outdoor enclosure. I think the quality is better, but you can't expect too much out of this camera and lens. Here is a pic that Skip captured from the web cam when it was inside. Compare it to the ones from today. A Goldfinch, a chickadee, the male cardinal, and the ever present HOSP and HOFI. Click here to view the web cam. Use the name nhpa, nhpa1, nhpa2 or nhpa3 and the pass is birder. (The cam is bookmarked on the right hand side of this blog.)
I also enabled the sound on the web cam. I heard some geese flying overhead, so being in the enclosure doesn't block it entirely I did hear a noise from time to time, I believe it may be the enclosure's heater, I'm not sure. Mostly, I don't think the sound adds a whole lot.
The Wingscapes camera is still not 100%, but I think I have a handle on the problem. It seems moisture gets inside when it rains, then it takes a day or so to dry out. I hope to hear from the Wingscapes service people this week. So far they have been pleasant to deal with. I found the receipt, I bought it in March of 2008. I can't believe it has been that long! The camera did not capture anything special lately, except for this oddity! A wren feeding from the bottom?
I plan to move the Wingscapes camera to point at the new hanging platform feeder, as soon as it is 100%.
edit- The web cam stopped working today. I tried a number of things, but it is cold and windy outside, so I brought the camera inside. After a couple of hours, and a number of resets later, it is working again. The heater in the housing is working, so I am still not sure why it froze up. I don't feel real inclined to move it back outside!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I was in contact with Wingscapes support, and I thought I had the camera working. I got some pics, but then it stopped working again. I pointed the camera in the opposite direction, because the exposure seemed better with the winter lighting. Here are a couple of pics, 3 in the snow, and one of the many chickadees. Wingscapes support is closed for the holidays, but they said that they will replace the camera, if I cannot get it working.
Picasa released an update, and it is very nice! You can view the pics from your computer in a Picasa window. If you do not have Picasa, I recommend it!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Wingscapes camera caught a good image of the male cardinal. I like the remnants of the frost on the ground. The temperature has been below average most of the past week, so I was surprised to see this! I guess it is true, some do not migrate. I was curious as to what they eat during the winter, and after checking several sources found that, robins diet comprises of over 60% fruit and berries year round! I still wondered how they found enough to eat, so I thought about trying to feed them. I worried that putting a platform feeder on the ground would set them up for all the neighbor's cats, but how could that be worse than their normal feeding habits? So I ordered this feeder. Also, robins are supposed to eat suet from a platform feeder, so I ordered this to try out.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Web Cam Update
When I stepped outside today, I saw a pair of pheasants in my yard. I think they were eating the cypress vine seeds. When they saw me, they ran off but did not fly. Odd. I have never seen them around the house before this.
I heard about Project FeederWatch, but didn't know what it is about. Here is a popular birder site, with an audio file that explains it well. Look for the Program #12 - October 29, 2008
I was looking for ideas for the Downy Cam. It is hard to catch a downy at the feeder, and even more so since I added another suet cage. I thought about turning the cam into a snow depth gage. -put a stick in the ground, paint inch marks, point web cam at stick, but it seemed it would be used even less than it is now. So I thought that I would point it at the tube feeder. Yes, I have a cam pointed at that feeder, but it is too far away to really see the birds. Within the first ten minutes of moving the camera, I saw a handful of chickadees, a juvenile cardinal, and the ever present HOSP and HOFI. Of course, I didn't see anything after that! But it was close to the end of the day. The camera is close to full magnification, so the quality dropped off some. Compare it to the last downy pic. Over the next couple of days, I do hope to play with the aperture and focus to get it a bit better. If you want to take a look, it is linked on the right side. The user name is nhpa, nhpa1, nhpa2 or nhpa3 and the pass for all is, birder. If you like the cam better this way, please let me know. Thanks!
So after looking at thousands of bird pics, I finally saw a new visitor! After not seeing the female cardinal for months, and rarely seeing the male, they have been showing up pretty regularly of late. The blue jay, doves and goldfinch have been in a lot of pics lately, too!
edit -I believe the juvenile cardinal is in fact a Tufted Titmouse! I really would like to get a better image, hopefully it will be back.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Today there are three birds that I haven't seen in a long time, and they all showed up in the last week or so.
In the spring, I saw a pair of robins in my yard all the time, but I haven't see them since. I guess because they are so prevalent I never looked at them too closely. Looking at this pic, they are a very pretty bird! Whenever I have a group of something and I don't know what it's called, I say a gaggle. Know what a gaggle of robins is called? A worm. A group of robins are collectively known as a "worm" of robins. And in the "early bird catches the worm" category- Robins eat different types of food depending on the time of day; they eat earthworms early in the day and more fruit later in the day.
After the worm thing, I discovered this tidbit: A group of house sparrows are collectively known as a "humiliation". I still haven't decided what this bird is. I am wondering if the yellow color is caused by the camera? Also, I said this was a different pic of the same type of bird. I am not too sure about that.
The other day I thought I caught a glimpse of a cardinal, another bird not seen here recently. I wasn't sure it was one though, all I saw was a flash of red. It could have been a male finch. The next day this showed up at the birdbath. Still no female, however.
The goldfinch has been a favorite, ever since I first saw a pair while I was out riding bicycle. Usually I see two of them together, but this is the only one I've seen.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
OK, I haven't posted anything for awhile. Sorry about that! Anyway, last week a recent Nature episode was released on DVD, Nature Crash A Tale of Two Species. I thought that I had posted something about it when it first aired, but a quick Google search of my site turned up nothing. The show was about over harvesting horseshoe crabs, and the effect on red knots, a migratory bird. If you haven't seen it, you can rent it from Netflix. I don't know (or care) if Blockbuster carries it.
I am going to try and add a Google search to my site, since it lacks a built in search. If it doesn't fit in well, I will pull it.
I have seen a debate about when to take down hummingbird feeders. Some people fear that, if you keep the feeders up past September 15th, you will encourage the birds to over winter and not migrate. Since I haven't seen any birds here, I figured it was a good time to pull mine. The cypress vines still have blooms, so any stray passing through it can still find a quick fix. Most people believe, when a hummingbird gets the instinctual urge to migrate, it will go, whether or not food is available.
I haven't seen any cardinals lately. I really hoped the female would show up at the birdbath, but neither one did. I still haven't seen a male downy, either. But, here are some recent visitors. A blue jay, a mockingbird, and what is this monster? It is a normal size goldfinch. It looks huge because it is close to the camera. And finally, the party continues!
edit Here is a party video.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The hummingbirds started their migration, so any that visit my feeder would not be local. I didn't realize that they would start so soon! I will keep the feeders up until I am sure they will have all passed by here. I will wait until next year to decide if I will try again to attract them, but right now I'm thinking, why bother? By the way, when I was taking the feeders in to clean them, I heard an eagle call. It was frustrating! I could hear it several times, and it seemed to be moving away from me, but I couldn't spot it.
Since I had not seen a single image of a bird at the hummingbird feeder, I moved the Wingscapes camera and pointed it at the birdbath. The robins loved the birdbath, but I haven't seen any of them for weeks. I was curious to see what is splashing all the water out of the birdbath. I should have known! See them here and here. They do look like they are having fun.
We got two inches of rain from Hanna, but it wasn't enough to stop my downy!
I knew some species of birds are supposed to be able to identify individual people, but this post in rec.birds, from Jerry Avins, sort of grabbed my attention:
"I once raised a pigeon from dropper feeding to release. A year later, a pigeon of the same coloring peeled out of a high-flying flock and landed on my shoulder."
Saturday, August 30, 2008
There is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is, I haven't seen any hummingbird pics. The good news is, I only have to look at a handful of pics every day, rather than 300 plus I was used to! On second thought, guess there isn't much good news for you. :)
A few days ago, I heard a chirping outside my window. I checked the downy cam and, sure enough, I saw a female downy feeding. Since then I saw her at least once a day, and today I saw her three times before 11:00! She is noisy, it was easy for me to tell when she was there! Since she only stays at the suet feeder for less than a minute at a time, it probably isn't worth checking the cam to see her, but have at it, if you wish. It was a female every time, I have not seen a male lately. I wish I could think of a better use for that web cam, it seems like somewhat of a waste. On the other hand, when I do see a downy feeding, I do enjoy watching them!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I fried the computer which held the database for this blog. All my bird pics were on that computer, as well. I did have a backup of the blog, so I was able to do a restore. I am still hoping to gain access to the bird pics, but it'll be a couple of weeks more, at least. The Downy cam went down with this, as well. That was no big loss, I have not seen any activity lately. The cam is back online, and hopefully there will soon be something to watch. (It would have been nice to turn it into a hummingbird cam!)
On my way to clean the birdbath the other day, I noticed a chickadee sitting on the ant trap, on top of the hummingbird feeder. I like chickadees, so I didn't want to scare it away. I stood there and watched it as it ducked it's head down in the ant trap to get a drink. I thought, that figures! I clean the birdbath and fill it with fresh water everyday. I add water to the ant trap when I notice it is empty, but I sure don't clean it! Anyway, after getting a drink, it flew to the box feeder. It landed on the side away from the Wingscapes camera. There are a couple of small holes on the side of the feeder, and it was using one to get something to feed on. Then it flew to the feeder hanger and started to sing. Being a chickadee, it didn't stay there very long. It flew down to the top of the feeder and sang some more. It continued to fly to various spots on the feeder and sing. Meanwhile, a dove landed on the ground under the feeder and was pecking away at the ground. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a squirrel off to my right. It wasn't any farther away then what the birds were, which wasn't very far at all! But then the birds flew off, and I continued on to the birdbath.
For the first time, I noticed a sign of activity at the hummingbird feeder. Namely, the water got cloudy. But I did not notice the water level dropping any faster than usual. The Wingscapes camera caught a possible culprit! I believe that this is my friend, the chickadee. I might re point the camera to better view the hummingbird feeder. I sure would like to see one.
A couple more chickadee shots, here and here. I changed these links to open in a new window. Is that better, or would you rather hit the 'back' button on the browser? I guess it is six of one, and half a dozen of the other. :) edit: I changed it to open in the same window.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
I have mentioned more than once, that I see swallow type birds dive bombing me, while I am mowing the yard. I could never figure out what they were. Here is a good reason why! Check this picture, it is what I usually see when I am looking for a pic of a bard swallow. This does not look like my birds. I usually see the swallows when I am mowing the yard where my box feeder is located. Before I mowed the yard today, I read the daily Birdchat Digest, and checked the messages in the Garden Web Forum. I saw a post that seemed to answer my question as to what they are doing: * Posted by chinamigarden Mon, Jul 21, 08 at 10:25 "The birds that are circling you as you mow are probably barn swallows. They are eating the bugs that you are scaring up with the tractor. Its something to watch as they are quite acrobatic. Good luck with your new hobby. Be prepared for your one feeder to become 6."
So I moved over to the yard on the other side of the driveway, and suddenly, the swallows were all around me! I counted at least six birds! I never saw more than two, before. So I was thinking that they probably are going for the bugs. In the past, I always assumed they were buzzing me, to chase me away from their nesting area. Then one flew within a couple of feet of me. I want to tell you, that woke me up! They usually don't get that close!
After I finished mowing, I came in to search the web until I came up with an answer as to what these birds are. I found this page, which shows a pic much closer to what I am seeing. I really didn't notice the red around the head, but it would be easy to miss. In any event, I am sure that these are barn swallows.
They are entertaining, and whereas they eat bugs, I am happy to have them. I don't need them to get quite so close, though. :)
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I mentioned before that I am getting a lot of pics from the Wingscapes camera, but lately the count has gone even higher! Here are some daily totals from the past week: 319, 373, 258, 298, 317. Unfortunately, these are mostly pics of house sparrows and house finch. Not that I don't like them, but after viewing a few thousand, I sort of lose interest. :)
I always had doves around the house, and I posted a pic the first time I saw one using a feeder. Lately, I see more and more pics with them using the tube feeder. One of them is OK, but two of them are too heavy on the squirrel proof feeders, and they close off the feed ports. Here is one view of this. Speaking of doves, here is a recent Birdnote on doves.
The final dove pic, with a chickadee, and I believe a nuthatch.
Last, but not least, an article about birdsong in Science Daily.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Cypress in Bloom
After waiting for months, the Cypress vine has started to bloom! Here is a pic of the first bloom.
The feeders are busier than ever, just now. The Wingscapes camera captures up to 300 pics a day. My eyes glaze over sorting through them, but this week I tried to pick out some that are a bit different:
I follow rec birds, and Lanny Chambers posts there pretty regularly, usually about hummingbirds. If you do not have a newsreader configured, you can view it via Google Groups. Someone posted pictures of a banding program with Lanny. Worth a look.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
I am on my second week of vacation, so I really have no reason for being late with this entry except, I AM on vacation! :) Today, while I was water proofing my porch, I saw a chickadee at the box feeder. I no longer have a camera pointing at that feeder, so I was disappointed that I couldn't capture an image. I really like those little guys! So when I came in for a break, I saw one sitting on top of the other feeder. I do have a camera at that feeder, but it doesn't point to the top of the thing! When I retrieved the memory card, I saw that I did indeed have ONE pic of the little guy.
I re-aimed the Wingscapes camera, and it now has bushes for a background, rather than a white, mostly sunlit, wall. I am getting much better images, now. I saw a dove at the feeder, and since this is unusual, I saved it.
Every now and again I get a pic that makes me laugh, this little squawker is one of them.
The hummingbird vines have already reached the top of my trellis, and show no sign that they are going to stop growing! Now if they would only start to bloom!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Cleaning The Hard Drive
I thought that I would move the Wingscapes camera again, because I was getting a little tired of seeing the same birds over and over. So I moved it to the other feeder. It has been in place for about a day or so, and it seems that I do get a different mix. The lighting is a bit trickier at this feeder though, a good portion of the pics are too dark. Anyway, I thought I would share a selection of what I had been seeing before the move. Since I have a limited amount of space on here, I posted them to Picasa. I didn't post the less desirable birds, like the cowbirds and grackles. Since there are a bunch of pics, and I am lazy, I'll just do a quick copy and paste. :)
Male Cardinal Always at the feeder.
Blue Jay Finally found a mate, showing up more and more.
Monday, June 16, 2008
When looking through the Wingscapes camera's pictures, I was pleased to see the female cardinal is back. I think my favorite picture is the one of a female cardinal, sitting in my bush , early on a sunny morning.
I haven't noticed before, but the color of the male house finch must vary throughout the year, because they have really turned red now. I didn't save any of their pics, but next time they show up, I might stick some on Picasa.
I had to replace the batteries in the Wingscapes camera today. This is only the second time since I got it. Considering that it takes almost about one hundred pictures a day, that is pretty good!