Bird on a wire.

We spent a fun weekend on the lake.  Sunday morning, I was greeted by 7 or 8 little barn swallows grooming themselves on the lifelines and jib sheets of the boat next to us.  I stole this shot of one in the morning sun.  It’s hard to get a good photo of these little ones because they usually dart around and never light on anything close by.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The birds and the bees.

The hummingbird feeders are getting quite a lot of traffic these days.  Between the bees, the hummers and the finches, they’ll empty one of these in a day.   I had just refilled this feeder and by the time I got back into the house, these two had already stopped for a drink.

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Hummingbird Nectar
1 part sugar : 4 parts H2O
Bring to a boil for several minutes.
Let cool completely.   You can refrigerate any extra for a week or so.
Probably shouldn’t leave in the feeder for more than a day or two.

More Bewicks. 

I have shared my excitement throughout this entire Spring for our nesting Bewick’s wrens.  The same pair have nested in two different houses on the patio.  Their first brood was four babies.  A second brood fledged Thursday; three more!   The birdhouse is about 5 feet from where I sit while drinking my coffee each morning outside.   The little wren parents were used to me and would fly back and forth to feed the babies while I was sitting there.  So sweet. 

This is the second of the three that fledged.

Kite spotting.

While hiking at Pedernales Falls this week, I brought my camera along.  I wasn’t really birding, but I was keeping an eye out for them.  We saw a number of species of birds.  This one was a lifer for me – a mississippi kite.  I am really surprised this turned out, the bird was at least 200 feet away, way atop a dead, scraggly tree.  The sky was very overcast and the light was flat.   After severely cropping and adjusting the exposure, I like how this one turned out.  The kite is a cool looking bird.

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Cuties.

We have birds nesting in a number of places in our yard.   You’ve already heard a lot about the Bewick’s Wrens.  A Carolina Wren also nested – in one of the aloe plants out back.   The babies are out of the nest today, and I got a picture of mom/dad feeding one of the fledglings.   I counted four babies at one point.  You can see another one on the left edge of the bench in this shot.  I hung the bark butter up again nearby and the parent bird is going to it every few minutes to feed the little ones.  Such cuties.  Their tails are so stubby right now, I don’t know how they get around.

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Deer blind.

While cooking lunch yesterday, Monte saw a doe and her fawn right outside the kitchen window.  Mom seemed to be standing guard while baby was walking around in the planting bed around the big red oak.

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After a few minutes mom slowly wandered out of view.   We couldn’t see baby either, but thought maybe mom had been putting the fawn in a safe place so she could go off to find food.   We have seen similar behavior before several years ago – I posted about that time here.   Apparently, a doe will leave a healthy fawn on its own in a safe place for up to as much as twelve hours, while they forage for food.

Turns out that is exactly what was going on.  I walked out front to see if I could spy the fawn, and sure enough, it had tucked itself in a deep hollow in the planting bed created by a new row of limestone Monte had placed there a few weeks back.  Safe and sound.

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It was a pretty good hiding place.  When driving by the house later that night, I could only see the tips of the fawn’s ears above the limestone.   At 1 AM, I walked outside to check, and, sure enough, baby was gone.  Mom came back as promised.

 

Hold still!

Scissor-tailed flycatcher, in motion.  They say the male’s tail is longer than the female’s, so I’m guessing this is a she.

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Taken at Commons Ford park.

Who’s watching who?

I really don’t have the intention of turning this photoblog into a birding blog, but since, for the time being, I’m spending lots of time looking for my feathered friends, bird moments are what you get.  🙂  But I will try to work some other subjects in.

I was watering plants out back this afternoon and heard some birds making a ruckus in one of the trees by the fence.  I walked over to find several birds squawking at a large shape sitting in the tree.  I’ve discovered hawks and crows in other similar situations, which quickly fly away after I walk under the tree.  I walked along the fence line to see if I could get a good look at what it was.  I saw our resident eastern screech-owl:

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He didn’t budge, other to turn his head from time to time.  I didn’t have my camera when I first saw him, so I walked back to the house to get it.  He was still sitting there when I got back.  I assume he has a nest he is guarding.  I’ve captured him on the infrared critter cam once or twice at night, but have never laid eyes on him before in person.   And he can say the same.

Colorful.

I was excited to see my first ever painted bunting this spring, and several others since then; all on different visits to Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park.   I haven’t captured a NatGeo-esque photo of one yet, but I was happy to get this one today, showing its beautiful colors on display.  If you would like to see your first one, too, check out the park.

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Lil’ baby bird.

Seen at the bird bath this week – a baby blue jay.  We have found two dead jay fledglings on the back patio this month – lots of predators out and about.  I’m happy to see some have made it.  This guy is adorable with his short tail, fuzzy white belly feathers and pinkish baby-beak corners.

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Newsflash:  this week we have seen another blue jay pair building a new nest in the red oak in the front yard.  Their nest is visible from our kitchen window.  I’m looking forward to more stealthy shots.  Stay tuned.

Baker’s dozen.

We went sailing today with Kurt.  It was breezy and sunny and cool.   Like a spring sail should be.

We pulled into the recently reopened Gnarly Gar restaurant to check out their slips.  We found one that fit our boat, and went in for a cocktail.  We ran into this mallard mom and her 13 baby ducklings.

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Tread carefully.

I spent Friday night and Saturday with friends that are participating in this weekend’s MS-150 bicycle ride from Houston to Austin.  After taking their luggage to the drop-off point at Tully Stadium at dawn, I spent the rest of Saturday exploring and birding in several parks outside of Houston with Doray.

While our friends were pedalling their hearts out on the 100-mile Day 1 of the two-day MS-150, we had a very fun day.  We visited Cullinan Park, Fiorenza Park and Bear Creek Pioneers Park.   I’m still going through my photos to figure out exactly what we spotted.

While walking on one of the trails at Cullinan Park, I nearly stepped on this snake.  I didn’t see him because I was looking up into the tree tops as I was walking, trying to spot birds.  I’m very thankful for good luck, my guardian angel, and cat-like reflexes 🙂 , because I have since learned that this is a venomous juvenile cottonmouth snake. 😮

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My day could have turned out very differently if I hadn’t been lucky.

Be careful out there, folks.