The wild outside.

I love finding visitors just outside my kitchen window.

A napping fawn on the lawn Saturday afternoon:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A rare migrating Rufous (or possibly Allen’s?) hummingbird this morning hiding out from the rain.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A mess o’martins.

I checked out a Purple Martin Party tonight – a spectator event coordinated by the Travis Audubon Society.   Every Friday and Saturday night in July, from 8-9:30pm, people gather on the lawn outside the Texas Land & Cattle restaurant to watch tens of thousands of purple martins roost at sunset.  These guys are done nesting and breeding and are on their way south to complete the annual migration cycle of life.  They tell me that by the end of the month there may be hundreds of thousands of them.

How can one possibly photograph this event?  Here is one shot I took, a small portion of the overall scene.  Can you count them?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Taken at Commons Ford park.