wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Nuthatches Again

I couldn’t resist trying for more photos again this morning when the nuthatches came back for breakfast.

 

Granola with sunflower seeds is on the menu today.

 

I might have to go have some of that myself.

I do make my own granola but so far I’ve been using store bought sunflower seeds. Looks like I’ll be buying them again this year unless I want to deprive the birds of their breakfast.


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Help Yourself

This spring, a friend gave me some started sunflowers to plant in my garden. I had never had success with them, mainly because the wind often knocked them down as soon as they got more than a couple of feet tall.  This time I planted them by the fence and tied the young plants to it as they grew.

Now they are taller than I am and besides making me happy whenever I look at them, they are making the birds in my yard happy.

I had been feeling guilty about not refilling the feeder this summer, but I hadn’t wanted to attract hawks (as I’ve done other years) and inadvertently killing the very birds I wanted to feed. I decided I could always fill the feeders when the weather got cooler and food became scarce.

But the nuthatches had other ideas. They’re used to helping themselves and somehow they knew that the sunflower seeds were ready to eat.

I had a very hard time getting any pictures of them because they are so fast, but here are a couple of photos that are not as blurry as the 40+ others that I deleted.

You may have to search for the little guys. They blend right in with the greens and grays of the garden.

It gives me a headache just looking at them hanging onto the stems upside down. When was the last time you sat upside down to eat?

I guess the Captain will have to do without his toasted, salted sunflower seeds, unless he buys them in the store.


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Suncatcher

We have a leaded glass suncatcher hanging in the breakfast area window, mainly to let birds know there is a pane of glass they don’t want to hit. This morning I pulled down the blinds to keep out the bright sunlight, and the whole image changed.

I couldn’t get the colours to show up with the camera as strongly as they looked in reality, but you get the idea. This is the same picture with the blinds drawn in front of the suncatcher.


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Eager Eaglet Looking for Dinner

You might say, “The eagle has landed.” This one came down for a visit in my back yard.

 

Young and eager,

Food is meagre,

Desperation makes him brave.

 

Meals are sparing

Without herring,

Times of plenty he does crave.

 

Taking chances,

Searching glances

May result in other fare.

 

Tiny doggies,

Little froggies,

He’ll eat either, doesn’t care.

[No eagles allowed inside the yard.]

Here comes Emma,

Oh dilemma,

So ferocious she can sound.

 

Eaglet leaving

Or be grieving,

Emma’s a tenacious hound.

 

Snobby puppy

Getting “uppy,”

“Don’t go calling me a hound.

 

I’m a spaniel,

Read the manual,

Guard the neighbourhood around.”

[Hi, I’m Tiny Tony!]

“He might set

His hooks in yet,

If he grabbed Tony, I would cry.

 

Did you see

The eagle flee

Because I barked and made him fly?”

 

[Don’t worry, Tony. I’ll take care of you.]


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Late Bloomer

I’m hoping this little guy will be lucky and not get picked up by the crows. Robins in our area have very bad luck with their hatches, so they nest two or three times, starting in March. Probably this chick is from a second or third hatch.

He is nearly through the worst of it. He’s getting his grown up colours and his wing feathers are growing quickly.

He still has plenty of camouflage colouring though. He sat so still in the grass that at first I didn’t realize it was a bird.

As I took his picture, I heard his mother call very quietly. He immediately turned to look for her, but she didn’t come right down to him.

As I tried to get closer, he got smart and started to hop away. At first I thought he might have a hurt wing, but he was able to get around quite well.

I find it amazing how the parents know when it’s time to back off, just hovering nearby, but letting the chicks start fending for themselves.

He’s hopping around on the ground, very uncertain of the big world around him. Probably he can make short feeble flights. I hope he makes it, now that he’s come this far.


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The Flying Stick

The campsite is just in the trees near the bottom of the photo, at this end of the lake. We thought it would be good to get some firewood from the logging slash piles behind the camp. If we didn’t need it, we could leave it for the next campers.

In the sweltering heat on the hillside, we cut and loaded a few bits of wood.

“We must be completely nuts to even think of making a fire. It has to be 30 degrees C,” I said, wanting to get back to the shade of the campsite.

But the evenings can cool off, so we persevered.

On the way back, at the bottom of the hill, I saw something.

“Stop! There! Is that a bird … or … is it a … stick? Or a rock?”

From inside the truck and at this distance I couldn’t tell what it was. I had been fooled many, many times by rocks or sticks that looked like a grouse at the side of the road.

“I’ll zoom it and take a picture. Then I might be able to see what it is…. It’s probably just a stick.”

Through the truck window the blurry photo really looked like a grouse, but the … thing … hadn’t moved an inch in the two minutes we had been sitting there in the truck.

“Just wait,” I said. “I know it’s just a log or something, but I want to go over to it and take a picture of the stick that fooled me.”

I got out of the truck. It still didn’t move. With my camera ready, I was about to snap a picture of the stick, when it flew away.

But sticks never fly away with tail feathers spread out in a glorious rusty brown colour. It was a ruffed grouse.

At home I put the picture in my photoshop app and lightened the dark shape. Now, even in the fuzzy picture, I could see the rusty colour and other features like an eye and a beak and a tuft of a topknot.

He was very good at hiding in the twisted roots of a fallen giant tree nearby. Although I looked for him, I didn’t see him again. Just lots of sticks and rocks.


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Preeners Get Clean “Bill” of Health

The local estuary is looking something like a Roman bath house.

The customers flock to the baths for their daily constitutional. The Canada geese are taking advantage of the safety of the tide being out some distance from the road nearby, while they still have the water for an escape from any people or animals approaching by land. Worst case, they can fly away.

But the day is warm and they are comfortable.  They are hard at work preening their feathers, nibbling away parasites, and  splatters of grit and goo after dipping their bills in the greasy uropygial gland on top of their back end at the base of their tail to smear a little Goose Brylcreem onto their feathers. This also helps with waterproofing. Having not a feather out of place improves the aerodynamics when they fly.

Even the mergansers are busy preening. She doesn’t seem to care that she has a “man” on either side of her, watching her tidy up.

 

Everyone is seriously on task.

But this one must have plans to go camping and maybe do a bit of trout fishing. See her testing her newly cleaned wings?

 

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