Sunday, May 31, 2009

Strange weather

The weather was very strange today. I managed to get the front lawn and back yard mowed before it started raining. After the rain stopped and the grass had dried off a bit, it was very cold. As I took the push mower out to trim around the trees and the fence, I felt some little rocks hitting my head. I turned around to see who was doing that and realized that we were getting a round of hail!! The hail didn't last too long but the cold weather stayed around. Later, Freda went out to do some planting, and you can see she is wearing her coat while doing that.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Yes, it's a bird nesting

Well, it looks like a bird is nesting up in the shelter of our post. We think it's one of the robins that we've seen around here on the lawn and attacking its reflection, but haven't got a close enough view of it yet. Now it makes me wonder if the broken robins' eggs that we saw recently (see May 16th post) were accidental or deliberate by another bird trying to take the nest over. Hmmmm....

Sorry for the lousy photo. We've had some windy rainy days and our windows are all dirty now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Robins are stupid (and a tiny frog)

I took this sequence of photos this afternoon. I was hearing a knock on the window about once every minute or so. So I peeked out the window (the curtains were drawn to prevent bird kill) and saw this robin attacking it's reflection in the window. This went on for a very long time time, so I can only conclude that robins are stupid.

The photos are a bit blurry, sorry.

This tiny frog was sitting on the brickmold by a window. The black horizonal line in the photo is the window seal and the green is the brickmold, which is about 2 inches square. So that means the frog is about 2 inches long (just guessing) and less than an inch wide.

I hope he eats a lot of mosquitoes. :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Visit to the vet's in Carleton Place

We took both Tawny and Taz to the vet's yesterday. Tawny had her annual checkup (passed with flying colours) and Taz had to be weighed so he could get the right dosage of the heartworm preventive medication. Taz now weighs 104 lbs and Tawny checks in at a hefty 85 lbs.

While Freda was in the vet's office with Tawny, I took Taz out for a walk to get him away from all the other dogs (he likes to be dominant and is also very vocal). I snapped this photo with my camera phone. I got Taz to jump on the railway handcar display and snapped this photo -- you can see the fuzziness caused by my finger at the bottom edge of the photo. Oops.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A beautiful day for gardening

Saturday pano (sorry for the missing pieces) from 30 photos

Today was a busy gardening day. While Freda was putting together the big pots (see two big square planters at bottom right-center), Mark was doing the lawn, which meant dethatching, then aerating, then over-seeding with grass seed. I had to keep some seed back for the places that we are putting in as new grass areas.

These are Freda's big planters. You can see in the background that the pile of topsoil is gradually diminishing. Still a lot to do. Some of the topsoil will be sed for top-dressing the lawn in the bare areas and the rest will be used for creating the new lawn area on the north side of the house.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sorry little bird!

When we let the dogs out in the morning, Taz always runs over to the big rocks (a chipmunk lives in there somewhere), which is also where the bird feeders happen to be. When Taz runs over they scatter all over and sometimes bump into the fence or the house or something. This morning, this little bird flew into the fence and injured itself. It was walking around on the ground though so Freda left it alone so it coud recover. Then, this afternoon, I heard Freda saying, "Taz, OFF!" That was because Taz had this little bird in his mouth. It shows what a soft mouth he had that the bird did not appear to have any injury. Anyway, Freda called the Wild Bird Sanctuary, we put it in a little box with some kleenex and we were on our way there when the bird died. I think that maybe it died of fright.

We have now moved the problematic feeder outside the fence so this situation should not repeat again (hopefully).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Some better bird pictures

Tonight I was outside at the barbecue, and was enthralled with the beauty of the barn swallows' acrobatic flying. I tried to get some photos of that but it just became boring scenery.

I did manage, however, to grab a few photos of some other birds at the feeder. I am not sure what bird this is, I thought it might be a female rose-breasted grosbeak but it isn't, as those ones have a pale underside. So I think this is a grosbeak of some kind, or perhaps a finch. If you have any ideas, please leave a note in the comments.

This is a better photo of what I think is a pine sisken, but as it's back is toward us, it is not definitive.

I hope you enjoy these bird photos.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And so it goes...

We have had a lot of high winds lately, and I guess a bird that was nesting on one of our posts has suffered as a result. Sorry birdy!

Pine Siskin

Hi there,

If you look at the photo from May 9th (Food's On), you can see a number of brown striped birds. I have identified those as Pine Siskins. I hadn't seen them at the feeder last year, doesn't mean they weren't around, but I just didn't see them. They outnumber the Goldfinches this year, so I guess they are around for sure.

The unidentified brown bird still remains unidentified. The photo is not really clear enough to give a positive id. I think it is a female grosbeak of some type, but I cant' really tell. On the other hand, it is a large bird - it is bigger than the red-wing blackbird in the same photo, so maybe it is a dove. I don't know yet.

PS: Forgot to mention, as predicted, the deer have eaten all the tulip flowers, and some of the leaves too.... :((

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

I believe this bird is a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. Note the big bill that's good for crushing seeds (not the big bill that flattens wallets - haha). This is the first time I have seen one of these at our feeder.

BTW, sorry about the blurry photo, it's the best I can do with our cameras.

I also saw a number of Red-Winged Blackbirds eating off the ground - this was just below the bird feeder so they may have been eating seeds that had fallen on the ground, or else maybe bugs of some sort.

Can anyone identify the brown bird at the bottom left-center? I didn't even notice it until I zoomed in on the red-winged blackbird!

I am happy to report that we have not had any bird kills from window strikes so far this year. (knock on wood) It was very windy today, and must have been too much for the gold finches as the finch feeder was still 3/4 full when I went to refill it this afternoon. It is usually 3/4 empty every day!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Food's on!

The nyger (or niger) seed feeder is popular with the birds. I think there are 15 or 16 birds in this photo. Sorry that it is not a very good photo.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thunderstorm coming

Pano - May 8, 2009

A thunderstorm is approaching. I could see lightning and hear thunder, and you can see the rain is falling. The dogs were outside but Taz wanted in because he's afraid of thunder.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A truckload of dirt

May 5, 2009

This is what a tri-axle truckload of topsoil looks like (that's 22 cubic yards of topsoil). We had rain in the forecast so we put a tarp over it to try to keep most of it dry, so we are not shovelling mud as we try to relocate it. It takes 100 shovels of dirt to fill the trailer for our garden tractor and 25 shovels to fill the wheelbarrow. This photo was taken after doing one trailer load.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Saturday is deer day!

When Freda got up to let the dogs out and feed them, she realized there were quite a number of deer all around the house, grazing on the new grass, or whatever they like eating. This is a collage from deer in various places around the house.

This is a pano taken from the front. There is a deer on the far left and one on the far right.

The Goldfinches are back!

We put up the Goldfinch feeder a few days ago, and were delighted to see the pretty birds back. The feeder is attached to this other feeder temporarily, so it is time to get the garden hook out and put the feeder in it's proper place.