Sunday, February 28, 2010
The photos turned out real well. I just got down and aimed the camera on them while pointed up. I had to take a few to get them in the frame, but they turned out real nice.
The moon is full and absolutely gorgeous tonight. I tried to get some pictures but the pictures never do it justice. It was incredible. We’ll be sleeping with the curtains open tonight! I love it when the moon light shines in, and we’re out in the country, so no neighbors to worry about.
We have 3 Blue Bird houses on our 11 acre property. They are very territorial birds, so the houses can’t be too close together.
Blue Birds became threatened due to loss of habitat and nesting areas.
A few years ago, people started building them nest boxes and Blue Bird Trails, in attempt to help them breed more successfully. The birds have made a good come back in this area.
Blue Birds need a certain size box with a 1 1/2 inch diameter hole, which needs to be 8 inches above the floor. I know in the wild, they don’t always get this perfect of a nest, but we need to give them as perfect of a nest as we can to help them to survive.
We always put a baffle on the pole and keep the box far enough away from any kind of trees. This is to keep snakes and other animals from getting to the box. You sure don’t want the female to be sitting on the nest with only one way out and a snake slither up the pole and get her and the babies. It happens! That’s why we always baffle our houses.
Al put his first nest box up a few years ago and it wasn’t a week before they started building a nest. He was so happy!
We' had several batches of Blue Birds in 2 of our boxes. One box raised a family Carolina Chickadees last spring.
My friend Glenda already has two nests in her yard, so I guess I am behind schedule.
Al is going to put up a new nestbox today down from the motorhome and away from Ivan the Terrible! He’s pestering the two Blue Birds that want the nest box by the motorhome, so we figure we will offer them new “digs.” We want to put in a few more boxes so they will have their choice!
Last year we had a fight over one nest box which ended with one male having the other male on the ground. I finally had to go break up the fight. We ended up moving that particular box because it was visible from another box that was already being used. They are sure territorial!
Al got up two new nest boxes today. I can’t wait to see how long it takes for them to find them.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
We were up in the motor home this morning and noticed our resident Blue Bird couple fluttering around. Al has built them a “house” right by the motor home and they raised several batches of babies there last year. They were hanging around the house and trying to look inside when all of a sudden Ivan the Terrible flew in and started chasing them away.
Can’t you just see the meanness in this face? This is a Mockingbird. We had them when we lived in Tampa and they behaved themselves and didn’t hassle the other birds.
Once we moved here, we found we had a mean Mockingbird. We have since found out that is characteristic of them. They are territorial and chase all the other birds away. Some are worse than others. Our first one was the devil! We called him Ivan the Terrible. He lived up to his reputation and constantly tried to chase all the other birds away. Once I saw him chasing another bird and Ivan hit the Oak tree. There were gray feathers all over, but Ivan was okay. Once he found a wife and started raising children, Ivan was a changed man. Mockers are very good parents and their children are very demanding and spoiled. They keep feeding them long after they are capable of feeding themselves. Ivan and Ivana (his wife) raised several bathes of 4 babies each time. When the babies are hungry they squall and mom or dad come running/flying :) They would still be feeding the older babies, when they would have a new batch. Ivan had no more time that year to hassle the other birds. I have to admit though, I found a new respect for Ivan. He may have been the meanest bird I ever saw, but he was the best dad :)
Once they finished raising their babies for the year, Ivan and Ivana left and the babies stayed. I know that because the mockers we had left were nice birds! We haven’t had any other mocker that was nearly as mean as the first Ivan! It seems that the babies stake their own territory and now we have mockers all over our property. They allow the others to stay as long as they don’t get too close. We have been noticing they seem to be finding their mates because we see a lot of pairs fluttering around.
Anyway, we have an Ivan (they are all called Ivan) up by the motorhome blue bird house. Blue Birds are known to be extremely territorial as well. Ivan wouldn’t leave the poor Blue Birds alone, but we know just as soon as Ivan has some children, he will have no more time to bother anyone.
Here are Mr. and Mrs Bluebird sitting on top of their house.
After a while we decided to go into town for lunch. We were driving down our driveway past the first woods and saw a bunch of larger birds. We have thousands of Chipping Sparrows and Goldfinch in our yard that are all over the place, but these birds seemed to be a little larger so we wondered what they could be. Al mentioned they might be Cedar Waxwings and he was right. We only see them about twice a year during migration, and we never saw any while we lived in Tampa. I told Al to open the window and turn off the ignition and I got my camera out. We sat in the car for 12-20 minutes watching at least 100 Cedar Waxwings feeding on some dark black/blue berries. I don’t know what kind of plant is is but the Waxwings were going NUTS. They were hanging upside down, hanging sideways, and all over like they were ravenous.
You can see the berries are just thick.
Two birds here, one is upside down!
Two more here.
See the berry in his mouth?
These are the berries they were so happy to have found.
It was a very good day for birding!
We also found a few flowers blooming..Our first Daffodil of the season!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
It looks like this tree is at it’s peak bloom. It’s about 35-40 feet high and covered with flowers.
We went into Tallahassee today and saw a few Star Magnolias around town. Couldn’t get any good photos since we were driving.
A few other pink blooming trees..not sure what they were.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
We walked around our property the other day looking for signs of spring and found some indication that spring is just around the corner.
Here is a bloom from an apple tree.
A blueberry bush has some new growth.
An Azalea starting to bloom.
The green grass hasn’t come back yet, which also means no mowing to do. With 11 acres to mow, we do enjoy the break. The green spots are our abundant supply of weeds. We get special weeds in the winter, and then they die off and we get a new crop in the summer.
Pretty soon our field of Red Clover will start to bloom. It’s beautiful.
Can’t wait for spring!
In Cairo, Georgia there is a place where the very rare Trout Lily grows in abundance. The land belonged to a local plantation owner and had pretty much been left alone for at least 60 years. It’s a forested area that slopes down into a hollow. The county and state have been working together to purchase this parcel of land since it’s such an unusual place. There was some government program where they would match the funds that were raised. They had a deadline to get the money raised, and a few days before the deadline they were $45,000 short. One of the group trying to get this done, brought a friend to see the land and that friend donated the last $45,000. I think it’s amazing that people do that kind of thing. Thank you, whoever you are.
They only bloom for a few weeks at this time of the year and then they disappear until the next year. They only grow in moist cool soil. Other plants that grow well there are Trillium, bloodroot and Green fly Orchids.
While looking for a link for the Trout Lily, I came across this site that has beautiful pictures of many of Florida’s wildflowers. We see a lot of them when we are hiking but never knew their names. I thought it was a good link to keep on hand.
It looks like we are having a bit of a warming trend so we decided to go see the Trout Lily’s yesterday. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny warm day and the temperature got up to 70 degrees. Finally!
Here are some photos of “Trillium”
There aren’t as many Trillium as the Trout Lily, but they are abundant and very beautiful.
Here are some photos of the Trout Lily.
This shows the landscape that is covered with Trout Lilys. They are very small so they don’t show up as well in photographs.
We did a short walk around the property, took some photos and then left because we needed to go to Lowe’s and Home Depot for some additional trim items for the Motor Home remodel.
Friday, February 19, 2010
I am not much of a cook and have done very little baking, but I found a recipe on the back of an Argo corn starch box.
I am not making the pie dough so I bought a frozen already made pie crust.
Wish me luck!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
It’s been a long and cold winter. I know, all you people in North Dakota can’t sympathize, but to us transplanted “Floridians”, it’s been a long winter :)
There are signs that Spring is coming, but the temperature doesn’t reflect it.
It is only 37 degrees now and should only get into the 50’s today. It’s been windy, so that 50 is cold!
Our Daffodils are up and some even have buds on them. We should see some blooms pretty soon.
One of the things I look forward to here in Georgia is the Pink Magnolia. It’s one of the first things to bloom. There is one in front of the hospital. It’s a huge tree and when in full bloom it is gorgeous.
Here is a picture of it now. It’s starting to bloom but is far from being in full bloom. We’ve been watching it…don’t want to miss all it’s glory!
Another of the early bloomers are the flowering Cherry tree. This is one in full bloom. Pretty, isn’t it?
These are just a preview of things to come. Georgia is beautiful in the spring!