Tag Archives: birds

Things I don’t like today.

 

A switch from my regular happy to be alive posts.

 

 

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I don’t like….

Being bitten on the hand by a horse fly while mowing the lawn and having it swell up to 5 times it’s normal size.

 

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Hot, stiff and throbbing.

And not in a good way.

 

 

I don’t like….

Being bitten on the ankle by a horse fly the next day and having it swell up to epic proportions as well.

WTH?

 

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Did one of you clowns stick a Bite Me sign on my back…

 

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I don’t like….

Being late to lunch with friends because I lost the husband to yet another junk filled yard sale he just couldn’t drive by.

 

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He came back with a bag… and I didn’t even want to know what was in it.

 

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I don’t like….

The fact that the husband owns a chain saw.

 

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This birch tree had one bad section… one.

So bye bye entire tree.

 

 

Nothing is safe. Except the two dead flowering plum trees I’ve been after him to cut for years. Those?

He leaves alone.

I don’t like….

 

 

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Going out to check on the baby catbird nest and finding momma’s feathers on the ground…

 

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And an empty nest knocked loose from the bush.

Poor little things.

I don’t like….

Things that come in threes. First our  too new to die damn it  refrigerator, then my car’s air conditioner, and now the husband’s truck’s air conditioner. There’s a conspiracy afoot to make me sweat.

 

 

I really, really don’t like that!

 

 

 

Things I like today… chapter 5.

 

I like….

Finding that just right product at T.J. Maxx.

 

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Pig collagen.

Because have you ever seen a wrinkled pig?

 

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I like…

Taking the guess work out of what to get me for my birthday.

 

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Good clean fun…. yes sirree.

 

I like…

Hummingbirds who pull up a chair and sit a while.

 

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As this one did the other day on our back deck.

 

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2,000 meals a day and sleep the whole night thru?

I totally want to be a hummingbird now.

I like….

 

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Okay, technically I don’t know if I like it yet because I just bought it.

 

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But a 100 calorie cocktail?

 

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What’s not to like?

And finally, I like….

This sign.

 

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Because who can argue with that?

 

Anyone lose a Chukar?

 

As we were pulling out of our driveway the other day I spotted something odd in front of our deer ravaged Yew bushes….

 

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Naturally I made the husband stop while I ran back inside for my camera.

 

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It was an odd looking bird I hadn’t seen before…

 

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And when I looked it up online, I understood why.

 

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It was a Chukar.

Introduced from Eurasia, the sandy-brown Chukar is a game bird that lives in high desert plains of western North America, as well as in Hawaii and New Zealand. Its namesake call echoes across dry rocky slopes. It runs and scampers up steep terrain with the agility and speed of a mountain goat, prompting hunters to nickname it the “devil bird” for the brutal chase it gives. Dark bars on the sides and a band across the head and neck adorn this red-billed game bird.

 

A devil bird?

Well that’s disturbing…

 

 

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If you look at the map of it’s range in the U.S…..

 

 

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You’ll see it’s a long way from Maine.

Which got me curious enough to do a little research.

 

 

Oh, stop being so dramatic….. you might learn something.

It’s nothing you need or want to know, but still.

 

Depending on where you live, you may have the fortune of encountering a medium-sized game bird called Chukar. You’ll recognize this bird from their inclusion in many North American field guides, though they are not a native species. Chukars, pronounced “chuh-kahr“, are an introduced species, originating from mountains of middle Eurasia, now common around the western United States’ Great Basin north into western Canada. With this history, and a lack of showing any establishing populations in Maine, Chukars should be treated like other escaped domestic fowl.

 

 

Of course. Happy to…

 

 

The American Birding Association put forth Criteria for Determining Establishment of Exotics which Maine’s Chukars don’t meet. These birds are raised and released by commercial hunting operations with no success establishing wild populations. Northern Bobwhites are another game species widely released in Maine. While these small quails have successfully bred in the wild multiple times, none of the populations appear to be growing or even stable enough to warrant becoming established.

 

So basically they’ve taken these poor birds, who have no hope of surviving here, and released them into the wild so they can hunt and kill them. Of course the ones they don’t shoot will probably die of cold or starvation.

 

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Makes me wish I had scooped the sweet little guy up and brought him in the house as a pet.

Humans are cruel.

For bird nerds.

 

If you don’t spend countless hours staring out the window with camera in hand to see if a new bird has shown up at the horrendously expensive buffet of seeds, nuts and suet you arrange on what used to be your laundry pole?

Feel free to skip this post.

 

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But birders will get it.

The other day I spotted a Red Bellied Woodpecker. They used to be relatively rare in Maine and all the field guides say they shouldn’t come any farther north than Massachusetts… yet here they are.

Trying to get an unobstructed shot of one proved a bit more difficult.

 

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Juvenile starlings are notorious photo bombers.

 

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Almost…

 

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Finally.

 

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An even rarer spotting was this Scarlet Tanager.

 

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They’re usually forest dwellers and our place is pretty open.

 

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So I was tickled pink when this little beauty showed up.

 

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Or red, as the case may be.

That’s the wonderful thing about bird watching, you never know what you’ll see.

 

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By now our Baltimore Orioles are usually long gone, but this year I bought a feeder that houses grape jelly so they seem to be sticking around.

 

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These two made me laugh.

They seemed to be squaring off for an orange eating contest.

 

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Granted it doesn’t provide the same excitement of hot dog eating contests…

 

 

But there’s also less chance of projectile vomit…

So that’s a plus.

 

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Bird watching… there’s never a dull moment.

Alright, I lie. There are plenty of excruciatingly dull moments, but when something special does happen?

You smile.

 

Wild Kingdom… the River edition.

 

It’s not just the woodchucks who show up for a nosh at Casa River.

 

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We have a beautiful pair of foxes who are denning down in our woods.

 

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Hey now… I’m sharing the sights and sounds of my backyard.

Please be respectful.

 

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Early morning shots through a wet window are a little blurred.

 

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This is sharper.

 

 

 

Then there are the daily seed raiders…

 

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This not pregnant anymore doe just dropped her fawn in the woods 2 houses down and is late in blowing her winter coat.

Of course if we had this type of deer, our seeds would be safe.

 

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But if we had these?

We might not be.

 

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Yikes!

 

 

 

And do you remember the Catbird nest with it’s bright blue eggs?

 

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Well….

 

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New life is popping there too.

 

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Although momma Catbird doesn’t like it when I photograph her babies. Turn up your volume to hear her cry.

 

 

 

And then there’s this fellow…. who I stumbled on by accident and took one quick out of focus shot of before I hightailed it inside.

 

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At least I wasn’t looking at the business end.

 

 

 

 

We will prevail….

 

Time for our annual battle with the flowering quince.

My husband hates trimming this bush. Hates it with a passion.

 

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The monster is covered in thorns and not easily tamed. Cutting a path through uncharted Amazon rain forest while being chased by pygmies with poisonous darts might actually be preferable.

Every year we do it, and every year he grumbles.

This year he suggested using the chain saw.

But I had visions of this:

 

 

And managed to dissuade him.

I started with the electric hedge trimmer…

 

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And managed to cut smaller branches away from the house.

 

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Then the husband brought the ladder and the muscle.

Quince bushes are hard wood, and mature ones like ours fight back.

I was tempted to suggest something like this:

 

 

 

But managed to hold my tongue.

While he was angrily hacking away at that, I moved over to the also out of control Burning Bushes.

 

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These turn a vibrant red in the fall and are much easier to trim.

But I didn’t get very far because hidden in between them and the boxwood? I found a catbird’s nest.

 

 

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No, not that kind.

 

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This kind.

 

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And I scared the poor mother right off it.

(Worry not, she’s back.)

 

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Avoiding the nest meant the bushes are still large, but at least you can see the windows now. The top half anyway.

As for the quince…

 

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My idea of a neatly shaped shrub differs greatly from the husband’s …

But he had a sharp implement in his hands and I figured I shouldn’t push the issue.

 

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Yes, dear.

It looks fine.

 

 

They’re a wee bit confused.

 

I put birdseed out for the birds….

 

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Which the deer eat.

 

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I put apples out for the deer….

 

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Which the woodchucks eat.

 

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Granted, they’re cute as all get out when they do…

 

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But do they have to eat the deer grain as well?

 

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Sometimes they climb right in the bowl and polish it off.

Which leads the deer to eat…

 

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It’s a vicious circle.

And proves that our backyard creatures are a little confused.

Like this Baltimore Oriole….

 

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Who tries to drink from the hummingbird feeder.

 

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Yes, you.

 

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The owner of this house spends a small fortune keeping you in fresh oranges and grape jelly…. don’t get greedy.

Of course….

This guy?

 

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Eats whatever…

 

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And whoever he wants.