We are on the cusp of venturing a little farther afield, but for the moment most of what we do is local.
16 July 2021
Our Front Yard
Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that Miriam is frustrated with Eastern Cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus) due to their habit of regularly dining on the choicest items in her garden. Weeds they leave alone, hostas and coneflowers are always on the menu. It is exasperating for her, as you can understand, to invest money, time and effort into a floral display only to have her efforts thwarted.
From time to time I have heard her expostulate in ways that might make a drunken sailor blush!
Despite this, however, I am ready to expose her as an impostor! Little baby rabbits will do it every time!
She was as thrilled as anyone to see these tiny bundles of delight exploring the front yard. They must have just left the safety of their burrow for they are so tiny they would easily fit onto my hand.
She may become extremely annoyed with the rabbits, and chase them from her flowers, but in truth she would not wish them harm even for a moment.
Right by our front porch, birds, especially House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) regularly drop by for a dust bath, to cleanse their feathers of ectoparasites. The result is that two bowls have become established and they are well used.
Sooner or later we may be able to get a shot of the birds performing their vigorous toilette when the dust flies in all directions! I'll be sure to post it if we do.
Hood Century Farm
Roddie, a ten-year old dynamo, has been a fan of birds ever since I have known him, about five years now, and he has acquired a substantial repertoire of knowledge about all matters ornithological. He and his mom, Vashti, and sometimes his little sister, Raya, would come to SpruceHaven to observe our bird banding operation, and generally get involved with everything we were doing.
I had not seen Roddie since before the beginning of the COVID scourge, so I was delighted to receive an email from Vashti, asking whether I could find Bobolinks (Dolichonyx orizivorus) for Roddie, the latest species in his quest to add to his life list.
I knew of just the place to go.
Picture courtesy of Roddie
The visit turned out to be a family affair and I was happy to welcome everyone to join in on our quest for Roddy's quarry for the day.
Vashti, Raya, Roddie, Kyle (in green jacket at the rear), James
We spotted Bobolinks almost immediately, with some males still in breeding plumage. We were unable to get closeup shots, but Roddie, wielding the camera like a National Geographic professional, managed this shot of a pair in flight.
Others were perched in trees, many being hatch-year birds preparing for their first migration to the grasslands of South America.
Roddie took this nice shot of a female or juvenile Bobolink at the top of the tree, and a male American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) down below.
Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) have had a good breeding season and we saw many fledglings still being fed by their parents. Roddie the Recorder memorialized it for posterity.
As it turned out one of the highlights for the day was not a bird, but a butterfly, and it landed on Vashti's jacket.
The first picture below is mine and the second one is Roddie's. Neither are especially brilliant, but between the two all the salient details are present to identify the butterfly as a Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus) a species that I had not seen before.