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Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Bunnies, Dust Bowls and Roddie

      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.


     Who can maintain a hard heart when confronted with this enchanting renewal of life? Not Miriam!


     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.


     It is in fact a pleasure to have them share their lives with us.
     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. 



     It was delightful to spend time together and I am sure it will not be as long before I see Roddie again.

63 comments:

  1. Hello Both,
    I can understand Miriam's displeasure with the cute little rabbits devouring her pristine garden plants , but as you say you can watch them.
    You appear to have had a good visit to Roddies Quarry and in seeing the Bobolinks,. its never fails to amaze me the distance some of these little birds travel in migrating, always pleasing to finish with a butterfly you have not seen before.
    best wishes to you both,
    John

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  2. These little fluffy bunnies are beautiful but they probably do a lot of damage in the garden :)

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  3. Baby bunnies are cute - but as you will understand I feel for Miriam and her garden too.
    And how wonderful to be able to meet up with Roddie and family again. For you all.

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  4. Those bunnies are so sweeeeet! But I can still understand Miriam swearing like a trooper when their parents eat her lovely flowers. But they really are adorable. Roddie seems to be a great kid, wonderful that he has so much interest in ornithology, and that you were able to enjoy the field trip with the whole of his family. I'm off to bed now, so 'll wish you a good night! Hugs, Valerie

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  5. The 'fluff balls' are just the cutest and would melt the hardest heart. What a special time spent with Roddie and his happy family.

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  6. I can very well understand Miriam, David. It must be so sad to see her flowers in the garden been destroyed all the time. I had been very angry if it was me.
    The rabbits are very beautiful and cute, but I'm glad they don't live here.

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  7. It's wonderful to share the love of nature with friends.

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    Replies
    1. It really is, Bill, and especially with children.

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  8. How Cute are the Bunnies. I was in the Columbian Amazon (Mitu) when I first saw Bobolink, incredibly my guide got himself a lifer right there and then. Hardly grasslands terrain ..... but I guess open tracts of White sand and shrubs will do a Bobolink on passage. Keep well.

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    1. You are right, Dave, not a spot I would expect to find a Bobolink, but as you say any clear spot on migration is probably a welcome oasis to break the long journey. Obviously you owe it to yourself to visit southern Ontario to see them on their breeding territory!

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  9. Hari OM
    What a fun post today, bringing smiles right around the world! YAM xx

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  10. Sorry, but we kept cheering for the foxes when they were around, not the bunnies.

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  11. The bunnies are cuties.

    That young lad is quite the birder. It is great to see how his family supports him in his interest.

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  12. I've seen doves do a dust bath not long ago.

    The bunnies are cute.

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  13. There are no rabbits hopping around on this property...but large hares do visit often...and they large fellows! I love seeing them cruising about.

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  14. Good for you for helping to develop a young naturalist.

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    1. It is my pleasure entirely. He is not the first child I have helped and I hope he won't be the last. We really need to get young people involved. Lily has been immersed in nature almost since the day of her birth.

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  15. Cute bunnies! Sad to see Miriam's flowers in the garden destroyed though.

    Happy Weds, David.

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  16. Un hermoso encuentro amigo David. Entiendo muy bien la postura de Miriam, adora su jardín y no le debe hacer mucha gracia que esas lindas criaturas de conejitos irrumpan, se posicionen y le destrocen su pequeño jardín. Realmente son seres entrañables, pero también muy conflictivos.
    Precioso reportaje querido amigo y compadre. Recibe un fuerte abrazo de este tu amigo alicantino.

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  17. Les petits lapins sont tout mignons.
    J'en ai eu une fois dans mon jardin, ils étaient 3, mais rapidement j'en ai trouvé un mort et ma chienne en avait attrapé un autre. Il en restait un qui avait bien grandit mais n'avait pas peur de l'homme. Ma voisine l'a fait tuer par un chasseur car il allait dans son jardin...
    J'étais très triste car je jardinais à 1 mètre de lui dans le mien, il pouvait gratter et manger ce qu'il voulait, il est en photo à droite de mon blog. Les lapereau ont la vie dur :(
    C'est bien de voir des jeunes s'intéresser à autre chose que leur téléphone, bravo Roddie!
    Bonne journée

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  18. Poor Miriam - the baby bunnies are so cute.
    What a great day you had with Roddy. Greet him. With is love for nature, he is just the man we need for the future.
    Greetings Lisbeth

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  19. Dear Dave,
    when I see bunnies I cannot resist, so here I am telling you thank you, given they've a special place in my heart!
    Daniela at ~ My little old world ~

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  20. Hello,
    The bunnies are so cute, I do not mind them eating my plants. Looks like a fun day with Roddy!
    Have a great day!

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  21. Hi David.

    They look cute those little bunnies.
    But when they grow up, it will be difficult again.
    How nice that you were able to go out with that family and that the boy can still take nice pictures.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  22. All very interesting. Rabbits, well there used to be so many here on the Island but can say haven't seen any for a very long time. Of course we have them still in the bush somewhere..

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  23. We rescued a baby rabbit and named him Raggit. After we nursed him back to health and saw him grow a bit, we turned him out. We believed he visited us regularly after than.

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  24. Rabbits are very innocent.

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  25. I'm just thrilled about your baby bunnies. I adore them. (I love the big ones, too, even though they are far too hungry when gardens come into play. Both Rick and I have had our hostas chomped on!) But they're cute as all get out!

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    1. On balance, a few hostas seems like a small price to pay to have them around.

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  26. ...I'm with Miriam, my vegetable garden has been devoured. My 100s of hostas have only been eaten by slugs.

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  27. Rabbit would be a new species for the garden for us, David. One, however, that we can do without although I'm sure that we would be just as enchanted by them should they decide to visit.

    It seems that, in Roddie, you have a youngster with an interest that is well worth nurturing. This planet needs as many budding naturalists as we can produce.

    It now seems that the Blogger header issue is not entirely fixed. One blogger that I'm in regular contact with still has issues. I got my header to work just fine, but I'd resampled the image to be 1182 pixels (at 300 dpi) wide (Blogger says 1184 max, and I'd previously presented them at 1184 pixels).

    Best wishes to you and Miriam - - - Richard

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    1. As for the header, I tried it again, but I cannot shrink the size to anything reasonable.

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    2. email me a header, David, and I'll resample it to the size specified and send it back to you so that you can try it. Will take me no time at all!

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  28. I saw a suckling baby bunny for the first time in my yard.

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  29. Oh i love the baby rabbits!They are so cuteMiriam should invest in a scarecrow or garden guard hih hih :))))

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  30. Bunnies! I'm glad my planter boxes are as high as they are--LOL! ;)
    Lovely visit. :)

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  31. These bunnies are so cute :) It's a pity they make a mess in the garden! Well, everyone wants to eat and live!
    Greetings

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  32. hello David
    I hope to get new little rabbits in front of the camera every year .. as I said I hope ... nobody can stick with the little ones
    Greetings Frank

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  33. Rabbits have just feasted on my coneflowers. I can't blame them, as they are awfully tempting, but still, not pleased with their demise. However, who doesn't delight in seeing wildlife up close? Those baby bunnies are precious! Sounds like a wonderful day with Roddie and his family!

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  34. The little bunnies are very sweet, but I confess to irritation with the larger bunnies who visit our garden from time to time. How lovely to be able to visit with friends and go places again.

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  35. 。 ☆。 ☆。 ☆
    ★。 \ | /。 ★
    。。。
    Wooww!! what a wonderful frontispiece,
    dear friend David!
    que tal!
    Oh how happy i feel today
    get here, my wings have recovered
    his energy when i saw the bunnies
    so sweet pompoms,
    that beauty
    and also that beautiful family,
    I feel happy
    knowing that you can meet again.
    I wish you a warm and starry night,
    a big hug from me
    home in the top of a tree in
    the middle of winter.
    ★。 / | \。 ★
    。 ☆ 。。 ☆。

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  36. Lindos conejitos y bellas mariposas te mando un beso

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  37. It's impossible to beat baby bunnies on the adorability scale.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Little babies of any species are right up on the adorability scale. As soon as there are ducklings and goslings in the parks here you can hear oohs and ahs resounding through the air, to say nothing of the squeals of delight from the children!

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  38. Hi David - that's wonderful the Roddie family all met up - and yes let's hope it happens again soon. Great to be encouraging a youngster - who's pretty adept with a camera ... good for him. Your previous post with barn swallows reminded me of seeing them nest in the Transkei back in 1979 ... I'd forgotten that snippet of life.
    Poor Miriam - but yes we can all love new life ... especially so with baby bunnies - they do look very young.

    Gorgeous times ... the dust bath is pretty impressive too ... cheers Hilary

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  39. It must be frustrating to love those cute little bunnies and yet dislike they destroy her garden. Not much to do about it I guess.
    Nice to see young people interested in wildlife and take part in ringing and so forth. Gives hope for the future.

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  40. Hi David,
    offcourse I understand Miriam completely as she is grumbling on the animals that are destroying her flowers; but is mollified seeing these little cute ones.
    Lovely pictures.

    Best regards, Corrie

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    Replies
    1. We will have to learn to plant flowers that are unappealing to rabbits.

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  41. Preciosos los conejitos, pero yo prefiero no tenerlos en mi jardín, ahora lo que tengo son topos y un erizo. Besos y abrazos.

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  42. Naughty bunny rabbits.... Great you could find the bobolinks for Roddie !

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  43. Watching dust bathing is always a joy. The chickens used to make quite a ritual out of it :)

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  44. I'll very occasionally see a rabbit, but I've never seen baby rabbits in the wild. Your series of photos is an absolute delight. I was interested to see the "century farm" plaque.I've visited a couple of century farms in Iowa and Minnesota: farms that have been in the same family for generations. I presume the meaning is the same there; those farms are a delight, too.

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  45. Those wee rabbits are so sweet looking. I would have loved to have seen them. Meanwhile what a great outing for that family and what a budding birding enthusiast Roddie is. Great stuff!!

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  46. Beautiful rabbit pictures... Happy weekend David

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  47. Aww those baby rabbits are so cute, so nice to see the photographs.

    All the best Jan

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  48. How lovely that you are able to get out and about with others now. Wild rabbits are a vexed issue in Australia where they are an introduced pest but having had pet domesticated rabbits when I was younger I have to agree that baby bunnies are irresistibly cute.

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  49. David - how wonderful to see young people excited about nature! I have never seen a bobolink - maybe one day. Thank you for identifying the butterflies in my last post!

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  50. The bunnies are cuties.
    Nice that the sparrows come to take a dust bath in your garden.
    Greetings Irma

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  51. I admire Miriam. I, too, would be frustrated if my echinacea and hostas ate cute bunnies for dinner. Young Roddie has beautiful interests: nature and photography.
    Hugs and greetings.

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