Monday, May 31, 2010

Too early

I heard the "yell" before I saw the source. Baby starlings don't come into being until the end of June. Their voices can be heard for blocks. This is too early, but they're here. I followed the noise and found this juvenile perched on a fence. Perched. Seemingly stuck there not having figured out how to get off the fence. Yell, yell, yell! I want my mommy!

As time elapsed it was joined by others who sat and stared at the noise-maker.

Finally, it sorted out what to do and flew off towards the mother who was yards away. It just needed the courage to take off.
Over at the Spring there was another young starling. No parent in sight. This youngster studied the company, selected a robin as surrogate parent and even pecked robin on the behind. Robin ignored starling. Eventually Mama starling arrived, bathed, watched by baby, and baby bathed too. I know starlings are brat birds, but I do love the goofy juveniles.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Next phase

The robin flew in for a drink of water, but never closed its mouth. That's when I noticed the "tumor" by its beak. I don't know if this is a common malady, but it didn't look good. I suspect this robin might not survive long.

Out on the Point there's a robin nest up high. At least two babies, maybe three. Great location,.. high, protected, near lots of food. The parent is removing a fecal sack. Ate it. Terrible angle for getting pictures, but for the robin family it's a matter of safety first.

I wasn't sure what I was seeing in split seconds. Warbler for sure, but not sure which one.

Same for this flitter, a warbler, but which one?

The female black and white warbler.

There was a great amount of activity in the lopsided tree. Mulberries! It's too soon! Mulberries come into season at the end of June and beginning of July. Everyone was having a go at the sweet berries- starlings, robins, grackles and the cedar waxwings.

At least there are a couple of mulberry bushes where I can get my hands on the berries too. The birds can have the top fruit. I'll pluck the bottom berries.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Still catching up

There are the warblers I know well, certainly the common yellow throat (male),

but I needed help with this one, the female blackpoll. I didn't know who she was at first.

Of all the things to see this was the sweetest, a birthday celebration with a ride in the gondola.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Not so many warblers

The migration season is drawing to a close, but that doesn't mean that there is nothing to see. It just takes a bit more patience. And this is turning into a weird spring. There are already young starlings screaming. This usually doesn't happen until the end of June and July. There are ripe mulberries with birds gorging on them. This never happens until the end of June and first two weeks of July. I know, because I also eat those mulberries. Something is out of whack.

The first bird I met was this wall-sitting sparrow who wasn't going anywhere. I'm not sure what was being eaten, a seed pod? A big bug? Whatever it was it was totally consumed, not one molecule discarded.

Off to the pond........ this time something in mouth, but not for eating.

I adore sparrows after they bathe.

Mrs. Redstart (yellowstart?)

The magnolia warbler

The squirrels were digging up chestnuts buried during the winter.

Between seed pods , nuts, discarded trash and bugs nobody is starving.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Home building

At first there was a lot of abstract activity, grackles soaking God-only-knows-what to soften it up. They soak pretzels, bread and acorns. Very intelligent birds, except I'm not sure you can soften acorns. But maybe the wet surface helps acorns slide down easier.

The activity changed. Obvious home-building jays. Both male and female were collecting muck.

Over by the cottage I saw the male sparrow also collecting nesting material. He flew it up to a ledge of the cottage......

and then all hell broke loose. The female wanted no part of him. It was WAR. Eventually the male flew off, the female "yelling" at him. There was nothing gentle about the encounter. It was ferocious, had nothing to do with sex, everything to do with GET LOST!

I wish I could have been at a higher angle, but you get the idea. The battle of the sparrows.