Critter of the Day: bird watching

Hello, September!

After going through August’s photos of our feeding station, I found we didn’t actually take very many photos that month. I ended up with only a week’s worth of critter of the day pictures worth posting, mostly of cats.

Since I skipped at least one month’s worth of photos entirely in the spring, this will give me an opportunity to go through them.

And so, for the first day of September, I bring you a photo from the first day of August.

Susan is busy watching the birds in the platform feeder above her head. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Critter of the Day: spot the difference!

Yesterday, I posted a picture of a common grackle. I almost posted it together with this picture, but on closer inspection, I realized this was a different bird!

This is a brown headed cow bird. The body looks a lot like the grackle! The differences are in the beak (which is shorter on the cow bird) and the eye (which is yellow on the grackle).

I’ve never been much of a bird watcher, but I’ve been trying to make sure I accurately identify the birds we get out our window. In the process, I’m discovering that, for a lot of them, it’s really hard to be sure what I’m looking at! Some are so similar, it’s easy to miss the little details that separate them. Usually, I don’t see the differences until I’ve uploaded the pictures and started to process them for here!

Clean up: it’s for the birds, and planning ahead

Today, I continued my spring clean up around the yard. Now that we have yard equipment in the side of the garage we’d stored the foam insulation from around the house last summer, this year I’ve put them into the barn for storage.

I’d love to empty that barn so we can actually use it.

All in good time!

For now, I went back to the jasmine bed, mulched it with straw and began saturating the mulch with water. Though we did get rain recently, it wasn’t enough and everything is still bone dry.

While the hose was running there, I decided to move the unused bird bath from beside the storage house to the flower bed by the bird feeder. I found a block to use as a foundation and used a hoe to dig down and level a spot for it, first. Once the bird bath was in place, I moved the bird feeder stand to its summer location. Over the next month or so, the flowers should hide at least part of the bases.

That bird bath needs a thorough scrubbing and re-painting. We shall see if that becomes a job for this year, or next. Or maybe we’ll get a new one.

I’m hoping the water is far enough away from the platform feeder that falling seeds will not become a problem. When the lilac beside it is in full leaf, it should provide some shade. This should slowly become a nice little bird garden, I hope. 🙂

The birds were quick to come back to the feeding station, but I haven’t seen them checking out the water, yet.

I also cleared out the bricks that I took out when rebuilding the jasmine bed. I have decided what I will be using them for.

This is the window to the old part basement, where we used to throw logs in for the wood burning furnace. The roof that keeps precipitation from leaking into the basement is on a hinge, but I haven’t decided on how I will get it to stay all the way up while I work. If I really need to, I can also remove it until the job is done. The cat kibble is under there to keep it out of the weather. There are chunks of brick and blown in leaves, but otherwise I think it’s just dirt. The “retaining walls” built up on the sides are slowly getting unstable.

The plan is to clear all that out and redo it with a brick “floor” under the window. Which will also be a good time to get the foam insulation out of the opening and put the metal mesh window over it for the summer. The wood frame for that is rotting, though, so I hope to scrounge up the materials to redo that as well.

For now, I’ve just brought over the bricks and filled the wheel barrow with water. Partly to get rid of any dirt and whatnot stuck to them, but also to wash away any ants or other leggy critters that might get transferred over with the bricks. I’d seen some tiny red ants when I dug the bricks out, and some were still there when I moved them to the wheel barrow, so I want to make sure to get rid of those or any eggs that might be attached. I might not get back to this until tomorrow, though. It’s already gotten very hot out there – we are at 23C right now – and this area is in full sun.

That reminds me. Time to check on the kitties in the sun room again!

The Re-Farmer