Critter of the Day: colour on a dreary day

The redpolls can really make a splash on an overcast day.

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Just look at those little claws, grasping the lilac twigs.

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They do seem to like those uppermost perches!

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Birds, Birds, Birds!

Well, today has definitely been a day of the birds!

From what I’ve been able to find, the “new” birds are dark eyed juncos.  They would be returning from overwintering elsewhere.  There were only a few yesterday, but today, there was tonnes! I now realize that we did see them last year.  I had just not been able to look at them so closely at the time.  But I definitely remember seeing this…

(I don’t know why the video quality is so bad after uploading it to YouTube!)

There were masses of juncos and redpolls swooping in and out, with many, many bounces off the windows.  Even the dining room window was getting hits.

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We are starting to see a lot more of the male redpolls now, too.

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Of course, all that activity attracted a watcher…

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Trüllbus wasn’t able to do much more than watch from the lilac bush, though! LOL

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Love how my daughter caught this redpoll, peeking at her through the twigs.  He looks angry! 😀

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From what I could find, there is quite a variety of juncos, but it does look like these are dark eye juncos, and the lighter coloured ones are the females.  The one in the photo above would be a male.

At one point, as I stood near the window, something startled them and the whole flock took off.  Three or four of them bounced off the window, right in front of me.  After they were gone, I realized that one had been left behind.

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At first, from inside the house, I wasn’t even sure if was a bird or if it was some darker foliage.  After a while, though, I could see the beak.  Ever so slowly, the beak opened, and stayed open.  Eventually, I decided to go out and check on it.  When I got close, it was aware enough to watch me, and even start to move a bit.  I was able to pick it up, though, and then it flew away from my hand.  No injuries.

Besides the birds, some deer did make a showing when my husband was up bright and early, but I have not seen any since.  I’m hoping some will show up this evening.

The Re-Farmer

Snoozing

After our vehicle troubles yesterday, I’d intended to stay close to him today.  I had to go to the post office before noon, and that was the only thing on my list that required driving.

I ended up out three times today, first to pick up the mail, next to pick up prescriptions, and finally to get a few more groceries.  I tried a different town this time; one I haven’t been to in probably 2 decades.  It’s a half hour drive away, and I was hoping it would be more of a stocking up sort of place.  I was wrong.  Ah, well.  Live and learn.  It did give me a chance to test the vehicle out – and be totally paranoid, constantly checking the gauges and the heat, and listening for any unusual noises.

No signs of any leaks.  I checked under the van in the garage, to see if there was a sign of puddling that I’d missed before, but the ground (the garage is just over packed dirt) has had so many spills over the years, I couldn’t tell if what I did see was old or new.  Since I was in and out so many times, though, I could compare from within the day, and there is no sign of any leaks.

Of course, I’m still going to be paranoid!

For now, I get to share adorable photos with you.  I give you…

Sleepy kitties!

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Nasty Crime Boy was back in what seems to be a favourite spot, causing us to spontaneously melt into puddles of awwwwwww….

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Then Trülbus the Crime Eater joined him, for double awwwwww….

I even got some bird pictures today; here is one of them.

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They seem to like the new feed, too. 🙂

They also were completely ignored by the sunning cats. 😀

We haven’t been seeing the grosbeaks for a while now.  They seem to disappear for a while, then come back in droves.

When getting the mail, I picked up some more of the previous deer feed, that’s mostly sunflower seeds.  I plan to mix them about half and half for the next while.  That way, there will be a wider variety of seeds for the critters.

There are deer pictures for today, too.  So many have me laughing out loud!  I will share some of those in a separate post, once I’m done resizing them.

The Re-Farmer

A few more steps forward, and today’s critters

Well, I got a couple of things accomplished to move us forward today.  This morning, I had a consultation with my lawyer about the Co-op situation.  I’ve been consulting with a lawyer about their actions against me for some time, but I really thought that would be over with, now that we’re no longer living there.  *sigh*

The next thing was certainly more positive.  I had to go in to town for a prescription refill for my husband today and FINALLY remembered to grab the information the pharmacy needed to be able to transfer my prescriptions from our old pharmacy over.  I could have done it by phone, but just never remembered during business hours.  I haven’t been taking my meds since I ran out before Christmas.  Reduction in stress meant I was already reducing my doses, anyhow.  My goal is to get off them completely, but with the Co-op BS still hanging over my, that’s going to be a bit more difficult.  Still, any progress is better than no progress!

Today was baking day for the girls, and this time they made “piggies in a blanket” by wrapping ropes of our usual sourdough bread around hot dog wieners and baking them.  It works well for a treat every now and then. 🙂

With how warm it’s going to be for the next while, the girls and I are planning on getting things moved out to the shed again soon.  Which means back to packing up more of my mother’s things that we’ve been ignoring until we could actually get them out.  If all goes well, we’ll finally get 3 more dressers out of the way (my parents seemed to collect dressers!), and once a weird little nook beside the old kitchen is clear, we can FINALLY move the cat litter out of the corner of the dining room and into its permanent spot!  We’ll be able to clear out some stuff that got shoved into the sunroom, too – it’ll be nice to be able to open the door all the way again, when we go in for the cat kibble and deer feed.  Once spring has reached a point that everything is dry outside – at least near the house – we will empty the entire room, clean it out and set it up to suit our own uses.  I have a few ideas the room can be used for, along with just enjoying the room itself.  My dad used to love sitting in there.  His walker is still there.  I’ll be hanging on to that, just in case.  There have been more than a few times when I’ve wished I’d had one handy for my own use, given how my knees and metatarsals tend to dislocate unexpectedly.  That’s always fun.  Not.

Meanwhile, I also got some more critter pictures, including some of the deer before we spooked them by going outside to drive to town.

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The first of the twins came running in, full bore, then its sibling ran over, and finally Mama came in, head going in all directions, checking for safety.  I’m so happy the twins are comfortable enough here to come running in like that, though I imagine their lack of caution is giving Mama the deer equivalent of a few grey hairs!

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I’m also happy that they have come to know our home as a place they can come to regularly for some food.  Watching them is one of the highlights of my day.

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This female grosbeak was not a very cooperative subject, but I did manage to get a couple of good shots of her.  She was very busily eating something off of the spruce tree she’s in.  I’m not sure what.  It’s not like there are any seeds for her to pick at, this time of year.  She certainly found something to eat in there, though.

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I love that little head twist I got in this photo.

This next one was another happy accident.

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Sometimes, it’s the “bad” photos that are my favourites. 😀

The Re-Farmer

And now for something more pleasant

Critter pictures.  Great for de-stressing.

I didn’t get any photos of deer today.  In fact, the only time I saw them was when I scared them off, returning from one of my outings today.  I just caught the sight of a flashing white tail, disappearing around the house.

My husband sees them more, when the pain has him up much earlier in the day.  At the very least, he saw Hungry Girl and Barbecue come by.  Not sure if it was them I chased off, or Mama and the twins, later on.  None came back while I was at home.

Here are some of the photos of other critters I got today.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

I haven’t been able to get many photos of the squirrels, but I got a couple of good ones today.

Red Squirrel and Chickadee

Bombs away!

Not the best of photos, quality wise, but catching the chickadee looking like like that is pure gold!

Female Redpoll

Female Redpoll

I love how the little birds are so light, they can sit on the very top of twigs and seed pods.

Male Redpoll

Male Redpoll

Focusing past the twigs is always a challenge.

I’m not sure why that purple is there, on the twigs.  It’s in the raw image, and not a side effect of post processing.

Any camera techies that can explain it to me?

The Re-Farmer

 

 

Strange New Bird

My husband called attention to a strange new bird in a spruce tree…

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Can you see it?

Look closely…

Can’t see it?  That’s okay.  She moved to a more visible spot.

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Butterscotch, looking very comfortable.

Yes, that’s Butterscotch, up in the spruce tree.  Quite settled in!

Since this photo was taken, however, she has made like she wanted to get down, but seemed to be having difficulties.  So my daughters went out with a ladder to help her down, but she just went off out of reach and just sat there, looking at them.

They’ve left the ladder on the tree for now.

Meanwhile, we have some more familiar birds to look at.

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Redpoll.

The redpolls were very co-operative today in posing for me in the bush.

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Blue Jay

We had 4 blue jays, bullying each other for the piles of seeds.  This one looks like he’s mocking the ones he just chased off. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Critter Pictures

I hope you have been able to take time out this first Sunday of Lent for focus and reflection.

With all the crud that accompanies a major move, I find it’s always a good thing to pause and look at WHY certain choices were made.

Unfortunately, in our case, the why of things is more a matter of “getting away from” rather than “going to.”  Such is life, of course, and we take the good with the bad and focus on the important things, rather than the things that threaten to drag us down.

At least, that’s the theory.  LOL  Reality is much messier.

However, among the things I do appreciate with this move is our daily critter visits outside the window.  As the stresses of the day begin to add up, there is something very healing about looking out our window and finding a deer looking back.

Or a cat.  Whatever. 😀

With that calming influence in mind, I will first share with you an image from yesterday.

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Hungry Girl, checking out… something.  I can never quite see what it is that they’re looking at when they stare down the length of the house.  There usually isn’t anything but birds.

Especially these guys…

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I love getting accidental pictures!  This redpoll was flitting around among the twigs so much, I’m fortunate to have gotten any shots at all, but getting one in a fun position like this is always rewarding.

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I finally had a chickadee stay still long enough to get a decent shot!  😀

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Once again, something alongside the house has their full attention!

The physical differences between Hungry Girl in the foreground, and Barbecue in the back, are still quite striking.

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I’m thinking that this time, there must have been a cat walking along the house that they were watching, because later on I saw…

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… Trüllbus the Crime Eater.

He was in the bushes when I first spotted him.  Then he spotted me in the window, taking his picture.  He was accommodating enough to move out of the bushes and pose for me in the feeding area.

I love that intent gaze!

The Re-Farmer

 

 

 

Got a Camera

Hungry Girl and Barbecue visited again this morning.  I didn’t even try and take photos with my phone.  Instead, I just enjoyed watching them.

After they left, the birds came back in full force, including a total of 5 blue jays!  Usually, it’s just two or three.  There were also the massive numbers of redpolls (which I’d mistakenly identified as chipping sparrows, previously), lots of pine grosbeaks, chickadees and nuthatches.  Squirrels made their appearance, too.

After a while, I broke down and finally asked my daughter if I could borrow her Nikon D80.

After a bit of maintenance (lens cleaning, battery checking, etc), I set it up and tested it, using the 18-55mm lens she had on already.

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Ghost bird!

Then I took it off the manual setting. 😀

Though ghost birds are rather neat photo subjects.

I then switched from her 18-55 lens to the Nikkor 70-300mm lens we were using on the old camera.

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Blue jay

Blue jays are one of my favourite birds.  I love their incredible colour!  It’s interesting to see how they try to pack so many seeds into their beaks at once.  I didn’t realize they did that until I started taking photos of them with the zoom lens.

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Pine grosbeak, male

It’s a real challenge to get photos of the birds when they are in the bush nearby.  Usually, in the time it takes for me to notice them, then swing the camera around on the tripod, they are either gone, of have moved to another branch.  One of these days, I’m going to get a picture of a nuthatch perched upside down on a twig.

The grosbeaks tend to hang around on the branches a bit longer than the chickadees, nuthatches and redpolls – they’re too big to hop around the way the little guys do.  So I was able to get a pretty decent shot of a male grosbeak in the trees.

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Pine grosbeak with redpoll

There tend to be a LOT more females than males among they seeds, but even they are usually outnumbered by the redpolls.

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Downy woodpecker

Getting any images of this downy woodpecker was a challenge, too!  It kept moving around, then went behind the branch in the foreground.

My daughter just swung by to let me know she got pictures of the woodpecker while I was posting this.  I’m glad I made sure the camera still had a memory card in it when I took out the one with the above photos to upload!

The Re-Farmer

 

This Morning’s Critter Visitors

We are going to have to rethink how our living room is laid out again.  A bit of adjusting to better suit my husband’s needs, and a bit more shifting around.  Our big picture window is currently blocked off completely, and I’d like to open it up again.

Then promptly block it again.  With a tripod. 😀

We had many chickadees, as usual, and a third squirrel has joined the two we usually see.  Then we got this crowd.

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I have been able to find our copy of A Field Guide to the Birds of North America, and was able to identify them as chipping sparrows. [correction: these are redpolls, which were not in my book at all.  We get chipping sparrows in the summer.]

Then our beautiful lady came to visit again.  We first saw her going through the spruce grove some distance away, but she came back for a quick feed.

What a beauty!

We have a pair of blue jays that regularly visit – likely a mated pair.  One of them hung out in the spruces for a while.

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I just love their colouring.  They’ve always been one of my favourite birds.