Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend Birding Highlights

This weekend was just what we needed!!! A little more of a relaxed pace. .a time to finish up some drug-out projects. .and a time to just hang out!! Things are beginning to look and feel more like summer.  I got the chance each day to do a little resting on the decks and enjoyed some bird watching too!  We saw lots of interesting ones around. .and the binoculars were kept on the front table all weekend.
While swinging Cami on Thursday afternoon, the little hummingbird that I had seen showed up to graze.  We watched it for a little while before I dashed in and got my camera. The pictures aren't great by anyone's standards. .but that little girl moved SOOOO fast!! I did some research and think that we were watching a female ruby throated hummer. .I believe that because her back was definitely green irridescent. .and as you can see above, there was white at the tip of the tail. I never really saw her from the front. .
But I don't believe there was any sign of red to the chest.  I was more than tickled for the opportunity to view its habits in my own yard!! I have hung my feeder next to the honeysuckle, but I haven't really seen it eat from that yet.  The first flush of blooms will be gone soon, maybe then.
I was also excited to watch a pair of Western King birds. We typically have a few pairs of these around in the summers, but I haven't seen them yet this year. .nor have I had the opportunity to just sit and watch them.  The 3 crabapple trees to the west, seemed to host a lot of activity this weekend. .the tree this one is in didn't come back this year. .it was de-barked by a deer a couple years ago. .and apparently made a slow death.  Many birds sat in it's naked branches looking for lunch.
The kings aren't as brightly colored as these little guys. .
My friends. .the Baltimore oriole.
We have been blessed with their bright colors the last few years. I always think that the birding books show them as a deeper orange color. .and I would describe it as yellow!! But as I watched them yesterday, I think they would be considered more orange. .but still very hard to differentiate when you see them on the fly!
I have seen at least 2 together at the same time. .so I know there are that many. I kept thinking that I might see them try to eat from the hummingbird feeder, but I haven't yet.  I don't feed them fruit or grape jelly as many people do. .I'd probably get better pictures up close if I did!! There is something in my habitat that keeps them coming back, and I am grateful for the chance to watch them without having to do anything to keep them!
I saw two types of swallows this weekend. The barn swallows, above. .and then some tree swallows, which hawk bugs from the top of my pond. It is amusing to watch them come from no-where and swoop down to the surface and be gone before you even realized that they were there! I've never really liked these birds because they are always trying to build nests where I'd rather they didn't, but they are a very pretty purple color.
I was also able to identify a lark sparrow this weekend. My picture is just of a plain house sparrow. .I couldn't get a picture of the lark sparrow. .they seem to be very elusive. They sing a BEAUTIFUL song. .and that is what caught my attention. It sounds much like a wren in clarity of tune. .but a longer song. .more like a mockingbird would sound.  I was quite perplexed by it, as I saw the lark sparrow a couple weeks ago, but could never see it long enough to identify!! It also sat in the crabapple tree long enough that I could look it up and confirm it in my book. Grant noticed a bobwhite quail bathing in the back sprinkler near the tree row yesterday morning. And I caught site of a bluebird yesterday afternoon as Devin and I were picking up a few big rocks with the tractor.  I can hear the wrens and mourning doves in the tree row. .and they are sounds that are dear to my heart!!
Another project that we finished this weekend (in addition to the funnel planters and a couple more that I will share later this week) was the waterfall.  I have not been happy with the top of the fall since we put it in. .but I just didn't know where to go with it.  A few weeks ago, while in Wichita, I picked up 4 small rocks to use at the top. .along with some waterfall foam. 
You also might recall that, I loaded 4 wheelbarrows full of compost around the top of the falls, making it nearly level with the top of the water resevoir and then re-placed some of the rock to look a little more natural. But the spillway still annoyed me. That's what we were able to fix Saturday.
So, we added the two longer rocks. .one to act as the new spillway, and one to camoflauge the open side of the reservoir.  The smaller rocks got added to the sides as well. .and waterfall foam was placed around them to direct the water where we wanted it to go. .which was up, over, and between the new rocks. I am VERY happy with the final results!! The plants are taking off now. .and the fish and tadpoles are thriving as well.  I have enjoyed having the windows open and hearing the falls. 
It looks to be another busy week around here. .school will be ending Wednesday, baseball is starting, the bathroom will be complete this week, and our work and social schedules are full!!
It feels good to have done a little lounging to get a refreshed perspective on life!! Wishing everyone a blessed week. .thanks for stopping by!


  1. I need you here when my little yellow bird comes to visit so you can tell me what it is! It's about the size of a sparrow (
    maybe a little smaller). We think it could be a yellow warbler after using the audubon online ID app. He likes to hide in the leaves of our locust tree so I can never get a photo and then he's gone.
    You have a great variety of birds and the waterfall looks good!

  2. Our Oriole has been sticking around. Jacob's the only one that's managed to get a picture. He's been drinking quite a bit from the fountain.
    We also has a beautiful red headed woodpecker here yesterday morning.
    I love barn swallows. I think it's because one year when I was little there was one that made a nest right outside our front door. It was messy...ick...but we got to watch the babies hatch and then grow up.

  3. Hey, that's pretty good to get pictures of a hummer! They're so quick. And tiny. LOL

    Just today I saw a bigger bird perch sideways on our bird feeder pole, it was all yellow underneath and brown on top. But after seeing your pictures, I don't think it was the kingbird, but not sure. The orioles are pretty, too!

    Your waterfall's looking really good. I'll bet that's relaxing to hear it. :)