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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hmmmmmm...hmmmmmm...hmmmmmm

The hummers are back! The hummers are back!!! A beautiful pair of ruby throated hummingbirds are back for the summer. We immediately put some juice out for them this morning and they have spent nearly all day visiting the feeder. Finally putting something out that the red squirrel isn't interested in! They are beautiful and fussy and fast! Too much fun!!! Before I sent the monster rental lens back today, I took a few photos of the hummers...here are a couple just to prove they are back!
Here's the beautiful, colorful ruby throated male...

And the muted, but still beautiful, female...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Eggs...eggs...eggs...and peek-a-boo!!!

It is soooooooo spring around here!!! We attended our Lake Association's annual meeting on Saturday at Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary. After the meeting, we went for a walk with their naturalist, Nikki, and our neighbor and friend Marsha to take a look at all of the bird boxes and the goodies inside them. There were Tree Swallow, Eastern Blue Bird, and Black Capped Chickadee eggs in the boxes. How cool they all were. The moms were all there watching us check out the nests. I hadn't ever seen a Tree Swallow...the males were an incredibly beautiful blue bird. Here is what we saw...

Tree Swallow - Their eggs are white and their nests are made out of grasses and feathers - the feathers were a complete give away the minute the box was opened! This is dad trying to distract us away from the box.


Eastern Bluebird - Their eggs are blue and their nests are made out of fine grass and pines needles. Black Capped Chickadee - Their eggs are very tiny and white with brown speckles and their nest was the softest looking of all of them. It appeared to have "fur" of some type in it. It looked to be almost burrowed into the softness where the others appeared to be on top of their nests. Not sure if the picture shows it well enough but it was pretty cool...did I mention the eggs were tiny?!!!
We put the fishing boat in the water on Friday and made the maiden fishing voyage on Mud Lake the same night. It is really good to be back on the water. Yesterday and today the boys got up early to head out on their continued quest to catch "Walter." This morning I received a call as they were coming back in to tell me to get my camera ready and meet them on the dock. Brad ushered me down the lake near the channel to show me the newly hatched goose eggs. The chicks were so darn cute...look hard at the first photo...you should be able to spot mom still on the nest, little chick playing peek-a-boo underneath mom's wings, another chick off the nest in front of her (the little yellow furball!), dad keeping watch in the background, the beaver chewed tree right behind mom and another one that lost the fight to the beaver off to the right, the ferns as they are beginning to uncurl to the left of the tree...and last but not least...the blue blue blue water from the beautiful morning we were having!!!


Keeping on the nesting theme, we then took Robby up to The Robin's Nest for breakfast for the first time. Lots of great food!!! Glad they aren't "just around the corner!!!" We followed that up with a stop at Jenks where Robby was presented with a new fishing rod and reel. He loves loves loves fishing!!!


Once home, we saw Lucy and Desi off the nest having a snack so I took advantage and ran down to the lake to see if I could see their eggs. For the first time, I actually saw them!!! There are four from what I can tell. They are HUGE!!! I'm very anxious for Lucy to have her babies...but I'm going to miss seeing her every time we head down to the dock!!! I have to send my big lens back to Ziplens tomorrow...I'm going to miss it...and Lucy will probably have her eggs hatch before I get my new one...either that or they are going to wait until we head out to Maryland next week...I sure hope not!!! I really don't want to miss any of the eggsitement!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sweet, sweet, orange...

I mentioned the bright orange bird the other day that flew by my window...there was no question it was an Oriole. I saw one again Saturday morning so I decided to put out an orange so they had something to eat. I really want them to stick around! Maybe, just maybe, if we keep them fed, we can keep them around here all summer. They are sooooooo beautiful. The orange on the female is about the color of the inside of the orange while the male of the pair is closer to the color of the outside of the orange. They are both stunning...but of course, the pull of the strong bold male orange is music to my camera lens! Unfortunately he is the most skittish...maybe by the end of summer, they will be more used to me and I won't have to shoot through the glass. I've been trying to get shots of them on the tree rather than on the orange, but they are harder to get...they litterally eat, jump up on a branch to wipe off their beaks, and fly off. Here are a few I've gotten thus far. Hopefully I'll continue to get photos this summer. We'll keep putting oranges out...will have to come up with a way to hang them because Mr. Red Squirrel is enjoying them waaaaaaay too much!!

Here is the female...isn't she pretty?!!!


Now here is the male...singing his little heart out...

Introducing Lucy...

Lucy is our new "pet" Canadian goose...ok, she's really not a pet. She is sitting on her eggs right in front of our house!!! How exciting!!! There is a tree down in the water a few feet from shore and she built her nest on the base of the tree. She is sooooooo very cool. She and her partner have been eating the weeds on the other side of the dock (a bonus for us! hope they eat lots!!). The other day she went back to her nest and it appeared that she might have been rotating the eggs...then she sat down and assumed her position. She lays down very flat...especially when anyone is nearby. She is very still. Check out the pictures I took...the only thing that moved was her neck and head...she followed my every move but I never actually saw her move even her head. We have had lots of boats since the beginning of the fishing season. I'm sure that has to annoy her...but my guess is very few of them have even seen her. She's very good at blending into her environment and protecting her new "babies." I look forward to seeing Lucy's babies...I've read the incubation time is 25-28 days. More photos and updates to follow!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Soccer time

Started my Saturday off right by riding down to Barron with Robby to watch he and Josh coach and Maren play soccer. Bente and Annikka were there and Josh's folks showed up too. It was fun to see Robby interacting with the kids. I took the monster lens with me for more practice and to help me determine for sure that I want one like this for my own! Maren was such a good sport to let another little girl use her shin guards, so her time in the game was limited. Annikka is a soccer girl in the making too...she had a great time kicking the ball to me and she even let me take photos the whole time! It was a ton of fun! Here are a few shots from the morning...


Friday, May 16, 2008

Wouldn't that just stink...

I haven't posted in quite a while. I really don't have a proper excuse...I've been busy with work and have been enjoying watching our surroundings starting to come alive. As always, the bird nerd in me is still alive...I saw my first Oriole of the season. Brad and I differ on our opinons on what is best about an Oriole...he loves their song (music man that he is) and I love their color...go figure! I didn't get a good look and I haven't heard one singing...I simply saw the bright orange fly quickly by my window yesterday! Hopefully there will be more to come!
Ok...now for the "stinky" part...I finally saw my very first skunk...live, not dead on the road, and not in a zoo. It was really cool!!! And I had my camera with the "big" lens with me! After it left the road and headed back into the woods, we moved on down the road...ok...so I made Brad turn around and go back to see if it came back out to the road (every time I have Brad "turn around" it costs me $1...normally well worth the cost!!! ha ha!!!). Of course it paid off...he was back out at the road...I didn't get any good shots so we passed him again as he scurried off into the woods, and turned around again...this time was better...he was running along the roadside but behind brush...here's the best of what I got...

Take note, I chased him while staying inside the vehicle, not on foot like I did the porcupine!! Wouldn't it just stink if he felt threatened enough to use his defenses???!!!! Ewwwww!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Play ball....

I'm such a proud Aunt!!! How fun it was to go back to Maryland to watch Brian play a couple games of baseball his senior year! It really makes me sad that I've missed so much of this. If we had lived near each other, I would have gone to every possible game I could have!!! It is way too much fun!!! It is the best of both worlds...I get to be the proud Aunt rooting him and his team on and I get to record it on the camera. Brian had two great games while I was there...he laid down a great sacrafice bunt in the first game that even made the video highlights on the news internet! Then on Senior day, he had a walk, a single, and a double! He is such a great catcher...I love watching him behind the plate.
Here are a few of the hundreds of photos I took while I was out there...

The dynamic duo...Brian and Kevin
This was Brian's successful sacrifice bunt!!! Nice job!!!
I used an oil paint action on this one...hard to tell on here...


It was senior day...Brian escorted his very, very proud mom (my seeeeester) onto the field
The three amigos...Brian, Kevin, and Tim...these three have played ball together since they were 8 I think...that's more than half of their lives.


Brian and his "squeeze" Brittany...she is also a senior and was playing in her Senior Day Softball game at the same time as the boy's Senior Day game...
It was also good to see my Seeeeester, Aldo, Aunt Pat and Matthew. I forget how laid back my life is until I go visit them!!! 1) I was in the BIG city!!! 2) They are all very BUSY!!! It is fun to visit, but boy I couldn't handle living that life any more! I had trouble sleeping the first night because of all of the noise!!! Cars on the road right outside the window. Boy have I gotten used to only hearing nature sounds at night!!! I really feel like a country bumpkin when I'm in the city!!! Oh...did I mention it was already SPRING there?!!! Back home, Brad said there was snow in the forecast...ok...it is MAY...enough with the "S" word!!! Out here it is nearly 80 and sunny! The azaleas were in bloom as were so many of the trees! The trees had full leaves...heck, ours are still tiny buds at best! What a difference a 3 hour plane ride can make. It transformed me from brown to lush!!! Here are a few other "non baseball" photos from my time there...


Aunt Pat and Matthew



Azaleas...beautiful...

The dogwoods were in bloom too...those were Aunt Pat's favorites...

My sister's boyfriend (he'll shoot me for saying that if he sees this!!! too bad...I call it as I see it!!!), Aldo. We were pretending we were taking his Senior photo while he was waiting on Lyn to finish getting ready for their "formal" night out...

There she is...worth the wait...