Monday, March 30, 2009

Various Spring Updates

Dino has been spending quite a few "vacation" days off work to attend to the spring upkeep tasks. He's put in a new gate to and expanded the front garden fence; we're still discussing what we want to put in that enclosure to replace what the grasshoppers killed off over the last couple of years. This week, he'll be spending his time fighting thistles.

On the birdwatching front - excitement plus! (When is it ever not?) We have managed to attract at least one Hooded Oriole to the new oriole feeder Dino installed a couple of weeks ago. We saw Bullock's Orioles last year in an area bordering one of the meadows and hoped that we might be able to entice them a little closer. With any luck, we'll be able to get a photo to share, Bullock's, Hooded, whoever.

Filling all the bird feeders is one of the first things we do when we get to the ranch on a Friday night. Pretty much everything has been eaten up by then and it takes a while to refill. We have 5 (I think, maybe it's 6. Or even 7 now) seed feeders and 4 hummingbird feeders in addition to the 2 new oriole feeders. Also a suet feeder. If other bird nerds, er, lovers are as willing to support the economy, the bird feeding industry has nothing to worry about.

Sunday we took off on a big hike up the hill to enjoy the huge profusion of wildflowers on offer this time of year. This picture is about halfway up the ridge we climbed - this part of the walk was uphill or sidehill - made for some interesting stops when we saw something to investigate, I.E. where do we put both feet so we don't fall off the hill? And my camera and photographic skills just weren't up to the task of really giving this shot proper exposure in the middle of the day, but since I'm not likely to be found walking up that hill pre-dawn or walking down post-sunset this will have to do. The little orange patches in this picture are California poppy and it was so heartening to see them in their natural state up on a hillside. I wished they "popped" more in this shot.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

American Robin

My favorite hat has gone missing. I can't imagine what I've done with it - as a general rule I just put it on the appropriate peg in the mudroom and that's that. But Saturday, it wasn't there. I looked everywhere in the house and around the house but no luck. It's a real mystery. I hope to find it - a) because I like that hat b) I want to understand what the heck was on my mind when I put it wherever I did. Yes, I looked in the refrigerator too.

A real bird picture. This guy was hopping and hunting by the river. And look at all the wildflowers around, it's really getting to look like spring.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Sure Hope This Fellow is Still Around This Weekend

Last weekend I had family obligations and couldn't get to Dryad Ranch and look what Dino saw on his solitary walk! I really hope that some of his luck will rub off this weekend. He also saw - evidently almost stepped on- a Great Horned Owl and was lucky enough to observe a water ouzel.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Catching Up

I'm trying to get caught up from the last couple of weeks, Tasks have intruded on my life with blog. I didn't get to Dryad Ranch this past weekend, but Dino did and evidently there may be more photos, which I believe I'll get to see tonight.

Sunday before last, we'd planned on a long walk up our neighbor's hill and across the ridge, where we walked this time last year and saw the golden eagle, but was raining and windy that morning. Shrug, Mother Nature does what she's going to do, and no complaints about rain.

I continue to be fascinated by fungi - is there an -"itis" associated with this? A while back I didn't bother taking pictures of some mushrooms I saw because I didn't want to muck around on the wet ground with the horse poop they were growing in. Those particular ones had what looked like little spines growing down from the cap. These don't have spines, but are interesting nevertheless.

Noticing a lot more wildflowers now - these are baby blue eyes. There is quite a group of them down in the sandy area right next to our part of the river. I didn't even see the little insect on the left while I was photographing this flower until I was editing when I got back - it wasn't there in the early shots. Now it's a famous insect, known world wide on the internet.

All of the pine siskins have decamped to wherever they go, so we'll be noticing a decrease in the need to fill the niger seed feeders, which they shared with the goldfinches. More hummingbirds have been arriving - we had three or four resident Anna's over the winter, ten days Dino counted seven with the probability of more. So where the seed requirements go down, the sugar water requirements go up. Yesterday, I bought two bags of sugar and wanted to tell the grocery store clerk that it wasn't for me but I figured that really she didn't care anyway.
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