No Self-Respecting Cat I Know Would Ever Have Allowed This …

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Seriously?  He’s just gonna lay there and take that?  To be sure not!

H/T to Bayou Renaissance Man for the video.

Snow Day!

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I realize that for my northern readers, a snow day is a pretty ‘ho-hum’ occurrence.  But here in the South land, we haven’t had a measurable snowfall in several years, so we’re pretty pumped.  Schools are closed.  Work is closed.  Every-damn-thing is closed.  The interstates and major state roads will be plowed, eventually, when it stops snowing.  The secondary roads and subdivision side streets will not be plowed.  Ever.  That’s the way it works down here.

I took pictures.  I haven’t actually gone outside yet (still in my jammies – it’s a snow day, after all) – I just opened the back door and started clicking. Click the bottom row to see birds eating breakfast.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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This fine gent was availing himself of the goodies at the feeder this morning. One would expect him to be called a Red-headed woodpecker, but such is not the case. If you look closely, you can see the red spot on his belly.
red-bellied-woodpecker.jpg

Not a bad shot, considering it was taken through the kitchen window with a zoom lens.

American Goldfinch

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I put up a “thistle bag” in the back yard, and was rewarded with a visit from two American Goldfinches. The first shot is with no zoom, to give a perspective of how far away I was when taking the pictures. The rest of them were shot using 16x zoom.

Poolside

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I spent Sunday afternoon hanging out at my sister’s pool. I love the gardens she’s spent years designing and reworking. She’s created such a peaceful oasis around her deck that even the addition of a bunch of teenagers doesn’t spoil the tranquil feeling. All of these shots were taken from my deck chair, with varying degrees of zoom.
Well-house garden
The garden behind the wellhouse.

Wellhouse Close Up

Same garden, tighter shot. The Japanese red maple is a new addition, to replace a tree that was (if I remember correctly) damaged in a hurricane. Up until last year, this was a “shade garden” filled with hostas, columbine, and ferns. Now it’s been filled with sun lovers like black-eyed susans, million bells, and gerbera daisies, and all the shade plants have been moved around to the front yard under a pecan tree.

Lilies and African Daisies
Million bells, Stella D’Oro lilies, oxalis and African Daisies in an adjacent garden.

Bluebird

Bluebird on a branch. This guy did not want to have his picture taken. Out of seven tries, this was the best I could do.

Poolside with Zeke

Little Sister and her Big Dog. Check out the view behind them – how could you not be relaxed in that setting?

Pop

This is our step-dad, affectionately known as Pop. He built the deck, and maintains the lawn, and is always there when help is needed with the mechanical aspects of the pool filter and pump, but he rarely takes advantage of the relaxation potential that he’s created for the rest of us. He’s not happy if he’s not doing something.

Kelsey and Kimmy

Kelsey and Kimberly in the pool. Kimberly (the one with her hands in front of her face) is my camera-shy niece; Kelsey is a long-time friend.

Sometimes, the birds need to go away.

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Commenting on a recent post about birdwatching, a loyal reader mentioned that he has a serious problem with barn swallows in his neck of the woods, and has been pushed to the point of shooting them to keep them away from his front porch, where they, um, make a mess. Other loyal readers (who are also birders) pointed out that nearly all US songbirds are protected species, and it’s not legal to “just shoot them”. Things got a little heated (for this blog, anyway), so I decided to do some research to find out what other methods are available to control unwanted bird visitors.

Apparently, this is a pretty common problem, and many people have come up with many different solutions, some more believable and/or costly than others. For example:

  • spikes on favorite perching places, so they have nowhere to land
  • decoys of known predators (like snakes, owls, and falcons) to scare them away
  • barriers such as screening
  • natural and chemical repellents
  • scarecrows and other devices (a shiny pie plate hung on a string often works)

Check out nixalite.com for more information on these and other ideas.

Birdwatching Fool!

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The list below was created at enature.com; it represents the species (birds and otherwise) that I’ve seen in my own back yard. The deer and fox are old sightings; everything else has been seen in the past 3 days!

Image: Name: Notes: Sighting Date:
Brown Thrasher
Toxostoma rufum
Seen only once, ground feeding in the late afternoon. 5/25/2007

Carolina Chickadee
Poecile carolinensis
Daily visitor. May be black-capped chickadee. 5/28/2007

Carolina Wren
Thryothorus ludovicianus
  5/27/2007

Common Gray Fox
Urocyon cinereoargenteus
  5/28/2007

Eastern Gray Squirrel
Sciurus carolinensis
  5/28/2007

Indigo Bunting
Passerina cyanea
  5/27/2007

Northern Cardinal
Cardinalis cardinalis
Daily visitors, male and female 5/28/2007

Orchard Oriole
Icterus spurius
Questionable sighting, once only, ground feeding in the mid-morning. 5/28/2007

Purple Finch
Carpodacus purpureus
  5/25/2007

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Archilochus colubris
Daily visitors, maile and female 5/28/2007

Tufted Titmouse
Baeolophus bicolor (Parus bicolor)
Daily visitors, always in pairs. 5/28/2007

Virginia Opossum
Didelphis virginiana
  5/28/2007

White-tailed Deer
Odocoileus virginianus
  5/28/2007