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The 2008 Journal

April

           

January

March

May

July

September

November

           

February

April

June

August

October

December

           

Mainly it is about the wildlife whose existence around our home follows a somewhat predictable pattern from year to year but still manages to be full of surprises with no outcome  guaranteed. Since the first sighting of Flying squirrels in 1993, we have been fascinated by the variety of the wildlife to be observed and studied right here on our half acre. I have chronicled some of that activity for the last few years in a number of different formats. This year the schema will be simply a page or multiple pages per month. Follow the adventure by selecting each month from the menu.

 

April 2008

April showers and how. The snows and cold that lingered through March have given way to the rain  torrents and floods of  early April.

Looks like the nesters are around but not quite time yet and in this rain , not conducive to courtship --but soon

Here a couple of players biding their time in the rain.

 Here in Louisville April really begins the budding season as we go from winter bare in the beginning to complete foliage by Month end. The nesters will be well under way by Month end and this year I am especially looking for another Cardinal nest story to follow-  But none spotted so far as of  this rainy April 4.

April 11 - Tomorrow is the annual  Kentucky Derby Festival largest fireworks display in America plus air show, extravaganza -- and as of yet no nest have been started in the holly shrubbery.  I have spotted a Robin pair checking out the Holly  that has been home to a nest every year . This is the same one that the squirrel was destroying back in January so maybe it just doesn't look right to them  I of course will stay on the lookout for any activity.

I have been putting out Sunflower hearts on the feeder at the Oak tree in hopes of spotting once again the Flying Squirrels, that have been with us for most of the last 15 years. Have not spotted any yet, and of course the usual culprit visitors attack the food source very promptly after darkness.

Notice the evidence of the sunflower heart thievery still on the nose and whiskers. There is just no denying !

April 14, 2008 -Usually by this time in April, I have detected some nesting activity but other than a  Robin pair spending a bit of time over several days in one of the Holly's and today a Cardinal looking over the same foliage but evidently all snubbing their beaks as a potential home site, then nothing.

The Feeders are very active as April is a prime month for the  Warblers and Finches at the thistle and of course the Downey and Chickadee regulars throughout the year. A few examples below. 

April 17, 2008 - At last we have strung together two days in a row of beautiful Spring  weather. The Redbuds are in full bloom and the azaleas are set to burst forth. While still have not spotted a nest under construction at least have achieved a first for the year. Spotted on this evening the first Flying Squirrel at the feeder.  Actually last year I did not see any and so this one is a very welcome sight. 

 

April 21 - Yet,  no nesting spotted.  Still the co-residents are in abundance . Here a Nuthatch works the seed while the Chipmunk gathers the spoils from below

 

 

 

April 23 - I am not sure how I could have missed it especially since I was looking for it but non the less today while walking past the Magnolia was pleasantly surprised by a quick exit of a male Robin.  Closer inspection revealed the female on the nest with four beautiful blue eggs already in the incubation process.  Once again I am not sure how long the incubation process has been under way, but I will guess not very long and so I will predict hatching  on before 10 days hence. If that be true then the event will happen on what we refer to here as Derby Day. That is the first Saturday in May and the day of the annual running of the Kentucky Derby.  As always when first making the nest discovery, the setting of the X10 camera is always tedious and requires many slight adjustments. In this first video it can be seen that the camera was much too close and indeed in pecking distance. So I had to adjust the camera to the longer range view. I believe that this Robin must be accustomed to and tolerates my efforts. I did not even know it at the time but when I was making the adjustments she was actually watching me through several iterations rather patiently and when I was finally satisfied and left the area, she promptly made the check and appeared to count them before once again settling in over the nest.  Note the movement and noise that is strictly that of the camera movement and the nest itself was not moved at all. Click on either of the pictures below for the video.

 

The Robin nest in the Magnolia is not the only regeneration story under way this Spring. My friend  Phil is reporting in real time the progress of a Canada Goose pair which have commandeered his floating dock on the pond . The dock is untethered now and floating free - the result of a March ice storm  which felled a very old and large tree which partially fell on the gang way.  The geese are now making the floating Island their home with at least four eggs being tended.

 

 

 

April 24 ---Well as I said nature is full of surprises and today was surely  a day for them. I must have missed this nest in the Magnolia for nearly two weeks. I was very surprised to see on the DVD recording , this afternoon,  that two of the four Robin eggs had hatched. I watched as a couple of initial feedings took place as the little guys hatch out quite hungry it seems. So this was a glorious day at least for the early part. But then all of that changed  quite abruptly and in a stunning manner. I won't disclose in detail just yet the nature of that event. It will be a surprise for you as it was for me. Just click on either picture below for the Hatch day Video

The  Nest Magnolia

April 25 ---Four minus three equals one. Basic math but not for long. The mother Robin appeared confused after the tragedy. She returned to the nest and seemed to search for the missing but sometimes appeared to sit on the remaining unhatched egg. Darkness came and rendered the camera useless. This morning revealed the untended blue egg which I surmised was either a dud or about to hatch since two of the other eggs had hatched . We will never know the answer to that one as you may have guessed what would happen next. Actually the mother Robin did make a visit or two to check on the egg but just about 9:30 while working at my office computer, I saw the large black bird swoop up to the roof above me and the Magnolia. Within in a few seconds the scoundrel appeared on the monitor and made it a clean sweep. So now the 2008 Robin Nest adventure has abruptly ended.  I have grown pretty much accustomed to the reality of nature at its best and its worst. Continues to be quite an education though. Better luck next time.

Final Robin nest video Click on above pictures

 

The 2008 Robin Nest Video Production

 

April 26- Irrespective of the Robin Nest tragedy life goes on  and an update from the Goose nest reveals a couple of visitors to the mother to be on the nest on incubation Island. Phil thinks there is slight and new behavior detected in Mother Goose. Perhaps the much awaited event is near.

  

Continuing.

Got to May

           

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