The 2008 Journal
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.
June- the month that summer begins and this year as if on cue, the weather took an appropriate change to herald the event even though still several days from the summer Solstice. To me then , and probably still to most school age kids, summer really began with the last day of school. Summer weather is here and while there are still many nesting activities going on, the fruits of the early nesting season and the rites of all wildlife renewal are visible everywhere. Young birds are standing around shaking awaiting the last bit of parental attention before being completely on their own. Blue jay and Starling young are particularly boisterous and plentiful. The young squirrels are all having to learn the lesson of the squirrel baffle on the bird feeders . Each year the young try to find a work around and then get resolved to picking the morsels thrown down by the more flighty beings above.
From across the County Jefferson, comes an update from Phil's place. The goslings have grown much in the last few weeks, and the four remaining are approaching adult size. The fate of the fifth chick is unknown.
A couple of young Pileated Woodpeckers are frequent visitors to the suet cake offerings at our bird feeders and the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds sightings are on the increase.
The Pileated Woodpeckers and a rare twofer shot
Suet What Suet, wasn't me
Ruby Throated Hummer back at the feeder
June 5- So far we have escaped the violent weather that has damaged severely, parts of the Plains and mid west , in the last few days. We certainly mourn the losses suffered by those affected and most certainly those of our visitors who have endured terrible hardship. Meanwhile around here we are still without the usual in-progress or completed bird nest adventure. Three Robin nest starts have all ended in tragedy , one way or another. Two by Crows and one by a hawk. There must be something going on nearby though, because a couple pair of robins are visible on the front and back yards daily busily looking for worms . Have not seen any obvious fledglings though as of this time. Thank goodness, the buffalo gnats or black flies seem to be on the decline. These guys are vicious and their sting much worse than mosquito bites. They almost make it impossible to do any activity outside in April and May without some protection. I have a net hooded covering that does stop them but not very comfortable to use.
Hummers are on the increase and just a matter of time till they begin to seek sole dominance over the feeder array. The Flying Squirrel numbers are on the increase also and some are just downright friendly and continue to feed even when I am only a few feet away. (with camera in hand of course)
June 9- So now in the 90's - The cool May has turned into a rather blistering June and our temps are now way above the norm for early June. The wildlife doesn't seem to mind very much though as life goes on . Here, a day or two ago, a lone wild turkey once again visited our bird feeder area, and tarried a bit with the easy pickings and giving credence to the term "scratching out a living" while across the county at Phil's place the gaggle has now become a Creche as another gaggle has joined up with them. In this case two or more Gaggles can make a Creche. Remember that the next time you are on Jeopardy. The caveat, of course, is only if they all participate, kind of like a commune I reckon.
Phil writes "this is a goose creche (fr. agreve over
first "e" please)
I took this creche picture for you despite the clear disruption I am
causing in their lives. (They are not swimming toward me.) :)
The adults are getting a little less maniacal in their defense and
attention. I actually believe that if one of the 'lings got into trouble
through its own boneheadedness, the parents might just let it be, rather
than offer themselves up."
Well here's hoping that no such bone headedness behavior occurs before time for the exit flight. Thanks Phil
June 10- Each evening it is my intent to put a handful or two of sunflower hearts in the flying squirrel feeder. The problem is that I really need to do it just at late dusk. This is due to the fierce competition for the delicacies. The Gray Squirrel, and the Cardinals will devour them if I put the hearts too early, and if the flyers don't get their fill right after darkness falls, then the raccoons will empty the feeder. At least the Hummers are not the least bit interested
June 18 - Feeders have been busy still and suet cakes are hard to keep stocked. Seems to be the food of choice for a wide variety of these visiting creatures. Today a parent Pileated transferred a little of the stuff via beak to beak feeding.
June 22 - Well if yesterday was the longest day in 2008 , then today must be the second longest. At any rate Summer has officially arrived and it won't become really dark till around 10:PM tonight, here in the Ohio Valley. For the most part around here the nesting season has become the young being on their own season. The final evidence of the phenom is every where. The quivering masses of young birds, now fully as large as the parent birds are to be seen near the feeders, but still demanding to be fed. Blue Jays, Grackles, Cardinals, Woodpeckers, et al with one exception. This year no fledgling robins have been seen , just adult robins, and no evidence of any successful robin nest on the premises. The birds are plentiful and are devouring at least a suet cake each day. A few examples below, while across the county at Phil's pond the young Canada Geese seem to be waving a final good bye in a most unbecoming way. Phil thinks the mooning is a rite of passage for the two sets of goslings.
go to July
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