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claireplymouth

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #3

This thread is intended to give people a place to post photos and/or talk about birds, critters, wildlife, fish, whatever - topics you might not want to start a whole thread on, but are still garden-related. You can see the range of possible topics in the previous threads:

All of the threads in the "Birds and other mobile features in the garden" series prior to 2013 are now stored in the New England Garden Forum Gallery. See the top of the main page to switch between Discussions and Gallery. For 2012, see the links posted in Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7. These threads have been moved to the Gallery but there may be problems with some of the links. I've corrected those I can edit and I made an Index for threads from 2008 to 2011.

2014 threads to date:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #2

And for 2013 (I'll move these to the Gallery at some point, but not just yet):
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #1
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #2
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #4
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #6
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #7
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #8
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10
...............................................................................................................................................
It's warmer and sunny today and the turkeys seem to be much more relaxed. I didn't catch the march in - they waited until I had left the premises and then appeared.

I like to see shiny turkeys. Colors seem to be a bit brighter, maybe due to a hint of the breeding season coming up.

It's been a long hard winter - can't blame a turkey for lying down to rest on bare ground.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 15:24

Comments (69)

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The eagle's wing tips is my only guess at first glance.
    hmm... Snow fairy's hay fork maybe? or, a five toed flying, skiing dragon from Plymouth?

    Wing tips, final answer. Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Google also says raptor wing tips:

    Hubbard Fellowship Blog - Mystery Tracks in the Snow

    The bird must have been in serious deceleration mode to stop in midair just above the snow - just the wing tips touching.

    edit note: I asked Google again and the tracks may be the raptor taking off, not landing. That's more reasonable since there isn't any depression from a landing flurry.

    Claire

    This post was edited by claire on Sat, Mar 8, 14 at 10:12

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  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Fluffy, the Cooper's hawk, has made similar, albeit much smaller, marks in the snow under my window in pursuit of a sparrow. Just a quick touch of the snow with wing tips and tail will leave a nice mark if the snow is (also) fluffy. He can catch something that is just barely off the ground and his wings and tail leave a mark of multiple streaks.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    So it could be a raptor just skimming the ground and never landing. Amazing flight acrobatics!

    In keeping with traces left by birds, I looked at the tree across the street that's riddled with woodpecker holes (I assume it's woodpeckers).

    While I was standing on the side of the road watching I saw and heard several red-bellied woodpeckers flying around and chasing each other but couldn't get a good picture at that distance. Here's one of them on the tree.

    I'm guessing that birds nest in there and also roost during the winter but I can't see it well from the house and standing on the edge of a narrow road staring up can be a little dangerous if a car goes by.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Nice to see the woodpecker, Claire. We don't commonly have red bellied w.p.s here, though I do see them rarely.

    You all are good at guessing from a couple of iffy photos! The foot prints up the center of the mystery prints were what finally clued me in - turkeys. I am not sure if it was a couple of turkeys that had a tough time getting into the air or several that took off leaving only one print each.. I imagine the farmer arriving with another load of manure for the field startled them.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Turkeys! Taking off is always a big deal for turkeys. I sometimes see them across the street in the afternoon getting ready to fly off and roost in the oaks. There's a steep dropoff there and the turkeys can fly almost straight out and still land in the branches. They stare out for a while and then one at a time launch themselves into the air.

    This is the area (picture from 2011) - this was taken in the morning so they didn't launch; instead they walked off to the left.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Last evening, 5:30, the possum was outside on the trail and he was given a dish of premium cat food that Ivy won't eat. This morning when I checked the dish, it had been cleaned by a skilled eater - nothing left and licked cleaned. There's one can left for tonight, so he will have had a good weekend. (you might know - the cat rejects the expensive stuff and the possum loves it) Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Well, Ivy knows that if she rejects the food you'll give her something even better (I've been there, done that).

    The possum is just grateful for anything edible, and that cat food was delectable!

    I'm trying to please a catbird. The one that I first saw on March 2 has been too suspicious to be photographed but finally today it held still for a little while. That's Craisins and dried mealworms on the table. It hasn't been gobbled up but is disappearing. Maybe I should call the catbird Ivy.

    Claire

  • Steve Massachusetts
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    A pair of bluebirds showed up at the feeders in the past few days, so I decided that it was time to put up the new nesting house. It took them one day to find it to their liking.

    Steve

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Excellent! Bluebirds and Catbirds. There's hope.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Nice nest house, Steve - those bluebirds look like proud new homeowners, and they didn't even have to take out a mortgage! Did they nest in your yard last year?

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    So nice to see bluebirds and catbirds, which unlike robins, I never see in full-blown winter.

  • Steve Massachusetts
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Yes, Claire. This nesting pair are returning, I believe. The old nest box served its purpose but eventually fell apart. Hopefully, this one will be as successful.

    Steve

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Look who woke up! Showed up this morning. I'll take Chippy's arrival as a sign of spring. Jane

  • spedigrees z4VT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Lovely photos of your bluebird pair, Steve.

    I'm hoping that we may have bluebirds or tree swallows at our birdhouse this year. It's a little early here yet.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Chippy isn't the only rodent that woke up today. A woodchuck (Guthrie? Griselda? one of the youngsters grown up?) appeared to eat birdseed. No phlox up yet.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    OK. We're onto something big here, Claire. That looks like Guthrie Jr. ,a tad younger, more firm, yet bearing that Guthrie grin, and he and the Chipster come out of hibernation on the same day? Not only that but, -be still my foolish heart - Mr. and Mrs. Hawk posed in the maple for about 45 seconds this afternoon. (never put the camera away)


    I think this is the Cooper's Hawk family - yes? EDITED: they are red shouldered hawks according to a pro on the Birding Forum

    And this is Fluffy, the Sharp-Shinned? EDIT Note: Fluffy is a juvenile Cooper's Hawk.


    I'll ask on the bird forum. It's hard to tell the difference if they're in juvenile plumage. But, somebody is old enough to have a girlfriend apparently. (name tags would help)

    Jane (for whom there is dwindling hope in hawk identification)

    This post was edited by corunum on Mon, Mar 10, 14 at 19:43

  • defrost49
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Wow, love all the photos but the bluebirds are amazing. I think we have some that have been around all winter. I saw a couple recently. Yesterday I saw our lone robin again. I don't know where his/her friends are. One morning while I was on the computer I saw a bobcat behind our house. It was just light enough to see it but I went for my husband instead of the camera.

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Not a great picture, but for recording purposes, RW Blackbirds arrived this morning. Yesterday the chipmunk woke up, today Red-winged Blackbirds. Mourning Dove song changed and a little chase this morning...it's changing. TG!

    defrost - I don't recall this thread having had a bobcat shown. Claire would know. Maybe the next you see him...

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Jane: That's a really great picture of the Red-shouldered Hawk pair (I checked on the BirdWatching Forum to see what TMFF said). They look fat and healthy and totally engrossed in each other. Makes me wonder if it might actually be spring (shhh...).

    The temperature is close to 60 degrees today - two steps backwards forecast for Thursday with cold weather returning, then inching warmer again. There's still clods of snow in the yard that really need to be melted.

    defrost: I don't think we've had any photos of bobcats, although maybe a mention or two along the way. I've never seen one myself and I'd love to.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I saw turkey vultures today near the seacoast, which for me is really a sign of spring (though I'm cheating since they weren't over my yard.)

    I too would love to see a bobcat. I have had others mention to me that they have seen them on our road, so I imagine that they are around.

    Nice hawks, Jane! I saw a redtail today, but wasn't able to get a photo.

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    A Northern Flicker wink. Looks like eye shadow - a flattering shade.
    Jane

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    No, he's not a hummer. But on a frosty day, anybody from Carolina who is happy, works for me. As soon as the sun hit him this morning, he began to sing. Know how he feels. Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    A winking flicker and a singing wren - maybe we've turned the corner.

    There's a lot fewer snow clods out there now and the birds are reveling in the birdseed that's melting out of the snow and becoming visible again.

    Claire

  • Thyme2dig NH Zone 5
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Love all these great photos. Once again another wonderful string about all of our garden friends. OK, even the woodchucks! Somehow I've learned to co-exist with them in the garden.

    Saw the first chipmunk yesterday. Lots of hawk action out there lately and the mourning doves have been quite feisty! The birds have really changed their tune over the past week or so. We have one titmouse in particular that sits at the top of our small crabapple near the feeders and sings his heart out in the morning. He's back with his lovely tune after what seemed like such a long winter. We like to think it's the same one. DH named him Happy since in years past he sings happily every morning. Turkeys continue to come around. You guys are so great with the camera. I see great stuff in the garden and just stare and never think to grab the camera!

    We had a bobcat here once and it was great to see. It came into the yard, caught a red squirrel, had lunch, cleaned itself and then took a nap on the rock ledge in our backyard. We did get some video of it, but no pictures. It was a wonderful experience to watch it all unfold. I wish we would see another one.

    There have been bear sightings very close to us, but we have yet to see one. Honestly, I'm not sure i want to see a bear in my garden........

    Thanks to all of you who continue to post great photos. It has been wonderful entertainment during these cold, snowy months.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    thyme2dig: You could post that video of the bobcat on YouTube and then link to it here...

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Not an exotic bird and I've had robins here all winter, but today there were three robins foraging in the yard and chasing each other. They've been scrounging around in the nyjer seed area which is thick with old shells, and they act as if they're finding something interesting to eat in there (worms? insects?). I couldn't get a picture of them eating, but here's one of them on alert as viewed from my computer window.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Olivia O'Possum out for her stroll on the deck this afternoon. She lives in the garage.
    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Olivia certainly seems at home in your yard, Jane, and around your house, too. I'm picturing you sitting out on the deck when it finally warms up, with Olivia and Ivy competing to sit on your lap.

    Are you still feeding her cat food?

    Claire

    This post was edited by claire on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 17:34

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Olivia has moved up, Claire. This afternoon she was offered, and accepted, a full bowl of chicken scraps that would normally have gone to the crows. I speak to her calmly and softly - they shun loud noises ( as I do) - and despite our language ocean, she came back when I beckoned that her dinner was served. She is most agreeable and I sincerely hope (despite my personal disgust) that she will fancy all the garden slugs come proper Springtime.

    Jane

    Here is a link that might be useful: Opossums, Mother Nature Network

  • Thyme2dig NH Zone 5
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Claire, regarding posting a video.....I would have to first find it......taken on old VHS, but the smaller tape version, then convert it, then figure out how to post on YouTube! I think the video playing in my mind is going to have to be enough for me. If I can talk DH into looking through all our old VHS stuff, maybe I can get it up there! The digital era really is great and so much easier.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Shallower snow over the manure pile continues to attract critters to the field.

    Turkey and coyote

    From March 17, 2014

    Turkey and crow or raven

    From March 17, 2014

    Turkeys bookin' it for the woods when I appeared

    From March 17, 2014

    Where the turkeys are crossing the road to get from the small band of trees along the field to the deeper hemlock woods

    From March 17, 2014

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I've really enjoyed the photos of tracks in snow - it adds another layer to the winter interest of the garden and the landscape.

    The snow's mostly gone here although it did snow for a little over an hour today (ocean effect snow).

    This morning there were 19 turkeys in the yard and one tom started displaying.

    Maybe it was too cold or too early but he partially lowered his feathers as if it was just too much work to keep them up.

    Or maybe he just didn't want to be watched by a human female. "You looking at me?"

    But they're used to me watching and he decided to ignore me, or give me his best profile.

    It's chilly, below normal today and the enthusiasm just wasn't there yet.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    He is a stunner! I love the detail of his feathers.

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Turkey pictures are very good, Claire. Their plumage is really a very sophisticated wardrobe. Lots of layers going in various directions. Interesting.

    Olivia O'Possum went for a walk this afternoon and left the premises. She wandered into the back border then a Red-Shouldered hawk appeared and perched himself to view the possum promenade area. As my stomach flipped slightly, it reminded of when I was barely a teenager and wanted to be a forest ranger. My mother said girls can't be forest rangers (fairly true at that time) and today I realized I would have failed that job miserably. One simply cannot worry about the fate of wildlife - named or not. I stopped watching after 40 minutes to eat supper and now the hawk is gone and Olivia isn't home. I'll check for her off and on, but I would have made a very sleepless forest ranger.

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Uh-oh, Jane, I hope Olivia is OK. Isn't she a little large for a Red-shouldered Hawk to catch? I hope so - once you name and start feeding a wild animal you've made a sort of commitment to it, forest ranger or not.

    Claire

  • moliep
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    GREAT thread! I loved all the views of the animals you've come to know and love... animals who tolerate the humans that live on "their" land.

    I kept looking back at all of these photos. And I reread your posts. Made me think.

    Hmmmm, there's a children's book in here. I can imagine colorful tales about....

    "The Frisky Fat Fox Comes in From the Woods"

    "Olivia and Defiance Dine on the Deck"

    "Tom Turkey and Coyote Meet on the Path"

    "Guthrie the Gopher is Looking for Claire"

    "The Bluebirds Return Home in the Spring"

    "The Wren Whistles and the Flicker Winks"

    This really was the sweetest thread! Thank you,
    Molie

    This post was edited by mjc_molie on Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 21:20

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Molie - the sooner you get going on this idea, the better! Today, a digital photo journal of the adventures would be easy to create on any computer.

    Maria Daddino, in Long Island, wrote 'Maria's Duck Tales: Wildlife Stories From My Garden'. I have it in Kindle form and it's nicely done. (on Amazon, naturally) Personally, no one has a better position to take than Claire. Turkeys in Plymouth (Plimoth)? Does it get any better? I see turkeys - or any of our wildlife friends - enjoying the vicissitudes of life on 'our' land while following the Epicurean philosophy - just be happy. The exception? Nobody eats anybody else. They'd all have to be vegans.

    Jane :)

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    We had just pulled into the garage at 1:30p.m. after being gone for several hours and were hauling bags from the car into the house when I spotted her. It was Olivia lying motionless with mouth open and a fixed stare in the recycle bin. She sure looked dead. I grabbed my leather mittens and started pulling plastic containers out of the bin when she moved slightly. Relief. Then we carried the garbage pail/recycle bin outside and in that state of torpidity, they won't move. The bin has to be turned on its side, (been through this before) and I cleared all the stuff away that was around her and walked away to get the camera. It's now 2:10p.m. and Olivia, "the dead", has resurrected herself and disappeared. Little bugger. She's probably back in bed in the corner of the garage. As long as we feed her, I guess I'll have to get use to these miraculous zooming back-to-life moments. Perfect household for a drama queen. We tolerate and appreciate her theatrics.

    Jane

    Speaking of histrionics, I filmed her coming out of her torpor. I've not done this before and it's nuts, but didn't we wait a long time to be this free?

    Here is a link that might be useful: Olivia doing the Twilight Twerk

    This post was edited by corunum on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 17:43

  • moliep
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Oh, Jane! Thank goodness Olivia was just playing possum.

    Or maybe she passed out from all those goodies she found in your trash?

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Then playing possum is real, not a myth! She sure looked dead in that picture.

    Was she trapped in the recycle bin or did you just startle her? I think I remember you finding one of her ancestors a few years ago in the same bin, although I don't remember it playing possum. I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to climb over a bunch of huge empty bottles and jars and cans - not the easiest ladder.

    Glad she's OK, if a bit histrionic.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I just saw the great video of Olivia that you added in the edit of the post with the picture! She certainly looks healthy and sassy there!

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Claire, I think she was startled when the garage door opened. The action of playing possum is involuntary, like fainting. The last time I found her relative in the bin, there was no fainting possum response, just a scared little marsupial.
    J.

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    One hour till SPRING!! Mrs. C was posing in the birch,

    And then she saw me through the window. May be this is where "eyes in the back of her head" came from...

    Jane

    This post was edited by corunum on Thu, Mar 20, 14 at 12:12

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Pretty bird. We think of the picture window as giving US a nice view, but for the birds it's like a view into the indoor zoo. It's amazing how often a photo shows a bird looking at us.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I looked out this morning and saw a juvenile Cooper's Hawk plunked down in the middle of the ground feeding area, waiting for an unwary bird to appear. Instead a squirrel came over, looking for something to eat. the hawk lunged at the squirrel but apparently to chase it away, not to catch it (I missed the shot). The hawk soon left as the turkeys got closer.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Ah, Claire - looks like one of Fluffy's cousins has found your refuge. I don't know if a Cooper's would willingly bag a squirrel because of the weight involved in airlifting it to a safe place. A few years ago a Red Tail brought a squirrel to my yard from a yard away. I could see its struggle with airlifting the squirrel, but yard-by-yard, so to speak, after resting, he did take the squirrel away.

    Jane (squirrels are really gutsy, though)

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Beautiful red-tail there, Jane (and look at all that green stuff in your yard! I remember when I had green stuff in my yard too - a very long time ago).

    The Cooper's Hawk has been hanging around - I've seen it twice today stalking the birdfeeders.

    Claire

  • moliep
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Jane.... I loved the last few photos of the Cooper's Hawk ... as much as for all the green grass (grass! I remember it too!) as for his beautiful wing tips.

    Claire, your photo is a great example of Nature's camouflage. The young CH almost seems to recede into the ground. Do you think he senses the storm coming? Maybe he's looking for a good meal to tide him over the next few rough days?

    Molie

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Molie: Hawks are here every day, I just don't usually see them - I only see the suddenly empty yard. I think they're always looking for a good meal - it's hard work catching healthy birds.

    Maybe they sense the storm coming but today is calm and sunny, if below normal cold, and the birds seem relaxed.

    I'm starting a new thread because this one is getting long.

    Claire