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claireplymouth

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #7

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.

And for 2013:
INDEX: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013

2014 threads to date:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #2
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #3
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #4
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #5
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6

......................................................................................................................................

The combined turkey broods (four hens plus about 20 poults) passed by my deck this morning and many of them stopped for water. Turkeys are known to be voracious tick eaters so I'm hoping they're clearing the yard of nasty insects.

Maybe I should get a bigger saucer, or at least level it so it's fuller.

A couple of poults climbed onto the old chairs which are too rotten for people to safely sit on but fine for turkeys.

Listening to them is fun - gurgling and chortling and purring.

Claire

Comments (73)

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    Sped, could they be song sparrow eggs? From your pictures, that's as close as I can come on the eggs.(see link below) Your sighting of "brown speckled bird flitting" is the mystery. If only it had been a green or aqua speckled bird, then we could have nailed it! (hehehe)

    Molie? THIS is what you get on a trip to the post office? Wonder what you get when you go to the bank? Holy cow. Marvelous! Now I have to go to Milford Point. It is on my list, but you just pushed me into Thursday. So glad UI did the right thing.

    Jane

    Here is a link that might be useful: Song Sparrow, Cornell

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    No idea what the nestlings and eggs are, spedigrees, but that first nest is of marvelous construction. I found The Birders Report site on Bird Egg and Nest Identification which has some wonderful pictures of Carolina Wren nests among others. Unfortunately it's not just New England birds.

    Molie: Is that a cardinal checking out the osprey's nest? I like the beach cabanas for the Purple Martins.

    Claire

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  • moliep
    7 years ago

    Claire, from his view my DH thinks it was a sparrow who landed there briefly then flew away. When the osprey comes down our river to feed, we often see sparrows, blackbirds, and finches chasing them out of "their" territory.

    Regarding those cabanas... this morning I saw the same cabanas in a link from Longwood Gardens. Interesting article about Purple Martins... I know we'll be going back to the Audubon Center.

    Molie

    Here is a link that might be useful: Purple Martin Moments: Bird Talk in the Idea Garden

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    I 'enlarged' that picture on my iPad; it is definitely a sparrow. DH is right.

    This is the most attentive bird father I've seen. Close to this level is the cardinal dad, but the rose-breasted grosbeak father seems to be feeding his two daughters alone. No sight of Mom.

    Jane (time to prune branches in front of feeder)

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Molie: Looking at the bird in the photo again, I think what I thought was a crest was actually the side of the bird's head and the top was pale. Male House Sparrow looks reasonable. I love the idea of a house sparrow chasing an osprey.

    That's a great story about the Purple Martins at Longwood Gardens! The nights of July 11 and 12 they're having a special gathering to watch them. Too far for me.

    Doesn't look good for the female grosbeak, Jane, unless she's incubating a second brood.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    7 years ago

    Today as I drove down the drive way I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of more than a half dozen little black and orange butterflies flitting around in a shaft of sunlight that made it though the trees. They were about an inch long and a bit wider, and were moving really hyperactively. In several minutes of watching I only saw one actually land and stay put for 20 seconds or so. They were so lovely, wings catching the light as they moved through the dappled light.

  • homegrowninthe603
    7 years ago

    Male bluebird on the tomato fence post


    Female

    Bluebirds feeding the second brood this season


    The fledglings flew the coop sometime last Sunday evening. Alas, we did not see them. Never do. We hear them up in the trees as the parents teach them to feed themselves.

    Susan

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    Beautiful bluebirds, Susan. I see them in the winter, but haven't seen them in warmer weather. Nicely perched on the railing.

    Not blue, but purple...martins. Following Molie's trip to Milford, I went yesterday and captured a few shots. They are incredible birds. Also found a mockingbird hunting in a large juniper. Link to some more shots below.

    Feeding the baby:

    Jane

    Here is a link that might be useful: Flickr - CT Coastal album - public

  • moliep
    7 years ago

    Susan, those are wonderful shots of the bluebirds. The one of the male on the rusted post would be great in a calendar.... love how his orange color is carried down into the support below him. Others on this forum also have bluebirds, but I've yet to see one around us. How long have you had the nesting boxes?

    Great, Jane, that you made it to the Audubon Site! You always take the best photos .... that baby's open beak and an obliging parent with its tail feathers spread out. I followed the link to your album....loved the ones of the PM carrying a dragonfly home.

    Nhbabs... sounds like you had one of those days when a camera was just too far away and so your mind had to videotape the scene. Your description was lovely .... what a nice "gift" that was on your way down the drive way.

    We went out today and passed the osprey nest... no camera for us either. In a split second a mini-play took place. There was the osprey ... perched at the edge of the nest, just looking. And a sparrow landed right next to him/her on the nest.

    Said the osprey, "Oh! I didn't know that McDonald's delivered!"

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    What a lovely sight that must have been, nhbabs - butterflies dancing in the sun!

    Susan: You're so lucky to have those bluebirds and to be able to photograph them so well. I've never even seen one; it's just too woodsy here.

    Excellent photos of the martins, Jane, as usual. Such an elegant bird.

    Molie: It's a good thing that ospreys don't like to eat birds, or that would have been a real food delivery.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    The turkey poults are learning to relax in the yard.

    One poult lying down near the hen. The hen is eating nyjer seed I spread on the path.

    Another poult appears.

    And decides to lie down too - must be something interesting to look at there.

    And maybe it moved?

    A couple more poults walked by, distracting the two on the ground.

    And then they all left.

    Claire

  • moliep
    7 years ago

    Claire, has the turkey flock increased in size this season? Your home is becoming a sanctuary. Yes, it was funny about the bird and the osprey, especially because the bird landed on the nest for just a split second as if saying 'oops!' Surely any animal that lands under the nose of its prey is not the brightest of its species!

    Molie

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Molie: The turkey flock seems to be split up and the adults are mostly elsewhere, I really don't know where. What I'm seeing is four hens with their broods in one big mob, and separately one little hen and one tom.

    The mob with poults follows its own schedule and lately has been appearing in my yard once or twice a day to eat.

    The little hen and lone tom are often together but don't associate with any other turkeys. They'll hang around the yard just lounging and eating. They know my schedule and I'll see them waiting for me to put food out in the morning.

    I'm not seeing one big turkey flock. What I'm seeing is some adult hens, a whole bunch of babies, and one tom that I suspect is an outcast. Somewhere there must be a a lot of toms but they're not here.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    Claire, I'm just glad you have the turkeys back. Those poults focused on something are special shots. They look so intent.

    The sparrow on the osprey nest and sparrows housed in purple martin plastic gourd houses does say a lot about the Lowes and HD dwellers. Their chatter is now gone thanks to the safflower switch and more species come bringing their own styles of communication.

    Mr. House Finch brings the kids to the pool and this gathering looks like dad was checking junior's landing in the second picture.

    Jane
    (thanks for the compliment Molie and Claire. Luck and timing play their part because most photos end up in the trash can)

  • spedigrees z4VT
    7 years ago

    Homegrown, your bluebird photos are wonderful, as is your family of house finches, Jane.

    My family of tree swallows have apparently fledged unseen. I miss hearing the din of chirping when I make the rounds by the birdhouse with my watering can.

    We have a group (a murder I guess!) of 5 crows that walk about our pasture hunting bugs early in the mornings and late afternoons.

  • pixie_lou
    7 years ago

    Eastern Swallowtail (I think) on Echinacea White Swan.

  • spedigrees z4VT
    7 years ago

    Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, my favorite butterfly! (Well it's tied for favorite with the Eastern Black Swallowtail actually.) The past few years must have been good for the tiger swallowtails because they have seemed more plentiful. Before that I was worrying that that they were in decline, but I guess populations wax and wane periodically.

    Nice photo!

    This post was edited by spedigrees on Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 17:25

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Dad Finch looks proud but vigilant, Jane. Serious business keeping the kids safe at the pool.

    spedigrees: The crow pest patrol is a welcome sight, keeping the pasture bug-free.

    Butterflies and echinacea belong together, pixie_lou. Pretty pic!

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    A Crow family crossing the lawn like line dancing means fewer beetles! Good for you, Sped. I hope they start here soon. I think we feed them too well -they get all meat scraps.

    It's not only butterfly time - good capture, pixie - BUT..Ta Da! I found the perfect pond just 5 miles away! And, I found dragonflies that I've not seen before. Of course I don't know their names, but I think this one is a blue dragonfly:

    And for fun, I turned the exposure down to highlight him:

    Did see one I've not seen before and searching Google, I only came up with "black and white dragonfly". Well, I could have figured that out:

    And lastly, a real charmer on a lily pad:

    I do love water life...she said while sitting high and dry at the top of a hill.

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Beautiful pics of beautiful insects, Jane. The black and white one might be a Widow Skimmer. Or it could be something else entirely, all I know is from Google.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    I think you're right, Claire: Widow skimmer it is. The top blue one I think may be a Blue Skimmer. Skimming is exactly what they all were doing, hence...

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    Claire - remember the sound inside the downspout that you guessed might be a bee? It's a chipmunk. He has taken up partying inside the aluminum downspout and raises particular hell in there. The end of the downspout is curved and for 61 years a downspout has peacefully and effectively survived doing its job covered by a stone wall raised bed. There is now 12" of dirt piled outside the stone wall.

    A trip to the hardware store for some mothballs and I'll see if I can stuff some screening in there, but there is no way I'm touching that wall. His cuteness is diminishing daily.

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    The bottom dragonfly might be an Eastern Pondhawk. I found a nice website with pictures of New England Dragonflies.

    edit note: Another nice website Odes for Beginners.

    I sometimes hear chipmunks run into downspouts, usually when I walk by, but I can't imagine why they'd stay there unless it was a real droughty season with no rain to flush them out.

    My current chipmunk problem is holes in the bluestone path. I guess it's a nice safe, well insulated space under there with nothing but ants to deal with.

    At some point this summer I'm going to regrade part of the path that iced up last winter; I just need to get some gravel and sand. I'll use some of it to fill in the chipmunk holes in the path itself before the path caves in.

    Claire

    This post was edited by claire on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 11:32

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    Firstly, thanks for the dragonfly sites and secondly, I have great empathy for you after all that stone laying work last year. After researching how to 'deal' with chipmunks and consulting my gardening goddess within, I've decided to clean up the dropped seed area which will shorten his grocery list and just live with it after repairing the excavated stone wall area. My Buddha-Disney approach is the only liveable path for me and I own the land, so that's the way it'll be! He'll only go dig somewhere else anyway and when his time comes, there will be many of his kin to replace him. So don't sweat it, just repair it and carry on.

    Meanwhile, in the catbird world, this was not a diving accident:

    he's just athletic.


    Jane

    Edited for people like me: Just had a dragonfly ah-ha moment: Just learned that 'Darners' are a family of dragonflies. Darner spawned the name 'sewing needle' which we used to call dragonflies when we were kids. Darning needle sounded too strange, apparently. And that only took decades to learn.

    This post was edited by corunum on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 13:20

  • moliep
    7 years ago

    Love this dragonfly photos, Jane.... nice that you found a water viewing spot nearby! And your catbird... must be a competitive diver.
    Molie

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    Mrs. Rose-breasted Grosbeak is fine. Here feeding her daughter yesterday and this morning. I count 2 girls and a boy from this brood.

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Jane: Clean catbirds and a grosbeak family - you have a busy yard.

    I wonder if the grosbeak fledglings have a problem cracking the safflower seed shells, and that's why the parents are still feeding them at the feeder. Otherwise I'd expect them to feed themselves soon after they get there and figure it out. Maybe the parent cracks the shells for them?

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    I wondered the same thing. IF that is the case, the finch family has the same situation. It has been incredibly and suddenly very busy out there.

  • homegrowninthe603
    7 years ago

    Claire, love the turkey pictures. They wander through here from time to time but weâÂÂve never seen any poults.
    Jane, so many great picsâ¦especially the Grosbeak feeding the baby on the feeder.
    Spedigrees, great âÂÂcatâ and beautiful pic of the babies in the nest
    Molie, great shots of the Osprey
    Nice butterfly pic, PixieLou

    Wren exiting house after feeding babies


    Catbird pausing for a moment after thrashing around in the elm tree

    Goldfinches on the poppy seed heads

    Thanks for the comments on the bluebirds. Yes, we do have a good place for them. DH built boxes several yrs ago. The only ones that they use are in the middle of a big open field/lawn/vegetable garden area. ThereâÂÂs a dwarf crabapple tree around 20-25 feet from the box and they have that for cover (and a close pIace for the fledglings to get to when the time comes). I wasnâÂÂt posting to this forum in February, so I hope you donâÂÂt mind seeing this now. 3 bluebirds just parked on the feeder looking very tired of winter. Defrost49, I hope you do attract some to your boxes!

    Susan

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Susan: That's a very picturesque wren house/apartment building - do you get multiple families in there at the same time?

    Those bluebirds look like they're hunkered down basking in the sun (grumbling under their breaths about the winter). I remember that season - glad it's gone for now (I say while sitting out on the deck with temperature in the upper 70's).

    It's ant swarm season now. As usual I have no idea why they're swarming and where they're going to. They just suddenly rose out of the path and started milling around. These ants look much smaller than the usual ones I see.

    Last year I lifted some pavers to regrade part of the path and exposed a network of ant tunnels with panicky ants running around carrying eggs and larvae to safety (the roof is gone!). I closed the path up without burying them, but this year I really do have to regrade to prevent winter icing. Maybe swarm time is a good time to do this.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    Susan - wonderful life in your yard. I like that wren house and must remember to plant poppies! Great bluebirds huddled together.

    Claire - is it my imagination or did the ants almost form an S in the top picture for swarm? Not enviable. We used to have swarming large flying ants. They rank right up there with sn*kes.

    Two Mourning Doves come every day to stuff as much safflower seed down as they can. I've named them Bertrand and Russell and it seems that Bertrand has a focusing issue:
    He tries so hard-


    Nearly -

    Rats. So close and yet so far. He flew away.

    Come dusk, they both make it onto the feeder which is no small fete, and they stay till almost closing time.

    Jane

  • moliep
    7 years ago

    Claire, well at least those aren't carpenter ants. They were so hard to get rid of .... we suffered through them at my first house.

    Jane, you are really talented when it comes to bird photography... also very patient! The feeding shots are all lovely ... I've sent those and others to my DH for future paintings.

    Oh my, Susan!.... real bluebird envy here. That's a great winter shot of a trio of them. Thank you for posting that picture. I also loved the one of the goldfinches on the poppy seed heads.

    I'm mighty thrilled to be posting a shot of the trio of osprey that live in our neighborhood. For days we've spotted osprey hunting along the river. Then this morning on the way to Whole Foods, we saw three of them on the nesting platform. It was like a trifecta... so we, of course, went back home to get the camera.

    Here are some shots from this morning.

    and finally....

    Molie

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Jane: I guess that is sort of an S formed by the ant swarm, like some sort of a display you see at half-time at some sporting event. Maybe the ants are coming out for the World Cup of whatever sport ants like.

    I enjoy seeing the swarms suddenly appear - but then I also enjoy seeing snakes rippling across the scenery.

    I'm glad the doves finally managed to land on the feeder. That's hard work for a bird that's not particularly agile.

    Claire

    This post was edited by claire on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 17:50

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Molie: You posted while I was preparing a reply to Jane's post.

    Those osprey shots are magnificent! I wonder if the two on the nest are preparing for a new brood while the third is just a bystander? Or maybe a juvenile from last year?

    Claire

    edit note: Or maybe the three are siblings from a recent brood?

    This post was edited by claire on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 17:25

  • moliep
    7 years ago

    Claire, I couldn't answer your questions and so I looked on the CT DEEP website for osprey information. This is what I found.

    "Both sexes are similar in appearance, although the female is larger. Full adult plumage is achieved at 18 months. Juvenile osprey strongly resemble the adults, except that the brown feathers of the upper body are tipped buff-white, and the streaking on the breast and crown tends to be heavier. The eye color changes from brown to yellow as juveniles mature."

    And... regarding nesting, I found this:

    "The month-long incubation period is usually completed by the female, who is fed by the male during this time. Sixty days after hatching, young osprey make their first flight. After fledging, the young remain with the parents for up to two months. Young remain at wintering grounds for two to three years until they return to the north to make their first breeding attempt."

    So... looking at the larger photo, I'm guessing that the bird on the left with the brownish eye is the juvenile living with mom and dad.

    And do you all need a laugh? Here's our resident baby heron... a typical "kid" .... comes down for breakfast at the edge of the river without bothering to comb his hair!

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks, Molie; that makes the osprey pictures very understandable as well as being fascinating.

    That baby heron is adorable! (I am awake, I am awake, just give me a few more minutes....)

    Claire

  • homegrowninthe603
    7 years ago

    Great pictures Molie! Glad you identified that last bird. I guess I had no clue what a baby heron looked like.

    Kind of attractive, in a disheveled sort of way. :)

    Susan

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    Green Bees
    First one I've seen. Interesting (to me anyway) life cycle in link below. Found him this morning in my street garden (aka hell strip).

    Jane
    Edit note: Just found out this is a boy. Apparently the females have a green abdomen - no stripes. So the next time you see a 'Sweat Bee", you'll know if it's a Mr. or Ms.

    This post was edited by corunum on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 14:06

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Pretty pic of a pretty little green sweat bee. Nice insect, not like the Greenhead Flies that plague New England beaches.

    Claire

  • pixie_lou
    7 years ago

    Ospreys and baby herons. Sweet.

    I opened the front door and startled Peter yesterday. He was sitting on the stoop in front of the door. He hopped off the steps and started feasting on the clover long enough for me to grab my camera. Excuse the dirty glass.

  • corunum z6 CT
    7 years ago

    Pixie, this is a bunny year. I plant lots of clover and some years there are a few bunnies, some years I see none, but this year I see them nearly every day. Gone from my view are red foxes and coyotes. I've noticed a 4 year cycle of these animals. Just my observation - nothing to back it up.

    Claire, ref. above link on greenflies, I was at Hammonasset aside the marsh 2 days ago and whatever the little buggers were, I got back into the car rather quickly. Was trying to capture marsh wrens - got 3 pictures before the bugs won.

    Ref: July 15th photo above, the Rose-breasted Grosbeak family now dines together. Yea.

    Jane

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    7 years ago

    I am enjoying seeing all the bird youngsters. As I was walking around the garden this morning I was aware of a persistent chirping, but was a bit startled to see this little flycatcher(?) perched on a daylily stalk as I came around the dogwood in front of it. Still no tail feathers, so I think there must be a nest in the dogwood, the only tree near enough. I hope those feathers grow in quickly so he doesn't become dinner to someone.

    From July 20, 2014 house

    My Stokesia (really more bluepurple than this pinkish tone) seems popular with the pollinators

    From July 20, 2014 house

    as does the Helenium Mardi Gras.

    From July 20, 2014 house

    And this coyote has been hanging around the shop the last couple of weeks. I hope he's eating voles (the big bed at the shop which is just out of the frame to the right is plagued by voles.)

  • moliep
    7 years ago

    No bunnies here even though we have clover. Years ago our cat used to catch the babies and leave them at the back door .... that was sad.

    Also no coyotes in the last few years. There are woodchucks and mice/rats along the river but probably better hunting elsewhere.

    I do see the Sweat green bees like the one you photographed, Jane, among all the others in the gardens.
    And sadly, we also have the dreaded Greenhead flies. Those monsters are making it difficult to work in the garden, especially in the afternoon, without long pants and sleeves.

    Many mornings a Black-crowned Night-Heron comes to fish for breakfast along the river. The one from yesterday looked particularly "blue". He'll stand a long time at the edge of the dock waiting for the glimmer of fish.

    He fishes from the edge of the river. I love to watch him "creep" along the bank towards the best spot.

    The white plume coming off the top of his head....

    Finally... a dove nestled into the top of the garden shed roof .... between the Black Mulberry tree behind him and the feeders below.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    nhbab's coyote looks very determined as it lopes over to its lunch spot. I haven't seen any coyotes or foxes since last winter. Maybe that's why we have so many woodchucks and turkey babies. The town is also enforcing the leash law so free-ranging dogs are scarce and probably get reported if they get near the beach, where there are nesting plovers and terns. Every house in the neighborhood along the coastal bank has at least one woodchuck in residence.

    That's a beautiful Black-crowned Night-Heron, Molie! I've never seen one.

    I glanced at my granite tortoise which guards a path,

    And noticed a little green fly on its back. Maybe it's another hoverfly; it's too small to be a greenhead.

    Claire

  • Steve Massachusetts
    7 years ago

    Finally got a hummingbird shot. This one ignores my feeder but comes to the Monarda at about 7:00 p.m. each night.

    Steve

  • moliep
    7 years ago

    Great shot, Steve, and good persistence on your part. Do you see them on anything else besides Monarda?

  • Steve Massachusetts
    7 years ago

    It was pointed out to me that this is a female. I have seen her on some hanging baskets of petunia and calibrachloa, but she ignores the feeder. I even have Cardinal Climber and she hasn't found that yet.

    Steve

  • Steve Massachusetts
    7 years ago

    This guy/gal was holding onto a label in the Hosta seedling bed this morning allowing me to get a really close picture.

    Eastern Black Swallowtail

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Nice hummingbird shot, Steve. Maybe it's a youngster from this year's brood and she hasn't figured out the feeder yet. I have a few hummers that readily feed from the feeder on my deck railing while I'm sitting there. Others see me and fly off in horror.

    Good thing that the swallowtail was engrossed in reading the label and didn't notice you - such a gorgeous insect!

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Oops - just noticed that the post count is 72, which is a lot for people with slower loading systems.

    I'll start a new thread (2014 #8) very soon. As always, you're welcome to continue discussion here if you want.

    Claire