claireplymouth

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #4

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:

INDEX to threads 2008 to 2011

For 2012, see the links posted in
RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7. There may be problems with some of the links. I've corrected those I can edit.

2013 threads: 
INDEX: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013
2014 threads:
INDEX: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014

2015 threads: Links for #1 through #10 are included in

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2015 #11

2016 threads: Links for #1 through #9 are included in

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2016 #10

2017 threads: Links for #1 through #6 are included i

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2017 #6

2018 threads:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #1

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #2

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #3

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


The big garden phlox, probably David's Lavender, is popular nowadays with butterflies and hummingbirds as well as humans.


This morning I saw an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on the phlox.





A gray catbird perched near the phlox, not a clear picture but I wanted to show the adult because it apparently parked a baby in a tree nearby. The baby just perched there for a long time, maybe waiting for the parent to come get it.


Adult gray catbird


Juvenile gray catbird


The baby just perched there for a long time, maybe waiting for the parent to come get it.


The adult catbird may have been looking for the jelly feeder but I took it down because it was overrun with yellow jackets. The wild black cherries are fruiting now so there's fruit for the catbirds and the occasional oriole still around.


Hummingbirds like the phlox too, but I haven't been able to get a good picture yet.


Claire

Comments (69)

  • Thyme2dig NH Zone 5
    2 years ago

    Hi Jane, thanks for that link. I loaded it up and tried a search but still nothing is quite matching up. Saw a female scarlet tanager the other day which was nice. She was alone. I'm hoping this little flock of birds will show up again so I can really try to study them. When they first showed up I had only glanced and assumed goldfinches or siskins were at the bird bath. But when I looked back I realized they were slightly bigger with their long legs and a fairly sleek body. I'd really like to see them again to try to retain any special markings, etc. I've searched finches, warblers, sparrows, etc.....

    could your little guy be an American Redstart female or juvenile?

    thanks again for that link!

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    Thyme, yes, to American redstart. TY

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  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    This afternoon there was an immature bald eagle waddling around the field behind the house. Both the field we maintain and the one the local dairy farmer hays have been cut in the last few days, so I imagine she was looking for small rodents and large insects. It is amazing how ungraceful an eagle is walking on the ground, so I could tell it wasn’t turkey relatively soon after spotting it a little way down the field. This particular bird is most likely the one that we and neighbors have seen along a couple of miles of river over the last few weeks, sometimes with a mature adult, and sometimes on her own.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    DH caught this image of a pair of young bald eagles that have been hanging out on this stretch of river, waiting for the mist to burn off so they have some rising air currents. Midday they were soaring over the house. One definitely has patchier looking feathers.


  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    NHBabs - Glad DH brought a camera with him. You have such wonderful birds and animals around you! What a great pair of eaglets.


    The American Redstart landed just long enough for me to get a few shots. Quicker than a chickadee, it is the flitting motion that draws the eye to her. It's almost as though she vibrates. Also, I don't recall seeing another local species spread the tail feathers as often as this female does. The yellow is quite striking.









    Male & Female Am. Redstart

    Now that I see the male, I wonder if he's been here before and I thought it was a flashing oriole? Too many mysteries in one lifetime.


    New bird feeder. It took the mourning doves a good half hour of inspection from the roof and multiple flybys before landing. Now it is both a dove restaurant and motel.







    Even the best umbrella can get a hole in it.



    And, sparrows still throw the best pool party - even in the rain.





  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I've never seen an American Redstart, Jane - that was a good capture. Those flashing yellow tail feathers are startling. Pretty bird.

    Looking out my kitchen window I did see a gray fox early this morning eating bird seed on the ground.

    I got a glimpse of its black-tipped tail as it was leaving (to check for gray fox not red fox although the brownish legs implied gray fox).

    I think I saw a hawk flash by while I was watching the fox. I guess hawks avoid foxes, which is sensible of them.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Your fox looks alarmingly bony considering the time of year. It is welcome to as many of my voles as it wants to help it fatten up if the bird seed doesn’t suffice.

    claireplymouth z6b coastal MA thanked NHBabs z4b-5a NH
  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago


    Houzz has made this posting adventure too bloody painful! Trying again, last time. Forget it. I've tried twice more to insert pictures of a Black-throated Blue Warbler and a female Scarlet Tanager - Houzz screwed it up...again. It's only on this line that I can now write. Not worth the aggravation. (written here AFTER I inserted these pics - but could not write below the pictures.)


    Yes, that fox does look woefully thin for this time of the year.


    Unusually placed visitors lately. American toad on bathroom window screen.




    Too strange now trying to post.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I wonder why that toad climbed onto the screen, Jane. With all the rain you've been having, are the flood tides that high? Climbing screens with suckers on your toes must be a new, maybe upsetting, experience.


    What problems are people having when they try to post pictures? I haven't had a problem - maybe because I use Safari? or get access to Houzz via an old bookmark and don't have to sign in?


    Has anyone complained to Houzz via the Contact Us link on the bottom of the page?


    I agree it's getting harder to find things here but, for me anyway, the New England Gardening forum is still worth the effort.


    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    Claire, often photos just won’t post.

    Jane, if you are unable to post, can you link to whatever photo site it is that you usually use? I am having serious withdrawal without your usual great bird photos.

    At this rate, Houzz will manage to totally lose all the experienced gardeners, birders, etc.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    NHBabs & Jane: Is there any pattern to when the photos won't post? I'm wondering if Houzz maybe doesn't have enough personnel covering the operation, or if the personnel aren't always well qualified.

    I did some searching on the Houzz.com site for support and didn't find much help.

    In the past, I got support by emailing <gardenweb@houzz.com>. Tamara was very helpful but I don't know if she's still there. Weekends probably aren't a good time for emailing them but I could try on Monday.

    I hate to see Garden Web wasting away.

    Jane's photos are a major attraction on this thread.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    It may be that Safari is the answer because when I opened it this morning using the old bookmark (after a year of not using it) a pop-up window said, -words to the effect- that Safari had turned off all ad-blocking apps that were slowing down browsing. Also, viewing the pictures on this thread right now with Safari, they are much larger than the 2x2 square I see using Chrome or Firefox. So I'll try putting in the black-throated blue warbler - which I had never seen before - and the female scarlet tanager and we'll see what happens. Here goes:

    and let's see if posting a 3rd pic is possible using Safari:

    Apparently, yes. Therefore, it may be a browser-ladened app/algorithm that may have prevented ads, but freedom as well. (Gee, where have we seen that before?)

    Perhaps turning off ad blocker in other browsers would work better on Houzz? - don't know. I DO know that I had an invasive ad take over and freeze Wunderground while using Chrome but when I used the browser Puffin, I had no more troubles. How we view things makes all the difference, apparently. (how loudly is Claire groaning?) It's nice to know that my pictures are liked, but, whilst we're on the subject, there were times when I did not post because I had been the ONLY poster for 5-6 successive times and assumed I had gone overboard. It's not the Jane Show; more participation on Claire's thread would be nice. I also realize that after 10 successive years of posting and living in the same house, that my bird/critter visitors are as old in familiarity as winter. There are just so many poses a dove can handle on a birch branch in a snow storm and, yes, GW is no longer what it was: Nothing is. But I'll have a go using Safari for GW and see how it goes. Perhaps those with PCs can try other browsers. I wish this subject had come up before Spedigrees left. Let's march forward and hope for more participation.

    Jane :) (if this works, A+ to Claire for technical problem solving)

    claireplymouth z6b coastal MA thanked corunum z6 CT
  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    Bingo. A+ to the thread barer. Here's a screen shot of this thread that shows the difference in the picture size of Claire's bird using Safari to post and my post using Chrome or Firefox:

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    I often don’t post photos because my home internet is so bad. It can take more than 5 minutes for a photo to load, so I don’t see a difference for the most part with Houzz now, though I have had a couple of days where I couldn’t get anything to post. Most of my photos are posted from places with better internet connections, such as the public library, the doctor’s office, or the place where I get my car fixed. Once posted it is easy to copy them to other threads if I want to illustrate something.

    Yesterday the turkeys were at the edge of the field closest to the house and then along the road. This group of 6 has been hanging out together for at least a couple of months.




    The deer have also been grazing within sight of the house and shop, though they become more cautious once hunting season starts.

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    Thank you for posting - the pictures look much better on Safari. You do live in a wildlife wonderland! Wonderful. 5 minutes to upload would drive me over the edge. I completely understand.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Sounds promising, Jane!

    I did a recent software update and I also was told that Safari had turned off ad-blockers that slow down browsing, and that I could download a different ad-blocker. I went to the Apple App store and dowloaded Skynet: Ad Blocker for Safari. It seems to be working. I only use Safari now so it's fine for me (I do have Firefox installed but don't often use it).

    Re being the only poster for several consecutive posts: it would be lovely if more people posted but I've always felt that for every person who posts there are probably ten people lurking who enjoy seeing the post but won't come out and say anything. I just assume there's an audience out there somewhere.

    I also have the problem of not often being able to find anything new or different to post, so I'm fine with you doing the majority of the posting, particularly since you show many high-quality pictures.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    I totally agree with Claire’s last two paragraphs. I enjoy everyone’s postings and love seen what is growing or visiting in everyone’s yards, but we have lost a bunch of folks with the most recent Houzz difficulties, and I really hope more of the lurkers will add comments and photos. However, it took me a couple of years to decide I had anything to add. Now after a bunch of years, it’s difficult to shut me up.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    NHBabs: I remember my first post - I agonized over it for a very very long time, but once you jump in you're all wet and another jump is much easier.


    5 minutes to load is awful, unless you need to go get another cup of coffee.


    That's a beautiful bucolic picture of turkeys in their real world. I miss seeing large flocks of turkeys here. I only see a few at a time and they're really skittish. There are flocks around - a few days ago I was driving home and about 1/2 mile from my house I was stopped on a side road by a flock of at least twenty turkeys, probably juveniles, blocking the road.

    I started to get out the phone to take a picture but then I realized that there was a car stopped behind me who probably wouldn't appreciate the delay. So I got out and shooed the turkeys off the road instead.


    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    I am always pleased when someone slows as they go by the house since it is fairly busy at commute times. But usually the change in speed means someone is slowing for critters, either to just look or because the turkeys or deer or ravens are in the road or immediately alongside.

    Claire, I have learned that when I am trying to upload photos here, I have to turn off the auto power down on the computer, phone or tablet since it shuts off before the photo is done uploading! I not only go get a cup of coffee, but I go outside and pull a few weeds or start a load of laundry or . . . It’s frustrating since Comcast says my town has high speed internet, but they only wired about 60% of the area, so even though I have lived in three spots since it was installed, I have never had a high speed connection because I haven’t lived on a main road. And the phone connection or satellite is what takes 5 minutes. Ugh!

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    NHBabs - have you clocked your internet upload/download speeds and shown the result to your provider? Speedtest

    You can take a screenshot of the result and email it to them. It may be that your street does not have the latest, greatest wiring, but, if they say high speed is available to you, are you paying for what is actually clocked and documented? None of my business, I just hate seeing people getting ripped off by cable/dish companies - or any other company.


    Should we send this guy after them?


    Back outside to de-vine. Whose bright idea was it to plant trumpet vine next to a deck? ey yi yi

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    It's today. This morning it was determined by one robin that the wild dogwood berries (seed pods) are ready. Then the flock came.

    No pose beats a head tilt. Am.Goldfinch juvenile

    With his brother

    Brown thrasher investigating all the action in the dogwood.

    Jane


  • nekobus
    2 years ago

    Jane, your neighborhood robins must be on the same schedule as mine. My big dogwood has been dropping bright red berries for a couple of weeks, but all of a sudden the robins found it yesteday. The whole tree was waving around as about eight robins violently tore off the berries. They kept flying in from surrounding trees, yanking the berries, then crashing down through the branches after they got one. They'd fly to another branch to gulp them down, then start all over. Quite a show. I didn't think to get any video.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    What a fun sight, Nekobus and Jane. I used to have a pagoda dogwood near the house, and it was hopping with birds in mid to late August.

    We have had adult goldfinches visiting my Rudbeckia seed heads in the front garden.

    Jane, the phone company don’t even claim or try to charge us for high speed internet. We used to have Hughesnet, and the speeds they advertise are what is might be at 4 Sunday morning, but at no other time, and they have data limits after which one can almost get email. And Hughes costs 3x as much as the phone lines without being better. So right now I think we get what we are paying for.; I just wish we had a faster choice, even if it cost a bit more. Thanks for the suggestion, however. The hawk is gorgeous!


  • homegrowninthe603
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    A few recent images...

    Standoff?


    Swallowtail enjoying the asters


    Doe and one of her two fawns


    Hummingbird enjoying blackberry lilies before Fall migration. They are gone now.


    A surprise visitor in the yard this week, although water is not too far away


    Susan

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    Super shots, Susan. Wonderful life around you!

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    Beautiful set of photos, Susan!

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Lovely, Susan! I think the hawk was expressing disdain "Yuck...Red-tails don't eat birds!"


    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    Sometimes I get a funny feeling...like something's watching me...

    I KNEW it!


    Only the shadow knows, lol.

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Nice, Jane! You may think you're alone out in your garden just because there are no humans around, but there are a lot of eyes on you.


    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    I am loving the hawk photos. Thanks!

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    This page will probably be archived soon, but a Northern mockingbird bath was quite a show this morning. This chap had such a good time and I was too far away, but...

    The shake

    And just when I thought he'd fly away...

    He became a whirling dervish before another plunge.

    Does anybody else see 2 birds in these clouds? Going in opposite directions. Maybe you had to be there. I was thinking about a holographic world.

    Jane

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    This guy is a very fast flitter looking for insects, not berries. Best guess is Ruby-crowned Kinglet - adult even without the ruby patch on head.

    The few remaining bumbles are still working.

    Jane

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Jane, that looks quite similar to a guy flitting around the garden I view from the kitchen last week. Today is too wet for the bees to be out and about.

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    A fellow on FB said that the ruby patch is evident when the bird is excited. Excited about what, I don't know, lol.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    You're so lucky to have seen a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Jane! I've had them here but I've never seen them myself. I know because the local Christmas Bird Count people stopped in my yard a few years ago and saw one (I was being polite and leaving them alone to do their count). I'm still kicking myself for not following them around.


    Bands of rain moving through now.


    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    Hawks have feelings too.

    Please tell me what I did wrong.

    I just wanted to chat, you know socialize a little...

    Every time I need some company, they leave.

    Wish I had an answer other than 'location, location, location'.

    Jane

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    It's time to check the snowblower. He's here today - about a week later than the previous 7-10 years. Dark-eyed Junco moving quickly, hence, not a clear shot. It usually snows within 2 weeks of his arrival at our house. Oh, joy.


    Jane


  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    We had drifting flakes two or three mornings ago, and farther north had actual snow, though it didn’t stick except in the mountains.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    No snow here yet, although we may have just missed some by one day. It's been raining this morning with mid-forties temperatures, but tomorrow morning is forecast to be 32 degrees. If the rain had held off until tomorrow it could have been snow.


    I took the last of the screens off yesterday (I'm still reaching for that screen door handle).


    No juncos here yet, and the shovels are still in the toolshed.


    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    I startled a whole flock of juncos this morning out in one of the borders. I imagine than they were looking for bugs and small seeds since my fall tidying mostly doesn’t happen.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I've been seeing huge flocks of grackles lately, 40 to 50 each day, so smaller birds hang back until the grackles have left. The grackles leave in the spring after the new fledglings are flying and then they seem to stop here on their way back south to wherever they migrate. They gobble up a lot of the seed I put out and then they seem to check to make sure I've refilled the feeders before they go to roost.

    I refilled around 5 PM as usual and then I looked out the window to see if the grackles were still there. They were, but I noticed a red head feeding on the ground and thought "That's too small for a turkey!"

    It was a chicken! I took about twenty pictures before I could get a few sort of in focus (the camera kept focusing on ornamental grasses instead of the chicken).


    After a few minutes the chicken left. I have no idea where it came from (or where it went). I just hope it can avoid the foxes.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    Claire, I think that’s the first chicken ever on this ongoing thread. Pretty funny. I hope it has a nearby home.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I saw the chicken again this afternoon! I was out in the yard setting up the heated birdbath (I haven't plugged it in yet because it's warmer now and I'd rather do it when the extension cord and my hands aren't frozen stiff).

    Anyway, the chicken was feeding in the same spot - I was going over there to check on a possible rose blooming and I was about five feet away from the chicken.. It looks well-fed as if it's been grazing on mixed bird seed for a while. No pictures because I didn't have the camera or my phone with me.

    I also saw a red-breasted nuthatch, but again no pictures.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Well, this may have been the end of the chicken. I came home in the late morning from an appointment and saw a bunch of feathers by the porch stairs. I'm pretty sure I would have seen them when I left the house earlier so I think they weren't there. The color is right for the chicken.

    I'm a little surprised at the timing and location. That's pretty open for a wary chicken and the foxes don't usually visit during the mid-morning although I have seen them in the daylight hours.

    I hope the chicken escaped, minus a few feathers, but it doesn't look good.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    2 years ago

    Hawk, perhaps.


  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Maybe a hawk, but the chicken is big for the usual bird-eating hawks here. Of course, a rodent-eating hawk can always stoop to eating a bird now and then.


    There's no carcass nearby so the predator was able to carry it away (there was a garden cart close but that's too big for a hawk or fox to wheel).


    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    It just occurred to me that there's been a cat hunting in my yard lately and I've seen the cat on my porch. I don't know if it's feral now or just a neighbor's cat joy-hunting.

    Anyway, the cat is probably big enough to handle a chicken and is comfortable with being near the house. I did tell it once to leave my birds alone but I don't think it listened to me.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 years ago

    Sounds like it’s the end of the chicken saga. Let us know if you see her again or if you figure out who feasted.

  • petalique
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Looks like a hen got out of a caged area, or lost. They are no match for wild predators, of course. Poor chicky didn't have a chance in the wild outdoors. Predators must eat.

    I've been enjoying all the wonderful photos and stories.

    Jane, Susan and others, I love your hawk photos and, as I only know two or three hawks, I would like you to give the ID, if you know it. Were the above hawks Redtail and then Cooper's?

    I have had two gangs of wild turkeys, woodchuck (adorable pest, dug next to the foundation, Grrr), and my buddies, the Virginia opossum/s. A few weeks ago there was a black bear sleeping in a roadside maple a few hundred feet uphill from us.

    For the past few days there has been a "big brown bat" in the house. I suspect he/she got into the house when DH removed the stovepipe to clean it. He did block the flue opening, so maybe "B-cubed" was in the section of wide stovepipe and tumbled out before the stovepipe was taken outside. Two nights ago, I waited until dusk dark, open the front door wide, and waited to see if the B-cubed would exit. Nothing. I hoped that BBB had flown out the opened kitchen window the day before. But, no.

    Last night DH slept in a chair in the room where B-cubed was last spotted. He heard it moving or landing or flying around. Well, this morning, we looked around the area where it had disappeared and found it clinging to some wainscoting in the shadow of some furniture. We moved it into a little metal cage for now. We tried to let it go outside but of course it was daylight, and cold wind blowing and ruffling its fur. The guy had not eaten or had any fluid for two days or more, so we brought it back into the cage and inside the house and put a little bit a water in her dish and some bread. Maybe we can get some live mealworms at a pet store. I have the cage covered to keep it dark.

    But here is my dilemma: since the bat arrived the temperatures have gone from 48 to 28°F and I would think the big brown bat should be in hibernation this time of year (?). I want this bat to live, and so I don't want him to succumb to the frigid night weather.

    I thought that maybe we could drive to where it there is a cow barn of something and let it go at dusk; but that isn't much of a guarantee is it?

    Any suggestions? Thanks.

    ed-- for clarity

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Lots of wildlife in your yard, petalique! I know nothing about bats so hopefully someone else will comment.

    The chicken is not the first escapee to end its life here. A few years ago a pair of guinea fowl appeared and survived a few days before the predators got them. I tracked them down to a neighbor who thought they could live in his yard, but he didn't have a proper coop for them. Maybe he's got chickens now and lost one.

    This thread is getting long and slow to load for some so I'll start a new one. As always, people are welcome to continue the discussion here, but please post new material in the new thread which will be Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #5.

    Claire