I spotted a piliated woodpecker in our yard pecking away on a tree fifty feet away.  I had never seen one in our yard before.  I quickly called my wife to view it.  She had never seen one before.  She grabbed her camera and got several good pictures of it with her zoom.  The woodpecker stayed on that tree at least an half hour.  Today I kept looking at that tree expecting it to be there but it wasn’t.  It is rare to see one.  You usually hear their wild cackle.  And not them.  It is an exotic looking bird about fifteen inches tall and with a long red crown.

The Titmouse or Tufted Titmouse (two names for the same bird) are very common yet I never saw a nesting spot for it.  We were pulling in the driveway and I saw a titmouse fly out of a hole in a tree about five feet up across the street.  I investigated and another one flew out of the hole in the tree.  It must have a nest there.  That was a first.  I never found a nesting spot of a titmouse before.  I really do not want to disturb them any more than I have to.  I will just keep my eyes open for that hole in the tree.

It was an unusual slate colored junco–more commonly called “snow” birds. Usually you only see the white on their tail wings as they flick them but this particular bird had one side of its tail showing white all the time.  I noticed this particular bird for weeks.  It was about a week until spring and they migrate north so don’t know how much longer that bird will be around.  It seemed only a few weeks ago we had a large snow storm and slate colored juncos were all over the yard feeding on the birdseed I put out on the top of the snow.

Last Christmas my wife bought me two caged suet feeders. They paid for themselves. I would go, sometimes, through one suet cake a day. Usually in two or three days I had to put up another. Now it is weeks, sometimes a month or two that before I have to put up another suet cake. I did not realize how much the squirrels were eating. Until now.

The second suet cage I hung from a stake and can be viewed from our bathroom window. There is a tree nearby and my wife said recently she saw five birds on that tree each taking a turn feeding on the suet. The birds definitely know about the suet outside the bathroom window.

The other cage is hung up near the trunk of the large white pine which can be viewed outside our large living room window. The holes in that cage are a little bigger so a larger woodpecker like the red bellied woodpecker can reach the suet inside. Not just the downy woodpecker. I really am thrilled with this unexpected gift from my wife.

In addition to the woodpeckers the suet attracts white breasted nuthache, titmouse and an occasional chickadee and sometimes other birds like the brown creeper.

I Stood Two Feet Away…

Author: siggy

I stood two feed away from the ruby throat hummingbird. I was watering my Fuscia plant and Guinea inpatiens both hanging from my white pine tree. The hummingbird feeder was to the right of the two baskets. While I was doing that a hummingbird came to its feeder. I did not want to scare it so I stood perfectly still for at least sixty seconds. I usually are not able to get that close to a hummingbird. I could clearly see its red under its throat. And watched its wings rapidly twirling as it went from spot to spot on the feeder. All I could think of is how creative God was in all the creatures He made. There is not one like a hummingbird. I never forgot the one I saw in Union Square in San Francisco. The park was an oasis in the middle of a city and somehow the hummingbird found the nectar in the plant. I always wondered where it went surrounded by pavement.

Yesterday my wife from the kitchen window saw a pair of blue birds check out the bluebird box on the fringe of the woods in the backyard. She thought one might have checked out the interior of the box. I wonder whether they will come back. Two years ago she saw another pair check out the bird box and the same day the box tumbled from the tree. This time I made sure that would not happen. All I could do now is wait to see if the bluebirds come back.

In the week I was gone my goldfinch stopped coming to my feeders. That happens every year. The goldfinch come in a steady stream to my feeders in the early spring. Then they stop. I sometimes wonder what they feed on later on but, obviously, it is something other the sunflower seed I put out for them. It is always a mystery to me.

The snowy egret was perched on top of a nesting box. There was, maybe, half a dozen such boxes on the perimeter of the marsh. Every time I pass this marsh by car I quickly glance up and down the waters top(???) see what I could spot. Sometimes there are deer drinking water on its edge. I have seen an occasional great egret or snowy egret on its perimeter. That was an odd place to see an egret perched on a nesting box.

The captain of “Therapy Charters” quickly put his boat on the hitch to his truck and then started cleaning the fish.  I was amazed how quickly he cleaned the speckled trout and after he filleted them how little the fillets were.  He would throw the entrails in the air.  The swirling gulls by the cleaning station grabbed them right away.

I questioned him before and found out he was an electrician for eighteen years and has been running his charter for eight years.  Oddly enough his wife was a therapist working in schools and private practice.  She had several degrees.

He did use live shrimp for bait and there are times the bait is harder to get.  He had me pose in front of the almost twenty speckled trout.  I also took a picture of his truck which had the the name of his charter on the side.  This was his second trip today.  We were out in the sun over four hours and I felt “washed out” and he did this twice today.  It can’t be an easy job.  His face was deeply tanned.

Air Travel

Author: L

Air travel is amazing. As I write this, there are thousands of airplanes in the air, all over the world, cruising at 35,000 feet and other altitudes, landing and taking off, taxiing, boarding and discharging passengers at countless airports. Flight Aware (www.flightaware.com) is one website that tracks these flights. It has a lot of information about each flight, and you can watch a visual graphic of each plane as it travels along its flight path between airports. Check it out ! I was amazed at how many planes are up there, day and night, all over the globe. I had no idea. As they travel, they are passed between various flight control centers, like Houston, or Atlanta. The air traffic controllers guide the pilots through the skies and have an extremely important job, coordinating all the different flights. It really is amazing how many airplanes are up there !

This is my first guest blog on Siggy’s Blurbs.  Thank-you, Siggy, for inviting me to contribute.

I Saw A New Bird Today

Author: siggy

I saw a new bird today.  Chuck spotted it at one of his feeders.  He thought, at first, it was an albino (of a pigeon or mourning dove but then he brought out his bird book.  It was a type of dove he had never seen before.  It was white and had a ring around its neck.  I will give you its precise name when I look it up in my bird book.  It is always exciting when you see a new species of bird.  I might try to photograph the red headed woodpecker for my wife later.  It is a common species here but not so in Pennsylvania.

Vacations are always interesting, especially, when you go to another part of the country.  Chuck and I were in Buluxi, Mississippi and I was looking at the Gulf waters and saw two large birds flying over the water, one tailing another.  I asked my friend what they were and he said the birds were brown pelicans.  It is their state bird and almost disappeared in that state and they had to import them from Florida so you could still find them in Mississippi.