Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tiny Egg Shell

I was on our beach a couple of days ago scoping out my flower beds, and noticed a small white object in the sand. I picked it up to examine it better, and it was a tiny egg shell, in two pieces. Nothing inside the little egg shell. Probably discarded by a mothering bird who was cleaning the nest for her new batch of chicks. The picture doesn't show how small it really is. It is not small enough to be a hummingbird egg. After doing some research online, I've decided it could very well be a Tree Swallow egg. Given the description and size of the egg and the location. There are several nesting Tree Swallows around here in the neighbors and my own bird houses and other 'nooks and crannies' of our homes. As I sit on my patio lately, one particular swallow flies right overhead down to the lake, and is a likely candidate for disgarding the tiny egg shell on the beach.

Here is an older photo of a baby tree swallow in one of my bird houses on my balcony. It's one of my favorites, and has been published in Birds and Blooms magazine!

Another picture of baby swallows waiting for mamma to feed them. Living in the neighbors 'nooks & crannies'.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Definition of "A Good Birding Day"

Sometimes, when my husband gets home from work, I will say to him "It's been a good bird day". Usually this means, I have seen several types of birds throughout the day, participating in various birding activities. Yesterday, was one of those days... and it also just happened to be our 24th anniversary! I can remember back to our 5th anniversary. We were staying in a rental apartment in Leavenworth, a sweet little German town in central Washington, while on a white-water river rafting trip with some friends. I happened to visit a quaint little bookstore, where a bought myself my very first bird identification book, in hopes it would help me identify a couple of birds I had seen at our home in Poulsbo. The book was called "The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds (Western Region)", and I still use it to this day, as well as some others I have added to the collection. The birds, I finally identified where a Pileated Woodpecker and a Red-shafted Flicker, also of the woodpecker family. They are still exciting birds for me to see, even after all these years.
Back to my "Good Bird Day", on our anniversary day, I spent quite some time out on my balcony trying to get the perfect action photo of the Great Blue Heron that was patiently fishing on our ski dock. I set my camera up to take multiple shots at once, so I could get some pictures of the heron flying when he decided to leave. I even got my mini-tripod and setup on the railing of the balcony so I could get just the right shot. As, I was getting things prepared, the family of white-breasted nuthatches showed up to feast again. They make several visits each day.

Also visiting, were the Black-headed Grosebeaks and a Downy Woodpecker.
A female hummingbird kept buzzing me while I setup my tripod, as it was right below the hummingbird feeder. While I was taking pictures of the heron, the hummer would be right there by my hand. When I have someone to help with the camera, I can film the hummers landing on my fingers to drink. Such a cool feeling for sure. But today, I was snapping away at the heron, who several times flew off of the dock and dove into the water to try to catch a fish, only to come up with nothing, and then fly right back to the ski dock. Each time he did this, I took bunches of photos, or so I thought. I was sure I had my camera set to take multiple snap shots, but found out later, it was only saving the last 3 of the shots. So all my action shots of it flying and diving were not recorded. I only ended up with this one shot.

I try not to judge my good bird days by pictures alone, because some of the best birding adventures happen too quickly for the camera. Sometimes, it is worth just sitting and enjoying the moment, rather than trying to capture it with the lens. Now if you can do both, that is the BEST!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Moose in the Hood

This morning I was woken up by my husband, which usually only happens when there is something really cool to see that early in the morning. Our dog Cubby Bears alerted us that something was up. Sure enough, there was a huge bull moose on the beach. It's always a magnificant site when a moose is in the neighborhood. The last moose happening was spring of 2009 when a mother moose and her baby wandered out onto the ice, and the mom moose fell through the ice (check out the video here My husband and some neighbors had to rescue her. During the hot summer months, it is not unusual to see a moose swimming in the lake at least once a year.

I wrote the other day about the Red-breasted Nuthatch family coming to the feeders to eat. The last couple of days, the White-breasted Nuthatch family has been bringing the entire family by for feeding too. My husband swore he saw about 10 of them. The most I've counted at one time is about 6. The babies are so sweet, begging for food. Hope to get some better pictures soon!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mating Mallards

Yesterday, as I was trying to get some pics of the pair of Black-headed Grosebeaks at the suet eating together, but all I succeeded in was scaring them away. But, all was not lost... I noticed a pair of Mallard ducks mating right by our dock. Do you think I could get a picture of that before they parted ways? Nope! No such luck. Here is the lucky duck afterward though...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Oodles of Nuthatches

Red-breasted Nuthatches are daily visitors to my feeders. I've even had baby Nuthatches being fed by a parent before, which is pretty special to see. Today was a little different though because an entire family of Nuthatches showed up! Mom & Pop and 4 babies (I'm pretty sure). The parent birds would pick at the suet and take it to the babies and feed them. It was so darn adorable. Since it was raining out, the little babies would stick close to the trunk of the tree as possible, while waiting on a branch for their food. I wish I could've gotten a photo of the parents feeding the babies, but by the time I got my camera out, the photo opportunity had passed. I did manage however to get a couple of shots through the window of a couple of the babies. I didn't want to open the slider door and scare them all off.