Wren Parents – feeding the babies — ready to fledge?

There are lots of bird sounds coming from the West yard. In the nearly-devastated Kousa dogwood hangs the wren house. The wrens had started a second nesting when the micro-burst hit our property with 80+ MPH winds that knocked down a 50 foot maple. It hit the Kousa dogwood dead center and totally broke all the limbs. Somehow, the wren house was not knocked down and, four days after the storm, the arborists came out and removed the maple. They first pruned the Kousa with a chain saw then carefully pruned the Kousa remnants. I had the bird house in my hands for a while and hung it back up in the tree where it had been, mostly because I had no where else to put it. The next morning, the wrens were in the tree remnants singing and soon the male was bringing the female food while she sat on the eggs. I cannot believe that they did not abandon the nest. These are determined bird parents.

So, the eggs hatched and the parents have been busily feeding the babies in the nest that are becoming more and more noisy as they clamor for food. I am hoping that they are ready to fledge – in fact early tomorrow morning would be a good time. The landscape project is beginning here tomorrow — demolition of the sidewalk that runs right by their nest. I’m sure they won’t be happy with all the activity, but I’m guessing they won’t abandon the nest either.

Here are photos from my viewpoint at the table pondside.




Mom feeds the babies
Mom feeds the babies

The View from my Happy Chair

With the outdoor scaffolding gone a week now, I’ve really come to appreciate the view from what Hubby calls my princess chair but I’ve renamed my Happy Chair.

Some of the reasons I am happy today:

1) had a nice nap in that chair today

2) the view of the east yard contains almost pristine snow since the deer have been fenced out since December

3) the scaffolding has been gone from outside for a whole week and from the inside since Feb 1 (after being up in both places since October of last year)

4) the last time that contractor will be in this house – ever again – was Monday night and the last bill was just received and will be paid tomorrow

5)  the remote controls for the gate have finally been installed and they work

6) we’re finally getting some warmer weather and spring may be here soon – at least we can see the end of winter

7) I’m knitting my first sweater and it looks like it is going to fit !!!

8) I am going away on a quilt retreat soon

9) there have been bluebirds at our sunflower feeder and on the nesting box in the north yard


Blizzard Nemo!

Why name a huge snow storm after a tropical fish, a movie star no less?  Actually, why name a winter storm at all?  How about “honking big pile of snow 2013″?

Hubby is out blowing the driveway (1/10th of a mile long and all hill!!).  We will have to wait until he officially reports the snow depth, and it is hard to tell with the wind blowing so hard, but I’m guessing about 2 feet.  It is almost up to his knees and since his 6’5” tall, his knees are waaaay up off the ground.

Heavy snow load on the garage roof — and serious blowback as he started the snowblowing job.

snow load on the detached garage roof
Serious blowback

The birds are feeding at the feeder and we have seen a little of everything in the past 4 weeks.  And, we had a visit from something I hadn’t seen before, but after looking at photos up close it may have been just a big puffy bluebird!  At our sunflower feeder.

chic-a-dee-dee-dee at the sunflower feeder
female cardinal wishing she could get inside the seed cage
Carolina wren at the suet -- look at his feet hanging on!


And I believe it is mating time for the squirrels — they do start very early in the year.  Suddenly there seem to be more of them running around and making attempts to raid the bird feeders or take advantage of the seeds spilled on the ground by the sloppy eaters from above.

at the base of a bird feeder scrounging dropped seeds
Who me? You think I was trying to get into that feeder? Me?????












Spring cannot come soon enough.  As soon as my popsicle of a hubby gets back in from moving tons of snow from our driveway, I’m sure he’ll agree.

Big announcement from Mr Wren

Hubby and I spent some time sitting out by the pond yesterday and watching the male wren work.  He was tireless and his routine was unvarying.  He’d be gone from the nest area — then we’d see him come back and fly straight to the birdhouse and hop inside — then out he’d come and he’d hop onto the same tree branch and sing his delightful song.  Off he’d go in search of more bugs for his mate who was apparently in the birdhouse sitting on the eggs.  And he did this continuously the entire time I sat outside (which was over 2 hours) and was still working when the mosquitoes drove me inside.

Well — sometime, I would say this morning — something changed.  At about 9 am — I heard the male sitting in the tree just singing that same song over and over and over and over and, well you get it, over again!!!!!   I thought something was wrong and went downstairs and eventually outside to watch and see what was up.  Little did I know that this was the “THEY’RE HATCHING!!!!!” declaration.  I heard a second, different wren voice also and by the time I got out to watch, both the male and the female were flying to and from the birdhouse.  Not as much singing now, though there’s still some, as there are mouths to feed.

In the photos below, the female wren can be seen peeking out of the box before she leaves it to go search for bugs.  She seems very careful.

Just checking before she leaves the bird house
Feeding time


Yes, it’s a beautiful time of year.  I managed to go outside and in the space of about 30 minutes, take 91 photos worth keeping.  Here are the Stella de Oro day-lilies from beside the pond.  Could have stayed out there all day!

Pondside beauties

Summer dinner & blue buttefly

Sweet corn from the farmers’ market here in town, tomatoes from our garden, and pork chops from . . . . . well . . . . from pigs.  Wonderful summer dinner – with the first tomatoes from our garden.   Yes, we had tomatoes this year in July!

yummmmmm....... sweetcorn

And after I worked in the pond on Tuesday this week, I was sitting listening to the waterfalls, watching the fish, reading a book, and this beautiful blue guy came by to say hi.  I was too lazy to go in and get the good camera, and if I’d moved he would have probably moved away from my feet anyway.  So, this is from my iPhone but is not too bad.  The blue guy was beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Blue Guy" visits pondside


Hummy is back.  Actually several hummingbirds are back.  But the one (or ones) that know where I hang the plants and the hummingbird feeder are definitely here.

We had a hummingbird sighting a few weeks ago — saw one flitting around in the yard.  Then, the other day as I was sitting near the sliding door, the hummingbird flew up to the plant hangar right by the door.  He hovered near the empty hangar for a long time, and if I was reading his body language correctly, he was asking where the heck the plant was.  Spring gardening being way behind schedule here, I hadn’t planted the hanging pots.  So, off to the nursery I went on Saturday and  had Hummy’s favorite, “sophie cascade” ivy geraniums, planted before night fall.

Then Monday, I purchased some instant nectar, mixed it up, and filled the feeder.  I was busy yesterday so didn’t look, but today two hummingbirds have been happily feeding at the feeder.  They are so pretty and I am so thrilled to have them back.

Here are the photos:

Hummy arrives at the feeder located below his favorite plant
Wings moving so fast -- even sports mode on my camera cannot capture them
Hummy dives into his favorite food (actually, her favorite in this case)

Happy Easter

Suddenly it’s spring!  At last!!!!!

Hubby fired up the pump on our pond yesterday and is running it again today.  The fish are loving their swimming time below the falling water.  This seems to have awakened our entire back yard and the warm (yes it’s ABOVE 70 degrees today) has caused spring to finally arrive.

  • The PJM azalea is ready to boom
  • The weeping cherry absolutely popped open this morning and is in full bloom
  • Our first frog appeared on a rock near the waterfall
  • The male wren is singing and carrying nest-building materials into the birdhouse
  • The new kitchen windows are open

All signs of spring — let the celebration begin!

Happy Easter !

Snow . . will . . not . . stop . . ! . . ! . . !

As snowstorm after snowstorm marches through our area, features of the landscape have disappeared, almost every corner in town is a blind intersection due to the piles of snow, a large number of parking spots in town are completely gone due to snow piles, and folks are getting grumpy here.

Here are photos of the Tuesday snow storm, with snowfall of 18 – 22 inches which came on top of the previous Friday’s snow storm with also 18 inches of snow.  Forty inches in less than a week has caused many problems.

even the birds are having a tough time getting to things

And now we’ve had freezing rain on top of all this snow.  Everywhere you turn folks are having problems with water inside their house from the ice dams on their roofs.  We have heat cables at the bottom edge of our roof, so that’s not our problem.  However, we did have huge icicles hanging off the edge of the roof.  Apparently one of the bigger ones fell over the weekend directly on the decorative light at our front door totally bending the frame of the light and knocking all the bevels loose.  One of the big rectangular bevels is totally missing.  Hubby thinks he may have swept it away with the broken pieces of icicle at the front door.  Guess we’ll find that in spring when all the snow melts.

Cape Cod Whale Watch

While it has been two years since we’ve been on the Cape for vacation, it has been at least three years since we’ve driven up to Provincetown and gone on a whale watch.  We always ride on a Dolphin Fleet boat as they are staffed by naturalists and are actively doing research on every whale watch they conduct.   Though yesterday was cool and breezy and quite cloudy with ocean swells in the 5 to 8 foot range, they decided to head out quite far to the East side of the Stellwagen Bank to watch the whales feeding.  Due to the cloudy day, the fish (sand eels) that the humpback whales feed on were really near the surface (within 50 to 100 feet or so).  This resulted in the whales making only shallow dives to go down for feeding and not showing us too much tail!  But, they also were lunging up out of the water with their mouths full of fish and actually completely breaching the water — as in leaping out of the water COMPLETELY.  You haven’t seen a fish jump until you have seen an adult humpback whale leap out of the water.  They only did this once the boat had left the immediate area they were in, so I didn’t capture any photos with the camera — just with my memory.

Here are some “shots” from the day

— the humpbacks were often quite close to the boat and there were often more than one at the surface — I left this one un-cropped so that you could see how close to the boat it was

Now I know why they are called "humpback" whales

— sometimes they did do a deep enough dive to show us their tail’s underside — each humpback whale has a distinctive marking on the underside of his/her tail by which they can be identified

With a final wave "goodbye" this whale dives for deeper water

— lots of photos snapped (yeah for the world of digital cameras) as this whale was with us on the surface for a while, then was going, going, gone

gone, . . . . . bye bye

Hummingbird in the flowers

t’s the end of August and the hummingbirds are busy stocking up on nectar for energy for their long flight to the southern USA and beyond. Earlier this week I caught a male hummingbird, by sight, on the deck but he wouldn’t stay still long enough for a photo. However this female, that I call Hummy, has been feeding all morning and isn’t scared by my opening the door for a closer photo. Some of the pictures are thru the glass doors (two panels as a matter of fact) so they are somewhat distorted. But the three at the plant on the metal hangar I took with the lens sticking out of the open screen. Hummy wasn’t the least bit scared of the human with the camera as she was busy gathering from newly open blooms in the bright sun of this beautiful Connecticut Friday!

Hummy in the wax begonia

Depending upon the angle and what Hummy is doing, sometimes you almost cannot see her wings, but look at her cute little feet curled up under her body as she hovers and drinks from this flower.

Hummy with tiny little feet

Then Hummy went to the ice plant — a bit of a surprise as she doesn’t usually mess with the yellow flowers at all. But perhaps she was just doing a taste test as she prepared to take a break and sit for a bit. It’s funny, but I never think of hummingbirds as sitting down and perching on something like a normal bird, but they do.

Tasting the yellow flower —

Tasting the yellow flower

Heading up to the rest stop —
Hummy ascending

Taking a much-deserved break —
Rest break

So, since I wasn’t getting anything done in the house anyway, with watching the deck constantly with camera in hand, I decided to go out to the other side of the house to capture the “frog of the day” photo. This one is a female and she’s really flattened herself out on this lily pad, enjoying the day and keeping cool and wet in the water on top of the lily pad.

Frog of the day for August 29

And, last but not least, another pond-side member of Mother Nature’s family — this toad. It is a nightly ritual with me (and sometimes hubby goes along or goes in my place) to go out and say goodnight to the fish and check the area around the pond. A week ago on Friday night, we went out together and hubby spotted this toad backed up into the house right under the front door. He too was not a bit concerned by us going in and out stepping right over him. He also didn’t seem to mind when I got out my camera and took his picture. But then again, maybe he did mind — that kind of looks like a “glare in my general direction” on his face.

Here’s Toady —