Sunday, January 21, 2007

Camouflage, maybe?

Until I add feeders closer to the front and back of my house, I need some effective clothing. My bright green coats and light colored jackets don’t blend in with the landscape and the birds know it. For $27.00, I can buy camouflage outerwear. Replace the gun with a camera around this guy’s neck, and then add a blonde female under the hat. You get the picture. I think it will work because I can stand and wait, motionless, for a long time. I can hold my breath for a long time, too.

My husband and daughter are getting worried about me and my obsession with the camera and birds. I say, “So WHAT!” Little did they know what the future would bring when I opened the box that held my new camera on Christmas day. Tee hee. I have a new sport and I can play it at home whenever I want. Or, I can go somewhere else and play it. I have always loved outdoors and now I have more passion for it, thanks to my blogger friends and my new camera.

Thanks to Liza Lee Miller’s comment yesterday, the black oil sunflower and striped sunflower seeds my DH bought yesterday drew those chickadees to my feeder today like flies on cow dung.

A chilling rain fell today and the skies were dark. It was a grand day for the birds, though, at my house. It wasn’t without some agonizing moments, let me tell you. While sweeping the front porch, a Tufted Titmouse landed on a tree only ten feet from me. We were eye level from each other. Perfect! No camera. I froze and we had a stare-down for at least six seconds, then he was gone. Arghhhh! My body twisted in agony. Right behind the titmouse, a male and female house finch flew directly over my head on the front porch, flew out, then perched in the spot the titmouse had landed minutes earlier. They are eyeing up a barn swallow nest from last summer that still sits under my porch roof. No camera. Arghhhh! Again, my body twisted in agony. Damn!

My camera has features I haven’t even tried yet. Later in the day I tried the low-light feature with decent results. It’s very difficult to use optimal zoom in low light but I was so pleased to see a Carolina Wren before I tried the new mode.

I love mockingbirds because they sit for a long time and allow you to zoom in and get close.

At my house, there were bluebirds today. I nearly fell to my knees in thanks and praise. They were plentiful in the pouring rain and I was delighted, to say the least. Heart pounding, I held my composure and snapped way. Some of them were very bright blue and some wore a more subtle shade.

White throated sparrows visit my lone feeder. Here is a view of one using a low-light mode. Not too bad but not great, either. I think I forgot to zoom in enough. Silly me.

There was a feeding frenzy today for the ever present cardinals, doves, cowbirds, various sparrows, plus tufted titmice, and chickadees. This shot, in a low-light mode, was taken just a minute before the noisy escape of the doves. I saw the brown-streaked hawk wings dive through that ended the party. We have a hilly terrain and I couldn’t trespass downwards into my neighbor’s yard fast enough before he was gone and headed to another feeder two doors down the street. If I had pursued the hawk, I would have slipped on the pine straw spread on the steep hill and landed face-down, right in front of the neighbor's kitchen window. Wife: "Oh, how nice, Carl, Mary came to visit."

I’m amazed to see these birds. In Delaware, we lived on a link-style golf course, wide open and flat and with few trees or foliage, other than the young ones we planted. The main visitors at my feeder were doves, red winged blackbirds and other large flocks. They would clean out a filled feeder within minutes – no kidding.

So, I excitedly said to Michael, “We have bluebirds out there!” His reply, “So? Birds are birds. Just birds.” This was an attempt to annoy me, just for the sheer pleasure of seeing me puff up. So I was right back at him, “Well, instead of the shrimp sauce over pasta tonight, let’s have the leftover meatloaf no one liked.”


Anonymous said...

Mary - ohhhh, nice bird photos! I would have felt the same way about the bluebirds! How exciting for you! Oh yeah, I've been there, when I go outside to do something else (cameraless) is when all of the birds I haven't captured yet come to visit my yard.
Camouflage outerwear - interesting photo in my mind with you in camouflage!
All non-birders should read Susan's blog for a while - she has the ability to get everyone into birding!

Anonymous said...

New interests keep you young and fresh, Mary. My hubby doesn't get the picture/blogging hobby either. (If it isn't hockey, it isn't leisure) He did tramp around a field with me today in the cold though.

LauraHinNJ said...


Thank you for always making me laugh, no matter what you're writing about.

Poor hubby having to eat meatloaf!

amarkonmywall said...

you had a busy day at your feeders! I think Carolina Wrens are my favorite feeder birds- they are hopelessly cute with their little upturned tails. They are also such comical courters and build nice tidy twig nests.

In all my years of birding I haven't had bluebirds. A friend of mine gets 5 or 6 families every year in her row of fence post nesting boxes and I'm always so jealous.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and kind and empathetic comment today- I clearly need to spend some time in your archives as we have much in common.

Susan Gets Native said...

Serves him right, dissin' the birds.

I got such a clear mental image of you sliding down to rest at your neighbor's laughing scared all the cats off my desk.

I love all the bird names you are throwing around.

"I know you are, but what am I?"

Anonymous said...

I love your photos, it is so nice to see the birds. We aren't seeing anything but geese, eagles and hawks right now. I am really looking forward to spring.

I also loved your comment about "puffing up"--just like a bird!

Anonymous said...

LOLOLOL... leftover meatloaf! Don't worry, my hubby first thought my hobby...err... obsession was odd too, but now I find he notices things he never noticed before and will even come get me if he sees something he thinks is new in the yard. WOW, you had lotsa birdies in your yard yesterday! BTW, the "bluer" bluebirds are the males (of course) and the more subdued blues are the females. Yay!! You got bluebirds!!!!

KGMom said...

I did a double take on the GI Joe in camo. At first, I thought he was real. . .
Last weekend, shopping at Target, I saw a little girl's outfit in camouflage--pink, and soft green, and taupe! Now, where would that camouflage work?
Anyway, maybe there's something there for you. I didn't check out the intimates department, so I don't know what they have.
What a fun post to read.

Anonymous said...

Bluebirds! Wow!

And you laugh about the camo outwear but some of the serious birders on Flickr use blinds (like duck hunting blinds) in their backyards to get good pictures! Amazing!

Let them eat meatloaf!

Oh, and where would pink camo work? In a 3rd grade classroom because all the other 3rd grade girls would be wearing it too! :)

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful series of pictures and a stunning post! Keep up the great work!

Julie Zickefoose said...

You FED him after a comment like that?

Mary said...

Hi All,

Yes, I am really considering camo. Nuts, ey? A friend in MD e-mailed me at work this afternoon to tell me she once had chickadees eat sunflower seeds from her hand. Picture me posing motionless, in my camo get-up, arm upstretched, waiting, waiting, waiting, from sunrise to sunset...Who would take the darn picture if a little chickadee floated onto my hand and grabbed a snack?

And yes, I fed him the shrimp pasta anyway - after he invited me to ride the golf cart to get some good views. He'll say anything to ruffle my feathers because I'm beautiful when I'm mad.

Anonymous said...

Why Mary, you have to take the photo. You have to stand there with one hand out, one hand holding the camera up to your face all day until the bird comes along. Then you've got it!

I figured you'd give in and feed him shrimp pasta. So where's the good views you saw? You did have your camera, right? ;)

Mary said...

Pam, we didn't go out - it was raining. We'll save it for another day, but I hope he won't rush me along or I'll have to walk home LOL!

You're a hoot.

Anonymous said...

You're a hoot too! LOL! Oh, I misread that you already went out. Yah, hopefully he's very patient with you when you spot all of the birds you just *have* to photograph!