Friday, May 11, 2007

Flat Friday

Oh, my. I'm ready to publish this post and I'm bored to tears. Sigh... Here goes. Click.


It’s been a week since I walked the half mile during my lunch hour and I noticed so many new flowers blooming. I was stunned to see many beautiful Iris (?) at the edge of the woods. Alone on the trail, I stopped in my tracks and commented out loud, “stunning”. I walked briskly today knowing my return to Weight Watchers starts tomorrow, but I had to stop for a while and gaze at the color.

It’s very warm here in the Carolinas and the humidity is rising. We’ve only averaged about two days of light rain per month since March. The effects are evident now. Overnight, the grass gave up and turned brown in spots. We have an irrigation system since it’s a requirement to keep things alive in this climate but I’ll be spending a lot of time this weekend with the garden hose in my hand. Also, I’ll be spending a lot of time inside cleaning the house since we’ll be in Maryland next weekend for a whirlwind visit with family. There is so much work to do outside and inside… And here I sit, blogging my heart out. Time for relaxation is a requirement, too.

The Grackles and Starlings are annoying me as I voiced this week. They were swarming the feeders when I stepped onto the deck this evening and I just can’t keep up with their appetite! I introduced suet near the end of January and it didn’t become popular until April. Now everyone wants it in large quantities! I’ll need to start making Julie’s recipe if I want to please instead of making trips to the store every week to keep their bellies full. Cutting back on the BOSS and suet hasn’t turned them away. When the feeders run dry, they still hang out.

I enjoy the backyard birds I have now. Our home in Delaware was facing a flat, link-style golf course, void of foliage and trees. Flocks of Red-Winged Blackbirds and Mourning Doves visited my feeder. No Sparrows, horny pigeons, Thrashers, Chickadees, or Cardinals. During a severe deep freeze one year there, I did a happy dance inside the house when I saw several bluebirds getting a drink from an unfrozen hole in the pond.

The thought of letting the feeders run dry for a while, in hopes the Grackles and Starlings will leave, is depressing. What would I do without the rest? I took all of the following photos today. Here are just a few who live here.


He can run, but he can’t hide. He's a very bright loud mouth.


House Finches in large numbers get boring but I’d miss them. This female trusted me to be close for a few seconds to photograph her butt.


Lovely sparrows on the ground and hopper challenge my ID skills every day. I'm too tired to try ID tonight.


A Brown-headed Nuthatch has visited every day!


Carolina Chickadees are special. Small and mighty, but difficult to photograph. They manage to have “alone time” at the feeders.


There are more Mockingbirds in my area than any other bird. This is probably my finest photo so far, taken on my walk on campus today.


My heart rate increases whenever I see woodpeckers. I hold my breath and screw up the photo opportunities most of the time. The Red-Bellies visit all day long.


Honeysuckle scent is captivating.



Don’t be left out of “Blogger Habitats”. I’ve received several photos so far. I know everyone has too much on their plate now but please take a little time and send me a photo of your space and a brief commentary. Details are outlined at the end of this post. Will ya, please?


RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary, When I worked at WBU we had lots of people complain about grackles and starlings hogging the seed and suet. Couple things you can try: switch completely to safflower seed in your hopper and tube feeders. Grackles don't care for it and will eventually give up, but your chickadees, cardinals and house finches will still eat it. You can also go to your WBU store and get one of the wire screens that your tube feeder will fit inside of--that way you can still put out the yummy sunflower blend and your little birds (finches, nuthatches, chickadees) can still get through the screen to pick out their favorite seeds. For suet you can try switching to just the plain (if you can find a shady place to hang the feeder). The grackles and starlings eat suet because they love the peanuts. However, it tends to melt faster in a warm climate like yours. Your WBU store may have an upside down suet feeder for you to try also. The grackles and starlings have a much harder time because they can't cling upside down, while woodpeckers are masters at it. (If your WBU doesn't have an upside down suet feeder and you want to try it, let me know and I'll send you one that I'm no longer using).
Sorry this got so lengthy. I just hate for someone like you who's really gotten into the birds and birdfeeding to be discouraged by the pesty "gangsta" birds. You don't have to be a victim! :-)

Susie said...

I haven't seen grackles and starlings here. The most common bird at our feeder is a finch, although we've started getting quite a few others.
I just emailed you my photo of my blogger habitat.

Anonymous said...

ruthiej has given you some good advice, Mary. I don't feed the birds much in summer for the very same reasons - mostly just thistle seed for the goldfinches and safflower.

Your little sparrow is a chipping sparrow! See his pretty cap? I have a few here that were acting just crazy today chasing each other around and singing while I was planting in the garden.


Chrissie said...

Your visitors are not boring at all :-) Just about the only bird we share in our garden is the sparrow and I love the way they twitter together. The others are not seen here! I do understand about the birds who take more than their share, we have rooks, pigeons and seagulls, they appear from nowhere sometimes :-)
I will post a pic of my habitat sometime soon :-)

Jayne said...

I've found that safflower works quite well to dissuade the unwanted visitors. Thankfully, I've been lucky thus far... (knocking on wood).

Love all the pretty photos of your regular visitors Mary. :c)

KGMom said...

Mary, now why on earth are you bored? You have loads of birds, even if they are the same old same olds for you. And you have your camera that captures all the gifts of nature. Maybe Friday is blah, but your blog isn't.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I don't think you're blah either. Far from it! Red-winged blackbirds are my feeder hogs right now, but they usually ease off later in summer. We're heading out to Hasty Brook this morning to set the camper up for the summer. Have a good weekend!!

Unknown said...

Well, *I* wasn't bored by your birds. You keep on taking pics of those lovely birds. That Mocker pic was spectacular! The other pic I loved was the Finch 'tocks! Too cute!

NatureWoman said...

You may be bored with yourself (as I was getting) but I don't find you boring *at* all Mary! You're a ball of fire! I love all of your photos. Thanks for the gentle reminder. I'll get on it!

Mary said...

Ruthiej, thank you so much for stopping by and giving me some great information. I'm going to follow-up on your lead and see how it goes. The appearance of these "gangsta" birds are getting to be ridiculous!!! LOL!

Susie, thanks so much for your photo! Red-winged blackbirds aren't nearly as haughty and hungry as those grackles and starlings. I like the RW Blackbirds.

Hi Laura (anon), why are you anon today? I knew it was a chipping sparrow but I was only 95% sure. I just didn't feel like screwing up another time :0) Enjoy your garden...hugs.

Chris, I guess everyone has feeder bullies... Try to send me your photo again. Do you think it fell into the ocean, perhaps?

Jayne, I'll be off to try some safflower real soon!

Donna, thanks. It's very boring to have nothing to say. So I sit down at the keyboard and just wing it when I'm bored.

Lynne, have a terrific time at your favorite spot!

Thanks, Liza. I thought that mocker was very good, too. The finch tocks come in second.

Pam, do we all think we are boring at times? Probably. I'm glad you are getting back into the swing of things. Send that photo!

Larry said...

Great photos again-check!
So you're enrolling the birds in weight watchers as well are you?

Mary said...

Larry, HA! Very clever. Yes, if I must suffer, they must, too :o)

Cathy said...

Oh that's right! The blogger habitats! I've got to get on that.

I still can't believe the Mocking Birds and Brown-headed Nuthatch on a daily basis. All that AND Honeysuckle. Ummmmm . . . I think I got a little tickle of scent. Thanks.

BTW - I've got the same problem with Grackles. I'm broadcasting seed under the bushes for the other shyer birds.

thailandchani said...

Good grief! You do take the most beautiful photographs..a nd how you manage to get all those birds is beyond me!



Susan Gets Native said...

Well, you bored me so much, I fell asleep......zzzzzz.

You would have shrieked at all the RW blackbirds I saw at the bird observatory's feeders today. Like 50 of them!
I agree with Ruthie: try safflower. Or you can try some feeders built for smaller birds (the ports are inside a cage that only the little guys can fit into)
And you MUST start making Zick dough. It's very inexpensive to make and it's easy, too. You can quadruple the recipe and it stores well in the fridge.

From Susan, the hot-tubbed, relaxed, sittin'-by-the-bay gal.

Mary said...

Susan, hot-tubbing? BITCH... :O)

Alyssa said...

Hi Mary, Wonderful pictures. Do you take the bird pics through the windows or are you out doors? They are so clear. Love the woodpecker - we had one like that in yesterday and were thrilled. You're so lucky he's in every day. We've also got some indigo buntings that hang around all summer and were lucky to see a Baltimore oriole pair come to the oranges we'd put out. Also, a turkey vulture landed in an oak tree in the back yard last week. There is a flock of 6 that live nearby and we see them all the time. Most people would roll their eyes, but one of my most favorite birds is the blue jay. We've got two and they are so pretty. Oh yes, We've had grackles hang upside down and devour suet! I guess I just wouldn't put it out in the summer. Just more goodies for them. The wild iris is beautiful! Thank you for the horses too. Alyssa

LostRoses said...

Not boring at all, Mary! Wonderful photos, and have I asked you what brand and style of camera you're using? Your close-ups are so good and my zoom doesn't do a darn thing! One of these days I'm going to have to do something about that but meanwhile no bird pictures for me so I come to your blog to get my fix!

Anonymous said...

I must say it also, you bored? So many great photos and without a doubt your not bored! We had warmer temps but it quickly got cold again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary - I am a relative of Beader Girl and followed the link. Great bird pics.
Here is a suet tip to save you $$. In my area we have butchers who turn cows into a side of beef. I visit them and ask for their suet. They 'sell' a huge wad of beef fat to me for $1... equivalen t of about 20 of the blocks with seeds that you buy in stores. Birds (woodpeckers and starlings) like it just as well. I take it home and slice it to fit my feeder and stick the rest of slices in freezer.

And I have decided to just welcome grackles and starlings... who am I to decide they are not worthy of my feeding program while other birds are??