Wandering through the Big Spring exhibit at the Cleveland Botanical Garden gives one hope that spring is well on the way. If you live, as I do, where winter seems to last forever and sunshine and blue skies are rare and a cause for joy, you will understand the significance of an event that celebrates Spring.
My friend Marti and I visited the Botanical Garden and enjoyed the beauty of spring at her best in the middle of April 2017. I took many pictures, but ten months have passed while the images languished (unprocessed) on my computer’s hard drive. Finally, today, on a dreary, rainy February morning, I decided it was time to share the pictures. I hope you can take a little time out, maybe with a cop of coffee and a bagel in hand, to enjoy this taste of spring.
That’s all for today’s “taste of spring,” but the good news is that April will soon be here again. In less than two months, I can return to the Botanical Garden for another boost to my winter-weary spirits. I’m looking forward to it. Please come back then to see the new edition of “Big Spring!”
Despite the chill in the air, the little ruby-throated hummers were active at our feeders over the past few days. This one doesn’t seem to mind temperatures in the high 50s under overcast skies nearly as much as I do. He’s wearing his summer colors, while I am wearing my winter socks and warm sweater. (Sigh)! Apparently he enjoys the ease of perching on the new feeders as he sips sugar water. That is good news that cheers me immensely. The little summers are such a joy to see.
And multiple members of the goldfinch family have been enjoying their tube feeder and visit often. Here is one resting on “shepherd’s crook” between visits to the feeder.
The bad news is that I haven’t seen the bluebirds for several days. They have deserted the nesting box. I thought I glimpsed one at the new box late yesterday, only to discover it wasn’t a bluebird, it was this bird:
A wren! Now wrens are cute little birds, but they’re not noted for their kindness to other small birds. I’ve never before seen a wren in the backyard buffet. A new bird can be interesting to watch, but, given the reputation of wrens, I fear for the fate of my beloved bluebirds. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “When nesting, wrens become very aggressive, often chasing other birds out of nesting sites and sometimes destroying other birds’ eggs.” Does anyone have any advice about how to handle with this situation?
I will say, there is never a dull moment in the backyard buffet!
See you soon. Hopefully with good news!
It’s clear to the eye that this is another rainy morning, but nevertheless, the birds arrived for breakfast as usual. The redbellied woodpecker, shown in the picture above, wasn’t happy to discover that the hopper feeder had been totally emptied overnight. She is not sure how this happens and neither are we, although we are beginning to suspect collusion between deer and raccoons. To my dismay, the deer wander the neighborhood at night, although sometimes they don’t wait until nightfall. Anytime will do for them. They come up the hill out of the park, cross one street, and walk down another street into our neighborhood. They know exactly where the softies live who put out food for the birds, and that becomes their next meal, of course. This has been their routine forever. So I don’t put out as much food, only enough for the birds to eat during the day, leaving only a few leftovers for the marauding deer. That left the bird buffet pretty much unscathed until I purchased a hanging fuschia plant because someone said hummingbirds love them. It’s true; they do, but so do the deer. Unfortunately!
Then one morning, I looked out the window at the bird buffet and noticed that the lid to the hopper feeder was wide open. The pileated woodpecker was sitting on top of it, but that wasn’t what caught my eye. The open and empty feeder is what caught my eye. Some greedy varmint had lifted the lid, flipped it back, and eaten all the bird seed. All of it! The deer didn’t do that! We must have raccoons roaming the neighborhood under cover of darkness. That’s when I began to think we are fighting a losing battle here. Squirrels and deer any time of the day and raccoons at night. This may be a lost cause!
However, as I continue to wage my war with the unwelcome wildlife, there are still the bluebirds to enjoy. A few days ago, Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird got up the gumption to enter the new bird house, and apparently they liked it.
I’m not sure, but I think they may put in a bid on the property. I hope they do because I would be happy to have them as neighbors.
Thanks for stopping by today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
In my last post, two days ago, I promised to return with more pictures from the trail walk Lisa and I took in the Arboretum on Friday. Yesterday was so full, I didn’t have time to keep that promise. The weekend flew by, as they usually do, and Monday morning has arrived already, and, finally, here are my favorite pictures from that stroll along the trails in the Arboretum. Because I have a weakness for alliteration, I am taking the liberty of titling this post for the day I am posting it.
The long months of winter, from November until well into April, are almost devoid of color, making this trail walk, with so many richly-hued blossoms, a joy to share. Thanks for joining us on this walk. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as Lisa and I did. If you didn’t see the mini-meander I posted on Saturday, check it out to see three more pictures from along the trail (including my favorite golden willow tree).
This was a beautiful day to wander the trails in the Arboretum. The sounds, smells, and colors of spring were intoxicating! Although I don’t have much time for blogging today, if you enjoy this mini-meander, please come back tomorrow when I’ll take you on a longer walk.
The colorful bird featured in my post yesterday, the redheaded woodpecker, is extremely rare in my backyard. Today’s bird, the Baltimore oriole, used to stop by on rare occasions only. Now it flies in for multiple visits daily, enjoying the grape jelly I generously serve in the new jelly dish I purchased at Wild Birds Unlimited. It’s a bird named for a baseball team and a slight twist on the expression, “If you build it, they will come,” from the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams.” In my case, it’s “If you buy it (their favorite kind of food and feeder), they will come.”
Here’s a memory for baseball fans “of a certain age” who can remember when two major league teams played in Philadelphia. Many years ago, when Connie Mack’s Athletics were still making headlines at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, my father and I were big fans. We would go to the season openers and shiver in the box seats on the home team’s side, hoping for a win by our A’s; and we would sit in the sun to watch spring training games in West Palm Beach, Florida to cheer them on. When the A’s left Philadelphia and my parents retired and moved to Baltimore, Daddy switched his allegiance to the Orioles. I’m sure he would love to see these beautiful birds in my backyard and to share these memories with me, and I wish mightily that I could share them with him.
Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you like these orioles!
Two weeks ago, when the annual spring migration was in full swing, birders were all agog over their unique opportunities to see and photograph unusual warblers and other birds rarely seen in our area. Many parks celebrated with special events, and birders planned field trips to prime location along the shoreline. I didn’t have time to take part in the festivities this year, but to my surprise, on Saturday, May 13th, a number of unexpected guests flew into my backyard bird buffet.
Through the morning and most of the afternoon birds were flying from feeder to feeder and tree to tree, while I stood and gawked in amazement. For me, the most exciting visitor was the redheaded woodpecker. Downy and red-bellied woodpeckers are common visitors. Even the pileated woodpecker that I blogged about yesterday has become a regular this summer, but seeing that redheaded bird in my backyard was a huge treat and a cause for celebration.
Could I ask for a more photogenic guest? While he may be common in other areas, he is definitely a rarity in my backyard buffet. What an unusual Saturday that was!
Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
My last 10 days have been busy, so busy I haven’t had any time to post my pictures of the drama in our backyard, but Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird have been even busier. Their hunt for suitable housing has been a challenging one.
Mr. Bluebird took the initiative in the house hunt. Maybe his mate was nagging him to get out there and find them a place to raise their young. For a few days he was very industrious, while she sat on the sidelines and watched.
He went inside to take a look.
In and out, in and out.
Trying out the old nesting box
Then he flew over to the new nesting box.
Looking it over!
He seemed to be really attracted to the brand new box. He tried to enter the door, but halfway in he would change his mind, back out, and fly over to the old, weather-beaten box. Time after time, he repeated that maneuver, going into the old box, then flying over to the new one, but he never could seem to get into the shiny new box. Maybe he had the wrong key? Eventually, the landlord (My husband), decided to lend a hand. Out he went with a drill and a file to make the entrance a little wider, but Mr. Bluebird still didn’t seem to find the entrance satisfactory.
After watching this process for a few days, Mrs. Bluebird must have lost her patience watching him try out first one box, then the other…over and over again, because eventually she flew over to supervise.
Before long she tired of the role of supervisor and flew over to a nearby tree where the goldfinch must have given a sympathetic ear to her complaints. Then for a while she simply sat on the sidelines and watched.
However, her mate wasn’t finished yet. Back he flew to the new nesting box for another go at getting inside. He tried and tried. He was determined!
For several days, I spent a lot of time at my kitchen window, watching this drama unfold. The hapless house hunter never did get into the new home he had set his heart on. I thought they may decide to settle for the run-down box I won at a raffle several years ago, but I’m not sure. He persevered and made a valiant attempt, but at this point, it doesn’t look as if he succeeded. It would be exciting to see their little family hatch and fledge. I’m not giving up hope yet, but I didn’t see them today, so it is possible they have moved in somewhere else. When I have some news, I’ll let you know.
Thanks for visiting the backyard buffet today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
The last few days have brought some surprise visitors to our backyard buffet. Saturday of the second week in May is International Migratory Bird Day…a big occasion here on the south shore of Lake Erie. Birds migrating northward to their summer homes have to cross Lake Erie if the route they take goes through Ohio. Their journey is long, the weather isn’t always favorable, and when they reach Lake Erie, needing to rest up for the long leg of their trip across the Lake, birders in northeast Ohio find their forests and backyard inundated with an amazing variety of birds, many of which aren’t commonly seen here. Surprises are not unusual, and this weekend we have had a few right in our own backyard.
One surprise was the reappearance of bluebirds showing an interest in the nesting box we recently installed in the backyard. We weren’t sure they would return because until January I had never seen a bluebird in our backyard, but we bought and installed it anyway with the theory that, “If you build it, they will come.” And they did. They are curious about the little house, although none have moved in yet. It may be too new and in need of seasoning.
The bluebirds make me really happy. I can’t help smiling when I see them at the feeders, but the biggest surprise of all, the one pictured below, appeared yesterday.
There have been other surprise visitors too, but I will save them for another blog post. It is raining again tonight after several dry but chilly days. It doesn’t seem much like May, but I heard a rumor that it might get really warm (maybe even hot) next week. That’s something to look forward to!
Thanks for stopping by. I love it when you visit.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
If I were as hardy (or crazy) as my friend, Lisa, I would be in the park taking a trail walk with my dog, getting soaking wet like she did this morning. Instead I am sharing more backyard birds because it has drizzled all day, and the high temperature is only about 48 degrees. Did someone mention spring? Uh-uh, not here, not today, and not this weekend either. Maybe next week. Meanwhile, I will share some birds I photographed through my kitchen window. (I’m blaming the lack of sharpness on my dirty windows.)
There were Baltimore orioles, enjoying oranges and grape jelly at the feeder…
And the Eastern bluebirds stopped by again…
If you look closely at their soggy feathers, you can tell how wet it has been around here.
Speaking of birds from Baltimore, I’m from Baltimore too, born and bred in that area. Many years ago, I went east for college, met my husband in Philadelphia, and we eventually migrated to Ohio where we put down new roots near the south shore of Lake Erie. I blame the Great Lakes for our chilly, wet, reluctant spring weather, but spring in northeast Ohio has one big advantage for bird lovers: the big spring migration. Thousands of wonderful warblers, and other migratory birds, often stop for a rest along the south shore of Lake Erie. Inclement, windy days delay their travel plans, as they wait for the weather to clear so they can continue the last leg of their flight across Lake Erie. As a result, we get more time to enjoy them, and I get the fun of taking their pictures.
That’s it for today’s post, blog friends.
I’m hoping to be back soon…
bringing some sunshine and more migratory birds.