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A few minutes ago, while I was in the Back Yard Buffet, refilling the water bowl and keeping an eye on Gulliver as he wandered around the yard, a small hawk zoomed into the Buffet. It paused very briefly right in front of me as I stood near the brush pile, but thankfully didn’t linger. The Buffet, which a minute earlier had been filled with patrons little birds, was suddenly empty. Gulliver and I were alone. Obviously something had set off an alarm. The little birds vanished, and I saw the hawk fly off into one of the tall trees. Standing there in amazement, I wondered if I had conjured up the hawk, it had all happened so quickly.

Here are some of the birds that were feasting on the peanuts, suet,  and other premium seeds at the Bird Buffet until the hawk did his fly-by.

I’m sure they’ll return. The air is very cold this week with wind chills in the single digits; the ground is frozen; the birds are hungry; and Skip’s Back Yard Buffet serves up a good menu. I just hope my patrons continue to be on the alert against further hawk incursions. This is the second one I’ve seen this week. Apparently the hawk is hungry too.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon!
Trail Walker

P.S. If anyone knows how to discourage the starlings from taking over the Buffet, please leave your suggestion in the comments. They are pretty birds but pesky, and they invade like the Huns.

 

First snowfall

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Put together the first snowfall of the season with blustery wind and very cold temperatures. Then throw in a brand new brush pile that the birds are absolutely loving, and suddenly you have open house at the Bird Buffet. The juncos, mourning doves, blue jays, sparrows, titmice, chickadees, and more all spent an exciting day gathered around the brush pile and other new additions to the back yard bird buffet. The red-bellied woodpecker made its first visit in a long time, and the downy woodpecker was enjoying the suet. Watching them was great fun. Here are just a few pictures, and there will be plenty more coming because I have pictures I haven’t even had time to process. Eventually they will make their way to the blog. I hope you will come back to see them.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon!
Trail Walker

To share or not to share?

That is the question!

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As you can see from the picture above, the downy woodpecker and black-capped chickadee don’t have a problem sharing the bark butter at the suet feeder. They are peaceably pecking away, each on her own side of the feeder.

However, these two goldfinches aren’t getting along so well on their perch.

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And the hummingbird and bee? How do they feel about sharing?

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I’m not so sure about the bee, but the expression on the face of the hummingbird makes his feelings very clear. If he could talk, he would be screaming,”Scram! Scat! Skedaddle! I was here first!!!”

…And I wouldn’t blame him one bit!

Would you want to share your beverage with a bee?

 See you soon.
Trail Walker

A little rain and a lotta lazy!

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Rain was threatening, and I was feeling lazy, so I hung around the house for some back yard birding instead of heading to the park for a trail walk. As it turned out, lazy wasn’t a bad choice, and I ended up having loads of fun just sitting on the bench in my back yard. A lady hummer came for a visit, and she was joined by a downy woodpecker, a finch (I think), and a little bird with a punk hairdo.

I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but we have a new feeder for the hummingbirds. Today the hummer was taking turns sipping from them.First one, then the other! The new feeder is different. It’s shallow with a ring around it for her is rest on while she drinks, and, best of all, it is much easier to clean and refill. That’s especially important when it is hot like it has been recently because the wasps and ants are also attracted to the sugar water feeder, which must be emptied and refilled every two or three days.

As an extra treat, the birds and I were joined at the back yard buffet by Samantha Squirrel. Sammy and her extended family love the bark butter suet cakes as much as the birds do, and I love to watch their antics as they climb the poles, hang onto the feeders, and help themselves to the bark butter. Fortunately the birds are willing to share!

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That’s it from the back yard buffet today. Nothing earthshaking. Nothing political. No name-calling, no violence. Just food, fun, and congeniality. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for joining me today. See you soon.
Trail Walker

A pileated surprise!

We had just finished Sunday evening supper when our daughter glanced out the dining room window and exclaimed, “What the heck is that?”  When I turned to look out the window, this is what I saw…

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He had flown down from the tree top without announcing his arrival, as he usually does, and there he sat on top of the bird feeder no more than four feet from our window. Obviously he had found a comfortable place to feast on the bark butter suet, and he was really pleased.

Jumping up from the table, I moved over to the kitchen window where I picked up my camera. Earlier I had cranked the window open about an inch, so I was able to wind it fully open without alarming our “guest.” He was completely engrossed in the suet cake and unaware of my presence, so I was able to capture many pictures. These are the best…

I’m betting he’ll be back, just as long as I keep the suet feeder filled with cakes of bark butter suet. He had his Sunday evening treat, and I had some real good closeups to share on my blog. It was a memorable moment!

See you soon!
Trail Walker

One more week to go

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For the past three weeks I’ve been on a self-imposed break from my regular trail walks so I can take an online course in photoshop for photographers. As a result, I haven’t had much news to report from along the trail. Photoshop doesn’t come easily to me, but it is a lot of fun, and hopefully will lead to improvements in my blog posts. Only one more week to go in the course, then I plan to resume posting  Along the Trail three times each week on Tuesday Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday. Although sticking to a regular schedule for posting, doesn’t come easily to me either 😋, I believe it is the best approach to take, and I hope you will return to see my posts on those days.

As you have probably noticed, I am always interested in the behavior of birds. Today I want to share something I observed yesterday when one of the red-bellied woodpeckers (RBW) visited our yard. Between our property and the neighbors behind us are 12 very tall trees where the birds love to nest, rest, hide, and perch. The picture at the top of this post shows an RBW investigating a hole high up on the trunk of one of the trees. She was very curious about the hole, maybe checking out its potential for a future nest. I’m not sure what she expected to see, but she gave it a good look. Click on the gallery below to see her in action:

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they nested in our tree, and we could watch their little family?

That’s it for today. Starting next week, I will resume regular posts and visits to your blogs. To those who have continued to visit and leave comments during my break: thank you for your patience.

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Back Yard Birding and more

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I know some people take their feeders down when spring arrives, but we still like to keep some food and water available for these little creatures. So the other day I parked myself on a back yard bench to decide how to rearrange the feeders, and here are a few of the visitors that stopped in to say hello:

So with all those visitors to entertain me, I stayed longer in the back yard than I had intended, but eventually I got up from the bench and went with Bob to take Gulliver for a walk in the park. There I encountered a few more birds (but no squirrels this time). Take a look at these beauties:

A white-crowned sparrow

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A little yellow warbler sitting on a branch

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A downy woodpecker admiring some yellow flowers

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And last of all, on the trail back to the parking lot, we saw an indigo bunting. 

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With that beautiful bunting, my day was complete!!! The ruby-throated hummingbird at the very top of this post and the indigo bunting are my favorites. I enjoyed sharing them all with you. If you have a favorite, please leave a comment to let me know.

Thanks for stopping by today.
See you soon.
Trail Walker

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