Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Just Wednesday Stuff

The batteries are dying in my camera and I didn't realize there were no more in the drawer, so I can only get a few pictures at a time till I go shopping again on Friday. And to tell you the truth, there's really not much going on around here anyway.

We had some snow on Monday--about 6 inches of very fluffy stuff. Here's what I saw on the deck railing with I walked in from work Monday afternoon:

I actually saw 9 Mourning Doves in the backyard on Monday afternoon. I keep watching to see if there will be another Eurasian Collared Dove like I had in my yard a few years ago.
A pretty cool looking dove and rare for our area--especially in winter. I got to meet some new birders that year as they stopped by to see this unusual dove. It wasn't around very long (Cooper's hawk, I think).

Of course all my birdfeeders were pretty well covered with snow and the bird activity was quite frenzied. I've been putting a scoop of the WBU Frosty Feast that my sissy gave me for Christmas in my window feeder tray. The bluejays grab all the peanuts, but all the other birdies love the sunflower hearts and cranberry pieces that are left over.

I've seen this partially leucistic house finch around, but on Monday I was able to get a photo of him at the window feeder.

Likewise, this cute little American Tree Sparrow posed quite nicely.

The Frosty Feast is a truly appealing blend for all the birds and I've seen birds at this window feeder who normally would never come this close to the house--including a female cardinal, red-breasted nuthatch, and even a junco. Pretty cool stuff....thanks again Sissy, for such a great Christmas gift.

With all the fresh new snow, there are all kinds of new tracks to see out in the yard. I noticed early this morning before work that the deer had finally come back overnight and there tracks were all over as they munched birdseed and corn from my tray feeders.

Out in the front yard I noticed some tracks from Mr. Ringneck.
He's an impressive fellow, isn't he?

The tail touched down first

Then a little skip as his entire body slid to a stop

And then his first step upon landing
(the snow is pretty deep and very soft, so even as he's walking, he can't lift his feet high enough and that's why you see the drag mark).

It's fun to figure out what stories the tracks in the snow have to tell you.


Anonymous said...

Some nice closeups on dying batteries, nice Mr. Pheasant. I think he would be good in the oven with dressing and some bacon on top. Pheasant season is over so no meal, maybe next fall.

Meggie said...

Ruthie: I just love reading your blog. You make me more aware of nature and the subtle things that I tracks in the snow. I don't think I would have ever noticed the hawk in the lilac bush if I hadn't read about yours. I will certainly look more closely at the snow and tracks the next time I'm out and about. Thanks.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
He's the biggest pheasant I've ever seen. He's safe in our yard and the dogs haven't discovered his scent yet either. I think he lives in the pine trees.

Hi Meggie,
Thank you for that lovely compliment. I was walking around trying to find out where the deer are coming in to the yard and came across this pheasant touchdown. That's a bonus when you find something even more exciting than what you're originally looking for.

Jayne said...

I can't even imagine seeing a pheasant in my yard. Lucky duck! Very cool feeder indeed. :c)

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
His presence surprised me too. There are some cornfields about a half-mile away (across the highway) and our yard really isn't ideal pheasant habitat, but he's been here a couple winters now and I keep putting corn out for him and all the other birds and critters who wander through.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Ruthie, Ijust can't get over seeing a pheasant at your feeders. What fun that must be. I love to see them strutting around in a field. They are so handsome.

We had ECDO nesting in our little town one summer. We haven't seen them much since. I often wonder where they went. They appeared to be successful. Hmmmmm keep warm.

Richard said...

Good pictures and story line with it. We haven't had much snow since the first one. Maybe 1/2 an inch now and then. After the snow about the only tracks I notice are the rabbits. Based on the tracks, I much have at least 50 around here (or just a couple of really active ones). You gotta get yourself Photoshop Elements or something.

Beth said...

another beautiful and interesting post. You are a good photographer, even with low batteries!

Mary said...


It looks so grey and cold there... I'll put a work order in for someone to come around your way and put the sun up.

Like you, I always enjoyed walking through untouched snow and look at tracks. I'd even make the dogs stay inside until I investigated first :o)


Anonymous said...

You're welcome for the Frosty Feast. It's really great, isn't it? We're all out at the store so I hope you enjoyed it :) I figured it'd be a hit at your place. Not much action at mine, even with Frosty Feast in the feeder.
Your sissy

Marsha said...

Great shots even with a dying battery! I had a mourning dove for 2 days around Christmas...I can't believe you have them all winter.

Don't you just love the pheasants...there are lots of them in our area.

Larry said...

Nice to have a pheasent in the yard! We had one once.-That must have been interesting to see that collared dove-I wish something that interesting would show up in my backyard too.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lisa,
According to everything we've heard and read, the pheasant population seems to be increasing. Maybe they're figuring out how to adapt by living in backyards, because there sure isn't much natural habitat left for them out in the wild anymore (at least around here).
I was surprised to see the ECDO--that was a new bird from me. While it was here, I learned there are a couple of small flocks in extreme SE MN (closer to the Mississippi).

Hi Richard,
I noticed some really heavily used rabbit trails too during my backyard walkabout yesterday--all coming and going from under the evergreen trees in the yard.

Hi Beth,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and I appreciate your kind words. Weatherman is predicting temps in the 20's (above zero!) this weekend, so maybe I'll get a chance to go out and see what kind of pictures I can find with fresh batteries!

Hi Maree,
Those cold/gray pictures were taken on Monday during our mini-snowstorm. The sun has been shining brightly the rest of the week.
I know what you mean about keeping the pups inside when investigating something interesting in the backyard....

Hi Sissy,
Your squirrels are still coming around aren't they? I wonder why you're not getting many birds? Is that hawk still hanging around?
P.S. Sophie caught a starling yesterday! :-D

Hi Marsha,
For November and most of December, there wasn't a MODO to be seen and then all of a sudden they just showed up again.
Do you always see lots of pheasants in your area? Is there a lot of CRP or state land around there? We're so agricultural around here and there aren't even many fence rows or tree lines left in place for sheltering them.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
You snuck in while I was posting my long response comment....
I know that some interesting bird will show up in your backyard when you least expect it! That's what makes backyard birding so rewarding!

nina said...

Ruthie, we're on the same wavelength!
I ran out to the pond this morning to take pictures of tracks, too. Not wanting to have a camera with a dead battery, I'd plugged it in (rechargeable) the night before.
I ran out so excitedly this morning, I didn't have a dead battery, I had no battery at all!

RuthieJ said...

Oh Nina, I know I shouldn't laugh but I did! I hope you had time to run back for the batteries and get some pictures before you had to go to work!
(I've gone out to take pictures with the camera's flash card still stuck in my computer from downloading the night before.)

Azz said...

As a UK birder, it's lovely to see someone getting excited about a Collared Dove - reminds me just how lovely they really are (where I live they're one of the most common garden and feeder birds, so it's too easy to take them for granted!).

Anonymous said...

Oh I just love those pheasant tail tracks in the snow...

Cathy said...


That is too cool! Great photos.