Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rainy Saturday

It rained for most of today and we picked up just about an inch of much needed moisture. It will be good to roll up the garden hose and put the sprinkler away for a few days. Since my overtime was not approved for the weekend, I got to stay home all by myself while Mr. Johnson enjoyed a fun day at work. I spent most of my day knitting and watching birds (with a few loads of laundry thrown in so Mr. Johnson didn't think I totally wasted my time today).

The rain wasn't continuous, so there was plenty of bird activity all day long. I do have some bad news to report though.....when I went out to check on the baby bluebirds last night the nest box was empty! The nest itself was undisturbed, but there were no babies in it. Raccoon? Snake? I'll never know and this has never happened before in my yard. I'm so sad and I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird are too. The only good thing about this is that Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird have stuck around the yard and are looking at another nest box in the front yard. And I'm thrilled that they are hanging around and even coming up to the deck to pick some mealworms out of the feeder I have there.
Did you know that the male bluebird will feed the female? I was happy to be able to capture this image, and even though the male is a little blurry, look how wide that female has her beak open to accept the mealworm from him.
Other birds share mealworms from this feeder, including Baltimore Orioles, Chickadees, and Downy Woodpeckers.
The Bluejays have finally started coming back. They've been gone for several weeks -- busy with nesting and raising a family, I guess. Since they're coming around again, I've started putting some peanuts in the shell back out on the deck. And it's not just the bluejays who are enjoying these peanuts......I have a couple of chipmunks stopping by too.

I know a lot of people hate chipmunks, but I just have so much fun watching them up on the deck and so do Penny and Sophie from behind the patio door.

This little one has lost about half of its tail, so it's easy to distinguish from the other 'munk also coming for peanuts.
For whatever reason, this little 'munk decided to spend some time in the flowerpot with my snapdragons. I've got some compost mixed in with the soil in these pots, so I don't know if he's eating something from the compost or burying a peanut.
Pretty cute, don't you think? (I probably won't think so when I get home from work some day and the snapdragons are all dug out of the pot.....)
I cleaned out and refilled all my hummingbird nectar feeders this afternoon and it didn't take the hummingbirds long to come back for more refreshment. I was surprised to see a second female fly up to this feeder with one female already there feeding.
A few tense moments ensued and I waited for one to chase the other one away.....
.....but amazingly enough, they were both able to sit and eat without fighting.
I hung this feeder under a weather dome, so I think they were both just happy to be able to drink some nectar and stay out of the rain.


mon@rch said...

Rainy Day here also! Love your photos as always! Bluebirds are my faves!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Tom. I woke up this morning to the sound of Mr. Bluebird singing in the tree right outside my bedroom window--it doesn't get much better than that!

Trixie said...

Wow! What a wonderful day. I would gladly swap ot for this. That bluebird couple is so very sweet. And the hummingbird standoff...thanks.

Beth said...

thanks for sharing a perfect day. I loved the bluebird shots but was sad about the babies.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can tell you enjoyed your rainy saturday Ruthie. Good for you. You deserve a restful day after all the work you have been doing.

Herci said...

Wonderful images Ruthie! you bring me closer to nature, as usual--thanks for that!

How gorgeous and darling is that bluebird couple? so sweet.

Also, I'm sorry to hear about the babies :(


Mary C said...

Ruthie, what a darling bluebird couple. I'm really sorry to hear about the loss of the babies - no evidence left behind? I think you chipmunk photos (and chipmunk) are so cute. I thought the same thing about this little possibly digging out your snapdragons. I know the squirrels tend to do that around here -- digging in potted plants (especially bulbs). That was interesting to see an oriole going for the mealworms, but I shouldn't be surprised since they are insect eaters. And it's nice to capture two female hummingbirds "sharing" the nectar. Anna's hummingbirds don't like to share, especially the males - they are very territorial.

Jayne said...

Yea! Finally some rain here too... never thought I'd dance around the house with joy while it was raining! Sweet photos of your bluebirds. Hate that their nest wasn't successful. :c( Your hummers reminded me that I need to clean mine and make some more nectar too. Have a great rest of the weekend Ruthie. :c)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the bluebird family, I can just imagine a sneaky racoon put the paw in there and scooping out those baby birds. Will Mom & Dad start a new nest some where else. Those hummingbirds are just itching to chase one off. Thanks for the other pics of birding life at the Johnson residence. Whoopee, no OT and a day at home to catch up on some of the things that had to be done at home.

jan m said...

I don't think I could begrudge a chipmunk anything. They are too cute!

nina said...

Gosh, Ruthie, your hummers are well-mannered!
Just this morning I was wondering to myself why they bother putting so many holes and perches around them, because none of my hummers allow another anywhere close to "their" feeder!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Trixie,
It was a great day! Not very often I get to be home all alone to just knit & watch birds.

You're welcome Beth. I felt bad about those bluebirds too. I've never seen raccoons in the backyard, but it may be time to invest in a live trap because I found a tree swallow nest destroyed this afternoon too.

Thanks Lisa....only 1 more day to go and then this quarter will be over. Tomorrow's going to be ugly, but having my weekend to look back on will help me get through the day.

I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures Herci. It's fun to have all this nature right outside my door (except when I have to experience the bad things).

Hi Mary C,
No evidence at all that I could see. But today I also found a nest full of tree swallow babies that had been pulled out of one of the gourd birdhouses. I saw the door of the gourd laying on the ground and when I went to look, the remains of swallow babies were there too. Only a raccoon would be strong enough to pull that door off. I'm going to have to take some preventative measures against raccoons (now that I definitely know they're in my backyard.)

Hi Jayne,
Enough rain to do some good? I'm sure you'll take every drop you can get.
The hummingbird feeder in the picture had been just about empty....I delayed the cleaning and refilling task for too long!

Hi Mom,
The bluebirds are sitting on the house in my front yard and also the house by Bradd's mailbox. I know he really wants this bluebird pair in his yard, but I'm going to try and keep them here! I'll have to be more vigilant for that raccoon if the bluebirds nest here in the yard again.

Hi Jan,
I'm glad you feel that way too. Maybe if I can keep them satisfied with peanuts they won't dig up my plants!

Hi Nina,
I've often wondered that same thing about hummingbird feeders. I actually have 4 feeders around the yard, but this one is on the deck and they all seem to like it best.
P.S. I like your new photo!

Debbie said...

Ruthie, sorry to hear about your Bluebirds. We had that happen a few times and found the culprit to be English Sparrows. The baby birds were found dead under the box on the ground.

What a great shot of the male feeding the female. Enjoyed all your photos today.

Susan Gets Native said...

I've got chipmunks planting sunflower seeds everywhere! I never have to worry about having sunflowers around in the fall....the munks do the gardening for me.
I have to smooth out the mulch every morning because of their busy little endeavors.
: )

Windyridge said...

Ruthie, what kind of camera do you have? Your bluebird feeding pic is amazing, blurry or not. I love those birds and am thrilled to have a pair near the house also. My blog pics aren't nearly as good as yours.
We love chipmunks and feed them at our cabin.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Debbie,
I have some English Sparrows hanging around too, so it's hard to know for sure what happened. I'll just have to try and be a better landlord in the future.

Hi Susan,
Do your dogs go wild over the chipmunks too? I think mine are living under the deck but the hostas and ferns as so thick I can't tell for sure. I'll probably have sunflowers growing everywhere next year too!

Hi Windyridge,
Thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Because it was raining most of the day, all of the pictures (except for the hummingbirds) were taken through the dining room window. I was amazed they turned out as good as they did.
My camera is a Canon PowerShot S1 IS with a 10X Optical Zoom. I wish I knew more about taking better pictures. I also rely heavily on my Adobe Photoshop Elements software for editing my photos.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

I especially love the photos of the bluebirds. Fabulous feeding photo.

Robin at Bumblebee

Larry said...

I actually stopped feeding birds for a while.-The only thing I put out is thistle and suet along with water.It looks like you've got a lot going on in that yard of yours.

Mel said...

Hi Ruthie,
Hope nothing happened to those bluebirds after all.
The hummingbird pics are my favorite!
Great post!