Monday, April 13, 2009

A couple of backyard things

I hope everyone had a very happy Easter and had some fun times with friends and family. Mr. Johnson and I headed down to my parents for a family get-together and delicious Easter feast. Thanks again Mom & Dad for a nice afternoon.

We're still enjoying some pretty decent spring weather and although today was overcast and not quite as warm as yesterday, I decided to go out this afternoon and do some more yard clean-up chores. Last week I burned off part of the wildflower patch and since it wasn't very windy and fairly cool this afternoon, I decided to finish burning the rest of the patch. It's been quite a few years since I burned the entire patch, so it was way overdue.
I had the garden hose ready and watered down the grass around the trees and shrubs within the area to be burned so that none of these would get burned. In the center of both pictures you can probably make out my big ol' brushpile. The bunnies and possums live under it and the birds use it to escape from the Cooper's hawk, so I took special precautions to make sure that the brushpile didn't burn either.
I'm glad I got this project finished up today because I just heard on our local evening news that there's now a burning ban on for our area until Friday! Once we get some rain later in the week, this burned area will green up really fast. And I'm hoping that my wildflowers come back rejuvenated and with less weeds.

The other exciting thing in my backyard was revealed to me this afternoon when I came in the house to make supper. Out the kitchen window, I spotted this cute little Brown Creeper -- a first in my backyard! Can you spot the bird in this picture?

Here's a little bit better view.
If it weren't for the bird's white underside, it would be extremely difficult to spot them. They "creep" up the trunk of the tree, using their long, slightly curved beak to excavate beneath loose bark for insects.

Have a good week everybody!


Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed the Easter feast, I sure didn't have much left, we'll eat it tomorrow, there is only 2 servings left, one for me and one for Dad. Everyone seemed to like what I made.

You got quite a bit accomplished today, it was a good day off for you.

We have brown creepers in our birch trees in front. You have to watch very carefully or you would miss it. We also had a warbler in the evening but it was dark enough we couldn't see any markings. He was just flitting around, David saw him too.

It was an enjoyable day even if it was cloudy, liked listening to our Vienna Chimes. It is such a relaxing sound.


Lynne said...

Brown Creepers are so neat! There are so hard to spot so good for you.

Richard said...

Another bird I haven't seen. Good eyes and capture. I always wonder how many birds I don't see every day because they blend in to nature so nicely.

Marsha said...

Lucky you spotting the brown creeper...they are really fun to watch.

Be careful with the fires...when we came back through OK there were fires everywhere and the winds made them jump around.

Mary C said...

Glad you had a really nice Easter, Ruthie. That is so cool to find a brown creeper in/on your tree. As I am writing this I am being distracted by a male hooded oriole visiting my backyard for the "first" time this spring. Actually, he and his mate stopped by very briefly yesterday morning; and now, this morning he's even playing harder to get. Heidi and I still haven't managed to get a photo of him or her yet.

Mel said...

Hola Ruthie,
Sounds like you enjoyed a nice meal with your parents.
That bird seems pretty small, how big is it?

jan m said...

We spotted several brown creepers when we visited Sapsucker Woods today at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It was like watching big bugs scoot up and down the tree. They're fun to watch.

Heather said...

Good eye on that Creeper, Ruthie. They are SO hard to see! I hear them way more than I see them. It's been pretty wet around here lately, so no burning bans here!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
I bet it was a yellow-rumped warbler--they're should just be starting to show up here.

Hi Lynne,
I probably wouldn't have spotted it except I saw it fly over to the tree. Once it got on the tree, it was almost invisible!

Hi Richard,
Keep your eyes peeled--according to the migration information I have here, their numbers should be peaking this week and I bet you'll see one soon!

Hi Marsha,
I saw that on the news last week about the fires in OK.
I was really careful with this burn and the whole wildflower garden is surrounded by cut grass, so there really isn't anywhere else for it to spread plus the flames never got big enough to shoot out any flaming embers.

Hi Mary,
Hooded Oriole--Cool!! (I've never seen one of those.) Do they like nectar, oranges and grape jelly like our Baltimore orioles? I hope you or Heidi get some pictures to post!

Hi Mel,
The brown creeper is very small: 5 inches as compared to your vermilion flycatcher which is 6 inches (according to my field guides.)

Hi Jan,
I usually only see these brown creepers in the woods when I'm deer hunting and always only 1 at a time. It must have been fun for you to see several!

Thanks Heather. When I'm in the woods, I can usually locate the brown creepers by their call too. I love their perfectly camouflaged feathers!
Our weather service is predicting some rain for the weekend--I sure hope they're right!

Meggie said...

Hey Ruthie! Glad you enjoyed Easter celebration with your family. Burning your wildflower patch to control weeds...I learn so much from your blog. Do you allow it to burn out or water it down after it burns so much? Can I do that to prepare a patch that's not been planted before? I hope your flowers in the area come back.

Ruth said...

Creepers are hard to see and harder to photograph. It is quite dry around here too, even with all the snow we had this winter. Burning is beneficial, but it has to be done right. I think I would be very nervous to try it.

Jayne said...

Can't wait to see all those wildflowers blooming. :c) Glad you got it all burned off before the ban. I've never seen a creeper! Cutie!

troutbirder said...

I'm wondering about doing a burn in my woodland wildflower plot. Problem is I have lots of bulbs and other non natives mixed. Ok so I'm not a purest. btw I saw tons of brown creeper at Quarry Hill some time ago.

Red said...

Can't wait to see the wildflower pics later in the season! It's kinda nice you can actually do that and not worry too much about rampant wildfires.

As for the oriole... they probably do like fruits and all that, but we have an oriole feeder filled with sugar water like for the hummers. We've put out cut up oranges before, but no takers yet. I think we tossed the last one - got moldy.

Julie said...

Cute little creeper.
Its been non stop grassland burning here in NE Kansas. Yesterday it was clear (no clouds) but HAZY! They said it was from all the burning.

Windyridge said...

I would like to make a wildflower patch in my backyard somewhere. I know I have to rototill and clear the grass and weeds (mostly wildgrass) and am looking for advice on what to get. Burning after a few years is interesting but mine is too near a stand of trees and woods to do that.