Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend Update

I had my last Master Naturalist field trip yesterday (Saturday). We went down to the Mississippi near Kellogg, Minnesota. I took only one unremarkable photo of a leopard frog, so I decided not to include that here. Our class is almost done with the last class being held this coming Wednesday. It will be graduation night and we're having a potluck supper for the class. Also at this class, we will be presenting our "capstone projects" to the group. Capstone projects are a special nature-themed project we work on (individually or with other classmates) that's above and beyond any other projects we worked on during class and includes some of the knowledge and/or techniques we've learned since the class began in March. My project will be adding plantings (flowers and shrubs that will attract wildlife, bees, and butterflies) to an existing bird and bee garden at the Quarry Hill Nature Center. The funding for this project is coming from memorials from two individuals who have passed away recently and one of the families will be assisting with the planting on the day before Father's Day. My plant list hasn't been finalized yet, but I hope they will be pleased with the choices and design I come up with.

OK, here's what I found in the chickadee nest box this morning.......Woo-Hoo!! 5 Eggs!

I saw this Pine Siskin and one of its buddies on Friday when I got home from work. I just can't believe they're still hanging around and I was still hearing them this morning while hanging up laundry on the clothesline.

The woodpecker's suet log is a really busy place these days. It takes an entire 11 ounce suet cake to fill each one of the holes and that has been lasting only about 2 days!
I love seeing so many woodpeckers here--especially the hairy's. I hope they continue to stick around and also bring their little ones to this suet log.


Tonyia said...

Have you any suggestions about reasonable suet prices? The birds 'round here would go through a ton if we put it out, but it gets kinda spendy! I love watching the woodpeckers - even catch grosbeaks on the suet.

Red said...

How fun to see all those woodpeckers chowing down! And happy you've got 5 little chickadee eggs. Hope they are all successful hatchings.

Carol said...

Nice pictures. It's good to know I am not the only one who still hangs out the clothes. I use my dryer for 5 min or so to get the wrinkles out..then on the line they go.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Tonyia,
This time of year, I only have suet out in that log and the protective cage keeps out the starlings and grackles. I was lucky this week to find it on sale at Fleet Farm for 99 cents a cake so I stocked up. I usually wait until there's a sale to stock up and store it in the freezer until I'm ready to use it.

Hi Heidi,
Those woodpeckers are great fun to watch and they make quite a racket with all their chirps and calls too.

Hi Carol,
I try to do the laundry on days when I know it will be nice enough to hang the clothes outside. And I do the same as you with the 5 minute drying cycle.
Last winter I did the same thing--only with drying racks inside when it wasn't nice enough outside.....saved quite a bit of money on my natural gas bill too!

Julie said...

Hi Ruthie!
I hope you have little babies soon!
Have you evern taken, heard of "becoming an outdoors woman" classes? I'm interested in them, but can't go until at least next year. I've been considering their classes and don't know how I'll limit myself to only four!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Julie,
I'll have to check tomorrow and see if there are any more eggs. It will be pretty crowded even with 5 babies in there! Incubation will be about 2 weeks if all goes well and I'll keep everyone posted on the progress.
I have taken some of the Women In The Outdoors classes sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation, but never any of the BOW classes (mainly because a lot of them are things I already know). I hope you get a chance to take some classes. They're nice because it's all women and a non-competitive setting. I think you will enjoy them.

Anonymous said...

Excitment is growing on how many eggs she lays. Will the wren come and take care of them, they are so territorial. I hope the chickadees make it, they are so much fun to watch.


RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
I cleaned the sticks out of that wren house the other day and no more are in there yet, so maybe they've found one of the houses in the back yard (I hope!) I don't want to scare the chickadees off, so I only check this house once a day. I'll let you know tomorrow if there are any more eggs in it.

Gaelyn said...

How cool, 5 eggs! Love your capstone project idea.

I'm filling my 64 ounce hummingbird feeder daily.

Kelly said...

...what a happenin' yard you have. Woodpeckers...and chickadee eggs. Also, your naturalist project sounds very cool. I hope you photograph it when you're finished.

Jayne said...

What a great project idea Ruthie. Hope you are able to take some photos to share with us.

My Downys have really been at the feeders a good bit too. And, I swear I think I still see the occasional Siskin, even down here. Odd.

Taos Sunflower said...

Always love your photos. We have Mountain Chickadees nesting in the birdhouse in our carport this summer! First year for them, guess the other birds (ones I never identified) moved on this year. I love hearing the babies...

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Gaelyn. I'm so jealous of all your hummingbirds! How many different species do you have?

Hi Kelly,
Too bad I can't find out where the woodpeckers nest too!
I took some 'before' pictures for my capstone project powerpoint presentation. Once we get the plantings done, I'll take some 'after' pictures too and do a blog post about it.

Hi Jayne,
I hope to share the capstone projects once it's all done.
I thought of you this weekend when I saw those siskins and wondered if you were still seeing them too.

Thanks Martie. I have never seen a Mountain Chickadee, but according to my field guide, they look pretty similar to our black-capped. Hope your chickadee babies hatch and fledge OK.

Anonymous said...

I wish there was a way to see how many eggs/babies are in the downy nest. The parents do a lot of "in & out" all day long with all manner of tasty items. It's great fun to watch.
Your sissy.

RuthieJ said...

Hey Sissy, you need to get one of those birdhouse spycams. Copy and paste this link into your web browser:

Larry said...

5 eggs-cool!You like the Hairy Woodpeckers eh? Try not to think of this melody next time you see one---I'm just wild about Hairys-Hairys just wild about me....

Heather said...

Your capstone project sounds really neat, Ruthie. I'm sure the families will be happy with it.
Glad to see the eggs in your Chicky nest - that's great! I can't believe you still have Siskins, though! Ours finally left several weeks ago.
Your woodpecker traffic is similar to ours - I put out two cakes simultaneously, and it takes about 2-3 days for them to wipe them out. But they've got babies to feed now, so the more the merrier!