Category Archives: backyard

Birding at my house in Northern NJ at the NY state line

Wordless Wednesday

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GBBC day 2

4 Blue Jays, 12 Dark-eyed Juncos, 6 Tufted Titmice, 6 Black-capped Chickadees, a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers,  a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, 1 Hairy Woodpecker, 1 Crow, 2 White-breasted Nuthatches, 1 American Tree Sparrow, 2 Cardinals, 1 Carolina Wren

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Great Backyard Bird Count

Can you spare a few minutes for the next 4 days to count birds at your feeders?  No feeders?  S’okay. You don’t need feeders, you can go to the local park or wildlife refuge.  You can also include fly-overs and birds you hear if you are sure of the call.  Yes, It is time once again for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I love that this event is short, only 4 days and that I can count as much or as little as I can or have time for.  It is not a huge commitment, BUT your data combined with that of all the other participants can help give a glimpse of the bird population this winter.

Remember last year when we were awash in Pine Siskins?  This year I have nary a one.  But luckily, I do not need to have rare or unusual birds to participate in the count.  I want my lone American Tree Sparrow to be counted.  It comes very winter by itself and hangs around with the Junco crowd.  I have a Carolina Wren or maybe 2 and lots of Chickadees and Titmice and Nutchatches.

It is going to be cold this weekend, so bundle up when you go and keep me posted.

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Mystery Tracks

I stood looking down from the bedroom window at the snow.  The pristine blanket of white was broken by a trail leading from the woods down and around the top of the property.  I squinted against the blandness of white on white. The tracks followed the edge of the mountain laurel, stopping at the sandbox then making a beeline to the bird feeders before wandering off through the arborvitae hedge to the neighbors yard.  What the heck!  I threw off my robe, gathering clothes as I headed down the stairs.  I wanted to see if I could tell what they were, so I grabbed my camera as I headed out.

Well, I don’t know.  They look sort of like cat prints. But big. Maybe 2 inches across. I didn’t see any claw marks, so I don’t think they are a dog.  Have you seen bobcat prints? How big are they?  There is a Weimaraner that lives up the hill. Could it be her?

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Birding in a Blizzard

I had just fed the birds and was sitting in the garage with the door open when I heard the scrape of the plow coming up the driveway. The driver waved as he inched past making a wide swath through the knee-deep snow.  The birds scattered but returned when he backed away to make another pass.  The driver was someone I had never seen.  He rolled down his window as he prepared to make the final pass and hollered above the roar of the diesel, “Are you a birdwatcher?”  I nodded happily and pointed at the busy feeders.  “I love Chickadees,” he shouted and with a smile and a promise to be back, he crawled down the steep drive onto the unplowed street.

Today’s snow birds  were: Carolina Wren, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Cardinal, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Blue Jay

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Titmouse Cuteness

What is it that makes Tufted Titmice so stinkin’ cute?  This one is eyeing a peanut on the deck.  You can almost see the wheels turning in his head.

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Brushpile

brushpile

Out by the road, in the worst possible place in terms of  feng shui (my money corner-perhaps that explains everything) I have a brush pile.  It started because, well, partly I am lazy and partly I am cheap and well, I have the land to do it.  And heck, the birds and critters love it… so…there it is.  To be brutally honest, I have 3 brushpiles.  Top, middle and bottom of the property.  The one I see most is the one at the bottom, out by the road.

From where I sit in the family room I can see a large Forsythia bush by the back deck.  The other day, I happened to look up and noticed the leaves jumping.  Since there has been a large flock of mixed migrant buddies lurking silently in the trees for about a week.  I thought, perhaps, I could sneak out and see what was what.  I caught a glimpse of a clean eyebrow as one of the birds flitted away.  I dashed out to see them chase each other through the oaks in backyard.  As I stood there craning my neck trying to figure out if this was my regular backyard crew, a  caught a flicker of movement out by the brush pile.

Carolina Wren tail

Hey! I know you. Long time no see. How has your summer been?  How are the wife and kids?  Yeah I know the neighborhood has had a lot of hoodlum this year, but they have moved on and it’s peaceful again.  Hope you can hang out for a while.  Feeders won’t go up until the bears go down, but you know the drill.

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