Tag Archive: bluebird


One Photo Each Month – 2012


I may have failed miserably in taking one photo a day, but I do at least have one for each month. This really does capsulize my year…:

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1. January: A pretty little downy woodpecker in the Whooping Crane Pond Conservancy on Hilton Head Island
2. February: A great blue heron up in the tree in our back yard in Hilton Head – calling to his mate. He built a nest there, and I got to watch it throughout the spring
3. March: Before the bluebirds found the bluebird box, the nuthatches were checking it out…!

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1. April: The bluebirds ultimately tried to raise their babies in the bluebird box. Unfortunately they did not make it…
2. May: The HMS Bounty — at the Tall Ships Celebration in Savannah, GA. The Bounty ultimately sunk in Hurricane Sandy off of North Carolina
3. June: A cardinal at a tree near our feeders – on Long Island

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1. July: Kezar Lake — view from the dock out to the islands
2. August: An amazing sunset and crescent moon off Wickapogue Road
3. September: At Operation Migration Crane Fest. The whooping crane chicklets after training behind an ultralight aircraft – taken from the blind in White River Marsh Wildlife Refuge in Berlin Wisconsin, where the birds had their training this summer. They are being fed grapes by their handlers. they have since migrated behind the ultralights and are now at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge in Florida.

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1. October: Storm Sandy wreaks havoc in our back yard. Our cedar tree is gone
2. November: a short hike to Valley Green over Thanksgiving week – this is the covered bridge
3. December: Christmas in Hilton Head – with Misty kitty looking on.


This is our last day in Hilton Head for the season. Tomorrow we head north to eastern Long Island for the summer (and part of the fall), and I am having withdrawal pains — missing the “wildlife in my backyard” already. The way I get photos will be very different up there, in that there’s not as much nature close by to me, and – frankly – it will take more work and “hunting” for the nature I so crave now. I suspect there will be more days when my daily photos will be more mundane. But – I will work to find places to go to show you some of the beauties of Long Island. We live less than a mile from the ocean beach. But – it’s different – and crammed with sun bathing tourists in the summer. Wildlife – understandably “scatters” while humans take over the sandy beaches.

I am so behind in posting here – – but I have not forgotten to take my daily photos. Admittedly some have been “rushed” – as I have been busy packing and doing the necessary chores one has to do before leaving one home and going to another. But — I will take the time to post once I’m safely settled up north. It will be nice to reminisce about my time here as I go through my photos to post them.

Sadly I must add one last thing. I am now almost positive that my backyard bluebird nest met with a bad ending. Mom and pop bluebird do not come anymore – and I see even more unidentifiable “dead looking things” on the ground surrounding the bird box. They do look like the tiniest birds… 😦 So sad, and I really don’t know what happened. Predator? Disease?

I probably should clean out the bird box before leaving, but I probably won’t. I admit – I’m a little scared to look inside. But – in the fall, when no one is nesting, I will clean it out and rehang it — this time NOT on a tree, but on a pole. Predators can too easily invade the nest from a tree where it’s much more difficult using a pole that has a predator guard.

See you soon — from eastern Long Island!


As we enter the last week we will be here for this season, I’m relishing all that nature has to offer us right in our own back yard. Sometimes I’m amazed at how many species of animals live in close proximity to one other – most times amicably. Different kinds of songbirds frequent the feeders without concern for the other. Admittedly, certain birds can be more feisty and chase the more docile away, but basically it’s ok. But – there are dangers that lurk, and sometimes I wonder about the tension that exists for most species – just to exist. Birds, rodents, and squirrels worry about raptors. Fish worry about ospreys and human fishermen. And, all small animals worry about the alligator.

I don’t think they worry in the sense that humans worry. They are programmed to take the precautions that they do, so it comes naturally. It’s not “worry” or any kind of “intellect” or “thought” which which causes their actions. They simply do what their instinct tells them to do with no human emotions attached. Maybe there is an advantage in not knowing the ramifications to their life. They just … “live” … as God intended. (Might we learn a little from this way of being?) However, from the human vantage point, life is hard in nature. And, it’s hard for me to watch as I sometimes project my human emotions onto animals in the wild. I wonder what the percentage is of baby animals in the wild which actually make it to adulthood? It’s different for every species, I know…

Yesterday when we were talking with our neighbor, he told us that last year the ospreys lost a baby which fell out of the nest located across the lagoon from us. The crows are relentless in pursuit of nesting ospreys – tormenting the parents, and working hard to get the eggs – as well as – I think – the babies. According to our neighbor, it was a crow that caused the accident – and they happened to be looking when it happened.

In reading about bluebirds, I was astounded at the predators which can invade bluebird nests – house sparrows, snakes, squirrels, and even cats. I now realize that having my bluebird box attached on a tree rather than a pole is dangerous as it allows more easy access to predators to climb up and get inside. Today these thoughts came to mind when inspecting the bluebird nest area. I noticed on the grass not far from the box some evidence of “something unidentifiable” that appeared dead. It was so small and there were no feathers, nor did it appear to be the right color, but I still wondered if it was a bluebird baby, mainly because of the proximity to the bluebird box. Clearly I am very inexperienced! However, not long after the father bluebird came to the box and I could – again – hear the little bluebirds inside. Maybe it was only one baby? Maybe it was something else? But – I just don’t know.

With all this in mind, my 365 photos will include many parts of nature that live close by to me:

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365 photo #119 – the alligator. I am always watchful when I’m walking not far from the lagoon edge. I’m always looking for a gator head pointed at the shoreline – or watchful that one is silently sunning itself not far from the edge. They are so quiet and still when lying there that sometimes you don’t realize he’s there until you’re quite near. With that in mind, I noticed one on the bank before I went outside the other day. I did go out – but snapped the photo from the safety of the patio – with my 100-400 lens!
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365 photo #120 — the magnolias are out! However, the squirrels love them. As fast as they bloom the squirrels get the blooms and drop them to the ground. I guess they like the seeds therein. So – this tree never covered with these white blooms, but they come out – one at a time – and leave just as quickly

Bonus photos:

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1. Click to see this photo larger, so you can really see the osprey, as he was quite far away. The crow was bothering him – and when he left this perch, he flew with the crow taunting him – in hot pursuit!
2. A gecko on the side of the bluebird box. I flicked him off as I do not want him to get inside. Not sure he’s a danger – but didn’t want him there anyway.
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365 photo #121. We are in a drought now, so we have our sprinkler system scheduled to come on in different spots periodically throughout the day. Just after the sprinklers stopped on these leaves in the front yard, I took a photo of the droplets.

Bonus photos:

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1. Mrs. Bluebird posing for the camera on top of the bluebird box
2. one random leaf – changing color.

I’m not caught up yet, but yesterday I took a sunrise photo walk along Folly Field Beach, and I think I’ll devote an entire entry to that… So — til next time…!


I’m still into birds, but have decided not to make another bluebird my photo of the day. Yes – I am taking daily photos of mom and dad bluebird as they come in and out of the box. I stand close (but not too close) so that I can hear the babies squeal as one of their parents brings in a new worm or bug for them to eat. As each day goes by, their chirping and squealing gets louder, and I now can almost hear them when standing on the patio! It warms my heart to hear them, knowing I have a nest only a few feet from our house. I remain clueless as to when the eggs hatched to how old the baby birds are and when they might fledge. I searched on the internet to learn how long the babies are in the nest before they fledge, and it’s about 16 – 22 days. From the audible sounds of them – it’s possible that it could be next week… I’ve been reading up on what to do with the birdbox after they have fledged, and, from what it says in this site, it’s important to immediately clean the nest out of the bird box, then wash out the box because they might start all over again in only a few days. Bluebirds have several broods a season. We’re only here until a week from Monday – a little more than a week, so we may not be able to clean out the box. 😦

But – I digress…

Yesterday’s photo of the day will be something NONbird. in the front yard of our house, I love my sego palm, so today’s photo is a close up of the branches and some pine tree droppings that fall on them in sometimes artistic ways…

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365 photo #117

Now – for the bonus photos – – and yes – they will be birds! 🙂

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1. Cardinal in the tree. Clearly there are turf wars with the male cardinals in our yard now. During nesting season this is very common
2. Here is Daddy Bluebird carrying one huge bug into the nest for the babies dinner! 🙂

For today’s 365 photo, I found a great blue heron fishing in our neighbor’s yard in front of the lagoon. I took lots of photos and here’s one of a close up of this upper torso. He was so focused on his fishing that he barely had time to be worried about me slowly getting closer to him to get the photos.

Speaking of nests, the great blue heron is still on his nest high up on the tree that overlooks the lagoon in our yard – only a few feet from the bluebird nest. I find it fascinating that they both are so different, yet are nesting so close by each other. Might we humans learn a bit about peaceful co-existence from our birdie friends?? I don’t know the status of eggs / babies, as I can’t see from the ground vantage point.

Here is the the great blue fishing:

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365 photo #118

Bonus photos:

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1. a soaring osprey. Not that great a photo as I clipped one of it’s wings, but I’m learning….
2. portrait of that fishing egret.

Don’t expect much in the way of bird photos once we go north. Nothing like this anyway…. 😦


I have four 365 photos to post today which will “catch me up”.

Over the last two weeks I have been noticing some difficulty with left my wrist and hand. I’m not exactly sure when it began, but it appears to me and my amateur diagnosis to be a little carpel tunnel. I have been unsure as to how I got it, and my first thought was typing – as I spend a lot of time on the computer. However, I’m not so sure, although, at this point, typing can’t be helping it either. At this point, I think it’s from holding my camera so tightly — especially when I have my heavy 100-400 mm lens on – which I do so much of the time, as that is my main means of getting my wildlife shots. I believe that I hold my left hand under the lens to steady it in such a manner that it remains in a difficult “bent” or “twisted” position for too long. Plus — my muscles are held “taut” – also for way too long for it to be good for them.

It got worse the day after I returned from the Daufuskie Island trip, which was a “red flag” since I’d spent about 4 hours non stop with the camera. Since then I have tried to reduce the time with my camera. As you can imagine this is not easy for me, as I love photography. I now have a wrist / hand brace, which holds it steady so it won’t twist or bend, and I think that is going to help me so I can continue doing what I love, though I know I still must cut back. I have to work out a good way to hold the camera with it on, however. Today’s photos were taken with a much lighter lens, and have not experimented with larger lens yet. The pain is not awful, but I also don’t want it to GET awful!

I am not giving up my 365 project — With that in mind — these are the latest 365 photos:

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365 photo # 109 — A house finch. And — I didn’t realize there was a second one there until I got this photo onto the computer!IMG_8655
365 photo #110 — We truly DO have a bluebird nest in our bluebird box in our back yard. This is Mrs. Bluebird bringing in a worm — probably for babies inside. After I snapped this photo, he went right in with the worm.

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365 photo #111 — Mr. Cardinal in the grass in our back yard. I am watching the male cardinals being very feisty around each other. I think that is quite territorial when they are nesting. there are also some female cardinals around, too and I would love to get a another photo of the male feeding the female as I did a few years ago right on our patio with one of the seeds from our feeder!

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365 photo #112 — Sego palm branch – a study in “green”. I know I have done this before, but each photo is unique in it’s own way. 🙂


It’s been a week since I’ve updated my 365 photos. All photos have been taken, but time to post has been at a premium.

Wednesday of last week’s photo was taken at the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament on the last day that cameras were allowed. It was the day of the pro-am, where one pro is paired with three amateurs. Ray and I found ourselves following John Daly, the golfer with a colorful personality, who also loves brightly colored, neon golf attire. I am finding myself intrigued with him, probably because he runs counter to the conservative, classic persona of the average golfer, and he appeals to my sometimes rebellious nature! He is the spokesperson for Loudmouth golf attire, and I’m always curious as to what he’ll be wearing each day. According to some of the volunteers of the tournament, he’s very cordial to fans. He made the cut this year, but ended up with a +3 – not “winners circle” material. But – he hasn’t lost his touch and gave us some of his legendary long drives. Yet – for such a long hitter, he has quite a “soft touch” around the green. I got some photos of him during the pro-am, which will be my 365 photo for last Wednesday, April 11th:

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365 photo #102. John Daly on the 15th hole, wearing The Naughty Cards print pants.

Bonus photos from the tournament:

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1. John Daly with his caddie and his girlfriend – wearing matching shorts!
2. Nice view off the 17th hole
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1. As we were arriving at the tournament that day the guys who were sitting at the entrance saw me with a camera and pointed out a red tailed hawk in a tree very close by, and pointed it out to me – as well as to anyone who had a camera. I didn’t have my long 100-400 lens, but I can’t believe how well this photo turned out with my 18-200 lens! Why was he so tame? The guys wondered if there was a nest he was guarding. Poor hawk! He must have been nervous with all those people!
2. Media trucks — tall antennas for TV reception!

After that, cameras were not permitted at the tournament, so I had to get all my photos either prior to going up – or after we got home.

 

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365 photo #103 – front yard landscaping as seen from the side – including a sego palm
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365 photo #104 – sweet squirrel as seen through the sliding glass door.

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365 photo #105 – simple flowering weeds by the edge of the lagoon. Sometimes the small and mundane is the most beautiful

 

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365 photo #106 – bluebird – one who I believe is nesting in our bluebird box. I’ve been watching the box and see activity every day. It’s usually the male that flies in and out. I *think* this is the female, though.

Bonus photo:

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Male bluebird looking out of the box – just before exiting. It’s difficult for me to photograph them, as they don’t hang out near the box long as they are going in or out.

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365 photo #107 – female cardinal on our feeder

I have two more days of photos, but I think they deserve an entry all their own….!


It’s back to nature watching for me! Over the weekend on Saturday we had a bit of rain, but I wandered out when I saw a Great Blue Heron fishing as droplets of rain hit the lagoon. That will be Saturday’s 365 photo. They know, probably as much as we humans do, that fishing is best when it’s raining.

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365 photo #91 – Rainy Day Great Blue Heron

On Sunday I checked, again, to see how the Great Blue Heron nest was doing that is located in a tree in our back yard, overlooking the lagoon:

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365 photo #92 – Hanging out on the nest

Yesterday I took a short ride to the place that we call “The Rookery” as it’s known for nesting areas for many aquatic birds, like herons of all kinds, egrets, ibis, etc. As I walked to the tree where they often are, I could hear the squawking and flapping of wings of quite a few birds – probably working out territorial differences. As I stood there, I noticed lots of little blue herons – a much smaller version of the great blue heron – as well as one or two snowy egrets. A portrait of a little blue heron will be yesterday (Monday’s) photo.

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365 Photo #93 – Little Blue Heron

Then today I have finally discovered that there *are* bluebirds hanging out in and near our bluebird box. I don’t know if there is a nest, or if they are just investigating it to see if it will be ok for a nest, but they are flying around it – in and out — and are perching on trees nearby. Bluebirds nest several times a season, and suspect this may be there second nesting, though it’s only speculation on my part. A month or so ago we had a brown headed nut hatch hanging out there. I now don’t know if he made a nest there, or if he was only looking when I took the photo and had ultimately rejected the spot. At this point I do not want to look inside for fear of disturbing a growing family!

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365 photo #94 – should we nest … here?

Bonus photos:

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1. bluebird in a staging area on a tree branch
2. I’ve noticed there are a bunch of twigs, lying directly underneath the Great Blue Heron’s nest. I suspect these may be rejected twigs that were not used for the nest as they were building it. Just speculation again…! From what I gather, they are constantly building the nest, even after there are eggs.
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