When you're a 40 something single mother of a teen with lots of ambition, you find yourself in all kinds of interesting adventures and situations. Come back to laugh at us any time you feel the need, heaven knows where we'll be doing what next. Here you can expect a few words, a lot of images and hopefully ideas on what you can do for your next adventure.

If you're looking for something specific that we've done or a place that we've been, use the Search Box feature to search our blog.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Photo shoot with a Great Crested Flycatcher

I've heard that noise before. Somewhere between a shriek and a scream, it's hair raising enough. Not knowing what it was, I planted myself in the rocking chair of my back porch and perched motionless, just waiting for it to show it's face in my back yard.

To listen to the racket one of these puppies can make, visit All About Birds for the Great Crested Flycatcher, then click on the "Typical Voice" under Identification. Noisy critter - I'm hearing the second half of the song they play.

I got what I wished for. Yet - it wasn't what I expected. I had no idea THAT was the bird that made that song. Mr. & Mrs. Great Crested Flycatcher were flitting around the back yard picking up shreds of dog hair and dried grass. Well now - those two are making a nest somewhere.

It wasn't until later when I was reading up on them to see if there was anything interesting to write about in my blog (nothing really, except they eat berries as well as bugs) that I realized they will nest in a nestbox with a 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 inch diameter hole. All of my nestboxes are close to that because of the Chickadee / Wren / Bluebird factor. I wonder - oh I wonder - if they are nesting in the Woodline box. I'll have to scope that out & measure up the entry holes tomorrow. How cool would that be! :)

"So, you want me here? How's this?"

"This is my 'empathetic' look"

"My good side"

"My 'over the shoulder' look"

"Action shot"

"You good? Got what you need? Do you need me anymore?"

"Call my agent if you need anything - I have a house to build!"

Note the bug flying underneath the branch, he was a 'stand in'.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I have no excuses, I have no lies. I've been downright busy and that's why I haven't been blogging. That and the weather was so crappy I had nothing to write about and didn't want to put anyone reading through the hell of listening to me whine.

We've been playing baseball, practicing and playing games weekly and games on the weekends. I say 'we' because again this year I was appointed team mom and have been right there helping with practices and in the dugout during the games keeping the lineup in order and as well as the boys themselves.
 "Can I ask my mom a question?"
"What would you like to ask her?"
"If when we get home I can play the X-Box until 9:00"
"Have you done your homework yet?"
"Ummm, no"
"Then no, you may not ask your mother because you need to do your homework first. Go sit down and pay attention to the game!"
Greatfully the parents totally appreciate me! They are doing really well this year - when we can play. Soccer on Sundays, a Mother's day weekend and my neice's graduation have tightened the playtime belt even further, along with the rain.

For awhile I thought we would need an ark!

I've had the pair of Tree Swallows who have made camp in the East Roadside Nestbox, but have yet to lay eggs. They've been fierce about protecting it too, so I'm assuming they are waiting for the biological clock to say 'It is time'.

Now that the weather is warming and the rain has subsided, I've had two pairs of Bluebirds show up and take the time to shop the leftover Nestboxes. Eastern Woodline is always a big hit, as it overlooks the yard and the adjoining field, I had put a few pine needles trying to entice someone to take it over, but one male decided he didn't like those old needles and took them back out. :)

The new box - Western Roadside - hasn't been getting the attention I had hoped it would. It's still early. I have no Chickadees nesting so far this season and to be honest - they haven't been around much.

During the rain I refused to fill the feeders so they would get soggy and sprout through the mesh so alot of my feeder buddies have gone looking for other food sources. I filled them today and I can hear the BlueJays alerting everything in a 10 mile radius. They'll all be back soon enough.

Other than that - the Catbird and Wood Thrushes are singing into the night and the pair of Grackles nesting in the house next door have hatchlings. The Hummingbirds have narrowed down to one male and one female, so no more fighting amongst the ranks. The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and Scarlet Tanager have both returned, adding a new hue of red to the palate, along with the Cardinal.

That's it in a nutshell - I'm just hoping it warms nicely and doesn't go from 60 to 100 degrees overnight, I'm just not ready for that! I need some adventures!

"Oh my gosh - she IS still alive!"

Monkey playing soccer and scoring goals - two in two games

And he recently pitched 7 strikeouts in one game, and made two plays to first for outs

**Sigh** this is all we saw for weeks!

Congratulations Heather! ♥

Mr. B #1 showed up around Tuesday morning to scope out the houses

And was still checking them out Wednesday night...

Which did not bode well for Mrs. Tree Swallow, she kept a close eye on the house

A second pair of BlueBirds showed up today, I personally think this is my returning pair

I hope they don't choose this house, I need to move it!

Mrs. Hummingbird is a steady customer at the 'Dew drop in'. I think she likes to drink ;) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

White-Crowned Sparrow


A White-Crowned Sparrow paid a quick visit to the backyard on his trip back North to his breeding grounds. I'm sure he didn't find what he wanted on the back porch, since I've moved everything to the back '40. Unless he was looking for his photo opp, in which he was absolutely successfull. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hummer talk

Get out of here - this place is mine. I don't care how much redder your chest is!

Hey! Listen! I said IT'S MINE! Cut it out!

They claim that a Hummingbird's territorial area is a 1/4 of an acre, or just over 10,000 square feet. These two kinda skipped that rule for a little bite to eat and let me tell you, a full fledged fight ensued immediately following this photograph. It's not really a good idea to place feeders near each other for this particular reason, no sense in causing a street fight in your backyard over a snack. I put one off the back porch and another in the front yard off to the side - but the side feeder isn't up yet. Maybe it's time to do it now.

Anyway, you'll notice my feeder has clear liquid in it. That's because I make my own out of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water - aka 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water. You have to mix it well so the sugar disolves and most of the time I'll nuke (microwave) 1/2 cup water just to a boil and add the sugar to it (careful it doesn't blow over!) to make sure the sugar incorporates and then I'll add the rest of the liquid as cold water. No coloration - it's been proven that Hummingbirds don't really care what color it is. It's the location of where you place your feeder that attracts them.

The male and females only come together to mate and then it's the female's responsibility to build the nest and take care of the kids. Talk about your deadbeat dads. The males are also known to start migrating south around August, leaving mom and the kids behind to tag along with the little ones are ready. Jeez! And to think that they only weigh as much as two and a half paperclips. Amazing.



Sunday, May 15, 2011

Close encounters of the Pileated kind

We came home from a long day and I could hear her in through the closed up house. Ratt-ah-tatt-ah-tatt! We went in the back yard and placed CSI until we determined which tree she was in. Ratt-ah-tatt-ah-tatt! I found her, pounding on a big pine about 30 feet from the treeline. I came back and got my camera, half figuring the Monkey would have scared her away while I was gone. Nope, she was still there digging away at the bugs that were hiding in the rotten wood. I have to admit, I've never seen a bird's tongue before. :)




See her tongue? She's sticking it into the wood to help pry out the bugs!



Saturday, May 14, 2011

Building a future

If you've read enough of my posts, you might remember our backyard friend Dale, the Pheasant, who succumbed to nature's wrath last spring. We found his feathers in the back 40. When that happened, we scooped some up and put them in a ziploc bag in order to preserve his memory.

I've been intently watching our Tree Swallow friends building their nest, a little too slow for my taste but they must have a reason for the pace they are keeping. While waiting for the bus on Wednesday morning, I brought Dale's feathers out with me. No sense letting the bag get dusty on the shelf while the Swallows are antagonizing me with their sluggish behavior. I waived one in the air over my head and immediately perked Ms.Swallow's attention. I tossed it into the air current and it was dragged up higher, and higher and as I watched the feather was snatched out of the air by Ms. Swallow. She made a  few big loops over the yard and darted into the box to position it perfectly in the cup of twigs and grass. We did this a few times before the bus came.

The next morning we went out and this time, it was Monkey's turn. He too wafted the feather over his head and once he had her attention he let it loose. She was there in an instant to pluck the feather from the breeze and bring it to her new home - but these were a little bigger and she had a hard time getting into the hole! A few tries and she had it. We have now officially run out of feathers, but I'm sure she has enough to make her babies comfy and warm.

It was a surreal experience to bond with my new backyard guests. I'll have to stock up on feathers for next spring too. ♥





Whoa! Too big to go in that way!

Let's try that landing again!

Got any more?

Hey lady! Thanks for the 'house warming'!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mom's backyard

White-Throated Sparrow

The best swinging tree ever known

Mom's Mr. B

Mr. B must have just gotten out of the shower, he looked aweful scruffy!

Song Sparrow


Monday, May 9, 2011

Our Easter morning trek around Mackworth Island


Low tide - Portland's East End in the background

The Portland Headlight shows it's importance in the far distance


Spring Point Lighthouse




Taking a break

Fort Gorges to the left, Spring Point lighthouse to the right




Fairy house!


Monkey was insipired to build one of his own



Gnarly tree!

Someone 'ringed' the tree to find it's age - 1900?! Wow!

Trout Lilies

Monkey in a tree

A Laughing Gull feeds in the tidal muck

Contrary to the LAST sign I saw....

Back to the mainland

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