A swarm of swallows-
The morning began quite late for me today- around 9:30. But I kicked it off by heading straight out the door for some good old fashioned 'swallowing'. And by that I mean that I went out to watch the population of barn and tree swallows which were in my front yard at the time, hoping for a photograph (which I did not get). After my unsucessful attemp at photographing the swallows, I decided that then was as good a time as any to make my 'bird box rounds'. First, I headed to my barn, where I hoped a barn swallow pair had begun nest contruction, but I was dissapointed. Next, I headed to the first nest box in line- occupied by a pair of beautiful eatern bluebirds. As any responsible bluebird host should, I gently tapped on the side of the box before opening the lid to allow the bird time to leave if it so desired. And it just so happened that it did wish to leave, as it quickly popped out the hole and darted away. I took a quick peak inside, and then snapped a quick photo of the five light blue eggs that lay in the nest. Gently closing the lid, I headed towards the box occupied by a pair of tree swallows. Right as I arrived at the box, one of the parents peaked out the hole, and promptly flew out of the box. Once again, I took a quick peak and snapped of a photo, but this time I photographed six small white eggs. Heading back to the house, I decided that the other two boxes could wait until later that afternoon. After all, I hadn't had my breakfast yet.
Jumping a head (quite a bit), later that afternooon I was doing much yard work. Mowing grass, pruning trees, hauling branches to make brush piles, etc. I was back near my garden, when I noticed that one of my nest box entrance holes was still blocked by a rag stuffed through the entrance hole (I did this to keep out a pesky house sparrow pair that won't leave the box alone). I glanced up, and seeing a large number of tree swallows above, and some fighting over an occupied nestbox nearby, I decided that it was high-time to ublock the box in hopes that a pair of swallows would find it. And so unblock it I did. And to my delight, less than two minutes later, a pair of swallows had claimed the box (but have since disappeared and been replaced once again by the annoying house sparrows). I was extremely happy with this, so immediately after my work was done that evening, I grabbed the camera and headed out to photograph the new swallow pair. I have previously written (I think) about the friendliness of tree swallows, and was expecting the same from this pair. As I approched the box, the female sat atop the box and proved to be quite shy. But the male? Not so. At the chirps of the female, the male flew out of nowhere, clicking his beak and began to furiously dive-bomb me. Yes, dive-bombed me. He would fly up in the air, dive, and about 5 inches from my head would swoop away at the last minute, all while continuously clicking his beak. I'll be the first to tell you that I got out of there about as quick (no, quicker) than I went in. And I was thinking, 'Blast. The grumpy pair would settle right next to the garden where I'll be working all summer, wouldn't they? Why couldn't they be in the box was back the trail near the woods?' But I would have rather had the grumpy pair stay than move out and house sparrows in.
I'm sorry about the delay in the article progression, all. For some odd reason IE11 won't work with Webnode aymore, so I had to switch to Firefox. However, the issue has now been resolved and editing can continue. I am actually feeling overwhelmed right now when it comes to my website. I have been so busy recently that I haven't had time to really update this here website any for over a week. Not too mention that, in most of my spare time I am out bird watching (or doing somthing similar), and I am also monitoring 12+ nests for Cornell Lab's NestWatch program in addition to battling some house sparrows for control of a nest box, having a garden to deal with, all the yard work that needs done, and lastly (I think) all of the regular things that I must do each day or week. And then yesterday I had to attend a special event after church which lasted until 2 PM. I had barely an hour to myself when I was suddenly and unexpectedly whisked away to the fishing hole with some friends, were I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening (and yes, I did catch the most fish). That said, I definately don't have enough time to add all that I had been hoping, so this will most likely turn out to be one large article with a weeks worth of bird watching stories thrown in.
The female bluebird sits tight on her eggs when I peak in, even allowing a quick photo.
The bluebird nest currently in one of my nest boxes
The parent tree swallow looks up at me as I take a quick peak at the nest.
I was fairly surprised earlier this week to see a vivid, lemon-yellow male American Goldfinch perched on my hummingbird feeder, endeavoring to get a drink. But I was even more surprised when later that day, a female goldfinch then came to do the same thing. I got a so-so (not good) photo of it the second time:
A female American Goldfinch drinks out of a hummingbird feeder
Search for a woodpecker-hole
I had found a pileated woodpecker hole at a local community college (or so I thought at the time), so one quiet, sunny evening I went to sit and wait with my camera, hoping for a photo opportunity. I did end up finding out what the occupant of the hole was, but it was not quite what I had expected (but on the upside there I did see a pair of red-headed woodpeckers during my wait):