Backyard Habitat

By: BriarCraft , 8:35 PM GMT on December 26, 2013

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I ran across this photo in the WU Galleries the other day and really got a kick out of it.

Chomp, Chomp by Nita, somewhere in Illinois



Then, with the arrival of the first 2014 seed catalogs just before Christmas, I started thinking about yardening.



It didn't take much for my thought processes to make the leap to backyard habitats. That photo of the pumpkin-eating squirrel served as a reminder that I can plant some extras for the local critters to enjoy.

When I first moved here in 2003, there were birds around, but not in any great numbers. I put up a small birdfeeder. It took weeks and weeks for any seed eaters to discover that first feeder. Even then, they only ate maybe a quart of seed in a week. Now, I put out as much as 3 quarts of seed a day in wintertime. Not only are there more birds here, but also a greater variety.



I have made a difference to the birds here. I like to think I make a difference to the bee population, too. And I've seen a tailless raccoon make his way over to rummage in the compost bin from time to time.

According to the National Wildlife Federation: Whether you have an apartment balcony or a 20-acre farm, you can create a garden that attracts beautiful wildlife and helps restore habitat in commercial and residential areas.
You could Garden for Wildlife in four different ways:
Provide food for wildlife
Supply water for wildlife
Create cover for wildlife
Give wildlife a place to raise their young

The Audubon Society helps you to see if your yard is friendly to wildlife with an interactive graphic of A Healthy Yard.



The National Wildlife Federation's, Garden for Wildlife page has a lot of "How To" tips and informative blogs, even their own Flickr group. Want to know how to attract dragonflies? Or how to build a bat house? Or how to maintain a chemical free lawn? It's all there, just a mouse-click away.

Another informative and useful website I found is at PlantNative.org with a searchable database of native plant nurseries, regional plant lists, and community service organizations involved with native plants.

If you have any knowledge or experience with backyard habitats, please share your tips or web links.

If you are interested in photographing wildlife, I hope you will find some inspiration for attracting more of it into range of your lens.

And speaking of cameras, if you've got a favorite photo or six of backyard wildlife, please post them here to inspire us all.

Oh, and if you aren't into gardening, for whatever reason, there are other ways you could help the wildlife in your area, as I learned last June,

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89. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
10:52 PM GMT on January 14, 2014
BriarCraft has created a new entry.
88. sandiquiz
8:06 AM GMT on January 14, 2014
My little house is tucked away in the corner of a cul-de-sac, and due to the tall hedge alongside the drive, the street light down the end of the road does not light up our area at night. I have a light over the front door that is activated by darkness, so stays on all night, lighting the two cars on the drive. Around the back of the house I have one of the motion sensor lights attached to the back of the garage. When it was first set up it picked up the neighbours' cat and even a hedgehog... so I had to adjust the sensor on it. Its constant on off on off was keeping me awake!

Looking forward to your new blog, once you get inspiration. My own blog is getting long in the tooth, but the flooding continues, so I suppose I ought to leave it a while longer.

Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 291 Comments: 26176
87. WeatherWise
4:25 AM GMT on January 14, 2014
Your backyard cam looks neat - sounds very similar to the one a member of my church says he set up and someone on WU has posted photos from backyard cam. Sounds fairly easy to set up and simple to retrieve the data from camera. Thanks for sharing the info. Shirly aka WW's #1 Assistant (smile)
Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 37 Comments: 1175
86. BriarCraft
11:04 PM GMT on January 13, 2014
YCD: We could use a 45 gallon polypropylene drum with a threaded top for our kitchen waste. If Wilbur the Bear ever visited, we certainly would. But to keep Brer Possum from making a mess around the compost bins, it hardly seems worthwhile.

Sandi: If there were two-legged intruders, it would be nice to know. Better informed than ignorant, in a case like that. The house, garage, and shop all have motion-sensor spotlights. It gives us light when and where we need it and, I think, serves as a bit of a deterent for possible intruders because they would never know if someone was inside, looking out.

Bug: Strange as it may sound, now that I've become acquainted with the Midnight Compost Raiders, I don't mind cleaning up their mess now and again. We do tend to put up with a lot more from those we know than from those we don't.

WW: What a funny story. I guess your handle together with your weather station welcome might give the impression that you are with WU. On the other hand, what part of "I'm not the Help Desk" doesn't that guy understand? Does that make you WunderWilliam's executive assistant?

As to that night-vision camera, I talked about it here a couple of months ago, but if you or anyone else is interested, here's more info about it.


Simmons ProJunter 7MP

It was almost $20 cheaper in November than it is now, so prices definitely vary.

-------------------------

Time for a new blog, just as soon as I can think of a topic.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
85. WeatherWise
11:50 PM GMT on January 12, 2014
Briarcraft, you asked how I communicated with WunderWilliam - quite by accident. Often I welcome newcomers as they add their weather station with a quick hello welcome note. Well, one weather station person decided I was help desk evidently. I told him how to send his question to helpdesk and he did not - just kept mailing me through WU mail so finally I just took his questions and sent the email to the helpdesk and got a note back from WunderWilliam and sent the weather station person his response. Well, he responds back with still another question instead of to WW. So sent another note back to WW and back to weather station person through WU mail. So that is how I got to know about WW and be able to email him. I was afraid his email might not work since WU was down but he answered me right back.

Your backyard cam is really neat! I am liking that except might be scary to know what goes on behind your house while sleeping. Thanks for sharing. I would love to set up one of those and get photos of the herd of deer that flies up beside my house everyday - boogity boogie and gone as fast as they came.

Okay, it is a new week coming up - hope yours is a good one.
Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 37 Comments: 1175
84. palmettobug53
4:25 PM GMT on January 12, 2014
LOL... The Attack of the Midnight Compost Raiders!
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 233 Comments: 25066
83. sandiquiz
3:15 PM GMT on January 12, 2014
Hey, the camera produced quite passable images.... lets hope it never is activated by a two legged intruder!
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 291 Comments: 26176
82. ycd0108
4:09 AM GMT on January 12, 2014
Our compost is in a 45 gallon polypropylene drum with a threaded top to stop Wilbur the Bear from strewing the compost about. He or she would make quick work of the bin in your picture. I holesawed numerous 2" vents and drains in the barrel. Noticed the compost drooling out of the holes and suspected rats were scaling the barrel and pulling stuff out but cats or raccoons make more
sense and we see lots of raccoons and feral cats out there. No possums though.
In fact since the cats showed up we have not seen much of the rats (our neighbour runs a large Turkey meat factory and when he went on a rat cleanup program we used to get his refugees) so we feed the cats but have none in the house because Tloml is very allergic to cat dander.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 176 Comments: 4613
81. BriarCraft
3:42 AM GMT on January 12, 2014
GG, Ylee: Not my cat! Mine are locked inside at night. This black and white cat lives next door and was around when I moved here in 2003. You 'spose he's a vegetarian? Na! Omnivore, maybe.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
80. Ylee
3:27 AM GMT on January 12, 2014
Never would've thought the cats would raid the compost bin, when they get fed regular! Just don't let them lick you in the mouth! :' )
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 93 Comments: 15536
79. GardenGrrl
1:19 AM GMT on January 12, 2014
Oh, you got your camera going. Naughty kitty. Is it yours or part of a feral possum gang?
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 252 Comments: 9438
78. BriarCraft
11:27 PM GMT on January 11, 2014
GG: I couldn't resist posting some photos by other WUfolk -- on topic for backyard habitats and otherwise irresistable, especially that squirrel hunkered down in the snow.

BFH: Yes, Lake Boda is about as high as it gets. Standing water here and there, but no problems. Are you keeping dry? I was awakened by raindrops hitting my face sometime before dawn until I woke up enough to close the window.

The only time Lake Boda got higher was Dec. 2-3, 2007 when a Pineapple Express closed I-5 at Chehalis for 4 days. Then, Lake Boda encroached on our little private road and Mill Creek went over the main road.

Sandi: The bottom of all birdfeeders here is at least 5½ feet above the ground, so the cats don't even try. There was a brief problem with Gracie hiding around the corner from one feeder until I put up a 3-foot-high pane of acrylic at the end of that flowerbed. Now she can dream, but can't ambush. Once in awhile one of the cats will get a sick or inattentive bird on the ground. And the cats also recognize the sound when a bird flies into a window.

Bug: I'm glad you don't have to nip out in your jammies to thaw the birdbath any more, though you might have a neighbor or two who will miss the morning entertainment. ;- O

WW: How do you communicate with Wunder William when WU is inaccessible? I'll WUmail you with my email address soon as I'm done here.

I'm happy to exchange email addresses with any of my WUville acquaintances, but won't post it here where a troll might see it.

---------------------------

Some of WU may remember that I got a wildlife cam a month ago. So far, I have only managed to "shoot" birds, cats, and possums. Rabbits and deer aren't in the neighborhood and, while I frequently hear coyotes, the camera hasn't seen one.

It is set to take a series of three photos when something trips the motion sensor. Then it will ignore movement for ten minutes before it activates the motion sensor again. Recently, I got curious about who was pulling kitchen waste out of the compost bin. The possum was no surprise, but the cat??? And yes, I have several other photos of that same cat eating some of the kitchen waste off the ground.


Compost bin with a fresh batch of kitchen waste = Bountiful Buffet for the Possum Bandit

a composite of two photos:

Lots of interesting smells in that compost bin. Gotta see if there's anything good to eat in there.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
77. WeatherWise
9:21 PM GMT on January 11, 2014
Hi Linda - WU did not work for me yesterday either.
I sent a note to check and see what was up. Wunder William was nice enough to send me a response back:
Hello,
I'm sorry about the outage -- we're working to fix it right now.
Regards,
William
Wunderground Support
I was thinking computer time without Wunderground did not feel so great and perhaps we should exchange emails in WU mail just in case Wunderground closed its doors one day with no warning. Most of us would know no way to contact each other without WU. Hahaha...those were the kind of thoughts I was having.
HOpe you have a nice weekend.
Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 37 Comments: 1175
76. BFH
7:17 PM GMT on January 11, 2014
Awoke, this morning at 4:10, dreaming I was inside a snare drum. (don't ask) Turns out it was rain pounding on the roof...
Member Since: March 2, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 109
75. palmettobug53
2:29 PM GMT on January 11, 2014
Hi, Briar.

Temps have risen and we've got rain on the way.

No nipping out in my jammies with hot water to thaw the birdbath this past couple of day. It needs a good scrubbing out, though.

I know jays and woodpeckers like peanuts but the squirrels do, too, and I have so much trouble with them that I don't want to encourage them any more than necessary.

I see they're already starting the annual flirting and 'chase me' sessions.
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 233 Comments: 25066
74. sandiquiz
1:18 PM GMT on January 11, 2014
Good afternoon from a sunny and dry UK....Yes, I did say 'dry'! Well,at lest for the time being.
Reading about the cats with your squirrels made me wonder how they are with the birds.
Do they ignore them or have you positioned the feeders high enough so that the birds are up above where the cats can reach?
Max spends hours watching the feeders, either from floor by the back door or from the comfort of his chair in the conservatory.......but now the sun is shining I can see all the smudged paw prints on the windows!! lol
It is just as well that my dinner guests are coming to eat tonight, when it is dark and the dirty windows don't show up! I have cleaned all I am I going to clean!

Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 291 Comments: 26176
73. BFH
7:58 AM GMT on January 11, 2014
I, also was unable to get into WU yesterday until quite late. Thought it was my computer.

Is "Lake Boda" reaching record levels, Briar? Maybe by the end of the weekend. Let me know when it's deep enough, I'll bring my boat over and we can go skiing.. Ha!
Member Since: March 2, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 109
72. GardenGrrl
9:48 PM GMT on January 10, 2014
Hi Briar, those are great photos. Thought they were yours at first but then remembered you didn't get snow just clouds and rain.

Poor little squirrel. The Woodpecker and Bluejay are priceless.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 252 Comments: 9438
71. BriarCraft
9:21 PM GMT on January 10, 2014
I don't know if it was universal, but I couldn't get into WU yesterday until quite late. I see they now have a Beta version of WU open for comment. Sure is BIG, as in imagine what would look good on a 3-inch screen and then blow it up to desktop monitor size. Not thrilled, but then the only constant in life is change, so learn to deal with it.

WW: The small bird here have a similar problem, with those aggressive jays hogging most of the seed. The prototype small-birds-only bird feeder I made is keeping the big guys away, so now I need to make a larger version of the prototype.

There are not many squirrels around here, because the idiots have a habit of coming down the tree trunks to dare the cats with, "You can't catch me. Na, na, na-na-naaa." until he comes too far down the trunk and a cat does indeed get him. Darwin Awards in action.

Ylee: Rain? Yes. In fact low-lying areas around here are under a flood watch (no worries where I am).

Snowpack? Questionable. There are no weather stations on Mt. St. Helens, but there is one on Mt. Hood at Government Camp, at 4001 feet elevation, is showing rain and 38º. Crystal Mountain Ski Resort on Mt. Rainier, at 4344 feet elevation, has got rain and 34º.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
70. Ylee
5:10 PM GMT on January 10, 2014
I see it's still raining! Hopefully, this will translate to a proper snowpack on the mountains!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 93 Comments: 15536
69. WeatherWise
2:16 PM GMT on January 09, 2014
Hi there - Nita is loving getting a photo of that squirrel - Think she is paying it to model for her - she has gotten some great shots. As I sit here, I am thinking probably all of my feeders have squirrels sitting in them. Wish they would leave just one open for the birds but NO! Going to go check! Hope you have a wonderful day!
Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 37 Comments: 1175
68. BriarCraft
12:41 AM GMT on January 09, 2014
Thanks, Bug, for drawing my attention to these. I figured they belong here because squirrel and birds are living in a backyard habitat. Thanks to kind-hearted folks like Nita, who give them food, many will survive that might otherwise die.

Bug already put in the link above. All three photos are by Nita, somewhere in Illinois.







WW: I hope you figure out someday what sort of critter is living under that tree. I'd love to know.

Mike: Verklempt? Wirklich??? Surely you exaggerate!

Ylee: Keep that bird food coming, okay? The little birds are counting on you!

Pros: No decorations to put away here this year. Due to the lack of rain to darken the days in December, we didn't even get motivated to put up any cheery Christmas lights around the windows like we do most years.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
67. Proserpina
11:42 PM GMT on January 08, 2014
Bug, I saw the photo and read Nita's comments. She says that the critter is fine. I hope so.
Today I started to put out peanut butter in addition to the seeds, peanuts in the shell, suet cakes, etc.

Hi BC. Long time since I last visited any blogs. I a alive and well. Still trying to put away the Christmas decorations, etc. It is a slow job because I store the items in an upstairs closed and the darn boot that I am still wearing. I should be finished by June though!
How are you?
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 171 Comments: 18159
66. palmettobug53
11:30 PM GMT on January 08, 2014
This is it:

If I close my eyes....
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 233 Comments: 25066
65. palmettobug53
11:28 PM GMT on January 08, 2014
Did ya'll see that photo of the fox squirrel about frozen in the snow in the WU photos? It was in the VIP photos and also in one of the other sections.

I felt so sorry for that poor little fella. And ya'll know how I feel about limb rats!
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 233 Comments: 25066
64. Ylee
4:49 PM GMT on January 08, 2014
A record # of birds at the feeders during the cold spell; a rough guestimate is around 40! I'm glad I have plenty of feed! :' )
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 93 Comments: 15536
63. clearlakemike
4:06 PM GMT on January 08, 2014
I was trying to get caught up here but keep seeing the word 'fog' too many times...I am getting verklempt. Excuse me, talk among yourselves...
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 145 Comments: 1942
62. WeatherWise
2:03 AM GMT on January 08, 2014
Thanks, Linda. I just discovered that tree perhaps the day I took the photo. The majority of folks on WU seem to lean towards a groundhog but I truly have no idea as it is not in a place that I can get closer to it to examine it. It is on a treacherous rocky woodsy hill that I can not climb. I will keep watching it this winter. Then when spring and summer comes it will be hidden by underbrush again. I enjoyed your last series of photos that you featured here. Have a good evening - New glasses? Hope they work well for you and bet you had a great outing! Take care. Shirley
Quoting 40. BriarCraft:
I remember seeing and commenting on some of your photos in recent months. Welcome to WUville!

We're a friendly bunch of folks, as you'll find out. It does take awhile to get acquainted and have some regular visitors to your blog, but you've started out the right way, by visiting others and introducing yourself. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

And I hope to see you back here.

ADD:
I WUndered over to WW's place and discovered this photo in the sidebar. It looked like it would fit right into our discussion about backyard habitats, because that is definitely home to somebody...

Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 37 Comments: 1175
61. BriarCraft
1:04 AM GMT on January 08, 2014
Ylee: Yes, it did rain today. Strange as it may sound, it was actually kinda nice even though I was out running errands and grocery shopping. Spoken like a true moss-between-the-toes Washingtonian, right? But it was a balmy 44º with a steady medium rain, just like it's supposed to be here in January. I hope you get thawed out and back to normal soon!

Sandi: Hail? At this time of year? I would be just a befuddled by it as you. Hail is supposed to be a springtime event, or maybe even fall, but not winter. Mother Nature sure is acting befuddled and confused lately. I imagine Max probably was a bit perturbed at having his sleep so rudely interrupted. Hard-hearted mum!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
60. sandiquiz
2:29 PM GMT on January 07, 2014
Awoke to an awful noise - couldn't work out what it was in my sleep-befuddled brain.
It was large hailstones hitting the conservatory roof, just beneath my bedroom window. Luckily it didn't last long, and soon turned back to rain. Max sleeps in the conservatory...I wonder if the hail woke him? Bet it was noisy in there! I didn't go to check on him... just turned over and went back to sleep! Cruel mum, me!
lol

Hope the fog doesn't return. I don't like fog, it makes me feel chilled to the bone.

Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 291 Comments: 26176
59. Ylee
7:54 AM GMT on January 07, 2014
I'd have to agree with you, Briar! The closeup of Mt. Hood is my favorite. The "Bottoms up photo is my second, with the AC being third!

According to WU, you're getting some rain! Are they right this time?
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 93 Comments: 15536
58. BriarCraft
3:58 AM GMT on January 07, 2014
Thanks for the additional info Bug; that's a lot more than I found on Sandi's blog.

SBKaren, if you happen to lurk through here, or if any of WU know her on FB, please convey that our thoughts and hearts go out to her. We feel for you, dear Karen!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
57. palmettobug53
12:07 AM GMT on January 07, 2014
Briar, yes, it was SBKaren that lost her nephew unexpectedly a few days ago, then her brother passed last night. I was told her brother had had a mild stroke before Christmas and was in the hospital. He then had a major stroke, with no hope of recovery.

Caro said Karen has been making a few sporadic posts on FB but with so much going on, she won't be getting online much any time soon.

I'm not on FB but there are a few WU members who spend more time now there than here, and they'll pass along news from time to time to those of us that don't do FB.
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 233 Comments: 25066
56. BriarCraft
8:51 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Sandi: Yes, the fog has lifted. However, WU says it is clear and sunny here right now. Wrong! The sky is gray, with not a hint of blue anywhere. It looks like the clouds are fairly high, but they definitely are clouds. Lights are on in the house. There are lots of little chickadees and juncos at the feeders currently, but it's too cool for me to want to set up outside with the tripod, so no bird photos today. Instead, I'll WUnder through the photo galleries and admire other peoples' bird photos.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
55. sandiquiz
8:12 AM GMT on January 06, 2014
Glad the fog has lifted, you may yet get a shot of a bird on "bird day"!! lol

It is so warm here today that the heating didn't switch on. It is set to come on if the overnight temp drops below 65 - I can't sleep if it is too warm - but last night the internal temps stayed at 66! Outside temperature was 49 when I got up, but now dropped back to 48.
I have noticed this happens on many occasions. The saying "It is colder before sunrise", does seem to be the case! There is obviously a scientific reason for this, perhaps I should use it as one of my weekly tasks to find out why!! lol
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 291 Comments: 26176
54. BriarCraft
8:27 PM GMT on January 05, 2014
GG: How right you are that wind can make a big difference. Taking a decent photo, even with a tripod becomes quite a challenge. Timing is everything, too. Yesterday was the only day light enough for good photos in at least two weeks, and today at noon, there is freezing fog. There is so little contrast in the view from the window that a photo would just be blah, not that I'm going outside to try!

WTS: Give up on progressive lenses? Never! But when the prescription is no longer quite right, it becomes challenging to focus on details.

Yes, there is enough snow to cover Mt. Hood. Just barely. Mt. Hood Meadows is open for skiing with only a 24 inch base and they have been making snow since Nature hasn't provided much. Currently, it is 37º there and 31º here. After an early November opening at Cascade ski resorts, some of them are now closed due to lack of snow. I expect there will be water shortages in the cities this summer.

Bug: Love the new glasses! Lenscrafters has a new type of hard plastic lens that is laser-shaped and only half as thick and half as heavy as my previous lenses. Between that and the non-glare coating I had them put on and it's almost like not wearing any glasses. I have tried two other places for glasses in recent years because Lenscrafters is more expensive, but you get what you pay for, and I can really feel and see the difference.

-------------------------

I got an AC on the series I uploaded last night, and I'm always pleased by that. However, to my new-and-improved eyesight, it isn't for the best photo. I'm not alone in that opinion, either, as Mt. Hood has the same overall score, with 20 ratings vs. 12 for the Wood Duck Couple. Still, an AC is an AC and I'll take it with a smile.

Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
53. palmettobug53
6:27 PM GMT on January 05, 2014
How's the new specs?

The world jump back into focus again? lol

There is just nothing like mom's home cooking. Hope you enjoyed lunch and the visit with the folks.
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 233 Comments: 25066
52. WatchinTheSky
6:26 PM GMT on January 05, 2014
You have a theme in your photos, white duck and white mountain! 'Not much snow'? Looks like complete coverage - you mean not very deep?
You gave up on progressives? I've lost enough closeup vision and with the astigmatism it would be 2 sets of glasses without progressives, not convenient ;)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 130 Comments: 1901
51. GardenGrrl
10:55 AM GMT on January 05, 2014
Good Morning. Light sure does make a difference in getting okay photos versus great ones. Wind makes a big difference too. Yesterday was so windy I didn't bother to take the camera with even though it was very sunny and clear.

Perhaps on your trip in town something will come up that would be fun to shoot. Heck, even seagulls in the parking lot at the mall. Hope your glasses come out well. I know lunch with the folks should be good. Fresh split pea and ham-YUM!
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 252 Comments: 9438
50. BriarCraft
8:03 AM GMT on January 05, 2014
White Mallard -- a genetic mutation, not an albino


Mt. Hood doesn't have much snow, but enough to make it photogenic


And I'm up past my bedtime. See WU tomorrow, er, make that later today!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
49. BriarCraft
7:32 AM GMT on January 05, 2014
WTS: I don't have to squint at the monitor or get a crick in my neck from trying to find just the right angle on the progressive lenses. Trifecta complete. Life is good!

Photos uploaded, awaiting approval...

Ylee: The fog lifted. The clouds parted. The temperature soared to 40º. I happened to recall a little lake nestled between a golf course and a rhodedendron garden in Portland. And found a passel of ducks, including some I had never seen before. Andandand found a hilltop with an unobstructed view of Mt. Hood along the way. Photo ops don't get any better than that at this time of year.

Sandi: Take the "perhaps" out of that equation. That "adventurous spirit" is all in your head, so dig it out and dust it off. Recovery does take a lot out of you, but that's done now. I look forward to some lovely shots from you from somewhere beyond the garden hedge this year, not that I have any complaints about the pictures you take within the garden hedge.

Bug: I'll never forget the look on Hubby's face, when he opened up that container to see what was inside! Oh, I can just imagine. DH does all that he can to avoid waste and thinks anything he finds in the fridge is edible. I can just imagine his face if he ran across some live mealworms in, say, a cottage cheese tub. Come to think of it, that might be worth the price of live mealworms right there. ;- D
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
48. palmettobug53
11:05 PM GMT on January 04, 2014
Yeah, start out slow and see how the birds take to the mealworm offerings, before buying in bulk online.

Mainly, I was thinking about an easy and less expensive way for you to purchase them. The live ones were outrageous at the pet stores. A lot of money for an itsy number of worms. Plus, the 'ick' factor of having them in the fridge. Unless you're lucky enough to have a 'beer and bait' fridge outside in the garage or carport.

I'll never forget the look on Hubby's face, when he opened up that container to see what was inside! lol
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 233 Comments: 25066
47. sandiquiz
10:45 PM GMT on January 04, 2014
My new year revolution is to get out more with my camera, and not limit myself to a) the cat and b) the garden and its creatures. Last year, photos beyond the garden hedge were few and far between. It was almost as though the recovery from the op took all my adventurous spirit. Perhaps this year I can find it again,

I wish you well with your new glasses and clear skies to take superb photos!!
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 291 Comments: 26176
46. Ylee
7:27 AM GMT on January 04, 2014
I'm not sure how it is over there, but around here good outdoor photo ops during winter are few and far between! I wish you luck on your trip, and hope your glasses are made right!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 93 Comments: 15536
45. WatchinTheSky
2:55 AM GMT on January 04, 2014
Bug, 2 monitors would be great! I have to ration my phoebe time at work or I would get nothing done =:-O
Wish I could have caught the drop or hatching! Feeding is so amazing to watch, Phoebe's beak is so long!

BC, good luck on a photo op during the road trip. New glasses and Mom's homemade soup- a nice photo op would complete the trifecta :)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 130 Comments: 1901
44. BriarCraft
1:26 AM GMT on January 04, 2014
Poppy: Cheap dog food and scrub jays?! Good idea! I'll bet that would be good for those super-aggressive Steller's jays, too. The Steller's winter here and the scrub jays spend the summer. It's those voracious eaters that prompted me to design and build a jay-proof feeder for the little birds.

WTS: Thanks for the screen shot of those teensy-tinesy hatchlings! It appears to be just about life-sized, too. Cool! I seldom go to PhoebeAllens because it takes so darned long to load here.

Bug: I'm going to wait and see how many takers I have for mealworms before I decide if I want to try raising my own or buying 5 pounds on the web.

Your description of the hummer laying an egg paints a picture in my mind. I know those eggs are about the size of a small white bean, but compared to her body size, it's got to be quite an effort for her.

--------------------------

I keep waiting for a nice day for a photo shoot. Christmas Eve, Mt. St. Helens was clear when I left home but 45 minutes later, when I got as high as I could go without snow tires, it was socked in. Since then, I've lowered my sights and would be willing to head for the Columbia River Gorge or even just a local park. We have had almost no rain, but it is mostly to completely cloudy every day with just very brief sun breaks. The cloud cover has been so thick that I have lights on in the house even at midday. Not exactly ideal conditions for photography.

Tomorrow, I head to Portland to pick up my new glasses. And get a free lunch at my parents' house -- Mom said she would have homemade split pea and ham soup. The camera will be in the car, just in case I should run across something worth removing the lens cover. Hope springs eternal...
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
43. palmettobug53
11:21 PM GMT on January 03, 2014
The poultry section? Well, I'll be darned. I'd have never thought of that.

OUCH.. 29.99 for 30 ounces? Yeah, that's higher than Lowe's but probably cheaper than PetSmart, by a long shot. If it works out for you, I'd highly suggest ordering online. I saw 5 lbs on one site for $50.00. I know that kind of makes the wallet scream but, ounce for ounce, that's a deal. Depends on the S&H, too, of course.

I didn't do anything special, when I put my mealworm feeders up. I just put them out there, sprinkled in a few worms twice a day and in about a week, the mockers, bluebirds and Carolina wrens were visiting the buffet.

WTS, I have had Phoebe's webcam up at lunch on one of my two monitors at work yesterday and today. I can blog on one and watch Phoebe on the other. Wish I had two monitors at home!

I saw her lay her first egg. That was something to watch. She was perched on the edge of the nest, clinching with her feet and, I swear, was squinching her eyes and going "Uuuunnnngggggghhhhhhhh......." As soon as that first egg was out, off she went for something to eat!

Watching Phoebe is probably much, much easier than trying to find a hummer nest in your yard and watch it. I doubt you'd ever have such a ringside seat without a close up webcam!

Dad used to raise mealworms for fish bait. It didn't seem like it was all that much trouble. He just had the container outside in the carport and would throw an apple core or something in there, every now and then. You can also throw the adult beetles out for the birds.
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 233 Comments: 25066
42. WatchinTheSky
10:26 PM GMT on January 03, 2014
I occasionally buy live mealworms for the side yard box turtle and backyard 'pet' lizards - though this time of year neither is too likely to be seen ;) Something I tried with some success is raising mealworms. I tossed the contents of mealworm container into a big coffee can (thought I was saving some of the worm feed for the next batch), seems there were a couple stragglers and soon they were multiplying in the coffee can in the garage. I toss in an apple core once in a while to add to the feed. It is sustainable if you don't remove too many for the birds :)

Speaking of backyard habitats - I wish I would get even one hummer nest around the yard, alas, I have to watch Phoebe from Irvine! 2 hatchlings!


www.phoebeallens.com
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 130 Comments: 1901
41. calpoppy
3:21 PM GMT on January 03, 2014
Hi Briar! I usually give live meal worms to my hens. If I could find the freeze dried ones it would be a lot cheaper!! And easier to store. Maybe Amazon, they have everything, lol!

We feed birds a variety out there, even cheap dog food. The ravens and the scrub jays like that a lot, so do peacocks. Sunflower seed and scratch, nyger and suet. We use to buy wild bird seed in 50# bags but the price is so high now we went to scratch.

Our quail population has really declined over the past 3 years. Where we had a couple of hundred that would come twice a day, we now have just a few. No baby quail this last year and few the year before. The drought has taken it's toll on them at least in this area.

Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3717
40. BriarCraft
1:17 AM GMT on January 03, 2014
I remember seeing and commenting on some of your photos in recent months. Welcome to WUville!

We're a friendly bunch of folks, as you'll find out. It does take awhile to get acquainted and have some regular visitors to your blog, but you've started out the right way, by visiting others and introducing yourself. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

And I hope to see you back here.

ADD:
I WUndered over to WW's place and discovered this photo in the sidebar. It looked like it would fit right into our discussion about backyard habitats, because that is definitely home to somebody...

Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 79 Comments: 4020
39. WeatherWise
1:01 AM GMT on January 03, 2014
Happy New Year! I was checking out your blog as I just began a blog on WU for New Years. Neat blog. Hope it is okay if I send you a msg for help as I am learning.
Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 37 Comments: 1175

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Live. Love. Harm no one. Help when you can. Be happy.

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