Seems like Spring

By: WatchinTheSky , 1:14 AM GMT on March 12, 2012

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Actually it has seemed like spring most of the winter this year - but here we go.
It's the second week of March and the last good chance for rain this season. We should normally get around 13" in my neck of the woods(?) but my gauge is sitting at 6.77" and there is nothing likely for the coming week and only a small chance for next weekend.
There are plenty of signs of spring to be found. Poppies are blooming in the yard - though there are fewer plants this year. Lots of Chia Sage have sprouted from last year's seeds, but they are quite stunted this year.


The Blue Eyed Grass is blooming (no good photo yet).. The local Mounding Cactus is blooming as well.


Another sure sign of spring here is the return of the Hooded Orioles to the neighborhood. I saw the first one yesterday and two today. Also, sighted was an Allen's hummingbird male buzzing one of the feeders. The Allen's hummers are just passing through on their way north for the summer but the Orioles will stay and raise one to several broods over the summer.

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32. BriarCraft
10:19 PM GMT on April 18, 2012
Love your new thistle feeder. And it looks like the finches do, too.

Rufus hummers are becoming more and more numerous here. I'm currently offering them two feeders, but soon will have to increase that to three. That's where I draw the line.

Pine Siskins move through here spring and fall. They like the catkins on the pine, spruce, and fir trees in the spring. In fall, they're after pine nuts and other conifer seeds. They're fun to watch, once you spot them.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 87 Comments: 4430
31. PugetSoundPost
2:39 PM GMT on April 14, 2012
Hi WTS! I love your new feeder and the photo of the bright yellow finches! Such a color-coordinated set! The sun is shining here this morning! It should be a nice day, but not overly warm. Very much "spring" now.

Thanks Calpoppy for the tips on the pine siskins too! I'm happy to have someone eating the thistle, but sunflower seeds are an idea that others would go for too.
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
30. SBKaren
11:30 PM GMT on April 13, 2012
Are you getting it now? (4:30PM). I blew real hard to get it down there! We have sunny skies now - but it's darn chilly! We ended up with just over 1/2".
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 197 Comments: 14649
29. calpoppy
12:22 PM GMT on April 13, 2012
I really like the new feeder, brings the thistle sock to a new level. And you have something there to catch the debris.

P ine siskins are a little larger then a goldfinch and more of an olive color with some yellow. I would get flocks of them when I lived in the mountains. They love sunflower seeds!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4032
28. WatchinTheSky
3:58 AM GMT on April 13, 2012
Hi PSP! I am not sure I would have recognized a pine siskin, may have thought I was seeing a sparrow! I guess they would be smaller since finches are generally small. Supposed to really like thistle socks.


A photo from today, finches warming up to the new feeder.

Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 133 Comments: 2158
27. PugetSoundPost
2:46 AM GMT on April 13, 2012
My thistle sock has been somewhat of a hit this spring - kind of a first time for me. I tried them before and never seemed to attract birds, but I think we are getting a bigger variety of birds visiting the yard - maybe over time the word circulates that we have food! A variety of feeders must eventually work. The main bird we are getting on the sock are pine siskins. I had never heard of them till they started showing up - do you know anything about them? My book says they are "like a goldfinch in camouflage".
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
26. BriarCraft
10:09 PM GMT on April 12, 2012
Love the ceanothus! It really does resemble a lilac (syringa). In fact, you've got several nice photos and I'll go off to give them their due as soon as I'm done here.

I noted that a kamakaze bee did a suicide mission on you. I'm somewhat allergic to bee stings and an old country doctor told me the simplest/best remedy for bee stings: plain household ammonia (not the sudsy kind). It seems bee stings are acid and since ammonia is a base, it neutralizes the bee sting venom. Just put some on a wad of tissue or a cotton ball and hold it over the sting. Stops the stinging pain and also stops the venom from causing swelling and redness. Try it next time you get stung.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 87 Comments: 4430
25. sp34n119w
10:29 PM GMT on April 11, 2012
β€œIt's the second week of March and the last good chance for rain this season.” is what you wrote in your header a month ago. We were all fooled, lol
I got nearly an inch of rain here last night! How did you do?

Your birthday trip (Happy Birthday!) sounds perfect and the pics are lovely. I think you did a fine job on the Orioles, too. Pretty sure I have seen a couple of those around here – brightest birds we get – but they don't hang around long and they seem to not like people looking at them!
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4311
24. calpoppy
8:16 PM GMT on April 10, 2012
That ceanothus is spectacular! Most of the ones in the Cajon Pass got burned in the last fire out there.

I was able to get a decent shot of I believe a Anna's Hummingbird, here it is.

Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4032
23. PugetSoundPost
3:28 AM GMT on April 10, 2012
Happy birthday from me too! Thanks for the Oriole photos! I love the colors! We don't have too many colorful birds.

Great weather for us, kind of out of the blue! A lovely weekend, topped by a 74 degree Easter Sunday!! Could hardly believe it! Today hit 73. Feels so nice, and everyone is loving it! I think it was our first official 70 degree day since the end of last September.
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
22. WatchinTheSky
1:35 AM GMT on April 10, 2012
Thanks calpoppy and SBK! Spent a great day up in the 'hills'. Sunny and mid 79s, no sign of 'impending storm'. Not totally spring there yet.

However, the local ceanothus are in full bloom.

Had to stop by our favorite (non food) shop in Julian, The Bird Watcher. Left with a new finch feeder and another oriole feeder. We'll see how they work out.

I guess I deserved it, as far as the bee was concerned. They do get a little testy! Now what did I hear about some kind of bee venom therapy? Yeah, that's it! Once every year or so, needed or not :)

100% chance of rain Wednesday? Come on rain!
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 133 Comments: 2158
21. SBKaren
12:32 AM GMT on April 10, 2012
Happy Birthday and Happy apples!!!
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 197 Comments: 14649
20. calpoppy
9:41 PM GMT on April 09, 2012
Did I read that it is your birthday today??? Happy Birthday!

I will have to look for that stiffer sock. We bought a couple more of the white ones because we knew it would fall apart in time.

We have birds that clean up the fallen seeds, in fact we tried to plant some and a California Towhee followed us and took everyone! We also fill over a bowl, so it can catch the seeds that fall out.

I did finally hear the goldfinches, three distinct sounds in less then 30 seconds. They do make odd noises!

Sorry you got stung. I was doing a run and splash veggie oil on the feeders yesterday, actually using a pastry brush. Bees get a little testy when you do that to them!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4032
19. WatchinTheSky
3:49 AM GMT on April 09, 2012
Hi Karen, have to put your blog back on rotation! Heading there right away.

calpoppy - it's funny (well maybe not, especially now that one of the bees that I was shooing off a feeder decided to do suicide mission on me) that the bees seem to favor certain locations in the backyard, not that it is a big backyard. And actually, there is a bee on the bottom photo (ok, only one). The nicer the day, the more bees - not a big surprise. Speaking of finches, I had seen what I figured was a finch occasionally. But not lots, for sure! I have started with the white stretchy finch sock, but I have now seen a black more stiff sock and wonder if that type is less prone to drop so much seed. I put a bowl under the sock and am shocked at how much debris it caught. I have not checked carefully to see if it is all cracked open leftovers or wasted seed.
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 133 Comments: 2158
18. SBKaren
12:51 AM GMT on April 07, 2012
WTS = you must visit my blog for a funny story....and it will fit, especially since I saw the first photo in your blog! Please visit when you have a chance!
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 197 Comments: 14649
17. calpoppy
8:43 PM GMT on April 06, 2012
I see no bees on your feeders! I do like the new feeder but with any of these so called bee proof feeders if there is just a smidge of sugar that has splashed on the feeder 50 bees will be on it. The veggie oil worked when I put alot on, but then I worried about it getting on the orioles feathers so I cut back. Not so good if you don't use a lot!

Y ou have goldfinches!! Did you ever see then before you got the feeder. We have never seen them in our area before we got the sock. I have had them at work but never at home.

Have fun in Julian, eat lots of apple pie! :)) And don't forget to smell the lilacs!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4032
16. WatchinTheSky
7:38 PM GMT on April 06, 2012
Work in progress, but here's a couple of the male orioles. No good way yet to capture their antics.




Thinking of upgrading the webcam I use for the hummer/oriole blog and capturing video. All I get now is once every 3 minute time lapse.

Hope the weather continues to turn towards a nice spring for PSP and BC!
A day off to spend time in Julian Monday, maybe some good pics :) .. Apple pie for sure.
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 133 Comments: 2158
15. PugetSoundPost
2:51 AM GMT on April 06, 2012
Update: This afternoon turned out more nicely than the morning began with. The sun came out but there were still a lot of clouds around. A "spring sky" after all. Some showers today as well in places. A pretty afternoon. Your finches are prettier than ours, I have to say.
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
14. WatchinTheSky
11:06 PM GMT on April 05, 2012
Hi PSP! The finches seem much more bold than the orioles.


Am hoping to get a nice photo of the orioles :)

Hi BC! Spring is here (or coming soon to western Washington). Hope you are continuing with good progress in recoup! My next door neighbor is going in for his other hip in 2 weeks after have the 1st done in December. I guess he can't get enough!

calpoppy! I should have sent you some postage so you could mail me the perches and hole blockers from the feeder you tossed out! Since it's not so windy here, they last long enough to get brittle and they both break and then the bees climb in. Grrrr...
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 133 Comments: 2158
13. PugetSoundPost
3:41 PM GMT on April 05, 2012
Good morning! I'm glad you enjoyed the beach photos - at times it was sunny, but never too warm, and mostly pretty windy.

It is murky outside this morning, but not actually raining. 41 and overcast. It is nice you are getting some late season rain, even if not a whole lot this last time. My thistle sock is actually working so far! I have had them up before with no luck, but maybe this was better timing. The birds are cute to watch hanging onto it and pulling out seeds. Your orioles sound fun to watch. Maybe a photo of them sometime soon?
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
12. BriarCraft
9:22 PM GMT on April 02, 2012
California Poppies and mounding cactus are both so bright and cheery. It will be awhile before spring can really pop here, as most everything is either under water or very, very soggy. March total rainfall was 9.7" in my backyard. Average for this area for March is 5". I have a hunch it'll be at least May before I see any California Poppies in blossom here.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 87 Comments: 4430
11. calpoppy
8:16 PM GMT on April 02, 2012
We threw out the perky feeder with the springs in it. Not made for high wind areas! Now we have a Sundance feeder made by perky and that is working out very well. The Orioles do have to learn to feed out of it but they are managing. So I am getting another one. They just don't hold as much as our old one did, and that may become a real pain when the fledglings fledge!

We had .001 of an inch from that quick storm, and lots of wind and cold temps.
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4032
10. WatchinTheSky
4:27 AM GMT on April 02, 2012
Oh, if only it were New Years instead of April Fools - I would resolve to make more time for checking WUfriends' blogs :(
Quick weather note - .08-.1" rain last night, chilly air following the front but mostly sunny today. Tired from 'making hay'. Finally got just right amount of rain Saturday for good weeding Sunday, was afraid the weeds had won this year!
Speaking of the backyard, I spotted seven male hooded orioles as I sat recuperating for a while around 1 PM. This season's visitors are coming in. Only one or two females so far. Trying out a new feeder, hope the bees don't like it!
Have to check in on people tomorrow, that's what work is for, right :)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 133 Comments: 2158
9. WatchinTheSky
5:38 PM GMT on March 21, 2012
Hi PSP! Yes, a nice rain event, can't complain about 1.5 inches of the wet stuff! Now, back to sunny and dry - although there is a nice view of snow on Palomar and Laguna, for the next couple of days anyway!
Good to know our WU extended family can watch our backs when the weather get bad :) A big shout out to the Guard, glad they are there if we need them.
I hope the camping trip turns out well, be a shame to have to stay in the yurt and batten down the hatches, even if it is cozy. Yurts have hatches?
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 133 Comments: 2158
8. PugetSoundPost
4:53 AM GMT on March 21, 2012
Thanks, Cal! I'm glad to know they are in safe hands! lol! That station must have some amazing rescues. The weather is so often just fierce, and the Columbia bar is sooo treacherous. It takes special people to want to help people there - "The Graveyard of the Pacific", as the region has been called. Speaking of wind and weather, I and some of my family members had a really nice day today, mainly on Whidbey Island, enjoying beaches and headland trails on a very cool,blustery and windy day. I hope to post some photos soon!
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
7. calpoppy
4:27 PM GMT on March 20, 2012
Don't worry, PSP. There is a coast guard base in Astoria! Your son and his friends will be rescued safely if their yurt gets blown over, LOL! Actually I am hoping my son gets his next assignment there. He would sure be closer!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4032
6. PugetSoundPost
4:05 AM GMT on March 20, 2012
I'm sure happy for your recent rain! It sounds like you got a real nice soaking! I know you need some this winter. It also looks like you are back to clear and warm. It must have rained pretty hard to get that much that quickly. All the plants should love it.

Another strong Pacific storm is coming in overnight tonight. More rain/wind for western WA. And still cool. We have had recurrent bouts of snow flurries for the last few weeks - seems to be on kind of a weekly pattern! Some light accumulations in places, but none here at home, although coming home last evening from dinner up north about 20 miles we did run into snow and a snow covered road. My oldest son left today to camp with friends near the mouth of the Columbia River, near Astoria, Oregon. They are staying in a yurt provided by the state park. But it looks like they are going to be a bulls-eye for the upcoming weather this week. LOTS of rain and wind predicted for them - maybe near 60 mph gusts at times. The wind does indeed know how to blow on the Oregon Coast. I hope the yurt is cozy!
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
5. PugetSoundPost
6:04 AM GMT on March 16, 2012
Looks like rain is on its way to you! Enjoy every drop of it!
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
4. PugetSoundPost
5:45 AM GMT on March 14, 2012
We did have a little more snow today - some places had a little accumulation. Kind of a crazy day again - sun, wind, rain, and the snow; and too cool.

I see rain is still on tap for you folks in a few days. Sure hope it makes it all the way!

Today I put up a thistle sock, to join the parade started by Calpoppy and others, and am hoping for better luck with it than previously has happened. But right now we seem to have a nice variety of birds in the yard, so hope this will help and get used! For goodness sake, the goldfinch is our state bird!
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
3. WatchinTheSky
3:51 PM GMT on March 13, 2012
Hi PSP! OK, with your encouragement, I will get pumped up for the big system you've got to make it down here. We could use the rain, for sure - and it may be the last chance this season! Sounds like you haven't got snow again yet, the Weather Channel made it sound like a good shot of snow for your area as well as the upper elevations. Speaking of 'can't imagine', one feeder every 10 days or so??!! I'd need a 10 gallon feeder :)

Hi calpoppy (jees, I have to be careful every time I type that) The cactus is at the Park, in the 'high desert' area. It is really putting on a show! Maybe some snow out of PSP's big storm? Our local weather folks are saying snow here down to 2000 ft, I hope that is not jinxing the deal!! I think I may have seen some finches here, I should try the thistle sock :)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 133 Comments: 2158
2. PugetSoundPost
3:29 AM GMT on March 13, 2012
The bright flowers are great! Poppies - "so California"! And the blooming cactus is fun too. It does look like spring down your way! But at the same time I see that winter may be arriving for you this coming weekend? A good storm seems to be organizing for you!

We had a strong one here today. Gusty, blustery winds began in the overnight hours and continued through a good portion of the day. Then when the winds calmed down the rain set in. Steady rain all afternoon and it is still continuing this evening - chilly too, currently 38. So far we have .61" rain today. It has been a pretty raw and miserable day outside. Maybe some of this will land down south and bring you all some rain. You need some sometime!

We had our couple of hummers coming off and on all day. A reward for braving the elements was fresh juice! I don't have to refill it too often - every 10 days or so. I still can't hardly imagine all the hummers you have!
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 177 Comments: 927
1. calpoppy
1:47 AM GMT on March 13, 2012
I love that cactus!!!! Is that yours or is it at the park. Orioles arrived Sunday right on time. Hummers were a couple of days earlier. 6 hummers, so another feeder went up today
Put up a thistle sock to perhaps attract goldfinches and I got one! A male western lesser goldfinch has been munching on thistles.
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4032

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Observations and occasional comments about San Diego county weather - nature - and the world around us.

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