We had sunshine!

By: osdianna , 3:23 AM GMT on June 03, 2013

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Sunshine today, and a welcome sight it was, with wind but not enough to keep the windows closed. I put Maggie in the back yard and headed out to the nearby Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge to lead a spring & summer birds field trip. The boardwalk, or Sandpiper Trail as it is formally known, is lined with willows and twinberry, blackberry vines covered with flowers, and the marsh wrens were out in good numbers, as were the song sparrows. We heard warblers but only managed to see one yellow warbler, saw several cedar waxwings, black-capped chickadees with begging fledglings following them from limb to limb, and tons of cliff swallows still building nests under the roofline of the airplane hangers.

We had great blue herons, Canada Geese, savannah sparrows, brown-headed cowbirds, gulls of mixed breeds, a crow or two, robins, a few flickers and the resident osprey. We were thrilled to be out in just shirtsleeves, because the afternoon wind usually comes up and gets pretty cool. In short, it was a great day to be outdoors.

Meanwhile, I left screened windows open for Dutchie and Fluff, who had to stay indoors for the extent of time I was gone. So after I fed them, I let Dutchie out and stood and watched as she left the yard, crossed the street to the empty lot, and crouched down intently focused on something I couldn't see. I walked out to see what it was...it was the big male cottontail. I warned her he could kick her butt, then left her alone to watch the bunny. He is well aware of the cats in the neighborhood but I don't think he is the least bit worried about them. Nevertheless, he stays very still; no sense tempting fate.

It wasn't more than 10 minutes later I checked again, and she was walking back home and came back inside.

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10. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
4:45 PM GMT on June 25, 2013
osdianna has created a new entry.
9. DHaupt
9:45 AM GMT on June 23, 2013
But osdianna, the Red Crossbill was supposed to be a gift for you! I've never seen a crossbill in these parts. I think we are too civilized (urbanized sprawl) for their likes. Indeed, movers and shakers in Audubon or similar conservation organizations cannot sanction any crossbill murders.

Our daughter Kathy came down early last week for my birthday and spent a few days helping us with some neglected chores around the place. Our son-in-law Rick helped move some furniture too. Several years ago, I acquired an excellent BH R4 exercycle which now sits in the den facing the TV instead of buried in a back room where it made an all too excellent cloths horse. I've been ordered to lose 30 pounds (2 stone) by my doctor. Being able to watch the tube doesn't elevate stationary cycling to rapturous, but even the Weather Channel is better than staring at piles of dirty cloths.

Now, where was I? Oh, during the house cleaning, Kathy popped her head into my cave and asked: 'Have heard any birds in the house recently.' 'Uh, no.' ' Well, you have two of them now and seemingly long dead.' Yes: a house finch and what the coroners report concludes was a mockingbird. There was really nothing left but some feathers
; neither of us can recall any fowl odors either. I think they had been killed elsewhere but consumed indoors under that corner table. We did recollect that King Louie, our magnificent Maine Coon cat had spent a lot of time in that dark corner, but that was way back in March There have been very few finches this year, and I've yet to see or even hear a mockingbird. I wonder why?
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1078
8. osdianna
5:21 AM GMT on June 21, 2013
About 3 weeks ago, the local Ace Hardware had butterfly nets on sale for $1..cheap bamboo pole with a fairly fine netting. I got one and promptly used it the very next day when Sadie (feral cat now mine)injured a Doug squirrel and it couldn't climb the tree. I grabbed that net and scooped it up, put all the cats inside, and released it two lots down. I don't mind if they kill the invasive Eastern Gray Squirrels, but the native Douglas is near and dear to my heart.

Next day Sadie brought me the little black bunny, again the net came into use.

Two days later, one of Joe's cats (Dutchie) caught her first bird; it was a Red Crossbill so out came the net and I managed to get it away from her without her hurting it. She can have any non-native species (pigeon, Eurasian Collared-dove, House Sparrow, or starling), but I am a board member o Grays Harbor Audubon, and it looks bad if any cats of mine (or Joe's) kill birds.

My $1 investment has really paid off! When I first moved in to this house, I had the screen off an upstairs window refilling the hummingbird feeder and a bat flew in and was trapped inside. Since then I have meant to buy a net, but this sort of fell into my lap....very handy.
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 35 Comments: 581
7. BriarCraft
9:34 PM GMT on June 19, 2013
My big orange cat, Charlie, caught a half-grown rabbit yesterday and ate the whole thing. The other cats tried to get him to share, but he ignored them. When he catches a full-grown one, he does share.

There's been a Douglas squirrel teasing another of the cats recently. It chitters and comes down a tree trunk to within a few of feet of Wally, as if to say "You can't catch me." If squirrels had thumbs, this one would be thumbing his nose at the cat, too. I'm betting sooner or later that squirrel is going to come just a little bit too close. You can't fix stupid. Evolution at work.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 88 Comments: 4438
6. iaotter
3:53 AM GMT on June 13, 2013
Good bunny hunting to your Sadie. Dog loves to chase rabbits around here and I encourage her, especially in the winter when I know they are disease free and edible. Since dog won't eat raw meat of any kind, she always brings her catch to me. We had a lovely baked rabbit with barbque sauce this last winter and a couple of tasty squirrels thanks to her hunting. Unfortunately she tends to see cats in the same category as rodents and varmints, so I have to make sure she is leashed and held tight when there are cats around.
Although if the cat doesn't run, she is scared of them and will come dashing back to me for protection.
she is really a chicken at heart.
Member Since: March 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 272
5. BriarCraft
11:50 PM GMT on June 07, 2013
I'm really glad your parents and others worked to restore the Nisqually delta. It's really turned around from the aerial view I saw of the 1000+ acre farm. I just created a new blog featuring the refuge. It was a gorgeous day yesterday and we timed our visit so that we started the walk about 2 hours before high tide and ended just after high tide.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 88 Comments: 4438
4. osdianna
6:39 PM GMT on June 07, 2013
Lucky you at Nisqually! That is one of my favorite places. When my parents left St Paul Island, they came back to Olympia and got involved with the environmental community there. They helped form the Nisqually Delta Association to prevent Weyerhaueser from dredging out the mouth of the Nisqually River to establish a deep-water timber port there. NDA won and it later became the Nisqually NWR, due to my parents and their friends hard work.

I visited Nisqually many times between then and now and still love what it has become. Nisqually is also the "parent" of the Grays Harbor NWR...and I give all of their managers a hard time for letting GHNWR fall apart while Nisqually gets all the funds. But they serve a much larger population...so I tell myself.
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 35 Comments: 581
3. BriarCraft
5:16 PM GMT on June 06, 2013
It may sound cold-hearted, but I actually encourage my rabbit-hunter Charlie to catch them. There are more wild rabbits around here than the coyotes can catch. I tell the cats "Fur, not feathers," and mostly they do just that. They're welcome to all the rodents they can catch.

I'm going to go explore the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge near Olympia this afternoon. I've lived here 10 years and this will be my first time there. Isn't it strange how people tend to take for granted the special places nearby in favor of those farther away? Last year and this, I'm having fun correcting my previous oversight.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 88 Comments: 4438
2. osdianna
5:49 AM GMT on June 04, 2013
Funny you should mention smaller bunnies, BriarCraft. Last year I found two dead bunnies, one partially eaten, and wondered where they had come from because they were black and white. The next day, Sadie brought home another, still alive and barely injured. It had a small tear in it's skin under the right front leg. I caught it and put it in a cat carrier to deliver to our local wild animal rescue folks next day.

Later that night I heard the screaming of another bunny, and found Sadie had another bunny cornered but not harmed except for being a bit spitty and scared, hence the screaming. I caught that one too and put it in the cage with the first bunny, and added some pieces of romaine lettuce.

I delivered both to the rescue people the next morning.

Saturday I watched Sadie scurry across the road with a little black bunny in her mouth. I grabbed my net and found she had released it in front on the lawn, so I easily captured it and put it in a cat carrier...after ascertaining it was unharmed (with much screaming all during the exam). This time I kept it in the bathtub, waited until all cats were safely in for the night, then released it into the yard where I know it belongs.

These black, white and multi-colored rabbits are remnants of pets belonging to some folks who had their home on the next street foreclosed...and released the rabbits into the neighborhood, where they have gone forth and multiplied.

I cannot stop Sadie from bringing them home; she was a feral kitten I rescued at 10 weeks, so she is already imprinted in her killing behavior. I will not do that again.
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 35 Comments: 581
1. BriarCraft
11:57 PM GMT on June 03, 2013
I have been to that refuge. As it happened, I discovered it before I had my hip replacement surgery. Even walking painfully, aided by a cane, I was able to enjoy that boardwalk. Glad you were able to get out and enjoy some sunshine, fresh air, and nature.

Oh, and tell Dutchie, where there's big bunnies, smaller ones are nearby. My cats highly recommend bunnies of all sizes for her dining pleasure. Much better than birds!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 88 Comments: 4438

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Musings on daily events in my unremarkable life as a retired person who has found way too many things to do.

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