Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ruffled feathers. . . . . . . . . .

Spring brings the robins and from what I see in my garden, robins love water.
Bathing in it even more than drinking it perhaps.

The American robin is quite a large songbird of the thrush family, non-migratory 
here in North Carolina. It is usually the first bird to sing at dawn - I'm hearing it
 loud and clear these mornings. . . . . . . .and it often sings all night in spring!
Named after the European robin, that cute chubby little bird known as 'robin redbreast'
 in the British Isles because of its reddish-orange breast, the two species are not
 closely related. The European robin belongs to the flycatcher family and is much smaller.

Our larger - 9-11" - American robins love visiting the bird baths.
Usually easy to tell the difference, the male has an almost black head and brick-red
 chest, compared to the female's gray head and dull red chest. When wet like this
 visitor, it's harder to really tell!

Dipping a claw to test the temperature?

Not bad for a splash about in the Spring sunshine this week.

Drying off doesn't take long on a warm day.

Need to get to that itchy bit under the bill.

The American robin, a very territorial bird, is most active during the day and assembles
 in large flocks at night. It's one of the earliest birds to lay eggs, those pretty
'robin's egg blue' ones, in a nest of coarse grass, twigs, paper and feathers,
 smeared with mud, and often cushioned with soft materials. I haven't found a
 nest yet this season, but I have a feeling there's at least one in the back garden!

All photos taken on a hot April afternoon this week.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The wee interloper. . . . . . .

The House Wren ~

We rarely see this particular tiny bird in our garden even though it's a native
 of eastern North Carolina. It rarely comes to seed feeders preferring an insect diet.
 In winter months it sometimes migrates to other southern states and Mexico,
 but often just hangs out in North Carolina year round.

A very tiny bird, just a bit smaller than the more prolific Carolina wren - my favorite
 little bird ~ but the same size as the Carolina chickadee, this wren apparently has
 found its way to my front porch over the past few days, and. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

 . . . . . . . . . .guess who's having to fend him/her off from their nest site in the 
Home Sweet Home box, our pair of chickadees!

They have a plan though, when the wren shows up, one stays covering the entrance
 while the other one hangs on the Boston fern then chases the noisy wren away.

Here the House wren is sitting on the jasmine below the nest box, probably thinking
 the spider web is camouflaging it! This bird is very cute, barely 5" long and not
 as chubby as the Carolina wren.  Brown and tan, with a slightly curved bill, it also
 holds its tail erect. It lacks the white eyebrow of the Carolina wren but is also a
 prolific songster, singing loud, melodious songs from dawn to dusk during 
the mating season. I'll be keeping an eye on it as I don't want it to steal
 house and home from the chickadees - they have nested here for the past
 three years, and last year in April we were lucky enough to watch the
four babies fledge - an awesome sight.

From the wildlife habitat, my garden, yet another bird story. . . . . . . . 
 and there will be more of course!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Dr. Ruppel" has arrived. . . . . . . . . .

April is bringing back the always welcomed clematis. 
Skinny vines winding and twirling, bright green leaves fresh and veined,
bursting buds dusted lightly with pollen.
Several plants have yet to wake from winter sleep and share blooms, 
however "Dr. Ruppel", is actively climbing the birdhouse and, as always,
 is the first clematis to show its magnificent striped magenta flowers.

Glories of the garden.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Scribble Picnic - up a Ladder. . . . . . . .

This week's theme word for Michael's Scribble Picnic is LADDER.

At first I thought of showing my naughty husband on a ladder in the 
garden blowing the pollen off the roof - however the new rule around
here is no high ladder climbing. He's just about in agreement
after 50+ years in insurance claims, and realizing he's getting too 
old for these shenanigans. Broken bones are no fun at any age, but 
at our ages they can often mean the beginning of the end!

So, you get just a quaint little 'Polaroid style' watercolor peek at an old
 orchard ladder, and nothing more dangerous than a basket of fresh-picked
 apples balancing on a rung.

I'm a bit rushed with lots to accomplish around here before leaving
 for Europe soon - but will try to participate next week because I do love
 the next theme. . . . . . TREE. It will be hard though to 
find a favorite - I love so many different ones.

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