Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014
Jesus Christ is risen today, aaaahh-le-lu-u-ja!!
The dogs must have been tired because they let us sleep until after 7 o’clock. There were two black squirrels and one gray squirrel cleaning up under the bird feeders when I pulled back the curtains. Of course we don’t leave the feeders out a night anymore – having learned our lessons from the two separate bear incidents.
The temperature was quite mild – low 40’s – but the sky was thick with cloud cover. I was able to take my coffee and camera out on the porch for awhile. Unfortunately, the lighting was so poor, nothing was turning out. The more I played with the settings, the worse things got. I started feeling frustrated and discouraged so I set it aside. I did manage to get a decent photo or two of the blue jays.
No rushing around today – thank goodness! Mark wanted pancakes and “meat” for breakfast. There was still a half-pound of bacon left and a few sausages, so he gladly fired up the Coleman stove. (If you haven’t guessed, Mark loves cooking outside when we are up here!) As I was preparing the pancake batter, he suddenly knocked on the window to get my attention. We had a new visitor – a male evening grosbeak!! I was doing my happy dance and gladly grabbed my camera to take a few pictures.
I only included that first photo because I thought it was funny the way I caught the finch in flight. I get a lot of blurry wings in my photos. 🙂 It’s really not a good picture but it amused me.
(Please click on any photo to see a larger view.)
Mid-morning we got around to take the dogs for their hike. Mark had been looking at satellite images and saw there is an old trail connecting two gas fields near where we saw last night’s elk, so we headed back over that way. We saw five wild turkeys on the way – three toms and two hens. The one tom had his feathers all fanned out but they were right alongside M33 and Mark didn’t feel it was a good place for a photo shoot. To be honest, I don’t think Mark really “gets” the whole blogging thing (maybe I don’t, either), and sometimes he gets annoyed with all my picture taking. Like last night, for example, with the elk. He complained loudly that the camera noise is what scares wildlife away. His words were, “Can’t you put that thing on silent?” I suppose how he feels about it is close to how I feel about him and his iphone and Words with Friends (don’t get me started) so we are about even in the things-that-get-on-our-nerves department.
Anyway, I digress. He found the trail he was looking for and we had a very nice hike. The sun made a valiant effort to break through the clouds but was quickly vanquished. We saw a couple of deer and a few turkeys, but other than that it was a quiet, uneventful hike.
The clouds grew darker and we could feel the rain moving in. Our plan had been to stay until mid-afternoon but Mark hates loading up in the wet so we decided to start the chore of packing up and putting everything away.
As we were packing, the evening grosbeak returned so I took a break to snap a few more pictures.
I was so focused on the grosbeak and the finches on the platform that it took several seconds for it to register in my brain that the little yellow bird on the suet just to the left was not a goldfinch! I only got two not-very-good shots before it flew off.
Mark and I poured over the two bird guides trying to figure out what it was. My poor photos were not much help and we never got to see the bird from the front. Still, I was excited to have two new visitors today!
The last thing to be put away are the bird feeders. I was standing atop a plastic patio chair reaching for the feeder in the maple tree when what should land within arm’s reach but that “leetle yellow bird”. (Insert silly accent here.) Of course, my camera was nowhere in sight! I stood frozen on my precarious perch, calling quietly for Mark. He was inside emptying the refrigerator and couldn’t hear me. I was finally forced to raise my voice and he came to the door to see me gesturing wildly at the bird. He grabbed my camera but didn’t have his glasses on so couldn’t see the LCD screen to focus on the bird and by then it had flown away again. Big sigh… At least I did get a good enough front view to identify it as a pine warbler.
That brings the total bird species in our yard to 17 for the day: evening grosbeak, goldfinch, common flicker, purple finch, blue jay, dark-eyed junco, chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, mourning dove, American robin, brown-headed cowbird, chipping sparrow, red-winged black bird, hair woodpecker, downy woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker and pine warbler. Previously it had been the juncos who won the numbers game but today it was the goldfinches that showed up in droves.
It spit rain on and off as we packed and was raining for real when we finally pulled out of the drive. Mark drove out through Elk Valley and we saw a couple more deer. He thinks we saw more deer this weekend than any other time we’ve been up here. Hopefully that bodes well for hunting season this fall.
As always, I’m sad to leave but excited about all the new species I got to see this weekend. The plan is to return for Mother’s Day weekend.