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Orangetips and Bluebird Eggs

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Out the meadow, we find a pitched battle between two bull falcate orangetips over a willing cow.  I know, I'm going all Marlon Perkins on you, but please indulge my lingual flight of fancy. They were ferocious butterfly rivals. 

She waits on the leaf, wings spread, waiting for the victor to claim her. 

Falcate orangetips, a signature butterfly of spring on our place, are very difficult to photograph, for they very rarely alight for more than a nanosecond.  I was over the moon to freeze this male in flight over his lady love, his glimmering orange wingtips shining. 

Liam counts seven chickadee eggs in the driveway box

and a bluebird nest with three ruffed grouse feathers in it, telling me that the elusive ones still walk our land. I saw one grouse last summer. One. And I used to scare two or three up every time I went for a walk. I miss them so, but we've traded them for wild turkeys, just as we've traded our beautiful red and gray foxes for coyotes. Ah well. Nothing stays the same in nature. Might as well want what you've got.

And oh, we do. We've a spectacularly tame pair of tree swallows in the meadow. Hooray, hooray! I took this with my little Canon G-12 on 5x zoom. I was right on top of him!

It's shaping up to be a wonderful nesting year for the box trail.

Because you have been on a starvation diet for Chet Baker this winter, I give you Liam, The Sausage Patty, and The Bacon.

Liam was being closely dogged by Chet Baker as he tried to make his way out to the bus stop with a sausage patty impaled on a fork. A walking breakfast, if you will. Liam eats all morning long, from the moment he pops out of bed, singing, until he gets on the bus two hours later. Fresh fruit, cereal, toast, sausage...whatever's around, he eats. I'm kind of dreading his teen years...when he'll doubtless go from 85 lb. to 185...

So Liam tried to get away from Chet by standing on a concrete bench. As if. 

Yes, The Bacon got some sausage.


Yesterday I discovered that our bluebird box had fallen face down onto the ground. A few young birds were in the grass. Mom stayed inside as I carefully put her babies back in. I re-hung the box not noticing that the nail hole was worn through and down the box came to the ground-- again!!! The front fell off, mom flew away and the nest spilled all five young bits out onto the grass. Again put the box back together, put the nest inside, put all five tiny birds back in. Three bungi cords now hold the box closed and on the post. I watched as both parents returned and resumed care of the kids. Miraculous! Time for a new box.

Typing furiously preparing for a board meeting next week at my soul-sucking job, this was just what I needed...thank you.

Hey, is that a twizzler in Liam's other hand?

Thank you so much for the Chet update! I can't get enough of the Bostons. Those Bluebird eggs are just beautiful!

Talk about timing! I got my first Falcate Orangetips today at the Nottingham Serpentine Barrens. You're not kidding about the nanosecond landing, but I did manage to get a couple of shots, but nothing like yours. The place is lousy with butterflies and birds; the high points were the Prairie Warbler smackdown and an impromptu Barred Owl serenade.

Liam's looking very grown-up, like a perfect mashup of you and Bill.

Mimi, time for a new box mounted on a pole with a predator baffle. Please check out my booklet, "Enjoying Bluebirds More," available from Bird Watcher's Digest at 1-800-TRY BIRD. It has plans for making a stovepipe predator baffle and mounting your box on conduit piping. Vital to protecting your birds--tree or post mounting is just an invitation to snakes, raccoons, and wet rot (as you found out).

Possum, glad to help. That's a Chinese YoYo in Liam's hand. No Twizzlers for breakky!

Catbird, he's pretty cute, yeah! Congrats on the FAOT's. One of my favorite butterflies, a real smilemaker.

I love that dog, hes a bit of a ham maybe,lol. Richard from Lebanon county's Amish community.

I try hard to like what I've got, but I find it really difficult to like starlings.

I love your blog. Have I heard you on public radio? Or was that somebody else named Zickefoose?

For any of your dog-loving readers who've missed it, Chet here reminds me of this hilarious YouTube video that's been making the rounds lately:

For the record, I think "Prairie Warbler Smackdown" would be a great candidate for title of the next Raincrows album :P

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