Counting the Birds

I love the annual Cornell University and Audubon “Backyard Birdwatch” project.  People all over the world count and identify the birds in their backyards and post the data on the ebird website. (http://gbbc.birdcount.org)  We’ve been doing the birdcount since the early 2000’s and it’s fascinating to see the results vary from year to year; it’s also nice to be able to go on the website and see the data from all over the US and now from other countries as well.  It’s a wonderful way to contribute to our knowledge about bird populations and how they might be changing.  If you have the time, it’s fun to participate! Below are some of the birds we’ve had visit our yard yesterday and today (the count goes on for two more days, ending on Monday the 20th).

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Female Red Bellied Woodpecker

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Female Cardinal

song-sparrow

Song Sparrow

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Male Cardinal

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Male Red Bellied Woodpecker

I’ve been doing garden paintings (what a great thing to do in the cold of winter!) for the next Art Center Show in March; the theme is  “Garden’s Galore”.  I did a large painting of the formal boxwood and rose garden at the local Historical Society and a smaller painting of a woodland garden in morning light.  I just finished varnishing them yesterday, so they are ready for framing.  I love the new varnish from Gamblin; clear as a bell and odorless. It goes on easily and dries very quickly.  Great company for anyone who paints in oils.

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Historical Society Garden 16×20 oil on canvas

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Woodland Garden oil on canvas 12×16

The New Year is almost Upon Us

I’ve posted no new reports from the wildlife camera, because the sitings have been few and far between.  We’ve captured a few deer continuing to travel through the yard, but not much else.  Perhaps the warm weather we’ve had this fall and plentiful rain means there’s lots of food everywhere for the animals.

The warmth and rain have raised the water levels in the marshes and stimulated growth in the yard.  We have beautiful lush growth of mosses in both the front and back yards (they are beautiful and I think we are on our way to moss gardens in the yard), and the high water in the marshes means that birds are swimming in some of our neighbor’s back yards.

Moss back yard

The bright green is a bed of beautiful fernlike moss

Miriam Yard

Mallards in the back yard!

We’ve tossed out most of our aging orchid plants, and in the bay window we have started an herb garden.  When the weather gets warm in the spring, most of the plants can go outside, but the cuttings will be available for winter cooking.

Herb Garden

Many good holiday parties this years; one of the best was a holiday party with the local camera club; it featured a “Yankee Swap” of mostly camera related gifts and was a great way for members of the club to get to know each other a bit better.  What a spread of food everyone contributed, too!

UCCC Holiday Bash-DSCF2288

Before the “Yankee Swap”

Now I’m on to winter projects.  After all the spinning I did this summer, I have a huge stash of yarn to use in knitting projects.  I’ve started an Aran sweater for my husband; I’m using the same pattern I used in natural wool for a sweater last year, but I’m using a beautiful Ashland Bay merino blend that is knitting up in a lovely purplish brown.  I’ll use a grayish brown for some accent rows in the pattern.  I’ll post some photos as the project goes forward.  I also want to knit an Aran sweater for myself; I have lots of natural yarn waiting and I have my eye on some of the patterns in the latest Knits magazine.  The winter issue has some of the nicest patterns I’ve seen in a while!

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We’re looking forward to a holiday party with old friends from graduate school days. We’re working hard on handmade presents to take along, as well as some special food.

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!  May 2016 be a wonderful year.

Animals in the Yard

Last Christmas we got a wildlife camera, an inexpensive Bushnell camera, to put in the yard to take photos of any wildlife that wandered through the yard.  Well, after several months of placing it in different locations and getting nothing, or next to nothing on the camera last month we put it in the side yard where we had noticed Hosta plants being eating.  Bingo, over several weeks in October we found we had a lot of ‘hits’ and are getting a much better idea of what wildlife is around.  Lots of the photos were taken at night, so the resolution of the images with the led lights on the camera and the slow speed don’t make for an image worth printing, but you certainly can identify the animals.  The camera records time, date, phase of the moon and temperature and after it takes three still shots it records a video.  Sometimes the animals are gone before the video recording starts, but in other cases, like the deer, we were able to see that there were three deer together wandering along, munching on the Hosta plants, before scooting off into our neighbor’s yard through the bushes.

Here’s the data entered into a spreadsheet for several October weeks.  The deer and red fox were expected.  However we haven’t seen raccoons in the yard for a number of years and we had never seen a fisher before.  Now that we have a good spot for the camera, we’ll keep recording regular data sightings.  Below also are several of the photos, both from the wildlife camera and regular daytime shots using a regular camera.

DATE TIME TEMP ANIMAL # ANIMALS
7-Oct-2015 11:54:08 PM 53 F Deer 1
8-Oct-2015 3:52:02 AM 53 F Deer 1
8-Oct-2015 3:52:35 AM 53 F Deer 1
8-Oct-2015 6:42:55 PM 51 F Deer 1
9-Oct-2015 11:52:02 AM 68 F Deer 1
10-Oct-2015 5:07:01 AM 48 F Raccoon 1
10-Oct-2015 9:22:53 AM 50 F Red Fox 1
10-Oct-2015 9:23:19 AM 50 F Red Fox 1
11-Oct-2015 2:19:03 AM 44 F Raccoon 1
12-Oct-2015 5:39:43 AM 50 F Deer 1
15-Oct-2015 6:45:36 PM 50 F Deer 2
18-Oct-2015 4:04:28 AM 37 F Red Fox 1
19-Oct-2015 8:25:00 AM 32 F Red Fox 1
19-Oct-2015 9:01:29 PM 41 F Deer 1
20-Oct-2015 11:11:00 PM 53 F Red Fox 1
21-Oct-2015 12:14:10 AM 51 F Fisher Cat 1
21-Oct-2015 3:22:29 AM 51 F Red Fox 1
23-Oct-2015 1:12:55 AM 55 F Deer 1
23-Oct-2015 10:54:37 AM 51 F Grey Squirrel 1
24-Oct-2015 11:26:40 AM 46 F Grey Squirrel 1
25-Oct-2015 10:43:34 PM 50 F Deer 1
25-Oct-2015 11:41:30 PM 50 F Deer 1
25-Oct-2015 7:42:10 AM 50 F Deer 1
26-Oct-2015 7:58:34 AM 42 F Red Fox 1

20151020-Red Fox 10-20  23-11-00 12.48.30 PM

20151021-Fisher Cat 12.48.33 PM

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Photo taken out the front window

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Red Fox

Here’s the Red Fox walking in the yard.