Monday, July 21, 2014

Coming and Going and Growing

Design - "USA"
Chart - "Land That I Love"
Designer - Bent Creek
Fabric - 32 count Summer Khaki linen
Fibers - GAST & WDW - 2 strands over 2 threads
Started - 16 July 2014
Completed - 17 July 2014

This time of year the birds are coming - back to the feeders like the Chickadees. The birds are going - like the Evening Grosbeaks and male Rufous Hummingbirds - moving on to their 'usual stomping grounds.  And the baby birds certainly are growing! 

Everyday I think, "Today's the last day I'll see the Evening Grosbeaks until next year." 

But so far they've continued to surprise me and return to the feeders the following day.

I am quite certain though that only one Evening Grosbeak family still remains in the area.

I think it is a group of five - parents and three fledglings.

In this photo two babies are peering down at Mama hoping for a handout.

And yes, sometimes begging works!

Six Quail families, or seven or eight?
I truly do not know for sure.

We have a large family 20-21 babies. A family with 4, a family with 5, this family, and a newly hatched group - the babies smaller than my thumb.

Papa Quail marching on Parade...

...followed by Baby #1 and Baby #2...

Baby Quail marching along in time!

This is my Big Family - if you look closely you can see the kids are developing top-knots like their parents.  So I'll be able to sort males from females by the top-knot shape.

And guess what!  

I now have Photographic Proof! See the bright yellow bird with the red head among the ripe hazelnuts?

Here's my male Western Tanager!
Not the best photo, but I had to share as he is one difficult bird to 'capture'!

One year ago today Mom and I explored Chichester and took in the Rare Breeds Show in Singleton.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lazy Circles in the Sky

No one worries when eight Turkey Vultures float lazily in the sky.

When the aptly named Red-tailed Hawk soars overhead however... 

...that is cause for alarm!
Papa Quail used the hammock as a look-out.

He has lots of babies to watch over and protect.

And here's a lesson on how to identify a young Acorn Woodpecker.
The bird on the right has a nice white iris around the darker pupil. That's an adult bird.  The bird on the left has a dark pupil and also a dark iris.

You can better see the example of a young Acorn Woodpecker's eye in this photo.  By examining the eye, there is no doubt this is a young bird!  I continue to learn tricks for bird identification!   


It was 94f yesterday as this poor over-heated young Robin can attest.

The panting bird eventually flew over to a birdbath and got a refresshing drink of water.

  We attended a Symphony Pops concert in the evening.  When the concert ended at 10pm, the temperature was still 78f.  But as we live outside the city limit, and at a higher elevation, it was only 66f at our house.  We are lucky that even on hot days, the nights cool off quickly.

One year ago today Mom and I visited Saltram near Plymouth

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hummingbird Saturday

Female Anna's Hummingbird
"It's hot - I'll ruffle my feathers a bit to vent." 

"Ohhh...an itch!"

"Must scratch NOW!"

"Ahhhh much better!"

Female Rufous Hummingbird
"Pay me no mind..."

"I just need a drink."

"This pollinating is thirsty work!"

Two female Anna's Hummingbirds
"You Girl! Yea, you"

"This is MY roost, not yours!"

One female Rufous Hummingbird

Another female Rufous Hummingbird

Sitting together in perfect harmony! 

They could show those bickering Anna's a thing or two!

Thursday evening as I was filling the peanut feeder, I chanced on four hummingbirds, and perhaps at one of the sugar-water feeders.  Two sat at the feeder, two more waited atop my small Acer, and maybe there was even a fifth bird.  The hummers burn calories like crazy. They tend to 'fill up' once last just as dusk gives up to night, They go into torpor for the night lowering their body temperature from 104f and thus their metabolic rate. It takes about 20 minutes to awaken from torpor, then they are back at the feeders as once again they need an instant energy boost to get their day started.      

One year ago today Mom and I toured Lambeth Palace and the Garden Museum.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cooler and Happier

Design - "Wave"
Designer - Bent Creek
Fabric - 30 count linen
Fibers - GAST & WDW - 2 strands over 2 threads
Started - 11 July 2014
Completed - 13 July 2014

I usually get bored become impatient while stitching an alphabet, mentally counting, "Okay we're at 'M' - half way done now - 13 more to go!" This however, was a fast and fun alphabet, circling around the chart. Notice the letter 'O' is a taupe button.

I've been focusing on baby birds lately. So here's what else I've seen.  

I showed one photo of this doe resting in a flowerbed. 

While she noticed me looking out the window at her, she did not appear particularly disturbed. Last night she bedded down in the backyard at the edge of the berm. 
While this is consider the very epitome of handsome in a male House Finch... 

sometimes the males Finches sport unusual colors.  This one is a lovely yellow instead of red. Unfortunately he is far less likely to attract a mate.

We had three or four Crows hanging out for a couple of days. 

As the Starlings have disappeared (*cheering*), I've put the suet feeders back out and the Acorn Woodpeckers and Flickers are pleased. 

I still have lots and lots of Band-tailed Pigeons. 

This male Flicker was working in the early morning sunshine. 

Western Tanager (male).jpg
And is this not a lovely bird? It's a male Western Tanager.  I've seen it now on two occasions. The 2nd time my Mom got to see it as well.  I was not able to take a photo as the bird did not stay still - in fact it fought with a Black-headed Grosbeak!  This is a shareable creative commons photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Yesterday was only 84f and so much more pleasant!

One year ago today Mom and I visited Hever Castle.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sneak Peek


Here's a sneak peek at the next few little stitches I hope to work on. It is nice to have all the fabric and fibers on hand so that when the mood strikes - I can immediately begin stitching.

We are still awash in baby birds.

Our latest is a family of five Evening Grosbeaks which includes three baby birds. Here are two of them. 

Mom and Baby

Feeding time!

I think that Dad 'has had it up to here!' and off he flies!
The Evening Grosbeaks will leave soon for the higher elevation Cascade Forests.  I'll certainly miss their bright and clear "chirring' call.

An intent baby Scrub Jay

Baby Black-headed Grosbeak

Papa House Finch on the left with a couple of babies. The baby next to Papa has bed-head feathers sticking up!  

The California Quail though are in a class by themselves.  I think we must have 6 or more families now.

Can you imagine caring for and keeping track of up to 21 babies?


Mama and this crew are having an evening dust bath.

Both parents are very involved in caring for the chicks.

They make a soft soothing sound just like baby chickens. 

My Baby Boy Acorn Woodpecker is learning how to be a woodpecker.  

Dad says, "Here's the call we make!"


Baby Boy says, "Like this Dad?"


Mama (on the right) says, "You're a woodpecker, you can hang upside down!"

Baby Boy says, "Like this Mom?"

"Am I doing it right?"
Mama says, "Good boy!"



One year ago today Mom and I visited the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the National Archives.