Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cold Cold Morning

I had hope to finish this series in 2014, but it looks as though I'll be finishing up November, as well as tackling December in 2015. 

We had a cold day Tuesday and today is to be colder still (low of 15F). I prepared in advance and moved 12 garden cart loads of plant into the garage and drained one of the fountains.  

When the temperature drops below 27F or so, I bring the hummingbird feeders in for the night. I bring them back out around 7:00am, and as you can see, I have customers waiting.

 As it is supposed to be below freezing the entire day, I'll rotate the hummingbird feeders every couple of hours so the 'juice' doesn't freeze. The Anna's Hummingbirds spent part of yesterday out of the wind, soaking up the warmth of the sun.

There was some stretching...

....and ruffling of feathers!

Such stalwart little birds in the cold, cold weather!

Yesterday was a pretty awesome bird day.

It started out early with this sighting of a male Varied Thrush.
My first sighting for the winter.  The birds often hang out with Robins, but this guy was in the company of several Stellar's Jays.

I wish I had better photos, but he stayed at the edge of the walkway.

Then when I went down to fill a feeder in the Dahlia Garden, I heard a group of about eight Bushtits. They are notoriously hard to photograph as they are rarely still - so this was my best effort.

The Acorn Woodpeckers are much easier to photograph. 

The one on the right has a peanut - will a Nuthatch nab it at a later date?  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It Isn't Over Until It's Over - December That Is

Yep, I am going to see if I can sneak in one more Christmas themed stitch before the month ends!

I am finally getting around to sharing some photos from last week.
For several mornings I've heard and watched skeins of geese fly overhead.
I have a theory that they move back and forth between Fern Ridge Reservoir and the Finley Wildlife Refuge 60 miles to the north.  

I continue to have a nice group of Pine Siskins at the backyard feeders most days.

My poor little group of California Quail only numbers seven. 
I have a theory about that as well. On December 23rd at 3:10pm as I was baking for the holidays, I happened to look out the kitchen window and watched as a large adult Bob-cat strolled along the edge of our backyard - right where this bunny and quail were!  Of course I did not have my camera handy, and by the time I'd ascertained that Tom-Cat, Padma, and Parvati were all okay (yes they were outside in snuggled up in tubes on chairs watching), the Bob-cat had moved on. 

Too many Bob-Cats makes for too few Quail.

I was amused to watch this White-breasted Nuthatch last week.
As best I could tell the bird was raiding the Acorn Woodpecker's peanut stash in the dead top of a Big Leaf Maple. 

These birds always make me smile. They have a funny distinctive call (typical voice) and as they walk about the trees they strike amusing poses. Notice the nice lines of round holes below the bird - that's the work of my Sapsuckers.

I have a couple of Flickers at the suet feeders most days. On Christmas Day during dinner a male Hairy Woodpecker came to visit.  I got pretty excited about that much to the amusement of the other dinner guests, and again, no camera!

The Lane County Audubon Society spent most of Sunday tallying birds as part of the annual Christmas Bird Count. They were extremely pleased to find a group of Acorn Woodpeckers
While I don't have eleven birds like the group near Fern Ridge; I do have:
One, two... 


four, and five birds! And I think there are six total - three guys and three gals.

The most unusual birds this week so far are my Turkey Vultures!
A very few stick around, but most should be in South America by now. I had a group of five or six fly overhead.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Stitching Continues & Back to Birds

Design - "Yule: Winter Solstice"
Designer - The Primitive Hare
Fabric - 32 count Lambswool linen
Fibers - DMC - 2 strands over 2 threads
Started - 23 December 2014
Completed - 28 December 2014

Isobel Argante has been beyond generous this year with the series of free patterns she released.  I've stitched four of them, there are three others in the series - maybe next year!

I've had a Sharp-shinned Hawk lurking in the trees most days.
It rather puts paid to my bird watching until it leaves.

But on a rainy afternoon early last week, the hawk decided to hang out on the edge of the back patio.

It isn't a very big hawk - somewhere between 10"-12" tall. 

It thus preys on my smallest of birds - like the juncos, chickadees, and finches.

The starlings and the jays often mob the bird and are usually successful at driving it away. 

I think there are probably two or three of these small hawks that take turns hunting here. If you 'inbiggen' this photo you can see the raindrops beaded on the feathers. 

Tom-Cat was outside under the eaves in a cat-tube, but he didn't appear interested, which suprized me.

There is something about the eyes of a raptor, don't you think?  Such a fierce intelligence.

The hawk then flew down to our Big Woodpile where he met up with a Gray Squirrel. The poor squirrel, though larger than the hawk, froze in a panic - not wanting to turn his back on the bird to scurry away.  I walked down and drove off the hawk so the squirrel could seek safety.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Boxing Day

We opened our Christmas gifts on Friday evening.

The cats for the most part, were still exhausted from all their holiday entertaining... 

...and in a Catnip Coma.

But there was still some paper stomping and ribbon batting.
I hope everyone who celebrated, had an enjoyable Christmas.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Entertaining

We hosted a Christmas dinner for twelve.

My sister not only cooked the meal...

...she also set the tablescape....

...with a little help from the Cat Community. 

The cats took their entertaining duties very seriously.

Each year my nephews begrudingly willingly pose in front of the tree for their Annual Christmas Photo.
This year they gave a shout-out to the University of Oregon Football team. The Ducks will be playing in the inaugural College Football Championship Playoff Game at the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Catnip Christmas

Every Christmas morning the cats are gifted with fresh new catnip mice. 

An orgy of drug-induced self-absorption ensues. 

Ah Nirvana!

There's nothing better!

Just don't get too close, or hissing and fighting takes over.

Solomon, Padma, and Parvati love catnip, while Tom-Cat could care less. 

Is there a better way to spend Christmas morning I ask you?