A tough story to swallow




*gasp…gasp…(Susan runs in from outside and down the steps to the computer)
…gasp…stumble…falls…
(types out)…tree…swallow…gourd…tree…swallow…must document…*

I have been on a roller coaster with the purple martin house and environs for the past few days, and now there’s a new level of craziness: A male tree swallow is interested in the plastic purple martin gourd. And guess what? The house sparrows are scared of him. (Insert maniacal laughter here)
I didn’t see one HOSP go near the martin house while the swallow was there. Maybe this guy can hold his own…he even dove at Nellie as she wandered innocently under the gourd.
This solves a mystery…well, two:
1. It must have been him that I saw yesterday.
2. Last summer, I saw purple martins, but also some birds with them which had forked tails.
I took the above photos with my binoculars with digital camera. Not bad, for bins.
So…the tide has turned…no HOSP, but with a tree swallow in residence, the martins will go elsewhere. But you know what? I will take what I can get.

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Today, a subadult male Purple Martin checked out our plastic martin gourd. He flew in, and stayed there for quite a while…I had to leave, so I don’t know how long he was in there. When I got home, I closed up the martin compartments again, because the house sparrows were nest building in them. But here’s the key: They won’t go into the gourd. Maybe I need a few more gourds and use the compartments for trapping the HOSP.
I now have TWO bluebird boxes…because yesterday there were 2 pairs of bluebirds arguing over the one box. Didn’t see them today…only HOSP. So I put pinecones in the entrances of the boxes and will watch and wait some more.
I now have all potential HOSP nest sites closed in the hope that they will disperse, at least until some bluebirds or martins have a chance to nest. One interesting thing I saw was that the HOSP would not return to the martin house while the martin was in the gourd. Hmmm…are they afraid of him? I hope so.
But here’s some good news: I have Carolina Chickadees sitting on eggs, in the sunflower box above. (It’s in a tree now) So at least this yard will get some baby birds this year. I don’t worry about this box getting massacred by the HOSP because they can’t fit into the opening.
We have had sucessful chickadee nests come from this box before. Best $5 I have spent at Hobby Lobby yet. (It was one of their few real, functional nest boxes)

Little trivia for any non-birders in southern Ohio…if you see chickadees around, they are most likely Carolina chickadees, versus Black-Capped chickadees. I never knew until I became a birder that there was more than one kind. The “line of scrimage” here in Ohio is up near Columbus, with the Carolinas staying south, and the Black-Capped up north. Yet they overlap a bit, they are virtually identical, they hybridize and imitate each other’s calls. But for all intents and purposes, we have Carolina’s here. And I’m providing the shelter for a sweet new family of them. Ahhh…

Memories of Dad

Today, I was yet again tilling the yard, in the corners and miscellaneous spots in preparation of all my native plantings.
Lorelei and I came in for a drink of water, and I suddenly could smell my Dad. Weird as it sounds. I was so forcibly reminded of him, it froze me.
I remembered how he would come in from the garden for a drink, and he would have the scents of gasoline, grass and hard work. It was so part of him, that smelling that smell today brought tears to my eyes.
I picked Lorelei up and sat her on the counter. Desperately needing a hug, I held her close, and thank goodness she was in the mood to be hugged. It was then that I realized that I smelled of gasoline, grass and hard work.
It got me thinking; how much of Dad and his self is living on in me? God knows he tried to drop some wisdom on me…but how much stuck?
To be like my Dad is to be honest, hard-working, wise…not a bad thing, to be like Dad.
I hope I can say it, someday.

Birding with Belle!

I’m fishin’!

Mom’s wisteria is such a show-off

The pond…well, it’s kinda like a swamp right now

Smallest baby HOSP

Largest baby HOSP

I dropped Isabelle off at Mom’s today for a sleepover. Today was so gorgeous…a bit cool, but hey, it’s not like it snowed! I took Belle down to the pond in the field to look at the house sparrow babies (yep, they’re still there) and to poke around the water.

I actually got a chance to bird, because Isabelle was enjoying the quiet.

She said, and I quote, “Wow, Mommy…it’s so peaceful.” How old is this child???!!!

But I didn’t see any birds that caused any hysteria. Mourning Doves, grackles, house finches.

But that’s okay…because Belle LET ME BIRD.

Most Beautiful Birds Meme

From Laura at Somewhere In NJ:

Rules: Post a list of the 10 birds you consider most beautiful on your blog; you may limit the list to the ABA area (continental United States and Canada) or use a geographic area of your choice. Mark birds you have seen with an asterisk. Tag 3 bloggers to keep it going.

1. Hooded Merganser
2. Northern Gannet
3. Ruby Throated Hummingbird *
4. Black-and-white Warbler*
5. Great Blue Heron *
6. Tree Swallow *
7. Gyrfalcon
8. Purple Gallinule
9. Northern Saw-whet Owl
10. Ivory-billed Woodpecker * (just kidding)

Okay…I tag Cathy…but I don’t really know any other bloggers to tag, …at least, ones who actually read MY blog!
…Laura already tagged me, and she tagged Endment, too. It’s up to you, Cathy!
How in the world can you really pick just 10? I think they are all beautiful…except for House Sparrows. 🙂

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I’ve been meaning to post about this, but never got around to it. This is dish soap…not the soap that goes in the dishwasher, but Dawn dish soap. And it really gets foamy in the dishwasher…and no one is owning up to putting it in there. I didn’t know it was in there until the soap was pouring out of the washer in big sudsy piles. Oh, well…at least the floor got clean.

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Dogs Gone Wild!

A compilation of hilarous dog videos.