Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Love My Birds!

It's been great fun watching the birds in the yard as they migrate through. We have had more Western Tanagers than ever before and they seen to be staying longer.

Yesterday we had about 15 playing in the bushes behind our house and visiting the feeders.

The female (left) is much duller than the flamboyant male - but still beautiful.

The Bullock's Orioles have also been plentiful. This is a gorgeous male.

This one is more yellow than orange and does not have the black on his head yet. I think it's a juvenile male.

As I was watching the orioles and tanagers this little guy flew into sight. Boy was I excited! This Life Bird is a Black-throated Blue Warbler. This picture was taken through a dirty kitchen window at dusk so it's not the greatest.

He was back today and I took lots of pictures.


 Another uncommon visitor to our back yard. I believe this is a Western Wood Pewee.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Colorado Birds, A New Quilt Beginning and a Naughty Squirrel

  I love this time of year in Colorado. Actually, let me clarify: I love the migrating birds, but I hate the chilly, rainy weather. I want to sit outside to watch the birds and not take pictures through a window. Oh well. All the feeders are up as well as the birdbath and Bill has the waterfalls in the pond up and running - so more birds are stopping for a visit.

The Mountain Chickadees delight us all summer long. Happy little birds!

Every year we hope the Western Tanagers will stay around, but they don't. I'm happy to have so many for the couple of weeks they stay.

This was a special treat - a Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Lousy picture, but look at that beautiful neck.

Usually the Bushtits arrive in a large group and quickly move through but this year we have had one who seems to be sticking around.

No this Horned Lark was not in the yard. We spotted him at the new RC Car Track Bill found.

We have lots of American Goldfinches who must have followed us home from Florida. We usually only see one or two this time of year...

...but the trees have been decorated with them the past couple of days. The Lesser Goldfinches have just started arriving.

As usual, we have more than our share of House Finches.

Pretty American Goldfinch.

We have two kinds of jays - Blue Jays and Scrub Jays. This is a Blue Jay.

I can't help it - we love the Western Tanagers!

This is an unusual House Finch. It is a male, probably first year, with yellow-orange coloring.

 We've seen the male Bullock's Oriole several times. This is the female. Yes, that's rain in the picture.

She likes the blossoms on our bushes.

I don't spend ALL my time looking at the birds. I've started a new quilt - Amish with a Twist. It was initially a block-of-the-month and I'm working on the first installment. This is 2 of the first 12 squares.

I'm having a running battle with the squirrels. I heard that cayenne pepper will keep them away. See how good it works?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Long Drive Back to Colorado

Bill and I are safely back at our summer home in Colorado Springs. As usual, we took the long way home so we could do some sight seeing. Our first stop was Baton Rouge and dinner at Parrains Seafood Restaurant. It was delicious!

The next morning we headed south to Avery Island and the Tabasco Sauce Factory. After the factory tour we drove around Jungle Gardens - a MUST see! The top picture is a Cattle Egret in breeding plumage with a red blush on his head and back. Below is a picture of the egret rookery.

Cuteness overload! I've never seen so many Great Egrets!

There were other birds nesting also including this Roseate Spoonbill and Anhinga.

On our way out Bill took this picture of a Piliated Woodpecker. We ate and gambled our way through Louisiana before stopping in Shell Knob Missouri to visit our good friends, Mike & Mel.

 This cute Carolina Wren was building a nest in one of their bird houses.

After an exhausting drive through windy Kansas, we arrived home. Our welcoming committee included this Bullock's Oriole, female Black-headed Grosbeak and several Western Tanagers.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New Hobby

Our newest hobby is RC cars. Bill helped to begin a new club here at OTOW and after just a month we have 24 members. Great fun!

This is one of our cars in action on the grass course. Plans are in the making to build a new course with jumps, a drivers stand, spectator area, etc. On Sunday after the weekly races, we gathered here for a hot dog bash to celebrate the club's successful beginnings. Bill grilled hot dogs and made delicious baked beans. Everyone brought a side dish or dessert. So much good food and great friends! We had a wonderful time!

There was plenty of room once I packed up my sewing area.

Here we are!

I thought this was a great picture to compare the size of a Downy Woodpecker (left) and a Red-bellied Woodpecker. The Red-bellied looks a little shaggy. Both birds are regulars at our feeders.

This is an uncommon bird!

I'm sure it was photographing our RC car races!

We've been lucky to have Ruby-throated Hummingbirds this year.

The American Goldfinches are FINALLY yellow! Up until now they have been dull greenish-yellow. They've been at our feeders for a couple of months in large numbers - but most have now moved on.

Our Great-crested Flycatchers are still in the neighborhood.

We took the feeders down yesterday as we prepare for our annual journey back to Colorado for the summer. We've had several birds today looking for them. Sad. I feel guilty but there is plenty of other food available.

This is a quilt I made for my daughter Pamela. She should get it in the mail tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dyeing with my sister

I just got back from a wonderful visit with my sister, Beth, in Kure Beach, NC.  Beth is a dyer and we spent the day Thursday with one of her friends, Dianne, learning some techniques.

Beth describes the process better than I could on her blog at  http://quilterb-bethsblog.blogspot.com/ The blue in the upper left corner mixed with the first yellow equals the first green in the second row. The middle blue in the first row mixed with the pink in the upper right equals the first purple in the forth row and so on.

These are the gradations I did - the first in blue and the second in yellow.

These trays are full of white ready-to-dye (RTD) cotton with leftover dyes poured over them.

Beth has two cats. Here we put the empty kitty litter buckets to great use!

Dianne and Beth showing off their dyed arms. We all wore rubber gloves but still managed to look black and blue when we were done.

We also managed to get some birding in while I was there. Beth had seen a young Great-Horned Owl a day before I arrived so we went back to where it was spotted.

I know, lousy picture but it was the best I could do. This is a beautiful Prothonotary Warbler.

I've shown lots of pictures of the Fox Squirrels we have here in Florida - but this adorable creature is a North Carolina Fox Squirrel. I love his white face and ears!

Our mission to see the baby Great-horned Owl was successful! He was a huge ball of fuzz.

Beth heard there were Painted Buntings at one of the parks. The Boy Scouts have put up a feeder and, sure enough, on our second trip we found this beautiful bird. He looks like he was designed and painted by kindergarten children with his gorgeous primary colors.

He posed for some time while we took pictures. This was a life bird for Beth as was the owl.

 Back in Ocala, there are signs that it is time for Bill and me to head north - back to Colorado Springs. The Swallow-tailed Kites signal the arrival of warmer weather.

Although not a life bird, this Great-crested Flycatcher is a first for our yard. He's been hanging around with a friend for over a week but this is the first I've been able to get a picture.