Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Score is Tied - Racoons 1; Bill 1

While Bill and I were busy working on our ponds, Mrs. Mountain Chickadee was busy at the birdhouse. We aren't sure that she has taken up residence yet but she sure was busy going back and forth.

I finally caught her coming out of the birdhouse!

I set out lots of nesting materials. She seemed to like the soft strands of cotton best.

And took them back to the birdhouse that Bill built last year.

After the raccoon massacre, we had to tear the entire upper pond apart again and clean it out. At this point we still did not know if we had any fish or not as the lower pond - where the fish were - was still too muddy to see any signs of life. Today when we drained the lower pond we were delighted to find all five of the fish that made it through the winter. They have been relocated to the upper pond.

Today we cleaned out the lower pond - AGAIN! We also started the difficult process of rebuilding the main falls.

Yesterday, we went to Lowe's and bought a motion activated flood light. Bill mounted it outside our bedroom window with one light aimed at the pond and the other into our bedroom (to wake us up). We needed to set the sensor low enough that the raccoons would trigger it.

Guess who got to test it! Once we were happy with the settings, we relaxed for the night. We no sooner went to sleep than the light came on - shinning into the bedroom waking us up and out at the pond. I sprang for the window and sure enough, there was a big ole raccoon staring back at me. I saw motion off to the side and decided it was the rest of the gang leaving the scene of the crime. We were awakened one more time through the night and the light worked great - scaring them away.

This is our next line of attack - Critter Ridder. It is not harmful to the animals - but the peppery smell and taste acts as a deterrent to keep them out of the yard.

The Hummingbirds must be migrating through the area as we have had several different kinds stop by for a drink. This is a Broad-tailed Hummingbird - the ones that buzz when they fly. We see (and hear) them early in the morning and towards dusk.

Last night this Black-chinned Hummingbird also stopped by. The iridescent blue colors on his throat were gorgeous - but hard to photograph.

The color only showed when the light hit him just right. I was amazed at the length of his bill - much longer than other hummingbirds.

I took this with a flash at dusk as I was trying to show the bright red throat on this male Broad-tailed.

We've had other visitors to the yard. This is a Western Scrub Jay - noisy but beautiful.

This White-crowned Sparrow has spent a lot of time looking for seeds and berries on the ground - especially under the feeders.

He is probably just passing through and will nest more towards the mountains. The females will arrive later.

The neighborhood is looking great - with lots of these beautiful ornamental flowering plum trees along the street.

Tomorrow, two of the younger grandchildren are spending the day. We hope the weather cooperates so we can be outside - maybe go for a hike in Palmer Park.

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