Thursday, May 31, 2012

More Birds in Palmer Park

We took advantage of today's absolutely gorgeous weather to take another short walk in Palmer Park. We wanted to check on a couple of our geocaches -  Hambone and Crusty. Our GPS was stolen last Labor Day and we haven't replaced it yet so we had to go by memory.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Heading west from the dog walk, Bill was the first to spot this hummingbird. The sun was shinning and his feathers shone bright emerald green.

We located Hambone without any trouble and it looked to be in good shape. We continued on the Templeton Trail, round the bend and up to the Yucca Trail.

Pygmy Nuthatch
On the way several Pygmy Nuthatches were hunting for insects in an old pine tree.

American Robin
 We saw lots of Robins, House Finches and Spotted Towhees - but we couldn't find our second cache, Crusty. The last person who entered a log online was also unable to find it and since we know exactly where it should have been, we decided it was "muggled;" - that means found and removed by a non-geocacher. We will have to replace it.

Western Scrub Jay
I don't think this house was built for a Scrub Jay - but it made a nice picture.

Black-headed Grosbeak
This Black-headed Grosbeak stayed just ahead of us along the aptly-named Yucca Trail for quite some time. Just as I would get close enough for a good shot, he would take off.

We have two more geocaches in the park - but we'll have to check on them another day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Walk in Palmer Park

Finally, Bill was feeling well enough that today we took a nice walk in nearby Palmer Park. We haven't seen any hummingbirds in our yard yet this year but, as soon as we got started on our hike - we heard them buzzing around.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird
 This male Broad-tailed Hummingbird was diving from high in the air - over and over - to impress a female.

Pygmy Nuthatch
 We've never seen a Pygmy Nuthatch in Palmer Park before - and had to double check our book to positively identify it.

Western Scrub Jay
 There were several Western Scrub Jays.

Western Scrub Jay

Spotted Towhee
The Towhees were everywhere and we heard their distinctive call throughout the park.

Spotted Towhee
He looks grumpy, doesn't he?

Western Wood Pewee
Back in the yard, I was surprised to see this Western Wood-Pewee perched in a neighbor's pine tree. He must have liked this spot because he kept returning to the same branch all afternoon.

Common Grackle
And we have Grackles. Look how blue his head looks when he is in the sunlight.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hives, Lotsa Hives

Poor Bill. Since returning to Colorado, he has developed an allergic reaction, in the form of hives, to some unknown substance. Last weekend we made a late night run to the local emergency room where they put him on a steroid & Benadryl cocktail. It worked, but once his treatment was over, the hives returned. He is now on a new regime of steroids and allergy pills. He is temporarily banned from yard work and we have to have the carpets and furniture cleaned. I have been washing and scrubbing everything.

The medicine makes him grumpy, tired and generally out of sorts so I decided asking him if I could take a picture of his bumps for my blog was not a wise idea. You'll just have to imagine.

Meanwhile, my newest quilt is coming along - and I LOVE my new design wall.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Goldfinches are Back!

The Swallows may not have returned to Capistrano, but the Lesser Goldfinches have returned to our backyard!
Lesser Goldfinch
Bill and I were sitting on the patio and I had just remarked that I was sad not to see the variety of pretty migrating birds that we saw last May when this bright yellow bird landed on the overhead wires. Over the summer, our feeders are buzzing with Lesser Goldfinches - so much so that I don't usually take pictures - but this male is the first one back, so he gets special treatment. Welcome home!

Inside the house, Bill & I set up a design wall in the spare bedroom. I moved all the furniture around to clear a wall for an 8' X 8' place to design my quilts. I used furniture "sliders"  and was even able to move a heavy dresser all by myself!

So far I'm happy with the way this quilt is coming together. I love the blue and yellow; I must be a Michigan Fan.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Quilt

My sewing room is set-up and I decided to start a new quilt. I purchased the fabric at my favorite quilt shop in Trenton, Florida and, if memory serves me correctly, my sister also purchased some of the same fabric. It will be interesting to see what we each do with it!

This is a Stack-n-Whackier pattern that I've done before - it started as the "quilt from hell" - but I'm doing it differently this time - more like the original pattern and less like the version I learned in class. Sometimes you have to play with a pattern to get to know it and understand how the different parts interact before you can choose fabrics that work. Hopefully, this time will be better. I love the colors and the beautiful Moda fabrics.

Northern Flicker
 Meanwhile out at the feeders, the birds continue to return. This time of year we look for the Western Tanagers to come through, but, so far we haven't seen any. Our usual visitors, Northern Flickers, House Finches, Mountain Chickadees, and English Sparrows (more this year than in the past) keep us busy putting out sun flower seeds and a special bird butter. The humming bird feeders are out but we haven't seen the little birds yet.

Mourning Doves
 We have lots of Doves. The Mourning Doves like the left-overs under the feeders. We also have the nosier Eurasian Collared Doves but they stay mostly in the trees, calling for a mate.

These two acted like lovers - cooing and touching bills.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Home, Home on the Front Range

It's great to see the mountains again! We are back in Colorado Springs after a fabulous 2000 mile drive from Florida, eating our way west along the Gulf Coast into Texas and San Antonio's famous River Walk, north through Texas, New Mexico and into Colorado. The first few days home were beautiful - but then it got cold and dreary. It won't last long. We've been busy working in the neglected yard and setting up my sewing room.

Rocky Mountains
This was our first view of the Rockies as we drove north into Colorado.

We saw lots and lots of Antelope playing in New Mexico and Colorado - but no deer.

The wild flowers along the roads were beautiful.

We didn't hit too much of this - but when we did - what a pain!

Great-tailed Grackle
In Florida we have Boat-tailed Grackle but in Texas, where everything is bigger, they have Great-tailed Grackle. We weren't sure how they could get off the ground with that heavy tail. It is huge!

Black-headed Grosbeak
Once we got the pond cleaned and set-up and put out the bird feeders, the birds started showing up again.

Black-headed Grosbeak
We saw a couple of Black-headed Grosbeaks - the one pictured and one that was more bright yellow. I wasn't quick enough with the camera to get a picture and I know the rules - if you don't have a picture, you didn't see it - so I guess I didn't see it.

American Robin
We have lots of Robins....

Miller Moths
and they loved the Miller Moth invasion that greeted us when we arrived. It's almost over now as they have headed for the mountains and the Swallows have returned to thin them out - but I'm still finding them in the house.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sanibel Fallout: One Very Tired and Hungry Yellow-billed Cuckoo

This poor guy couldn't keep his eyes open even with cameras clicking. His bill shows evidence of his last meal.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
 A bug tried to get by but didn't make it. Yum.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Look at the underside of his tail. There are 6 large white dots on a black background.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

We left San Antonio this morning and spent the day driving north. We're still in Texas - but getting closer to the border. We should be home to Colorado Springs tomorrow.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Before last week, I had never seen a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and was thrilled to see one at the Sanibel Lighthouse. Today they are almost trash birds - we must have seen at least a hundred along the road!

Sanibel Fallout: Blue Grosbeak

This was a new Life Bird for me. I had never seen a Blue Grosbeak before the Sanibel Fallout, but on Monday, April 23, I saw dozens.

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak (immature male)

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak (immature male)

Blue Grosbeak (immature male)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sanibel Fallout: Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Last time I saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, before the Fallout on Sanibel, was in our backyard in Colorado Springs - where we are currently heading. I hope one is waiting for us.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Sanibel Fallout: Indigo Bunting

Indigo Buntings arrived at the Sanibel Lighthouse in huge numbers. They are beautiful little birds and the male's bright blue decorated the trees and bushes.

Indigo Bunting (male)
The females look quite different.

Indigo Bunting (female)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sanibel Fallout: Baltimore Oriole

One of the prettiest birds from the Sanibel Fallout was the Baltimore Oriole. This one arrived tired and very, very hungry.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole