Monday, September 08, 2008

Over the Weekend at Hasty

I headed up north to my Hasty Brook late Friday morning. Art and the kids would follow Saturday morning. It take me a while to set up camp: get the electricity hooked up, turn on the gas, air out the camper and unpack. The next thing to do was fill all of the feeders. The chickadees were pretty vocal about my priorities! They flitted around my head landing on the feeders as I poured in the oilers. All ready I could tell there were many more chickadees in the area than last month. Within an hour the pines siskins swooped in to the tree tops, calling their "zweee", sounding to me like metal zippers being zipped.
I spotted a life mammal- the Franklin's Ground Squirrel. I had thrown a bag of mixed millet, oilers and nuts on the ground and he spent hours picking through looking for the big nut pieces.
I had to check a field guide when I got back home for figure out who he was. Larger than a gray squirrel with rather coarse, wiry fur especially around the cheeks and tail. He dragged his tail like a woodchuck.
This has been a good summer for pine siskins at Hasty Brook. Usually only winter visitors, many siskins bred there this year. They are quite territorial around the feeders and I have enjoyed watching their posturing and skirmishes.

The young siskins were loud in their demands for attention and I saw several still being fed.

I started out thinking pine siskins were rather ordinary looking little birds but the subtle bits of yellow and their bright personalities have become apparent after watching them.

We bought a feed block last month for the deer and other animals. The siskins really like it too! I saw many northern flickers in the area, many on the ground alongside the roads dining on the great numbers of grasshoppers. I was disappointed that I couldn't get a decent picture of a flicker. They are beautiful birds.
Posted by Picasa


Deb said...

That's funny about the chickadees! "Feed us FIRST!" Great pine siskin photos too. Hope you stayed warm at night!

Richard said...

Great pictures. Got me thinking about how many birds I see and think they are something else. Does that make sense? Siskens - sparrows, etc.

Shellmo said...

Lynee - so nice to see all your active little birds!! I agree that the pine siskins have neat personalities.
You'll laugh if you get a chance to see my post today on chickadees- I have them yelling at me all the time for seed!

Corey said...

Those siskins look feisty! Great photos, especially the 5th one.

Q said...

Dear Lynne,
I too enjoy the Siskins. They are new to my feeders and I think so pretty.
Stay warm, cold front moved in today for me and I think for you!
Wonderful ground squirrel. I have never seen them either.
Mother Nature has so much diversity. I am so happy to learn the Flickers eat grasshoppers. I have a friend who cannot figure out what good the graahoppers are...Flicker food works for me!

NCmountainwoman said...

Interesting little squirrel.

I must admit that pine siskins are among my LEAST favorite birds. They are pushy, loud, and bring great disharmony to the feeders when they take over in large numbers. They flitter about, constantly challenging one another.

We had an influx of them this spring and our chickadees, titmice and nuthatches disappeared. We took down all the feeders to get rid of the siskins. I'm glad that other people love them, but I'd sooner they pass us by.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne, I enjoyed your photos of
the siskins and ground squirrel
today. I see one or two Franklin's
Ground Squirrels at the Thompson
Hill Lookout at the south end of
Duluth, almost every time I stop
there. Way to go!
Hap in New Hope

Susan Gets Native said...

Cute squirrel.
Cute birds.
Cute Lynne.

: )

Jayne said...

I had the Siskins for the first time last year and look forward to seeing them again this year. I love the photo of the one with outstretched wings. They really do have beautiful markings. Glad it sounds like a lovely time was had by all. :c)

Linda in Erie said...

I really enjoyed looking at your photos of the Pine Siskins and the Franklin's Ground Squirrel. I've never heard of the Franklin's Ground Squirrel before. Like your Siskins, I have sparrows feeding at my feeders (though I think Pine Siskins are really pretty)and can watch them for hours as they interact, take baths, feed the fledglings. I laugh at fledglings, they are just so cute how they try and get their parent's attention.

Anonymous said...

What a cute lil' ground squirrell. I am glad that you had a good time by the brook.

Mary said...


I've heard that Pine Siskins can be a nuisance, but I'd love to deal with it! I had a few in the spring, that's all.

Your photos ROCK. i'm very impressed you set up camp all by yourself!


KatDoc said...

Picture # 3, the first siskin photo with the spread wings and tail - WOW!!!

We get Pine Siskins here as irregular winter visitors, during irruptive years, but not nearly often enough for me. I would adore having them hang around, even if they did scare off the chickadees.


Marsha said...

Wow, what a different looking squirrel! I love all of your shots. It looks like it was a great weekend up at Hasty Brook.

RuthieJ said...

Franklin's Ground Squirrel....what a cool little animal! I've never seen one.
Are you working on getting those chickadees to eat from your hand?
I love all your pine siskins....I wonder if having them stay all summer is a sign that I might see some at my feeders this winter?
We had a mineral block in the backyard all last winter and I was amazed to see the birds sitting and pecking on it also.
Great shots Lynne!

Bird Girl said...

That is a cute little squirrel that I have never seen.

I always wanted to catch a Pine Siskin in mid-air with those wonderful wings fully out - you sure did a fantastic job with those pictures!