Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Last Summer's Backyard Birds

I'm really feeling flat tonight. I worked two extra shifts (Monday and Tuesday). The money is nice but it takes away from the time I usually spend getting other things done. I enjoy working as a Medical Technologist but the workload is heavy and combining the serious responsibilities of turning out top quality lab results while multitasking to the n'th degree can be mentally exhausting. We are constantly being asked to increase test volumes while decreasing turn-around time.
My Mom is having a tough time right now. We're coming up on 3 years since my Dad died. Time is not easing her grief. I wish there was more I could do to help her.
When I went downstairs to tackle the mountain of laundry this morning I was met with a sopping wet mountain and a flooded basement. The drains were backed up. Thankfully it was only a dirty water issue.
This is all I could come up with tonight- my favorite backyard birds form last year.
Above is the female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak pair stayed only a few days but were such a treat.

This little house wren stuffed sticks in both holes but the she-wren chose a nest across the yard.

The Brown Thrasher stayed for about two weeks last fall. He ate everything that I offered- grape jelly, meal worms, suet, peanuts, and oilers. This guy was a hoot to watch, racing through the leaves across the ground, trying to stir up bugs to eat.

Cooper's Hawk was a big thrill. She stayed for quite a while. I see coops fly through the backyard nearly every day but this one seemed to be offering to pose just for me to enjoy.

Last spring I learned a few sparrows. They had always been LBJ's to me, impossible to identify. I am proud to say that one day last spring I id'd 6 different sparrows within one hour at my feeding station!
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Harris's Sparrow

This was my first yard Red-bellied Woodpecker. I wonder if she's the same one that stayed the winter?

Another cool sparrow- Fox Sparrow came through in the fall.

Common visitors to my yard, but uncommon in their beauty; Northern Cardinal and Downie Woodpecker.

I know some of you probably consider Red-wing Blackbirds to be pests, but I love them. All summer they dropped in to my yard, several times a day, eating and singing their hearts out. Loud? Yes. Piggy? Maybe. Beautiful? Without a doubt.

They carry spring on their shoulders.

I've been hearing them out the window for two days. Today, finally, they came back to my backyard.


Larry said...

Those are some of my favorites too. Thrashers are pretty scarce around here but I'm lucky enough to live near an area where they nest._The Fox Sparrows around here look more reddish-Is that one of those sooty Fox sparrows?_

Anonymous said...

Hooray! The Red-winged Blackbirds finally arrived for you. I hope their singing brightened up the day after the overtime AND the flood. My Rx for you: a nap taken PRN...oh, right you are a working Mom! Thanks for the photos, you have a great collection of yard birds. They must tell each other, "psst, over here, peanuts and mealworms"!

Susan Gets Native said...

Sorry that you are feeling blah. You just need to tell your peeps at work that you need a really light work load because you have a BLOG to keep up!
Give me their number. I will call them for you.

Love your birds!

Mary said...

Lynne, we all feel blah and overwhelmed but it will pass. And your Mom will get through, too.

HEY - I LOVE YOUR BIRD SHOTS! I've seen many of them but not all... I especially like the flapping WT sparrow and the Brown Thrasher. Way cool...


Jayne said...

Beautiful reminder of what is to come. Sparrow ID has always been so very diffcult for me, so KUDOS to you Lynne!

Anonymous said...

Lilacs! They are my absolute favorite flowers - and to see them paired up with grosbeaks on this bleak rainy day was a really nice surprise.

Hope you take some time to regenerate yourself. Thanks for the beautiful breath of sunshine.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Larry- I don't think they are the sooty fox sparrows, but they do have alot of gray on their heads and cheeks. It's probably the photo quality.

Sara- I was doing my best to "will" them into my yard! I think it's time for you to start your own blog, don't you? I'd love to hear your birding adventures!!

Susan- Thanks for the reminder that I need to keep my priorities straight!! :)

Mary- I love the flapping picture too. It's one of my faves.

Jayne- I'm working on my sparrow refresher right now so I'll be ready for spring migrations. Most of the sparrows we only see for a short period during spring and fall.

LauraO- We're on our second cold, cloudy day today too- in fact we're expecting snow here shortly so I really neede a shot of warm weather birds. Can't wait for lilacs tto!!

NatureWoman said...

Every workplace I know of is decreasing the help and increasing the workload on everyone left and they keep expecting more and more and more and *it is* very tiring.
I'm so sorry your Mom is having a tough time.
Ugh, wet basements, yucky huh? I should go check mine. There's so much standing water around.
I love your summer bird photos!! Thank for a wonderful look at summer especially since it's turned cold here again.

Cathy said...

Lynne! Those beautiful pictures. They lifted my spirits and it must have lifted yours just to look at them again.
My heart aches for your mother. Grief is like a spiral staircase - it is such a winding seemingly endless process.
Though I know your work is grueling I give thanks that there are people like you who are conscientious in performing these invaluable tasks.
Water in the basement - one of my worst nightmares - only happened once. Once is enough;0)

LauraHinNJ said...

You've got great backyard birds, Lynne! No wonder you look to them for inspiration!

Deb said...

The Cooper's hawk is, of course, just an indicator of your proximity to Cooper High School. :) The rest, it's just all blessings.

Ruth said...

Great pictures Lynne. In spite of feeling flat, you turned out a terrific post. It is helpful for a non-expert bird admirer like myself to learn from someone like you.