Tuesday, May 29, 2018

She shoots and she scores...

I'm a tad late posting, because we went to Minnesota to visit family.  While we were visting, my Mother-In-Law took me on bird photo safari.  I was super lucky to catch birds for my great year that I don't normally see here in South Dakota.  
Common Grackle
 House Sparrow
 American Goldfinch
 Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
 Baltimore Oriole
 Red-Winged Blackbird
 Female Red-Winged Blackbird
 Ruby Throated Hummingbird
 Northern Cardinal

 Evening Grossbeak
I was overjoyed when I got home and was able to capture the trifecta of Grossbeaks.  I have the Black Headed, Rose-Breasted, and Evening Grossbeaks.  Birds that I saw, but was unable to get a photo of House Wren, Common Coot, and Yellow Headed Blackbird, and a ton of ducks.  I learned it is impossible to take photos of birds while going down the interstate at 80mph.    I enjoyed sharing my love of birds with my Mother-In-Law.  It is always fun to go birdwatching with her.   Not only did I get to spend time withmy husband's family, but also my brother and sister.  Since visits are few and far between we always try to make the best of our time together.  What a great Memorial Day weekend; working towards a challenge and spending time with family.  I hope your weekend was as fun.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Never say never...

 Three years ago, on a whim, I decided to try and make dandelion wine.  I thought it would be simple.  Just pick a bunch of dandelions and throw them in some sugar and yeast.  Of course nothing is easy.  Research says you have to separate the green from the petals.  This is not an simple task and it makes your thumbnails look like they have been burned.   I swore I would never do that again.  Then four months later I tasted the wine.  It was amazing.   Now the yearly dandelion de-petaling tradition begins.  It took five hours to get five cups of petals.  This isn't work for the faint of heart or weak of back.  My goal is to make two batches this year.  I am actually hoping for dandelions in the orchard.   I have learned that one should never say never, because you never know:)
I have a few more birds for the bird list.  I also saw two oven birds.  The fourth new bird this year.  I was not able to get a photo of them.  Below are a few more birds to add to my 2018 bird count.
Black Headed Grosbeak
 Pine Siskin
 Hairy Woodpecker

 Western Tanager
 I can't help but take a million photos of the Western Tanager.  They are so vivid.  I also enjoy his song.  It was a great bird watching weekend.  With one exception, I cannot get a good photo of the nuthatches.  It is like they know I'm trying to get a photo of them.  My checkered lilies are blooming like crazy.  They have even reseeded themselves into the forest.

This was my weekend project.  My brother made this little toad house.  I put it on a bed of moss and surrounded it with some stones from Denmark.  I think it makes a nice display.   I wish we had toads here.  I would be in seventh heaven. 

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018


 The crocus are blooming.  and the daffodils are up.  We have had drizzle and rain most of the week.  I have avoided washing the windows on the greenhouse, because I was sure it was an arduous task.  Much to my surprise, all I needed was soap and water.  The windows cleaned right up.  It made a huge difference.  

 The turkeys are in full swing and it has been fun to watch them parading around.

I added quite a few birds to my 2018 birding list today.  We went fishing on our property along the Belle Fourche River.  I was able to capture a nesting couple of geese.  It took forever to get a photo ot the Yellow Warbler.  That little bugger is fast and does not sit still for long.

I have the token mallard.  A pair of wood ducks flew over, but they were too darn fast for my camera.   I have searched and searched and decided the fellow below is a Yellow Rumped Warbler.  If you think otherwise, please let me know.  I also got a fuzzy photo of a brown thrasher and another bird I have yet to identify.  It made fishing difficult.  It is hard to sit quietly when one is trying to get photos of birds.  
I hope you all had a fabulous mother's day.  I wish my mom could have been along.  She taught me to love catfishing.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

My big year...

 Gumbo Lily was talking about it being a big year for her and the grands when it came to bird watching.  This seems to be my big bird watching year.  Again I have logged a new bird, but first lets see my old visitors returning.  The white-crowned sparrow above sounds like a freight train going through the woods.  An elephant would make less noise.
 The spotted towhee is very pretty, but his call leaves a lot to be desired.  It is the worst screeching noise I've ever heard.  I had three last year, but so far he is the only one to return.

 This beauty is my newest addition. It is a sharp-shinned hawk.   Not to be confused with the Cooper's hawk.  It took forever to identify.  It came down to the tail feathers.  The sharp-shinned tail feathers are squared or forked, while the Cooper's is rounded.  It was a beautiful bird and I was so happy to have time to take some photos.  Of course, you can see below that I wasn't as happy about where he perched.  He flew off before picking any birds out of my feeder.
It didn't take long for the birds to return.  This house finch was trying hard to look sassy for the ladies.  I was overjoyed when I saw a chickadee checking out the new birdhouse.  Unfortunately,  I don't think it moved in.  Maybe if I put a screen in front of the hole he would peck his way in.  

I got a ton of bird watching and gardening done this weekend.  I am overjoyed that spring is finally here.  I have logged 49 birds at our cabin since building.  I just need one more this year to hit 50.   I know I will keep my camera on the porch, because you never know who is going to fly through.  I hope you all had as wonderful a weekend as I did.