The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Birds’

Mourning Doves

A pair of Mourning Doves built a nest in our picnic pavilion. On May 4th there was one egg in the nest.

One of two adult mourning doves sitting on nest

Each time I checked on the nest, it appeared that the same bird was sitting on the nest.  I assumed the bird sitting on the nest was female.   A quick Internet search answered my query.  The male and female mourning dove look alike; therefore, it appeared the same bird had been on the nest the whole time.  I learned that the male does a daytime shift and the female does the night shift.  Because I always checked on the nest during the daytime, the bird sitting on the nest is a male mourning dove.  I learned that incubation takes two weeks.  Not being sure when the egg that we saw on May 4th had been laid, we figured that the egg would hatch on or about May 18th.

On May 25 we removed the outdoor furniture from the picnic pavilion.  We hosed down the picnic pavilion and the furniture, preparing both for the summer season.  Our cleaning disturbed the mourning dove.  She flew away from the nest.  While she was gone, we looked in the nest.

The egg hatched 🙂

Except for the presence of the baby bird, we would have evicted the mourning dove that night.  We made plans to evict the mourning dove family as soon as baby bird learned to fly.

 

Four days later (May 29th) we noticed that baby bird was getting bigger.

Baby bird and papa bird
We were still waiting for baby bird to spread its wings and fly!

On May 30th baby bird appeared ready to fly.

We didn’t see “Baby” leave the nest area that day.

On May 31st, when we walked into the pavilion, “Baby” wasn’t in the nest area.

“Baby” flew from the nest to one of the picnic pavilion rafters.

On the evening of June 1st, after not seeing “Baby” or either of the adult mourning doves, we evicted “Baby” and the parents.  We reclaimed the chairs on which the nest had been built.  We hosed down the nesting area and the chairs.  We checked for several days afterward.  The mourning dove family has not attempted to return.  We hope that “Baby” survives the great big world.

North Carolina Vacation – Day 3 of 9 (Biltmore Estates: Geese, Sheep and Horses)

We spent Days 3 and 4 (May 13 and May 14) of our North Carolina vacation at Biltmore Estates in Asheville NC. After admiring Biltmore House and the Library and South Terraces, the Walled Garden and Conservatory, and the Azalea Garden and Bass Pond, we returned to our car by shuttle bus and drove through the estate grounds to the lagoon.

the Lagoon

At the lagoon, we spread a blanket on the ground under the shade of a tree.  The photograph of the lagoon shown above was our view, as we ate a picnic lunch.  Our picnic fare was the same as other days: tuna salad and crackers, peaches and a couple sugar-free chocolate chip cookies.  We should go on a picnic more often.  Lunch was so relaxing.  After lunch, I entertained myself by watching and photographing the many geese and baby geese at the lagoon.

We drove to the other side of the lagoon and were rewarded with a magnificent view of the backside of the Biltmore House.

Lagoon view of Biltmore House

While on the shuttle bus ride, the driver pointed out two barns, one housing sheep and the other housing horses.  We stopped at both barns on our drive through the estate.

The sheep and lambs were in the pasture grazing.

Sheep

Sheep

Sheep

Sheep

Carriage and trail rides are available at the horse barns.  We didn’t go on a ride; however, we did enjoy looking at the horses.

Two Horses

Carriage & Trail Ride Barns

A farrier was in the barn shoeing this horse.

This is a smart dog.  It is staying out of the way of the horse’s hoofs!

We returned to our hotel around 2:30 pm, where we relaxed until it was time to leave for dinner.

Dinner was at Cracker Barrel Restaurant.  We met our friends, Karen and Pete, at the restaurant.  Pete and Bob used to be coworkers.  Karen and Pete moved to North Carolina several years ago.  Whenever we visit this part of North Carolina, we make arrangements to meet Karen and Pete for dinner.  Dinner was good, as was the conversation.  Karen and I are Facebook friends, and we keep in touch there.  However, nothing compares to a face-to-face conversation.   Much of the conversation centered around Bob’s workplace and coworkers that Bob and Pete both knew.  Before leaving the restaurant, Pete gave me a painting of two Carolina Wrens.  We now own three Pete Ferry original paintings!

imageThis covered bridge scene was the first painting that Pete gave to us.
Pete mailed this painting to us.

 imagePete gave us this painting of the ocean last year, when he and Karen visited us at our home.

imageThis is the newest addition to our Pete Ferry original paintings.

Pete is a talented painter.  His paintings are gorgeous!  Thank you, Pete, for your wonderful gifts.  We will treasure them always!

We returned to the hotel around 6:30 pm.  We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our room.  Before retiring for the night, we watched a movie on Amazon Prime (Bob packed the ROKU).  The movie that we watched was called “Flight of the Phoenix”.  The movie was about survivors of a plane crash in the Mongolian desert working together to build a new plane.  We enjoyed the movie.  Hugh Laurie was one of the characters in the movie.  It was interesting to see him cast in a different role than that which he was cast in the TV show “House”.

 

 

How Birds Keep Warm in Winter

It is cold outside.  The wind is blowing; the snow is flying.  At this moment, Weather Underground lists the temperature in my hometown as 13 degrees.  It feels like 0 degrees.  I was sitting in my home office, watching several starlings as they ate suet nuggets at our bird feeder.

I sure wouldn’t want to be outside today.  I wondered how birds keep warm in winter.  The answer was a quick Internet search away — How Do Birds Keep Warm in Winter.

Feeding Frenzy Has Begun

The feeding frenzy has begun, at least for the starling population.

For most of this year our bird feeders have sat empty.  There are feral cats in the neighborhood.  I haven’t seen any cat prints, though, at the feeders.  There might be a hawk in the area.  I have seen quite a number of hawks in trees throughout the area.  I haven’t seen one in our neighborhood though.  Whatever the reason for the lack of birds, perhaps the tide is beginning to turn.   A starling started to show up at the feeder.  I have seen a couple juncos, a goldfinch and a nuthatch at the feeders.  The starling, though, has been my most frequent visitor.

One Starling

For the past several days this lone starling has been the only bird who has enjoyed the food at our bird feeders.  I would like to think it is the same starling returning time and time again.  I have named him Spot, an obvious choice for a name given all the spots on his body.  His food of choice is the suet nuggets.  Today, Spot was joined by other starlings.

Spot is the starling with its wings stretched out.

Spot chased away one starling, but was willing to share the feast with another.

Snowy Owl

UPDATE:  I am linking this post to Eileen’s meme, Saturday’s Critters.  Today is Saturday’s Critters #8.  You may view more critters by visiting Eileen’s blog, Viewing nature with Eileen.

 

There is a snowy owl irruption.  Perhaps you have been as fortunate as me to have spotted one or more of these magnificent birds.

I saw my first snowy owl on January 14th

Most days since then I have driven from my house to the various places in the immediate area where the snowy owl has been spotted.  I wanted to capture a closer picture of the snowy owl and, if possible, lower to the ground.

Today my husband and I went for a drive in search of the snowy owl.

We spotted an owl sitting on top of a utility pole,
across the street from where I took my first snowy owl picture.

We drove a little farther north, where a snowy owl had been spotted on other days.  We looked but didn’t see any signs of an owl.  The snowy owl blends in well with the snow, so we might just not be seeing it.  We decided to do a U-turn and return to where we had spotted the owl sitting on top of the utility pole.  The owl wasn’t there; however, we spotted it just across the street on another utility pole.  The utility pole it was perched on was the same pole where I had first seen the snowy owl on January 14th.  We parked along the side of the road.  As I was getting out of the car, the owl flew off the pole to the field behind the pole.  I walked across the field to a wire fence.  I searched the ground for the snowy owl.  After a couple minutes, I spotted it!

 

What a magnificent bird!

Saturday’s Critters #7

This goldfinch was at our back yard bird feeder this afternoon. Not many birds have been partaking of the food at our bird feeders. My husband thinks feral cats and/or a hawk in the area is keeping the birds away.

Goldfinch

I was happy to see this hungry little goldfinch at the feeder today.

Even though snow covers the ground and temperatures are hovering in the low 20s, I can tell by looking at this goldfinch that Spring is on its way.  How can I tell?  The goldfinch is losing its brown winter shield in favor of its Springtime yellow coat.

If you’d like to see more critter photographs, please visit Viewing nature with Eileen.

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