Friday, May 22, 2009

Nate & Karen visit (& G&G and good birds!)

Nate and Karen are here and we are having a great visit. Got to go for a walk along the Poudre River and look for mushrooms, visit with Scottie, Jason, and Noah, have some great patio time with Grandma and Grandpa, and Karen got to enjoy some time in our hammock. Nate brought some morel mushrooms from a secret location in Minnesota that we cooked up the other night - yum! We've been sampling our 2 homebrews - the Wit and IPA - and both have been well received. Grandma especially enjoyed seeing Karen and getting to feel for Mularkey. And as we sat on the patio today, we were rewarded with sightings of both the black-headed grosbeak (Nate and I took pix through my spotting scope!) as well as the western tanager. Our yard is turning into a real bird paradise.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quentin graduated from CSU!

Mom and I just got back from Quentin's graduation. This is the last CSU graduation we'll go to - it's awesome that all five of our kids were grads from CSU. Quentin got to wear the gold robe because he was Summa Cum Laude - in the top 1% of his class. So, congrats to Q, and now on to Europe for a Masters Degree!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Backyard birds at pond and waterfall

This evening over the course of maybe an hour or so, there was a parade of birds coming in to the waterfall and pond for drinks and bathing. The moving water is such a great attraction. Here is a list of birds that visited the water feature in that short time:

Virginia's warbler
Many yellow-rumped warblers
blackpoll warbler
orange-crowned warbler
yellow warbler
chipping sparrow
Brewer's sparrow
American robin
common grackle
western tanager
house finch
black-capped chickadee
Swainson's thrush
Empidonax flycatcher

Marianne and I sat in chairs nearby and enjoyed one of the best shows that nature has to offer. What a great time of year. I didn't take this photo, but wanted to show how beautiful the western tanager is.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Florida Bird Trip - late post

Well, I said I'd post about my birding trip to Florida, so, better late than never. I'll make it short! I had a great time, and saw 23 new birds which brings my North American total to 575. I have a ways to go to get to 600, but this was one of the areas where I could add a lot of species. I saw my first new bird - a smooth-biled ani - within 1/2 hour of leaving the airport, so that was a great start. I really enjoyed my trip to the Dry Tortugas. These islands are pretty remote, but there is an old Fort there, dating back from about 1860 or so. They have a very small camping area, and I stayed overnight. One of my favorite parts of being there was sitting quietly by a fresh water fountain, where I saw many different species of birds, including warblers, vireos, cuckoos, buntings, etc. I also saw species of terns and sea birds that don't occur anywhere else in North America, so this was a good place to be! Other highlights of my trip included visting a man-made weltand with a boardwalk, a trip to Everglades National Park, birding around Miami for some of the parakeets and other birds that have established wild populations there, and seeing some of the tiny Key deer. I actually didn't take time to get many photos, but here are a few. The blue colored bird is an indigo bunting. The bird in the circle (my scope) was a new one for me - a Cape May warbler. Both of these were coming for a drink or bath on the small brick water fountain. The bird on the wood rail is a tri-colored heron, and the island photo is of a colony of thousands of nesting sooty terns, another new bird.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hop bines support

Last year we planted two hop plants and this year they are ready to take off. They can grow up to 20 feet or more!!! So, I just finished building a support system for them to grow on. The bines (vines for hops) will grow up on three wires and then when we are ready to harvest I will lower the wires down on a rope and pulley system. Should be interesting!