THE BOBCAT’S BACK – Marilyn Armstrong

The bobcat’s back and I hope we don’t have any trouble. We never had dogs running loose before, but we can’t keep the Duke in the fenced yard, so I just hope they don’t intersect anytime soon.

Squirrel survivor

I looked out on the back yard this morning. It was covered in a couple of inches of snow on top of a crunchy batch of solid sleet. I could see Duke’s prints too. There was an interesting crosshatch of bobcat and dog prints and I got to thinking that I really hope the Duke doesn’t try to take on the bobcat. I’m pretty sure the bobcat would win that one.

A local bobcat. Smaller than ones in other parts of the continent, but able to leap 30 feet in a single bound. I’ve seen them do it. It’s amazing.

It’s a small bobcat, about the size of a large house cat, but those little guys are strong. And hungry. We only have one bobcat at a time except when we get a mother with kittens. As soon as one of the kittens lays claim to the area, all the other cats disappear. There’s only one bobcat in an area at a time and unless they are mating, they don’t pal around with each other.

Our perching Mourning Dove … He actually sat there long enough for me to finally get a few clear shots. Then he flew away but he was really patient with me and the camera.

It also explains why the birds have been so nervous. The squirrel that showed up this morning looked healthy, but something — my best guess is an eagle or a hawk — took a piece out of his neck. Somehow, he wrenched free.

Red-Tailed Hawk – They live in Canada and the U.S.., coast to coast.

It’s a battleground out there. We have always had more predators than we have prey. That’s why we don’t have a cat. They get eaten, as often as not by coyotes, but a big red-wing hawk can take a cat or a small dog … or a baby goat or lamb. They always warn us not to leave puppies outside unless they are in a cage with a roof. And even with that, keep it close to home.

We have a lot of these guys, too. You can see them in the driveway around twilight.

Raccoons can easily kill even a pretty big dog. They have super thick skin, long teeth, and claws. Adults can (and do) top fifty pounds. They are a lot stronger then they look and can under the right circumstances.

They come in all sizes and no matter how cute they are, be careful. If they aren’t tame, they can be pretty rough.

And then we have our own polecat, the Fisher, which will pretty much eat anything but prefers fish. We tend to get very romantic about animals in the wild, but they are the hunters and the hunted. The small ones hunt bugs and the eggs of smaller birds. Bigger ones hunt them … and then, there are even bigger hunters.

The Fisher who is not actually a cat. He’s a weasel with a beautiful coat. Nearly extinct from hunting and is now making a serious comeback. He likes our backyard. It’s sunny and he will sit in the middle of the sunny area and he won’t leave until he’s good and ready. They come in very dark brown, black, and deep red. They are not friendly and they are bigger than they look in pictures.

In the end, there is us. We hunt everything because we have guns … and we can. Meanwhile, I hope my little wild dog doesn’t decide to take on a bobcat. That isn’t a match I want to see.

And then, there’s the Duke

PICK YOUR COLOR AND I CHOOSE RED! – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Color of Your Choice

There’s been a lot of red flying around my feeders, not to mention a lot of red on my rose bushes. So we’re going with red. And feathers!

A DAY I THOUGHT I’D NEVER SEE – Marilyn Armstrong

I’m in the kitchen, periodically peeking out the window. There was a big Cardinal out there, but when I picked up my camera, he vanished. I hoped he would come back. Meanwhile, I got some nice squirrel pictures.

A morning squirrel

Meanwhile, I was slowly cooking canna-butter. Did I add too much water? I hope not. At least I got the temperature right. My new telephone arrived, though I haven’t had the energy to open the package yet. Tomorrow. I’m deep into canna-butter today.

Tufted Titmouse

They announced on the news last night that Uxbridge is getting its own pot shop, the third in the state.


Seriously.

Uxbridge.

A pot shop.

A legal pot shop.

In Uxbridge.


And here I am, brewing canna-butter and really hoping it will help with sleep and pain and if it doesn’t fix the pain and the sleep, maybe it’ll improve the quality of my English muffins with my coffee in the morning.

Nuthatch

I never imagined this day would come where I would be legally cooking pot for the legal purpose of using it medicinally. Of course, I never expected to find myself needing it medicinally either. You win some, you lose some.

A different nuthatch — or a different bird? I think maybe a different bird!

The sun came out and the birds are knocking each other off the feeder. I swear they are playing.

It’s warm out. A lot warmer than February 8th should be, but right now, I’m okay. Wondering what exactly I’m supposed to do with the canna-butter after it’s fully prepared. So far, toast is as far as I’ve gotten with it.

Chickadee — he’s outta there!

The sky is finally blue and I got some good shots of a squirrel chowing down in the flat feeder this morning. To get squirrels, I have to get up earlier. It’s the only answer. They don’t linger around much past 9 in the morning and that’s on the late side for them.

Another early squirrel

A pot shop in Uxbridge will be interesting for our one-horse, single-road, Main Street village. They will come from miles around. I’m pretty sure business will pick up. I hope so. Aside from being cool, it will be a massive inconvenience.

At least the fresh donuts will sell better — not like they don’t sell now.

What an interesting summer this is going to be!

BIRDS DU JOUR MINUS THE ONES I MISSED – Marilyn Armstrong

Owen filled the feeder yesterday and there were dozens of birds around the feeder this morning, including some I didn’t recognize.

Downy Woodpecker

I think the unseasonably warm weather is bringing the migrating birds back at least a month early. I hope the weather doesn’t suddenly change! I’ve seen it happen before where a warm spell in February brought back nesters who were frozen when winter blew back in.

Goldfinch?

But this year, we haven’t really had something I’d call winter. We’ve had some extremely cold days and a tiny bit of snow, but between the few cold days have been a lot more warm ones. I’ve got ants in the house. In February! And there have been ticks in the yard all winter. That’s not a real winter, folks. This is  … kind of like late March? Early April?

Junco on the railing

I swear to you I picked up my camera this morning and every interesting bird fled. As I see them, they see me. They don’t mind me standing and watching them, but the moment I aim the camera at them, they fly away … except for the “old-timers” who have finally figured out that I’m not going to do anything to them.

Nuthatch

I did get a few cute pictures, though, so I thought I’d show them to you. I thought I’d also share the interesting news that I can’t use my lens except at its shortest length, which would be about 200 mm (per 35 mm standard). If I extend, the pictures get blurry because the lens is too “close.” Never thought that would happen!

Downy Woodpecker

I can shoot longer when I’m shooting birds on branches in the woods, but not when they are on the deck or the feeders.

Titmouse and Goldfinch

THE COLOR IS RED: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge: RED

I just happen to have some red birds to show you. I know. You’re shocked, aren’t you? That I have red birds.

That’s right. All red birds and birds with red heads. Birds with lots of red on their head and some with just a little bit.

AGAIN IT’S TIME FOR THE BIRDS … Marilyn Armstrong

I know today is The Big Game and we’ll be watching it too. But in case you want to take a break — like during half-time which we avoid like the plague — here are some newly photographed birds.

Now, being serious (sort of) for a minute, you can’t tell which birds are which. When I get to the point where I know the woodpeckers and start giving them names, perhaps you’ll want to order an intervention. I’ll fight you on it, but you can try.

The doves have come and they stay in the feeder until it’s empty. We have really fat doves. Very fat doves.
A slate junco on the deck rail
I think this is a nuthatch and a junco, but I can’t see clearly enough to be sure
A pair of juncos … except they don’t look like the same bird
A pair of (I think) downy woodpeckers
Ladderback Redhead … my current favorite
And the cardinal popped in for a quick snack
Another cute one of the ladderback
Woodpecker and a goldfinch
Ready to fly
Dove sharing space with a junco, but not for long!

THE BEST BIRDS OF JANUARY – Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t even remember which pictures I’ve posted and which are still waiting in folders. I know this is the second of February, but I don’t think it’s too late for a ‘best of birds” moments, do you? Of course you don’t.

A fly away woodpecker!
Two nearly matching woodpeckers

More will come. I probably have a few hundred (more?) still waiting to be processed!