Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wild Hogs

In Dec ‘09 I posted a video of a Momma Hog and her little ones….again in Jan ‘10 another Momma showed up.

Yesterday a Momma and the 6 little ones  ( not so “little” anymore")paid a surprise visit. 004cs

I doubt this is the same Sow. In the Jan video there were only 4 babies…and I think there were only 4 in the Dec video. 007cs

It’s possible this is the same Sow and I missed a couple but they usually stay in such a close group ..I doubt it. There are a lot of wild hogs running around here.

So far, they’ve just checked under the feeder and left…no digging in the yard…….…yet.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Honey Bees 4.26.10

Has anyone else noticed that Honey Bees seem to like our boats? I’ve even had them land on or follow us when on the water…usually only one or two but they are there.

Yesterday I had 3 Honey Bees trying to get behind the teak on the side of the boat. They didn’t bother me as I went in and out but they always returned to the same spot. No hole there that I can see……this morning there were 4…I do believe they think that big white boat is a giant beehive….

So…..I have set up a hive. My sister, JoAnne, gave me most of the parts…but I had to borrow the “porch”  and the cover from my neighbor, George, who has 4 hives of his own. He gave me instructions on what to do to get it ready….and will help me when, and if, I am able to attract a swarm.

Bees send out scouts for new homes when a hive gets too large and wants to split…I am hoping that’s what looking at my boat…scouts…now….I can’t say that Jim is thrilled with this idea…but he is going along with it for now…

This is what the bees make their honeycomb on…127cs 127cs

I think this hive has 11 …once that one is dropped into the slot on top…the panel lying on it’s side with the hole goes on top of leaves a small space so they can get from one panel to the other.129cs

Then the top covers the whole thing.131cs

So….after I get this all together…sitting on a wheel barrow so I can move it once they decide they like it….I sit in the boat and watch the bees….they don’t show any interest at all…I couldn’t even get them to look at a plate with a bit of honey on it.  So I washed the area on the boat that they were so interested in with soap and water…then put a piece of wet paper towel over the spot to discourage them…123cs

The next thing I knew…I had 7 Honey Bees flying in an out and landing on the wet paper towel…so I sat and watched for awhile longer. I finally realized they were after the water in the towel. Each bee would drink …then fly away…..

I made up a bee water bowl…009cs the paper towel in the tray is so they don’t drown…and they seemed to like having it to sit on. I placed it on the stepladder 032cs and removed the wet one from the boat…it only took a few minutes for one to find it and then they just kept coming back to it. At first I moved it when no bees were there and they wasted a lot of time trying to find it…you could almost tell where it had been sitting when a bee came back…..I kept moving it until I had it on a small step ladder and then I moved it a few feet at a time until I had it near the birdbath… the next step was to put a piece of paper towel on the bird bath…034cs

I’ve had bees coming to the bird bath in the past…but these were happy with what they found on the boat…we get a lot of condensation in the snaps..perhaps that was it…I figured the thunderstorms we had last night would create better places for them but they were working on the paper towel at the bird bath early this morning….and none on the boat… I guess these are the “water” bees.  Every bee has a job and honey was not in their job description…may be “union” bees.

I put the hive in the only spot that doesn’t get a lot of mowing. I will have to keep the plants cut back so the ants can’t get to it…the legs of the stand have engine grease on them to prevent them climbing…If no one moves in…I’ll store it until next year…

It’s really amazing what you can learn if you just take the time to observe something.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ruby Throated Hummingbird (April ‘10)

I have a tough time getting any pictures of the hummingbirds…but I did get a couple of this Ruby Throated on the Bottlebrush Bush.

Hummingbirdcs HBcs

and this short video.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Indigo Buntings 4.18.10

A couple of the Indigo Buntings are still here. One was at the feeder this morning.


Two Green Painted Buntings showed up to share the feeder.

082cs4 Indigos came in this evening. They will all be migrating sometime this month. We were gone for a week and I was surprised there were still a few here. I hate to see them leave.

The blue is so striking it is easy to see them as they fly around. They spend more time on the ground now…they did that last year just before they left.

This one and the squirrel are sharing the seed.089cs

Sometimes they are more visible in the camera than with the naked eye.092cs

In this video there is a Cardinal…green Painted Buntings and a couple of Indigos.

I will miss them when they leave.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

4.15.10 Painted Bunting & Catbird

One of my male Painted Buntings. This one has a lime-green patch on it’s back. There is one that has orange.


I hope to bore you with many many more.

While waiting for the Painted Bunting to return…..this Catbird came in …waiting for me to leave so it could get to the birdbath.


He thinks I cant see him. It’s such a beautiful bird.


One of the nice things about taking pictures of the different birds…you get a chance to see how really beautiful they are.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Buntings and Cardinals at the feeder..still here 4.11.10

The Buntings are still here….I took these just before we went out on the boat.

The little green Painted Buntings are either female or only a year old.


There are a few that I am sure are males, changing into their mature colors. 002cs

If you compare this “greenie” to the others you can see the reddish color on it’s breast. That is why I think this is a young male just molting into it’s color. Both pictures are of the same bird..but minutes apart.


The 2 “greenies” below show not coloring at all.


I very seldom see them at the feeders without a Cardinal  nearby. They seem very happy with their company.


This male Cardinal wasn’t about to miss a meal. I have 3 feeders in this area, and they are just getting used to this one.


This male Painted Bunting sat on the fence, by the Bottlebrush bush, for quite awhile this morning, before coming to the feeder. I think it was waiting for the Cardinals to come in…..


As soon as this female showed up…..he joined her .


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

on the river again

If you want to see what I’m watching now…you’ll have to go to    we are on the St Johns River for a week so all my posts will be from there.

I hope the Buntings will still be there when I get home…They start migrating in April.

See you on the water…oh!!!   I posted a picture of a Sand Hill Crane….and I didn’t realize until I downloaded the photos…that she had a very young “chick” with her.  What a great surprise…be sure to stop by and see it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Backyard Bunnies (April 2010)

I know to all your gardeners….this is a pest. But I really enjoy these little guys.


I have a couple of “wildlife” habitats…..brush piles….all the branches that fall and the palm fronds are put into these…..the palm fronds laid out so as to create a roof and help keep some of the water out.  They are not pretty…but I love the bunnies that use them. Most of our area is wet and has standing water after hard rains…so I create a place where they can get up out of the water……and in the tree line for cover. It’s about 4’ tall now…but things breakdown so fast here that it probably wont get much taller. 033cs

This one got started when a tree fell down…right there…so we left if and started building on it.  There are a couple of others that were created during the 2004 hurricanes when we had so many trees go down..but they are pretty well gone now.

The bunny was sitting right outside the screen room where I was having coffee. I walked out and tossed it a handful of corn and 2 small carrots. He found one and the other is that bit of orange in the R corner.  He eventually got it.027cs I don’t normally feed in this spot…it was already there munching on the grass…but it could dash under the screen room if necessary…as long as it doesn’t mind the Armadillo that’s under there . 

I have seen 4 rabbits…I don’t usually see more than one or two at a time.  They are such cute little things. They make me think of kids eating spaghetti, when munching on a long blade of grass.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Color at the feeders 3.30.10

In this video there are Blue Indigo Buntings, Cardinal, Green Painted Buntings, Male Painted Buntings and a Gold Finch. It’s the first Gold Finch I have seen here. I hope it comes back. The Buntings will all be migrating in the next couple of weeks. Last year they were gone by April 15. I had been hoping some would stay and nest here…but they didn’t.

In this picture there are 4 greens.


Here is a beautiful male, a green and an Indigo Bunting. Sometimes when I look out there will be only one or two greens and then the trees seem to be alive with little birds darting in and out. They especially like the Bottlebrush bushes…..I think it’s the nice thick foliage.071cs

I really like this feeder. There is a divider so there are 4 sections. I put black sunflower seeds in one quarter for the Titmice and Cardinals. The Buntings seem to prefer the white millet. It keeps the squirrels out..but I have had Blackbirds get into it. Most cant figure out that they have to fly up and under the top…but even one or two can empty it in a hurry. So I put a cage around it for awhile …until they get discouraged.