Warbler on Friday

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Yellow-rumped Warbler up in a tree.


Looking up into the tree.


And looking at the berries below.


Warbler takes flight.


Two Mourning Doves on a branch.


And a vine growing up from the other side of the fence.


Woodpecker on Thursday

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A little Downy Woodpecker was in the backyard today. There was a spot of red on its head, which means it’s a male. At first he was picking at the remaining berries on the tree.


The berries are looking somewhat dried out by now, but the woodpecker didn’t seem to mind.


Taking one last look at the berries before moving on.


The little woodpecker moved to another tree where he poked and pecked at the bark.


And here you can see the woodpecker’s tongue. He has a long tongue that he uses to poke into holes he’s pecked, pulling out insect larvae. He may be pulling something back into his mouth here.


A Few for Wednesday

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Just a few for today. This Mourning Dove was watching me carefully.


I had a rear view of a little bird on the fence.


My guess was Yellow-rumped Warbler, our most commonly seen warbler, and when the bird turned around I saw I was correct.


Looking up into a pine tree.



Swallow-tailed Kites Return!

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Spring arrived this week, and so did the Swallow-tailed Kites. These kites are large black and white birds of prey with a 4 foot  wingspan and a forked tail. They are in our area most of the year, but migrate south for the winter. Today was the first time I’ve seen a kite this year.


These birds soar gracefully in flight–I love to watch them.


They prey on small birds, rodents, etc., catching them in their talons and eating in flight. The kite I saw today wasn’t eating–just soaring around surveying the area.


I’m looking forward to seeing more of these birds!




Max on Monday

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One of Max’s hobbies is playing baseball. He loves to play baseball–our own version of baseball, that is, which is more like fetch. We have two baseballs, and I start the game by tossing one across the backyard. Max races after it and when he gets it and looks back at me, I’ll make the other ball look very attractive, tossing it up in the air a few times and catching it myself. He’ll run up to me, drop the first ball at my feet, and I’ll throw the second baseball across the yard. We continue this until Max gets tired.

Here’s Max with both of his baseballs.


At the end of  baseball game: Max with both baseballs and one of his toy chipmunks, looking very happy.


One more of Max in the yard.


(Baseballs aren’t meant to be dog toys and I don’t want Max to hurt himself. So he never has a baseball unless I’m playing this game with him, and he never has a baseball in his mouth for more than a minute or so while we’re playing. I store them on top of a high cabinet where he can’t reach them.)

I took a few more photos of the lantana flowers growing up over the fence. The sun was behind me for this picture.


This one was taken from the other side of the flowers, so this time there’s a bright background.


Last one for today is bottlebrush blooming in my neighbor’s yard, with a mix of vines and bits of other plants–very tropical looking!




Geese on Sunday

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Max and I see Canada geese every time I take him walking at the community college. They honk at Max, and we keep our distance from them in case they decide to protect their territory from us!

I was reminded of a time about 6 or 7 years ago when I was still teaching my high school special education class, and when the first pair of Canada geese found the retention pond at our school. I took my kids out to observe those geese every day, marking down what time we saw them and what they were doing. We took photos and made posters, and we looked at geese in bird books we found in the school library. The most exciting thing that spring was when the geese built a nest (conveniently close to the fence around the retention pond in terms of our goose observations) and they hatched 6 babies.

I looked back and found a couple of old photos I took of the mother goose with the goslings that spring. Here’s mama goose with 5 of her babies–one was straggling behind, out of camera range.


And here’s mama goose leading all 6 on a swim in the pond.


And a young goose observer with his clipboard, keeping a cautious distance from the goose family on the other side of the fence.


As time went on the goose population grew larger each year, until they began to be a nuisance. But I still remember that first year, which was one of my last years of teaching, and the kids’ excitement with our goose project.



Saturday Photos

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The green leaves are growing larger, and the branches that were bare all winter are rapidly filling in.


And our volunteer tomato plant is still green and healthy looking, even with a couple of near freezing nights this past week. There are quite a few little green tomatoes growing.


Over on the side fence I spotted a Yellow-rumped Warbler. The little warbler was apparently looking for insects, watching carefully before suddenly diving off the fence for a bite to eat.


Checking the situation in the other direction.


And on the back fence there was a male Cardinal. It looks like our local cardinal family is staying around for another year.


Brown anole on the screen door casting a long shadow.


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