~A Sojourn~ Life on Planet Earth~
header photo-Riley Moore Falls, Oconee Co., SC
"Did you ever suffer an attack of a wandering foot caused by the lure of that mystic unknown? There's is no permanent cure, relief only had
while making the wilds your home."
About a month early...It's HOT! My day has been beginning early and ending pretty early too...by 9 am it's too sticky and uncomfortable to enjoy being out...it's Memorial Day Weekend...which reminds me that the beach in Brooklyn where I lived would be having opening day...and it would be cold most likely...BUT here it is Summer time and the living is easy..
Last weekend we went to Mays Lake it's in the Sandhills Refuge we had it all to ourselves. But this weekend we can't seem to get motivated to go anywhere...we have the blahs!
The birding has been good but totally dipped on any new species the past 11 days! Honestly I have not tried as hard as I should it's too hot and the birds are laying low except for the usual crowd...
Some new arrivals...to this world
Worried Mom...protecting her clutch
Don't recall ever having so many Yellow Breasted Chats around my area as this year I think it's the many successional (?) growths from all the timber cutting the past couple years.
The Orchard Orioles have been busy too I haven't spotted a nest but I know they are out there...
And already seeing the weird immature birds that make you go hmmmmm...I'm going with Chipping Sparrow on this one shown below...
Finally got a shot of the Eastern Wood Peewee...
and a "still" swallow is priceless...
There is really only one thing to do when it gets this hot...
This morning I had to grocery shop...ugh! I'd rather work 5 hrs in the field to grow my own but until then I slug off like everyone else! Then later I ran the mower over Mom's front and back now Im sitting on my sofa, with my feet up and watching a Ruby Throated Hummingbird sip the sugar water I have hanging in the tree outside. Life is good! He didn't have to slug off to the IGA but his sip came from there same as mine!! Too lazy to get up and wait him out for a photo here is one from times past...
The month is half over...we've had some good weather lately so I've tried to get out as much as possible and enjoy it while it's here!
My birding has slowed down a little as I feel like I've peeled the onion about as deep as I can in the 5 mile....of course that is not true! LoL..but I have slowed down a wee bit...same old problem-----> no access! And now with the trees fully leafed out my vantage view points are being blocked and ticks and snakes are out...so even roadside can become more hazardous in this tall grass. more and more I'm attracting unwanted attention, from roadside interlopers...then I have to listen to their "bird" stories, you birders out there know the stories I'm referring to. Ugh. OKAY so anyway... an ebird reviewer got under my skin when he wanted a PHOTO to prove I had seen a Purple Finch female at my feeder last week...HELL! No habeas corpus! That Purple Female did not show up the next day...oh well what ever. How about ebird Prove I didn't see it? LoL.
No demands for more information on the Red Eyed Vireos that hover over me to see what all the movement below is about I try like crazy to get a decent shot of one, and yet they want a photo of the Purple Finch...**crazy giggling** LOL. SO very common, but not 2 weeks after the prom!
Wild Plums are nearly ready...life does not come in neat little bundles like plums do...too bad eh? LoL
A week of hot weather and I'll be picking!
This is a nest hole it's in the clear cut so that's fun to scan each time I pass by there..
red headed woodpecker
In our Cemetery travels we always find an out of the way spot to get some french fries and a cold drink and last week we hit this little spot...good iced tea and great service!
Get Your Kicks on Route ...341
You can almost hear this "M-I-Crooked-Letter-Crooked-Letter-I-Crooked Letter-Crooked Letter-I-Hump-Back-Hump-Back-I" Kite saying, "what you looking at?" We had to learn that mnemonic in grade school in order to remember how to spell Mississippi,
Have seen so many Mississippi Kites since their arrival...really could watch for hours...
Carolina Wrens have fledged their first batch of youngsters and now they are teaching them how to sound the alarm!
Good Job guys!
On the 5 mile count...its full moon I went outside and heard the Eastern Whippoorwill (#108) calling, my nocturnal got me another tic in my 5 mile...and soaring over one of my cow pasture visits I saw 2 Tree Swallows! (#109) No photos of either. Took a drive to one of my spots and while there I got dusted...
Literally!! I felt so bad for the 20 kites soaring above who just had their diet poisoned by this yellow menace...I shook my fist at him oh well, I can't save the world...
BUT my reward for putting up with that assault from the air... was this, see on the wire?
...course the plane scared everybody including me...and he flew over to this tree
Painted Bunting (#110) not just one but 3 of them; 2 males and 1 female..
I wasn't even expecting to see one let alone 3 in my county. County Bird!
SAY WHAT? Happy Dance!
...All week I had been trying for the Yellow Billed Cuckoo. I was pretty sure I heard one but I wanted to photo it also...I used playback on one of the dirt roads Ive been birding from...and then this guy stopped... long drawn out convo about his experiences with birds...I endure, after I have to completely explain my weird behavior. "Hi, what you looking for?" Birds...well we kill turkeys, dove, and quail pretty regular...not that kind of bird hunting mr....ugh
ok then he says, "I had this weird bird hit my window died right there on the spot"... he pulls out his phone and shows me a photo...damned a Yellow Billed Cuckoo, so I said in plain English but with a smirk..."It's a Yellow Billed Cuckoo." ...so he says in typical redneckese, "A yellow billed whattttt?"
When I finally got rid of him I gave up and went home...sat on my porch later and bingo heard one, ran out with my camera and Bingo
Second week of May already seems like this year is on a steamer headed for 2020! Yeah lets not forget that magical number headed our way. Dates such as that boggle my mind since I'm always reading headstones with birthdates like 1797 or 1840 shows us how very short our life span really is. Hopefully we will all make it well into the the 2020's. My mom was born in 1924! She is so very close to that century mark.
Mom with a rhodie she planted many years ago...Happy Mother's Day!
Most of my time these days is spent in a couple of areas of life, family, doing yard work, chores etc, and birding between my trips to town for supplies! My walks in nature are always special to me...so lets jump right in!
I spy with my little eye something that looks so amazing!!
Polyphumes Moth the "Clyclopes Moth" a Giant Silk Moth!
The vernal Pool hangs on...
A shed Snake Skin, at least 4 ft in length the entire skin was there!
in the same area where the young Eagles have fledged and only one was around the day we visited...it made me sad he looked so lonely..
Like he was saying "where has my family gone..." sigh must be hard being a bird sometimes...
Down under a nearby bridge chaos of another family was going on as the barn swallows put on a flight show for me....
This is a cellphone shot of the nest of a chipping sparrow...it's in a bush right by mom's front porch we can lean over and see down into it...see the brown dots on the eggs?
and another cellphone shot of the eggs in the bluebird nest gourd...I know you may not be able to see since this is phone has small pixel, but the eggs look as if they have been speckled with tiny brown specks...
What a miraculous job they did building this nest so much work and thought and planning went into it!
We have many birds nesting here but these are the only ones I've found the nest of...watched the Carolina Wrens as they guided they first brood of fledglings out into the world..
Ive been birding in my 5 mile radius this is one of my favorite wetlands...the roadside one where there is no place to stand have to jump the rail each time a car flies by ....but it's so pretty there!
I called it the Mt Zion wetland...after the road I saw some neat birds there like the Great Crested Flycatcher Male...
This shot captures the beautiful feather detail of this beautiful bird!
the Yellow Breasted Chats continue to provide me with such a show!! Look at his throat as he makes some of his weird sounds...
Could watch for hours!
MY latest finds I didn't get good photos of...in case you are wondering why Im not just jumping into that I did get a shot of the elusive Gray Catbird this week...saw him last week...
And had a loggerheaded shrike out in the open as they normally are, the butcher bird as they are sometimes called due to they like to impale their prey on sharp objects..
Most of the fields around are in amazing color right now with the Ragwort in bloom...
SO my new sightings for the radius this week as I said I got very few photos of them..mainly because of heavy cover, and the birds are so busy finding mates, nest building, it's just a busy time of year for them..
the Mississippi Kite (#102)
had a pair one landed pretty far away...
A Black Throated Blue Warbler, (103)
I know terrible! But you take what you can get he was in and out so fast maybe on my next visit...
same thing with the American Redstart..(104)
Anyway for the record shot... and then a couple I didn't even get a shot of the Swainson's Warbler (105)...and the Yellow Throated Vireo,(106) along with the heard only Eastern Wood Peewee. (107) I did get him on tape with a red eyed vireo over singing him..lol
I found an area where many of the red headed woodies are nesting...
So my count stands at 107 in my 5 mile!! I made this my big day...it was Monday, and in my radius I had 61 species for the day!
Another month gone? I can't believe it...My last report the 3rd week of April, was really a good week where I had 6 in one week...but wait!
When I ended March had my 5 mile radius up to 77 species sighted since Jan 1st..and April really helped me push the count higher all the way up to 96 The last week of April, I didn't get to bird every day so I got only 2 species by the 30th...the Blue Grosbeak...(#95)
And on the same day in the exact same area almost in the same tree the lovely Indigo Bunting (#96)
And the beautiful turquoise back...
So I ended up with 96 for April. Then MAY arrived and what a May Day I had. I was in the field by 7:15 am since it is now getting hot by midday. I had plans to go into town outside my radius to look for the Swainson's Warbler spotted by the 2 other birders who are listing in my county. They live in the burbs but I had so much going on in my radius I never made it to town!
I made a stop at one of my personal hotspots where I have seen quite a few of my FOY birds so far including the Blue's just mentioned...I can't make if official it's private property I bird from the road... but I heard gunshots...probably a Turkey Hunter..it's still Turkey season. So I moved on to a similar habitat. Sure am glad I did... asa I got out of the van I heard this bird: (#97)
I haven't seen one of these in like 10 years was really thrilled to see 4 different individuals! The Yellow Breasted Chat.
these flowering shrubs are all around the area where the chat was
Had more orchard oriole's males, immature males, and females..
Then more Prairie Warblers, more Indigo Buntings too...
All singing high up on tops of the trees.
I pulled the van a little farther down the road and heard a somewhat familiar sound...how could I forget the call of all those yellow warblers that I saw in CO last yr so this is my FOY Yellow Warbler, (#98)
Then I moved the van to an area where I have an awesome spot to bird a swampy verge. I found my FOY Gray Catbird, (#99) no photo and then in the field area that is on the edge of the woods, I heard the Grasshopper Sparrow. (#100) He /she would not pop up for a look but no mistaking that buzzy call.
I found these tracks...I always enjoy trying to figure out tracks...so this one had me stumped for a moment...what's your guess? I'll post my guess once the commenting is done so stop back by or subscribe to comments to see if we are all in sync about what this was.
Back at home I was hot and tired and rested on the screen porch and bam In flew this lady to make my #101 bird!
The Female Rose Breasted Grosbeak!
...the last week of April, we had a luncheon on the porch...I made a salad from my container grown greens, and it was delicious served with fresh strawberries! Mom and sis approved.
Life is not all about Birds ya know!
Here is one of my radius Eastern Towhee with the red eye..the yellow eye one that lives in the clear cut is very special...but lately I've had to venture out of the clear cut to find my latest arriving birds..
Even with this stick in the way that eye is just ....well eye catching!
And you can't go wrong with a posing Northern Mockingbird...
So I broke the 100 ceiling count...and now it's going to get even harder to rack up numbers...I will keep trying till it gets too hot! Once birds are in place raising young, not going to see many newbies come through.
So ended up April with 96 and the entire county count was 146 so my % fell some; ended up with close to 66%.
Adding a Wild Turkey... the heard from the yard in April species was at 38!