Friday, January 24, 2014

Fast food dining on a frigid day

The temperature hasn't risen much above freezing all day. So this morning, I bundled up and went outside to fill up the suet feeders. It didn't take long for everyone to show up. I shot these photos through my office window so forgive the fuzzy ones.
James captured this lovely shot of me through the dining room window.
Female northern cardinal
Bewick's wren

Bewick's wren
Male northern cardinal
Orange-crowned warbler (thanks, Joanne!)
Female golden-fronted woodpecker (the male was photo shy)

Monday, January 13, 2014

A wren record

Okay, you bird lovers, here's one for you. Yesterday morning, while eating breakfast, we watched this Carolina wren perch atop our fountain and sing sing sing. He'd take a rest, then break into singing again. What's the big deal, you ask? Well, that little songster sat and song in the same spot for AN HOUR! I promise! After I got up to dress for church, James kept a look-out while reading the newspaper at the table. A time or two, I dashed back to the dining room to check on the wren's whereabouts, and he was still at his station. Until finally, he flitted away. Amazing!  

I got some photos of the warbling wren through the window and cropped them tight.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New patio completed!

Look what James can do! Isn't it BEAUTIFUL? You may recall a September 26, 2013, post that previewed his newest project in the back yard. Well, my sweet, awesome husband finished it a month or so ago, but I just haven't had the time 'til now to report the completion. 

The bricks are very special. They came from my mother's family home in San Marcos. The Dobie family lived in the house from the time it was built in 1939. My grandfather purchased the bricks from the old Coronal Institute (originally founded in 1868 and closed in 1918) and used them to build the family home. James found one brick with the letter "D" etched into one side. We're not sure who might have left their handiwork grandfather or one of my uncles? Anyway, my precious Uncle Jim, who lived in the home until he had to go into a nursing facility last year, wanted James and I to have the bricks, which had served as walkways. We promised him that we would create something extra special in our yard. Sadly, Uncle Jim––who would have turned 70 on Christmas Day––left for heaven Dec. 19 and never got to see the patio.
About the project... With "figuring" help from son Patrick, James ordered and bought a LOAD of sand. Then the work began!

The focused, driven, high-energy man that he is, James had the patio done in two days! The special "D" brick has a prominent place at the front of the patio.

I can't wait for warmer weather and sunny skies so we can really enjoy our little tucked away nook. Just today I sat down at the new patio and watched the chickadees and titmice land on the suet feeder as soon as I refilled it. THANK YOU, UNCLE JIM! And THANK YOU, JAMES!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Breakfast guest, sorta

This morning, we'd just sat down for breakfast when I happened to glance up in the live oak. "Look, James!" I said, "there's a hawk!" I jumped up straight away and ran down the hall for my camera. Through the window, I managed to snap a few images (these are cropped heavily). 

Not for very long, he/she stared at me warily, then took his/her meal and winged away to some oaks behind our yard. I'm pretty sure our guest was a red-tailed hawk, probably immature. If you disagree, let me know! Wrong, Sheryl! Thanks to Anonymous, we know now it's an adult Cooper's hawk. Wow! A new one for us!

UPDATE FEBRUARY 26, 2014--Wrong again! We have RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS! I just searched for their scream (listen to "typical territorial call") and it matches what we've been hearing. We've seen (and heard) three just today in our oaks and flying overhead. 

UPDATE NOVEMBER 19, 2016--STILL WRONG! This is a Cooper's hawk. Thanks to fellow iNaturalists and experts at The Hawk ID Group (Facebook).