Super Snake Sighting

In recent years we’ve learned about a type of snake that is proving more common than we expected–the Northern Brown Snake, or DeKay’s Snake. This year alone we’ve seen at least five of them on our property.

SAC and I were hiking at Prophetstown a couple of weeks ago and were fortunate (and fast) enough to spot a tiny DeKay’s Snake!

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It’s also been a good year for Big Bluestem in Indiana — look how tall that is!

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Butterfly Garden

One of the most important parts of my vegetable garden is actually not vegetables–it’s the strip of zinnias I plant around the edge of the garden. I collect some seedheads every year but leave most of them out all winter for the birds. The butterflies love them!

I have monarchs, buckeyes, painted ladies, white and yellow sulphurs, red admirals, and more!

 

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Second Brood Growing Fast

Our second brood of Eastern Phoebes is getting closer to fledging. The nest is over the small garage door. 

This is actually the third time she laid eggs this year, but the first clutch was raided.

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Raspberry Picking is Dangerous Business 

We have wild black raspberries over the property. Very yummy ones, too. As they’re just ripening, I picked about almost a quart amidst angry robin threats. The wrens, catbirds and cardinals joined in the protest. In the middle of the best and easiest to pick bramble, I found the reason for the protest!


Three perfect blue eggs. 

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So Cute!

While we were on week’s vacation, the Eastern Phoebe babies grew fast. Each day they get fuzzier! We shut the door very carefully and go through the big door as much as possible, but my freezer is out there, so I have to use it quite a bit.

I have enjoyed watching them grow, but I will be glad when they fledge. I am so afraid of jostling them out of the nest with out difficult door!

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And now we have babies…

SAC noticed a head peeping above the side of the Eastern Phoebe nest. Four babies have hatched.

Not clearest of pictures, but adorable nonetheless!

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Eastern Phoebe

The Phoebe has her nest above our garage door. During the day, she flies off the nest when we open the door to the house to come out.

At night and early morning when my husband goes to work, she sits tight.

SAC took pictures of the nest the other evening after work. Five eggs!! 

And all the same. Hope the raccoon doesn’t find it. The door has wood frame it could easily climb.

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Inconvenient Nest

The Eastern Phoebes have decided to build their nest over the door to our garage. It’s going to be fun going in and out to the cars and freezer for the next weeks.

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Mini-vac

We’re constantly fighting the chipmunks–we call them minivacs because of how quickly they take the bird feeder down. The feeder in this video by Steph was full yesterday!

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Long-Eared Owls

Sunday, February 5, 2017 – There had been multiple emails on the Indiana birding list serve about the Long-eared Owls at Prophetstown State Park. We had been seeing them for almost 2 weeks before we were able to make time in our schedule. We had pretty good directions on where to find them in the park (unlike the last time one was seen there.)

It was a gorgeous day 46 degrees and sunny, but pretty windy out on the prairie. We started on trail 1 towards the site and there was no mistaking where the bird was – birders and their spotting scopes or determined hikers with binoculars.

Within seconds of coming to the site, we were helped to locate the birds and quickly saw 3 of them!!! Yay – LIFE BIRDS!

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SAC was able to take pretty good photos of them although the saplings in the fen were good camouflage.

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She took pictures with our DSLR and she also used her iPhone and Bluetooth shutter release to digiscope some pretty good photos.  I’m not a good judge of distance, but they were maybe 20 feet off the trail. We kept a quiet demeanor and didn’t stay very long so as not to disturb them. I don’t know that they would have been disturbed. They have been in the same location for 2 weeks, at least, and haven’t seemed to mind their paparazzi!

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We decided it was such a beautiful day and we had been working hard all weekend on cleaning and decluttering the house, so we walked on towards the pond. We saw northern shovelers, mallards, and American tree sparrows. Still present were 12 mute swans, 2 of which were juveniles.

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We walked on to see if Trail 3 was inundated by the water like it was on our last trip, but it was now open. We didn’t have time to take that, so we headed back to our parking lot via the paved, multi-use trail. We heard a ruckus towards the Wabash River – a murder of many crows probably was protesting an eagle although I didn’t get a look at it. SAC thought she may have seen it, but wasn’t sure.

We had a great day and were able to add to our life list!

 

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One of SAC’s digiscoped photos

 

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