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!

two-leow-smaller

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

leow2-smaller

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!

leow-smaller

 

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.

musw

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!

 

leow-digiscope

One of SAC’s digiscoped photos

 

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End of year wrap up – Good bye 2016

Our Indiana Bicentennial Year has ended as has the Centennial of the State Park and National park systems.

We logged a total of 147 birds, 93 of which were in the State Parks and Reservoirs.

We visited all 24 state parks, 8 lakes and state recreation areas, all 3 national sites (seashore, memorial and national park).

We visited all 92 counties and several state historic sites.

I logged 68.81 hiking miles. ROC logged 27.16 hiking miles. SAC logged 55.96 hiking miles.

I logged 45.28 Advanced Indiana Master Naturalist volunteer hours and 14.65 IMN learning hours.

Highlights: Whooping Cranes, Pacific Loon, Blackburnian Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Mississippe Kite, Wilson’s Snipe, Smith’s Longspur and Great Horned Owl on the nest.

We enjoyed seeing the state, driving the backroads and visiting the many beautiful small towns and county seats and visiting all the sites. Weather quite often seemed against us, but welcome to Indiana! We haven’t added up the miles driven, or the dollars spent. That may be added at a later date!

Lesson to be learned – Get out and visit your home state. You never know what’s around the bend!

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Fox Sparrow – First of Yard

My brother-in-law made me a new bird feeder for Christmas, and on January 6 we were rewarded by a brand new lawn visitor! This Fox Sparrow came back on the 7th as well, and SAC took a picture with our newly-repaired camera lens.

fox-sparrow

Don’t blame the photographer or the lens for the quality of these photos–blame how dirty the two windows are she was shooting through!

fox-sparrow2

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First Hike of 2017 – Shades State Park

Even though rain was forecast for January 2, SAC and I met up with a coworker at Shades State Park this morning. He has a knowledge of orchids and was showing us some places that they grow in Shades and Pine Hills. After walking around the top of Trail 1, we decided to hike trail 10 over to Pine Hills.

shades

Now, I had spent the most part of the week between Christmas and New Year’s eating cookies and reading cozy mysteries, so not in the best of shape. SAC had spent several days laying around with a migraine and some kind of bug. (Not that we were in the best of shape anyway, since it had been several weeks since our last hike!)

Let’s just say, the steps down to the backbones KILLED us! Calves and thighs and oh my! We were both so out of shape that walking up and down stairs at home and work the following day were very painful. Add to that the grace that I was not born with that allowed me to slip down a muddy creek bank and land hard with my already sore shoulder still hanging on to a sapling and you have a very sore old woman. (At least I feel old this week!)

Anyway, we had a wonderful time hiking at our favorite place. Photos are never enough to give the full experience. The sights and smells of the mostly quiet forest calmed our souls and erased the headaches that we had when we arrived.

We were able to learn about several orchid species and can’t wait to locate them during bloom time.

Birds were scarce, but the regulars were there: Nuthatch, chickadees, blue jays, pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, crow, geese and possible ovenbird. First time we haven’t seen an eagle here in a long time, though.

Great time at our favorite place! Go out and hike, no matter the weather.

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Eagle Creek Park – December 4

We went on a guided bird hike at Eagle Creek Park Sunday Morning at 9:00 am. This is a weekly hike for the Audubon group. We walked on the North loop about 2.84 miles and 2 hours.

We had a good time and learned how to differentiate between a Bonaparte Gull from the Ring-Billed Gull. We saw three Bonaparte gulls – a new bird for us.

bonapartes-gull

We saw a barred owl roosting along one of the roads in the park.

barred-owl

After a snack in the Ornithology Center, we went on to Dandy Trail at a pull off and saw a lifer Pacific Loon, along with a Horned Grebe and a Common Loon. We were glad we had more experienced birders with spotting scopes there, or we wouldn’t have been sure about that ID.Three new species to add to our IBBBY list.

loons

This is a loon. Really. We swear. 😀

This is a fantastic urban park in the 13th largest city in the US. The Ornithology Center is wonderful and the volunteers are helpful and amazing.

We had a tragic end to our birding, though, as SAC accidentally hit the lens release while we were looking for the loons. She thought it didn’t release, and found out four steps later–when the lens hit the asphalt–that it had! We ended up having to send the lens away to have it repaired.

camera-lens

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