January 1 was a gorgeous sunny day here in Spring Mills, so I set up the whole rig in the backyard and d-scoped some birds at the feeders. Results were mixed, but I got some decent shots.
Had a lot of house finches again, including this little female who posed for me with her seed:
Sadly, I saw one male with what looks like conjunctivitis. First one I've noticed with any sign of it. Sorry the pic's kinda blurry, but his eyes are obviously pasty or whatever:
Here is the best photo I digiscoped all day--of the BACK of the male house finch:
I also heard and then spotted a very noisy belted kingfisher male on the marsh; he was causing quite a disturbance among the ducks on the small ponds back there, with his almost continuous calls. My Stokes guide calls it "a woody rattle" and says kingfishers are "very vocal." I'll say.
It was cool to get a decent shot of him, especially compared to the shots I posted back in the summer/early fall, using my binoculars. Still about 200 yards away, but this photo is way better than those others! This time I used the Condor scope and my Coolpix, holding the camera to the eyepiece with my left hand cupping them together.
He kept flying from one perch above a large pond to a different perch over a smaller pond. Both ponds had ducks, who were not amused by his racket. They kept quacking annoyedly, flying around from pond to pond, like they were trying to get away from him. I caught a couple of them in the air, looking like a pair of figure skaters, perfect mirror images of one another in flight:
I also caught a photo of my downy male, though I never was able to get him through the scope. I snuck up on him here:
I then walked the fenceline and found this post, and when I looked inside I found an old nest:
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but are those bones in there? Eerily enough, Birdchick posted today about a nest she found with baby chipping sparrow bones in it. These bones, however, look a little too large (and green?!) to be a baby bird's. Not sure what's going on here. Would this be a bluebird nest? I wasn't tall enough to really get up over the top of the post and shoot down into there, get a good view of the nesting materials, etc.--and I don't have a book on nests yet. It looks like a lot of mud in there, and some grass from the neighbor Ed's yard (he has that broad-leafed St. Augustine; I have Bermuda and weeds). I know bluebirds often perch on the posts on that side of the yard, but is this a bluebird nest? Is this an appropriate cavity for a bluebird to build a nest in? I'll have to go get a better look--probably not until Saturday, though.
When I came in later, I gave Niblet a treat--a Christmas present from his Oma and Opa--"Rabbit Blend" by Wild Harvest. It's got all kinds of crazy stuff in it, including these long red bits that look like dry cat food. He LOVES this stuff--though I will admit we took a half hour or so the other night to sort out all the catfood-looking bits (nothing like living in a household with two other really meticulous people). I don't know what the heck they are; Kat tasted them! She said they were icky, so we took them all out. The rest is dried split peas, fruits, nuts, oats, wheat, "oat groats" (?), and timothy pellets. Of course it's not as healthy for him as his timothy, but THE BOY LOVES IT. So we give him a tiny bit each night. Here's the nightly drill:
1. I get out the bag and Niblet almost jumps into it:
2. He buries his little face in his bowl:
3. He says, "whadda YOU lookin' at?" when we watch him:
I hope Oma and Opa know how happy they've made their grandson.
Meanwhile, Clawsie begs us nightly to play Em's "Herd Your Horses" game--isn't it obvious?
She loves that game.