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red squirrel

March 26, 2014 - 7:25am

No sooner had the robins arrived when they discovered it might take a while before any worms were available. With their favorite staple somewhere far below earth's frozen layer, the robins had to make do elsewhere, like chilly sumac drupes.

Likewise, these starlings sampled the sumac.....this was not only the first time I had seen starlings eating sumac, it was the first time I remember starlings eating without making a noisy racket. Several dozen descended on the sumac trees and they hardly made a sound.

As the snow recedes, the whitetails aren't having to work so hard to find a meal.

For now yarding up is still commonplace -- warmer weather and greater food availability will result in herd dispersal.

From a distance I first thought this hawk to be a redtail.....the more I look I'm thinking its a rough-legged hawk.

Here it.s about to take flight.

Mourning doves have been showing up in vast numbers. This pair has been enjoying the spillage from our bird feeder.

With the snow all but gone, the red squirrels can get down to some serious foraging........

Score!!!!..................kinda looks like a meatball cookie with no icing!

January 16, 2014 - 5:15pm

This cardinal is no doubt making up for lost time by gorging on what's left of last autumn's wild grapes. Having hunkered down for a few days during last week's blizzard, the usual cast of characters is back in action in and around our neighboring woodlots.

With a poplar directly behind it, a pileated woodpecker knows decaying wood is a better place to find insects, so it pounds away on a dead sumac. There were two pileateds in close proximity on this day, but getting them into the same frame proved futile.

This pileated seems to have found the upper reaches of a dead poplar to its liking.

As the storm descended on us late last Monday afternoon, the last flurry of movement I saw was that of a red squirrel scurrying into our barn. This guy is tightly clutching a dead nub as if expecting the high winds to return at any moment.....

In the next instant it turns and sticks tail high in the air...a bit sassy maybe or perhaps it's suddenly sensing an intruder. If on alert mode, it's with good reason....

Like everything else, this redtail didn't eat for a few days during the storm...    

Hawks have been showing up with greater regularity, what with cottontails, squirrels and, in the warmer months, chipmunks, to prey on.   

Here's the cardinal again...in this photo note the bit of grape stain on his beak.

A gray squirrel gives the once over to a tiny abode that has housed baby wrens for the past few summers.

Sometime before last week's blizzard and after December's flood, we had some freezing rain.....this house finch doesn't seem deterred by the results.

September 13, 2013 - 6:18am
posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, nature, red squirrel, cottontails, woodchuck.

This cottontail no sooner emerged from dense cover when it rose up on its hind legs to sample the green growth from which it came......

but rather than opting for fresh greens, it chooses some brown drying growth - not that it matters, for this is but an appetizer. His main course is waiting beneath the apple tree.

Regardless of the season, there is never a shortage of furry visitors to our yard and this time of year, be it rabbit, chipmunk, squirrel or woodchuck, they all come to feast on the apples.  

Unlike the rabbits and woodchucks, this red squirrel isn't limited to dining on the ground. I'm sure he would much rather have pine cones from a Norway spruce but he's learned to take what he can get. And speaking of woodchucks, that green growth in the background is a travel corridor, so to speak.....

it's one of my wife's flower beds and the woodchuck uses it for cover. Here he's slinking past the ferns and hostas on the way to his dinner. Once he's sure the coast is clear, he'll waddle out into the open and grab an apple. If undisturbed, he will then stand on his haunches and begin gnawing away.

March 28, 2013 - 8:23am

While the month of March has hardly been spring-like, Tuesday's weather brought forth an abundance of woodpeckers, songbirds and bushytails in the small woodlot that borders our property. And with the emergence of foliage yet a long way off, conditions were ideal for taking their picture.

First on the scene was this female cardinal. In the soft light of early morning and still plenty of chill in the air, she forages along the ground and spots remnants of last year's seed. 

As the sun climbed higher more birds arrived, like the downy woodpecker pictured above and in the top photo. The "downies" were difficult to capture with the camera, as they kept rapidly flitting about, from tree to tree and branch to branch.

It was only a matter of time before the red squirrel population was heard from. On this day there were several working the same area. This one stopped briefly on the trunk of an aged cottonwood.

From an adjacent walnut tree, this red-bellied woodpecker seems to be sizing up the main trunk of the cottonwood and, with the red squirrel present, weighing its options.......

and then deciding to go for it.

A lone gray squirrel showed up -- even with the red squirrels in close proximity.

Despite the chill in the air and patches of snow on the ground, between the blue sky and the arrival of some furred and feathered friends, it was a good day.

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