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Showing posts from August, 2011

From the Deer Trail

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Nature Blog Scavenger Hunt:Wild Fidalgo is participating in scavenger hunt featuring Pacific Northwest nature blogs.  Patricia K. Lichen (Kidnapping the Lorax) will be hosting the event.  Answer questions from the featured blogs and you could win a copy of Kidnapping the Lorax.

Join us at www.patriciaklichen.com on Saturday August 27, 2011 at 09:00 PDT (16:00 GMT) for some nature blogging fun.

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When I bought this property, there was a trail that ran from the road down to the beach.  It provided easy access through the woods to inspect the lot.  At the time, I wondered who was using this trail and if this would be a problem in the future.  It turned out to be a deer trail and after clearing, building, landscaping and nearly 24 years, the deer still follow the exact same route to the beach.  I assume they make the trek to get a little salt.

Our deer are Columbian Black-tails (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) a subspecies of Mule Deer.  Their range is coastal areas from northern …

The Bad Seed

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More accurately, a bad choice of seed as a lure at the Birdcam can produce unexpected results.  In a previous post I mentioned setting up the Birdcam station with a mix of sunflower and safflower seed.  This was done in an effort to catch another photo of a Red Crossbill.  The lure was successful, but not in the way I anticipated.  It became obvious now was not the best time of the year for this mix of seed.


On the first day, I got more than 1,200 shots, but no Crossbills.  On the second day, the Birdcam captured over 1,500!  From last Friday, I was facing 1,729 photos which was almost the full capacity of the SD card.  Obviously, the word was getting around in Birdland that there was a great new restaurant in town.  In all those photos, not a single Red Crossbill could be found.  Instead, I was getting mostly House Finches and House Sparrows together with dozens of their fledglings.


The biggest problem was the prospect of dealing with numbers approaching 2,000 photos a day.  The cho…

Shoo, Scat, Skedaddle, Begone!

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This post will probably get me banned from the nature blog fraternity.  I have always enjoyed wildlife visiting the yard.  In fact, I have taken steps to encourage these visits.  There is one critter, however, that has worn out its welcome.  There was a time when I might have enjoyed a single Eastern Gray Squirrel visit once every week or two.  More recently, when I replenished the platform feeder in the front patio every morning, there would be five or six squirrels on it within seconds.  They didn't leave until the feeder was empty.  While they were at it, they dug up the planters and trampled the flowers.  In the backyard, Birdcam station number 2 was set up with suet.  For every 100 photos, 85-90 would be Gray Squirrels!  They would polish-off an entire cake of suet in a day.  My squirrel problem was out of control.

Internet references on the Eastern Gray Squirrel indicate their range is basically east of the Mississippi River.  I can assure you their range is more extensive t…

Rara Avis:  Red Crossbill

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This is a Birdcam photo that would normally have been discarded due to blurred images.  The orange-tinged bird on the right, however, provided a reason to reconsider.  I have had nyjer seed set up at Birdcam One in order to catch some shots of Goldfinches.  I have gotten some nice ones and will present those here a bit later.  This bird is a Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) and this photo marks only the second time I have seen one in the yard.  Even though his head is partly obscured by the perch, the occasion is important enough to present it here.  If you look closely, you will see how his upper bill curves over the left side of the lower bill.  Both bill tips curve past each other giving the bird its name.

The first time I saw a Red Crossbill in the yard was about twelve years ago.  This was a brilliant brick-red male with dark brown wings.  He spent a good twenty minutes preening on a post.  The bird in the photo is probably a first-year male with immature plumage.  Females are …

Some Birdcam Crowing

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This is my resident pair of Northwestern Crows (Corvus caurinus) which have now become regular visitors at the Birdcam suet station.  The birds even managed to compose the shot for me using the "rule of thirds."  Notice the red, fleshy tabs at their gapes.  Only some of the crows visiting the feeders sport this feature.

Look in the eye of these birds and also this one.  It is possible to perceive their intelligence and an awareness not apparent in many other species.  I have also observed how kind and gentle this pair is with each other.  I have never witnessed squabbling or any appearance of disagreement.  For a fascinating look at Corvid intelligence, check out In the Company of Crows and Ravens.  University of Washington researchers reveal the coevolution of these birds with humans and how they learn and adapt to our world.

Local Native Americans also perceived the special qualities of this family.  Their big brother Raven was regarded as the the Creator.  He placed the …