Monday, July 31, 2023

Quick Shore Trip During Heatwave

We had quite a heatwave going towards the end of July. temperatures in the 90's and oppressive humidity for many days on end. I know some parts of the country were in excess of 100 degrees during the same period. They (who are they?) said it was the worst ever but I found a period in the 1930's that was more severe. Nevertheless it was hot enough for me! 

Anyway, I managed to pry myself away from air conditioning one morning to make my way down to the shore which at least had a breeze to cool things off. There's always things to see at the shore. I quickly came upon a coupe of young Osprey hanging out at the nest.

I also watched a couple of Snowy Egrets wading around the edge of a saltwater river down in Clinton. I'll never forget one of my first lessons from an older birder telling me that Snowy Egrets have black bills and yellow feet. 

Anyway, summer is a time when I am selective about when and where I go birding. Two other things I have on my summer list is early morning birding by a cool brook and maybe joining in on a group sponsored bird trip which I haven't done in a long time.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

The Ghost Of Pumpkinzini

When I was planting my garden this spring I had an extra zucchini plant that there wasn't enough room. I decided to just stick it in my mulch/dirt pile to see what would happen. The plant grew like crazy without me even watering it. 
It had lots of flowers but not much production until it finally grew this one. I showed a picture to someone at a garden center because this did not look like a zucchini to me. It looked more like a pumpkin but they said it was indeed a zucchini. 

Then the light bulb went off. I had dumped my old rotting pumpkins in the much pile last year. I read online that pumpkins and zucchini can hybridize. I believe what we have here might be the ghost of last year's pumpkin finding its way back through the zucchini patch?!

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Embracing Yardwork With One Eye On the Birds

I haven't done much birding this month because of high heat and humidity. Instead, I've been focusing on getting out in the early mornings to take care of yardwork and tend to the garden. I got tired of planting vegetables in the ground only to have them eaten up by woodchucks and other varmints. This year, I planted most of my vegetables in Jack Daniels whiskey barrels, raised them off of the ground, and surrounded the tops with chicken wire. It's working out pretty good so far.

 There was a time when the only thing I liked about yardwork was finishing it but now I use it as an opportunity to appreciate my outdoor surroundings and observing birds and wildlife that are right in front of me. So many times in life we miss what's in front of us by looking ahead to the end result. Sometimes the process of getting there can be just as enjoyable if we choose to view it that way.

I've enjoyed watching hummingbirds at flowers, deer passing through, a ridiculous explosion of the rabbit population, fox and hawks taking advantage of the bunny surplus, and bird nesting behavior. I noticed this robin looking awfully nervous staring at my every move and making noise.
It turns out that this nestling seems to have come out of the nest a little too early.
A few days later I saw this guy hiding between two leaf-filled bags. I wonder if it was the same one? 

This heat spell has given me an excuse to keep my bird observations primarily to my own back yard for a couple of weeks. That's just another way that a birder suffering from a minor case of burnout can change things up a bit.