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April, 2014 | Scuff Productions

Hummingbird note april 2014

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday April 23, 2014

for recording updates in the wildlife diary – – – here at home, 1100′ NW Portland:

Rufous Hummingbirds, according to the Audubon Society, 1st pass through ‘lightly’ late February….these birds are usually northbound migrants and will end up nesting in BC or WA.

They arrive when it’s rather cold……..after living in No. MX all winter:
1hummerbabyjun062004 009

At our address along NW Skyline, we usually see the first arrivals mid-March to 1st April…..THIS is the FIRST year I learned that females can be on a nest within 3 days of arrival! Whew! I KNOW their nests are tiny, but so are they! WE DID get activity busy enough that 3rd – 4th week of March that I was impressed…..about a quart a day of food was being consumed. Then they all seemed to disappear……as weather warmed a bit, blooming in the yard, insects, etc.

But I began to realize they HAVE been nesting………until……. April 21, evening, light rain falling and……. The feeders began to get swamped with activity….. and that repeated yesterday, getting even heavier….. and by nightfall, I recognized the fact there were juveniles in the mix…..not just Rufous, but the larger puffy Anna chicks as well……and those poor little chicks, hatch out, and find out you’re in a cool very rainy place:


SO. the FIRST mating, hatching, raising, has succeeded.. . . . parents will continue with this first batch another couple of weeks, and settle in to raise a 2nd set of kids….. TODAY, 3 QUART feeders will be placed at the heavy use locations….and a couple more feeders placed further out in the yard …near the fir trees I think nests are in.

WHEW! This is joy to watch these tiny whirrrrrring sounding birds ……
cold hummers

….and….. even though rufous will be aggressive with each other around the feeders, it seems they don’t even give recognition to the Anna’s….viewing them as NO threat to the food….they leave Anna’s alone. Learning continues here about this fine little bird.

I still love the absolute radiant beauty of the Male Rufous:
hummer rfous male nice


The grand love life of the GREAT BLUE HERONS on Sauvie.

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Monday April 21, 2014

The beauty of Great Blue Herons. Stephen R and I went “birding” out to the great produce capitol of the area, and bird refuge wetlands…Sauvie Island friday. Though mostly disappointing ….every migrant has come and gone, winter visitors gone back to the arctic, and ‘locals’ paired up and nesting….The arrival of the barn swallows was in clear evidence near the audubon station seeing hundreds flying for insects and building nests.

HOWEVER….. The ONE bird I ALWAYS love to see during the spring are the Great Blue Herons….who live mostly single lives, but do the most extraordinary thing when deciding it’s “time” to raise chicks.

The males gather in Heron Rookeries…. The one I’m familiar with has over 50-60 nests by now….and begin “colonizing” in February picking out an existing nest (usually), begin dressing it up, and doing some fancy wing moves to entice passing females….. when a pair bond is made, they both get to work on strengthening that nest, even using sticks as bonding items passing them back and forth.

GREAT calling sounds are evident ALL day long during this period, and the trees have NO leaves, so it’s easy fabulous behavior to watch….these 5-6 pound large birds up 50-100′ in the trees making a community for safety while they raise the family. Ah, the HERON ROOKERY:
herons nstng

So, mating gets accomplished and eggs are being laid……….but that’s the most AMAZING part.

The evolution of this beautiful bird’s nesting has brilliantly and so successfully been timed so that about the time the birds (both will share nesting….)…are on eggs, the Trees where the nests are, begin LEAFING out. The grand birds are not so visible…..and in stark contrast to the period 2-3 weeks prior, it’s getting eerily quiet…not a peep.

Copyright Andrea Moberly

About a week after that pic above was taken, the nests become completely invisible cloaked behind the tree leaves. Even when birds depart or arrive …you WOULD think a bird that big would make some noise landing. NOPE. Not a peep. Using your spotting scope, you can ‘find’ a few nests with a beautiful female head sitting starkly still……and quiet.

SO THAT WAS MY POINT about this bird visit to Sauvie… NEVER fails to astound me how this large bird reproduces…..with SUCH JOY…LOUD CALLS, displays, huge nest building completely in the open…..a behavior you get to see visiting the spot in MARCH.

one heron nstng

BUT……. last Monday, the same spot is there, those 50-60 birds are THERE….an you can’t HEAR or SEE a thing without binoculars…. and my mind is again astounded about nature.

NOW……time passes……and we’ll go out again late May…….and stand by those trees. Once again, you see very little except huge birds flying in to go retrieve food for chicks, or flying back in Bringing food…. and the DIFFERENCE in this visit? Yes, you can’t see into the trees, but once again, they’re making big noise, the chicks are squawking to be fed, and it’s quite astounding again, THIS time knowing, the bird population in the tree has grown by at least 1/3 since your last visit, and YOU KNOW they’re in there…

It’s a grand day out when I get to see this nature wonder in the spring….and sometimes I DO wish I COULD see those nests knowing it would look like this with those big chicks next to the parents:

ready to fledge herons

**NO,none of these were my photos…..

Notes Apr 8 2014

Bloged in garden,General Home Life by mark Tuesday April 8, 2014

After a fairly mild winter, March almost broke records with Rainfall…..tied for 3rd all time. Last time we had this much rain was March 1957.

So, now, spring is exploding after the ground got saturated with mild temps…..(sorry, Midwest with your hellish winter)….. What’s up? What isn’t up is more like it. Veggies: Potatoes, chilves, green onion, leeks, shallots, oregano, fennel….with lettuce, parsley planted. NO seeds started yet, but that get done soon….. I have the plastic mini-mini greenhouse bins ready.

Currants are blooming….bees are everywhere. Hummingbirds have disappeared within 3 weeks of arrival……ALREADY nesting I presume AND eating lots of insects now that they’re out.

Dandelion Patrol! IS big time now, and I’m almost at the point of…..sorry birds, I may have to spray a bit of the lawn….since I’m getting weary of digging out the roots of those pests…..the new neighbors don’t help much with a mammoth dandelion lawn………. they’re new here, so we’ll give ’em one more year to, uh……. settle in.

I feel some energy coming back. I don’t remember a winter where long gray damp days got to me by March 1……I suppose last year’s dry warmer spring got to me.

We have enjoyed lots of theater the last few weeks, and will be going to Othello this Sunday. We’ve dined out a bunch, but spent most of our entertainment hours at home. I worry I AM again as Rodger’s accused me of doing….I’m NOT as ambitious as I used to be, there’s NO question.

Even Mac’s not QUITE as ambitious as he once was….at 9 1/2….it’s not as hard to keep him exercised and worn out.

TO DO LIST April 2014 left: 1) Plant some seedlings ….that should be ready for transplant mid-May 2) Finish thinning out house clutter, a project started in February…..and once things got comfortably thinned enough to navigate, the cleaning stopped. woops….

So, in a very short note, here is spring 2014….and I’m getting back in shape. Not easily…so MUCh yard work yesterday, I’m sore and tired today…….we’ll keep at it!

FUN NOTE: A tiny crew of 2 plus 2 stars (including Grimm Nick -David Guintoli) of the TV series GRIMM we’re preparing to film a scene as we walked back up on Firelane 10 in Forest Park….. I didn’t dare just take the pic while they were looking at us….so did this from a distance….but I did offer, “Hey…I can get my dog over there, he can probably solve whatever crime scene you’ve got there.” ….they laughed:
4grimm filming

YES, Meeker Raspberries are healthily up, and spreading a bit, yes:
4raspbry grows 4 2 14

Yes, Finnish Fingerlins, and red potatoes are back as always….and there’s enough starts out there we will be sharing some:
taters 4 7 2014 are up

Always a sign of spring: Rhubarb!
4rhubarb big 4 2

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