Feeding the kids – a woodpecker’s view

Even though “baby” is the same size as the mother, and is right there on the peanut feeder, this young fledgling woodpecker has to be fed and won’t eat by himself.

"Feed me mummy" - woodpecker
"Feed me mummy" - woodpecker

and for a bit of colour, a cardinal:

Cardinal
Cardinal

Sorry for the brief posts – I did take more pictures but no time to sort through them.  Too busy evicting yet more snapping turtles as well as dealing with more urgent matters in life. Maybe on the weekend…

Snapping Turtle Season

It’s that time of year again.  The snapping turtles like to lay their eggs around our house because it is sandy and well-drained, although a few like the manure pile even though by now it is too old to give off any heat.

They come from neighbouring large ponds but like to stop off for a rest in my fish pond, or should I say restaurant, because if I leave them alone, they eat all the goldfish.  So I’ve had to evict two in as many days.  I catch them in a net and cart them in a wheelbarrow to a neighbouring larger body of water where at least some of them live year round.  I’m careful because I don’t want either me or the turtle to get hurt.  Wikipedia tells me that “Snappers can stretch their necks back across their own carapace and to their hind feet on either side to bite. Also, their claws are sharp and capable of inflicting significant lacerations.”

Here is the first one in the pond (which is rather green just now, it always turns green for a couple of weeks when the weather warms up before the pond gets itself back into balance with more shade from the water lilies and more micro-organisms to eat the algae.

Snapping Turtle
Snapping Turtle

and here it is where I dropped it off.  The shell is about 30cm (1ft) long and it weighs about 5 kg (10lb) so needs a strong net.

Snapping Turtle released
Snapping Turtle released

Here is a picture from a couple of years ago of the babies hatching.  Their shells are about 3cm (1″) so they have a lot of growing to do.

Turtles hatching
Turtles hatching

Bluebirds and Swallowtails

Later in the spring – bluebirds, woodpeckers, ruffed grouse and swallowtail butterflies – nature is getting rambunctious.

After working dawn til dusk for a while and not being home the week before that,  I had some catching up to do.  We have several pairs of bluebirds nesting in our boxes.  Here is one on top of the pole which holds his box:

Bluebird on pole
Bluebird guarding his nest

And here is a back view – through a window with the light hitting obliquely, which fogged the picture a little.

Bluebird on feeder
Bluebird on feeder

Here is a female ruby-throated hummingbird perched on top of our blue spruce – about 7m high, so she gets a good view.

Hummingbird
Hummingbird

 

Totem Pole Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker carving totem pole

He has a lot of work to do before this pole is finished.

We are also fortunate enough to have grouse nesting in the hardwood forest on the south side of the house.  I took this picture of the eggs but haven’t been back as she flew off the nest when I got close and I don’t want to frighten her away.  It must be very difficult to stay safe with all the predators there are around.

Ruffed Grouse Nest
Ruffed Grouse Nest

There are lots of butterflies around, too.  Here is a Swallowtail, showing the top side of its wings:

Swallowtail butterfly on Dame's Rocket
Swallowtail butterfly on Dame's Rocket

And here is the underside of the wing:

Swallowtail butterfly on Dame's Rocket
Swallowtail butterfly on Dame's Rocket - underwing

Finally, a couple of wildflowers.  First another picture of the ladyslippers I showed in my last post:

Ladyslippers
Ladyslippers

and the wild scarlet columbines are out again, but not so many this year.  They’re still recovering from the power company clearing the lines as that is where most of them grow where it is open, dry and sunny.

Scarlet Columbine

Ladyslippers

These ladyslippers grow in just one spot near our house and bloom for about a week.

No posts recently be cause I’ve been working too many hours.  Work, eat, sleep (and a break for the Swamp Hollow Party on the weekend).  But I couldn’t resist posting these ladyslippers which have bloomed this week.

Ladyslipper
Ladyslipper

I have been taking more pictures so maybe I’ll finally get my May long weekend this weekend and post some bird pictures as well as more wildflowers.

Too Many Seeds, Too Little Time

Peak time in the garden as I try to get seeds sown and seedlings in the garden. Plus a few wildflowers and an oriole.

One more week before the Victoria Day weekend, by which time most of my seedlings should be in the ground outside, and I haven’t even sown some of them.  Gardening chaos!

Too many seeds
Too many seeds

Pots all over the greenhouse and seedlings waiting for planting.  And I have been planting directly in the ground as well, a bed full of sunflowers and quite a few vegetables, including yard-long beans, snap peas, beets, chard, carrots and more.

The birds are also arriving in great numbers.  We have a pair of orioles nesting nearby, though they haven’t yet ventured close enough to get a good picture:

Male Oriole
Male Oriole

The wildflowers are also emerging too fast to get pictures of all the different kinds.  Here is one of my favourites, the Jack-in-the-Pulpit.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Jack-in-the-Pulpit

These live in damp, shady areas so are mostly found down in the woods by one of the creeks.  On the banks of the Pigeon River, there are lots of marsh marigolds.

Marsh Marigolds
Marsh Marigolds