Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Home is wherever a Tree Swallow finds it!

Home is where you find it, for a bird it doesn't have to be In a tree. This enterprising Tree Swallow has adapted an old abandoned electrical box attached to a utility pole as a nesting location. I had seen a Tree Swallow at this location last summer so I made a note of it. This spring I have been watching this metal box to see if it would be in use again as a nest location. And, "Yes", yesterday I saw that a Tree Swallow had moved in. It appeared to be rather content and definitely had taken up habitation there. It did not appear disturbed by my presence. I shall continue observing this box until the baby Tree Swallows that will hatch there, fledge. I hope it doesn't get too hot in the metal box when and if we get any summer heat this year.I love knowing of interesting locations to observe while sitting in my car. I wonder if this swallow was part of last summer's brood? or did it just happen that this location was found by chance, or did it find the location again by memory? fascinating! however the location choice was made, Perhaps I'll drive by again today as it is located right beside a road, these pictures were taken from my car.

An American Lady

Yesterday morning I saw an american Lady butterfly. This was my first sighting of this species this spring! How beautiful it was!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pulling Dandelions for Mellow Yellow Monday

Well, the excitement of seeingthe first dandelion blossom is over, now all we want to do is get rid of them. I bought a weed pulling gadjet on the weekend and it works great! I don't even have to bend over. I just push the prongs of the tool into the earth where the roots are centered, push them (the prongs into the earth ) and step on the end of the foot pedal and voila, a pulled dandelion, roots and all. I push off the pulled dandelion with a sliding attachment on the handle and with my hands still clean I begin on the removal of another. Oh happy day! My first pile of pulled Dandelions shown above!
Got pictures with yellow? Why not post them on mellow yellow Monday? This is a delightful meme which shares post with yellow with others. Just click on the link http://mellowyellowmonday.blogspot.com/ or just scroll down on the right hand side on this page to find the mellow yellow logo and go from there. Have a great Monday everyone!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Birdwatching at the garden center

This morning, it was another rainy day and we went shopping and browsing around at Sobey's outdoor garden center in Oromocto. We hadn't gone there for birdwatching but that is what we experienced in a way. Two Ruby-throated Humming birds were flying around the inside area which was covered over. Not too dumb those birds, the place was full of beautiful, attractive red blossoms. While chatting to the clerk about the birds, she told me that the hummingbirds weren't the only bird visitors they had had. She told me that a Robin had built a nest and had laid one egg in it. I told her I had my camera with me and that I would love to see the nest?. She took me outside and moved some potted plants on the shelf that were placed there for keeping the nest hidden for the safety of the bird and the nest.The beautiful blue egg looked cold and if you enlarge the pic to see it better you can see some water drops on the egg. Perhaps it was a young inexperienced Robin that had laid it. I wonder if it will be back to sit on the egg? I somehow think, not likely. Perhaps the fact that there is only one egg might be an indication that the bird had changed its mind about nesting at that location. It is wonderful how the staff of the garden center are looking after the nest location and protecting it and the egg. I shall have to return next weekend and ask about its development. Isn't the egg a most beautiful colour?! Always have your camera with you for "you never know, you know!"

Friday, May 27, 2011

A nest building squabble at the Tree Swallow house

Yesterday morning I saw what appeared to be nest building activity at a neighbour's Tree Swallow house.It was the sort of day that would encourage that sort of activity. While standing in my our backyard I heard a very loud noisy squabble of bird voices going on in our own bird house. I could see one bird on the outside trying to push something inside the bird house. As usual I had my camera in my hand and so I took pictures trying to detect what was going on. Only with the picture downloads could I get an idea of what must have been happening.From the pictures I could see that the swallow on the outside of the entrance to the bird house had brought a fair sized feather with it and it was trying to shove it inside the bird house. The loud bird voices I heard must have been from the bird inside the house protesting, "No!, No!""I don't want that in here!" I wonder if the female was inside the house directing the nest making activities, and making decisions on which materials were acceptable or what was to be rejected and perhaps it was the male on the outside with his offering of a feather to add to the nest building supplies?The bird on the inside must have won the argument for in these two pictures below you can see the offending feather falling down, drifting away. as the bird carrying it made its way in through the entrance hole in the bird house "And don't try to bring that feather in here again!" And that's my story and the way I saw it!
Might this have been a tale of a rejected suitor?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Wildflowers: a Starflower

A Red Eyed-Vireo?

I went for a short walk this morning just across the street, but I changed direction as I saw a swallow change direction also as it saw me. I decided to follow the swallow around the corner of a building and down an alley as it had done so, I wondered if it might have been a cliff swallow as this species build their mud nests at this location each year. No, it wasn't a cliff swallow but I realized as It kept swooping by that it was a Tree Swallow checking out the Tree Swallow house in my neighbor's backyard. However, it wasn't a disappointing diversion as my attention was attracted to a clump of bushes nearby and I heard and saw a small bird perched mid-high on one of the branches. I immediately hoped it was a warbler, but once home and having downloaded the pictures I have decided it was a red-eyed vireo.Its breast is white and its back could be described as green (ish), but I could not distinguish a red eye, which apparently is not an unusual experience with this species in the field.
The identifying feature of this bird which I am basing my id on is the distinct dark border line on its flat gray crown. I cropped the photo and enlarged the head so this feature is shown in the photo above. So I think, a vireo it is.??

Gaspereau at the falls

Each spring at the location shown above at these falls and rapids on the North Branch of the Oromocto river fish are attempting to return up the river to spawn or lay their eggs; These fish are known as Gaspereau; Thus the naming of these falls; The Gaspereau Falls.
The current is very strong,and forceful! The Gaspereau in their struggle to go upstream; swim, against the current and you can see them struggling in their swim Sometimes the current does not allow them success, In the three photos below you can see the fish as they attempt to go against the current. To better see the fish please click on the pictures to enlarge them. To see more pictures of these gaspereau please click on the link below the pictures to go to a previous post on this topic in May of 2010.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

more wildflowers in bloom: Rhodora and Wild Strawberry Blossoms

I had learned something new last spring! The name of these beautiful, rosy, purplish flowers. I remember watching for these flowers every year as a child to come into bloom. I had always known them as June flowers.I think thats what everyone around here called them. A couple of years ago I searched for their name, finding nothing named June flowers. So now, its almost June and look what I found yesterday, my old misnamed June flowers. What a lovely delight when I came across them. How wonderful to find my old floral seasonal friends again, It is thai sort of experience that makes me think of the 'loyalty of nature.. During March, 2010 I had bought a new book titled: Wildflowers of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island by Mary Primrose and Marian Munro, published by:Formac Publishing Company Limited, Halifax. At that time my husband was browsing through the book when he came upon my previously misnamed June Flowers., and thus we discouvered these rosy purplish blossoms were called Rhodora.(Rhododendron canadense) It is a wiry shrub found in roadside ditches, swamps and bogs, growing to be about a meter or more high. The* Rodora plant is closely related to ornamental Azaleas and Rhododendrons.
I would predict that there is going to be a good crop of Wild Strawberries this year. . Their blossoms are everywhere. The roadsides appear to be carpeted with their blossoms!How beautiful is their sighting!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Northern White Violets

"Its a great day for ducks!" That is a comment on our on going wet, rainy weather. Our long range weather forecast predicts the next sunny day for next Monday! arg!!! I might interchange the word ducks to violets! "Its a great day for Violets" Violets apparently like damp, soggy soil." Well they got it!". In fact the purple violet, is the provincial flower symbol for my provinceof New Brunswick., Canada. This photo above of a Purple Violet was taken in a grassy meadow beside a wooded area.. Violets are often found in wooded areas, meadows, swamps, bogs and soggy, seepy lawns. One of our lawn areas is always soggy wet in early spring and that is often where I find patches of the very tiny, Northern White violet., as I have again this spring. This spring they are thriving, Their little root feet are in their desired growing condition estacy!To further verify this species likes wet areas I came across this patch shown below along an old woods road on the weekend. They were thriving in a soggy, boggy area as can be seen by their watery environment shown in the photo below.Fortunately I was wearing my pretty gum rubber boots when I came across this location.For specific information on the Northern White Violet, please click on this link shown below:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Own Resident Tree Swallow

It took a while and we had relocated our Tree Swallow House and we have had a very wet and rainy season, but it seems that we finally have a Tree Swallow that has moved into our bird house. We are hoping for some sunny weather and a few buggy days of sky filled bugs for the swallows to dine on and we are hoping for a successful nesting and are looking forward to seeing the busy adult birds feeding their young as we watch and wait for the baby Tree Swallows to emerge as they fledge from their nest.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Scenic Sunday in my own back yard

Last summer my husband, David undertook a big project. He decided to fence in our gardens and backyard. He prides himself on the Hostas he nourishes and grows and the visiting white-tailed deer that often visited our garden destroyed many of his plants with their annoying munching and lunching habits. It was very discouraging, so thus the need developed for the enclosing fence. Before David finished the fence building he saw an image of a tori gate! Yes! He had to build one. So he developed his own pattern and shown above is the result of his endeavours.
This spring the peace and serenity of our garden area has been elevated with the emergence of blossoms on our Service Berry tree (bush). Also a Pear tree near by is nearing full blossom. Other than all of the rain we have been having recently it is a lovely time of year. The hostas are beginning to open their leaves. The fruit and berry trees are coming into blossom and the resident tree swallow surveys it all from her elevated position, high over our yard looking out of our Tree Swallow House which is now attached to our fence. Our garden community is coming together, nicely knit together and protected from munching deer with our fence and tori gate. I really don't think the fence would keep out raccoons, but we haven't seen any around our bird feeders this spring? Hmmm... I wonder???

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A snapping turtle for Camera Critters

What a find yesterday morning. A Snapping turtle crossing the road. The photo below shows what I had seen on the road as I approached in my car. I hoped, hoped it wasn't a rock, but a turtle , although it seems early to see this species on the move. My experience with snapping turtles is that mid to late June has been the time period when I have come across then laying their eggs along the railway tracks embankment But a snapping turtle it was! The view above is what I saw as I pulled up my car , stopped and leaned my camera out of the window.

The snapping turtle is the largest turtle species found in New Brunswick, Canada. During the past years since 2001 I have seen many snapping turtles and this one was the smallest I have ever seen! Some of these snappers can grow really huge! having a shell possibly reaching a length of 18 inches. This one I saw yesterday had a rather smallish shell which I would estimate being about 7 to 8 inches in length. This is only a sight estimation as I have a healthy respect for these 'snappers' and always keep a bit distant from them, their long necks and 'snappy' jaws can give a awesome and surprising bite. It is a good rule to be cautious and wary of these huge creatures!

The peaked areas on the turtle's carapace or shell surprised me. I am not used to seeing such detail and height such as on this turtle's shell. fascinating to see though.

The Snapping Turtle can be distinguished from the two other turtle species found in New Bruswick, The Painted Turtle and the Wood turtle., by its long saw-toothed tail shown in the pictures above and below.

Another diaguinishing feature of the Snapping Turtle is its small plastron ( under part of the shell. In the photo above it looks like a narrow belt holding the shell to its body.

If I encounter this particular turtle again I think I might recognize it as it has one claw missing from its hind foot.Do you have pictures of interesting or unique critters found in nature? Why not share them with others by posting them to Camera critters found at.

My reference source on the Snapping Turtle was a New Brunswick Museum publication (1970): a booklet titled: The Amphibians and Reptiles of New Brunswick ,by Stanley Gorham

Thursday, May 19, 2011

White-crowned Sparrow and others

The White-crowned Sparrow was probably about the last sparrow species that I became familiar with. It has become a seasonal migrant favourite of mine. They drop by in the spring when they are returning from their winter migration and stay around for a few days before moving on and then when they are headed south again in the fall we often see them again. this one shown above has been around for about a week now. I am hoping to see a Savannah Sparrow soon, it has been a while since I have seen one. The sparrows shown in the photo below shows the extent of my sparrow knowledge and experience. All of the sparrow photos were taken in Bird Alley. I didn't know the identification of many birds as a child. I had heard of sparrows in Sunday School when we sang the song, 'God sees the little sparrow fall.' So from that song, that is what I had known of sparrows. When I became a grandmother I made a group of flashcards hoping that I might introduce my grandchildren to nature and sparrows in that way. The cards didn't get used much, but today all 5 of my grandchildren have an awareness of and love of nature.

How well do you know the sparrows?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Successful relocation of our Tree Swallow House

Yesterday I had postedhttp://naturetales.blogspot.com/2011/05/problem-about-tree-swallows.html about the need to relocate our Tree Swallow Bird House as we were having a new roof put on our garage. This morning the roofing job has started and there are three men on top of the roof. Also this morning we have had a couple of Tree Swallows checking out the bird house in its new location attached to our fence. The photo above I had taken this morning while standing in our dining room window so its a good location for watching the activity taking place there. I am pretty happy that the change seens to have been a positive one.

Shown above is the new location of our Tree Swallow house attached to our fence,. We had fenced our yard in last summer to keep those annoying' hosta munching 'deer out of our garden!

This was the old location of the birdhouse attached to the end of our garage. The garage needs a new roof so we decided to move the bird house. The Tree Swallows usually move right in when they return from their winter migration but this year they have been very slow claiming nesting rights. We hope a pair will claim the bird house soon . and move in and start making their nest within.

When we had seen that the first Tree Swallows had returned in late April David immediately cleared out the old nesting materials they had used last year. I hust had to take a picture.Isn't it fascinating to study?! Next year when the nesting material is removed I hope to find many coloured threads among the dried grass and feathers.

I have been doing a lot of sewing this winter ( a total of five quilts in all and I have breen saving the thread that was cut off the ends, edges, etc. I am hoping the Tree Swallows will help themselves to this available material which I have placed in an old suet feeder andI have hung the feeder on a tree branch within sight of the bird house.I will heep you posted as I watch out of my window. Nature is so exciting!