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  • A weed is no more than a flower in disguise.


    american kestrel perched photo leanne wildermuth



    Photos of the Week


    ice stick tulip copyright leanne wildermuth' class=
    Ice Stick Tulip
    peach gerber gerbera daisy copyright leanne wildermuth' class=
    Peach Gerbera Daisy

    curious mourning dove copyright leanne wildermuth' class=
    Curious Mourning Dove

    first red tulip bloom copyright leanne wildermuth' class=
    First Red Tulip Bloom

    mosquito blech yucky bug' class=
    (Shown for effect only. Photo quality sucks. So does the bug.)


    Migration ROCKS.


    I love migration. It’s nature’s way of confirming spring has arrived when you see flashes of color out of the corner of your eye and have this dude reeeeaching his little head waaaay over so he can have a peek at the lady with the camera:

    american goldfinch detail photograph leanne wildermuth' class=
    American Goldfinch, Male

    And this guy, who I see flitting around in his typical skittish way, never too sure of what to land on until he hits a finch sock – then you couldn’t pry him off if you wanted to:

    male house finch photography macro detail leanne wildermuth' class=
    House Finch, Male

    All of the other interesting birds will arrive soon and only be here for a week or so. Eastern Towhees, Grosbeaks, Creepers and Wrens will stop by, then my tried and true birds will stay here for the summer. This fella caught my ear while I was outside the other day:

    chipping sparrow perched and singing overlay photo leanne wildermuth' class=
    Chipping Sparrow, Male

    He was just singing away up in a tree, I did an overlay so you can see what he looks like singing, too.

    I thought you’d like this one, since I was talking about how to identify males and females and mentioned the female Red Bellied Woodpecker had been by – but I hadn’t snapped a photo of her yet. I managed to do that the other day. Of course her hubby is here quite a bit, so here’s a new pic of him with her in the corner so you can see how they differ in appearances side by side:

    red bellied woodpecker red head white head male female photograph leanne wildermuth' class=

    And last, but not least, a squirrel with no tail. I have no idea what happened to him, and honestly it makes me sad to think about it.

    squirrel no tail injured rat tail leanne wildermuth' class=

    It appears to be growing back, though, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for this guy (and yes, he’s a guy, he turned around and stood up and my eyes about popped out of my head), hopefully we’ll see some growth over the summer. I wonder how he communicates without his tail? Anyone know anything about squirrel behavior or communication to know how he might adapt to this injury?

    The Happy Couple


    house sparrow gendering male female' class=
    This is the happy couple that has decided to move into our birdhouse this year. I’m showing you this because I received a couple of interesting comments on Mr. Poofy Sparrow yesterday, and I thought you might find it interesting and useful to be able to identify male and female birdies. I know I am always a little annoyed when someone calls my pet (say, Dusty, for example) a “he”, because she is clearly a she, at least in my head. I like to know. I have to know. God forbid I have gender crises on behalf of my own critters or the birds I watch and enjoy!

    In birdwatching, there’s one rule of thumb with identifying the gender of a bird.

    The boys are always prettier.

    I know. Not fair. Girls do all the work, but the boys get the good looks.

    So in the photo above, the sparrow to the left has more striking markings and more vivid hues. He’s the boy. The girl is pretty too, in her own dull brown innocent way. Once you see two of them together, it’s very easy to identify their gender. We have couples who frequent our feeders – cardinals, house finches, goldfinches, red bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, sparrows, cowbirds and red winged blackbirds.

    We also have mourning doves but I still have a hard time determining who’s who unless one poofs up and starts chasing the other one around in circles, the dirty little bird.



    house sparrow photo hunkered down molting poof ball' class=

    Sometimes, I wanna do exactly what this little house sparrow is doing.

    Hunker down in a quiet place away from the wind and just go “poof”.

    You know what I’m sayin’?



    male house sparrow nesting birdhouse' class=

    Hubby hung a birdhouse early last spring, it sat empty all year. It was a little sad, as we had hoped *somebirdy* would want to live there. Not a chance. It is pretty close to the tree and feeder, and we thought that might be the reason.

    This year – it looks like we’ll have tenants! Chirp chirp! I’m excited, especially since I had a sad experience with some baby sparrows a couple of years back when we demolished our carport. (We found a nice lady who rescues wildlife and took the babies to her, last we heard a couple of them made it.)

    Both mom and dad have been getting things ready in there, so we helped them out a bit by adding some nesting material in a suet feeder for them.

    Meanwhile, I am also occupied. Of course. My schedule is jam packed and the spring weather and sunshine have gotten me back on my treadmill so my flabular thighs fit into my summer wardrobe. Speaking of which, I had better get movin’, shakin’ and jigglin’!

    Gorgeous Northern Flicker


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    I can’t even tell you how exciting it is to see a Flicker on my tree.

    SO. Exciting.

    A Week In Photos


    It’s been a couple of months since I carried my camera around with any kind of passion to take a photograph. Winter had me tightly in its grips – until last week. I wore open toed shoes to church (my piggies are aubergine, go figure!). I cleared away the dead and dried out iris from last fall to reveal tulips and new iris making their way up out of the earth. I felt excited again! So much so that I even took the cover off the grill and fired it up, we had grilled chicken for dinner that night.

    Aaah spring is coming.

    My camera is at the ready once again, I removed the screen from the front window yesterday for clear photos once I saw the “official” confirmation of Spring in my front yard:

    red breasted american robin spring bird' class=
    I’ve seen them around, yes, but I needed to see him in my front yard. He needed to be right there.

    More random and springy snaps in between dog naps below!

    red bellied woodpecker' class=
    Our resident red bellied woodpecker has begun making regular appearances
    on the suet block out back,
    chiapoo puppy with toys' class=
    While Copper collected all of his toys,
    and one of my furry flip flops,
    in and around his cozy little shoebox.

    bathroom makeover' class=
    I’m debating what to do with my bathroom, tile, paint, wallpaper?
    We’re still piecing it together…

    chiapoo puppy napping' class=
    While Copper takes a nap.

    old home rooftop palmer college' class=
    I admired the architecture of the buildings around Palmer College
    on the way home last weekend,

    st patricks day quaker parrot' class=
    Quintin joined in the St. Patrick’s Day festivities,
    donning a clover scrunchie,

    chickeymonkey piano recital
    And our sweet little Chickeymonkey
    smiled adorably at her piano recital…

    chiapoo puppy napping' class=
    While Copper took a nap.

    red bellied woodpecker' class=
    The red bellied woodpecker made yet another loud entrance
    (you can’t miss ’em when you hear ’em)…

    sewer toilet drain' class=
    And we figured out how to fix this mess and reinstall the toilet,

    chiapoo puppy napping' class=
    While Copper took a nap.

    As you can see, Copper sleeps through most everything, and I have entirely too much stuff to do. Any suggestions on the bathroom remodel are MORE than welcome. My dear sweet hubby can tell you how many times I’ve changed my mind about what to do, since I’ve lost count. I was going to install ceramic tile last weekend until the floor decided to be WAY too unlevel (we live on a slab) to even out without a professional and a load of concrete – and I ended up at Lowe’s 5 minutes before closing time for peel & stick flooring.

    I cannot tell you how I yearn for a custom built home. Maybe next year, eh?

    Or the year after that… or the year after that…

    Beauty on the Mississippi


    This morning, I remembered my camera. I’m so glad I did! Usually, when I pick up Catybug from the Church monthly lock-in across the river, I gasp in awe while I watch eagles soar in front of my car to perch in trees along River Drive. I know that the shots I get from inside a moving vehicle aren’t the greatest, but these are moments I really want to capture anyway.

    eagle on the Mississippi river' title=
    They’re hard to miss, really. Big dark spots scattered throughout the trees lining the river. Some huddled together, some in flight looking over the ice for breakfast. All of them look perfectly at home and very healthy, a sign that their winter here has been good to them.

    pair of eagles sitting on ice Mississippi  river' title=
    The river was calm this morning, their reflections mirrored on the water were picturesque. Preening seemed to be the task for many of the eagles I saw this morning, they must have already eaten and took to the ice and trees to lounge and relax.

    eagle on ice mirror reflection' class=
    It seems to be only during the winter, and only when I’m driving alongside the Mississippi on River Drive that I really love living here. These birds always take my breath away, and I envy those homeowners who live along the river. I would never grow tired of seeing an eagle perched in a tree in my front yard, or of watching them soar low over the river hunting for food.

    I would also, probably, never get anything else done.

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