April 6, 2012
We spent a weekend doing work up at our camp and brought our grand-daughter along so we could go exploring once the work was done. While I worked she ran all over the place looking at all manner of crawling and flying things- butterflies, moths, birds, dragonflies, beetles. Not long after we arrived I went to look in my bluebird box to see if they were going to nest here this year. You may recall in a previous post I spoke of how the last two years resulted in no bluebirds nesting in this box because of a problem I was having with wasps. Well it looks like my thorough “soaping” of the inside of the box worked keeping the pests from building, because I was presented with a nest that contained four feathered nestlings. I was so excited to see that they were back. If not, I would have moved the box to a different spot to hopefully renew their interest in it.
As soon as my grand-daughter heard this she was at my side wanting to see. I then retrieved my camo blind and set it up near the house so we could watch the parents come and go as they fed their young.
We watched as the male and female took turns flying sorties and returning with beetles, moths, and the occasional caterpillar.
Look closely at the photo of the female leaping from the house- she has a fecal sac in her beak.
Bluebirds, as well as many other birds, remove fecal matter produced by the nestlings to help keep the nest clean. They drop them onto the ground a distance away from the nest so as to not to attract predators.
April 22, 2012
Returned to the camp to mow grass and work on repairing part of my barbed wire fence that had been damaged by a fallen pine branch. Before I got started I walked over and checked my bluebird box and found that all of the nestlings had fledged. Well I hope they did. Seeing that I can’t keep a close eye on them like I do my purple martins at home, I can’t be really 100% sure that they fledged.
While mowing I noticed that the blackberries that grow rampant around here are beginning to ripen. So as soon as I got finished I grabbed a couple of Ziplocs and started picking before the foxes and skunks eat them all!
I ended up picking a couple pounds of berries. My grand-daughter loves these, so one bag will go to her, and some of the other bag will go into some muffins I plan to bake when I get home. Nothing like fresh berries, but there is a small price to pay- sharp thorns and stained hands.
While I’m working I always keep my ears and eyes open for any and everything. Male orchard oriole, great-crested flycatcher (heard) white-eyed vireo (heard) , blue-gray gnatcatcher (heard) , blue jay, mockingbird,
chimney swifts, and turkey vulture. I also saw a six-lined racerunner near the
barn, and several swallowtails and a gulf fritillary butterfly.