Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Waxwings and More

Out of anything bad there is usually a "good". How often have we heard this and still it is true. We have ivy on the side of the house. Now ivy is a "bad plant", nonnative and invasive. Invasive, did I say invasive? Well that is sure true. We got it off the trees last year and now after the rains it is half way up the trunks again. It makes a wonderful hiding place for all those little four footed lifeforms that we don't like to talk about. What could be wonderful about this plant? I will show you some pictures of what can be wonderful about ivy.

The last week we have had flocks of Cedar Waxwings enjoying the ivy berries!!! I have pyricantha planted for them to eat but they would rather have the ivy berries. For anyone that loves these beautiful birds I would say Ivy is a Great plant!!! Two years ago we had a flock of Western and Cassin's Kingbirds, at least 40, eating the ivy. We also have Starlings coming though dining on our specials.

The pictures aren't all that great but I haven't had the camera out when I have been sitting closer to them. They are in the trees next to the house and then they come down and line up for the fountain on the pine or this tree.

They come down, sometimes 15 at a time and take a drink and then go back up into the ivy for more lunch. I must admit the fountains are getting pretty messy with ivy seeds that are running through these wonderful birds!

I was sitting out on the back patio yesterday morning eating breakfast when
the whole flock came down into the trees and fountain. I was only 5 feet away. Of course I had my coffee and not my camera so you will just have to picture it in your head!! It was a quite a sight.

Here are two of them. Click on the pictures to see a little better.

The yard has been very busy the past couple of weeks. Here is a lady goldfinch waiting her turn at one of the feeders.

Mr Goldfinch looking as handsome as he can. There have been lots of babies in the yard. Mainly House Sparrows so far but a few House Finch and one set of Lesser Goldfinch that I have seen. I think the funniest sight is the parents bringing the babies to the feeders and the babies will be sitting in the feeder right in all the food and they are begging to be fed. They catch on pretty fast though.
Other birds that have been here over the past two weeks:

Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Brown headed Cowbirds
Brewer Blackbirds
Western Kingbird
Cooper's Hawk
House Sparrow
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Hooded Oriole
Downy Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Oak Titmouse
American Crow
Scrub Jay
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen Hummingbird
Blackchinned Hummingbird
Blackheaded Grosbeak
Mourning Dove
Ringed Turtle Dove
European Starlings
Turkey Vulture flying over the house.
Redtail Hawk flying over
Mallard Ducks flying over
Think that is all but I might be missing something.
The flowers are bursting out with all the wonderfully warm weather. I replanted the rose garden last fall and it is showing off some beautiful flowers. I was going to make sure I wrote down all the names before the plants grew too much to get to the tags but guess what I didn't do. You will have to do with the pictures without the names!!! Maybe next year.....

This is a minature rose

Jerusalem Sage looking good.

Martha Washington Geranuim flowering and a few more pots of stuff.

Thanks to the Crows we also have some "fun" thing in the fountains. I had to clean one of them the other week as there was something dead in it. I couldn't tell what it was as they had just brought a part of the fur down to eat. I might have been part of skunk that they found. Something like that. Disgusting anyway. They like to bring all their found treasures down to a water source and get it wet before they eat it. If I didn't like the crows so much I would be very, very unhappy!!! I guess it is one more of those good things with the bad. Here is what is normally in the birdbath. Some kind of chicken bone.

I do try and get out in the morning to check out what they have left because if I don't guess who likes to get out there to get something to eat!!! Luckily he can't get into this birdbath but if they drop in on the ground when they are done it can be a problem. They say chicken bones are bad for the dog and I don't want any more Vet bills!!! He hasn't been stung by a bee or anymore foxtails in his eye yet this year so that is good!!

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