Sunday, June 24, 2012

Too Hot on the Porch

This week has been a rough start for the summer, with our first venture into the 100 degree range. We have some panting birds, but they are still coming to the feeders. Enjoy this week's offering that's too hot on the porch!

 This juvenile male Cardinal has just put on his deoderant, and is holding the wings out to let it dry. No, his beak is not scorched, just transitioning from the dark bill of his youth to a nice orange like daddy has!

 Our most abundant bird, with the brightest crimson red coat.

 Another panting bird, the Eastern Phoebe, hanging out at the end of my porch and catching lots of bugs.

 At the office, we have our second brood of baby Phoebes, soon to launch.

 A shot of mama bringing home the goodies, a big fat dragon fly.

 And a better pic, coming in with more sustenance for the little ones.

 This Sunday morning the Green Heron and the Night Heron were clucking and hanging around the pond edge catching breakfast.

 Earlier in the week the Night Heron landed once again in the oak tree close to the porch, and offered some nice poses. There are still multiple Herons circling the pond.

 We didn't get to witness or get pictures, but the Carolina Wrens launched this week.

 But before launching, I did get this shot of a delivery to the babies.

 Not a great pic, but reason for excitement at the porch. We haven't seen a male Lesser Goldfinch at our place for a long time, so welcome back. And stay awhile!

 The Hummers are still picking at the new growth on the Banks rose. You can see a red hornet in the background as well.

 This hot afternoon this Black-chinned Hummingbird was panting too!

 Female Black-chinned at the feeder.

 The House Finches are not as abundant at the porch as they are at the office, so it was good to get a shot of this one.

 Even when the picture quality is not great, it's still great to see these guys at the feeder.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wide Variety

This week has brought a wide variety of visitors, and a wide variety of sights from the porch. My Father's Day present was being greeted by a Great Roadrunner in our driveway as we returned home from church. I had been hearing him, but this was my first sighting. Hopefully I can share pictures in a future post. Enjoy this week's offering.

 It is very obvious Papa and Mama Cardinal had a very busy Spring, as our yard is overrun with young Cardinals. Here are a few at their new favorite hangout close to the Lady Banks Rose.

 Papa Cardinal steering clear of the fray.

 On my drive to work, a field just north of Leander on Bagdad Road is filled with these purple poppy-looking wildflowers. I was taken by their deep color, and wanted to make sure that Linda Jacobson got to see them.

 New growth on the Lady Banks Rose is attracting the hummingbirds, just not sure why.

 Caught a glimpse of that purple in the chin of the 'Black-chinned' hummingbird.

 Standing diligent guard.

 This doe was taking on over the fawn as if it was a new-born. The fawn followed mom into the brush.

 More newcomers, young House Sparrows, gathering at the water dish.

 I was really excited to see these girls. It has been a long time since Lesser Goldfinches of ANY sex have visited our yard.

 Always good to find a spot for those special hand-made gifts, this one from our sister-in-law Ginger. It says 'welcome' to the hummingbirds among the fire bushes and Carolina jasmine.

 Saw the wide wings head across the pond, and heard the Bluejays. The Red-shouldered Hawk is being chastised by a bold Bluejay.

 It appears the hawk had enough, and exited stage left.

 The Phoebes were also busy this spring, and the young Phoebes are occupied around the yard.

 A young Titmouse near the feeder. He's not yet mature enough to earn the tag 'Black-crested.'

 The Carolina Wren checking out the water by the rose bush.

 The Wrens are busy feeding and carrying poop sacks from their newbies. We expect a launch out of the porch church house any day now.

 I have never had multiple Painted Buntings in my yard like this year. Something to anticipate each evening.

 This female Painted Bunting landed on the limb today, and just sat there kind of puffing up her chest. OK, made for a nice picture.

 This pic was from last Wednesday when a nice little cool front blew in and made for a wonderful morning on the porch. Three of these guys were in the yard at the same time.

 That same morning four Yellow-crested Night Herons flew into the pond,  circled, and landed in the oak tree closest to the porch. 

 I'm going to ask about that balancing act someday.

 Here's a series that will close out this week's offering. I spied the Heron grab something from the shallow water and start working it over. I assumed it was a frog or fish, but as you can see, it is a large crustacean. I want my Louisiana friends to note the size of crawdads in Texas!

 No, that's not a fish head, check the next pic and you'll see it is a crawfish.

How about those gizzard muscles! Now THAT'S a strong stomach.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Settling Into Summer

We're seeing less newcomers around the porch, and seem to be settling into the summer pattern of activity. We are still enjoying the Painted Buntings, and welcome the first pics of the Green Heron this week. We also get some Screech Owl pics from some of our neighbors. Enjoy this week's offering.

 At the office, the House Finches are very active.

 You might notice my birds always say 'Grace' before eating!

 A young female Lesser Goldfinch, checking out the thistle feeder at the office.

 The female Cardinal atop the feeder in the yard.

 A young female Cardinal in the trees off the deck at the office.

 The Cardinals are numerous at the house, not so much at the office. 

 The lantana under the sprinkler at the yard. This image brings back childhood memories of this little bouquet.

 The Carolina Chickadee in the yard. 

 I was sitting real close to the tree this furry-tailed tree rat was descending. He decided to turn around and go back up the tree.

 We have been hearing and spotting the Green Heron for a few weeks, but hadn't been able to get a pic. This morning the male was chasing the female around the pond. Eventually, one was high in a tree making its call. I had to leave the porch, but did get a few shots.

 OK, hold the comments about 'Green Heron'! I don't name these things!

 Hoping that the chase means they will be nesting and producing young. Stay tuned!

 The female Painted Bunting in the yard.

 I had just complained to my business partner that I never can get good Bunting pictures at my porch. Then my yellow-bibbed Bunting shows up about 6' away, and changes the game.

 Just can't get enough of this guy. Glory!

 Every once in a while I get to share a pic sent by a friend. This is a Screech Owl that has been visiting Don and Nita Bradley's backyard in Leander. They report two now regularly.

The Gainers in Sundance Ranch have a family of Owls every year about this time, and will be charging entry fees to their yard starting next year. I understand Hallie will also be catering the events. Here are two of the young ones, and the report is that their activity is waning, so the young'ns may be ready to fly the coop, so to speak.