Hey Buddy, can you spare some food?

Nearly 3 Billion Birds Gone Since 1970

According to a new study published online in September by the journal Science, wild bird populations in the continental U.S. and Canada have declined by almost 30% since 1970.

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Far from Passenger Pigeons, once the most numerous bird on the planet, the lost birds include songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, and most notably grassland birds.

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“These bird losses are a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife.” ~Ken Rosenberg, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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I don’t know about you but I find these statistics disturbing on so many levels. Spring would be sad indeed if my Rose-Breasted Grosbeak didn’t arrive to raise his family in my yard.

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Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

And Northern Cardinals are animals I assume will always be there when I look out my window on a winter’s day.

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And Black-Capped Chickadees are one species I expect to frequent my bird feeder.

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Black-Capped Chickadee

AND what would America be without our national bird?

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American Bald Eagle

But hey, who am I to argue with people who see Mother Nature as a cash cow.

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Who needs forests anyway?

According to the U.S. Forest Service, for the first time in more than a century, the United States is facing a net forest loss.

Even my little corner of the Concord River isn’t free from mismanagement of natural resources.

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2018–The start of deforestation in my little corner of the Concord River.

Many people think trees are the only organisms affected by the destruction of forests. There are a whole host of critters receiving eviction notices when a tree is felled. Bats roost in tree crevices and the Little Brown Bat is facing enough challenges to add losing its home to the list.

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Little Brown Bat

Did you know that a chickadee must consume 60 percent of its body weight each and every day. During a cold night they use up these Calories in an effort to stay warm, and they do this in the nooks and crannies of trees.

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“If you cut down a tree, where will I sleep?”

You can help save our feathered (and furred) friends. Unless you absolutely have to, don’t cut down trees on your property, even if the tree is dead. Just because the tree looks barren to you it’s supporting a whole host of life.

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Visit Cornell Labs for more ways to help the birds who share this great planet with us humans. Start by putting out sunflower feeders NOW! Don’t wait until the snow flies. For a Black-Capped Chickadee, it might be too late by then.

Blessed be :}

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Stop playing games with my head!

I’m referring to Old Man Time. He’s messing with my head again and I want him to stop!

“Old man time, he’s so mean; Meanest man you’ve ever seen.” (Lyrics from the song.)

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And he’ll play tricks with your mind, yes, indeed; making you think you’re on LSD! (My lyrics.)

By now you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m going on about and I don’t blame you. I’m ranting. This time it’s not about pesticides, though. This time its about time. That illusion that slips though our fingers like some mysterious smoke from a distant, unseen fire.

Let’s begin.

Just yesterday, or so it seems, summer began. I had finished enlarging several of my backyard gardens and by June they were awash with color.

I hosted my usual visitors to the river. Colorful songbirds and hungry hawks;


Snappy turtles and slithery snakes;

Sublime creatures great and small;

I even played hostess to some visitors I’d never met before.

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Juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

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Little Brown Bat

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Juvenile Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

A juvenile Osprey stopped by and surveyed my ducks. I didn’t get a chance to run in the house for my camera. Note to self: attach camera to my hip.

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Juvenile Osprey. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Silly bird thinking he was strong enough to lift one of my plump Mallards.

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My most amazing visitor was Deborah, a woman who, as a young girl, spent summers as at the house next door to mine. Her grandfather and grandmother lived there. We had a delightful morning getting to know each other, and her companion too. Thank you, Deborah, for sharing your memories with me.

Of course the ducks were always here, as was Harlee, keeping me company through the long, summer days as I toiled away in the heat of the sun.

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Can you spot the impostor? A fawn-colored Mallard drake spent a little time with my flock.

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Feed me, please.

Speaking of toiling in the hot sun (actually I’m not speaking, I’m typing, but whatever), my friend Bob helped me, or should I say I helped him, fix the rotted portion of my house where it meets the deck.

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Funny story, I had paid one contractor to do the work and he never showed up. Yup, took my money and ran. I asked four other contractors if they would do the work and none of them showed up to look at the job. What happened to the American work ethic?

Did I mention it was close to 100 degrees that day? Thank you, Bob.

The summer brought an adventure for Harlee. Here he is donning his new life vest. Yup, first time on a canoe…and the river.

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He took to the excursion like a fish to water.

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Now, will you feed me?

Aside from a few missteps, it was a great summer. I’m not ready for it to end. Please, Father Time, may I have a few more days before Autumn arrives? Just two or three to once more drink a gin and tonic while listening to the crickets on the night air? Please.

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Okay, I get it. Time marches on. Blessed be :}

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Painted turtles on my river.

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Silent Summer

On September 27, 1962, Rachel Carson published her infamous book Silent Spring, chronicling the disastrous affect pesticides have on the environment.

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I’d love to write that in the 57 years since Silent Spring was published we’ve learned how to work with the environment so humans and other living organisms can co-exist, but, sadly, it isn’t so. In reality, we’ve become more aggressive in our use of contaminants, releasing them with the carefree abandon of a child blowing bubbles.

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Photo courtesy of Pexels.com/Hiếu Hoàng

According to a recent New York Times (And, no, NYT is not failing) analysis, based on research from Harvard Law SchoolColumbia Law School and other sources, more than 80 environmental rules and regulations on the way out under our dictator-in-chief. Oh, I can hear Trump’s base now: ‘What do we care about the Sage Grouse?’

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Mono Basin sage grouse (National Park Service)

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Obviously they don’t care about clean air and water, either, because fracking destroys those things too. www.downwindersatrisk.org

Depressed yet?

 

 

Well, here comes the kick in the ass: my town recently sprayed for mosquitoes due to the Triple-E threat within the State. In their infinite wisdom the town leaders approved the use of malathion, a non-discriminatory pesticide used to also control aphids, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, and Cotton Boll Weevils. Yup, we have loads of boll weevils in this town. Phew, I have to shovel a path just to get to my mailbox at the end of the driveway.

The sad side of the story is malathion also kills caterpillars, cicadas, and a slew of other insects that don’t carry Triple-E.

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One of the many cicadas I found while walking Harlee.

Back in early July I was dancing with joy when I photographed a Monarch butterfly laying eggs on my milkweed plants.

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And when I found Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed leaves, I sang as I danced.

I’m sad to report, they all died, including the adult butterflies. Dead as dead can be, thanks to the town’s spraying. My butterfly bush, busy with activity last summer…

… no longer plays host to the Monarch butterflies. Even the handful of Hummingbird moths that came by to eat have vanished. Thank goodness the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds appear untouched.

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Ruby-Throated Hummingbird at my butterfly bush.

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Oh, Rachel, I wish that were true. Blessed be :{

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Contagion

In the movie Contagion, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character received a virus from a chef she came in contact with in Macau.

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Photo: Warner Bros. Industries

The chef got the virus from the carcass of a pig which got the virus from a chunk of banana an infected bat had dropped into the pig’s pen.

The screenplay was the brainchild of writer Scott Z. Burns, who may or may not have read Cook’s novel of the same name, although the two stories are world’s apart. That’s not important, what is important is that the movie demonstrated the ability of viruses to jump between species. A little thing called species-jumping. You might remember from high school biology that animals of one species can’t breed with animals of another species. That’s what makes them, well, species! And vectors, such as viruses and bacteria, love jumping between species.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4948863/

Where am I going with this? No, I haven’t decided to start a career as a virologist, although, back in the day, I did look great in a lab coat.

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In my dreams.

The reason I’m discussing the topic of species-jumping is I’m faced with a potential outbreak (Now, that was a fun movie!). The annoying creature I’m dealing with is a bacterium called Mycoplasma gallisepticum, and it’s jumping all over the place.

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Mycoplasma gallisepticum, super, duper enlarged.

This little devil originally worked its damage on domestic birds such as chickens and turkeys, giving them all sorts of nasty respiratory problems like cloudy eyes, conjunctivitis, swollen sinuses, sticky nasal mucous, and labored breathing. First described in the early 1900’s, MG, as it’s affectionately called, had extracted a serious toll on the poultry industry, but, for many years it stayed species specific. Unfortunately, MG mutated and has jumped to a whole new group of species: the taxonomic class called Passerines.

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Songbirds!

According to Cornell Lab’s Feeder Watch (www.feederwatch.org):

In the winter of 1994, Project FeederWatch participants in the Washington, D.C., area began reporting that House Finches at their feeders had swollen, red, crusty eyes. Lab tests revealed that the birds had Mycoplasma gallisepticum, a parasitic bacterium previously known to infect poultry. 

From Washington, D.C., let’s give a warm Concord River welcome to (drum roll, please) Mycoplasma gallisepticum.  

I first noticed this little lady at the end of July.

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My Patient Zero: a female House Finch with the first signs of Avian Conjunctivitis.

A few days later, this guy developed conjunctivitis too.

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My infected American Goldfinch.

Species-jumping at its finest!

How does the infection spread, you ask with a breathlessness that is nothing short of amazing? Watch and learn:

My bird feeder is like a Roman bath; a veritable hot bed of disease.

It’s the style of feeder that seems to enhance the spread of the infection. Feeders with large ports seem to enhance the spread of the disease. To feed, the infected bird has to poke its head into the seed hole and the bird’s eyes scrape against the edges of the opening, thus leaving a tiny trace of nastiness for the next bird. Think of it like this: you meet someone who has conjunctivitis, who has just rubbed her eye, and then you shake hands. Yuck!

Avian Conjunctivitis doesn’t kill, although new studies indicate it is getting more virulent. https://feederwatch.org/blog/house-finch-eye-disease-increased-virulence-disease-progresses/ It can result in blindness, however, which prevents the bird from finding food, ultimately resulting in starvation. Also, if the bird becomes blind, there’s the risk of flying into solid objects like trees and windows, another thing that has a negative effect on the bird’s overall health.

Many birds overcome the disease, as some research suggests. If the birds can find food, they stand a chance of their immune system defeating the infection, and becoming healthy again. My little finch still manages to find the seed, despite being visually impaired.

What can you do to help? If you see a bird at your feeder with eyes issues, don’t try to catch it. No, the condition can’t be passed to humans or other mammals, but you might risk injuring the bird more than it already is. Take down your feeder, and dispose of the seed. Soak the feeder in a 10% bleach solution for about 20 minutes, rinse it really well, and let it dry completely before using it again. I recommend a drying time of 48 hours. If you have more than one feeder, disinfect them all, disposing of ALL the seed.

 

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“You don’t eat off of dirty dishes so don’t make me eat from a dirty feeder.”

Following good bird feeding practices will help reduce the spread of the disease and, according to Cornell Labs, might stop infections from starting. Here are their guidelines:

  1. Space your feeders widely to discourage crowding.
  2. Clean your feeders on a regular basis (weekly) with a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach and 9 parts water).
  3. Remove any build-ups of dirt around the food openings. Allow your feeders to dry completely before rehanging them. It’s a good idea to have a back-up feeder to use while one is drying.
  4. Rake the area underneath your feeder to remove droppings and old, moldy seed.
  5. If you see one or two diseased birds, take your feeder down immediately and clean it with a 10% bleach solution.

You can opt to stop feeding the birds until the diseased bird has moved on, but you’ll just drive the infected bird to a new location which will increase the chance of spreading the bacteria. Be vigilant about cleaning your feeders during an outbreak. Disinfect your feeders with every seed change. Follow these guidelines established by Wild Birds Unlimited.

  • Always store your bird seed in a cool and dry location outside of your home.
  • Store bird seed in rodent- and insect-proof containers.
  • Never mix old seed with new seed.
  • During periods of warm weather, store only the amount of seed that your birds can consume over a two-week period.
  • During the cooler winter weather, store only the amount of seed your birds can consume over a four-week period.
  • Keep your bird feeders filled with a one- or two-day supply of seed to ensure it is eaten quickly and stays fresh.
  • Discard moldy, rancid or foul-smelling seed, because it can be a health hazard to birds.

My added recommendations are to remove perches from your feeders to discourage lingering lunches and dinners.

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Also, avoid communal feeders.

Screen feeders reduce the issues created by the large feeding holes. Soon, my feeders will be replaced by the style shown below. I’m just waiting for Amazon to deliver them

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I like this type because it also allows the spent seed shells to drop to the ground for easy sweeping up.

Now, this is what I want you to do. I want you to go on Netflix and rent Contagion, and while you’re there, rent Outbreak too, but disinfect your feeders first.

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And help the songbird population by contributing to ongoing research, join Feeder Watch at: https://feederwatch.org/join-or-renew/

Blessed be :}

 

 

 

 

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Finally!!!!!!!

It took her long enough!

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Here comes Mama Hen with her Mallard chicks close behind.

I’ve been patient, I have, but I’d given up hope at ever seeing chicks this season when what do I see, a proud hen with six cute, little ducklings. It took her long enough.

She wasn’t the only one with chicks in tow. Another hen arrived a few days later with a few older ducklings, and they had a lot to say to the adult ducks when they arrived. Two of them didn’t hesitate to blend right in with the flock, leaving siblings and Mama to fend for themselves.

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“Hey, that’s my corn!”

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Mama kept a close eye on them as they chowed down on the cracked corn.

I’m sad to report the six little chicks didn’t last very long, and soon Mama Hen was down to five.

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And then two.

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Maybe it was losing most of her brood that made her so protective, but their mama kept a tight reign on them when they were feeding with the flock.

Hearing about all the fun, a third hen brought her slightly older, pre-teens to the party.

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All-in-all, I’d say it was a successful breeding season.

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Thank you, Goddess. Blessed be :}

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Summer 2019

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as writing The earth laughs in flowers. If that is the case, my little corner of the Concord River is a raucous riot of laughter.

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My gardens are a blaze with color to welcome the first day of summer. Litha. A time of celebration for the abundance that is Mother Nature.

flowers - gardens - pink - yellow - beauty - summer - porchHave you ever wondered what each summertime flower means? What you’re saying when you give the one you love a bunch of posies? Here’s some meanings to help get you going: Dianthus: pure affection; Lavender: devotions; Pansies: loving thoughts; Violets: faithfulness; Red Salvia: esteem; Red Roses: I’ve got the hots for you!

Some people find the first day of summer a day for sadness. After all, the days begin to shorten from this point on as winter turns over in his sleep and dreams of snowstorms and icicles.

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Slate-colored Junco wondering when the heck summer would arrive.

But Old Man Winter isn’t my concern right now for today is a day for celebration. A time to bask in the light. As the grasshopper knew, summertime is a time for making music.

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Aesop’s fable about the Ants and the Grasshopper teaches us a valuable lesson: There’s a time for work and a time for play.

When I was a young girl I didn’t get the message about work and play. I took Aesop’s fable to mean our friends will turn their backs on us when we need them the most. This interpretation goes a long way in explaining my philia relationships.

Here’s the full fable. You be the judge.

The Ants & the Grasshopper

One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.

“What!” cried the Ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”

“I didn’t have time to store up any food,” whined the Grasshopper; “I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”

The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.

“Making music, were you?” they cried. “Very well; now dance!” And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.

Reprinted with permission from the Library of Congress. http://read.gov/aesop/052.html

My Great Blue Heron isn’t sitting on her tail feathers and fiddling in the sunshine. She’s busy doing what she must to survive, and doing a bang-up job of it, too.

Sorry for the shaky camera work; pretend you’re watching a John Wick movie.

A blog post about summer wouldn’t be complete without a recipe for Caprese Salad.

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Italians certainly know how to savor the flavors of summer.

As you enjoy your salad I hope you’ll take some time to thank the earth for her beauty. No matter where you live, city or country, in an apartment building or on a farm, there is beauty all around you.

Sometimes all you have to do is look straight ahead.

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Other times you need to look up.

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Wherever you look, take a moment and pause. Summertime is here, and the living is so, so easy.

Blessed be :}

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Hey, it’s my blog and I can advertise my book all I want. 😉

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Stranger Things

The times, they are getting strange here in my little corner of the Concord River. Just the other day I was working in the yard and was joined by a Little Brown Bat.

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Little Brown Bat, Myotis lucifugus

At first it freaked me a bit since it was early afternoon and the little fellow, or gal, should have been snoozing in a dark crevice somewhere, but it didn’t appear to be aggressive so I calmed down, and checked out the National Wildlife Federation’s website. As long as the bat’s behavior wasn’t erratic, and there wasn’t any foam around the mouth, I was instructed to let the bat do its thing, and I should do mine. Unfortunately, the bat’s thing involved fluttering around, riding the gentle afternoon breezes, and following me. No matter where I went in the yard, it would come to settle nearby.

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Clinging to the tree alongside the pile of dirt I was shoveling.

Who knew Little Brown Bats were so curious? I eventually took a break, and sat to enjoy my iced coffee, and my small, mammal companion clung to an overhanging branch.

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“I can see you.”

Little Brown Bats are very cool. Did you know one bat is capable of eating 1000 insects in just one hour! Sadly, a deadly fungus is decimating bat populations across North America. That, and the destruction of their natural habitats (thanks Trump, you clown), the Little Brown Bat, and other bat species a facing an uphill battle. To learn how you can help save our bat populations, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service .

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Do it soon, before bats are gone forever.

Over the past two days I’ve been visited by two Musk Turtles. No, it isn’t one turtle coming back for a rerun. How do I know, they’re different sizes.

It’s not odd to see turtles in my gardens but two Musk Turtles, back-to-back, must be some kind of omen. I’m thinking it might mean Keanu Reeves is coming to pay a visit. Either that or I’m going to fall off my retaining wall. If I do, the snapper will make short work of me. What, you don’t remember my manhole-sized Snapping Turtle? (https://concordriverlady.com/2016/09/03/one-last-time-drink-deep-from-the-well/) Well, she’s still around, and she’s gotten bigger.

 

Each morning, as I sit on my wall, and sip my coffee and feed the carp, she stops by for some bread, and a duck leg if she’s feeling extra hungry.

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Duck legs taste like chicken, or so I’m told.

Next truly strange thing: THERE ARE NO DUCKLINGS!! This time last year I had fuzzy little ducklings running around the yard. This year? None! Oh, sure, Shannon and St. John are still tooling about–eating their weight in corn, and lounging on the retaining wall when I’m not, but zilch in the duckling department.

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St. John, the Mallard drake.

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Shannon, the Mallard hen.

Not only are Shannon and St. John here, but I think every gosh darn duck on the river are too. But no ducklings!

I’m going to start charging them rent if they don’t lay some eggs. I WANT DUCKLINGS.

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Little Ducky from Summer 2018.

Last strange thing going on is a Cooper’s Hawk has been going after the chipmunks in my yard. The ducks seems to know it’s not here for them so they don’t flip out when it swings by. They just relocate from the grass into the water, and come back as soon as the hawk flies away, with or without its lunch.

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Sorry for the grainy image, the picture was taken through a window screen.

That’s pretty much all the strange stuff I have to report. The gardens are coming to life…

and the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are humming along.

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Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

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Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

 

And … wait for it, drumroll, please … I reached a 1000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. It’s happy dance time.

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Have you subscribed? What are you waiting for?

Anyway, it’s time for bed. I thank you for reading my humble post, and following my little blog. You are following my blog, right?

Blessed be :}

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Eastern Phoebe

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More shameless self-promotion. 😉

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Time to Say Goodbye

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RIP 5/17/2019

Yesterday, my white rabbit, Stew, aka Hazel, but mostly Stew, died in my arms while we were at the vet. She’d been acting weird for the past few weeks, some days happily hopping around her indoor pen, while on other days having no interest in food or me. Yesterday, her breathing became labored and she couldn’t move his hind legs. Chris and I took her the vet and while I was waiting she died in my arms.

A little background on Stew. On October 6, 2014, a friend and I found a cardboard box in the marsh along Elsie Ave. Inside was a frightened white rabbit missing a toe.

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Hazel, when we found her, which I thought was a him. Stick around and I’ll explain her gender and name change.

https://concordriverlady.com/2014/10/06/go-ask-alice/

Sparky was alive when I found Stew and they got to know each other rather quickly. Now they’re both gone.

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Sparky and Stew, October 2014

On October 30, 2014, Stew helped me build her pen which I kept in my office. She had the run of the house back then and learned to use his litter box rather quickly. She was a good little bunny.

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Stew, checking out her new Wabbitat.

https://concordriverlady.com/2014/10/30/movin-on-up/

This is how the name and gender thing happened. I originally named Stew Hazel, from the rabbit in the book, Watership Down, by Richard Adams.

 

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I love this book.

Chris thought the name Hazel was a bit odd, and pointed out a better name would be Stew, since Hazel is a rabbit and rabbit stew is delicious. Thus, Hazel became Stew.

In January, 2017, I had a hysterectomy, and Stew went in to be snipped. Surprise, surprise, he had no penis but two, well-developed ovaries. Can you say Stewina?

That same month Isabella arrived, a rescued Himalayan rabbit.

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Stew and Isabella

Things have been rocking along since Isabella arrived. Stew loved the company. I eventually built them an indoor run down in the basement and a second run outside for the summer months. They had a ball and every time I visited them Stew would hop over to me and cuddle. He loved to have the space between his ears scratched. He was a sweet little bunny.

But now Stew is gone and Isabella is alone. I’ll take a drive to Nevins Farm, the MSPCA adoption center in Methuen, and adopt another rescued rabbit for Isabella.

Did I mention Stew died in my arms?

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I hope your soul is hopping around in the green fields of Summerland, Stew.

Blessed be :}

 

 

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The Magic of My World

I wish I could take you by the hand and show you the magic of my world in real time. You’d hear the song of the Northern Cardinal, and feel the scented breeze on your skin as the sun warms your tired bones.

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But, alas, I can only share my world with you through the lens of my camera. Come along with me, will you, the best is yet to be.

The birds of spring have all arrived, from the Baltimore Orioles to the Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. Let’s start with the orioles, shall we.

As in the past, the male is elusive and damn hard to capture with my camera. However, I know how to entice the female Baltimore Oriole to pose for me. String. I sprinkle fine strands of string throughout the yard, and she comes and gathers them for her nest, stopping to thank me along the way.

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Female Baltimore Oriole with a strand of string.

A Baltimore Oriole nest takes a lot of string but no worries, I have plenty.

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Photo courtesy of: http://www.birdrap.com

Now for my Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. Truth, I have two males spending time at my sunflower feeder. They first arrived while I was suffering through a nasty bout of the flu a couple of weeks ago. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw them outside my bedroom window, but, nope, two males for twice the beauty.

I happen to think the female Rose-Breasted is mighty spectacular as well.

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Female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Sure, the male got the scarlet red chest, and the classic black and white feathers, but the female of the species has some fine markings all her own. Plus, she has golden chest feathers. Bravo, Mother Nature.

This past Saturday, after I finished a long day working in the gardens, Harlee and I spent some time relaxing. We sat and watched four Tree Swallows perform their courting flights. Of course I didn’t get any pictures, they more too fast for me. Although, they did stop and rest at the top of one of my oak trees, and I was able to capture a few nice shots even if I was underneath them.

No springtime blog post would be complete without the mention of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

ruby-throated hummingbird - songbirds - nature - wildlife - birds

Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Shannon and St. John are still making their daily visits. St. John keeps a watchful eye while Shannon relaxes or eats. I hope she has some eggs in the nest and isn’t leading St. John on. He’s too nice a duck to be scammed by a sweet quacking hen.

The Great-blue Heron strolled through my yard last week. She is a truly magnificent bird, and one of these days I’m going to hop on her back and demand she take me for a ride.

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Great-blue Heron taking a walk through one of my gardens.

I hope you enjoyed this little visit, I know I loved having the company. It gets lonely here in my little corner of the Concord River, and now and then I’d love another person to talk to.

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Harlee is a great companion but he’s not much of a conversationalist.

Oh, one last thing before you go.

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The American Goldfinches finished molting.

Blessed be :}

The following is a blatant attempt to sell you something.

If you’re interested in purchasing some of my photographs as greetings cards and other nifty items, visit my store at Redbubble.com. The money I earn helps to pay for the duck’s corn. Thank you.

And don’t forget about my newest book.

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Okay, now you can go.

 

 

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A Month of Wonder and Delight

Welcome to May. Beltane. The position on the wheel of the year that marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. A time to frolic like a randy squirrel.

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Before the festivities begin, let’s take a look back through April and recount the days gone by.

Day 1: A Brown Creeper spent a little time scouting out insects in the bark of my oak tree.

Day 2: The American Goldfinches started molting.

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Day 3: I repaired a portion of my walkway.

Day 4: A female Goldeneye, a type of diving duck, spent some time demonstrating her diving abilities.

goldeneye - duck - diving - waterfowl

Day 5: A pair of Wood Ducks enjoyed some cracked corn.

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Day 6: I met Shannon and St. John, the breeding pair of Mallards who chose my yard as their nesting territory. They’re named after the main character’s in my newest book, Breaking the Rulesmallards - ducks - drake - hen - waterfowl

Day 7: While I worked in my gardens, Shannon would come up to me and quack softly for her afternoon feeding.

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Day 8: The American Goldfinches continued to molt.

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Day 9: Since my health had returned, yay, I was able to finish the hummingbird garden expansion.

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Then

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Now

 

 

Day 10: Harlee investigated the mulch delivery.

Day 11: A female Northern Cardinal posed for a picture.

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Day 12: More Wood Ducks arrived.

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Day 13: A wild turkey investigated the side yard.

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Day 14: The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrived in Massachusetts. I haven’t seen one yet but my feeders are up and ready.

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Day 15: The Downy Woodpecker pretended she’s a hummingbird.

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Day 16: St. John kept a watchful eye while Shannon ate so her chicks will be fat and healthy.

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Day 17: A couple of Hooded Mergansers visited for a bit.

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Day 18: I finished adding mulch to both enlarged gardens.IMG_1034.JPG

Day 19: Yup, you guessed it; more molting American Goldfinches.

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Day 20: Shannon continued her daily visits for lunch.

Day 21: My fourth book went live on Amazon.

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Day 22: A Spring Peeper started singing at night in the marsh across from my house.

Day 23: The Forsythia bush I planted last summer returned in a blaze of yellow.

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Day 24: Rain, rain, rain, and my neighbor’s yard flooded.

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Day 25: The American Goldfinches almost finished molting.

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Day 26: The river rose from the continued rain and flooded my side yard. Shannon and St. John loved that they had a private pond to swim in.

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Day 27: The Trout Lily bloomed. She’s getting bigger every year.

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Day 28: Harlee and I took a nap that lasted the entire afternoon. In my defense, I’m one little, old lady who’s just gotten over a mysterious illness that turned out to be not so mysterious and I’ve been doing a ton of yard work. Garden’s don’t mulch themselves, you know.

Day 29: My YouTube channel reached 500 subscribers. Have you subscribed? https://youtube.com/c/TinthiaClemant

Day 30: The Great Blue Heron returned from her winter vacation.

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Thirty days of wonder, enchantment, and delight.

Blessed Beltane. Blessed be. :}

 

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