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You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 4/26/09 - 5/3/09

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spring....FINALLY! Eastern Nebraska Birding 101

Today was a gloriously beautiful day!  I can't believe I was able to enjoy just about all day outside...I mowed the lawn for the first time this season, worked more on my garden, and planted a couple of containers with annual flowers purchased yesterday from Timmy's child care center's fund raiser.  I enlisted Timmy and a couple of neighbor children this evening to "dig for earthworms" in our future-hop-plant plot, thereby loosening the soil for me.  They found some 30 earthworms that I had them deposit in my compost pile...which needs a lot of help this early in the season....

...and I'm still outside and it's so wonderful I'm going to take a picture with my uber-cool built-in-webcam:

From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder

Ta Da!

Can you see the bird feeders in tbe background? Maybe you can, then again, maybe not...

When we moved into the house in early August of last year, one of my first acts was to hang a birdfeeder on the tree in the backyard.

No action. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. The only birds around seemed to be giant blackbirds and they didn't eat the black sunflower seeds I offered...

The week I came back from the desert, I saw some small brown birds around in the neighborhood...and that reminded me to re-invigorate my birding efforts.  I went nuts installing feeders all over my yard.  Can you count 6 of them here?  Look REAL closely:
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder

I remember from North Carolina that inspiring birds to come to your feeder as opposed to someone else's takes some time and effort.  I had a perfect backyard in North Carolina, with a hedge of wax myrtle about 20 feet behind my house to provide nesting and hiding spots.  It wasn't until the spring following our arrival -- I hung our first feeder right away there, too -- that I saw anything worth talking about.

Same as this time...we moved about the same time of year (latter half of July), so it's now spring and my bird feeders are coming alive with activity.

Of course, being in a new part of the United States means a new group of birds to learn about. In North Carolina I was greeted with house finches, goldfinches, Carolina chickadees, Carolina wren, tufted titmice, myrtle warblers, cardinals and eventually, hummingbirds.

I've been once again sleuthing to learn about eastern Nebraska suburban birds. In mid-April all I was seeing were grackles, European starlings, and robins. Since robins don't really partake of bird seed (they're mainly carnivores, eating worms instead), and the grackles and starlings were too big, my feeders remained quiet.

Until this week.  I started to see some brown birds feeding routinely, and I saw a downy woodpecker off and on.  I stood inside at my kitchen window with my Canon Digital Elph camera set on 12x zoom and attempted to photograph the bird action so far as best I could....
From 2009 04 16 BirdsInYard
From 2009 04 16 BirdsInYard
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder
From 2009 04 29 BirdOnFeeder
The birds are as follows: downy woodpecker, robin, house sparrow, American pipit or female house sparrow, another house sparrow and common grackle.  Thanks to Maryann for helping me identify the sparrows -- definitely a new species for me to identify!

I think I also am seeing a black-and-white warbler hanging out along the tree trunks, especially the rotted out trunk that's been infested with termites.

The sparrows are definitely telling their friends about this place...there are more and more every day...

This morning I saw my first goldfinch, but didn't get a chance to photograph any yet.  Maybe in the morning.  I've also seen a couple of cardinals, they sit VERY high up in my backyard trees...but when they sing they're LOUD!

For now, I'm listening to the songs of a pair of robins who sit perched in my tall trees...a regular thing here now and I've loving it!

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oh No! I Forgot!

I forgot to thank Megan Henderson and her family in my previous posting for the care package she had sent!  I'm so sorry!

Megan was my roommate in college my last two years and she's a pretty awesome lady!  She sent a box of books and magazines...thanks!

And for fun, here's a picture of the two of us showing off our babies in their baby wraps!  This is from summer 2003, Jacob was 9 months old, Megan's son Aidan was 6 months.

From 2003 06 25 Trip to New Hampshire 25-28 June 2003

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Monday, April 27, 2009

What Have I Been Up To?

Good question.

Right now, I'm enjoying Dancing With the Stars, although my enthusiasm is somewhat limited because I was away for the first 3-4 weeks. I couldn't believe that Steve-O wasn't eliminated the first week...I guess he was a better dancer than I gave him credit for...

I'm also back to a CD-burning spree. Not making new CDs, but rather going through my old college-era CDs and burning them to iTunes. With a few exceptions, the quality is doing well enough. This was something I started back in North Carolina about a year ago, but then got distracted for obvious reasons. I'm finally back and it's like lightning on my new computer! I also managed to get my backup hard drive that's still connected to my PC to backup the music 2x weekly.

Anyhow, I'm still getting the hang of things around here, starting with keeping up with all the activities the kids have: soccer, school field trips, dentist/doctor's appointments, birthday parties, etc. Dave had a train show last week that I assisted with, and this coming weekend Dave is headed to Pennsylvania to enjoy a weekend of railfanning with some friends.

From 2009 04 20 JacobTimmySoccerUniforms
Here are the boys hamming it up in their soccer uniforms last week.

From 2009 04 23 Timmy_ChildCare_GiffordFarm
Timmy's child care class went to a petting zoo and Timmy had a wonderful time!  I tagged along as a chaperone.

From 2009 04 25 DaveLayout_BurkeHS_TrainShow

Dave is on the far right in the maroon t-shirt. The "crowd" you see around his layout was typical during most of the show...he had at least 1 party there observing. Dave allowed some children to operate if it wasn't too crowded (and if the child was well-behaved). Timmy spent quite a while operating on Saturday morning while I went with Jacob to the Apple Store up the street for a Mac User's workshop.

I'm now being beckoned to help wash dishes, so I'll close here. I wish I had a little more to talk about, maybe I'll speak more about the spring cleaning I'm enduring right now, we'll see.  I had these artificial nails put on last weekend for an Air Force formal event -- I wore a DRESS! for the first time in 15 formal AF uniform!  (Pictures are forthcoming).  Anyway, the nails made it pretty difficult to type.

*Update: I just trimmed down those artificial nails.  They're acrylics, so I was nervous about taking nail clippers to them, for fear their might simply shatter, but it did well enough and now my nice nails are at a reasonable length.

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