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You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 1/2/11 - 1/9/11

Friday, January 7, 2011

Florida Discoveries 2: Backyard Birding

New state, new house, new batch of birds to look for! I've posted on and off about the birds that have come to visit our houses in both North Carolina and Nebraska (ironically, I got woodpecker pictures in both places). Now it's time to see what Northwest Florida brings to our backyard!

First of all, here's a picture of our backyard. Don't laugh too hard at my photo-merging abilities, the point I'm trying to make here is that our backyard is absolutely DEVOID of trees, bushes, shrubs, etc.  Google maps shows several tall trees in the center of the backyard, but those must have been taken out.  Nothing here now.

From 2010 01 07 More Backyard Birding

But check out all the trees and brush right on the periphery of our fenceline. Oleander, live oak, pine, magnolia.  I figured I could work with that.

My thoughtful dear husband got me a multi-hook birdfeeder/birdbath center for Christmas. A great gift, I might add! I invested about $30 in 3 birdfeeders for the hooks.  And made a point to place it close to that oleander bush along the fence line.  The birds are more likely to visit if they have a hiding place when Howie or the boys come out.

From 2011 01 03 Backyard Birding

I figured it'd take about a week or so before birds would catch on that a new feeding station is here, but it didn't take that long at all! I assembled this on New Year's Day, and by the morning of the 3rd, there were numerous goldfinches having a grand old time eating, chatting it up and splashing in the birdbath!

From 2011 01 03 Backyard Birding

Over the past week, I've been seeing more and more types of birds visiting our feeder, most recently (this morning) I came across my first chickadee!

I'm also getting some pictures of other birds that are visiting not just our property, but also the trees and shrubs at our neighbors' properties. There are numerous pine-tree wooded lots scattered about our neighborhood.  Bald eagles live at the tops of the tallest pines and sometimes we'll see them gliding between one set of treetops to another.  At about 25-35 feet.  They glide so gracefully -- I hope to get a picture of one of them soon as they fly over our house.

This is definitely some of the widest variety of birds I've experienced. Enjoy some pictures! Pardon some of the poorer quality shots, I'm standing pretty far back, zooming in as much as possible.

Mr. Cardinal's lady friend is in the brush just above him.  They're so incredibly shy, I'm really proud of this shot.
From 2011 01 03 Backyard Birding
This is a "brown-headed nuthatch", I mainly see groups of these birds hanging out on the palmetto palm trees in the front of our house.  They're distinctive in that they walk along the trunks of trees.  I have a suet feeder out front for them, too.
From 2011 01 03 Backyard Birding
One of the dozens of "winterized" goldfinches that hang out there.  I also see plenty of house finches, but haven't photographed any yet.  Note the tinfoil at the top of the hooks...I'd read that those will attract the birds.  I'd say that whoever wrote that was right!
From 2011 01 03 Backyard Birding
This is a "palm warbler" and he's spending the winter down here.  This guy wasn't shy at all and let me get pretty close to take his picture.  Jacob found him foraging under our shed.
From 2010 12 29 Palm Warbler
There are 3 birds in this picture, I think it's a type of warbler at the top, but I'm not sure what kind of birds those are in the middle and bottom.
From 2010 01 07 More Backyard Birding
A male hairy woodpecker.  This is one of the kinds of birds I've seen in NC, NE and now here in FL.  They eat at the suet feeder in front of our house along with the nuthatches.  His lady friend (who doesn't have a red head) is perched on this tree also, but lower down.  I had a hard time photographing her because of all the brush.  He's about 20' up at the very top of this tree.
From 2010 01 07 More Backyard Birding
The best bluebird picture I've captured so far.  These folks are also pretty shy.  Most of the bluebirds hang out on the RIGHT HAND side of the backyard, not sure why.  Maybe because all the feeders are on the left (our neighbors on the left have feeders too) -- and there's more room/quietness for foraging for berries and bugs on the right side?  Considering a bluebird box for the right side of the backyard.
From 2010 01 07 More Backyard Birding
Female bluebird.  I waited and waited for her to turn sideways so I could get a better shot.  Oh well.
From 2010 01 07 More Backyard Birding
Here's my chickadee, this morning is the first time I've seen him at our feeder.  I'm guessing it's a Carolina chickadee, since we're at the furthest southern extent of the chickadee range.  They'll winter over along the Gulf Coast.
From 2010 01 07 More Backyard Birding

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Monday, January 3, 2011

South Facing FAIL

It didn't take long to realize that pointing the webcam south would be a big mistake.  For starters, the best windows to use were set in some by a front porch -- so the view was competing with a soffitt, plus the neighbors' houses.  Dave pointed out to me that we weren't showing much of the sky at all.

Around 1:30pm, the sun was plainly visible in the webcam view...and nothing else!  Huge glares!

So we have re-aimed the webcam towards the north, and that's where it'll stay for the time being.  I'd personally prefer it to be pointing south, especially in the summer, and maybe we'll have our IP camera by then.


Webcam is Back!

We haven't completely worked out where we're going to put it yet, but we have our webcam back running.

Like last time, we're pointing it out the front of the house, through the window. It's pointing SOUTH, so we should be able to see systems coming in from off the Gulf.

It won't work at night.

Since our kitchen laptop's monitor doesn't work, we're using a lot of trial and error on how to aim it. We might even have to zoom in some to get the our roof and our neighbors' houses out of the view.

We're considering an inexpensive "IP Camera" to replace this setup.  An IP Camera doesn't need a supporting computer, just let it ride on your network, and you can make changes from any computer on the network.  Just type in the IP address (like how you could adjust settings on your wireless router).

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