The Flying Squirrels still come to my suet feeder each night, but now they have competition - a little mouse has discovered the suet. He climbs up the pole to reach the suet and have a little feast. He is so tiny, he sits inside the feeder, behind bars, safe from any predator.
SKUNK! I heard a rustling in the yard late one evening. From a safe distance, I observed a skunk snuffling around in the brush. He came again the next night, and left behind an unpleasant aroma.
I was sitting on the deck celebrating Mother's Day with two generations of mothers, and guess what bird visited the feeder - a Cowbird. How ironic is that! This is the bird who lays its egg in another species nest, then abandons it for the foster mother to raise. The Cowbird - not a model mom in the world of birds!
Spring has sprung! The traditional sounds of birds singing, coyotes howling, and lawn mowers roaring! Golden Crowned Sparrows on the ground, feasting on the seeds dropped by the finches and siskins on the feeder up above. Teamwork - the birds know how it's done.
The Townsend's Warbler has been visiting again. He loves the suet. A pretty bird with bright black and yellow stripes on the head. He's just passing through looking for a nice warm bug-filled place to spend the Summer.
Varied Thrushes have arrived in force, looking like Robins all dressed up for a party. And those Barred Owls are having hooting parties of their own. Four hoots: "Who cooks for you?" Or sometimes five: "Who cooks for you too" They don't actually say that. They are probably saying something like, "mouse mouse mouse mouse".
Summer is already gone, you might have missed it. September was pretty nice. Now the Canadian Geese are honking overhead, flapping southward on the Goose Highway. And Juncos have returned to the back yard. I heard that Barred Owl again, in the daytime! I think the crows were pestering the owl.
Summer visitors are arriving. A pretty Townsend's Warbler was at my suet feeder today. A yellowish bird, with dark streaks on its face and sides.
Barred Owl in Marshall Park - - -
My word, it's 2011 already! OK I pledge to do more nature notes this year. Winter is almost over. The few resident Anna's Hummingbirds seem to have survived the weather. We'll be seeing more flora and fauna in the parks. Keep your eyes peeled and report any interesting sightings to friendsom2P@gmail.com
*MAY 2010: Where has the year gone. The cold spring is finally behind us, and the summer visitors are here. Including a striking Black Headed Grosbeak at the bird feeder. And a Golden Crowned Sparrow and cute little chipmunks cleaning up the seed below. And Swifts and Swallows catching bugs overhead. And Hermit Thrushes singing in the woods. Quite nice!
*JUN 2009: June is busting out all over! Baby chickadees are flitting around the bird feeder, while baby chipmunks are frolicking down below. Hummingbirds are buzzing anything with a splash of color, including my red shirt! And the yards are blooming lovely. Isn't Summer grand?
*MAR 2009: Are you being woken up each day by a loud whistling or wheezing noise? No it's not your spouse. It's the Varied Thrush. These pretty orange woodland birds must sense Spring is in the air, as they serenade us every morning.
*JAN 2009: This afternoon three, probably juvenile, coyotes came around from our back yard, crossed the front lawn and proceded up Broadleaf Drive towards Lancaster. They all appreared to be the same medium size, and mostly brown. Perhaps they are siblings and the progeny of the large male seen by the Owens. We noticed probable coyote tracks during the recent snow that led up from the small stream at bottom of our property. Now it looks like they have a trail along the more secluded side of our house. We are delighted with these wildlife visits. ~ Kathi & Bill Snouffer.
An Arctic freeze descended on our area. Your backyard birds need you more than ever. Keep those feeders full, and thaw out your birdbath with hot water. Tip- If you feed hummningbirds, use two feeders. Keep one indoors and then swap it with your outdoor feeder when that one freezes. You will be saving birds' lives.
Varied Thrushes and Juncos have returned to our backyards from the mountains, a sure sign of winter.
: Hi Marshall Park Neighbors, Ok, it’s been seen twice so we aren’t imagining it….we have another coyote in the area. It is a rather big one (approx 2ft tall from the tip of it’s ears down) and it doesn’t appear to be too afraid. My brother and sister in law saw it on their way home from our house (we live in the middle of 14th drive) about a week ago and just now my husband saw it this morning on the way to the grocery store. Both times it was sighted right in the middle of Marshall Park. The first time in was on SW Maplecrest Dr. right next to the house that used to have the horse in the pasture. The second time it was right there as well. It was checking out something in a yard right there where Maplecrest Y’s into two streets. When my husband startled it with his car, it ran into the alley (where the old Mercedes used to be parked…I think this property is now for sale). Bob looked into the rearview mirror as he slowly passed and the coyote came back out into the street to continue doing whatever it was up to. Just wanted to let ya’ll know and to be sure to keep track of your small kids, cats and little pets. Your neighbors, Deb and Bob Owen
The leaves are turning wondrous colors. Hope the wind blows them into my neighbor's yard. :o)
Saw a Sharp Shinned Hawk sitting on top of my bird feeder, looking around for any little birdies foolish enough to venture out. But the birds were too smart, it was as quiet as a graveyard. Once the hawk left, they all returned.
Deer! Many deer sightings recently in the neighborhood, including a buck, a doe, and at least one fawn. They seem to like nibbling my marionberries.
Chipmunks! I thought they only lived in the mountains. Not so. A family of tiny chipmunks has moved in, and they are happily devouring the seed under my bird feeders. They are Townsend's Chipmunks. They like the forests of the valley and coast. They are very cute indeed. Watch for them in your yard and in the park.
The Black Headed Grosbeaks have returned. These large black and orange finches enjoy sunflower chips and are regular summer visitors to back yards in our neighborhood.
Some soggy weather this month, but finally we had a dry weekend at the end of April. So I went out to get the weeds, but I think the weeds are out to get me! It's a jungle out there.
* MAR 2008
Saw some Turkey Vultures floating over our neighborhood. They spend the Winter in warmer climates. So maybe it's a good sign that they have returned.
* NATURE WALK 15-Mar-08:
A small group gathered in a damp Marshall Park for our second Nature Walk. This time our quest was to find Trilliums in the park, and there were many to be seen. They all looked a little small and soggy at this time. In another week or two they will be large and splendid. We heard several birds bursting out in spring song. And we saw a Cooper's Hawk perched watchfully in a tree, looking down at the smaller birds like it was studying the lunch menu. We learned about the Osoberry bush with leaves that smell like sweet peas. And the tree spotters identified many native trees, including a few Grand Firs in the park. There is already a bird list on the Friends web site: http://swni.org/fomp
And we'll be trying to add a Plant and Tree list over time.
*FEB 2008: Finally some sunny weather. Notice how the birds have started singing already. They can't wait for Spring. Saw an Anna's Hummingbird - at least one survived our chilly winter.
Not much nature to report over the winter. Except one neighbor reported a naked jogger. I don't think we'll add that to our Marshall Park checklist. But if you do see him again, take a picture for the police. And our website of course. Just kidding!!!
Oh, oh, Junco! Yes the Juncos are back in force from the mountains. You'll see them all Winter eating seeds and scratching for bugs on the ground. Most of the Summer Hummers are gone now, but some Anna's Hummingbirds stay all winter, if you want to keep your feeder up. But you'll need to stop it from freezing in the frigid weather. Tip: keep a spare feeder indoors, and swap it with the other one when it freezes.
Honk Honk! Look up. The Canadian Geese are on the move. Heading south to warmer areas.
Awwwww, little baby chickadees, very cute! Chickadees love 'em, people love 'em, cats love 'em. Keep kitty indoors please.
Black-headed Grosbeaks have returned for the summer. A bird checklist is available at Friends of Marshall Park: http://swni.org/page/fomp
The birds are in full song. They're collecting grass and twigs. Love is in the air!
Signs of Spring ... daffodils blooming, birds singing, and a manic sparrow attacking a "rival" (his own reflection) in a glass door.
Look for the Varied Thrush - pretty orange with black stripes, looks a bit like a robin, makes a long wheezing call from high in a fir tree.
Keep your bird feeders full. TIP: use sunflower chips - birds love 'em and there's no mess.
Several healthy looking coyotes have made themselves at home in our neighborhood. They like to help themselves to pet food (and sometimes the pets too, so please keep kitty inside).
Two colorful birds have appeared - Townsend's Warbler and Varied Thrush. A Sharp-Shinned Hawk was seen snacking on little brown birdies at a backyard feeder. Over 50 Tundra Swans were seen flying and honking over Marshall Park - cool!
Look for mixed flocks of small birds in the fir trees: chickadees, kinglets, creepers. Juncos have returned to our yards, from the higher elevations where they nest. A plague is upon us ... little brown Boxelder Beetles. Crunchy and tasty. Yummm!
Vaux's Swifts are gathering overhead, before migrating south.
Look for Peewees catching flies from bare branches at the edge of the park.
Coyotes heard howling in the park. Keep your cats inside at night! Seen in the park: Pileated Woodpecker, Black Headed Grosbeak, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker.
A Northern Flying Squirrel seen nightly on a suet feeder (nocturnal). Seen in the park: Red breasted Sapsucker, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Bewicks Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet. Too many moles in my lawn. Grrrr!