Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cedar Waxwings

(and one black Gray Squirrel). A few shots of birds feeding in one of our Serviceberry trees this afternoon.

A beautiful afternoon, - Gunnar

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Ordinary" Oakwood Birds

Sometimes some things are so common we just don't appreciate how wonderful they really are.

Mid-afternoon yesterday I sat down in a chair outside the Growlery with a good beer, a cheap cigar and my camera. The following birds showed up in the next hour of two. There was also a Crow for a wingbeat, but I did not get a photograph. Earlier, maybe it was yesterday, Lorna took a photo of a pair of Waxwings in the stream. So far I have not been that fortunate, though admittedly she spends a lot more time camera chasing than I do. There are other birds in the yard - House Finches, Great-crested Flycatcher, Phoebes, Least Flycatchers and others - four species of Woodpeckers, for instance, that just don't seem to use the water. And things we hear but seldom see - Barred Owls, a couple of days ago a Black-crowned Night Heron was squawking down by the lake. 

The first photo is a little piece of the surrounding habitat. It may look woodsy, but a lot of the plants are not native. Most of the plants were transplanted from my main garden. Some of the hostas, an interest of mine I suppose, are two or three inch mature plants which seem in scale here.

Chipping Sparrow, adult and immature

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow, immature, one week out of the nest.

The sun was coming and going all the time so the light settings were a little iffy. When the Catbird showed up the light was perfect. I am posting three photos, because I think they were the best of the day. A great bird. Or at least a very good bird.

House Wren

 Fireflies first showed up last night. Summer Solstice, right on schedule. ;-)   - Gunnar

Sunday, June 11, 2017

1410 Catbird

This is a backyard bird that has been hiding from my camera all Spring - which is a bit irritating because it likely grew up in a nest right outside the Growlery window a couple of years ago. It can be spooky shy, but today it stepped forward, sucked up its courage, stepped out and presented itself to my camera. Thank you, 1410 Catbird. And an in-the-bushes "meow" to you too.

Meow, - Gunnar

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Water feature system

For Butch:
I tried taking a video of the water like you did of your pool, but it was impossible; so here are a handful of sequence stills.

This began twenty years ago with a small galvanized "cow tank" to which I added a small pump and fountain, mostly for the birds. Over time rocks were stacked and plants were added. Now tank is behind a row of hostas. The back half of the tank is under rocks and some creeping plants; the front of the top is an access to a pump and filter.  Eventually I think I can completely conceal the tank.

The pump pushes water  up the hill in a concealed hose and accesses the rock garden "spring" under a a fairly large Creeping Yew.

 It flows out of a mini grotto, down a shallow stream birdbath ...

and spills over a tiny waterfall ....

... into a sunken pool, over a piece of petrified wood into a lower pool under the rocks that spills down into the tank.

- Gunnar

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Magnolia Warblers

Magnolia Warbler. A prototypical warbler - beautiful, colorful, and flashy.

Blackpolls versus Black and White Warblers

These birds really have little in common other than they are both warblers and they are both black and white. The Blackpolls are larger and work on horizontal branches; the Black and Whites live a vertical life looking for insects on tree trunks or on the underside of large branches.

Blackpoll (black head)


Black and White Warbler

Tennessee Warblers

This is likely our plainest warbler and they are the only warblers that tend to migrate in groups Over the years I have pretty-much ignored them in favor of the flashier birds. Then I introduced moving water into the equation. They apparently love bathing and they are great! For the past few days they have been in and out of the stream, twittering and splashing, sometimes eight or ten at a time. A new favorite.


This a hard bird to photograph; they are small and fliti-nervous, always on the move, jerky and seemingly randomly. Mostly photos of females because there seems to be more of them in Oakwood right now. I really haven't any gotten killer, tack-sharp photos of a male so I will post a couple of pics that are a little fuzzy.