a blog about what interests me! birds, baskets, butterflies, moths, biking.............

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The First 3 Days

    Pippin and Merry
  We adopted two 6 year old westies (west highland white terriers), a brother and sister, litter mates, three days ago. They were in a very good home but the owner worked and couldn't spend enough time with them. She made the really hard but right decision to find a home where her sweet westies would have a better life.

    Day 1.  Merry and Pippin (named after the hobbits) are at our house, they have met our Australian Shepherd mix, Snickers and everyone likes each other. Whew!
We've adopted 5 shelter dogs since we moved to Vermont and the first day is usually the one where we're all a bit anxious to see if we've made a good decision. A couple of the adoptees had fit right in as if they had lived with us for years. Merry and Pippin were not so easy. They were wondering "what are we doing here? it's nice, but when are we going  back home? and where did our 'mom' go???". Taking a nap was not an option. After a long day, they slept all night without a whimper.

 Merry and Pippin

    Day 2.  What a difference a day makes. Merry and Pippin, while still very active, are now exploring the house, being more independent and laying down for a nap! We are still taking them out every hour to pee and taking them on walks to tire them out. In fact Pippin had a really hard time keeping his eyes open last night!


   Day 3.  Bath! It's the day before turkey day and they need a bath. Bath time was fun time for these cuties, they didn't even mind the dryer! Yippee! Today they are right at home, happy to see us, be with us, I even took them running with me and Snickers and they kept right up.
Did we make the right decision in adopting 2 dogs? No question about it!!

the back of Merry's head, Pippin and Snickers


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Rare Bird Day!

   A rare west coast bird has appeared nearby in Walpole, NH.  I saw the Townsend's Warbler the day it was found and of course forgot my camera.  The next day I had to pack my baskets and leave for Philadelphia to do the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.  I returned yesterday and today, my neighbor wanted to go see if the Townsend's Warbler was still there.  Not only has it remained in the same area since November 7th, it's pretty much in the same spot, (right behind us!)

   So this afternoon we drove to Walpole and sure enough the first year female or male Townsend's was still there!  The best part was when Don and Lillian Stokes showed up to see it too!  They are excellent birders, TV personalities and the authors of numerous field guides and nature books..............and the nicest people!!! 

  We all saw the warbler and Lillian got some great photos of it.  Eventually, as Ron and I walked back to the car, I said we have to buy their book and get them to autograph it or we'll be kicking ourselves when we get back home. So we did, then we attempted to leave again. As we were driving by, I said "STOP, I have my camera and I have to get a picture of me with them for my blog!" Of course, Ron needed his picture taken too!

Even though I didn't get a picture of this rare bird, not even a blurry one, there's some really good ones on this blog beautifulflyingobjects.blogspot.com and soon, on Don and Lillian's blog stokesbirdingblog.blogspot.com

Friday, November 5, 2010

Evening Grosbeaks

The first birds I remember really being "wowed" about were evening grosbeaks. I was young, our family had bird feeders right in front of the dining room and kitchen windows, we had my grandmother's pair of opera glasses and we had lots of backyard birds in Winsted, CT.

When the huge flock of big, yellow birds with white and black wings and huge bills descended on our feeders, we grabbed the field guide! They were pretty easy to identify. The only other yellow bird with a stocky bill was the goldfinch and they were just too small.

Evening grosbeaks were loud, noisy and ate all the sunflower seeds in minutes.........then they were gone ...........to return as soon as the feeders were filled. What pigs! But what beautiful birds they were and still are!

Since moving to Vermont in 1993, we have never had more than 6 evening grosbeaks at our feeders and usually for only a day. For the past week, we've had flocks of 12 to over 20 every day! They're just as noisy and hungry as I remembered!

The females are paler than the males.

The winter 2010/2011 finch forecast for evening grosbeaks seems to predict very few grosbeaks this winter, so I don't know why we have so many, but I am not complaining. 
"Evening Grosbeak: Breeding populations are much lower now than 35 years ago due mainly to a decrease of large outbreaks of spruce budworm beginning in the 1980s. A very few grosbeaks may move south from northeastern Ontario and Quebec where coniferous and deciduous seed supplies are generally poor. If any come, there are large crops of Manitoba maple seeds and plenty of sunflower seeds at feeders waiting for them."