Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rainy Day Micellany: Red-tails, Crows, Cock Sparrow, a Kettle of Gulls, and Squirrels. Eight of them as a matter of fact.

It's been raining and it is chilly so this Red-tail, who's territory includes Thresherman's Park, has his feather's fluffed and looks like he's got one foot up keeping it warm.

I drive past him and then double back So far so good. I look at him through a handy hole in the bushes.
But not good enough he turns his head, sees me, and heads toward the far tree line between fields.

Not only that, but now he heads across the road, skims the top of the trees, dips, and disappears. Drat!

Fine. I wait for him to reappear. But now on this side of the road, dark clouds have come in with rays of sun breaking through. I turn and look for the Red-tail. Is that him?

He's incredibly far away but yes, he's come out of where ever he'd been hiding and is back on a high perch to hunt again.

He peers over.

He hunches. Then dives out of sight.
I start to hear chirping and twittering. Suddenly a mixed flock of birds, Mourning Doves, Sparrows, Finches, even a Bluebird or two, come fleeing from the hawks direction. I don't know what he was after, typically here a rodent of some kind, but he's certainly scared the begesus out of birds.
Red-tail doesn't reappear and so I head back to town.

I drive into Milton and when I look up, there, doing lazy circles in the sky, is Whistle, the Krider's Red-tail. She's the train racing Red-tail.

There's Crow sitting in a tree outside Dollar General.
After getting home, and looking out into the back yard, I realize that a cock House Sparrow is attempting to hassle a hen into copulating with him. It seems like an odd time of year for nesting. House Sparrows are prolific but still this seems odd. Hen Sparrow is not going for it.
Is this the male sparrow that was commandeering the nesting boxes? Perhaps he did want them for nesting, though so far he doesn't seem to have a partner willing to take him up on the proposition.
The Crows are gathering in the the neighbor's yard vocalizing and I hear squirrels whining. Are they after a hawk? I go out and follow the sound.

I don't find a hawk but a kettle of gulls is forming. They circle higher and higher to catch the wind. Then they must hit the right place because, suddenly in a rush with wings spread, they head to the southwest at speed. On the way back to my yard, searching trees out of habit, I see a dark lump against the sky. Is that the hawk the Crows were after?

Nope, not a hawk. As I get closer I see it's a new squirrel drey. In fact, looking around the yard, a second and a third in the yard I'd not seen before. I suppose it makes sense as winter is coming the squirrels are getting serious about shelter. These trees are loosing their leaves.

But in other spots, there are new explosions of color-pinks, rusts, lavenders, purples and orange tinged yellows.

The maples are going from palest orange to burgundy.

Male Red-belly Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus pauses long enough for me to sneak a photograph. He hears the click and picks up speed to a spot beyond view.

Have I mentioned that the squirrel count is now up to eight? Yes, I realize that there are only five in the picture but getting all eight in frame is very tough. Six is over at the neighbor's raiding her birdfeeder. As for seven and eight...

Blackwell has just jumped on White-belly. She gets herself upright again and takes a few steps.

But Blackwell isn't daunted.

White-belly flips onto her back again. Then they freeze, giving me a look.

Blackwell decides that scampering off isn't necessary and goes for White-belly again.

White-belly being too rambunctious, Blackwell stands on her.

White-belly's genitals do not look as if she is in heat. Is this practice for later? A form of masturbation?

Time will tell.

White-belly trots to the feeding area and some sunflower seeds. Were she in heat her enlarged vulva would be visibly swollen and bright red.
Blackwell heads over for a drink. Replacing lost fluids?
Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really gorgeous pictures! And I always wondered what squirrel's nests were called - a drey! Cool.