Last photo op
At sixteen days post-hatching, these 4 little Eastern bluebirds are look to be approaching fledging day. That accomplishment is probably 3 or 4 days away, but I'll not bother them any more; I don't want to shoo them from their nest prematurely. They'll have enough challenges without me adding that one. Both parents have been working tirelessly to feed everyone. It looks like their efforts have yielded healthy offspring.
The little male in the front appears to be the most shy of the bunch. He did not want to participate in this group picture.
'Search me' redux
I find the search strings that lead internet surfers here to S&S very interesting. Many are obvious and not surprising, others are remarkably odd. Other bloggers find 'search analysis' quite interesting too. A while back, John took the time to answer or address some of his search inquiries directly. I like his idea and have a desire to accomplish something similar, yet significantly less serious:
- effects of sarcasm on children - Entirely positive; just look how I turned out.
- graph of the eye of the potato - Hmmmm,...not a clue
- do we know why mute swans hold their necks in s positions - Yes.
- wingspan owlet moth - 2 to 4.5 cm
- how much was spent in 2005 on mosquito repellency? - A lot. Sorry that's probably not helpful.
- what temperature does snow freeze - Uh, 32 oF (0 oC)
- cabbage creek fly fishing - No idea, but I support you.
- judging of swallow bird - I tend to judge them very favorably. I consider them to be a handsome family of birds.
- pride and predacious movie - Perhaps you mean 'Pride and Prejudice?'
- materials to make a tundra swan out of household things - Maybe you're looking for an origami pattern?
- what roll does the tree frog play in the food pyramid - maybe a heterotrophic secondary consumer. After moths and before snakes.
- zeptogram - 10–21 g. Currently the smallest detectable unit of mass
- what type of degree would you recieve if you become an wildlife biologist - BS, MS, PhD, more....
- steller's jay six feet under - Here, perhaps.
- scientist description of population of smallmouth bass - Perch-like.
- koegel's pickled bologna - I heartily approve.
- complicated icebox cake - Ooooh no, it's not complicated. Just good.
- why was the hawk named pale male - HE has unusually light colored plumage.
- yellow fly secret repellant - No clue here. Is the fly yellow or the repellant?
- fishing humor brokeback mountain - This is the best I can do.
- physic meaning of sighting a white feather -I'd imagine you meant 'psychic', but I still don't know.
- 10 branches of science - Let's see - biological, physical, chemical, computer, economic, Fristi-political, Republican, anti-Kyoto-logy, Creationist and Fascofarcical. There's 10, though some overlap a bit.
- how does a cold air return work? - The heated air blown into the room has to go somewhere and the furnace needs to get air from somewhere. The cold air return completes the loop.
- how fast can a mountain bluebird fly - 300 mph
- mean cartoon fish - Bruce, maybe.
- river fishing by hand - I'm not aware of any other technique.
- how long does it take to have a new born - What species? 266 days for humans, 16 for a hamster, 400 for a camel.
- abc tecnical writhing - I'd start with a spelling check.
- movie trailers of mud bogging - No.
- biblical reference to cheeseburgers - Come back if you find one; I'd be interested to know the details.
- how much energy in potatoes - Potato tubers are about 22% dry matter and contain roughly 4 calories per gram of dry matter.
- its cold - Sorry.
- pintail adaptations - Northern pintails can spring directly into flight without much of a running start, sort of like Underdog. Pretty cool, eh?
- too deep waders - Seriously try to avoid this.
- is sarcasm a bad thing - No, absolutely not. It's also beneficial for children.
There then. I hope this has been helpful.
Dylan takes the plunge
Doggy swimming teachers redeem themselves.
Dylan never quite felt comfortable with the idea last year, but he took the plunge on his first opportunity this summer. We visited B's parents on their lake up north this weekend and enjoyed ourselves swimming and fishing. Dylan swam and ran himself absolutely ragged. He'd retrieve the tennis ball or a stick from the lake, run a few big hyper-energetic laps around the dock and house to whip the people into a frenzy, then go hide the ball or stick somewhere until we requested that he go find it and start the whole process over again. He had a great time. So did we.
We squeezed in a little bass and bluegill fishing in the late afternoon and evening. The big fish were not as plentiful as they often are, though we were both using 3-weights, so perhaps that's OK. The biggest bluegill was probably in the 11" range and the largest bass, pictured here, was around 17" in length.
We enjoyed dinner with B's folks and stayed until well after dark. So our drive home was super late and punctuated by lots of jaywalking wildlife. We saw lots of deer of course. We also interrupted 2 raccoon families out for an evening excursion - fortunately no animals were harmed in the production of this blog post. We were also lucky enough to get a good look at a bushy-tailed red fox out hunting along the roadsides. I think fox are very handsome animals and I'd love to get a glimpse of them more often. We typically have a few in our immediate vicinity, but rarely see them.
They grow up so fast
Four little bluebirds hatched from 5 eggs. They should be ready to fledge in another 10-12 days. We've got fledglings galore around here right now - sparrows, robins, swallows, bluebirds, finches.
And I discovered a house wren nest, complete with eggs. We almost never have wren eggs in our nest boxes. Lots of nests, but never any eggs. Not so this time.
Shiawassee River fishing report [17 June 2006]
B didn't arrive home from Montana until Saturday night, so she missed a fun paddle/fishing trip on the Shiawassee River on Saturday afternoon. The river is flowing just below normal volume now - down from its recent post-rainy spell flood level. The aquatic weed growth is underway, but is not yet abundant enough to limit fly presentation to surface techniques only. A streamer is not yet off the list of possibilities.
At around 12:30, I met up with Mandy and Jen, Flygirls extrordinaire, for a short paddle through some familiar smallmouth bass territory. Too bad B missed the group fishing outing, we had a good afternoon. The sun was bright and the temperature was in the 90's. Thank goodness we were wet wading in a light breeze. We strung up our rods and transferred a car to the take-out point and put in our boats. Good looking pools and runs precluded paddling much at any one stretch. We spent a heckuva lot more time fishing than floating.
We found quite a few little 11-12" smallies and a bluegill. They seemed to maybe prefer subsurface streamers to surface poppers and terrestrial imitations. The smallmouth in this river always impress me with their smooth greenish-bronze color and obvious health. We watched a lot of carp cruising the deeper sections. Belted kingfishers scolded us regularly and muskrats occasionally skimmed along the river edge. We pushed an immature bald eagle downriver ahead of us a couple of times. There were only a few other paddlers on the river with us. I caught maybe 10-12 fish in total on beadhead woollybuggers of some sort. The biggest fish of the day was caught toward the end of our float - a nice 14" smallmouth.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and I'd fish with Mandy and Jen anytime, anywhere.
Fleece quotient: -2
Lost flies: 0
Wildlife sightings: tree swallows, belted kingfishers, immature bald eagle, muskrats, carp, carp, carp
Air temperature: 95 oF max
Water temperature: ~ 70 oF
Injury report: sunburn
Did I get to use a spey rod?: Nope.
Enjoyment grade for the trip: B+
Today's the day - right on schedule. This little guy's already bushed. I'll check on his siblings tonight.
At 6:00 PM, it's 3 down, 2 to go...
Oh my my. I must beg a thousand pardons for my recent internet neglect. Work and school have been quite busy - plantings are nearly finished - and other stuff has taken up the rest of my time. My time is limited enough that I decided not to put in a vegetable garden this year. How 'bout that?
With her mom finally home from knee replacement surgery and rehabilitation, B headed off to Montana this weekend for an 8-day work/fishing excursion so I'm handling household chores single-handedly for awhile. And I've been cat-sitting this adorable and entertaining little Siamese kitten, Muguet, for some neighbor friends this weekend.
Muguet's people have 35 acres of sparsely wooded fields and wetlands so Dylan and I took our opportunity for a couple of nice long morning nature hikes. I'm glad that the mosquito density has dipped below 2 per cubic foot of air. Sheesh. Yesterday, we spotted a couple of whitetail deer, lots of gray catbirds and red-winged blackbirds, a male rose-breasted grosbeak, a pair of yellow warblers and a rabbit. The fields were dotted regularly with daisies, indian paintbrushes and a yellow flower I need to identify. Sunday morning, we'd scarcely made it past the backyard before Dylan scared up a very handsome young deer fawn and his mother. The spotty fawn raced into a clearing and posed for a good look before leaping away into the brush. Mama deer raced across the clearing with Dylan close behind. I called Dylan back to me with 4 or 5 shouts; he u-turned back to my feet and sat like a good dog. Surprisingly, mama deer u-turned too. She turned toward us, stopped, gave several loud warning snorts and headed right back at us snorting and stomping all the way. Oh crap. She took two strong leaps toward us and then swerved off in the direction of her fawn. I had never seen a deer behave so boldly. I've had a few dairy cows chase me away from calves before, but I was unaware that whitetail deer had that ability too. We finished up our walk without further excitement and drove home.
It's been a pretty successful season for bird families so far here in the handful of nestboxes in our yard and surrounding fields. We've got 5 or 6 nestboxes to check regularly. Our first nest of bluebirds, blogged previously, were reared successfully and fledged a few weeks ago. I see the young birds in the yard somewhat infrequently. One family of house sparrows (invasive species) has fledged and a nest of tree swallows is about to graduate from its box, another is about to hatch. I should work up the nerve to remove the house sparrow nests when they're constructed, but I haven't done it this year. An earlier clutch of 7 tree swallow eggs met its demise at the hands, or rather the beak, of a house wren. We seem to have a single male house wren around every summer. This year, as usual, he's built several very nice nests but none have been used.
Last Sunday my nephew Patrick, a young 5-year-old bird enthusiast, visited for an afternoon. Before he came into the house, he had to inspect each and every nestbox in the yard. At each post, his dad got down on all fours and Patrick stood on his back and peaked in the holes. Once he'd seen what he could see, he came in the house and invited the rest of us to come outside for a nestbox tour. Somebody is raising that boy correctly.
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