Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Just Ducky: Buffleheads!

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Have you ever seen a Bufflehead? I’ve only seen them a couple of times and once was many years ago in Colorado. I think they are beautiful ducks and I was excited to see them on my freezing cold walk in Long Pond Ironworks the other day.

They were on the other side of the lake from me and very uncooperative in letting me photograph them, so most of these photos are cropped and zoomed.

At first when I saw the smaller brownish duck I assumed it was a juvenile. Not so! According to my bird book this is the female, which I have never seen. It looks like there are two females in the top photo. Here is a cropped look at a pair that ventured a little closer to me.

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And up a little closer for detail.

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A good look at the markings on the back of the male as the female spooks.

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Ducks away!

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(photos: A Bevy of Buffleheads on Monksville Reservoir)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday This’s and That’s

Sorry. I couldn’t come up with a better title! The new blog site is coming along albeit slowly. It’s harder to work on it with Rick and I trading chats throughout the day while he’s at work about the formatting, font style, etc. I can only hope that when we’re through I like it and most people reading like it as well. Hopefully the new look will be revealed next week. At least that is what we are aiming for. I don’t want to drag this out too long!

The little common redpolls have moved on as predicted. I still see one or two on the finch sock, but it’s been taken over by goldfinches and I’ve even seen a few sparrows on it pecking away. I am wishing now I had participated in Project Feeder Watch run by Cornell. I would have except for the fact that right now our main bird feeder hangs in such a way that I can’t actually see the birds when they are on it. Our hanger makes it too low and it’s hard to remedy that easily since the hanger attaches to the deck railing. I figured I couldn’t get a good enough bird count without actually seeing them on the feeder. I would love to do this, so maybe I should be thinking ahead for next year and plan out a feeder strategy.

Our weather is warming up and our frozen snowpack is slowly melting. Fifty degrees is the predicted temperature for this upcoming weekend! It’s not my preference as I like winter to be winter. Plus, I really like looking out the window and seeing the ground covered in white instead of all those brown fallen leaves. It makes it so easy to see things in the woods, like the deer roaming around. But, it seems there is always a January warm-up each year around the same time. Even in Colorado this was true.

But I’m a Winter Girl. Born in winter; raised in winter. See?

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There is supposedly an arctic blast coming next week. Not sure if there is any moisture around for snow though.

We’ve been having issues for a couple of months now with itchy and scratchy dogs. Alex developed big oozing hot spots from chewing and Bella woke us up from sound sleeps scratching. We had multiple vet visits. First one said flea allergies but we had not seen any fleas on anyone. So, they put them on a steroidal allergy medication which seemed to do not much. Back again and they said well, they probably have a skin infection now since the skin was breached, so antibiotics. Again, not much happened to relieve the itchy and scratchy show.

I could never seem to get in to the vet I like best at the clinic because I wanted an appointment pronto and he is harder to get in to see. I wanted the vets to see the areas of concern on the dogs while they were looking fresh. The first vet had said well, it could be scabies but I doubt it since she said we would be scratching and presenting with a rash too.

Long story short: the dogs have now been diagnosed with canine scabies, more commonly known as mange. Ewwww. Mangy dogs! Mange is caused by mites that get underneath the skin. On our last visit to the vet (and the vet I wanted) he took a scraping from Alex’s skin and found a mite under the microscope. Hurrah! Finally. Why didn’t the other vets take a scraping??

The vet said mange is more common than you’d think since we live around so much wildlife here. He said they could have picked it up in the driveway or the yard. I suspect these two “mangy” foxes that come around. Ugly, eh? We also have some suspicious looking squirrels who are always scratching. Or it could have been at the last groomer’s since it started right after their last grooming.

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It’s easy enough to treat with a product called Revolution which is like Frontline except that it treats different things (like mites and heart worm). Revolution is right. Let’s lead a revolt against those terrible mites! Be gone! After only one application the dogs are already showing improvement. Hallelujah!

So, that about catches you up on what’s been going around here. I hope to get away from the usual household routine today and spend a little time at Skylands. We’ll see if that works out.

Friday, January 04, 2013

New Bird at The Feeder

Yesterday as I walked past the sliding glass door in the sun room I happened to glance at the new finch sock my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. At first I thought the birds happily eating away were goldfinches, but one moved and I saw a flash of red on its head. Whoa! What is that? I quickly grabbed my super-sharp new binoculars that Rick just bought me for my birthday (oh, did I forget to mention that my birthday was last week?) and took a good look at the bird. Hmmm … red spot on forehead, a little black spot around the beak. Not a bird I recognized.

It didn’t take a lot of research to find my new bird was a Common Redpoll. From The Peterson Field Guide: “A little, streaked, gray-brown “winter” finch with a bright red cap on forehead, a black chin, and a tiny yellow bill; dark streaks on flanks. Male is pink-breasted.” Bingo!

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What started out yesterday as two or three birds turned into an entire flock of the little guys today. Silly finches. They always travel that way. I’m sure they are just passing through on their way to somewhere else but it’s nice to see them anyway.

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There were plenty of little spats going on. Get off! There’s no room for you!

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And this little guy flying by is not sure he wants to join in the melee!

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The sock full of thistle will soon be gone but will the little redpolls be gone too?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow Day

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Mom! Let us in!

Yesterday was a snow day around our house. It started snowing around 10:30 and didn’t stop until after the sun went down. I would have thought we’d have more than we do since at times it was really coming down hard, but we ended up with about 4.5 inches out of a prediction of 3-6 inches.

I love to capture the birds at our feeder while it’s snowing so I tempted them with some extra seed sprinkled on the deck railings and on top of the old dry sink where we grow our kitchen herbs.

Tufted titmouse.

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A tuxedo wearing junco.

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Mr. & Mrs. C.

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Mr. Purple Finch sporting the newest in bird fashion: snowflake nose!

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A dry sink icicle.

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We stayed around the wood stove in the sun room and finished our jigsaw puzzle (I’m ready to start another one!). We split some firewood and restocked our diminished supply in the basement so we don’t have to constantly go outside to get wood. We cooked.

The bubbles of olive oil as we started the polenta caught my eye.

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Our Osso Bucco. Yum!

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The railing on our front steps with its fresh coating of snow. No flash: just turned up my ISO speed.

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Now this morning we have the chore of clearing the deck, driveway and front steps of all that lovely new snow! At least it was just snow this time and no freezing rain or “wintry mix.”

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Good Home for a Pileated Woodpecker

A month or so ago when our friend Carolyn was here we took a walk through Skylands.

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Shadows on The Avenue of Oaks taken two days ago.

We started our walk through the Avenue of Oaks. When we go to the small pond known as Duck Pond Rick spied a huge nesting box on a tree. He wondered aloud if it was for the Pileated Woodpecker that he and I had seen and heard on a previous walk in the same area. You would not be able to see the nesting box when the trees are leafed out!

(If you’re not familiar with the Pileated Woodpecker, it’s the woodpecker that Woody the Woodpecker was modeled after in the cartoon. They are beautiful, striking birds (no pun intended) but very shy.)

Just as the words were out of his mouth we heard the woodpecker … knock, knock, knock on a nearby tree. Then he let out his signature laughing call. We watched him as he flew from tree to tree. I tried to get a photo but these were the best I got on that day. Can you see him?

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But here are some photos I took several years ago of one that was right on our street! I was lucky to have driven by him on my way home and he stayed there long enough for me to go home, get the camera and take these shots from the car. I don’t expect to get shots like these ever again! Pure luck!

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Since the day we saw the box from the road I’ve wanted to go back and take a closer look, so the other day that’s just what I did. The minute I entered the area I heard the woodpecker. This is one busy bird and obviously very territory driven. I didn’t even try to get a photo of him as he continued to scold me as he flew from tree to tree.

The forest around his home looks like something out of the Hobbit.

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I was walking around where I knew we had seen the nesting box and was just not seeing it. I had reached the end of the pond, so I turned around for a look behind me and that’s when I finally saw it on a tree right on the pond’s edge.

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I needed a closer look at the reflection of the sky in the pond!

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I was determined to see the nesting box from the front so I crossed over the inlet to the pond on slippery rocks and walked to the opposite side.

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I’m sure they planned the entrance to the box so that people couldn’t manage to peek inside and disturb the birds. You’d have to be in the water in order to see inside! Not that I was planning on upsetting them or sticking my face next to a hole with a large-pointy beak inside of it!

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It looks like a lovely place to live doesn’t it? I might just have to have a stake-out to see him closer. Anyone know how to build a bird blind?

Here is a link to a pileated on a backyard suet feeder that is worth watching for a really close-up look at this amazing bird. Watch out though at the beginning of the video—he comes in very fast!


In response to some questions, yes I did post the woodpecker pics on my blog but it was years ago. Here is the link to that post.


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved back to my 'home' state and I am living in NoCo (Northern Colorado).This blog will be about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2018 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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