Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Birding Through the Screen Door

When I bought my little birdbath/water fountain from my favorite nursery, , I  was hoping it would attract birds and they would use the fountain to bathe. However, placing the fountain too close to the house is risky. The birds may be too shy and skittish to visit.  But if they do, the viewing would be amazing!  Today, my dream of making my patio an attractive and inviting place with the tiny fountain paid off above my expectations!

This morning while I was eating breakfast, several birds gathered at the fountain and proceeded to bathe and enjoy the tiny "fountain of fun". I stay seated at the dining table, reaching slowly for my Canon with a 250mm lens that I keep handy by my side at all times. Moving only my arms to bring the camera up to view the subjects as I snap some shots of the birds visiting the water fountain. In this shot, you can see there is a young female Hooded Oriole and several Lesser Goldfinches in the birdbath/fountain.

All these photos of the fountain were taken through the closed screen of the sliding glass door of my dining room. Due to the lack of lighting, the birds appear not to be able to see me and were quite relaxed. Here the Oriole is bathing as the male Lesser Goldfinch looks on.

You can plan and work hard to design your yard to make it inviting for birds but when they actually come and visit the new water fountain/birdbath for the first time, it is still very exciting and rewarding. The fountain is only about five feet away from the screen door of the dining room. I am sitting about 7 feet in from the screen door.
 The Oriole flies off and the male Lesser Goldfinch takes his turn to bathe at the fountain.

 A cute little youngster flies in.

Another Oriole comes to the "fountain of fun". There have been three female Orioles at the hummingbird feeder today. The feeder is only about 5 feet away from the fountain.

The Oriole hears the clicking sound of my camera.

Still skittish but the water fountain is too inviting for her to resist.

One last look around and she flies into the water's edge.
A little taste of water and a little dip too.

The water must feel great on a hot August morning. The weather report says it will reach 90 at the coast today and over 110 inland.

She keeps an eye out for any dangers that may appear.

Back to the water. This time she is at the top of the fountain. A goldfinch flies in and waits for his turn.
Still keeps a weary eye on her surroundings

Going for it.

Flapping the wings at the water surface.

Wow , she goes all in!

Totally enjoying the refreshing bath. The goldfinch enjoys a little shower too from all of her splashing.

What a wonderful sight to see.

I am so happy that I got this fountain. The enjoyment of watching these birds using the water fountain to bathe and cool off is priceless.What better way to start the morning. Watching these wonderful birds as you sip your coffee!

The goldfinch waits patiently for his turn.
What a fun shot. LOL, Look at the Oriole splash and spray the little goldfinch below!
Total bliss!

Almost done.

Last big flap of her wings and she flies off to preen on a nearby branch.
Now it's the male goldfinch's turn. He has been waiting patiently to get his dip in the fountain of fun. A female flies in and keeps a lookout while he bathes.
 Telling the youngsters to wait their turn.
Total enjoyment of the fountain by the goldfinch.

The male takes his sweet time and fully takes advantage of the cool flowing water fountain.

Splash , dip , dip, splash!

He is finally done. Another female flies in.
The youngsters wait for the male to leave.

Finally the females have the fountain all to themselves. They look like youngsters. This is what they saw the male do with his wings. Wow, it feels nice and cool and so much fun.

The two youngsters splash and enjoy the morning at the fountain of fun. My cute little water fountain is a big success at attracting birds to my patio. One last shot of the goldfinches having fun.

Soon, a pair of young Orioles stopped by to bathe in the fountain. I couldn't resist showing you a few shots. LOL, the top tier of the fountain looks almost too small to accommodate two Orioles.

What cuties. I am in heaven watching these cuties. 

9-02-2017... A quick update on the success of my bird friendly landscaping. I was just doing dishes and looked at my work in progress  koi-pond (still not finished) and I spot a Yellow-breasted Chat at the edge of the pond!  LOL, I leaped for my camera to have proof of my sighting. Here is the shot of the Chat that I managed to get from my kitchen window. This is the very first one I have seen in my yard! Hope I will get some shots while I am outside the house of this beauty.

Have a wonderful weekend and stay cool. Happy Labor Day Holiday to everyone!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lazy Days of Summer in My Backyard

The hot humid days of summer have made me take time off from my morning walk and birding blogs. I have been concentrating on cleaning and refurbishing my yard. Also adding new plants to the yard and even a small water fountain on my patio to make it inviting for the birds. It has been exciting to create an environment to attract more birds to the yard. Today, I saw a Nuttall's Woodpecker by my kitchen window picking at the trunk of a Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii) ! It was very exciting to see the woodpecker so close to my window.

Many of my Plumerias are blooming. Here are a few shots of my Plumerias. Wish you could smell them. They are fantastic! 

This one is called "Metallic". I have never seen so many flowers on one flower stem. The stem that produces the cluster of flowers is called an "inflo".
This one has the largest Plumeria flower I have ever seen. It is twice as big as your average Plumeria flower, but the petals are very thin and it wilts very easily. Its name is "Playful".

This Plumeria tree in my backyard is over 14 ft tall. 

It has a nice clutch of flowers. Pretty but not very strong scented. You can smell it better at night when the plant releases more scent to attract moths to propagate its flowers.


I don't know the name of this one but it has one the best plumeria scent !

I have taken a few cuttings from the Plumerias. I put a few in containers and a few in the ground. I wonder which cuttings will survive. 

A male Hooded Oriole makes an appearance and perches on a bare branch of my avocado tree..

He wants to drink from the hummingbird feeder.

He is skittish and decides he will wait to visit the feeder when I go inside.

Later, I find a female and two young Hooded Orioles perched on the telephone wire. 

One youngster on the right has a lot to say.
 A cute little exchange between the youngsters.

I have finally purchased a little water fountain for my patio.

A close up of the birdbath/water fountain. 
This male Allen's Hummingbird has decided that my backyard is really his backyard. His feathers sure look worn.

Close-up of our handsome hummer. 

Another male Allen comes into the yard. 

He could be a youngster. Maybe one of the male's offspring. You can always find at least two hummers in the yard. Sometimes there are a dozen.

One of my favorite tea roses, the "Firefighter", is in bloom!  It has the strongest, most wonderful rose smell in the world.

My side yard next to the driveway was used for storing used containers, a wood pile and junk. The weeds had taken over the whole area. Cleaned it all up and planted a nice big fig tree. It has now turned into a very sweet area with flowers and ferns planted around the fig tree. Here is a shot of my Hibiscus bush. 

Oh... and I found a clump of cute little Papaya trees too.

And here is a shot of my first Fig Tree. This one is called "Brown Turkey". The sweetest fig I have ever tasted.


My gardening helper and best ratter ever!

Also a wonderful companion dog. Rat Terriers are always up for playing "fetch the ball". 

Plants in the color baskets are still in bloom.

I have just purchased this amazing orchid. It is called "Sobralia". I saw one at the San Diego Botanic Garden and searched for quite a while before I found one. Looks more like palm leaves.  I just transplanted it into a larger pot. I can't wait to see it bloom. 

Another new addition. This is my Japanese Pagoda that sits in the shade of my Persimmon tree. I have been taking pups from my Raphis palm plant and clumps of fern from my front yard. I think it will do well planted in this area.

My Butterfly Ginger is doing great!  Love, love the wonderful scent. 

Another ginger flower spike ready to bloom.

A double hibiscus flower. Found this plant in the discounted area almost dried up and dead.
Look at him now!

A normal looking hibiscus.

I love these ferns. Easy to care and grow. 

Found this little Bougainvillea at the nursery. They were ready to throw him out. We made it into a Bonsai tree.

A young Northern Mockingbird is seen in the back alley.

 He has a berry from a nearby California pepper tree.

This vine is right below the telephone wires . It belongs to my neighbor in the back and boy this plant has a beautiful fragrance.

There are some blooms left in my flower garden. A beautiful yellow flower stands out in the back. 

Only a few flowers are left on this plant.

A second blooming for this beautiful plant.
 This super red flower bloomed for months.

Here is another one that we cut back and has given us a second blooming.

The Stephanotis has also bloomed in June and is now offering a second batch of blooms. 
This cosmos (a volunteer) has been blooming for many many months and I call it my "live bird feeder". It has lots of caterpillars for the birds to eat. 

I use the stalk on this lemon grass for beef noodle soup. I grow it in a planter box in the garden with the Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) nearby which I also use the leaf for flavoring the broth for the noodle soup. Well the weather will be changing soon and I will be out walking and birding at some of the local areas again soon. I am still very upset about the destruction of Rios Pole Road trail at San Elijo Lagoon for the expansion of the railroad tracks. Hope I find a good replacement spot soon.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay cool!