Ruby-throated Hummingbird on garden arborRuby-throated Hummingbird on garden arborOne of many ruby-throated hummingbirds in our garden rests on the garden arbor.

Welcome to our blog! It's all about our discoveries here in our Shady Oaks yard, a Sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. We began to restore habitat for wildlife here in 1996 and gauge our success by the diversity of species we observe and document with our photography. We hope you enjoy our images and come back often to see what's new! 

Early September migrants and more 9-14-21

September 14, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Birds continue to be on the move.

 

9-8-21 Swainson's Thrush9-8-21 Swainson's Thrush

 

The first Swainson's Thrush of fall showed up on Sunday, 9-5-21. It was a day with six warbler species, too.

 

9-8-21 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher9-8-21 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 9-8-21 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher9-8-21 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

 

A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was #85 for the year at the Bubbler on 9-8-21. 

 

9-8-21 Bay-breasted Warbler9-8-21 Bay-breasted Warbler 9-8-21 Bay-breasted Warbler9-8-21 Bay-breasted Warbler

 

A Bay-breasted Warbler was a first of fall bird that Wednesday.

  9-8-21 Ovenbird9-8-21 Ovenbird 9-8-21 Ovenbird9-8-21 Ovenbird

 

An Ovenbird walked in "the back door" to enjoy splashing about. Another FOS (first of season) bird was heard and seen, a Red-breasted Nuthatch. It was in too big of a hurry for a photo.

 

9-8-21 Canada Warbler9-8-21 Canada Warbler
 

This Canada Warbler was seen several times throughout that day, bringing the warbler total to seven.

 

9-9-21 FOS Northern Waterthrush9-9-21 FOS Northern Waterthrush

 

On Thursday, 9-9-21 a cool front had moved through making for a delightfully cool day with ten warbler species of 32 in total. This Northern Waterthrush was at the bubbler very early in the morning. 

 

9-9-21 American Redstart9-9-21 American Redstart 9-9-21 Black-and-white Warbler9-9-21 Black-and-white Warbler 9-9-21 Bay-breasted Warbler9-9-21 Bay-breasted Warbler

 

American Redstarts, Black-and-white and Bay-breasted Warblers were present.

 

9-9-21 Magnolia Warbler9-9-21 Magnolia Warbler 9-9-21 Ovenbird9-9-21 Ovenbird 9-9-21 Blue-winged Warbler9-9-21 Blue-winged Warbler

 

Magnolia Warblers, the Ovenbird and a Blue-winged Warbler joined in the activity.

 

9-9-21 Bay-breasted and Blue-winged Warblers9-9-21 Bay-breasted and Blue-winged Warblers 9-9-21 Bay-breasted, Blue-winged and Magnolia Warblers9-9-21 Bay-breasted, Blue-winged and Magnolia Warblers 9-9-21 Bay-breasted and Blue-winged Warblers9-9-21 Bay-breasted and Blue-winged Warblers

 

There was some discussion between the Bay-breasted and Blue-winged, but they worked it out and a Magnolia Warbler came to the party.

 

9-9-21 Chestnut-sided Warbler9-9-21 Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

A Chestnut-sided was added to the warbler list.

 

9-10-21 Scarlet Tanager9-10-21 Scarlet Tanager

 

The female Scarlet Tanager is the second we've seen this fall.

 

9-10-21 Northern Cardinal9-10-21 Northern Cardinal 9-10-21 Golden-winged Warbler9-10-21 Golden-winged Warbler 9-10-21 Chestnut-sided Warbler9-10-21 Chestnut-sided Warbler 9-10-21 Chestnut-sided and Golden-winged Warblers with Northern Cardinal9-10-21 Chestnut-sided and Golden-winged Warblers with Northern Cardinal 9-10-21 Chestnut-sided and Golden-winged Warblers with Northern Cardinal9-10-21 Chestnut-sided and Golden-winged Warblers with Northern Cardinal

 

A young male Northern Cardinal explored the Bubbler area for the first time on its own. Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers decided the larger bird was no threat to them!

  9-11-21 Chestnut-sided Warbler9-11-21 Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

The Chestnut-sided Warbler returned later and had the "bubble" on the large rock all to itself.

 

To see all the photos:  

Since 9-4-21

 

 

 


A "worm", a "confusion" and a "glittering" of birds! 9-4-21

September 04, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Collective nouns for groups of birds can be very descriptive, especially in migration!

 

It began with a "worm" of nearly 30 American Robins, flying into cover in the woods. Small birds seemed to pop out on branches in every level of the canopy, partially hidden by the fully grown leaves. It was a mini-fallout of migrants on Tuesday, 8-31-21 right about 10:30 a.m. They all had "the hangries!" 

 

8-31-21 Blue-winged Warbler on pawpaw (Asimina triloba)8-31-21 Blue-winged Warbler on pawpaw (Asimina triloba) 8-31-21 Black-and-white Warbler8-31-21 Black-and-white Warbler 8-31-21 Magnolia Warbler8-31-21 Magnolia Warbler 8-31-21 Magnolia Warbler8-31-21 Magnolia Warbler 8-31-21 Tennessee and Magnolia Warblers8-31-21 Tennessee and Magnolia Warblers 8-31-21 Magnolia and Black-and-white Warblers8-31-21 Magnolia and Black-and-white Warblers

 

The "confusion" of warblers was soon revealed. A Blue-winged Warbler grabbed a caterpillar from a pawpaw leaf (Asimina triloba). As their hunger subsided a bit, the birds came to the bubbler. Black-and-white, Magnolia, and Tennessee vied for the choicest spot to bathe.

 

8-31-21 Chestnut-sided Warblers8-31-21 Chestnut-sided Warblers 8-31-21 Blackburnian Warbler and American Robin8-31-21 Blackburnian Warbler and American Robin  

 

A pair of Chestnut-sided Warblers got in while birds were also seen at the sump puddle. Robins were there looking for food under the wet leaves and one chased a Blackburnian Warbler out of its way.

 

8-31-21 Nashville Warbler8-31-21 Nashville Warbler

 

A Nashville Warbler was grabbing insects off of Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

 

8-31-21 Golden-winged Warbler8-31-21 Golden-winged Warbler 8-31-21 Golden-winged Warbler8-31-21 Golden-winged Warbler 8-31-21 Golden-winged Warbler8-31-21 Golden-winged Warbler 8-31-21 Golden-winged Warbler8-31-21 Golden-winged Warbler

 

A female Golden-winged Warbler was very interested in the small bubbler rock in the basin. The contortions it went through to bathe were impressive!

 

8-31-21 Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers8-31-21 Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers 8-31-21 Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers8-31-21 Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers

 

The Blue-winged Warbler just had to get in on this action. It's so tempting to put words in their little mouths, but I'll leave it to your imagination!

 

8-31-21 American Redstart8-31-21 American Redstart 8-31-21 American Redstart8-31-21 American Redstart 8-31-21 Canada Warbler8-31-21 Canada Warbler 8-31-21 Canada Warbler8-31-21 Canada Warbler 8-31-21 Baltimore Oriole immature male8-31-21 Baltimore Oriole immature male

 

That day ended with ten warbler species, including an American Redstart and a Canada Warbler. The Canada brought the Bubbler Bird count to 83 for the year. Another interesting bird that came in was an immature Baltimore Oriole. Wish the robins hadn't chased it off so I could have gotten a better image! What a beautiful, bright russet color it was.

 

9-1-21 Black-and-white Warblers9-1-21 Black-and-white Warblers 9-1-21 Magnolia Warbler9-1-21 Magnolia Warbler 9-1-21 Blue-winged Warbler9-1-21 Blue-winged Warbler 9-1-21 Black-throated Green Warbler9-1-21 Black-throated Green Warbler 9-1-21 Black-throated Green Warbler9-1-21 Black-throated Green Warbler

 

September began with four warbler species on the first. Black-and-white, Magnolias and Blue-winged Warblers were still here. A Black-throated Green Warbler was another FOS (first of season) bird.

 

8-31-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-31-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

One cannot speak of migration without some mention of the "glittering" of hummingbirds we've all been seeing! Keep those feeders clean and filled. They need the energy to catch tiny insects and put on some weight. 

 

9-3-21 Eastern Bluebird immature male9-3-21 Eastern Bluebird immature male 9-3-21 Eastern Bluebird immature male9-3-21 Eastern Bluebird immature male

Last but certainly not least, a scruffy, immature Eastern Bluebird had been feeding in the canopy and came to check out the Bubbler yesterday morning. We're glad to know that our restored habitat is supporting this species. Many bluebirds were lost in that last hard freeze in April throughout Missouri. I had seen two young birds in late July, so this bird may be from a second brood, its yellow gape is still visible. 

 

Enjoy the new season!

 Need a review?  Fall Warbler Species

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What a hoot! 8-25-21

August 25, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

 

Barred Owls in the 'hood

 

5-16-10 Barred Owlet5-16-10 Barred OwletMargy Terpstra

 

The first time we found nesting Barred Owls was in the spring of 2010. This species doesn't build a nest, but will use tree cavities or old hawk or squirrel nests. We had seen a pair actively guarding the crotch of a pin oak tree, chasing squirrels away. On 5-16-10, a young nestling was seen peeking out of the hole.

 

5-17-10 Barred Owlet5-17-10 Barred OwletMargy Terpstra

 

The following day, the young bird climbed up out of the cavity for a better view of the new world it was about to enter. 

 

5-18-10 Barred Owlet5-18-10 Barred OwletMargy Terpstra

 

On 5-18-10, it was time to spread its wings! It would attempt to fly, then ascend another tree by using its bill and talons to grab onto the bark and flap its wings to climb up the trunk. It was quite a memorable evening as we watched this young bird explore the trees.

 

5-18-10 Barred Owl5-18-10 Barred OwlMargy Terpstra

 

The ever watchful female was close by, guarding its offspring. Jump ahead eleven years to this week.

 

8-21-21 Barred Owlet8-21-21 Barred Owlet

 

On Saturday, 8-21-21 around 7:15 a.m., a Barred Owl flew from the maple tree down to the stream bed of the pond. Took this photo through the gazebo screen with my phone to document. It went down to the water and then I was able to go inside without disturbing it. 

 

8-21-21 Barred Owlet8-21-21 Barred Owlet

 

Hmmm, I thought. "He wasn't fuzzy, was he?" Well, its head certainly was.

  8-21-21 Barred Owlet8-21-21 Barred Owlet

 

The bird hunted from the sugar maple and then flew to the east slope, working on low branches. A couple days later, it was back in the pond cypress, shaking water off its feathers and preening. In the comparison photo below, it's pretty clear we have a new kid on the block!

 

8-23-21 Barred Owl composite8-23-21 Barred Owl composite

 

This young owlet was curious and energetically explored our woodland, including the Bubbler area. This all happened just after noon in the brightest part of the day on Monday, 8-23-21. It was hot and humid, but as you'll see in the video, the bird found its own way to cool off!

  8-23-21 Barred Owlet8-23-21 Barred Owlet 8-23-21 Barred Owlet8-23-21 Barred Owlet 8-23-21 Barred Owlet8-23-21 Barred Owlet 8-23-21 Barred Owlet8-23-21 Barred Owlet 8-23-21 Barred Owlet8-23-21 Barred Owlet 8-23-21 Barred Owlet8-23-21 Barred Owlet

Barred Owlet 8-23-21Barred Owlet makes a splash!

 

What a hoot! 

To learn more about Barred Owls, check out this page:

Barred Owl

 

 

 


First migrants of Fall 8-18-21

August 18, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

 

Into fall migration!

8-11-21 Northern Flicker and American Robins8-11-21 Northern Flicker and American Robins 8-11-21 Northern Flicker female and American Robin8-11-21 Northern Flicker female and American Robin 8-12-21 American Robin immature8-12-21 American Robin immature

 

The first cool front of August followed a very warm week. A lot of robins were seen at the bubbler, and like this immature bird, they were panting to release heat. Northern Flickers pushed in for their turns at the crowded basin. 

 

8-12-21 Blue Jay8-12-21 Blue Jay 8-12-21 Blue Jay8-12-21 Blue Jay 8-12-21 Blue Jay8-12-21 Blue Jay

 

A Blue Jay squawked and splashed, getting in several times, enthusiastically drenching its feathers. Thursday evening, the storm front moved through with strong winds and rain, the temperature dropped twenty-five degrees. Saturday, the robins had moved on and our first migrants showed up.

 

8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female Bubbler Bird #788-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female Bubbler Bird #78

 

Did you find the bird? It had grabbed a small winged insect to eat. It's a female Kentucky Warbler, first female that I've seen here. 

 

8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female Bubbler Bird #788-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female Bubbler Bird #78

8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female with insect8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female with insect 8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female 8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female 8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female 8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female

8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female8-14-21 FOS Kentucky Warbler female
 

The warbler found more to eat, then bathed and flew to the native hydrangea to shake its tail feathers and preen. Just as it finished, another bird flew in.

 

8-14-21 FOS Scarlet Tanager female8-14-21 FOS Scarlet Tanager female 8-14-21 FOS Scarlet Tanager female8-14-21 FOS Scarlet Tanager female

 

This was a female Scarlet Tanager, probably a first year bird. The plumage of this species is a bit greener than the Summer Tanager's orangey hue. It's a bit smaller bird and the bill is also proportionately smaller.

 

8-14-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-14-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

8-16-21 American Goldfinch on Purple Coneflower8-16-21 American Goldfinch on Purple Coneflower 8-16-21 American Goldfinch female on Purple Coneflower8-16-21 American Goldfinch female on Purple Coneflower

 

Usual suspects continue to visit the feeders and the garden. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are looking a bit ragged! Goldfinches have been busy at the coneflowers. 

 

8-13-21 E. Tiger Swallowtail female on Purple Coneflower8-13-21 E. Tiger Swallowtail female on Purple Coneflower 8-13-21 Monarch caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed8-13-21 Monarch caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed 8-16-21 Monarch laying eggs on Marsh Milkweed8-16-21 Monarch laying eggs on Marsh Milkweed

 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies have been at the coneflowers, too. The females can be black or yellow. Monarch caterpillars are still feeding on the Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and another butterfly has been ovipositing on the plants.

 

8-16-21 American Bumble Bee male on Ironweed (Vernonia arkansana)8-16-21 American Bumble Bee male on Ironweed (Vernonia arkansana)

 

A male American Bumble Bee was found gathering pollen at the Ironweed (Vernonia arkansana).

(I had misidentified this bee. Thanks to Kathy Bildner and James Faupel for correctly identifying it for me!)

 

8-8-21 Eastern Cottontail eating violets8-8-21 Eastern Cottontail eating violets

 

An Eastern Cottontail Rabbit was enjoying violets near the bubbler. There have been several in and out of the garden on a regular basis. Now, do you recall the old cowboy song, "Home, Home on the Range." That came to mind as I watched this doe and its two fawns this morning. 

 

 

So we wait for the next cool front...

 

 


The Summer Day 8-7-21

August 07, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
 

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down -
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

 

I believe we are made to connect with nature and we are extremely fortunate when we come to appreciate that healthy connection. 

 

8-5-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird juvenile, perched8-5-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird juvenile, perched 8-5-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird juvenile8-5-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird juvenile

 

I try to spend some time outside every day. Often, I'll have a subject in mind to photograph and study and then that idea is quickly upended by the discovery of something new, right under my nose. Thursday, I had hoped to catch a young hummingbird at the Cardinal flower. It was a lovely, cool morning yet somehow, the bird knew the nectar was not available. It was going to some buttonbush and salvia blooms that were in more sun. So, I looked around.

 

8-5-21 Spined Assassin Bug on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)8-5-21 Spined Assassin Bug on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) 8-5-21 Spined Assassin Bug on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)8-5-21 Spined Assassin Bug on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

 

A tiny critter moved on the Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) about 10 feet in front of me. At first I thought it was a spider, but no, it was a true bug that we had not seen before, a Spined Assassin Bug (Sinea diadema). Read more about this beneficial insect predator here: 

Spined Assassin Bug

 

  8-5-21 Monarch on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)8-5-21 Monarch on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) 8-5-21 Monarch laying eggs on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)8-5-21 Monarch laying eggs on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) 8-5-21 Monarch on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)8-5-21 Monarch on Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

 

We were having lunch later that day in the gazebo when I saw a Monarch fly north out of the garden. Dan saw another on the Marsh Milkweed, and I went down to find that it was a female. The butterfly laid several eggs before going back to sipping nectar. This new generation will be the butterflies that complete the migration to Mexico.

 

8-521 Familiar Bluet on Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)8-521 Familiar Bluet on Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

 

A Familiar Bluet damselfly was flitting around on the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) in the breeze. It's no wonder that these insects inspire artists and moviemakers with their fantastical looks. 

 

8-2-21 Barred Owl8-2-21 Barred Owl 8-2-21 Barred Owl8-2-21 Barred Owl 8-2-21 Barred Owl8-2-21 Barred Owl

 

Earlier in the week, the Barred Owl was back in the Roughleaf Dogwood next to the deck. We had heard both of the owls the night before, just outside our window. It stayed until about 11:30 a.m. when a Blue Jay spied it and started making a racket. We have been hearing them more often but still not sure if they had any young.

 

 

Several of you have commented on how "cute" the fawns were in the last post. Well, my friends, we must face facts. "Cute" fawns do grow up and our neighborhood is now inundated with White-tailed Deer. There are no natural predators, i.e. wolves, to keep their numbers in check and that fosters disease in the resident herd. Last February, we saw firsthand a doe that was so sick it could no longer stand, flailing its legs in the air. It was not a pretty picture on a Sunday morning. The doe had to be put out of its misery by our local police officers. We thanked them, surely that was beyond the call of duty. No, as it turns out, they get calls like ours often.

This is the first year that we have seen these bucks with their large racks of antlers so early in the season. Half of the homes in the neighborhood have family dogs, so you can guess where the deer tend to concentrate. 

We have put up with some loss of vegetation, but decided it was time to restrict their movement in the Bubbler Area before the hormones kick in with the imminent breeding season. So, Dan partially fenced off the area. We'll see how this works. So far, so good.

 

8-3-21 Doe at fence8-3-21 Doe at fence 8-3-21 Fawn at fence8-3-21 Fawn at fence 8-3-21 11 point Buck at fence8-3-21 11 point Buck at fence

 

The birds have adapted, even using the fencing to perch on. Squirrels and raccoons can still get underneath because Dan positioned it high on the stakes. The buck decided to hunker down and wait to see if we'd take the fence down. No joy there.

 

8-4-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Fuchsia gartenmeister (annual)8-4-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Fuchsia gartenmeister (annual) 6-6-21 Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)6-6-21 Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

 

The hummers are enjoying all the blooms right now as they chase each other through the yard. My favorite annual is the Fuchsia Gartenmeister, which closely resembles the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens). The birds love it, too. The Fuchsia blooms from late spring til frost, producing flowers as the Coral Trumpet wanes. 

 

8-7-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)8-7-21 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

 

This young hummingbird zoomed right in to sip at the native Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).

 

8-7-21 Ironweed (Vernonia arkansana)8-7-21 Ironweed (Vernonia arkansana)
8-7-21 American Goldfinch on Purple Coneflower8-7-21 American Goldfinch on Purple Coneflower
 

Ironweed (Vernonia arkansana) is just blooming and it soon will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. American Goldfinches are finding Purple Coneflower seeds to eat.
 

8-5-21 Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)8-5-21 Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)


 

We've had a nice break from the heat, but there are still warm summer days left to enjoy.

Stay cool and stay well!

 

 

 

 

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