Sunday, July 30, 2017


Drew decided to take some shots of the hummingbirds from a different perspective than usual. He positioned our cheap GoPro knockoff camera - Apeman - above the feeder. The hummers did not disappoint! We are constantly amused and amazed by these birds.

A Plague of Grackles

The grackles have been driving us crazy! They decimate the food in the seed feeder on a daily basis. They try to get to the suet feeder but are less successful now that Drew has installed his grackle-inator. Aughhh! But, we do enjoy their antics and the iridescent blue of the male head feathers;-)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Homemade "Grackle Proof" Feeder

Drew made this "grackle-proof" feeder from a plant saucer, an old suet feeder and bits & bobs found in the shed. It might be more accurate to call this a "grackle-resistant" feeder as these birds are incredibly smart and persistant. But at least now a block of suet lasts a few days instead of a few hours! As you watch the video, notice that each species of bird has their own style of feeding. Some are built for clinging upside down, others not so much.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Summer Adventure List

Our summer adventure list has become reality. It is something we should have created back in May, but our busy life got in the way. We'll be lucky if we can accomplish at least one thing on the list. Here goes:

Summertime Adventures

  1. Sequin Island with Ethan DeBery. Gulls nest on the island and young gulls can be seen in nests in early to mid July.
  2. River Run Tours - Around Bath, Arrowsic, Georgetown (through July 28th)
  3. Machias Seal Island - Book island reservation and Bold Coast Charter reservation in February (go in late July/early August when seas are “calmer.”)
  4. Maine Maritime Museum Lighthouse and Nature Cruises (go through October 29th)
  5. Cap’n Fish’s Puffin/Whale Combo Cruise to Eastern Egg Rock - from Boothbay Harbor Pier 1. Check out Audubon Project Puffin.  (Through October 19th)
  6. Whale Watching - Odyssey Whale Watching Tour (Portland.)
  7. Monhegan Island - Monhegan Boat Line out of Port Clyde / Hardy Boat Cruises out of New Harbor
  8. Casco Bay Lines - Cruises and Tours
  9. Corey Walker’s boat - The Sea Walker - Freeport Harbor
  10. Oh yeah...Shannon says "Go To The Beach!"... Um...that might not happen until the next solstice when the weather is cooler;-)

Oriole Feeding Chicks

Yay! We finally got footage of the male oriole feeding one of the juveniles. By the way, there is lots of grackle chatter in the background. We have a huge flock that visits our feeders several times each day. They made this oriole chick a bit nervous. In fact, the adult has taken to feeding the chicks in a shrub nearby during many of the daily visits to the feeder. Before this portion of the video clip, papa oriole was feeding the other chick in the shrubbery, too.

We tried out the new video camera and found that it took lousy video. But, we are going to run it through its paces before returning it. Maybe it's just user error...So, sub par video, but at least you can tell that you are seeing birds;-)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Baltimore Orioles (adult and immature)

We have Baltimore Orioles galore! They nested somewhere nearby and we now have at least two immature birds along with the parents. The second bird to fly in is a bit younger. He has spots on his head as if it hasn't completely filled in with the black feathers. And, he hasn't yet figured out how to perch on the jelly feeder. Too cute! 

I used our new Apeman motion camera (inexpensive GoPro type camera.) It took really nice, clear video although I had to have it practically touching the bird feeder;-) We have a new, dedicated video camera arriving tomorrow, so we'll see how it does in comparison.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Video courtesy of Google Photos Assistant. Enjoy!

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Wow, it's been a year since I've been to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, and how I have missed them. On this trip, my bosom buddy, Jane Ray (hailing from Colorado), accompanied neighbor Shannon and I.
Flowers galore...That's what the gardens are all about. I was surprised to see this species of Echinacea. It was so pretty, and so different from what I am used to observing in my garden.
And, of course, the daisies were numerous and cheery.
Twelve-spot Skimmer
I am sad to say that we did not see a single butterfly in the gardens. However there were some Twelve-spot Skimmers fluttering about. It is so disturbing that Maine has virtually wiped out the honey bees, butterflies, and most dragonflies due to pesticide use. Upon the early days of visiting the Botanical Gardens, we used to be surrounded by so many butterflies that we felt as if we were in a scene from Fantasia. Alas, those days are no more...
I think that the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are probably just about the best in the country (but I am biased;-) The Children's Garden is awesome and provides us with so much pleasure. There are pathways lined with flowers, tiny buildings galore filled with all kinds of treasures, sculptures, and even a tiny greenhouse to explore.
The spouting whale rocks are favorites, in the Children's Garden, for young and old. Here you can cool off in the spray of the spouts which go off randomly. Magical!
Just a few of the many fairy sculptures in the children's garden.
Within the Children's Garden, there are lots of fairy sculptures by various artists. I love, love, love all the details by these imaginative people.
The gardens are also about sculpture. There are sculptures scattered hither and yon throughout the trails and gardens. Here are a few of my favorites! When going to the gardens with Shannon, everyone must pet the bunny. It's tradition!
One of my favorite places is the Vayo Meditation Garden. There is a pool carved out of a gorgeous piece of schist rock that is stunning. And, you can sit on benches that look out over the garden toward the Back River.
As we walked toward the rhododendron garden, we passed a forested fairy house village for kids. Kids of all ages can create their own fairy houses within this magical space;-)
Our final destination was the rhododendron garden. It still had a few late blooming rhododendrons flowering, and was so gorgeous. The hillside view, looking out at the waterfall and down to the pond, is always stunning.
Duckweed covers the pond and there are green frogs galore!
Of course, my favorite part of this garden is the waterfall. The rock that the water falls over is horizontal and allows for such a pretty ribbon of water.
Top Left: Shiatsu Rocks, Top Right: Chair in Children's Garden
Bottom L: Meditation Garden, Bottom Middle: Whale Rock in Children's Garden, Bottom R: Garden Tool Arbor
Here is Jane in all her glory. Sweet;-)
And, finally I leave you with Mother Earth. Namaste...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Where the Jelly Goes

We present here, a short video of the frequent visitors to our jelly feeder (the last of which came to us as somewhat of a surprise). Notice that the catbird's head stays steady as the feeder sways and he/she daintily takes a drink of water after every bite. The oriole on the other hand is a colorful, and shall we say, "enthusiastic" diner. And finally an explanation as to how the feeder can get licked clean at the end of the day...

Paper Wasps

Paper Wasps have made a nest next to Neighbor Carla's bulkhead. Whooeee! The nest is medium-sized and has a fair number of wasps actively working to build the colony. At one point, you can see a wasp carrying something into the nest. And, there were always wasps doing repairs to the outside. Neato! (P.S. Look at the video full-screen to see more details;-)

Paper wasps are important pollinators, and our world food supply does revolve around insects. It would be great to be able to leave the nest alone (although it is in a high traffic area with Carla's gardening) as it should deter other wasps from building here next year. 

I was able to get fairly close with the video camera (on a tripod) and the wasps ignored me, although I did walk away slowly and tried not to do too much mucking around near the nest. Awesome!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Life sucks (when you're a leech)

An interesting hitchhiker on the exploratory vessel EV Colossal during a recent visit to Caesar Pond.