Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Today is the first day in many that the sun has been out. It has been another month of rain!! I decided since it was not raining I would take some trash out to the dumpster which is located at the back area of our retail store. It seems every time I do dump trash I see lots of birds back there, and I always tell them "go out front, there's lots of food in the feeders for you". The only ones who listen are the goldfinches, house finches and mourning doves. As I was walking back toward the front where our store is, I heard a bluebird singing. I looked up and on the top of the parking lot light was a male Eastern Bluebird. I quickly ran inside and told Stacey (the daughter) that there was a bluebird out in the parking lot, and grabbed a pair of binoculars. He of course decided to fly off the light pole at that instant, but flew to a tree right next to it and sat, so we did get a great look at him. He flew off toward the back of the parking lot and then disappeared. Well, we went right in and grabbed a pole and a bluebird house and immediately put it up.

About 2 hours later I was waiting on a customer, and I could see birds going in and out of the house. I grabbed a pair of binoculars again, and sure enough it was a male and female Eastern Bluebird. We are elated. We just hope they show up again in the spring!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Last weekend was the 12th Annual Cranefest, held in Bellevue, MI, and put on by the Michigan Audubon Society. It is a festival celebrating the Sandhill Crane and its' migration through the area. There are many vendors that attend and sell their art, such as photography, jewelry, carvings, and we were there selling binoculars. It is a great opportunity for people to try binoculars before they buy them. We used to go each year just to see the Sandhills come in to the marsh area to rest for the night. After repeated requests by some Audubon members, we decided to set up a tent and sell binoculars. That was fun! We got to spend the day outside, and we could take walks on the numerous trails around the marsh. And we made a little money to boot. It was my first encounter with seeing Red-headed woodpeckers, and not just a few but about 9.

This year was a little different than most years, as we had just had a snowstorm 2 days before, and in Bellevue they got about 8 inches. Needless to say Saturday was FRIGID!!! But, surprisingly enough, there was a good attendance, and people were troopers. It was busy. There were Eagles in the view of our tent, and on Saturday we had quite a bit of entertainment from a Red-bellied woodpecker that was not too far out in the marsh area eating sumac berries. I spent the day on Saturday like a cat-following the sun-so I could have a little bit of warmth. The optimal time to see a large quantity of Cranes is usually around 6-7PM, and that is when the crowd starts to swell. It is also when the sun is starting to fade and it gets cold. Again, the people were troopers and stuck it out waiting patiently for the Sandhills to come in. Their numbers weren't as high as in previous years, but they might have stayed out in the fields eating as long as they could. We had lots of reports from locals that they were seeing large numbers in the fields on their way to the Cranefest.

It is amazing to think that these beautiful, graceful birds have been doing this for several thousand years. It is always exciting to watch them glide in and land in the marsh for the night. We have never been there early enough in the morning to see them take off for the day, but I can only imagine....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Long time no post.
It's fall and the weather has been very wet! That doesn't seem to slow the birds down. Thursday the 5th was extremely exciting - I spotted my first Junco in our backyard.