Thursday, December 19, 2013

Early Birds




It was still dark on a recent morning when Don stepped out on the front porch on his way to feed the creatures, as he does early every day.  Even before he glanced up, he could sense something watching him.  On the top of a rock pillar about 12 feet away stood a screech owl, still as a statue, peering down.

Don backed slowly into the house and woke me up to tell me about it.  Suddenly wide awake, I stepped into my slippers and grabbed my camera.  I flashed one shot from the doorway, took a few steps, and flashed another.  As I moved closer, the beleaguered bird granted just one more portrait photo before flying silently into the darkness.




Our visitor a few days earlier had not been so quiet.  The rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker had called me to investigate. At close range it sounded like a jackhammer on the front porch.   To my relief, I found a downy woodpecker snatching goodies from a mud dauber's nest that we should have cleaned off after the first frost.

In the summer, mud daubers, a kind of wasp, build nests of mud and lay their eggs, then stuff the chambers with spiders that they have paralyzed.  When the eggs hatch, the larva find their Big Macs already packaged and ready to eat.  This time, however, the woodpecker had beaten them to the take-out window.




























Meanwhile, from the stands, 
a normally noisy bluejay watched silently
and was probably wishing he had called in his own order.

Oh well, an acorn would have to do.




Linking with Wild Bird Wednesday


17 comments:

pens and needles said...

I often learn something new when I read your blog, Connie. Did not know that the dirt-daubers' nests were stuffed with take-out! How interesting -- and what great photos! That owl picture is amazing (an over-used word but applicable in this case!)

ladyfi said...

What great shots!

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Connie Fantastic shot of thesse lovely birds. Thank you for followiing my blog. May I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS. I will not be posting or commenting as much over this season.

Jeanne said...

Connie this was a great capture of this beautiful owl. He does look as if he is ready to bolt. Great that your husband is well "trained" to wake you up for this, and of course, your camera was at the ready. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas filled with peace and beauty!

Lisa Gordon said...

Wow, Connie, that owl is amazing. Love those ears!! :-)

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and a bright beautiful New Year. xo.

bailey-road.com said...

Love that screech owl!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

What a delight each are and yet having the Screech Owl right there, wonderful! Merry Christmas Blessings to you~

Rick said...

LOL - great shots and wonderful comments ;>)

Have a blessed Christmas, and peace and joy in 2014.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Ohhhh the Owl is adorable.. love it.. Merry Xmas my friend.. :-)))

Kristi Bowman said...

Love the Owl and all the other birds too! We're putting up an Owl house and I hope we get one living in our yard in the future. I've heard them in the neighborhood so if we're lucky...

Dave said...

Wow what a find with the Owl, truly impressive. Again some lovely shots in your post, have a splendid festive season

Dave

mick said...

Great photos of all the birds but the owl is absolutely fantastic! We have a wasp that builds similar mud nests where I live in Australia but unfortunately we don't have a bird that dismantles it! Happy holidays to you.

Neil said...

Beautiful photos love the Owl. Merry Christmas.

eileeninmd said...

I just love that cute owl! Great birds and photos.

Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas!

Carole M. said...

each photo a delight; thanks Connie and best wishes...

Stewart M said...

Splendid set of shots - I like the rear view of the jay - its not a common shot from that angle.

cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

PS: Christmas day is ending here - its a wonderful warm evening - hope you have a good day.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Wonderful birds. I love the owl. Merry Christmas to you and your family!