Saturday, March 18, 2006

oh my achin' back

It's always the same in spring...I get too anxious to get things done and over-exert myself. I really should hire a yard boy...someone to do the heavy lifting.

Today I moved the 4 very large Lorapetalum bushes from the front yard back behind the short fence around the pool garden. They were much too large for the front, growing up higher than the roof line. Lovely in bloom, but much too big. In the back, they will make a great screen for the chain link fence and the neighbor's yard. The color looks good, and they will like the extra sun, I think. I'm a little worried about the soil -- they've been used to growing in great loamy garden soil and they're going to be in clay back there. They didn't come up with much of a root ball, so I hope they survive the shock of moving. I cut about half the foliage off to make them less top-heavy and so they have less system to support. We'll see.

I also moved the clump of Butterfly Iris from the front to the side in front of the kitchen window. I thinned it out and tried to create a curve, but frankly it looks odd right now. I added some LA iris to either side of the window to try to give it some depth, but it still looks out of proportion or something. Not sure what's wrong, but I'll have to keep working on it.

I put in 5 dwarf Bottlebrush shrubs in the front where the Lorapetalum was. They look so tiny right now, but they are supposed to grow 3' tall and 5' tall -- if they like the location. I just hope they have as much sun as they need. I think I'll add something less permanent like Pentas to fill in the space -- it looks so bare!

I've also added a bunch of salvias to the garden at the end of the driveway. And today I got a "Rattle-box" Cassia tree for that location too. It's outstanding in bloom and I think the orange will be a great counterpoint to the blue salvias at its feet.

The salvia list is:
Salvia Coccinea "Snow Nymph"
Salvia Coccinea "Coral Nymph"
Salvia Coccinea "Lady in Red"
Salvia Leucantha "Mexican Bush Sage"
Salvia Leucantha "Waverly"
Salvia Guarantica "Black and Blue"
Salvia "Lipstick"
Salvia "Evolution"
Salvia Guarantica "Anise Sage"
Salvia "Blue Angel"
Salvia "Indigo Spires"

Sunday, September 25, 2005

More lifers...

Birds, that is.

Saw many birds for the first time recently...

I've seen postings of sightings of Magnificent Frigatebird in the's normally a seabird, so this is unusual. I saw one myself yesterday at LSU lakes and caught it on video. It looks so graceful in flight, and more than a little bit like a pteradactyl...very cool...

Click here to watch 'Mfrigate'

Went down to the Miss. River today and met another birder who pointed out the differences between the barn, bank, and rough-winged swallows that were flying over the river and immediate bank. He also showed me the spotted sandpiper and female blue grosbeak. We saw laughing gulls that had been blown inland by the storm, making their way back down the river. He had just seen a pair of brown pelicans as well, doing the same thing...

I filmed a female blackbird, black-crowned night heron, and tri-colored heron trying to post the videos and am having trouble...but will keep trying...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Bird blog 09-10-05

Trying to get back to normal... dared to ditch the blackberry and go look for a new birding location...

Went to Port Hudson state park today. It's about 25 miles north of BTR. They must have had some damage since only one of their 3 trails are open...but at least they are open, not like all the parks to the east.

Saw several white-eyed vireos. I think I managed to get a short video of one -- they are never still and their movements seem very random. I heard eastern towhees telling us to "drink your TEEEAAAA" but I didn't see one. Of course I didn't realize at the time what I was looking for, and that would have really helped...

I believe I saw a pair of cuckoos! I saw them fly a few times and they were directly above me...very slender, long shape with a buffy color underneath. Unfortunately after that point they were foraging in the dense foliage of a tall oak and I could not get a picture. But I'm checking them off my life list :-) Also saw what I think was a nuthatch, tiny little bird. Another lifer.

I saw one raptor flying above me. Slightly different shape from what I'm used to. I videod it but I doubt I'll have enough resolution to tell what it is.

I also caught a couple of chipmunks on video! I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but they're not supposed to live here! The area just north of BR is an topological anamoly...a little bit of the Appalachians in our own back yard, complete with hills! We get plants and animals in that area that don't live for hundreds of miles in any direction till you get to the mountains.

Woodpeckers of all kinds abounded...I could hear them more than see them. Saw cardinal after cardinal. Plenty of chickadees and titmice.

The day started out cool, but heated up pretty quickly. I'm ready for summer to be over :-)

After the storm...

Hurricane Katrina will go down in infamy. The destruction she has wreaked is wide spread and devastating. We in Baton Rouge were on the "easy" side of the storm, and even then it was a scary experience! BTR and surrounding area had lots of tree damage, lots of power outage, but little rain so no flooding. You've all seen New Orleans and the MS gulf coast on the news ad nauseum so I won't go into that. We feel fortunate to have escaped the worst of it. Worried for our neighbors to the east. Frustrated and sometimes angry with the layers of government. Amazed at the reliency of the survivors. Irritated with the national press. Impressed with the local press. In awe of the search and rescue folks. Thankful our friends and family are safe.

Before the storm started I took down most of my birdfeeders, thinking the birds were all going to be "sheltering" themselves. For some reason I left the hummingbird feeders up. Amazingly enough, the hummers visited the feeders all through the storm! And the other birds found the seed I had dumped out and "snacked" all day. It was quite amazing to see them all out and about while the wind is gusting and trees are whipping around. I took some video of the hummers. Click on the link to the right to get to the video page.

Now we're into the recovery period. Busy, busy at work, helping state agencies resume their telecom services, which of course can't happen til the water is gone and the power is restored. Some have moved operations temporarily, but many have to provide service to their constituency wherever they are.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fairview-Riverside State Park

This state park was featuring a beginner bird-watching session today so I made my way. The park is about an hour drive, just off the interstate and very easy to find. The Tchefuncte river is very wide right there and there is a marina close by and very large boats passing through!

Lori the park ranger was our guide. Our group was small, 8 people total. She gave us some background and told us what we might expect. No sooner did she mention the pileated woodpecker when it appeared! Every one was thrilled. We saw downy woodpeckers, red-headed WP, titmice, cardinals, a raptor of some sort, great egret, and eastern blue-birds. We also saw something that could have been a warbler or vireo, but didn't get a good enough look. It was a fun outing! No nature trails at this park though.

I got a great video of the pileated woodpecker, so be sure to check it out...

Red-head dropped in for a snack Posted by Picasa

Sentinel Posted by Picasa

peek-a-boo! Posted by Picasa

He's in duck heaven, isn't he?? Posted by Picasa

Snowy egrets hanging out Posted by Picasa

Great egret fishing in university lake in the evening... Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 22, 2005

HA! PROOF that I have more than one! Posted by Picasa

Nothin' wrong with me, standing in a bush in the dark, taking pics of birds with a flash... Posted by Picasa

a walk in the woods...

Last weekend I went north and walked in the Felicianas...near St. Francisville. Visited Cat Island for the first time. Saw the largest bald cypress tree in North America. Very cool. I had my video camera with me...will have to create a still pic for posting here.

This weekend I went east to Tickfaw State Park. Haven't been in a while and then only once, so it was disconcerting to realize as I was driving there that I didn't have the directions! Thank goodness for cellphones and the internet -- Thanks, Sue!

The park has several improved trails (boardwalk, gravel) over acres and acres of woods. I picked the bottomland hardwood trail because it goes near the river. Saw a great blue heron fly over. Saw signs of rooting near several fallen logs and wondered about wild pigs...and then later was completely surprised by a mama pig as she snorted VERY loudly and rushed off into the brush with at least two little ones. Fortunately I was on the boardwalk at that point -- I wonder what the protocol is if one encounters a wild pig face to face on the ground! That saying "they are more scared of you than you of them" comes to mind...and I certainly hope it's true! Videod a prothonotary warbler (funny name, pretty bird) and another that someone now tells me is a white-eyed vireo. Funny how much all those little warbler birds look alike. Saw a hummingbird in the wild! That sounds odd because even the ones that visit feeders are all technically "wild" but seeing one at your house and seeing one in the woods is different somehow. As I was leaving (driving) I saw buzzards on the side of the road...not an unusual sight...but I stopped to video and saw there were 30 or 40 of them vultures. Quite a creepy sight! The funny thing was that when I taped them my car radio was playing and somehow in the playback they look like they're dancing :-)

Look for the link to videos on the menu on the right hand side. Enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Birdie having a real bad day -- caught in the "squirrel proof" bird feeder Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Woops! This little gal found herself in quite a pickle! no harm done though... Posted by Picasa