Food for Thought

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Isaiah 43:
19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
Well, that was shocking!

The other day, I received a Garden Alive catalogue in the mail as I had ordered from their website last year. When I first saw it, I thought it was one of those other companies we no longer buy from.  The mailing label looked similar.

Curiosity got me… And what a disappointing shame since Garden Alive has so many organic friendly products!
Seed Companies Owned by Monsanto

If you do not want to support Monsanto, familiarize yourself with this list.  Because not even “Audubon”, a name synonymous to birds,  is exempt.  We recently got one of those catalogues as well.  Do not let any name fool you.

Another bit of “food”.  Sorry about the images, BUT it is said a picture is worth a thousand words.  An Indoor Cat is a Happy Cat

Now about your food…  Someone gave me a link of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.  This is about the pesticides in the fresh produce we eat.  Washing and peeling are not enough to remove them completely.  Think about the purpose of pesticides; they are to kill.  Click on the other links at the top of that page to read more details.

And lastly, someone came by for a bit of food Sunday.  And the timing could not be funnier.  I had just sent off an email to a friend and in it I mentioned it was highly unlikely we were going to see any owls for Superb Owl Sunday.  They are just too hard to find in the daylight hours; we’ve tried.  Also, we were too sick to go to church, so  we sure were not traipsing around in the cold to look for well-camouflaged owls!

I kid you not. Within five minutes of sending that email, I was talking to Papa when I see a big bird flying over our south pasture.  Flying it was and changing directions so quickly.  We were running all over the house trying to get pictures or even just good looks at it.   Papa yells, “It’s an owl!”  Really?   Great Horned is running through my mind as I’ve read they will hunt in the daytime during winter.   Finally got some pictures before it went to the north pasture.  It caught something over there! YAY!

So, God not only sent us an owl for the day, He sent us a life bird that can also be added to our yard and bathroom lists.  :) A Short-eared Owl.   I think of it as the funny-faced owl.  Here is a link to learn about it and see better pictures.
Yes, the photo is icky, but it’s a photo!


Some years ago, we were told if our area has Northern Harriers, we should be seeing the Short-eared Owl.   They share the same habitat.   Finally, we were able to see this bird.  I wonder if one of these has already been here.  I always imagine some grand birds here while our backs are turned.  :D

Categories: dangers to birds, lifers, links, raptors | 14 Comments

Minus the Pear Tree

Psalm 37:
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
This bird was a fun find for us. The ones we aren’t looking for are usually fun. We don’t expect it, so there’s no stress in trying to find it.

We see it as it runs across the road and flies over the ditch. I hear yells of “Female Ring-necked Pheasant!!” It’s way too small. “Female Bobwhite?” It’s too large. Hmmm… As it somewhat looks like a quail, I look in that part of the guide… My mouth falls open. No, it can’t be…

I remember hearing about this bird in November 2011, when it was posted on the Iowa bird list that someone doing a North American Big Year was coming to Iowa to get this bird and the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It seemed like it must be a super rare bird to not be found until that late in the year.

It is a bird with a repeating Latin name, Perdix perdix.   Perdix means, “partridge” in Latin, so they must doubly want you to know that, yes, this truly is a partridge.

Gray Partridge

This bird’s alpha code is GRAP and it is no joke (in English, but in Dutch it is). This code does not follow the simple rule of using the first two letters of each word in the name. This is probably because it would conflict with another bird, but which bird it is, I have not yet figured out.

Male Gray Partridge

I found a fun alpha code and I cannot believe this exists, but there it was among all the other codes.  UNBI.  This stands for “unidentified bird”.

Categories: alpha codes, Latin names, lifers | 1 Comment

Worms at Home and Away

Psalm 22:
5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

Mama feeds her babies well.

Children dig up worms as a treat for our duck.

A merry chase ensued when this Hudwit (Hudsonian Godwit) found a juicy snack and others thought he should share.

You might find this interesting.  Many of our earthworms are not native to North America and actually are causing damage where there used to be no worm present.

Categories: bugs, lifers, sadness

Spring Warblers

Matthew 7:
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
We did not see quite as many warblers in our yard this year.  Not sure of the difference other than spring arrived a little late.  We still saw Myrtle , Palm,  Orange-crowned Warblers.  No Nashville, Tennessee, or Yellow Warblers.

We did see some away from home. Here are some neat warblers we saw at Saylorville last month.
I like the bright orange legs of this guy.

Blackpoll Warbler

I was the first to spot this one in the group and when trying to describe it, I was terribly tongue-tied.  Even so, they knew what I was talking about.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Categories: lifers

Why We Are Amateurs

A sight like this terrifies us…

I was called a couple of hours earlier that day and was told there were “Golden Plovers” about six miles from where we live.  Ooo… we’ve never seen Golden Plovers and so far this year, the only plovers we’ve seen are Killdeer.

This is bad and shows we are very much still learning. I look in the index of an Eastern NA field guide for Plover, Golden. Hmmm…nothing. This must be rare, no such bird. I get the full North American Guide and again look for Plover, Golden. Odd, it cannot be that rare. It was LBE (Little Birding Expert) who figured out it was Golden-Plover, American in the index. Sigh… Now, we know what it looks like.

The above photo shows just a portion of the flooded field we were at. With all the birds before us, I knew then a list for Ebird was out of the question. Even with our binoculars we could get closer looks, but not many positive identifications. We figured the white thing to be a gull and Ring-billed are the default Iowa gull, so that’s what it is. The larger shorebirds would be Godwits, but after a time of it the day before, they’re just Godwits, not Hudsonian or Marbled. We saw a few Pectoral Sandpipers, maybe some Leasts, but the rest were just Sandpipers and Yellowlegs.  Among that mess, we did find the American Golden-plovers.  We are glad they were in their breeding plumage.
Psalm 139:
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

Categories: di fekkel, lifers


Psalm 4:
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.
It’s the birdiest time of year and I cannot keep up!

As of this writing, I have two posts scheduled out and am so very behind on editing photos. I want to do that dreaded task of uploading our photos online for prints. I just learned our bird photo albums have not been updated since November.  Today, I will share a few highlights and I may not be as regular with posting for the next few days.

If you wish to look at our year list, you’ll see our latest birds.  Some are pretty neat, I think.  I still need to get a couple of birds added, but need to have them confirmed.

For my blogging friend in California… We have one of your birds here!  Maybe we can send some of ours your way, just look for the white throat.

A special Butterbutt-
Audubon’s Warbler

We’ve seen a Black-crowned Night-heron (Now what would this Alpha code look like? I’ll find out later), Lark Sparrow, Cape May Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler… The Bobolinks, Baltimore Orioles (five of them), Dickcissels, Red-headed Woodpeckers have returned to the yard. Oh, one of our poor birds has a LISP, the Lincoln’s Sparrow. People say these are not feeder birds… well, I don’t believe that! We have a nice sized group here.

The Kestrels seem finally settled and we’ve seen one Kestrel bringing food to the one in the box. For some reason, they’ve allowed Meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles to perch on their box. This seems odd, but I wonder if the one on the nest doesn’t bother with it as it would require getting off the eggs.  A couple of hapless Starlings were flying about the box, but seemed terribly afraid to land. They left.

Thursday, we had a great evening of birding. In one and a half hours, we saw 48 species, all within a mile of home. We left as soon as the rain slowed to a drizzle. (We got 3 1/4 inches that day.) The flooding pasture gave us a new yard bird, Blue-winged Teal.

Saturday, was the once a month field trip and we reached a personal high count for the day. 86 species. I hope to create a page for this list.

What is missing so far is our Ruby-throated Hummingbird. We set out nectar hearing of early reports. Soon, soon…

Sadly, the Ring-necked Pheasants are rebounding and we know what that means… :(  We hear a couple of the males from our house.  Others are seeing them around Iowa as well.

Categories: alpha codes, anti-hunting, bird rarities, di shpatza, lifers, raptors