Thursday, June 17, 2021


Well that was fast.

New Phoebes are on the way.

And these eggs look very much like this egg. I wonder if some type of nest failure prompted them to start this current nest.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021


The Phoebes did eventually make a nice nest, as we saw in the last post, although it took them a while to figure out how to use the platform.

Watch as this bird brings a bit of mud to add to the 'nest' ...

Its got a nice bit of mud in its bill.

Where to put it? Over the edge here looks good.

Don't want to mess up this nice clean platform.

So just drop it to the deck!


Bigafy the images to see the bird drop the bit of mud over the edge and down to the deck. It took a couple trips, but eventually they got the hang of things, as shown in the previous post. But the mess on the deck continued to grow for a while. It is all good now.

Work Zone

We had people over Saturday evening after we returned from the Flower Show, for the first time in forever it seemed. And the day before we tidied up the place, including Patty sweeping the deck.

So it was a bit of a surprise when I walked around the deck and found this:


And this:

WTF² !

What (who?) was throwing mud at the top of our window? And why? We were stumped. And it had happened why we were at the Flower Show that morning. Very curious.

Later that day I was sitting at my desk when I spotted this:

A feathered tail. Ah ha! What birds make mud nests? Swallows? That's not a swallow tail though.

Mystery solved. Eastern Phoebes were the mess makers. Buy why this spot?

They had fledged four chicks from the previous nest. And the platform on the garage would seem better suited to the task at hand.

The ledge they were trying to build their nest on was clearly non-optimal. So I helped them out a bit.

A bit of scrap fit nicely in the siding slot above the window.

And the birds took to it straight away.

Crazy if you ask me.

But they seem to know what they are doing.

Although I wonder how long it would have taken had I not installed the shelf?

Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Egg

The other day I was mowing the lawn. A task which continues to get shorter I'm happy to report.

And I came across this in the grass:

As is obvious to even the most casual observer, an egg. In the grass.

With nary a killdeer or nighthawk in sight.

I put it on one of the cinder blocks which define out back fire pit.  cinderblock This was over nine days ago.

It is still there this morning. Curious. There were five raccoons in the yard the other night. And opossums are regular visitors.

Even more curious is that I could not figure out where it came form. I found no nests in the surrounding trees, Nor any birds flying about looking for nor tending one.

A mystery.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Brood X

You may have heard about the 17 year Cicadas that are appearing across the eastern US this year. Brood X (or "Brood 10" for those that don't read Roman).

As it happens, we are outside of the emergence zone. So they are not a yard critter.

They aren't even a state critter (yet).

We, along with our friend Marie, went to Tohickon Valley Park in Pennsylvania  this past Tuesday evening to see them. 

For a variety of reason, we had not been able to get out and see these critters. And as they don't spend much time in adult form time was running out. So when a friend told us they were at this park we decided to go. Despite the hour drive and the threat of thunderstorms.

And storm it did, on the drive up and when we arrived at the park.

We waited for the storm to pass in a park pavilion, the sides of which had evidence of the Cicadas.

And once the rain abated we ventured out, and quickly found them

Including some recently emerged like the one shown above. We did not find any freshly emerged individuals, those still white in color though. Bummer.

And while the where not everywhere and covering the trees, thanks to the rain I guess, there were plenty in the foliage. "Here's one", "here's one", "here's one",  was our refrain, with the occasional "here's two" to break up the monotony.

And the twosomes were why they were there. To mate, then lay eggs, and start the 17 year clock ticking again.

And then the rains came. And we headed on home. 

Happy that we had decided to go, bad weather forecast and all.

Until 2038 ...

Friday, June 11, 2021

And So It Begins

The Warbler Show!

Out my living room window at the bird bath.

With a Prothonotary Warbler. 

This was actually not the first warbler I've seen at the bird bath. A Black and White Warbler takes that crown. But it did not wait for me to get a camera.

I'm sure this won't be the last to visit.

And we'll be watching.

Thursday, June 10, 2021


There was an Annular Solar Eclipse today, although I was not on the path of annularity. So for me, it would be a partial eclipse. If I got to see it at all.

The eclipse would be in progress at sunrise. And this was the view around dawn in the direction the sun would be rising. Not a promising sight.

But the clouds were kinda cool looking in the morning light.

And in addition to the clouds ...

... we had fog to deal with.

It was a pretty morning. But I didn't get up at 4:00 am for a pretty morning.

Luckily for us, the sun was rising in a notch in the clouds. We could only hope it would rise faster than the clouds were moving.

The 'beam of light' above the rising sun is a solar pillar, a side effect of the clouds.

It did.

And we were happy.

Eventually it rose about the clouds, although the eclipse was also nearing its end.

It would have been nice to see the sun as it rose, the 'horns' facing up. But I as I didn't think we'd see it at all I'm quite happy with what we did see.

Including this sundog. Another side effect of the clouds.