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Backyard Wildlife Diary
- A. Brown

August 10, 2000
   The lastest creatures to call the backyard deck home (there are actually two of them!). Read more in my new monthly article, Creature Feature.

July 31, 2000
I saw a hawk today in my backyard, chasing after some of the smaller birds! This is an unusual siting, since the canopy of trees over the yard usually keeps them away. I apologize for the picture quality but it surprised me!
A baby bird, still unable to fly, has taken up residence on the back deck. He's been there for over a week. Yesterday I actually saw him flap his wings when something startled him, and he lifted off the ground for just a moment, so maybe he's learning!
Lots of birds have been visiting the peanut feeder lately. It's not unusual for birds to wait in line to feed there, and occasionally there might even be two birds feeding at once. Pictured at left are downy woodpeckers at the feeder. At right, a downy feeds while a sparrow waits in line.

March 28, 2000
We worked out in the yard all day yesterday (well, before the storms came!). I finally photographed one of the elusive salamanders! As usual, I got to see several anoles while I was working.

And, last but not least, are X-rated pictures of lady bugs: one of the small red bud trees is just covered in aphids, which are among the lady bugs' favorite food sources.

The bug with no spots is a harmonia lady bug, a friendly Asian import that has naturalized here in Texas. Thanks to Gail over at Maggie's Garden for the identification. Further study has revealed that you can tell the harmonia lady bugs not only by their sometime lack of spots, but by the amount of white on their body, as shown in the photo above.

March 03, 2000
This may be premature, but it looks like

February 08, 2000
Another racoon sighting on the back deck. There was just one, but it was a big one!

January 27, 2000
The front came through and the ground is actually covered with snow! This is unusual for this area: usually it melts by the afternoon. I got some more pictures:

The wrens enjoy the peanut feeder, while a sparrow braves the ice to get a snack.

This squirrel is not floating in mid-air; he's enjoying some peanuts. The squirrels have finally discovered the peanut feeder (darn!).

A squirrel looks for something to eat, while the mouse stays dry underneath the deck.

January 24, 2000
A cold front is coming through, and there's been lots of activity at the feeders. I've even seen two new birds (new to me, anyway!). One is a small finch-type bird that is grey and yellow. I would have guessed he's a yellow finch, but he has completely ignored the finch feeder full of thistle hanging with a big yellow ribbon not ten feet from the main feeder! The other looks almost like a chickadee, but doesn't have a black cap: there's a line of black extending from both his eyes toward the back of his head.

The mice were out playing: I saw at least four. They are usually pretty shy, but were too busy to notice me until I got a few pictures.

I saw a hairy woodpecker at the peanut feeder as well. I've only seen them once or twice: they seem to prefer my next door neighbor's peanut feeder instead. The downies visit my feeders more often, and will even stay if I'm out in the backyard. A female downy woodpecker hung around the peanut feeder this afternoon for quite a while. She spent a lot of time there just bobbing back and forth after she was done eating.

I really shouldn't be doing accounting homework in front of a window!

Meesee, the not-so-wild life

January 23, 2000
A wren family has taken up residence in some low bushes right outside the dining room window. I've noticed Meesee, my cat, spending more and more time under the dining room table and went in to check in on her. She was intently staring at a wren that had perched on the windowsill barely one foot away from her! I've found the equivalent of cat TV.

November 1999
A mama and two baby racoons are living under the deck. They come right up to the back door, but the flash on my camera washes out the picture when it reflects off the window, and it's too dark without a flash.

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