During the summer the nighthawks soar through the darkness. They nest on roof tops and sleep during the day. At evening, they soar into the sky, their call is a rasping screech, not loud, but very distinctive. I love it when the hermit thrushes show up, the males have a fluting call that echos through the trees. One of my favorite walks is down River-view Drive which is, of course at De Soto Bend. It is only a few hundred yards long, but is shaded by large hardwoods with a lot of undergrowth and shrubbery. The thrushes call out to each other from the tops of the trees. I also enjoy the red breasted grosbeak for its call, its also a beautiful bird. We were surprised and happy that we had a nesting pair out by our creek last year. I am sooo looking forward to spring, it's way too short, but lovely just the same.
I've been listening to a hoot owl out in the woods tonight. I was just wondering if he was still out there. There are lots of mice to eat out by the creek. It's skunk mating season and they are out in force. We don't have any problems with them in the yard, but our dog, Suzi, enjoys barking at them from afar. I hope it stays that way too.
Last week Tim and I drove into DeSoto Bend to enjoy the fresh snow and watch the bird migration. We saw 4-6 bald eagles along the Missouri River bank and in the trees next to the lake which is rapidly freezing over. Canada geese in huge flocks stood on the thin ice of the lake and floated in the water. At Onawa, Iowa we saw more Canadians mixed in with small ducks.
We returned yesterday and there are huge flocks of mallards in the corn fields, Canada geese flying everywhere and another type of goose I have not identified mixed in with the flock.
At home the Harris Sparrows arrived this morning, hungry! Tim had gone out early to fill all the feeders and put out corn. We will also put out the electric watering dish on the porch today. There is a lighter colored dove along with the others today. We have a large red-tail hawk hunting near the house and another bald eagle flying occasionally over the hills west of the house.
Just wanted to report what's happening with our feathered friends here in s.w. Iowa (at least in my neighborhood).
A small flock of young male robins remains in the area. They come daily to feast upon the dogwood berries. I saw my first junco today.
These usually show up about two weeks before our first snowfall, but I wouldn't set my calendar on it. Flocks of Canada geese fly overhead morning and evening, but these are not the huge, seemingly endless flocks of our youth. There are also ducks in the creek in the morning, mallards mostly.
There is an unending stream of mice moving through the walls of our home and I don't think there are enough sticky traps on the planet to catch them all. I would resort to poison if I could find something that wouldn't hurt my pets if they should get ahold of a dying rodent.
The house wrens and red winged black birds (except for the young males) have left for the summer. We have a pair of belted kingfishers nesting in their hole along the creek. I heard the eastern oriel male singing in the woods last evening, I thought they would also be gone. Until last week we had a pair of red breasted gross beaks with their fledgling at the safflower feeder. Now that the hostas are blooming we have a female ruby throated hummingbird at the feeder in the morning.
There are usually more as summer ends. I let the sunflowers go wild this year and there is a small flock (8-10) of male gold finches enjoying this treat.
They have probably always been around but the other night I noticed night hawks flying over the yard at dusk. I think they are nesting over at the church, but I am not even sure that is what they are.
Over at De Soto Bend (yes, its real) the greater Canadian geese are practicing flight and there were a large number of blue (?) herons this year, I counted three fledglings that are now flying. We usually have herons in the trees along our creek, I only heard them calling in the evening but never saw them at all this year.
Eastern Oriel here, yodeling in the trees and feeding at the hummingbird feeder. House wren blew in with the rain, also saw the first ruby-throated hummingbirds. Harrison sparrows and white crowned sparrows also here as of yesterday. The Harrison is just passing through. Indigo buntings at the feeder today and saw blue birds at the bird bath. Had a glimpse of a yellow warbler last evening.
No kingfishers or herons yet. Most of the woods along the creek have been removed except for near our house, they may move on because of this.