3/18/11 Lilacs have buds and most of the early bladed flowers are above ground.
4/1/11 Time to put out the Hummingbird feeders.
4/8/11 Tulips are blooming and the 3 mature Lilac bushes have blooms developing.
4/14/11 Lilac blooms are almost full.
5/1/11 Time to switch to Safflower in anticpation of the Grackles riotous return and to put out orange slices for Baltimore Orioles. Goldfinches should start turning bright yellow.
5/18/11 Learned that if you buy birdseed that is still in the shells you will be harvesting plants beneath your feeder in the late Spring.
5/21/11 Roses going nuts. Irises running out of gas.
5/28/11 Bought and planted some basil plants.
5/30/11 Rose bushes are full.
Bird shat on my head.
6/1/11 Garden is in full bloom. Mature flowers on Echinacea, Shasta Daisies, Lilies, Spiderwort, Indian Blanket, Coreopsis & Bee Balm.
6/17/11 Horsehair Mint is blooming. This must have been delivered by birds because we didn't plant it.
6/23/11 Much of the Indian Blanket has already lost petals. Still has plenty of new blooms.
7/2/11 Had to put up some stakes in the garden for the Phlox, Shasta Dasies and Bee Balm.
7/4/11 Dug the plot for Southeast garden.
7/5/11 Saw the first Morning Glory bloom.
7/11/11 Saw the first Swallowtail of the season in the Echinacea
A black bird with a broken wing in the yard.
7/14/11 Black-eyed Susan blooming
Saw a Webworm Moth in the Phlox.
7/15/11 Bee Balm has lost its petals
7/16/11 Saw a Black Swallowtail in the Phlox blooms
7/20/11 Spotted a Japanese Beetle in the Shasta Daisies
7/24/11 First Pearly Crescentspot of the seaon
7/25/11 Silver-spotted Skipper spotted in the Phlox
7/28/11 Hummingbird coming around.
Saw a Dragonfly.
7/29/11 Starting to see Dragonflies around after several 100 degree days in a row.
7/30/11 Saw the first Monarch of the season in some Milkweed Vine
7/30/11 First Snowberry Clearwing Moth seen in the Phlox blooms
8/2/11 Saw two Monarchs.
8/3/11 Planted the Azaleas and Butterfly Bushes
8/4/11 Hummingbird Clearwing Moth spotted in the Phlox
8/6/11 Morning Glories are blooming
8/6/11 Saw an amazing Milkweed Bug on Milkweed Vine
8/7/11 Belladonna Lilies are blooming
8/10/11 Bought a Canon Rebel XT 350D
8/10/11 American Snout on the bird bath
8/10/11 Hairstreak in the Black-eyed Susans
8/12/11 Got off my first shot of a Gold Finch in Enchinacea
8/15/11 Met John McConnell. Bought Canon 300mm and 200mm camera lens.
8/16/11 Grasshopper in the Black-eyed Susans
Finches enjoying the spent Echinacea
Saw a Hawk Moth in the Bee Balm leaves
Starting to see more Monarchs in the Butterfly Bush and Phlox
We have a patch of Bee Balm that is growing low to the ground that is just starting to Bloom in the Southern section of the garden.
8/18/11 Saw a pair of mating Cicadas fall out of the tree
8/19/11 Common Buckeye hanging out in the Echinacea
Humming bird starting to hang around.
Started working on a PHP image display code.
8/21/11 Saw a Tawny Emperor on the Elm tree
8/21/11 First pictures of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the Bee Balm
8/22/11 First pictures of the Clouded Sulphur and Cabbage White in the Phlox blooms
KCWildlife is born. Actually, don't have a domain yet but the code and pictures are up.
8/24/11 The Bumblebees are very agitated this week.
8/24/11 Saw a Ragweed Flower Moth
8/25/11 Hummingbird in the Phlox
8/27/11 Extended the NW garden. Moved the Azalea and Butterfly Bush from the southern garden because they weren't getting enough
sun. Also added some Echinacea. Added Asters, Bee Balm and Daisies to the western garden. Moved Echinacea, Black eyed Susans
and Daisies to the Southern garden. Moved some of the rocks from the Southern garden to the Western and Southwestern gardens as stepping stones.
Added 10 bags of cypress mulch.
Determined that the sensor is dirty on my Canon. Gonna have to take it to get it cleaned.
8/29/11 Met with John McConnell again.
8/31/11 Goldenrod Soldier-beetle in the Black-eyed Susans
9/1/11 Mums are blooming
9/1/11 Saw a Blue-tailed Dragonfly in the Forsythia
9/2/11 Made NW garden wrap around the Elm tree.
9/3/11 Moved Phlox and Black-eyed Susans to the NW Garden. Later I moved the Indian Blanked to the front of the rimary garden and a batch into the Northern garden.
Spread Indian Blanked, Echinacea, Black-eyed Susan and Bee Balm seeds in the NW garden. Some Indian Blanked seeds in the primary garden too.
9/4/11 Widened the back part of the primary garden.
9/5/11 Dug up the tulips from the front and moved them to the front of the primary garden. Moved the lilies back closer to the fence.
9/7/11 Saw the Northern Flicker in the Elm tree
Spotted a Common Checkered Skipper in the grass.
9/8/11 Took the camera to Gass Camera to get the sensor cleaned.
9/10/11 Noticed the Cooper's Hawk circling the neighborhood for the first time
9/11/11 Map Butterfly and a Common Checkered Skipper in the Black-eyed Susans
Moved some Bee Balm to the NW garden.
9/13/11 Last time I saw a Hummingbird this year.
Moved some Bee Balm from the South side of the primary garden to the North. Also moved Morning Glory starts to the South backyard fence.
9/18/11 Planted some Eupatorium that my neighbor gave me. Monarchs hit it almost instantly.
9/19/11 Moved some Phlox from the primary garden to the NW garden.
9/21/11 Asters are starting to bloom
9/21/11 Saw the Hawk Moth at dusk. Stunning!
Seeing loads of butterflies in the Eupatorium
9/22/11 Starting to see more Dragonflies and Damselfies
9/29/11 Leaves on the Elm are falling.
10/1/11 Decided to extend the primary garden to the rose bush. Also going to widen the NW garden.
10/3/11 Planted 4 Butterfly Bushes for the primary garden.
10/4/11 Photographed Seagulls in the skies of Kansas City
10/5/11 Asters are vibrating with insects
Oak leaves are falling steadily.
10/9/11 Moved some Daisies to the primary garden extension and to the NW garden. Moved half of the irises to the Northern edge of the primary garden.
I popped three Sedum sprigs in between the Thread Leaf Coreopsis.
10/15/11 Asters are drying up and getting very little bug action
10/16/11 The Clouded Sulphur and Cabbage White are about all that's left except for an occasional Monarch fly-by
10/16/11 The garden is pretty much cooked. Few Shasta Daisies and Phlox blooms left.
10/16/11 Before the end of the year I intend to find a way to make multiple shots of one subject available on its individiual page so that you don't have to manually search the entire gallery
10/17/11 Wrote a routine that will display thumbnails on the individual profile pages instead of in one large gallery. Will clean up some broken links tomorrow.
10/22/11 Saw a few cabbage whites. Saw a Hawk Moth get gobbled up by a bird and another sail into the exterior wall of a garage and fall to the ground. This was in broad daylight. Also saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Junco and House Finch for the first time.
10/23/11 Got some shots of a pair of Chickadees drinking from the bird bath.
10/24/11 Saw a White-breasted Nuthatch walking up a tree near the bird bath today. Got off a few pictures from inside the house.
10/29/11 Spent the week taking pictures of birds in beautiful Southern Missouri and Arkansas. Saw a dazzling array of woodpeckers, including a male and female Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flickers, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-naped Woodpecker and the Downy Woodpecker.
10/31/11 Bought a Squirrel Buster bird feeder at Wild Bird Center of Prairie Village. Chickadees were the first to figure it out. Cardinals next. Sparrows are still scared of it. Watched multiple squirrels walk away angry.
11/01/11 Saw a Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Downy Woodpecker and Red-tailed Hawk today.
11/02/11 Saw a Cardinal with a white head this afternoon. I can't tell if it has just lost its head feathers or if its a proper albino. Got off some pictures but it was cloudy and raining so nothing good.
11/03/11 Moved one of my Linksys Wireless cameras near the feeders.
11/04/11 Had a freeze last night so I cut back everything today. I'm concerned that I may have been too aggressive and didn't leave enough above ground. I cut back the Old Fashioned Roses, Asters, Shasta Daisies, Black-eyed Susans, Bee Balm, Phlox, Butterfly Bush (I left these about a foot high) and the Purple Turtle Head.
11/05/11 Saw the Red-bellied Woodpecker on the bird feeder.
11/06/11 Saw the Red-bellied Woodpecker on the bird feeder again. For some reason all of the neighborhood woodpeckers were very active this morning.
11/07/11 Having a difficult time getting good pictures of theRed-bellied Woodpecker. It's been cloudy here and he is so big that when he lands on the feeder it spins for the duration of his visit. Very challenging for a photographer who doesn't know what he's doing.
11/08//11 I'm going to move the feeder closer to one of the backyard windows and hope that gets me some better pictures this winter. I'll eventually buy a second rig to put in the old spot but want to wait until the birds get used to the new location.
11/09/11 Moving the feeder closer to a window was wildly successful. The sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers and chickadees took to the new location right away and the pictures are much improved. Will start replacing some of the old images in the gallery as soon as I buffer up a few days worth of new pictures.
I'm digging the Squirrel Buster birdfeeder. The closest they have come from beating the system is when they climb down the feeder and then leap off in frustration it tends to spin and spew seed. This appears to be entirely by accident at this point. They pretty much just sit under it now and wait for the sparrows to drop 3 seeds for every one they manage to swallow.
Did some coding after uploading some of the new pictures including cleaning up the thumbnail enlargement process with a link to easily get back to the primary page.
11/10/11 I have one feeder out that I stock with shelled sunflower seeds. The diners thus far have been pretty predictable. I suspect that I could see some variation as Winter approaches but I think I am ready to add a second feeder to mix it up. Of course I'll add a Hummingbird feeder in the Spring so mark that one off the list. So, should I get something that will attract some different Woodpeckers (nut and berry mix or suet) or shoot for some smaller birds? Would love to attract some Bluebirds and Indigo Bunting.
Picked up KCWildlife.com for the eventual domain name for this site.
Set up a Facebook page for the site. Post 'em if you got 'em.
11/11/11 Started adding some of John McConnell's wonderful photographs to the site. You're really going to enjoy them. You can find some of his work in the Cuckoo, Red-tailed Hawk, Praying Mantis, Raccoons, Damselflies and Downy/Hairy Woodpecker sections.
11/12/11 Added more of John McConnell's wonderful photographs to the site, including Bluebird, Indigo Bunting, Heron, Green Heron, Wild Turkey, Rattlesnakes, Baltimore Oriole, Carolina Wren, Mallard, Kingfisher, Chipmunk and Coyote. Bald Eagle, Cattle Egret, Sharp-skinned Hawk, Brown Creeper and more coming soon.
11/13/11 Enlarged the fonts of the text links for mobile users. Added image totals at the bottom of the page of each category.
11/14/11 Planning a trip to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge this weekend for some non-birdfeeder photography. We now have 897 pictures in the gallery, thanks to John McConnell's contributions.
11/15/11 Picked up a Squirrel Buster Finch feeder today. Update: And within 20 minutes of putting it up there is a Northern Flicker hanging from it! And an hour later, Goldfinches!
Ordered a Super Soaker for the squirrels. How complicated is Man?
11/17/11 Visitors, thus far (October-November), to the large Squirrel Buster birdfeeder with shelled sunflower hearts:
...and around the base of the feeder to pick up leavings:
Again, this is in Kansas City so your results should be about the same if you live in the metro area. Maybe better depending on your proximity to mature trees and a water source.
11/17/11 So, the new Finch feeder attracted Northern Flickers and Goldfinches - TO THE OLD FEEDER! This makes me think that if I put up a suet feeder for a while the old feeder may get some new traffic. Robin, back to the bird store! Bought a cheap Stokes Suet Feeder, 2 packages of Woodpecker, Jr. cakes and 2 packages of suet. Replaced the large feeder (sunflower seed hearts) with the new guy and in 4 hours saw:
Other birds (Sparrows, Cardinals, House Finches, Bluejays) considered it but were either uneasy about the new system or just preferred the Finch feeder.
11/18/11 Switched from nutcake to proper suet this AM. Pulled the sunflower hearts feeder but left the Finch feeder out. The only birds that seemed to react enthusiastically to the suet were the Chickadees and the Hairy Woodpecker. Titmice and a female Cardinal went at it half-heartedly. Saw a female Red-bellied Woodpecker today for the first time. Where the male has a full mullet (red cap and nape) the female only has a red nape. She looks like a bald male. Haven't seen the Northern Flicker on the feeders since his debut on the debut of the Finch feeder.
11/19/11 Took pictures at Mill Creek Streamway Park in Shawnee, KS. I think I saw some Cedar Waxwings as we were exiting the trail. Stopped by Shawnee Mission Park and took photographs of wild turkeys, hawks and a variety of woodpeckers.
11/20/11 Crossed the 1,000 picture mark in the gallery. Saw the European Starling on the suet feeder. The Hairy Woodpecker is on it frequently.
11/21/11 I clearly have been enamored with the European Starling. There are probably a disproportionate number of Starling pictures in the gallery because of this. They were rare visitors to the feeders and were easily spooked, thus creating a sense of "event" whenever they would arrive. Today that ended. I tossed a few pieces of stale bread in the compost pile with the intent to turn the soil over in the afternoon when it warmed up. Within a few hours there are nearly a dozen Starlings rioting on the feeders and in the birdbath. I counted 7 Starlings in the bird bath at one point. I saw a Northern Flicker arrive, survey the mayhem and fly away unfed. They seem to love the previously under-appreciated suet feeder so once the bedlam subsides I may need to pull it from the menu. On the plus side the squirrels have decided that they aren't THAT hungry.
11/22/11 Would love to add a contributor who has taken some nice pictures of Missouri insects, reptiles, mammals and/or wildflowers. Just drop me a line at kcwildlife at gmail.com
Decided that the suet is working to my satisfaction but the squirrels won't stay off of it. Scrambled off to Wild Bird Center for a remedy but they were out of the feeders that I wanted. Did buy an Audubon feeder hanger and window feeder. Also got some squirrel repelling Hot Pepper suet (Yellow-shafted Flicker and Hairy Woodpecker were on it right away) as a temporary solution.
How come all of the Bird Nerds are getting Carolina Wrens but me? I have trees, multiple feeding alternatives and bushes nearby for the faint of heart. I call fowl!
Learned today that nearly all of the Flickers in the gallery thus far are Yellow-shafted Flickers. The males have a black mustache (the Red-shafted Flicker has a red mustache) and are yellow under the tail and underwings. Will correct the index over the holiday.
11/23/11 The Starlings now swoop upon the feeders daily like noisy juvenile delinquents in a library. At one point I discovered a male and female Flicker on either side orf the suet feeder. Before I could focus the camera a Starling streaked in and blasted the female off. Still, there is an hour in the morning and in the afternoon when the only customers at the bird feeders are four goldfinches and 10-20 minute stretches of time when the feeders are empty. I just can't predict when peak traffic is going to be. It's like there is some bird dinner bell that is out of the humans hearing range and suddenly the feeders are coated with 4-6 different kinds of birds acting like they are just minutes from starving to death.
11/24/11 Added some nice pictures of a Red-tailed Hawk and Red-headed Woodpecker taken by John McConnell at Shawnee Mission Park.
11/25/11 While feeder watching I have noticed that the males and females of individual species feed in sequence rather than simultaneously. The male will frequently go first and within seconds of flying away the female will show up. I've seen this pattern with all of the woodpeckers, Titmice, Nuthatch, Cardinals and Chickadees. Both genders of Fnches, Starlings and Sparrows feed at the same time.
11/26/11 Noticed a Song Sparrow for the first time. It just searches the ground for seeds underneath the feeders. It appears to be alone.
11/27/11 Posted some very nice Red-tailed Hawk photographs taken by John McConnell at Shawnee Mission Park.
Saw a single Black-eyed Susan in the flower garden. There are still Verbena blooms despite multiple freezes.
11/28/11 Got a Duncraft Suet Sanctuary to repalce my cheep (harhar) suet feeder. Also purchased some incsect suet cakes.
No luck with the Audubon Window Feeder. It's around the corner from all of the other feeders and gets no action. I've tried a variety of seeds. I decided to move the Stokes Suet Feeder to a bush across from the window in hopes that it will generate some traffic.
The Flicker, Hairy Woodpecker and Chickaee were the first feeders at the Suet Sanctuary. The Starlings were just able to reach the center but with great difficulty.
Around 2:30 PM I saw a Carolina Wren walking around inside the Suet Sanctuary!
11/29/11 Moved the Audubon Window Feeder closer to the other feeders. Using sunflower hearts only. Game on.
No action so, staying one tiny hop ahead of the bird brains, I removed the sunflower hearts feeder and within a few hours a Chickadee was hitting the window feeder. It's always the Chickadees that are the first to volunteer to check out any new sunflower seed delivery systems.
11/30/11 Moved the last remaining Squirrel Buster nearer to the window feeder with nearly instant success. The Titmouse and Chickadee are now regulars. Moved the large feeder back to it's original position with no change in the window hits.
12/02/11 Still trying to attract a wider variety of birds to the window feeder. Towards the end of the day I tried removing all seed feeders but the Audobon Window Feeder. Nearly instant success. In addition to the Chickadee and Titmouse I scored an unruly batch of Starlings (*sigh*) and a male and female House Finch.
12/03/11 Bought an inexpensive 58mm macro lens kit to play with. Hoping that it will help me get some nice close-up pictures of insects this Spring/Summer. I like the 10+ coupled with the 4+. Already taking sophomoric shots of food and carpet fibers.
Goldfinches and House Sparrows on the window feeder this AM. The rain may be helping my quest.
Saw what looked like a brownish Nuthatch on the side of the house that is opposite of the feeders so I bought a Wild Bird Center Cheepers feeder to try to draw him out.
12/04/11 Got a few Chickadees and a Hairy Woodpecker at the remote window feeder. The woodpecker just checked out the box and the fled when it saw me. It's the first time I have seen one of these guys at a window feeder. Still hoping to see the brown bird from yesterday.
Carolina Wren at the established window feeder! He didn't go in but he sniffed around it before being scared off by Starlings.
We used to get a lot of foot traffic from Robins around the bird bath. They stopped coming around about a month ago. Two things have changed. I've added some additional feeders near the bath and I'm not changing it as often as I did when it was warmer. I see them around the neighborhood so they are "in town."
12/05/11 Tied some red ribbons around the window feeders to see if it would effect their traffic. Got a female Yellow-shafted Flicker within the hour. She was a first-time visitor to this feeder but dunno if it was related to the ribbon or not.
The Starlings are becoming a real nuisance. Going to try replacing sunflower seed with safflower seed and eliminate the water source if necessary. If this doesn't work I'll have to pull all of the feeders for a week until they go away. Why didn't someone teach me about how evil Starlings are when I was little instead of wasting my time with Santa, Christopher Columbus and Valentine's Day?
I pulled the Squirrel Buster Deluxe Feeder to dillute the Starling's food options. Curiously, the sparrows perfer this feeder. They don't seem to be able to get food from the Finch Feeder and they won't use the window feeders so with the Deluxe goes they become ground feeders with the Juncos and Pigeons.
12/06/11 One of the red ribbons from yesterday is missing. The Linksys wireless camera caught a Blue Jay on the Cheepers feeder.
12/07/11 Post some cool pictures of a Sharp-shinned Hawk taken by John McConnell.
12/08/11 Saw 3 male House Finches in the Cheepers feeder at the same time.
Found out that Safflower won't deter European Starlings. It really only works on Grackles, who are currently in Texas.
12/09/11 Added a loose woodpecker mix (large nuts and berries) to several of the window feeders yesterday. Was rewarded today with a first time visit to a window feeder by a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Blue Jays are also darting off and on long enough to collect a treasure.
Dark days. My Cheepers feeder fell out of the window, a dizzying distance of 4 feet, and cracked in half. It is now in the trash and my hands are covered in Super Glue, despite the failngs of the not-cheap Cheepers feeder, still the worst product ever to be produced. Has it every successfully joined anything together other than fingers?
12/10/11 Scrambled up to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge to get some pictures of eagles, hawks, geese and ducks. Stumbled on a pair of deer. McConnell went yesterday so will be adding loads of pictures this weekend.
12/11/11 Saw the first White-breasted Nuthatch in the window feeder this morning.
Brought the Stokes suet feeder out of retirement. I initially put it away because of the squirrel activity. Now I am using suction cups to attach it to an upper floor window. Got a hit right away from a Hairy Woodpecker.
12/12/11 First American Cardinal in the window feeder! That's just about everyone that visits the hanging feeders except for the Carolina Wren (who has only poked it's head in the feeder), the Sparrows and the ground feeders like the Juncos, Robins and Pigeons.
12/15/11 The Carolina Wren spent some quality time in the feeders today. In the past he/she either focused on the seeds dropped on the sill or just poked their heads in the feeder.
Why don't Sparrows get into window feeders? The sniff around it and then return sadly to their roost in the Forsythia.
Discovered a small chip in the window near a feeder. Could a woodpecker have done that?
12/16/11 Discovered that my American Kestrel was a Merlin courtesy of John McConnel and the Bird Savant. Got in pictures of a proper Kestrel and a Northern Harrier.
12/17/11 Saw a male House Sparrow visit one of the window feeders this morning for the first time. Usually they just visit the sill for spilt seed.
Getting some nyjer today to see if I can coax up more Goldfinches from the yard feeders to the windows.
Why do Black-capped Chickadees and House FInches (mostly females) hang out with Sparrows? Perhaps I have that perspective because I have a few Forsythia that are near the window feeders and and you can normally see these three birds together, either taking turns darting up to the feeder or just warming in the sun.
While I was fiddling around with common sparrows John was out beating the brush at Smithville lake, getting nice shots of American Kestrel, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecer and more.
12/25/11 It's a beautiful day so I scrambled out to Shawnee Mission Park to search the area beneath the dam for Bluebirds. I was hoping for some solitude because of the holiday but the park was choked with people bellowing to one another and dogs enjoying freedom from leashes. Cherry on top? 4 lunkheads throwing a football back and
forth and roaring in front of the Bluebird houses on the nature trail. Got off some good pictures of a Titmouse and a Red-bellied Woodpecker, critters that are virtually at my elbow at home. Still, it was sunny and warm and I got some walking in.
12/26/11 Added the first proper Hairy Woodpecker and Barred Owl courtesy of McConnell.
12/29/11 Ran out to Shawnee Mission Park in the afternoon. It got cloudy as soon as we got there but the temps were in the 50s so fair trade. Took the McConnel trail and saw a Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk and loads of immature Red-headed Woodpeckers. The din was marvelous!
12/31/11 Made some database corrections. Our Sharp-shinned Hawk ended up being a Cooper's Hawk so Sharp-shins are now extinct at KCWildlife. Also determined that the Red-naped Sapsucker pictured at the site was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.