Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Walking Into the Sunset


Bunny #2 after that January dry spell.  We worked really hard for this rabbit. The snow is starting to melt in some places, but is still pretty deep in some other places. This was at one of our hunting spots I had not visited yet this year, so lots of bunnies to try for.

Winter Break

I have been on a week of vacation. When I asked for the time off, I indicated maybe I would go someplace warm. Well, that didn't happen!  However, I did have a nice week off with Rich, and we did get out of town for a little break away.

Today, Thursday February 9, 2023, the last day of my break, Seneca and I ended an overly long dry spell where we have not scored any kills. Between the holidays, my inviting people to join us to hunt, which Seneca has indicated to me she really does not like by flying off, the bitter cold, and the ridiculous amount of snow that has been hard to tromp through, it has been over a month since we added anything to the game bag. That ended today with a pretty easy fall onto a bunny I kicked up after only about 7 minutes in our chosen field.

I'm posed here above with her, stuffed to the gills, with one of my hunting places that I just may lose. The owners of the land have sold it, and will be vacating in March. The new owners, an investment company he tells me, may just bulldoze the place down and build some unwanted urban sprawl. That's really too bad, as this is a really good site just loaded with bunnies. Why do we need another strip mall?  That is probably what will get put there.

Over the previous weekend, we made a quick trip to North Dakota to visit with my niece Sarah and her husband, Sam. They live in a small town in the Southeastern corner of the state, where Sam is a chemical engineer at the major employer in town, an ethanol plant. Sarah has the ability to work remote, and does so as a Software Engineer. They have a nice home they share with two dogs, with one being a cute puppy.

The weekend trip was to also include my other niece Erica, Sarah's sister, but at the last minute her kiddos came down sick, so she had to stay home with them. Because I didn't want to take up guest room space, leaving that option to the sisters, I arranged for an AirBNB not far from the little town we were visiting. I now realize I didn't take many pictures of the place, but to be fair, we weren't there much over our two-night stay. It was a cute little guest cabin next to a ranch house in the country. The snow was piled to ridiculous height. When we arrived it was super cold, negative on the thermometer, but warmed up a little bit over the weekend to a more comfortable temperature. Here was a picture outside the door with the sun coming up on Saturday morning.

When we first arrived, after checking in and tossing our bags into the room, Rich cut the corner out of the ranch a little too close as he tried to avoid a UPS truck turning in. We went off and into a snow pit. Thankfully, our host had a tractor, and laughed it off as something his wife does from time to time. 

We stopped in town on Saturday morning on our way to Sarah's home to pick up some creamer for coffee. I had to take a picture, that they too have a small grocery store named Miller's. That is the name of our own little grocery store in our home town. I'm fairly certain it is two different people named Miller that own the stores. 

After breakfast Sarah joined us for a trip to Fargo. We drove around for awhile seeing if we could find any of those giant jack rabbits that were seen in the suburbs in 2015. We did find a few places that might have a cottontail or two, but no jacks were found. We then checked off something else on my bucket list - going to the Prairie Rose Meadery in town. Rich and I have been through Fargo1 Fargo2 a couple times, and each time this place was not open. Today it was! We each got a flight of 4 sample glasses of various meads made and bottled here, then shared and selected to purchase several bottles to take home.

We then stopped by Boppas Bagels, which we have visited before in Fargo, to pick up some of their "famous" rainbow bagels. On Saturday, they were all out. We did return early Sunday morning only to find they hadn't made any! So much for their signature bagel!  However, the employees were kind enough to make some for us fresh. We returned in about an hour and a half and took home 6. I thought this was a very nice little gift for our neighbor girls who took care of our goats for us while we were away. They also got paid for the job. This was just an extra "Thank You"!

I had brought Seneca along, and got all the permits, just in case we could chase one of those jackrabbits, if we found them. Well, that was a bust. Of the places we found that could have bunnies, only one looked remote enough for me to attempt a hunt, however it turned out to have way too deep snow to even try. My niece's home has several low cedar bushes around the periphery of the house which are blanketed in snow. There is abundant bunny sign. I put Seneca up a tree and tried popping out any bunnies that were hiding in the bushes. I only kicked out one, and that after she had already registered her dislike of being watched by more than just me and Rich, and had flown too far away to take advantage of the slip. I just called her down and called it a day.

The next morning, out the kitchen window, I caught this picture. See him? See Mr. Bunny-Foo-Foo there, full well knowing there is no hawk perched waiting to catch him.  That's a Lucky Bunny . . . for now!

When Rich and I returned home, later in our vacation week, I decided it was time for what is turning out to be a yearly migration during mid-winter to visit the Sunken Garden at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. The floral display there changes every few months, and the indoor spaces offers a very nice, fragrant green break from the dreary winter outside. On this visit it was the lillies that perfumed the room the strongest. In a little over a month they will have the actual Spring Display, which usually has lots of flowering bulbs. Maybe I will have to go again. 

The fragrant Lillies!

They had two of these, which I have never noticed before. It is a wreath made of succulents. Very unique!  I wonder how they water it??

Overlooking the room. Those tall spikes are fox gloves. The nice thing about being able to visit in the middle of the week is that there are less people to rub elbows with while enjoying the flowers. Kids too!  They should be in school. Click the picture for a larger image to enjoy.

Attached at the back of the Conservatory is a Bonsai display, and just outside that is the Japanese Garden. It is closed right now for winter, to reopen once it warms up, however the view made for a picturesque Winter Scene. 

Me and My Man in front of the flowers.

After the gardens we went looking for another place I've wanted to check out, Potters Pasties. It sells pasties, which are tasty pastry wrapped meat and potatoes. The place was tucked away, with a back door entrance and down in a basement, but was worth searching out and waiting for the flakey-crusted goodness.

It was a nice break away from the winter routine. It would have been nice to actually go someplace warm, where you can step outside in shorts, but there was not a whole lot of time for that. For now, we return to endure the rest of winter.  

January was a dry spell for our hunting season. I took Seneca out as often as I could, but there were days it was just too cold to be out, and other days the snow was so very deep it made making any progress to find bunnies to kick out almost impossible.  The season will come to a close soon.  I love this girl very much, and will definitely be keeping her, molting her out over the summer, and hunt again next year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

2023 Season Live Nest Cams

2023 Season Live Nest Cams

I will add them here as they become active.

This is for MY reference, because I like nest peeping at raptors. 

Bald Eagles Go First!

The female in this nest has gone AWOL, but the male is doing a pretty good job of taking care of his chicks. There is an occasional interloper/possible unmated female looking to horn in on the deal?? 

(1570) Window To Wildlife - YouTube

(1570) bald eagle - YouTube

I dunno about this pair. PIP watch on 2/15, but parents have been spending a lot of time off the eggs.

3/7/23 - Ravens eat the eggs. They were not fertile.

(1624) PixCams - YouTube

Eagle Cam - Dulles Greenway

Our "local" eagles, up here in Minnesota/Iowa, won't start laying until February, with hatch in March, but the adults are working on the nests and pair bonding.

First Egg Laid 2/20/2023 late in the evening (8:50 pm). DNF went into a zone for 50 minutes after laying before she finally tucked egg in under her blanket.

There has been a long delay, and no #2 egg here in the expected window. Will there just be one this year?

And now, lots of drama at the nest. Egg left exposed for too long. Not viable. Will they re-nest??

First Egg Laid 2/25/2023 afternoon.   Second egg laid 2/28/2023 afternoon.

First Egg Laid 2/15/2023
Second Egg Laid 2/18/2023
3/1/23 - one of the eggs broke  :-(

White Tailed Eagles, Latvia

(60) Latvian Fund for Nature - YouTube


Golden Eagles

(139) Kotkaklubi - YouTube    (monitor for addition)

Red-Tailed Hawks

Peregrine Falcon

Hattie and Orton

Great Bird Feeder Cams
Definitely not all inclusive! Just a few favorites!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Second Squirrel of the Season at the Community Garden

I was able to take Balaa out for another adventure, this time at the Community Garden in Rochester. It is usually known to have bunnies. We did flush several, but my girl is showing the tendency to take a distance perch, and is somewhat solo hunting. I may be flying her a bit too high, but sometimes have many days between windows to hunt, so have been siding with keeping her well fed instead of hunt sharp. 

As we worked the frozen marsh to kick up rabbits, she went after a squirrel in a tree just the other side of the creek.  She caught it!  However, that then required me to get to the other side to get her.  Thankfully, prior to our frozen season getting going, we were relatively dry, so our creeks froze at a low level. I could not get up over the other bank, but Seneca was on her squirrel close enough that I could reach up and grab her, and drag both her second squirrel catch with me and her off the edge, and tip toe over the ice back to the side I was on. 

When I loaded this clip up on YouTube, I guess now if you select it to be "public" they automatically put it into rotation on their shorts. It got a whole lot of views, which was not my intention. Some "helpful" yahoo out there commented that "that is not how you hold a hawk, you are going to hurt her." Well, I was not holding the hawk, I'm holding the squirrel. She's holding the squirrel, and could let go at any time if she wanted. I'll make sure to tag those short videos as private, to keep unsolicited comments to a minimum.