Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Squirrel Eating Mango



Gray Squirrel in Florida feasting on ripe messy Tommy Atkins Mango and then wiping his juicy face on the fence. Oh, the life of a backyard squirrel! Of course between the squirrels, raccoons, possums and birds few mangoes can ripen on the tree. The mangoes provide a big boost in available wildlife food in the hot mid-summer. The squirrels in particular have a knack of biting the mangoes off at the stem one day before I was planning to pick them.

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Squirrel Eating Mango
Video: Squirrel Eating Mango

Song Sparrow Nest and Song



Male Song Sparrow sings from a nearby tree while mother Song Sparrow sits on three eggs in a nest well-concealed on the low branches of a small Norwegian Spruce Tree. The classic call of this Song Sparrow male has a nice sharp and clear Smoky Mountains variation. I found an angle to film the nest with a tripod down low. Hopefully will be able to watch them hatch and fledge in the coming weeks. I believe this sparrow is the one that had a failed nest earlier in the summer.

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Song Sparrow Nest and Song


Domestic Cat Hunts Young Rabbit



A domestic Cat i.e. someone's pet with a collar has begun hanging around my bird and animal feeding area before dawn and stalking birds and young rabbits. I like cats. It is not the cat's fault, but irresponsible cat owners that are causing the problem in these cases. This is a great use of the night vision game cameras such as the Bushnell brand I use to inventory the creatures around the backyard environment and keep track of developing problems. I'll have to track down the cats owner. Cats let loose like this might be eaten by bigger game that I've spotted with the camera in the same location such as Bobcats, Coyotes, Foxes, Dogs, Bears (perhaps), Owls, Eagles, and big Hawks or get bitten by smaller game such as rats, possums, skunks and raccoons and contract rabies, and/or otherwise get sick or injured, but they are more likely to learn to take advantage of feeding areas and hide, stalk and kill birds and small mammals. Cat's should not be allowed to roam off of their owner's property - and to reduce depredation of birds and small mammals bells can be added to their collars to lessen the chance they will successfully hunt. 

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Domestic Cat Hunts Young Rabbit


Monday, July 21, 2014

Cedar Waxwing Fledgling



A newly fledged Cedar Waxwing waits patiently on a branch to be fed in the Great Smoky Mountains. Hiding deep inside a locust tree I was lucky to get this video using manual focus after hearing the young bird. You can just see the yellow at the end of the tail feathers and the trademark eye mask is very evident. Keeping well-hidden increased the chances that the young one will survive.

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Cedar Waxwing Fledgling


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chipping Sparrow Feeding Fledglings



Mother Chipping Sparrow has her hands full with two new fledglings just out of the nest this morning (7/18/14).  A birding tip: Spreading seeds around several rocks and other nooks on the ground makes for interesting feeding opportunities and increases the chances of getting good captures of birds and small animals.

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Chipping Sparrow Feeding Fledglings


Lizard Wrestling Moves


Slow motion clip of an Anole Lizard wrestling match. Only in slow motion can you appreciate the speed and strength of these lizards. Watch carefully and see that the lizard that is thrown is not the one that ends up pinned. The thrown lizard puts on an amazing twist move whipping its tail for leverage that results in the tables being turned! Shown at 1/8th normal speed. Actual time 16 seconds.

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Brown Anole Lizard wrestling match


Giant Tree Slug !



Probably a variety of Leopard Slug this 4+ inch long slug was happily  climbing a large hardwood tree in the deep forest of the Great Smoky Mountains. It's a little easier to appreciate a slug when its out in the wild and not around your house :-) Also good food for birds!

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Giant Tree Slug
Video: Giant Tree Slug - What's not to love!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Downy Woodpecker and Gray Catbird



Male Downy Woodpecker has to put up with a Catbird and a Robin who simply don't understand suet feeder etiquette nor the fact that this is a woodpecker blend made for attracting woodpeckers. The little Downy's get their share, but Catbirds and Robins have no shame when it comes to suet!
The female Downy faced the same stiff competition earlier at:

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Downy Woodpecker and Gray Catbird

Eastern Towhee Calling - Drink Your Tea!



Drink Your Tea! Male Eastern Towhee Calling in the morning with the classic territory call. Loud and strong with an extra flourish at the end. Towhees around the eastern U.S. have subtle differences in their calls. The calls of Towhees high in the Smoky Mountains seem to be a bit bolder and have the added emphasis of echoing through the valleys.

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Eastern Towhee Calling - Drink Your Tea!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Great Crested Flycatcher Fledglings Call


Video: Great Crested Flycatcher Fledglings Call

Three of the four Great Crested Flycatchers that hatched in May make an appearance and call high in the tree tops where they spend much of their time. Almost as big as their parents but without the developed crest yet. A zoom out at the end illustrates just why it is so hard to see the flycatchers unless you happen to catch one of their whistle calls to locate them. Looks like they are doing fine. A playlist of the their parents courting and nesting is at:

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Great Crested Flycatcher Fledglings Call