Friday, September 19, 2014

Mother Squirrel

Gray Squirrel Eating Peanut

Mother Squirrel enjoys a peanut. Her nest is above in the tree top. I've seen nesting squirrels in Florida (this one) and North Carolina recently so now is not the time to do tree trimming without checking!

Dark Eyed Junco



Friendly Dark-Eyed Junco Great Smoky Mountains, NC eats right next to me. The little guy looks a little roughed up from a recent storm.

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Dark Eyed Junco


Feral Cat Documentary



Feral Cat Documentary. A beautiful feral cat starts hunting backyard wildlife - a dilemma for animal lovers! I decide to watch, film and try to get to know this wild creature and see if a win-win solution is possible. Watch for the bittersweet conclusion....

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Feral Cat Hunting


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Unusual Blue Jay Song in Great Smoky Mountains



Unusual Blue Jay calling in dense hardwood and hemlock forest at 4000 feet in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina in early September. I have not heard this call before, but the consensus is that it is in fact a Blue Jay. I'm very familiar with Blue Jays - in my Florida backyard I have trained them to eat from my hand
,but I never heard them call like this - lengthy repetitive and melodious. However, I have noticed a difference in behavior between the typical suburban Jay as in Florida and those few that inhabit the high mountain forests, I've been visiting this same area of the Smokies for eight years and can count on one hand the number of Blue Jays I've seen. They do not come to feeders - at least in the warm season - and generally make little if any sound. The bird calls that ring out are Towhees, various sparrows, warblers, Wrens, chickadees, nuthatches and titmice and Pileated and Downy Woodpeckers, but never the classic Blue Jay calls. 

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Unusual Blue Jay Song in Great Smoky Mountains




Red Squirrel Tries Corn to Go!


Mother Red Squirrel tries to take an entire ear of squirrel corn back to her nest with predictably humorous results. She is nursing the kittens in a nearby nest and I leave out a feast of fresh nuts for her several times each day, but I did not expect her to try and take a heavy ear of dried corn which weighs many times her body weight to go! Hope to have more baby Red Squirrel videos in October when they are big enough to get out and around.

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Red Squirrel eating nuts and corn


Friday, September 12, 2014

Tufted Titmouse Call



Tufted Titmouse excitedly calling at dawn at a flying squirrel feeding station. This little expressive and excitable bird is one of my forest favorites!

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Tufted Titmouse Call

Bald-Headed Blue Jay or Blue Jay Buzzard?



A Bald Blue Jay or a new species of Blue Jay Buzzard? A rare vulture look for a Blue Jay in early September and the first I've seen in the Florida backyard in many years of watching. Molting is usually a gradual process, but for some reason once in awhile all the head feathers fall off at once. It is also possible it is mites or lice , but it only affects the head. You will see in the video that the rest of this bird looks fine. There are some raw red patches on its head and it has been seen scratching at its head. This bad hair blue jay was actually quite hard to film compared to the dozen or so other jays that frequent the backyard who look normal. This one was quite skittish and generally in a bad mood. I also have squirrels with skin problems this summer - big festering sores from parasitic fly larvae - a subject for another video. Here is some reference material on abnormally "bald birds".


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Bald Headed Blue Jay

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Max Patch Mountain 360 Degree Panorama on Appalachian Trail



Max Patch Mountain west of Asheville, NC is on the Appalachian Trail and not too far off of I-40. It offers one of the most breathtaking mountain vistas in the eastern U.S. An easy climb to the bald summit at 4616' offers unique vistas over the seemingly endless southern Appalachian Mountains. Barn Swallows and Rough Wing Swallows were constantly swooping at great speed just above the tall grass catching bugs. A great day-trip out of the Asheville, NC area. Note - filmed with my cell phone - a little shaky but not too bad!
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Max Patch Mountain 360 Degree Panorama on Appalachian Trail



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Elk Great Smoky Mountains



Female and young Elk stroll down a residential street near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The Elk reintroduction program has been quite successful. 
http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/elk.htm

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Elk Great Smoky Mountains

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ruby Throated Hummingbird Preening



Female Ruby Throated Hummingbird chilling out and preening on her favorite perch overlooking a source of nectar. She may have a nest nearby - this is some rare quality down time between fighting with other hummingbirds over nectar sources.

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Ruby Throated Hummingbird Preening