Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rock Pigeon

It's still overcast and we had a bit of rain, but most of it is north of us today. I went to town, as usual on a Wednesday, and noticed all the tanks are now full. It's also very green and wildflowers are really trying to come along. When the sun comes again, I bet we see a lot of new wildflowers.

I'm adding a Rock Pigeon to the bird list. There has been a very big one hanging around for a few days. They are much larger than I thought or at least this one is much larger. Obviously this is a feral Rock Pigeon. I've only seen the one so far.

Addendum-Well the Rock Pigeon has been roosting on the Gator under the shelter of the gator port. Easy to observe and we notice that it has two bands on it's legs. A blue band on the left leg and a yellow band on the right. Interesting. May not be as feral as I originally thought.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


We had a very nice rain very early on Monday morning. For once we were on the right side of the line for rain as not far away they had little. We received 2.2 inches, then another .6 over the course of the day. This morning just a bit more for almost a full 3 inches total. It's the first time in a long time I've seen run off come down my diverted dry creek. Not much, but enough to show we are getting a good soaking this time. We had another half inch of rain this afternoon. Total now up to 3.55 inches.

The trees are looking very good. The Jasmine is now blooming and smells so good especially after these rains. We are leaving to doors open in order to enjoy it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Painted Bunting

Saw the first Painted Bunting of the year today. They are by far the prettiest birds found at the ranch. Very good to see them back. I also saw an Indigo Bunting this morning. I don't recall ever seeing a Painted Bunting on the ground, but the Indigo Bunting seems to prefer feeding from the ground. Interesting. I don't mention the Blue Jays as now I see them everyday and there are several pairs now living here.

We are supposed to get rain this next week so all the neighbors are trying get their hay in the barn. We really need the rain. Still water in the tank, but low.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another Sighting

I had almost given up on the hopes that the Indigo Buntings would stay. There were 8-10 last Saturday so it looked like they were migrating. The good news is that I saw one this morning so hopefully one pair have taken residence. The birds have been very active and it seems we have been discovered as a 'bird friendly' place. I also saw a female Summer Tanager on the bird feeder this week. I'd love to see the male. I won't add them to the list until I see a second sighting to confirm.

I did some fence repairs as we have a goat who likes to roam. In spring when the briers and brambles come out along the fence row she likes to get into the road. I think I found the holes. This particular goat will be on the sale barn list next time around. The former bottle babies have adjusted well. We have all 25 goats so far but the little runt does wander off on her own so I wouldn't be surprised to see her missing one day.

Something interesting happened this evening. I took the dogs out for a short walk and went back from the house towards the north fence row and a small bluff. I had cleared a small place there years ago so I could watch the sun set to the west looking down the fence row. (This was before we had cleared the mountain west of the house which is now a better view) I found my small stump I had cut years ago to sit on and was just sitting and enjoying a diet coke. Looking down the fence row I see two deer running up the mountain heading straight towards me. I was higher and they did not see me. They ran all the way up and the first one stopped just twenty feet below me and turned to look at the trailing deer. When he turned he saw me and we looked eye to eye. She was very surprised. A big snort and she dashed off into the brush. Until the snort the dogs had no clue to what was happening but that got their attention. It was a little exciting. It might be a good place to observe as the trails along the fence rows have tracks of all kinds of critters.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Indigo Bunting

We had a very nice rain early Friday morning and showers throughout the day. About 1.65 inches of rain. It did gully our road especially the fresh material I had place just last week. An hour or two on the tractor today will clean it up.

I did get a new multi-station hummingbird feeder and placed it in the back of the house. We have a very good view of it from the bedroom windows. I've seen two at a time on it, but no more so far.

It is very green following the rains. A lot more wildflower too. We have yet to cut the grass so we have quite a collection of grass, weeds, wildflowers, etc.

Another first for the ranch listings (on the left side of this blog) in the bird section. On Saturday morning there were three male Indigo Buntings feeding on the ground below one of the bird feeders. There were also females, but couldn't tell how many. When I first saw them I thought they were Bluebirds as they have bluebird boxes up in several places along the County Road, but these are a solid blue. I'd never seen any Indigo Buntings here on the ranch before Saturday, but the Painted Bunting I see every year about this time. I spotted them again in the evening about 6:30 in the same place. Hopefully they will become regulars like the Painted Buntings.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Hummingbirds

The hummingbirds are very active and today I saw a new first for the feeders here on the ranch, four hummingbirds feeding at once. When I first walked by the feeder there were 3 with a 4th buzzing. A few minutes later there were four on the feeder with a 5th buzzing. This is the only multi-station feeder I have up and is located off the screened porch. The feeders I have in the back are single feeders. I may upgrade those as it's interesting watching the little hummingbirds jockey for position.

There were a lot more bluebonnets on the road today when I went to town. They look pretty good, perhaps even average which is more than I expected with the drought. It should be a pretty May.

Yes, today is Wednesday or 'Go to Town' day out on the ranch. The Feed Store, Bank, BBQ (rib day), Post Office, Grocery, and Sonic are the usual stops each Wednesday with others (i.e. Dry Cleaners, Gas Station, etc.) as needed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

April Showers

I've been very busy in the office this past week so I haven't been able to get much work done on the ranch. With the Easter holiday weekend I've made some time for chores and work. Friday I did some Tractor work and swept the ranch roads. Also cut some cedar. Yesterday was humid and overcast so a good day to burn what brush I did have in the 'gravel pit' brush pile. We did get a nice rain in the early morning hours today. About .62 an inch of rain in the gauge. We can still use more rain.

I saw a few Bluebonnets on the ranch, but very few. The Prairie Verbena looks very good. Most are 6" high on average now and in full bloom. Several other wildflowers starting so May may be good for flowers.

I have not had any problems with raccoons in the Gator or around the house. Eliminating the problem ONE seems to be the correct solution. The birds have been very active. I got another 175 pounds of bird seed (had a coupon) so hopefully that will get me through to summer. I've seen several sets of BlueJays so they are here for sure. One morning there was both a BlueJay and a Cardinal drinking water on the fountain at one time. Nice to see. The hummingbirds are also active. There have been a lot of rabbits at night.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Bad Raccoon

I made a deal with the raccoons long ago when we came here. If they leave me alone then I will leave them alone. I actually enjoy watching them and they were very curious about me when I was in the cabin early on at the ranch. I haven't had too many problems with raccoons, perhaps every few years. I don't mind when they eat the deer corn or even attempt to get the bird feeders, but when they start getting too close to the house or into the Gator that's when they are going too far. For about a week something has been getting into the bed of the Gator and dumping the feed buckets and bird seed buckets. There is usually very little feed, if any, in them as they are empty other than when taking feed down to the goats. There will be bird seed or oats on occasion. I saw a cat there last week but I really suspected raccoons. I didn't really want an 'all out' war or culling of raccoons, I just wanted the guilty ones, so I thought I would set an old fashioned steel trap. The DW asked me to wait until she left town so last night was my first opportunity. After feeding the goats and parking the Gator in its usually spot I set the steel trap in the back of the Gator. I covered it and most of the bed with a sheet of newspaper and placed empty buckets around to hold down the paper. I knew the buckets would also serve as my alarm. I also knew it would take a lucky step to catch the varmint. I had my doubts. I then went inside the house and went about my business.

I was on the computer about 10:15 when I heard the noise of empty buckets moving about. I hadn't even thought about the trap since setting it, but I knew immediately what had happened. Sure enough I've trapped a raccoon. At least I know this one is guilty. There was plenty of corn on the ground so he wasn't hungry he was up to no good. Scratch one raccoon. This was actually the first one I have trapped. I've had to shoot them with either the rifle, pistol, or shotgun and that's different. I've caught coyotes in snares and then dispatched them, but this was somewhat a first. I learned some lessons and will do it a bit different next time. I haven't decided if I'll put the trap out tonight or just assume this one was the only varmint getting into trouble.

The weather has been pleasant. Cool nights and then a high about 72°. Very nice. We did get .4 inches of rain overnight one night this week. Everything is now budding so it's a full spring. Also getting a nice crop of weeds. The Prairie Verbena is looking nice.

The bottle babies have adjusted to one bottle a day. They are eating the dry feed at will now as well. They are not following the herd up the mountain though. It will be time to start cutting back the amount of the daily bottle soon.