Of Birds and Men

May 24, 2010

(or “Mr. Cardinal’s Sticky Situation”)

It all began when my wife came up to my office late one morning and told me, “There are some strange thumping noises in the garage – you’d better go check it out.”

Being the brave man of the house, I immediately went downstairs, grabbed a convenient weapon (an old broom) and went out the side door into the garage.  My wife had just been working outside with the garage door up, so we expected that some creature had unknowingly been trapped inside when she put the door down.  I pressed the button to put up the overhead garage door and moved forward, weapon in hand, ready to defend our turf from any hostile visitors.

What I found was entirely unexpected. (Read more…)


Lady Hummingbird in our back yard

May 20, 2010

Since I don’t have a lot of flowering plants or shrubs around in the back yard (other than a Bottle-brush Bush), I don’t see a lot of hummingbirds there.  But I just saw a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird sitting on a bare branch in the sun this afternoon.

At first I thought it was one of the dragonflies that come up from the lagoon and occasionally rest awhile there.  But then I saw it more clearly as it paused and actually sat still on the branch.  Of course by the time I went to grab my video camera and came back, she had flown off in search of nectar.  Next time!


Savannah NWR resource page added

May 14, 2010

I just created a new resource page for the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) out along the Savannah River between Hardeeville, SC, and Savannah, GA.  This is a great Lowcountry birding hotspot, especially during the spring and fall waterfowl migrations.

Savannah NWR impoundment with Shovelers and Blue-Winged Teal

Savannah NWR impoundment with Shovelers and Blue-Winged Teal

The new Visitor Center opened in March, 2010, and is a great place for the whole family to learn more about the refuge and the wildlife that lives (or stops by) there.  Make sure to see the 11-minute video about the refuge and its connection to the Savannah River, as well as the great exhibits.

Savannah NWR Visitor Center exhibits

Savannah NWR Visitor Center exhibits


Raccoon Shell-fishing – Nature in My Back Yard

May 4, 2010

We have been trying to solve a mystery on the banks of the lagoon behind our house: where have all the empty freshwater mussel shells come from? These shiny shells (or rather, half-shells) started appearing a month or two ago.  At first we thought the American River Otters that frequent the lagoon had been doing a little shell-fishing on the side.  But we’d never actually seen them trying to pry one of the mussels open before.

Now we know!  The first time we saw the culprit, there were actually three of them – the local raccoons have developed quite a shellfishing technique!

(I actually was able to video the three of them in action, but then our “special needs” son decided that the SD card with that video on it was “old” and since it had no more room on it for additional video recordings, he pitched it in the garbage – can you spell A-N-G-R-Y?)

Fortunately, we managed to capture one of them recently back in action wading out into the lagoon, feeling around for a mussel, then bringing it back to shore and tearing it open for a delicious crustacean delight.  Quite a talent that they have developed!


A River Otter Swims Down Our Lagoon


It’s not the first time we’ve seen them in the lagoon behind our house, but many folks who’ve lived here in the Lowcountry have never seen the American River Otters that have been here longer than humans.  We’ve seen as many as 4 at a time swimming by our backyard in the lagoon.

I happened to have the video camera handy when a River Otter cruised down the lagoon recently.  At the end of the short video, it dove underwater and I waited in vain for it to re-surface in view of the camera.  They can swim a long ways underwater!


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