Archive for June 2010
My ‘Inconstant Moon’ Editing is done… the cover art finished and everthing is uploaded to CreateSpace.
Just back from soccer — my son’s team won — yay! and now for dinner and a movie.
Cool. We’ve been living on sandwiches and I’ve had no time for movies. There will be real blog posts tomorrow.
This is a bulldog named Kash.
If your feet are cool, a hot day can be bearable.
Keeping hydrated is good too.
It’s good to be a dog.
Good dog, Kash. [I miss Cody.]
I guess I’d never really looked at a bulldog closely before, but now I can really see why they said Winston Churchill had that look. Spot on.
[There will be more robins and the cancon conclusion... just not today.]
In the above nest picture, the white fluffy thing is a robin chick’s posterior. On the right hand side if you look closely you can see that the chick with his head sticking up is actually resting his beak on a sibling’s beak. If you click on the image (for all of the Robin’s Nest images) you’ll see the larger version.
While Mamma Robin was doing the marketing for dinner…
… Pappa Robin was yelling at me from the cedars. I dub this parent “Pappa” because he’s sporting an Elvis hairdo.
I did sneak this shot of the nest. Look at how incredibly crowded it is. If you look carefully you can see four babies in this heap.
In the bottom front is a beak, tilted up toward the right (we are seeing this little guy’s chin). Top left you can see two beaks pointed toward the wall. Top right it looks like chick number four is sprawled at the top o the heap; his beak is at a different angle again, canted right toward the red pole.
If you look closely you can in fact count four little white baby robin butts in the foreground.
But clearly one of the chief deficiencies is the lack of plumbing. We will need to do some serious cleanup this weekend. I’ll let you in on the secret, this is the second last day of photos in the nest, and as far as I’ve been able to tell they’ve all made it.
[There will be one more Robin's Nest blog post but it probably won't be for a day or two as I'm working hard at editing the novel in hopes of making the July 1st Create Space deadline.]
I started taking photos before deciding to blog about the nest. Day Nine was actually Thursday June 3rd, 2010.
Still trying to keep a low profile after causing serious concern to Mamma Robin I only took one round of photos on day 9. Clearly their eyes are open. This detail shot that their faces are beginning to look more like robins and less like muppets.
The fluff is being overtaken by feathers.
[In spite of a province wide ban, there was a strong pesticide smell in the air on Day 9. My pesticide sensitivity was a compelling reason not to venture out to take more photos.]
Robin in the Hood
This was the first time I’ve seen the smallest native North American raptor, the tiny Kestrel. Note he’s perched on the thumb knuckle of his handler’s protective glove. Full grown, this little guy looks to be about the size of our adult American Robins.
I believe this one is unable to fly at present as someone clipped his feathers in attempt to tame him, which is never a good thing to do with wildlife. Every year the University of Guelph’s Wildlife Education and Environmental Program sends raptors to venues like the Robin In The Hood Festival in order to educate the public.
Looking at the chicks in the nest, it looks as though they may actually have open eyes.
They’ve certainly grown a lot.
Mamma Robin can still set on the nest though. Maybe when they’re done we’ll dismantle the nest, maybe see a cross section.
Looking at feathers on the… chin?
It’s getting crowded in here.
I made a mistake today. I didn’t think Mamma was at the nest but she was. When I opened the door she was feeding the chicks, and she flew off in a panic. Clearly angry. The chicks weren’t too happy either.
Just a couple of quick snaps and no more. Eyes are definitely open.
Through the window Mamma keeps her eye on me and makes it clear she is not pleased with me.
My brother @larryrusswurm told me about this live streaming web cam capturing an Osprey nest. I think it will be interesting to be able to check in periodically and maybe get a chance to actually see hatching.
The problem with the way I’ve been taking my photographs— as snapshots maybe a couple of times through the day— is that I have to be careful not to crowd the robins. Which means pop out, snap quick and withdraw.
I’ve taken lots of photos that aren’t in focus because I’m looking over my shoulder for Mamma Robin instead of through the viewfinder. I’ve heard robins feel threatened they’ll cut and run. Move away, start over. After all, the adults will likely have at least one more clutch this year anyway Which of course would be very bad for these chicks. I want to see all four of these nestlings to grow up healthy and be able to fly away and make nests of their own.
Preferably NOT right beside my front door though. The porch may be sheltered from rain, but it would be an easy jump for most cats to get to this nest, so the whole time these little guys have been here I’ve been nervous for them.
But then sometimes you get great shots.
Who knew robins had tongues?
Of course the advantage of photographs over streaming video is better quality images and I can get in closer and look at things from different angles.
I’ll be surprised if I get a better photograph out of the bunch than this one.
But this one is my favorite.
As well as getting more fluff, you can see that their little bodies have grown a lot in four days.
They sure are ugly!
Peeking through the cedars I can see Mamma robin settling in to feed the chicks.
It’s a lot of work keeping up with the little guys. A lot of mouths to feed.
It’s hard to believe that the chicks will actually grow up to look like robins.
It is possible to see that feathers are beginning to form where the fluff is darkening up.
It looks like their eyelids are developing too. They grow up so fast!
The little ones are… well little.
Until now I have never seen wild bird chicks up close and personal.
It is weird to see giant heads on tiny bodies. Their eyes are very large, but still closed. My guess is that this is the robin version of a “baby gate”. Not that they they want to go anywhere. Yet.
Having made a point of taking my camera when I went out, and parking across the road when I returned I was able to catch this shot of Mamma on the nest. (I love my 12x optical zoom.)
I have also been making my presence known by doing a bit of yard work, being careful not to get too close and studiously ignoring the nest. Now Mamma will stay on the nest even when she knows I’m out there so I can get shots like this through the cedars.
The chicks eat and sleep. And grow. Their fluff is darkening so they don’t look as bald today.
Mamma still flies away and yells at me from the tree if I get too close. She wants my attention on her, not her babies. This is good. The last thing I want is for my wild friends to trust people.
I’ve read that any eggs that don’t hatch or chicks that don’t survive get pushed out of the nest. Since this nest is above a concrete porch rather than a forest floor and nothing’s been pushed out I’m inclined to think there are actually four little guys in there.
I’m trying to disturb them as little as possible. Zip out the door and snap a few. They’re babies after all; they need their sleep.
Who can tell? It kind of looks like there are really four little guys in there. Fingers crossed.