New bird sightings for my list!

Eric and I are mostly backyard birdwatchers, and we get hours of enjoyment from watching activity at our feeders and birdbath.  But the visitors there are limited to about 12 species, and it’s really fun to see some different birds once in a while.  This week I added two species to my life list, although neither of them were at our feeders.

Yesterday I saw this at a local park:

Mother turkey and her brood of 4 turkey-ettes
Mother turkey and her brood of 4 turkey-ettes

Aren’t they cute? I think they’re wild turkeys, but I have to check to make sure. I’m pretty sure I saw one of these in our yard last year, but I didn’t get a clear view so didn’t count it for my list.

And 2 days ago I got my first look at a brown thrasher in a downtown parking lot. Very cool. So, along with the kingfishers we saw on vacation last month, and the big hawk that has been hanging around our yard all week (watch out little chipmunks!), it’s been a relatively exciting birding summer for us.  Oh, I almost forgot, we also saw what we thought were 2 blue herons (or some type of heron) while we were in Michigan’s UP last month.

So, just from memory right now, these are the birds we frequently see on our property:
Tufted titmouse
Black-capped chickadee
Ruby-throated hummingbirds
Downy woodpecker
Blue Jay
Cardinal
Nuthatch
House finch
Goldfinch (occasional visitor)
Grackle

Sort of the standard backyard feeder list for this region of the country, I know. Nothing exotic, but they’re still fun to watch. The woodpeckers in particular have been very entertaining over recent weeks. There are 3 of them here, and they often spar for the right to claim the suet cakes for themselves. One day I saw two of them hanging on opposite sides of the same suet cake, peering over the top at each other, pecking over the top trying to knock the other guy off. It was cute.

I feel like I barely spent any time outdoors this “summer” though. Spring lasted into late July, leaving us with a bumper crop of blood-thirsty mosquitos. Then we had a couple weeks of summer temps, and now we’re pretty much headed into cooler fall temperatures already (it was in the 40’s last night). If I’m outside 10 minutes without getting bitten by something, it’s unusual. Last year I had a pest-control company spray the woods around the house monthly, and it was just heaven being able to sit out on the deck and work or relax. But I really don’t like the environmental and health risks associated with those nasty chemicals, so this year I didn’t sign up for that. And clearly there’s been a price to be paid for that decision! I’m considering what I’ll do next year, and although I hate to admit it, there’s a chance I’ll sign us up for that service again. Citronella and lemongrass candles seem to help a tiny bit, but I can’t tolerate their strong scents. I worry about spraying my skin with mosquito repellent because it might end up rubbing off on the cats and making them sick. What to do, what to do….oh, I know — just stay inside and knit! (Funny how everything can be made into a reason to knit, huh? That’s part of the obsession I guess!)
Ethnic Knitting swatch colors

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