Journal for May 2003

5/3, 5/4, and 5/5/03
Four new feeder (and year) birds:  Red Bellied Woodpecker (also has discovered tapping on the study window.  It resonates very well.) Chipping Sparrow, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Northern Oriole.

We put a floor on the porch Saturday (because it was too dry for our big burn – there’s a fire ban), and today we put one coat of polyurethane on and moments later it started raining.  But the wind has died down, so the floor seems fine.

5/10, 5/11, 5/12/03
Hummingbirds are back and they’ve found the feeders.  Also saw a towhee on the deck under the feeders.  Lots of grosbeaks – male and female.  There were 5 at one of the feeders just now.

This was another VERY wet weekend.  We did get one more coat of poly on the porch floor yesterday and it got to dry for a few hours before it poured.

We took a walk out front and noticed that Nelson Phone Company has staked out our line.  We moved a few stakes so the line goes through a less pristine part of the wetland.  And we saw a muskrat in the creek – maybe two.

The bluebirds are still trying to make up their minds whether to use one of our nest boxes.  They come and check it out, and I think they’ve moved in, and then they disappear.

There are lots of orioles at the feeders.  I put out grape jelly, and they found that too.  There are two neat birds hanging out at the feeders.  A Cape May Warbler (I’ve never seen one before) and (I think) an Orchard Oriole – yellow with a black bib going up to the eyes.  It didn’t come back, so I only saw it once.

5/17, 5/18, 5/19/03
The orioles have totally disappeared – they must have eaten all the food (both the grape jelly and sugar water were gone) and decided that was that.  The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are still here, and the hummingbirds still check the feeders.  Tonight Jackie and Emmett came for dinner – Dan is in the hospital, so we thought Jackie might need a break.  The hummingbirds kept coming to the porch windows to check out Jackie’s plaid shirt.

The porch is done – and it’s warm enough to actually use it – we ate out there.  Nice!  And we arranged the study – so it looks like a real room now.

Frogs and Toads are calling from the frog pond – Gray Tree Frogs, and American Toads.

Orioles are actually around, but not so many.  They’re eating mostly sugar water.

A cool weekend – today it’s up to about 70 degrees – yesterday it was in the 60s and windy, so we didn’t sit on the porch much.

The orioles are very quiet – they must be busy with their nests because we haven’t seen them at the feeders at all.  The bluebirds have a nest in the box closest to the house.  Mom is sitting on it, and she must get very hungry – she almost never gets to leave for something to eat.  Dad sits in the elm tree by the Y and spends all his time defending all 4 boxes.

Don Laehn came by today – he’s a cousin of Emmett’s – they had the same great grandfather – Carl Lahn – changed to “Laehn” at some point.  Carl was the farmer who homesteaded this place in 1886.  Don was trying to figure out when the name got changed, and wondered if we had an abstract for this place (we don’t).

Went to Jackie and Dan’s and walked on top of their prairie.  The have Prairie Larkspur, which is almost in bloom.  I got a few Pasqueflower seeds, which I’ll put in the ground on Hidden Oaks prairie.

The kids came down last weekend – memorial day.  We all had a great time.  Richard drove me all over – to Dan and Jackie’s, and to Perry’s, and back on XX.  Nice winding, quiet roads.  Now he needs to practice with some traffic.  Robert took lots of walks.  Mike made a beautiful mahogany frame for the mirror for our bedroom.  It’s really spectacular – the wood is very red and smooth.

Mike mowed 3 Finger Valley today, and yesterday – first mowing of the year.  And we saw the first monarchs – in 3 Finger Valley and on Big View Prairie.

I found Prairie Ragwort on Big View Prairie – I don’t think I’d seen it there before.

There aren’t many birds at the feeders – everyone must be sitting on nests.  There are a few female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks – no males at all.  The only birds we have a lot of now are cowbirds, house finches, and goldfinches.  And the Red-bellied Woodpecker – who pecks on the window periodically.