Friday's Fun At Carpenter

But first, a wee bit of bragging. My sister, Terri N. Graves has a front page article in the current issue of NatureScape News! If you have a copy, it's the one with the blue dragonfly photo. If you don't have one, go out and buy it right now--it's a great paper and my sister is a great writer, a bit different from me--perhaps a tad more conservative...and not as many typos. Here's her profile on their website, but here is what she actually looks like. I think she's going to be a regular contributor to their publication and I'm so excited for her. She'll write on birds, flowers, dragonflies, or whatever tickles her outdoor fancy. NatureScape News covers the whole Midwest and Terri will be their Indiana field contributor, giving her Hoosier perspective. Go, Terri! Whoot.

Well, it was a mini bogging conference on Friday at Carpenter Nature Center because Hasty Brook and Hell Ziggy showed up to join in the fun. I learned that I am not ready to get black-capped chickadees out of the nets on my own. You would be surprised at how hard they are to retrieve, because they ball up their little toes around the nets, and you have to get their feet out before you get the rest of their little bodies out. Problem is, as soon as you get the toes out, they sneak in and clamp down on more net. My particular chickadee had fluttered quite a bit and was beyond tangled. It had to be cut out, which I didn't enjoy, since banding nets cost about $70--ack. Hell Ziggy did get a photo of me above getting a song sparrow out of the nets--easy cheesy. Alas, I was an over achiever with that bird, for I not only got it out of the nets swiftly, but accidentally let it go before we had a chance to put a band on it. Ah well, easy come, easy go.

While I was working on a chickadee, I could hear that someone else was trying to get a woodpecker out of the nets. Some can be quite squeaky and vocal when you are getting them out. I wasn't sure of the species, but could tell by tone that is was a woodpecker. I was surprised when they walked in with a young yellow-bellied sapsucker (above)! We really haven't seen them around Carpenter this summer, so I imagine that this is a young bird leaving its nesting territory--kind of like a kid leaving the house at about 18 years old and living on its own. Here's what the adult looks like. It's a pretty woodpecker.

It was challenging to try and get a photo, it kept flapping and squealing. I was curious to see if any hawks would come in. I've heard that sometimes playing a "wounded woodpecker" call and bring in hawks, foxes, coyotes, and mink.

We also got in a TON of catbirds. I think they young are finally leaving the nest and we may also be getting a few moving out of territories and pondering migration. I laughed when I was looking over the photos, my shot of one of the catbirds looks rather petulant.

Hell Ziggy's on the other hand looks down right artistic (and completely in focus). I've been hearing lots of reports of catbirds eating grape jelly (and robins too). Though it is possible that these species will regularly come in for grape jelly, I wonder if the increase in reports to me has to do with the dry conditions in Minnesota or more people taking notice?

Here's a photo Hell Ziggy got of Hasty Brook releasing a goldfinch. It almost looks like she's doing the flourish at the end of a magic trick. Hasty also got to release a catbird and appeared to have a magical experience.

Hell Ziggy on the other hand wanted to go for a more hard core, if not masochistic experience of holding a cardinal...

I got a shot of it, pre-crunch. Now, that's what I call a nail biter! Har har. She took it like a trooper though, and was proud of her blood blister from the cantankerous cardinal bill.

Afterwards, we headed out for lunch and I got some much needed fun conversation. Remember, you too could be having this kind of fun, so stop out at Carpenter sometime.