Friday, May 2, 2008

Little Orange Visitor

Jack of all Trade and myself have lived in the Lake Regions area of Maine for almost sixteen years. Our patch is nestled in a small valley surrounded by several mountains and plenty of wildlife. The people of western Maine greatly desire to preserve the sanctuary of our area with the main focus being land grants and shoreland conservation. Having said that, I've decided to post about our visitor to the thistle feeder, so here it goes.....

First I'd like to thank Tina for inviting me to do this, if it weren't for her we may not have found out the identification of this reddish/orange bird. I'm relatively sure this little guy is a Common redpoll, (Carduelis flammea) member of the finch family. The house finch is similar, but I identified my bird because of the company he keeps, a female Common Redpoll. The female Redpoll has the red cap whereas the female house finch doesn't and they are larger. These are the size of a chickadee and I see the female everyday.

This particular finch, although pretty, is one tough bird. It summers in Canada, Alaska, and up though the Artic Circle where it breeds in the out skirted shrubs of the frozen tundra. Because of a large amount of snowfall, they have an irregular winter migration pattern that includes the northern United States. They will sleep in a snow tunnel to keep warm. The first photo is a picture taken through my window while it was raining. If you enlarge it the rain on the glass looks like snow.

I want to include a tidbit about gardens and or trees so I chose to tell everyone what our visitors favorite food is.....birch seed. This finch has been known to hang upside down from the birch catkins in order to pry the seed out. They are somewhat nomadic, settling in where the supply of food is good. I have been blessed to have many birch including a pair of white birches that grace both sides of my driveway, and I've tried to photograph some of the catkins that are starting to flower. The single sapling pictures effectively demonstrate the emerging white color from the initial red bark. My dog was concerned about me in the road and wouldn't leave no matter what!

One more note about my reddish/orange friend, I sent a spot sighting to the Maine Audubon Society and offered my photo for the bird alert. Maine has had 25 sightings of this Common Redpoll in the last two years, if mine is accepted it will be the fifteenth recorded of 2008.

Lastly, on the subject of birds, trees, catkins and pairs, I've included a photo of a couple who think they are "TOPS OF THE FOOD CHAIN". This is the first time these two have seen the tank this close with occupants! the Garden.....


  1. Good morning! I have defiintely learned something new about birds today and am going to look harder at my little reddish orange birds.

    No rain yet and I still have stuff to plant before it comes-hopefully it will! ttyl

  2. Well I had said it could be a Finch of some kind but did'nt know what kind but was hoping for an off track bird in the Flycatcher. However you are lucky to have one that has been spotted only 25 times in 2 years in all of Maine. Wow!!! Sounds like they may be growing in population if yours will be the 18th in 4 months so maybe the rest of us will be able to enjoy them also someday.

    Boy oh boy my computer color must be way off as Tartarus looks almost orange, sure does not look black.

    Great pics and post!

  3. At first glance, I thought the bird was a House or Purple Finch! Wow, what a nice discovery at the feeders! I get so excited every time I spot a new bird in the yard. Although, it has been a while since my last newbie.. I keep binoculars at the desk and in the sunroom for closer views. I wish I had binoculars in every room of the house with a window!

    The kitties look like they are plotting a little swim! My girls would not let a little glass stop them. They would be in the tank head first, especially Sheba the water Queen! LOL

    I hope to make it to the garden today, just waiting on my back to untighten a bit. Giving the new tri-pod watering unit a work out with some grass seed on bare spots. Calling for rain tomorrow but beautiful sunny day now!

  4. Hi Guys,
    Tina, as of this morning, another female was at the feeder with the first one. Interesting, constant twittering, even while sleeping. Guess thats how they stay warm.

    Mom, these are also flocking birds (I have more than 3. Yah!). Thinking they are here because all of the snow this year and lack of food in Canada, last sighting was in Hollis.
    Don't adjust your computer to much, Tar is dark brown but with the direct sun on his back he can look a dark rust.
    What do you think of Frick and Frack? BTW who don't care for one another, at least they pretend that.
    Off to make a place for my wisteria, I promised myself I'd move it and haven't got to it yet.

    Hi Skeeter, caught your comment on my preview, we looked at the other finches and decided because of having 5 out of 6 marks (mostly size) and with the definate female(s) we decided Redpoll, they are so close!
    We have to be careful about opening the tank, my coon (black one) studies us when we feed the fish, he would fall in and be embarassed, just as embarassed as wearing the pom, pom collar. Nicks idea, believe me.

  5. Hi Dawn --what a cute little bird. And, your yard is very much like I pictured -a paradise for my hunter husband:0) The kitties looking at a free lunch was priceless:0) heheheh Wonder what they are thinking???

    Hi Jean --boy number 2 is okay --we figured out what was causing most of his symptoms --his allergies. He has to go back on his daily dose of allergy meds now. He doesn't care to take it but it really does help him.

    Hi Tina --we didn't get much accomplished today. We were out looking for a new pump for the pool. And, we stopped by the Co-op for some masking tape. Wow!!! Let me just say this I'll shop at Rural King EVERY time --there prices are so much better. Sidekick bought two watermelon plants to plant in the yard 99 cents for 2 semi-scrawny plants. I was in sticker shock on the prices of bulbs too. Lets just say I'll drive the couple extra miles next time:) Hanging baskets were like $14.99 --regular size too.

    Hi Skeeter --hope the back is starting to feel better today. you might get a break with these storms moving in. We have high winds now and on/off rain. I am so happy I mowed yesterday --today I can watch the grass grow with the rain, lol.

    Hi Nina, hope you aren't having as much high winds as we are --I know you were working on your project. Hubby gets that PVC pipe up here at Lowes really cheap. He uses his to make those crappie beds:)

    I better get a move on --tomorrow is a yard sale in my subdivision. I am contemplating taking all the kids toys out and offering them for FREE --hahahhaha so I don't have to keep picking them up:0) (Just kidding) And, the boys have to help out at the Sango UMC craft fair --they do it for community service hours. Should be interesting getting them up by 0600on a weekend. I sure hope the weather cooperates.
    See you all later!

  6. Skeeter-When I saw it the Purple Finch is what came to my mind as well.

    Dawn-Very pretty birds. I'll have to come up again soon and we can sit around gabbing and looking for a visit together.

  7. Hey all! Trying to wait until the rain comes and it is just not coming! Got alot planted though. Anonymous, glad boy 2 is fine. Allergies are bad this year. Dawn-still so cold up there the birds have to chatter?

  8. I Guys,
    Just came in, decided to prune the roses and move afew to a different rose spot. I found the tree I wanted the wisteria on, its toooo shady and the other one doesn't look sturdy, I thought it would look pretty on my new ugly telephone pole covering the electrical box. It was a fleeting thought.
    Anonymous, Yes! we are a fantastic hunting area and fishing, too many lakes to count, maybe another post on them later on. Hope #2 starts to feel better, allergies are so bad nowadays.
    Christy, we are on the cusp for the zone of a purple finch and from what I read the redpoll is closer to the house finch because they both have-----RED RUMPS! How's that for a behind!?! The purple finch doesn't have it. I've never seen one but hope to.
    Tina, we still hve tallish snow banks, the plowed ones though, they are about 3 ft. More in the woods. It's been thirty here for the last 2 nights. But twittering is, what I think of at least, constant wing movement while standing and it was really happening this morning with 2 of girls at the feeder. They just don't stay still. If I'd thought eariler I'd gotten a better pic of her. I took five and that was the best one, barely can you see the red on her head.

  9. Hello Dawn, a very interesting post. It is always exciting to see an unusual bird. I keep my bird book and binoculars handy.

    The cats are too cute!

    Off on another outing this weekend.
    I have five sisters and we are all meeting at a state park for some time together. Some of us have been having some health issues, but my "baby" sister is waiting for the results from a bone marror biopsy, and needs our support. We need this time to draw strength from each other. Tina and Gail have both written about their sisters, and I am sure both feel very close to them. I am reminded of a quote by Clara Ortega.

    "To the outside world we all grow old. But not to our sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time."

    Everyone have a great weekend!

  10. Nina, This is a very nice quote! And so appropriate because you know how sisters are! There are six of you? Four in my family and the same in Gail's-small world. Best wishes to your baby sister and how is your father doing?

    Dawn, Have you thought of training your wisteria into a tree-no support required.

  11. Lots of activity over the cyber fence this morning/afternoon. Hello to all. I did so enjoy this post and even looked up Carduelis flammea on google to see even mor photos...cute bird. How exciting to have seen one of so few!


  12. Dawn do you mean Frick and Frack is the names of the cats or the fish. I thought the cats names were different than that. Remember Marlene and Gary from NH (he was in the honor guard in Washington with David)? That was the name of their parrots.

    OMG!!! Still have snowbanks. Wow.
    Ours have been gone for so long I can't believe it. Wow.

    Skeeter does ibuprofen help you back! Sometimes I have to take it like I was eating candy. Or maybe your doctor can give you a muscle relaxer. I used to take them but they do not help me so stick to pain pills.

    Anonymous I am sorry that boy #2 has the allergies but I guess that is something that can be dealt with fairly easy.

    Oh Nina so sorry to hear about the health issuses and hope it turns out okay. I have a cousin that just had a bone marrow transplant.
    She lives in down east Maine and had it down in Boston and has to stay there for 3 months. She has a daughter in Connectucut, not too far from Boston so she is staying with her and her daughter has taken a family medical leave from the college she works at to take care of her and drive her back and forth to Boston. These "golden years" sure do rust out! I was always led to believe that gold does not rust! Well anyway, hope you girls all have a good weekend.

    That is a GREAT quote, I love it. The way life should be.

  13. Hi Guys,
    Nina, have loads of fun on your family outing, I don't go alot of places and I've missed the State parks. Having your own business is nice but it keeps you tied to it. I like the quote, its too true, no matter how old it always seems like yesterday when it comes to thinking about sisters.
    Gail, boy, oh boy do I have lots of clay up here, some of it in the ground almost appears gray. Glad you enjoyed this bird. I had fun researching them. After reading all the alerts for the last two years, the special notes repeatly summed up "more and more redpolls spotted" a good year for them. I don't think they will stay long.
    Tina, How can I train my wisteria to tree? I would love that. Nina lost her tree rose and out of all my roses, two are not being cut down, my Queen Elizabeth is in tree form. Thinking of Nina's I'm amazed it made it through the snow. Does Wisteria do well unsuported in snow? Esp. starting. I would be upset about losing them.
    Mom, no frick and frack aren't the kitties names. Thought of them because I saw a bit about them on tv. Did you know they were skaters? I didn't. Ya, we still have banks, May 2, truely awful. Zack couldn't play baseball last night because the ump told him to get 1/2 foam around his cast, he had it wrapped with 2 ace. We have 1 inch today....It's still up to the ump but all indication says yes. I'M BRINGING my suv because last night we had the truck and I was placed sitting in the middle, was not nice. He was bummed. Zack kept the scorebook and base coached. Brrrrr... I froze.

  14. Dawn, Select a main branch for a trunk and trim all outshoots to about three feet. Then select some more branches to be the scaffold branches. Keep it trimmed to that point of all but the three or so. let the sprigs grow but keep it trimmed enough to allow the main support and three side branches to gain some girth. I am not sure how long it will take but the trunk and supports will be enough to form a small tree. The flowers will cascade all around it. I have seen a few and should do a post on them, but who knows. They are lovely but I am sure it would take time. It would be so much easier to control in this way as you can reach all branches. I know about Nina's rose, such a pain as those roses are take a long time to grow too.

  15. Tina, my wisteria in about as big as my thumb, It keeps breaking where it is, planting advice is to plant in sheltered areas in this zone. Seems they are sun lovers, Sure wish I could get the thing going, its been in its current spot for 11 years and looking at it today..... maybe at my waist, runners broke, main trunk broke, not enough sun. Would it be so aggressive up here with our weather conditions? My t-pole is perfect, but I may tree it if I find a spot.

  16. Dawn, I am not sure why your wisteria is not growing. It would need tons of sun up there. Good luck! Bad thunderstorm here, I need to shut down because of the lightening.

  17. Wow, I spend the entire day in the garden and look at the chit chat I missed. Too much to hit on all but will say, love the quote, and good luck with family and all... Get son some allergy meds... Get that cast wrapped... and the back pain is only in the morning from sleeping. I think I sleep in a position which aggravates the back and it gets stiff. Once I get out of bed and sit reading paper or get on the computer, the pain goes away. Just takes a bit of time. But with all the work I have been doing in the yard lately, I have been taking an aspirin or two to ease the pains of this aging body. Getting older stinks as just a few years ago, I could go forever but I think all the heavy lifting and going forever has finally caught up to me in my mid 40's.... LOL.... Oh well, as long as I can still go, I will go!

    Y’all ever start on a project only to get sidetracked with a new project or even two? Gee, seems to happen to me more often then not. I was working on one project and then looked at my half circle planter and decided it needed to be cut in half to make a path through it. I have not even completed 2 other projects yet but jumped head first into that one and at least I did get it finished! Gee, one of those days. I finally got 6 plants that I picked up weeks ago in the ground! Yeah...

    I sent the Saint to Lowes to pick me up a circular border stone to complete yet another not planned for project. And I also requested a new hand digging shovel. That sweet heart came home with two sizes of hand shovels, 2 dwarf lily plants and the wrong stone! LOL, the lilies made up for his goof! I have never had lilies before and am excited over them. I gave him a sweaty kiss for his efforts. Oh, and he sang the song, You dont bring me Flowers Anymore..... I thought that was sweet. I reckon he has taken notice of my hard work lately...

    I am on the injured list. I forgot to tighten the bra straps, (sorry Dave for the bra talk) and ole Flopsy and Mopsy rubbed my skin beneath raw! Ouch, in a bad way. Aloe to the rescue!

    Okay, time to shut up...
    Good night all...

  18. Oh, and since I know cats well, I am guessing that the two looking at the fish tank are thinking....
    "Hummmm, Bet they taste like chicken!"

  19. Skeeter, You are a riot and what a sweet day with the saint, special little things....nite all, tomorrow is another day.
    PS. Missing Lola, hope to hear all is well.

  20. Hi All --oh my goodness Skeeter you had me cracking up --really bad weather but I had to check in on here to see what was up;) I hope the aloe makes you feel better, do you use the aloe plant or lotion? The plant always worked faster on us when my mom put it on a burn/cut/scrape. I really should get an aloe plant with all the knee scrapers I have here:0)

    The Saint sure sounds like a saint --and it is the little things that count:) I get giddy if my hubby brings me a candy bar, rofl. Or proudly shows me his catch of the day:0) hehehe

    Hey Tina --hope it isn't too bad out your way --I don't care for the storms. But, the grass and flowers love it:0)

    Hi Dawn and Jean --really happy to hear about your weather and plants now --and birdies too:)

    Hi Lola --hope you are spending time with the small guys and not working too much. Keep up with my motto --the yard will wait if you don't feel great:0) Take is easy.
    Some nasty weather better sign off -later:0)

  21. Hello All,
    Still doing jobs in the garden. A little at a time. Old hips & back don't want to keep up with mind. Did take some pics today. Not bad. Got my own camera tonight at the big box store so I can take pics when I want to & not have to wait for Young'un. Now to learn how to use it. Funny, I buy something & someone else winds up with it. Mothers, aren't we great!!!

    Tomorrow plans are to get place ready for oldest ggs to plant his corn. I will have to tend it for him as he & brother plan to spend summer in Tn. He will plant Sun. Hopefully he can plant the beans & squash with corn before he leaves.

    Dawn, I really liked you post. I'm glad to know the identity of your new feathered friend. It sure is pretty. I have birds nesting in azalea but I have not been able to identify them as yet. They look like ground thrush to me. Will have to work on that.

    Skeeter, have you tried to sleep with a pillow under your knees? That seems to help me some. I had to do that when I broke my leg/hip. It means laying on your back, but hey, if it helps. At first I couldn't feel my leg. Didn't know if I had one or not. lol Comical to watch me get that leg in bed. Special strap with loop you put on foot, the other end you have in your hand---so as you lay down you pull that foot onto bed. Here I've gone again---complaining.

    Very late, signing off. Hope all have a great night & a beautiful day tomorrow.

  22. Oh boy Skeeter if you think getting older stinks when in your 40's .... just wait!!!! Lola, Nina and I can can tell you "You taint seen nothing yet". When I was your age I could have tackled a lion but could'nt tackle a tame mouse now. But, that being said, I have to say that you made up for that remark with the bra talk. Flopsy and Mopsy....funny, funny, funny. Just wait a few more years for that also. Ditto with Anonymous about the saint.

    Lola, sounds like we all miss you!

  23. Hi Skeeter, Dawn, Anonymous, Lola, and Mom!
    I have to stop laughing before I can type-FLOPSY AND MOPSY!!!! You started a new trend now I tell you. Hubbies might not appreciate the terms but we women do after a certain age! Love it!

    Glad to hear everyone is doing well and working in the garden MUST be a priority! The blog will still be here and I hope everyone understands if we are not on here all the time-but to prevent sore backs, rubbed raw skin, painful hips and blisters and you name it...take a break and say hi! ;)Works for me but I am OUT of the garden today. Gotta catch up on housework.

  24. Anonymous, I use the Aloe in the bottle. I have cats and can’t have plants in the house or they will eat them then barf it up for me to clean...LOL...

    Lola, congrats on your new camera! Hide it and they will not be able to take it from you! LOL Where in TN will your ggs be staying? I guess I am not sure where in TN you call home... Do you have the Painted Bunting in your area? I am dying to see one in the wild... I have tried the pillow under the legs trick but I roll over. Poor Saint tried to sleep with that Sleep Apnea machine last night. The sound did not bother me like I thought it would but he came out of it at some point during the night saying it was pinching his head. I never heard him snore but I did have a drink that may have put me under! LOL

    I know Jean. That is what is so scary to me! I am too young to be having so much pain in my body! I think I have way overworked it in my former years. I have always been a go getter in the yard and lift heavy stuff and the wrong way! So I will be suffering more with each year if I dont slow down... Oh well, I love doing the hard labor so guess I will have to deal with it. I told the Saint that for my 50th birthday, I want a boob lift! I will not tell you what he said he wanted lifted for his 50th…ROFLOL...

  25. SKEETER, you are one crazy lady. rofl
    First flopsy & mopsy now you want to change 'em. What next--NO don't tell me. ------------?

    Haven't seen lol lol any painted buntings here. Sure wish I could get some Blue Birds. I think they are so pretty. lol lol With back issues {I didn't know I had} I too lifted all that heavy stuff when younger. Now I'm paying dearly for it.
    That sleep apnea is for the pits & is dangerous. Have to be careful of that. You got me laughing too hard, gotta stop for now.

  26. Skeeter, Lola is from west of here in the Paris area I think it is.

    Lola, Skeeter's name for uh um will go down for the history books! It is a classic and I think we all won't forget it!!!!!!

  27. I hear you Skeeter....I also had a lot of pain at a young age but never, never, for 1 second let it stop me from doing heavy work, including carring a washing machine on my back down a long flight of stairs. If it had to be done, I did it. I think it surely
    helped put my 60's body into an 80 or 90's body. If I had known before 6 years ago, when it was way too late to do anything about,
    that I had scoliosis I might not have done a lotta things I did. But then again, I probably still would have so just have to live with it all now. So listen to someone that knows and slow down and try to save some of your back for later.

  28. Hi Guys,
    Just got back from Zacks games, in the cold, in the rain. Thanks for coming Mom, I know it meant something to him even though he didn't say bye. He was looking at my truck and I guess he and Ben put the gear in. Coach told him dhing next game but it won't matter because we are getting another note from the doctor. I wished he'd batted more than once (almost up again but batter before him got 3rd out).
    Lola, glad to see you and have a ball with the camera, mines isn't very expensive but it works for me, still getting used to how it works though.
    You guys are a hoot! Never thought I'd see the day when you could order your own body parts....uh, yah, I have me up some J Lo assests too!

  29. Now don’t get me wrong here. I don’t want to replace Flop and Mop, I just want them to stand back up and look at people and not just my shoes!

    Dawn, yeah, Zack got to play! My brother is a girls softball coach and as soon as the game is over, they all have a meeting and no one is allowed to say hello or anything to the kids. They take their ball pretty seriously but kids learn from it I reckon.... My niece did not even know as I was at one of her games until she saw me later that night!

    We found a baby woodpecker on the ground today! I snapped a picture of him but have on loaded them as of yet...

  30. Skeeter, Maybe Flopsy and Mopsy like your shoes a whole bunch? Designer shoes and very expensive? There's a good reason!

  31. I am gonna send a bill to you guys for the corset I am gonna have to buy so I can read these comments and not have a sore stomach from laughing so hard.