Owl Feather?

I found this downy feather right next to my bird bath and it looks remarkably like a down feather from an owl. Could it be from another raptor or bird? I'm not at expert when it comes to bird feather so let me know what you think. BTW, the feather might appear bluish but this is just because of the light setting. I tried taking the picture with a flash but it washed the detail on the feather out. This picture was taken without a flash and as a result the white background appears gray.


Packers 10-1

One of my great passions besides family, work and birds is sport. I am a massive rugby fan - which is genetic for all South African males. By the way the SA national team is called the Springboks or Boks for short.
Since living in the States I have adopted the Green Bay Packers as my team. Honestly I selected the Packers based on the fact that they wear the same colors as the Springboks. I started supporting the Pack in 1999 and since then it has been a pretty tough battle. This year the birds have come to roost and the Pack are doing awesomely well and I want to shout it from the mountain tops.
For those of you who missed the game earlier today, the Pack smacked the Lions at home. I couldn't be happier as our legendary quarterback Brett Favre is having a superb season at the ripe old age of 38 (old for the NFL)! Brett is a real super star that is down to earth and he really represents the best that pro athletes have to offer in terms of role model and the love of the game. Next week the Pack meet Dallas in an epic battle for NFC supremacy. If you want to watch some great football make sure you switch over to the NFL channel next Thursday.


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving and Go Packers!


Help needed: How to map participants

I would like to create a dynamic map with push pins that mark where the people that leave comments on my blog are from. I'd like to find something interactive and fun. I would imagine there must be zillions of applications available but I haven't found a single decent one. Any ideas on where I could go? Google and MSN maps is great for directions or looking at your lawn from 10 miles up, but I need something that will map people's locations with push pins. I could do this manually by screen capturing an MSN map with pushpins but that seems like WAY to much work.

Corn Snake

The other day I got a frantic call from the wife informing me that I had yet another Corn Snake caught in the deer nesting. Typical! I've spent many hours trying to catch a fish in the Raritan Bay without much success.... Maybe I need to take some deer netting out there with me. Anyway I digress. The end result was that I did some major surgery cutting the critter out of the deer netting. I must confess that all those hours of watching ER really paid off. Actually the Corn Snake was extracted with only 2 minor lacerations (ER lingo for cuts). Once freed, my wife took some pictures while I did my Crocodile hunter imitation. Crickkee, what a beauty this little baby was. After the photo session the Corn Snake was safely relocated to the farm behind our house. You're ok mate!

Photo of owl box flashing

Here's a photo of the owl box flashing that I put up last weekend. I sprayed it brown to make it less of an eye sore and it came out pretty nicely. I have also included a photo of the primary reason for the flashing - Raccoons. I have raccoons that have taken up residence in a dead tree next to the owl box.

Last May I was shocked when I heard what sounded like the death screams of a Tasmanian devil coming from the back garden. I rushed over there with adrenaline pumping through my veins. What I saw was amazing. Bailing out of the hollowed out of tree stump like toast from a toaster, were little balls of fur.

At first my brain couldn't process what was happening and then I realized that babies were jumping out of the stump. I guess the baby raccoons couldn't handle the domestic argument that was happening inside their house and decided to bail out. I managed to track one down and snapped a few pics.
Later that night I went out onto my deck and I could hear the whole gang calling for their mommy. I checked the next morning and all three little ones were nowhere to be found so I guess she managed to get them back into the stump safe and sound.

What an amazing place we live in!


Set your clock by the birds

Coming from a place where the seasons meld into one you really appreciate a place like New Jersey. Yip, you heard correct - I actually like the weather we have here in the North East. The thing that I really enjoy is the change in both the physical and birding landscape. A couple of years back I started keeping track of when my Trees Swallows arrive back. The thing that really amazed me was how regular they were. I get MAJOR spring fever and each year it feels like they are arriving back later, when in reality their internal clock stays accurate. In 2003 they arrived on the 25th of March, in 2004 on the 23rd, 2005 the 25th and 2007 the 27th.

I have now started to keep a garden list of the Fall migrants and I am also keeping track of when my mulberry tree drops its leaves. Sound insane? Well it probably is. The weird thing that I noticed with the mulberry tree is that it drops it leaves in a single day.
This year I decided to record that date so I can see how well the mulberry tree does. Maybe I'll be setting my watch according to the mulberry tree soon. Actually that sounds like a wacky name for a movie: Setting your watch by the mulberry tree....



This title will probably draw some interesting traffic to my blog, lol. I managed to get the flashing above and below the owl box this weekend...Insert safety tip here:

Always avoid working on a ladder above 10 feet by yourself!

I managed to get the flashing installd without any help, which in my hindsight might have been a terrible idea. Being up on the ladder drilling above your head...not the easiest thing in the world. I will post a few pictures of the nest box next week.

BTW: We're having our first snow of the season today and my bird feeders are packed!