Friday, February 25, 2011

Wild Weather and Ruffled Crows

The weather has turned wild at Shell Beach, snow is expected in the surrounding high areas and the crows are ruffled.  I have been feeding a pair of crows each day about 10:00 AM each day.  They were right on time this morning.  It is funny how they can tell time- do they have a pocket watch?? I looked out and they were hanging on the telephone wires and their feathers were blowing every which way.  It is really blowing hard out there.  I have to be careful when I feed the crows as there are many ravenous seagulls about.  They will fly down and steal the food away from the crows just like that.  This morning the gulls were not around so I put two pieces of meat out for the crows.  The brave one came right down to the railing and got a piece.  Then the shy one came down and got the other piece of meat.   Right after that the seagulls showed up so I could not feed the crows anymore food.  However- I do believe they will be back tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM unless it is raining very hard.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birds in Shell Beach

Since the weather in Napa was dreary and too much like winter, we decided to rent Casa Serena in Shell Beach, CA once again for a month.  The only downside to this trip was the fact that Raven had started to come around for peanuts and a look at us at our Napa home.  But Raven never forgets a favorite food so I believe he will be back when we return home and the peanuts appear once again!
Shell Beach is a lovely little village on the Central Coast of California near Pismo Beach- a varied mix of beach bungalows and mansions.  There is a very Tudor style mansion near our abode that hangs over the sea and the daffodils are blooming all around the house.  It looks likea  manor house in England.   No one is ever home.  It is lovely to have such a place but a shame not to have time to visit it.  Ah well- I peer in the gates every evening as we walk the 2 blocks to watch the sunsets with the neighbors and their dogs.  The house has several follies in the yard- a windmill, a tower for Rapunzle, and an oriental tea house- quite the place. 

Every evening I go down to where the rocks are exposed at the edge of the Pacific ocean.  I am looking for black oyster catchers.  I think these are the cutest birds with their bright red bills.  They hunt and peck on the rocks looking for sea worms and other tasty things to eat.  They are usually found in pairs and make alot of noise if disturbed.  They walk around the seagulls that are sitting on the rocks as they peck along.  They are black like ravens so maybe that is why I like them.
Most evenings we have a pair of peregrine falcons that come and perch on two century plants that are across the street from Casa Serena.  There are many song birds around here so I think the falcons come to look for a before bed snack.  I have never seen peregrine falcons up close, so this is special.  I have my spotting scope trained on them in the evenings.
Another bird is found here that I have  not seen before- a ring neck white dove.  I looked in my bird book and it says located around Los Angeles.  We are a couple hundred miles north from there, so maybe their range is expanding.
We have been putting nuts, cheerios, and bread crumbs out on the deck railing that is in the front of the house and faces the ocean.  Yesterday a very curious crow came and sat on the telephone wire that is close to the deck railing.  He scooted along the wire so that he could get a good look at Chuck and at the food. Chuck talked to him and crow was taking it all in.  Another crow came to join the first one.  The second one was brave and went over to the rail and got some food.  The first one was very shy and the second very bold- seems that is the way with birds and humans.
Last night it was somewhat stormy and a pair of black crowned night herons came and sat in a tree across from our balcony.  They were quite beautiful and I love the little white feather that extends from their head down their back.  I think they were there for protection from the wind.
Today is a lovely day so out we go to walk the dunes. I am sure I will see some sea birds that are new to me.  Life is wonderful with so many of nature's wonders to observe.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Raven in the Redwood Tree

This morning Chuck saw a raven sitting in the top of the redwood tree in the front yard. This is FIRST time we have seen a raven come down near our house!  Yippee!  There is hope.  I had put out some peanuts this morning for the blue jays.  Perhaps the raven saw the nuts in the driveway.  I immediately ran out and put a fresh egg in the platform feeder and some more peanuts too.  On Friday I am going up to Mt. Veeder to visit the ravens up there.  I have been storing up chicken parts in the freezer, so I have treats to take with me.  I will throw in some peanuts as well.  Ravens really like peanuts.  It is so funny to watch the jays inspect the peanuts.  They do just what the ravens do.  They pick up each one and shake it, then they pick the one that they like best.  Can't be too picky when it comes to peanuts.