Archive for May, 2008

Another egg has hatched

May 30th, 2008 | Category: animals

Two eggs hatch!

May 29th, 2008 | Category: animals

I was leaving the house for work this AM when I noticed that our nesting house finch was particularly vocal and reluctant to leave the area. I looked in the nest and saw… this!

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House finch hen

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My brush with celebrity

May 24th, 2008 | Category: Uncategorized

dsc_3464.jpgMy wife’s longtime friend Mary has graduated from veterinary school – as class president no less – and managed to bag a great speaker for the ceremony: Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald of the Animal Planet’s Emergency Vets television program. Before and after the graduation ceremony, we got to hang out with him a little bit. He was interested in my camera equipment, and we talked cameras for a while (he shoots with a Canon Rebel). Then he pulled a bunch of photos out of his briefcase. “Here are these penguins I was just working on in Antarctica,” he said. He won an NSF (or was it National Geo?) grant to put sensors on the birds. The sensors telemeter data via satellite for weeks, providing information about body weight, temperature and other data. He also told me about work he’s done with turtles, putting sensors on them to see what they do under the ice during winter. Dr. Fitzgerald is a fascinating person, full of stories and interesting ideas. He seems to be completely without ego – just a nice guy and easy to get along with.

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Ginnie springs dive: the “Ballroom”

May 22nd, 2008 | Category: scuba

I was visiting a friend in Gainesville so I thought I’d do some fresh water spring diving. I’ve lusted to dive in a spring since seeing the beautiful clear water years ago; Ginnie springs is special because it has a site where non-cave-certified divers can experience a little bit of cave diving.

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Another nest!

May 18th, 2008 | Category: animals

dsc_3136.jpgdsc_3138.jpgWhile coming and going we kept seeing the same bird flying away from our front porch, and concluded that there must be a nest there.

After a short search we found it; it was pretty well hidden in the decoration by the front door.

The nest is beautifully made, woven from plants and man-made fibers. We’ve been putting dog hair in a bird feeder – nesting birds like it – and it’s all disappeared, but I don’t see any dog hair in this nest.

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I think that this is a wren nest. I’ll get better pictures of the hen and we’ll know for sure.

Update: It’s a house finch nest.

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Dove Hen

May 03rd, 2008 | Category: animals

dsc_2975.jpgWhile doing yard work I found a brooding dove hen. She is so cute! She’s pretty hard to dislodge, but I’ve scared her away a few times by accident while walking in the area where her nest is. Speaking of which, I thought that doves were primitive nest makers, capable only of making “scrapes” of extremely flimsy, primitive platforms. As you can see from the picture, the nest is quitedsc_3044.jpg substantial. I don’t know if she made it, or just inherited it.

If I move slowly and don’t make too much noise, she sits absolutely still, watching me with her huge black globe of an eye. Usually I try to avoid disturbing her but today when I scared her away i decided to look into the nest (using a little mirror) to see what it held. One new chick! I hope it survives. The nest is well placed, in an arbor with thick growth and away from daily activity, but positioned in our yard which contains a bird feeder and bird baths.

Another thing I learned about doves is that they will mimic injury to draw an intruder away from the nest. I know that killdeers will do this, but I had never seen a dove do it. She flew away, making a racket to get my attention, and the fluttered weakly along the ground dragging both wings as if injured, all the time walking away from the nest.

Update: The chick must have fledged, because the nest is empty and the dove hen is gone.  It’s been three weeks or so since we first noticed her.

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Cat meets dog and gets milk

May 01st, 2008 | Category: animals

dsc_3029.jpgdsc_3033.jpgWe are feeding the kitten milk. Although she eats solid food, it doesn’t seem to be enough, and she nuzzles us looking for nipples. So we figure she still needs milk. We feed it to her in a dropper after warming it. A teaspoon’s worth of milk fills her up. She can be very demanding about her need for milk, becoming absolutely dictatorial about it. In fact, she is pretty single-minded about everything. She knows what she wants, and she wants it now.

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