Standing outside a couple of feet from a popular hummingbird feeder, that was also being visited by a wasp. Listen to the hummingbird chirping.
Welcome to a wet Flock Friday!
As hinted on my personal blog, we had a heron visit our pond this week. Twice.
Here’s the heron sliding off the edge of the pond (which slopes steeply) and taking a header in the pond:
After it got out, it fluffed up most impressively:
Heron next to the pond:
It flew over to below the pond deck, and one of the large koi swam up and startled it, causing it to jump back:
Heron eat fish (and frogs and such), but I think the big koi are way too big for it to tackle. I didn’t see it catch anything; the smaller fish were wise enough to stay hidden.
Here it is flying above the pond:
The following night, a rat or similar rodent was spotted near the duck house, with the ducks warily eyeing it:
Here’s a shot of the ducks that kinda shows the delightful green iridescence of the cayuga duck:
Ducks on the ramp:
A few days later, hey look, the heron is back:
In the pond:
Heron startled by a koi again:
Heron flying to the duck house:
Like an ornament on the duck house roof:
Those big koi are bullies; here’s one chasing the ducks, while another eats their mealworm treats:
Ducks from inside house:
On to the chickens. Here’s Buffy, one of the older girls:
Mo, starting to molt:
And some pics of the young chickens:
Continuing the cavalcade of Caturday!
Last weekend the cinderblock that the outdoor cat cam is housed within was knocked over:
Upon reviewing the footage, apparently that happened as a result of an encounter between the alien orange cat, Pumpkin, and two of our ferals, one in the feeder, and one on top of the camera housing:
When the latter took off at great speed, it was enough force to dislodge the block, resulting in this exciting view of the ground:
One day I plan to build a nice wooden housing for the camera, but it isn’t a high priority, so the stack of cinderblocks will suffice for now.
One peek at a couple of cats inside:
Another alien cat encounter, between the gray cat (Paladout) and Porcini:
After coming up behind unnoticed, she went around the back and hissed at him from the other side:
Here Porcini is having a good stretch while licking her lips after eating:
Four cats (one eating, three outside):
A raccoon looking at the camera:
Chasing a bug:
Another orange cat encounter; the feral is eating breakfast, oblivious to Pumpkin:
Then notices, and runs away:
Three cats, one looking at a bird:
A couple of cats on the deck, a couple relaxing by the tree:
Bella bapping a bug:
Porcini staring at a spider:
Let’s check in with some of the homestead flock, shall we?
A sequence of three pictures of a duck flying from the bank into the pond:
Just like dogs and cats, ducks sometimes have zoomies, randomly flapping their wings and hydroplaning around the pond:
A raccoon waded through the edge of the pond, while the ducks watched from a safe distance:
Attempting an artistic shot of the ducks in the rain through a whirligig:
The ducks in the pond during light rain:
Bert standing on one leg. I don’t recall seeing them on the bank in the northwest corner of the pond before:
Exploring the secret path on the west side of the pond:
On to the chicks. Some of them are starting to cluck (instead of peep) now, so I think I’ll start calling them chickens instead of chicks. They aren’t quite fully grown yet, and won’t start laying for another month or two, but are getting there.
A bit of pecking order aggro:
Perhaps triggered by a wild bird in the coop; I hadn’t seen that before (must have come in the pop door):
So far they prefer to roost above the nesting boxes at night (and above the window, not really an official roost). But I decided to put the poop tray back under the main roosts, in case they do switch to that someday:
Another coop invader: a cheeky squirrel:
The squirrel came back a bit later, much to the confusion and concern of the chickens:
I went out there and chased it out, and it hasn’t been back since (so far).
Chickens on the roosts:
Moana looking at me:
Four on the floor:
Moana eating mealworms from my hand:
The chickens outside in their run. Still lots of weeds, which is fine; dual purpose of snacks and shade from the sun for them:
No pictures of the old chickens this week. I’ll try to get some for next time!
For Flock Friday, let’s check in with the ducks first, as usual.
The ducks enjoy resting in various spots on the edge of the pond; this is one of their favorites (some fish visible, too):
Ducks and fish eating treats:
Next to their house, watching a landscaper trimming a tree:
Ducks in the pond:
Early this morning, the alien gray cat (“Paladout”) visited the duck house, when they were on the bank on the other side of it:
The cat approached the duck house, and the ducks slowly swam into the safety of the pond:
Speaking of unwelcome visitors, I saw a pair of raccoons in the chicken run in the pre-dawn morning (when the chicks were all safely closed in the coop):
Here one is peeking at the camera, before climbing the fence:
The new run does have a bird-netting roof, but there are big gaps due to snow damage. One thing on my long list of homestead projects is to replace that with welded wire; I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
One more visitor, a cheeky squirrel in the coop:
Chicks on the roosts in their run:
Flowers self-seeded from the old hanging baskets above:
Some more pictures of the chicks in their run:
They’re getting quite big, but still not fully grown, and still peeping instead of clucking. Here you can see the new and old chickens in their adjacent runs:
They’ll be kept apart until after the new ones are fully grown and start laying. In the meantime, they can get used to each other through the fence, which will make integration later a little easier.
Saturday means Caturday, checking in with the feral cats we care for.
Two cats sleeping inside the cat house shelter:
Reaching for a bug on the wall below the feeder camera:
The alien gray cat and Poppy; she just wandered off, and let the gray cat finish eating:
Three cats looking at something (probably Rory on the deck):
Chasing a moth:
Three cats inside the shelter, when the gray cat visits after midnight:
Three snuggly cats:
Still three upstairs, when one more arrives:
Spud staring at a bug:
Four cats inside; I also saw Spud in the feeder again at this time. It’s rare to see all five cats, but I’m glad when I do; it’s nice to confirm that they’re all still alive:
Those aren’t cats: two raccoons inside:
The alien gray cat arrives, followed by the alien orange cat:
Both are probably pet cats of neighbors. We’ve named the orange cat Pumpkin, but haven’t named the gray cat (which has a collar, so is definitely a pet). Since he looks like an outdoor edition of our cat Paladin, maybe we should call him Paladout? 😉
Orange and gray cats:
Two cats, doing the feral startled stare:
The gray cat arrives when one of our ferals is sitting next to the deck; they seem to be somewhat getting used to each other:
Two cats sniffing noses in greeting:
Poppy has been spending several hours each night sleeping in the shelter, which makes me happy; she was a very good mother to her kittens, and deserves a comfortable retirement:
Welcome to Caturday!
Three cats, with the one coming out of the shelter having a good stretch:
Peeking around the corner, while waiting for breakfast:
A raccoon walking down a tree; they are really good at climbing:
More snuggles; they haven’t been using the shelter very much of late, so I enjoy seeing when they do:
A fourth arrives:
Porcini looking at a bug on the wall below the camera:
Pumpkin, the alien orange cat:
Pepper in the shop:
Two cats, with chairs in the field for our party today:
I expect the cats will avoid visiting tonight, with more humans and dogs roaming around. Hopefully they’ll fill up before that.
Pansy reaching for kibble in the back of the shop:
Raccoons are usually only active at night, but one has been visiting after dawn, raiding the breakfast dispensed for the cats:
Two cats drinking from fountain; there are more convenient (and cleaner) water sources, but maybe they like the tadpole flavor:
A cat laying on the ground, and another arriving for dinner:
Porcini chasing a bug while waiting for breakfast:
Three cats at breakfast time:
Porcini cautiously watching me as I come out the front door:
A twin relaxing on the front steps:
Two cats at dinnertime:
Two cats the next day:
A late raccoon again (probably the same one); licking its lips at the raided food:
Two cats inside; they haven’t been in there much recently:
One reason why, perhaps: a raccoon inside:
Three cats for breakfast:
The raccoon again, at 07:23 this morning; I don’t think I’ve ever seen one about that late:
I had adjusted the feeder schedule to dispense after dawn, to avoid the raccoons, but this one seems to have learned that. And learned the sound of food being dispensed; I’ve seen it come back after food appears. I’m not sure what else I can do; I can’t manually dispense food when I see a cat (which is what I often do in the evenings, as I try to avoid leaving anything by dusk). It’s frustrating.
This morning I did keep a close eye on the feeder, though, and rushed out there with Rory to chase it off several times. Hopefully I can discourage it, but I doubt I’ll have much success. I’ve thought about a remote-controlled door to close off the feeder at night, or a door to trap the raccoon, but I don’t want to trap the cats.
I also have a design for a barrier to place in front of the cat house, with a platform to jump into it, that cats should be able to manage, but raccoons and possums shouldn’t be able to do. I might try that one day, though I have too many other projects.
This week I opened the pop door of the duck house, and the ducks went for their first swim. Though not immediately.
When I first opened the door, the ducklings were unsurprisingly a bit freaked out by a strange portal opening in their wall:
The ducklings, looking in from the pond:
They peeked out for several hours, but nobody ventured out until the afternoon:
Unsurprisingly, Gert, the Buff female, was the first out. Here she’s having her first swim, with Bert (the male) watching from the top of the ramp:
After a brief swim, she climbed onto the bank of the pond for a rest:
I really like that picture.
Then back into the pond for more swimming; she had no interest in going back into the duck house:
I moved the mobile cam from watching the bird feeders to the northwest corner of the pond, for another vantage point, to fill in a blind spot of the main pond cam:
Gert went under the pond deck for another break:
She stayed out all night. Here she’s having an early morning swim:
I moved the mobile camera to the northeast corner of the pond, as that gave a better view.
Gert resting on the edge of the pond around dawn:
Misty morning swim:
Gert spent a fair bit of time in the shallow water below the pond deck, where she can stand on the bottom, but still be in the water:
In the afternoon, I grabbed her from the pond edge and returned her to the duck house, so she could tell the other ducks of her experience, and have some food and rest:
The three ducks in their house:
I closed the duck house for the night.
A raccoon visited the pond that evening:
Actually two raccoons; very likely the same two that have been frequenting the cat house (more on that tomorrow):
I didn’t think raccoons could swim, since I’d only seen them wading in the shallow end of the pond. Apparently I was wrong; the pond is about six feet deep at this point:
In the morning, I re-opened the pop door, and gave them the usual treats:
In the afternoon, everyone headed out:
A little hard to see, but all three ducks are at the bottom of the ramp:
Gert shows the way, heading into the water:
Bert joins her in the water:
The Cayuga duck (who we think is female, though aren’t sure) joins them, making a big splash that freaks out the Buffs:
All three ducks swimming around the pond:
They stayed out all night. I’m beginning to think they don’t like the duck house… though who can blame them, compared to the great outdoors.
A midnight swim:
I suppose this is the Flock Friday, not Duck Day, so here are some pics of the chickens to close this out.
An older chicken (Goldie) and a chick (Moana) meet through the fence:
Three chicks amongst the weeds:
The chicks roosting above the closed-off nesting boxes:
I went to check on the chicks at dusk, and found four roosting above the window… not really intended as a roost!
The following evening, Moana was up there again:
Chickens do like roosting in high places. Once they get older, and larger, they won’t be able to get up there. But she can enjoy it while she can.
That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed the duck excursions.
It’s Saturday, Caturday.
Warning: sensitive readers may want to skip this post; a couple of GIFs that some might find troubling.
Let’s start with some innocuous pictures. A staring cat, and a second one in the feeder, probably startled by some noise:
Pansy in the shop:
Pepper in the shop:
The alien orange cat, Pumpkin, caught a bird below the bird feeders. Rather than include a sequence of photos, here’s an animated GIF:
One of our feral cats was interested:
Raccoon vs possum at the feeder:
Another animated GIF, of a rather nasty encounter between Pumpkin and a raccoon inside the shelter. Pumpkin was inside the shelter, and saw the raccoon. The raccoon came running up, and after Pumpkin hissed at it a couple of times, the raccoon dove inside and attacked Pumpkin:
I suspect that was a female raccoon feeling like she was protecting a youngster:
One of our ferals checking out the shelter after that:
Let’s finish off with some more usual scenes. A couple of cats having dinner:
I hope those GIFs weren’t too disturbing. Let me know if you think I should avoid such content in the future. It’s all part of nature, as uncomfortable as it may be sometimes.