Sunday, July 26, 2015

Calamity strikes the babies!

After a Worldview camp that I attended with my New York cousin for a week, we headed off to the cottage once more for 5 days, Monday through Friday. In the period of those 5 days, I experienced the deaths of chicks.

     Monday and Tuesday went by quickly and soon it was Wednesday. I woke up and Comet (the golden retriever) and I walked into the orchard. We had a lovely time watching birds and then we started back up to the house. Comet was ahead of me and she was in a very wild mood and jumped right below....THE ROBIN'S NEST. Now the chicks were almost grown but they still didn't have their tails quite in. As I called Comet to me, 2 of the 3 chicks fluttered down to the ground. I scolded Comet thoroughly and tied her up to a tree. Then I went back for the 2 chicks. Imagine my horror when I could not find them! I rushed back to the house and noticed a bird sitting quite still on the front upper lawn. It happened to be one of the baby robins. I ran into the house, stressed my point to Rowan and Rose that they should not go outside for fear of scaring the bird, and then grabbed a rag. I crept slowly up to the bird from the back and gently scooped it up into the rag. I tried to float over the ground so the bird wouldn't be jarred. Placing it carefully on its nest, I searched for the other 2 since the 3rd chick must have flown as well later on. They were nowhere to be found. So I played a game inside with Mom and went out to check on my saved chick after about 20 minutes. It was gone. I have not seen the three chicks to this day. Mom said they were ready. I just hope their tails grow in fast. There are predators waiting.

     Thursday was a fun day except for the evening. The Martins came over! We had not seen them for like 8 months and we were so excited. We had a very good time with them and Conner and I had an adventure with a watermelon which rolled off the counter while Conner had his back turned. It was a long juicy watermelon and we soaked several rags in getting the juice off the floor. While we ate watermelon outside, the boys brought up a mouse. I ran inside to get a book to identify it. I found it was a deer mouse and proceeded to read aloud that it can carry Lyme disease and Hanta virus. We released it into the field. After the Martins left, we found 2 dead chicks and one live fluffy one under the hedge tree. They were white-crowned sparrows and they must have fallen out of their nest? The live one, we tried to make comfortable for the night but I think it must have twisted its neck for its head lay on one side. It's eyes were closed although it opened them a few times. I went to bed, determined to get up at 5:00 to see how it was doing.

     Friday morning, my mental alarm clock woke me up and I hurried downstairs. The baby bird was alive. As soon as Rowan and Rose got up, I ordered them down to the creek for worms. They came up with a few and the chick ate them. Its head still sagged to one side and I worried about it. After breakfast, Rowan and I went into the shed/barn where I wanted to check on the five tiny Pacific-Slope Flycatchers that had just hatched a couple days ago. Tragedy and calamity had stricken that nest as well! The frazzled mama bird was flying around the room and there a chick lay dead on the cement floor. The stool that we had placed to glimpse the chicks stood directly under the nest. I raised myself up and peered inside. Another dead chick lay inside the nest. Three chicks missing! Just then, Rowan, who had been exploring the cubbies on the far side of the wall called me over excitedly. Something was behind the shelves scurrying around. We now suspect it was a squirrel that found the chicks. Or maybe an owl. But anyway, it must have just happened for the mama flew out the window and she hasn't been back. We left that cottage Friday with the living white-crowned sparrow chick on the ground and the dead Pacific-slope flycatcher chicks in the ground (Rowan buried them in our increasing graveyard). We came back to our main home Friday with chores to do and a parade to look forward to on Saturday.

The baby robin I rescued.
The Pacific-Slope Flycatcher chicks before something destroyed them.
Rubber Boa.
The white-crowned sparrow chick.
I seriously did not put that pinecone there or tell Comet to stay. Too bad Rowan is in the picture.

The eight children with broken watermelon pieces.

     Note: All entries hither to are to be written by Avonlea unless otherwise signed.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Babies! By Avonlea

A robin's nest on the left and four little Pacific-Slope Flycatchers on the right looking squished.

     Parkdale is hatching little chicks left and right. I wish everyone could come to the country for a tour of the hatchings and peace and quiet with the birds. Mom had me read a few sections in Madeline L'Engle's book, A Circle Of Quiet. I thought this paragraph was especially interesting: "Why are we so afraid of silence? Teenagers cannot study without their records; they walk along the street with their transistors. Grownups are as bad if not worse: we turn on the TV or the radio the minute we come into the house or start the car. The pollution of noise in our cities is as destructive as the pollution of air. We show our fear of silence in our conversation: I wonder if the orally-minded Elizabethans used "um" and "er" the way we do? And increasingly prevalent is what my husband calls and articulated pause: "You know." We interject "you know" meaninglessly into every sentence, in order that the flow of our speech should not be interrupted by such a terrifying thing as silence."
     In the mornings up at our farm house, I awake and lie for a few minutes thinking how nice it would be to stay in bed for a bit. Finally, I sweep myself up and rush out the door, afraid I've already missed something of the day. We stayed a week and I got to experience the hot dry weather that summer has brought us. The creek has shriveled up, there are no deep places any more. Mosquitos are everywhere but I don't mind them half so much as other years because of my experience in a swamp in Florida for 2 weeks. Everyday we walked to "the snake trail." We named it the snake trail when we found a rubber boa there. Gypsy and Comet are water dogs (especially Gypsy) and I snapped a few pictures of them at the pond on the snake trail.

Gypsy flings herself in every time, literally doing a belly flop.

Gypsy is very stubborn and determined so when Rowan threw something in that sunk, Gypsy just kept right on searching for it. She was putting her whole head under the water and swimming around in circles for at least 5 minutes without pause.

Fourth of July sunset.
Fourth of July!


Coming up from the creek.

A Quail chick. There were quail everywhere with their chicks.

5 eggs in the barn.

Three Robin's eggs.

Two chicks, one egg.

The next day, the late egg breaks in two.

Three baby Robins.
 We actually got back from the farm house today and this morning I took the pictures of the baby hatching. The nest was right above my head so I had to take a picture then see it. I was so excited! We found another Robin's nest in our Dogwood trees yesterday. Here it is with the robin inside it. She has three eggs as well.