Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weeks Go By So Quickly!!

We haven't been doing a very good job of keeping up with our blog. It seems like we have plenty to blog about, but day-after-day we simply don't get around to doing it. Sorry about that!!

One of our favorite activities is the weekly monitoring of Bluebird Boxes here in the park. Most of the boxes have fledged their first brood already, and many have second nestings underway. So far most nests have been successful, but we have seen a few problems this year.

A first for us occured a couple of weeks back, as we approached a nest box that we knew was full of young hatchlings the previous week. We expected to find six two-week old babies, but found this instead:
Pole, but no Box!!
Box on Ground
These are sturdy boxes, attached to heavy poles with two long screws. Based on the damage and the teeth marks on the box, we knew that a Black Bear had visited the area and had a bluebird snack!

Just two poles over, we came across this one:
Bear Damage
We've rebuilt and replaced these houses, and so far haven't seen any additional bear damage. Fingers crossed!!

In another area of the park we have had a couple of spots where the eggs have been broken and eaten in the box, with no damage to the box itself. At one box location the same predation has occurred with two different clutches of eggs.
Broken Eggs in Nest
We suspect Long-tailed Weasels in these cases. They are small enough to enter the holes without having to enlarge them, and we know that the park has a population of these little carnivores.

One ongoing task is repairing damage caused by woodpeckers and squirrels. These guys find the carefully sized holes to be too small, and work tirelessly to enlarge them. 
Enlarged Hole
When we find an oversized hole we use sandpaper to smooth the edges, and then attach a "critter guard" to return the hole to the correct size. We end up having to do this a couple of times each week. 
Adding Critter Guard
Good as New!!
As we check each box Teri carefully records our findings, and then compiles a final report at the end of the season that goes into the park records and is forwarded on to the Bluebird Society of America. 

Teri Recording Data
We'll see what we find tomorrow morning as our Bluebird Monitoring Project continues...


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

At Last - A Day Off!

Today is the first day we have had completely off in 36 days.  Most of our days aren’t 8 full hours, some of those days were 1-2 hours.  But, it’s nice to finally be finished with some extra projects that we picked up.

We finished painting all the disc golf baskets in the park (55 total baskets).  Two of the courses have baskets very close together so we painted one course yellow and one course orange.  Each basket has 3 coats of paint.  There was a lot of drying time with this project!

We had to make a few new bluebird houses.  More on that later!

Our weekend programs have started.  We have evening programs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.  We also have a Jr. Ranger program on Saturday morning and some kind of program on Sunday morning.  Last year our Sunday morning program was a 1 mile hike.  This year we are going to change it up a bit and do other things.

Dissecting owl pellets continues to be one of our most popular Jr. Ranger programs.
One of our new programs for this summer is an introduction to disc golf. 
We've spent a lot of time putting together several other new programs that we'll try out soon!
Stay tuned for more summer fun.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Latest Batch In The Mail

It’s been a while since I’ve shown any of my afghans.  I haven’t bought yarn since we left Florida!  (Well, I think I did buy 1 skein that I had to have in a certain color to finish an afghan I was working on). 

As I’ve mentioned before, I donate all my afghans to Linus.  This is the last bunch I boxed up and mailed to my mother-in-law last week.  She will take them to the next Linus meeting for me.

You can probably tell I found a new pattern I like.  I've already made it in 3 different color combos!

These are from the last batch I mailed from Florida:

I'm working on 3 more now and have plenty of yarn for the next batch!