Tag Archives: Purple Martins

Identifying Birds & A Winner!


I spotted Audubon’s Masterpieces,

like a rare bird, hidden in a clearance

stack of books for $9.99~


Complete with 150 prints of John James Audubon’s

beautiful and scientific renderings~


Fun to compare his artistic illustrations with

our bird sightings at the lake~


Where we often see Osprey, Herons,

and occasionally the rare Blackhawk. . .



And are entertained by the aerial acrobatics

of Barn Swallows & Purple Martins~





And enjoy watching the Bluebirds nest~


I spotted a bird last week that

I’m still trying to identify. . .




Even Mr. Audubon’s Masterpieces

and detailed illustrations were no help~



Although it does bear a resemblance to

 the Carolina Turtle Dove or Common Magpie :)


I discovered it nesting in a bowl with other silverplate,

and endangered from the other knives

and flatware and becoming scratched~


 So like a good conservationist, I rescued it

and brought it home to roost!

Markings identified the knife as anchor Rogers AA~


If anyone has any information as to the species :)

or pattern, please let me know!


The winner of my

For the Birds Giveaway & Gift Card is. . .


. . . Susan at

 Savoring Time in the Kitchen!


Congratulations Susan and

thanks to all who entered!

On the Ropes

One of the pleasures of being on the lake

is watching the birds~

especially the Swallows and their cousins,

the Purple Martins.

We have been visited by a large group

or “kettle” of Barn Swallows this year.

We watched them flying under our dock to build nests formed by mud cups this summer.

Both parents assist in nest-building, and make an estimated 1000 trips to collect mud to build a nest which is then lined with grass and feathers.

They return to same nest season to season and making any repairs needed.

This photo is attempt #35~  less than stellar, but a finally successful & coordinated effort for me :) holding the camera one-handed, while floating under our dock to catch the swallow sitting inside.

The downside to being on the water

is the abundance of insects~

This is our third hatch or “bloom” of Mayflies this summer~ they mature all at once, hovering together and clinging to every surface~ chairs, siding, screens. . .

Messy but harmless, Mayflies they live only a

few hours to a few days~

long enough to mate and become part of the food chain.

Which explains our abundance of Swallows,

lined up to feast like it’s a Thanksgiving buffet :)

Entertaining to watch their aerial

 acrobatics as they snatch insects out of the air~

Hard on ropes though :)

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

Little Red House for Mosaic Monday~

A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday~

Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thusday, K for Kettle of Barn Swallows

The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays~

Osprey, Heron, Geese and Blackhawks

It’s usually pretty quiet in our corner of the lake until boating season kicks off Memorial Day, continuing through Labor Day~ for the most part, just us and the birds.

Herons are here year round~ we have a permanent resident in our cove ~you can see the one in my header, strolling down our dock.

 In his case, trespassers are welcome :)

Sea Gulls flock around February~

Squatting on our neighbor’s dock~

Osprey return around the end of February/March to nest.

It’s always a challenge to boat close enough to get a glimpse of any chicks.

We keep our fingers crossed that the Purple Martins return each spring~

This year like last, they are cohabitating with the house sparrows.

We’ve sent eviction notices to the sparrows, but they are choosing to ignore them :)

The geese are here year round~

 I always look forward to seeing the goslings!

Last week we had a different variety of bird, noisy for our quiet cove~ two Blackhawk helicopters doing water rescue maneuvers.

The North Carolina National Guard and their Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART), were conducting training exercises on Lake Norman, practicing rescuing victims from the water.

These teams rescued approximately 350 residents in North Carolina after Hurricanes Frances and Ivan in 2004, and are called on to rescue stranded/injured hikers from remote mountain areas.

Warning, objects flying overhead are a lot closer than they appear~ enough to rattle the floors and windows and cause Chloe & Gracie distress. . .not that it takes much to cause Chloe distress :)

By day three of these maneuvers, I was wishing for noise cancelling headphones to hear myself think.

My lens isn’t “zoomy” enough, but to give you an idea of how close they were, there are photos with our house  ( #7 and #13) in the background, taken by the Charlotte Observer.

While this training is necessary and fun to watch, I’m happy that our regular lake birds aren’t quite so noisy :)

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays~

Little Red House for Mosaic Monday~

A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday~

Things that Make Me Smile. . .



 This Red Swing is one of the things we spied boating this past weekend that made me smile, along with. . .





Water Dogs~busy with a tennis ball. . .




A Frog Watchman. . .




 A family of Geese. . . (I confess, I smile a lot more when they are in the water or someone else’s yard.)



A Happy Boat!





Purple Martins with their aerial acrobatics. . .







An adorable little Boat House. . .




A lakeside playground, complete with pink chairs for the adults. . .




My husband’s idea of sunscreen. . .(cleverly disguised as a towel)





I hope you find some things to smile about this week :-)


I’m joining A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.




Happy Wednesday!





N is for Nest. . .


Jenny Matlock 


I’m joining Alphabe-Thursday ~ this week’s letter assignment is the letter N.


This the first Alphabe-Thursday I’ve participated in~ I saw Sarah monkeying around last week at Hyacinths for the Soul and it looked so much fun, I wanted to join in.




 I thought it would be fun to include nest-building habits from specific birds, so I turned to a great book, Birdscaping your Garden by George Adams.


 Rose-Breasted Grosbeak: “The male often selects the nest-site, which is usually 10 to 15 feet above the ground in a fork of a deciduous tree. Both birds may share in the nest-building, constructing a loosely built structure of small sticks, fine twigs and grass, lined with rootlets and fine grasses.”






This is single cup & saucer I picked up at a consignment store, the pattern is Williamsburg Aviary by Wedgwood. I would love to have a few more pieces~ hint, hint.




 I’m not familiar with the Verdin, but was fascinated to read about its nest-building.


Verdin:  “The ball-shaped nest is surprisingly large for such a small bird, measuring abut 8 inches across. Usually placed a the end of low limb in a conspicuous position, the nest is built of up to 2000 thorny twigs, making it possibly the most labor-intensive nest of all North American birds. The thorny twigs are interlaced so that the free ends stick out from the nest, quill-like, protecting it from intruders. Coarse grass, leaves and plant stems are also used in the construction, and spiderweb is used to help bind the nest together. The resulting nest is a strong, compact structure able to withstand fierce sandstorms, well insulated and able to protect the young from desert heat.”





I’m a huge fan of Mary Carol Garrity~this is one of my favorite books of hers. I would love to take a road trip to shop at Nell Hill’s. I only wish Atchison or Kansas City were a tad closer. . .





Her book jacket reads:  “Home decorating guru Mary Carol Garrity compares her techniques for transforming her own 130-year-old Greek revival fixer-supper to that of a bird building its nest–carefully selecting and layering all components twig by twig. Garrity empowers readers to feather their own nest by developing a sense of personal style.”




Yellow Warbler:  “Nest building is mainly done by the female, though she is attended by the male. Favorite nesting sites are in moist thickets, along small streams and brooks and on the edge of swamps among alders, willows and blueberry and elderberry bushes.”



Robin:  “After laying a platform of twigs and grass, the female builds up the walls with mud and more grass. Turning round and round inside the cup, she smooths and shapes the inner walls with her breast and half-extended wings. Then she adds a lining of soft grass and perhaps a few feathers.”




 We had 3 baby robins in this nest last spring, on our gutter under the eave of our house.







Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher:  “The mated pair construct their nest together. Apart from hummingbirds’ nest, this is the daintiest nest in the woodlands. A cup-shaped nest of plant fiber bound together with spiderweb is lined with bark strips, fine grass and feathers. Lichen is fastened to the outside of the nest with spiderweb or caterpillar silk, giving the nest the appearance of a lichen-covered knot on a limb.”








This bird’s nest was made by my dear friend, Carolyn, floral designer extraordinaire. I love the little floral and feather embellishments.




The Cardinal:  “The male follows the female while she constructs the nest, often singing to her in his most melodious voice. (don’t you love that?) Popular nest sites include dense thickets, blackberry or gooseberry bushes, rose canes or honeysuckle vines and saplings of hackberry, elm, hawthorn or locust. The nest is a loosely built , bulky bowl-shaped structure of twigs, shredded bark, weed stems and grass rootlets, lined with finer grasses and hair.”




Northern Oriole:  “The Baltimore oriole’s nest is probably the most beautiful of all North American bird nests. The nest is a well-woven, deep, silvery pouch suspended  by the rim from the end of long, drooping branches. The nest is woven of plant fibers, string, cloth and hair. Many people enjoy supplying the birds with short lengths of string or yarn.”




I thought I’d share these magazines I picked up at a flea market for my Vintage Thursday Thingie~  This one is dated 1903. Birds and Nature was a 48 page Monthy available for $1.50 a year.



  “A magazine devoted to nature, and illustrated by colored photography. It is the only periodical in the world that publishes pictures of birds, animals, insects, flowers, plants, etc. in natural colors. Eight full-page plates each month.”








We cleaned out our Purple Martin house in February, anxiously awaiting the Martins’ return. In the past couple of years, they have had to cohabitate with nesting sparrows. The martins have been circling it for a week or two now. The sparrows beat them to the punch again this year. Hopefully, they’ll reside together and ultimately run the sparrows off. We were trying to shoo the sparrows away, and toss their nest  out, but I didn’t have the heart since it already had eggs in it.




Here’s to feathering your nest, twig by twig!


Be sure to stop by Jenny Matlock’s Aphabe-Thursday for more alphabet fun  &  visit Suzanne @ Colorado Lady ~ Vintage Thingie Thursday for more vintage treasures.