The Backyard Birdlady is Back!

It seems like an eternity since I’ve had time to post anything to my blog- April and May have been extremely busy months for me. Between my full-time job, my son’s sporting events and his new job, planning and planting my gardens, taking computer and stained glass making classes, and squeezing in a quick trip to Florida, you can see how that would leave little time for blogging. I really miss the writing and sharing my backyard birding stories with you and hope to get back to it regularly. In the meantime, I have been busy taking lots of photos and videos of the bird activity in our yard and around the area to share with you.

My son Zach is a scholar athlete and keeps busy with bowling pretty much year round, and tennis and baseball in the Spring and Summer. He is quite an amazing bowler, bowling for both his school team and on seasonal leagues. He has taken 1st place in two tournaments this season, winning scholarship money, and was recently awarded “Bowler of the Year” for his division. We went to Kingston, NY last month where Zach participated in the New York State Finals Tournament and he placed 9th out of 30 bowlers. Way to go Zach! We are so proud of him.

Zach also started his first job last month at a local pet supply store. He loves animals and would love to have a dog, however, we can’t have any due to me being allergic to all of them. They are training him to stock and cashier, and from what I hear is doing a great job at it and enjoying it. For the most part, he can get himself to work on his bike, but with all the rain we’ve been having, I have been the designated chauffeur. This weekend marks 4 weeks on the job- Congratulations Zach!

 

Every Spring I look forward to my first trip to the garden center to pick out new flowers and plants. I spend my evenings during Winter planning out new ways to transform my yard into a bird haven and backyard paradise. This year I am going to replace one of the bird feeders with a mega feeding station that will have 5-6 different foods all in one place. I have already made two trips to the garden center so far and estimate I will need about 3 more trips until I have completed my gardens. I try to choose plants that will attract all kinds of wildlife including birds, bees, butterflies, dragonflies and even frogs. I am still waiting for the frogs to return to our pond- last year we counted 6 of them. My gardens consist of trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and annuals.

I have already planted some vegetables along the side of my house and have yet to clear and work up a large vegetable garden in the back yard. We grow Radishes, Peas, Beans, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Sweet Basil, Thai Basil, Bell Peppers, Habanero Peppers, Thai Peppers, Rosemary, Thyme, Cilantro, Onions, Corn, Potatoes, Pumpkins and this year I’m attempting to grow Brussel Sprouts. Fresh veggies are the best, especially when you’ve grown them yourself. I’ll keep you updated on the progress and maybe I’ll share my Zucchini Bread recipe with you later on- it’s absolutely delicious!

I have been wanting to take some classes for some time now and finally made the decision to do it sooner than later. My computer skills aren’t the best, so I took a few Microsoft Word classes through one of the local high schools. I learned a lot and found it very interesting; I’m looking forward to taking more computer classes soon. I have always wanted to try my hand at Stained Glass Crafting and I found a little shop right in my hometown that offers classes as well as a whole store full of merchandise. I have enjoyed taking these classes and making creative crafts for my gardens and I can’t wait to get the gardens finished so I can place these beauties outside amongst my flowers. I am looking forward to taking more of these classes as well.

 

With all of this going on, we still somehow found time to squeeze in a quick trip to Tampa, Florida. My boyfriend is the Digital Marketing Director for one of the local Nissan dealers and was attending a Digital Dealer Conference in Tampa, to which Zach and I were invited along for the trip. Who can pass up Florida in April, or anytime for that matter? While he spent his days in meetings, Zach and I made the most of our short time in the sun. We visited the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach (just 30 minutes South of Tampa) in hopes of seeing Manatees. We didn’t have any such luck but did see some amazing Sting Rays, Horseshoe Crabs and Birds while we were there. We also watched as a Great White Egret put on a show and caught a fish right in front of us.

Next, we visited the Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa. This was a real treat for me because we went there under the assumption that we were going to an aquarium- to see fish, however, there were more birds there than fish. What an amazing place to visit! I saw birds there that I’ve never seen before and was totally enamored with the Roseate Spoonbills- they put on quite a show for us. I would highly recommend stopping here the next time you’re in Tampa.

We spent an entire day in Clearwater Beach, taking in a couple different boating excursions. Our first ride was on Captain Memo’s Pirate Ship. Arrr! It was a beautiful ride along the coastline in the Gulf of Mexico where we spotted some pelicans and dolphins. The crew was great and they had a lot of pirate games for the children. Our second ride was aboard the Sea Screamer Speedboat, the “world’s largest speedboat”. Again, we took a ride along the coast, a little farther out this time. We sat in the front for a good view, and it’s a good thing we did- those sitting in the back were completely soaked by the huge sprays of water. What started out as a scenic ride quickly became exciting when we were followed by a pod of dolphins in our wake. They were excitedly playing with us as they jumped in and out of the water to our amusement.

On our last day, Zach and I drove over to Dinosaur World (about 45 min East of Tampa). If you like dinosaurs, this place is for you. There had to be at least 100 life-size dinosaurs tucked into luscious foliage and beautiful gardens. I love dinosaurs, but I was more interested in all of the plant life- so many beautiful trees, vines, flowers and fungi. I am always on the lookout for birds and this was no different. We probably spent a good 2-3 hours walking through the park, all the while hearing birds but not seeing any. I thought all was lost, until at the last moment before we exited the exhibit, there in a tree about 75 feet from us was a small bird singing so beautifully. Thank goodness my new camera has incredible zoom, so I was able to capture a Yellow-Crested Flycatcher! This was my first time ever seeing one of these amazing birds and it was so worth the wait.

I wish I could say things have slowed down for me but that’s not the case. There is always something to do now that gardening season is here. I have so many pictures of birds from our yard that I should have no shortage of topics to blog about- now I just have to make the time to put my thoughts together. I hope you all have a truly incredible Summer and I’d love to hear about your birding adventures at home or afar. Please comment and share this with family and friends. To be sure you receive all of the latest posts, please subscribe. Please visit me on YouTube for more great bird videos. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvNU0_9qH81qc3fVR9Ok6uw