Friday, August 04, 2017

Almanac

Not one of our hay fields, but it might as well be

Yesterday I was watching the resident Red-tailed Hawk pair with their youngster. The adults slowly spiraled higher and higher into the sky with the young one following them, keening wildly, feed me, feed me, feeeeeeeed meeeeee......

Suddenly a large..... and I do mean large...... raptor flew into view over the neighbor's tree. I could not believe my eyes. It was an Osprey, flying just at treetop level and peering slowly back and forth at the ground. I know it's been wet but WOW! What kind of fish was it looking for in our yards and fields I wonder....

It was low enough and close enough for me to look right into its bright yellow eyes. Simply stunning.


Not an Osprey....just a gull

Meanwhile, up in the hay field where the boss was tedding some sadly doomed hay the Red-tails were hunting...and catching...baby rabbits. Hooray for them!

That is not the only hunting going on.

All week long I've been watching a Grey Catbird eating ground bees at a nest out by the Mugo Pine. We are much plagued by these aggressive little horrors and we watch carefully for their nest locations. Liz once ended up making an emergency trip to the hospital when a mare she was riding put her nose in a nest we hadn't seen......

This particular nest seemed busy one day and nearly deserted a few days later..... 

The catbird showed me why, spending ages perched right on the bare ground where the tunnel is, snapping up bees one after another. He comes back several times a day to eat more and more of them. I hope he finds the nests along the driveway....

Speaking of hay, I just don't know how we are going to put up enough baled hay for our own stock let alone to sell. The daily weather forecast is about as accurate as a fortune teller on the back lot at a third rate circus. The boss had some beautiful stuff mowed, tedded, and ready to rake and bale for today, then we got an ungodly downpour yesterday. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that Osprey found a carp or two right on the lawn....

It is getting worrisome.


5 comments:

Terry and Linda said...

We are in need to cut the alfalfa but it just keeps on raining. And to cut would doom the hay. :(

Cathy said...

" . .we got an ungodly downpour yesterday. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that Osprey found a carp or two right on the lawn...."
I thought about you today as we were drenched her in central Ohio. It's crazy green. Wishing you sunny and reasonably dry weather.

threecollie said...

Linda, we keep thinking the weather has finally changed and then we get nailed again. It is getting serious indeed. We rely on hay money to pay the taxes, which as you know are a serious deal in NYS

Cathy, rained off and on all day yesterday too and is sprinkling now. Ugh!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

I loved your account of the birds and the bees. Could your ground-dwelling bees be yellow jacket wasps instead of bees? I usually think of the ground-dwelling bees as solitary and therefore non-aggressive because they have no colony to defend. I have had the grave misfortune of stepping on a nest where stinging insects (I assume they were wasps because they stung again and again) came swarming out and pursued me no matter how far and fast I ran. This happened once when I was crouching behind a tree to pee, and the wasps were in my pants so I couldn't pull them up and had to run bare-bottomed with my pants around my ankles. I'm glad there was no one else around!

threecollie said...

Jacqueline, I am pretty sure they are not yellow jackets, being smaller and blacker. I think these may be what they are: https://entomology.cals.cornell.edu/extension/wild-pollinators/native-bees-your-backyard It is how they appear anyhow, although I surely try to avoid getting close enough for a good look. I have only been stung once and that was plenty. Although every account says that they are not aggressive, they sure are around here, and their stings are like fire. I see that you are correct that the females dig individual tunnels but they are 'gregarious nesters'. In the yard by the driveway there is an extensive system of tunnels that goes at least ten feet. Jade mows really fast there and otherwise we don't go there at all. I feel really bad for your experience! Yowsa, that must have been terrible!!!!