Last year by this time I was pretty stoked about the Eastern Bluebirds showing themselves in the Forgotten Land. This year I am looking out to a landscape covered in ice pellets after this past weekend's never ending ice storm and days after of precipitation.
Our backyard on April 18th with a photo bombing Pigeon.
The crappy weather and me being unwell for a week have put a damper on things. I guess it was a good time to get sick though.
I am feeling much better now and the coming days are looking a lot better. In the meantime, a little filler blog with a a bit of this and that from the areas.
For starts, the area around the corner from us is about ready to go. The t-bars just need to be greased but the boxes are up.
Here is one of the boxes. It was a rather standard and plain looking nest box when it was given to me. I decided to fancy it up a bit, I know the birds don't care, but I like it.
The other box that was given to me. I nailed a piece of roof shingle to the top. The bottom piece was split apart and I was able to use a piece of another nest box that I brought home from the Forgotten Land to make it usable once again.
This is the box I set up last Spring. It did not get any tenants. I have thought about moving it for this season but might leave it for one more year. It's about a 5 minute walk from the above two boxes but that's okay, I can handle it. If I ever take any of you out for a walk of Area One, you will get that last comment.
I have yet to name this area.
A few weeks back I was in the Forgotten Land. A Squirrel recently chewed the hell out of one of the newer boxes. Argh!
I brought the box home and tried a couple ways to repair it. I had a great idea of framing the hole and attaching a metal ring predator guard but with what I had laying around here, it wasn't working out. The thin wood quickly split apart when I tried to screw it to the remains of the box's front access. Remember I am trying to keep this as least costly as possible especially in the Forgotten Land because of all the hoopla with others. I next took the front wall off that same nest box which I used the bottom piece for the box I posted about above. It's not the most attractive box right now but this will work for 2018. Talk about not letting anything go to waste, eh.
I will be returning to the Forgotten Land soon to set it back up.
Lastly regarding this area. I was speaking live with "the man in charge". Unfortunately he had no answers, no decisions had been made about what, when, if they will come back and do any more to the area. I'm okay with them not coming back but I think it would be fair to me if they would give me a straight answer. He asked me to email him about everything once again, and give him a reminder. I have done that. It's been 3 weeks since and I've still not heard a thing.
Before the weather went for a shit and before I got sick, I was in Area One. It was great to have some company and some huge help from a guy I now call a friend of mine. We accomplished a lot in such a short amount of time. I won't deny that being chauffeured around in this brand new Gator was pretty freakin' sweet!
We assessed the last of the old boxes standing. We took down the 2 that were wrecked by Squirrels. The "mouse houses" were lowered considerably. I should note that we are 7 for 7 of the mouse houses being occupied with mice. They will be dealt with in the coming weeks, meaning the houses will be opened up for the season. The mice will vacate the houses on their own. We will re-visit this "mouse house" idea in the fall, allowing them shelter through the next winter. Predator protection will be applied to all t-bars soon. Boxes are being tagged which will help with notes through the nesting season and communicating in the future of any that need special attention. All that has happened in Area One is wonderful. Talk about a revival of an area that while was not forgotten, it wasn't getting the full attention needed to make for a successful breeding ground for the birds. My numbers from 2017 compared to the first year of monitoring in 2016 are proof to that.
I've been tweaking a couple other nest boxes I brought home from the Forgotten Land. These boxes are surprisingly in decent shape but they have been nailed shut from every side, making them not accessible for monitoring and more importantly for cleaning. It was almost like performing surgery trying to take the nails out because the wood is dried out and while not exactly brittle; force from a tool like a hammer can split the wood without much effort.
This first box, nails removed, front screw which is like a lock for the side access door. Whatever the reason, that side board pushes inward upon loosening of the front screw instead of pushing outward like all the other boxes so I put a small screw I found in my tool box which is now like a door handle.
Of course all this messing around simply cannot go without any sort of personal injury. That's not paint on the wood, that's my blood from one of my OOPS moments. Really I am not much of a handy man but I'm learning as I go and often it's a few "shit, that's not gonna work" moments before I get it somewhat right.
I should note both boxes contained remnants of Tree Swallow nests inside. They were from a few years ago and since have been home to wasps. A rude awakening for the wasps as I cleaned out the nests but that's what must be done.
I recently posted on social media asking anyone for any exterior wood paint they may have in their homes. You know, left overs from a finished project and willing to donate to my projects. The two above houses could use a coat of paint. It could be helpful to someone who may be holding onto a small amount of paint just because or too lazy to dispose of it. The last bit would go to good use here. And as I've mentioned, less out of pocket for me. Win win.
I had a couple offers.
One to meet a friend and get some paint but I would have to drive out to Cambridge. It's not that far really but the fuel spent in my truck for the drive would pay for a can of paint. I plan on meeting my friend one day, when the weather is nicer, and it won't be just about picking up the paint but about having a little social. That would make more sense to me with the drive.
Another made the generous offer to buy me the paint I needed. That was incredibly touching especially from a person I've only met twice but we are fellow Falcon watchers and have a bond of sorts. For the time being, I did pass. One, it goes against my keeping this low cost. Secondly, I have a difficult time accepting such kindness with my mish mash of projects. Like the uncertainty of the Forgotten Land keeps me from investing much other than my time. The spot around the corner is a little experiment of sorts and won't get any bigger than what it is. Area One I would have to discuss this with my friends since they built all the new houses. I'm sure they would say "yes" but I'd rather go over this with them first. Meh, I'm rambling now.
They are calling for double digit temperatures by early next week. May is just around the corner. I hope to have some cavity nesting bird sightings in these areas with my next blog. The waiting is killing me.