Friday, October 27, 2006

New Guinea

Yesterday, when I dashed out to feed the chickens and our one old guinea hen, I was met by this guinea welcoming crew. They flew up unexpectedly and out of nowhere with their loud cackley chatter. I flew a few feet above my sneakers.
After they regrouped and I recovered from my surprise, they began grazing 'neath the chicken pen picking up spilled feed from the birds above.

So where did they come from?
I don't know, but I assume they are a distant neighbor's flock that homed in on my old guinea hen's calls or scent.


I don't mind them being here, but ...


... their presence has created quite a stir in the neighborhood. Miss Fluffyfoot, Ol'GuineaHenny, and Granny Barred Rock haven't been able to focus on anything except the new neighbors. They're a conservative group and all this free flying and loud cackle calling kind of ruffles their feathers.


Meanwhile, down at the pond, things are quieter, but more serious. The heron is back (every day) and the hunting is even easier as the pond continues to shrink. I laid some pond fronds around the dock to form a small photo blind. Now I can sit under the dock on an upturned bucket and be fairly inconspicious to the birds and critters.

This hawk (red shouldered?) was hunting the pond puddle when I got home Thursday evening. He was actually "walking" around at the water's edge when I first arrived at the blind, but then flew into a willow before I could photo this odd unhawklike behavior. I'm assuming the small bullfrogs were his targets. I was hoping he'd hop back down there for some "different" hawk photos, but he eventually flew off to the oak canopy and I lost track of him.

Our hawk population jumps up this time of year as migrants arrive. At the same time cooling temperatures and frosts reduce the lush plant cover that rabbits and other small mammals use to hide from predators like the hawk.
Just to even things out, I make brush piles all over the place so the game is fair.

This might be the same hawk that was gracing your neck of the woods a month ago.

I know, I know ...

... you want him back.

All in good time.

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threecollie said...

FAbulous photos. That blind was a great idea! We love guinea fowl, but sold our years ago, when the boss's dad was ill and we had no time to deal with them. I miss them

Lightnin said...

Just wanted to let you and Patience know that Thunder is in the hospital. He will be having surgery in about a week. I think you might still have our cell phone numbers, if so give one of us a call and we can catch you up.

pissed off patricia said...

I have a young red shouldered hawk down here who hasn't figured out exactly what hunting is all about. He sat on my fence looking for something while a squirrel sat on top of my patio just looking at the hawk. The hawk never even noticed the squirrel.

Your picture is outstanding!

roger said...

mmmmmm, chickens. i do like keeping chickens. they are charming, in a way. pokey is a great name for the egret. we have a young egret checking out our pond. as pretty as he is, we'd rather not have him eat the fish. fortunately enough he is very skittish and flops away even seeing us in the house. the cooper's hawk who hunts here chases birds in the shrubbery. we have seen bald eagles walking on the beach.

keep the hawk if you want. we have plenty here.

robin andrea said...

That's a very pretty hawk you've got there. I think we may have red-shouldered here, but I've never seen one. We did get to see our first northern harrier the other day. There's a lot of hunting going on all the time, everywhere.

Deb said...

That's a beautiful hawk! I don't think we get those here.

Mrs. S said...

All your pictures are gorgeous, as always, but the part of this post I like the most is that you've admitted the extent of your soft spot - brush piles for the critters!?!? FC, you just might be my favorite person ever lol

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I like your picture of the hawk, but you can keep him there. I have seen hawks swoop down and pluck up little kittens and it's not a pretty site when it's your kitten. We also have some brush piles that we also leave for shelter. Shelter for the baby rabbits from the cats.

Our neighbors had guineas and gaming hens & roosters that preferred our yard. It was okay until garden time and then they had to be caught & penned.

That's what I need...a blind so that I can take some wildlife pictures around the pond. I also need to be out there more...Maybe when it warms up and I have a better camera with a better zoom.

swamp4me said...

I've seen red-shouldered hawks on the ground several times - each time grappling some prey I couldn't see.
Love the guineas - such personalities!

LauraHinNJ said...

Beautiful shot of the red-shoulder. Sometimes I see them here in spring during migration.

Floridacracker said...

Sorry, I didn't get here in a timely manner.
Thanks for the comments on this one!

jojo said...

NO i don't want him back... I am wondering where all my cottontail bunnies have gone. And i do the same, making little brush piles all over the yard. But they are still not around? Very upset by it.

Beautiful shots BTW....