It is spring time in Newmarket and we are expecting another Nor’Easter with heavy wet snow tonight. The rain snow line seems to be meandering around us so the rain snow mix remains TBD. There is another astronomically high tide associated with this storms but the projected winds are lighter.
Somehow I seem to have collected another 340 pictures mostly of our yard. We have struggled to keep the squirrels off our bird feeders. We have gotten a large bag of capsaicin pepper only to have one or two squirrels tolerate it. Then we bought super hot sauce to deter the squirrels. The combination of the two is semi effective. However the most effective squirrel deterrent is the natural one.
The fox made four passes at our feeders yesterday with no observed success. When the fox is known to be around, the squirrels tend to stay away. This morning a fox grabbed a squirrel off the squirrel feeder. This is the third confirmed kill. It seems the foxes are really fond of squirrel. So for now, the bird feeders are for the birds.
Fox catching Squirrel
We get a wide variety of birds at the feeders. It is a lot of fun to watch the action. The birds think spring is coming.
PI Day is an important Geeky Holiday celebrated on 3.14. It is a time to gather friends and share everything PI. So we hosted a mini BYOB and everyone brought some PI to share. We also had PI trivia, PI songs and PI word games which were appropriate for the holiday. A PI good time was had by all.
We had main course meat PIs including pork PI, meat PI, two Sheppard’s PI, quiche PIs and a pizza PI. The main courses were served in the dining room.
Just prior to PI Day we had another Nor’Easter. We got about a foot of snow but fortunately it was light and fluffy and we didn’t lose power. We are expecting another Nor’Easter mid week next week. The animals appreciate it almost as much as we do.
Crows looking for food
The squirrels were after the deck feeders big time because of the snow and it was hard to deter them. So we added a squirrel baffle that only took them one afternoon to defeat. The birds took some time to adjust as well.
Blue jay, Cardinal and Grackle
Squirrel defeating baffle
Warning Graphic Content
We have gotten some more natural help with our squirrel problem. One of the foxes caught another squirrel. We watched the chase but all I got on camera was the fox killing the squirrel after the capture. Due to their success they will likely be back for more.
It is already March and things are becoming more springlike every day. We just had a Nor’easter on top of a astronomical high tide. We had high winds and some erosion locally but we did not lose any trees or lose power for which we are thankful. But the water intruded pretty high into the yard.
Storm Driven High Tide
We are starting to see the shore birds return. The bay is effectively in the ice out condition but we haven’t seen any early adventurers yet.
I think these are Merganser Ducks
We have been experimenting with cayenne pepper and hot sauce to try to keep the squirrels off the deck bird feeders. We have reduced the squirrels on the bird feeders but not completely eliminated it, but we are now feeding birds at the bird feeders.
Once we solved the squirrel problem, the piggie birds: grackles, red winged blackbirds and english starlings migrated back in and dominated the bird feeders.
The problem with having a birthday late in February is that it comes right after Valentines Day:
I got a new toy for Valentines Day, it is a hot air fryer so I made steak tips and French Fries for dinner.
The crazy weather continues. The weatherman says we will get a dusting of snow and we get five inches.
Dove and Hawk in Snow
We have the bunji set up for the squirrels and one even managed to defeat that:
Need Better Armament
Or the hawks need to do a better job:
Hawks (Coopers and Red Tailed)
There was a four day event from Audubon called the back yard bird watch were you watched and reported on your birds. It started on a Friday. During the time we set aside we only saw fog as it rolled in.
On Saturday we were more successful but didn’t get any hawks or woodpeckers during our observation window. I tried to photo all the birds we counted but that was impossible.
Day Two Backyard Bird Count
Day 2 No Shows
We got eight inches of snow between day two and day three. We saw more birds on day three but less diversity:
Day Three Bird Watching
We were dog sitting a local dog and he was fascinated by the activity in our yard where NEHiN:
The red winged blackbirds have returned. There is spring in the airamd Mark is another year older.
The ground hogs said there would be six more weeks of winter and the weather is suggesting they are right. We got six inches of snow today followed by freezing rain. It is difficult to deal with. Just snow would be fine but dealing with the ice left behind by freezing rain is a pain. So we lost our snow cover and got it back in short order. Yuck!
We got the squirrel feeder hung and now have a separate squirrel feeding station. Here is proof. The squirrels are still in the training phase and the corn is not too high off the ground. It took a couple of days to make this progress. Tomorrow we move the corn up a notch.
Now that we have reduced the squirrel activity at our bird feeders, we are starting to see a lot more bird activity. Not putting down scratch and introducing ‘hot’ seed seems to be working for us.
Titmouse and Junko
The red tailed hawks seem to be paired up. There was some drama the other day as a third hawk tried to interpose himself. There was a lot of screeching to be heard during our walk. We don’t know how the drama played out.
Red Tailed Hawks
As usual, ‘nuttin continues to happen in NewMahket.’
I got some spicy seed for the deck feeder as a squirrel deterrent. We have been using it for the past several days and I am happy to report that it mostly works. I regret I didn’t video the squirrels reactions when they first encountered it!! Most of the squirrels avoid it so we are able to feed the birds on the deck. However, Andrew says there must be a Cajun squirrel or two as they seem hungry enough to tolerate the hot sauce but most avoid it so they haven’t monopolized the feeders and we are mostly feeding birds.
For the most part I am very happy with this seed as we are feeding the small birds on the porch again. I have also ordered F5 hot sauce to treat our regular bird seed. Maybe I will video the squirrels reaction. So here is the evidence of being able to feed the birds on the porch.
Sparrow and finches
We are still filling our other feeders but we have stopped putting scratch food on the ground. We plan to put a bungee feeder with corn for the squirrels in the near future. There has been a lot of bird activity in the yard.
Red Bellied Woodpeckers
Even though there is no open water, we still occasionally see an eagle.
We have been seeing a pair of red tailed hawks and a behavior that looked like gathering nesting material on the beach.
Red Tailed Hawks
In the mean time, the weather has been crazy with rain, snow, thaw cycles. We also had a super moon tide followed by a freeze. I think this is the highest we have seen a tide here.
Because it is so difficult to live where nuttin evah happens, we spend some time cooking. For your viewing enjoyment.
The weather continues to be unusual for this time of year. After the last snowstorm we had a slight thaw followed by freezing rain. The rain left an inch of ice on the driveway and we tried to chip it out and failed. Fortunately the weather warmed and melted the ice and we have lost most of our snow cover. In the meantime ‘nuttin’ continues to happen in NewMahket.
We saw a pair of foxes in the yard and they looked very healthy. When we were clearing some brush we noticed some tracks that were unaccompanied canine tracks. We also had some tracks by the bird feeders but now we have conclusive evidence that the foxes are around.
We also have hawks that hang around the yard. Wink saw a hawk catch a small bird. There are several hawks that frequent our yard.
We hung a platform bird feeder on the porch and only put meal worms in it hoping to attract the bluebirds. It turns out other birds and squirrels will eat meal worms. In fact we stopped because it just became a squirrel feeder.
Meal Worm Feeder
We have ordered hot pepper seed to try to discourage the squirrels so will update with the results later.
The deer have been around. Unfortunately one of the does has the mange. She has lost quite a bit of fur from her back.
Still enjoying our bucolic existence in NewMahket. All for now,
We have had good luck staying at Airbnb apartments. Having booked a cruise out of Venice, we decided to go five days early and do some sight seeing. We arrived in Venice on Tuesday afternoon and left on the cruise on Saturday. It was fortunate we came early because Saturday was socked in by foul weather and other people had a lot of trouble getting to the cruise ship.
The apartment had two bedrooms, a living room with a fold out couch, a kitchen and two bathrooms. It was a very nice apartment and it was fairly easy to walk around Venice but the lay out there is very confusing. We used the nav a lot until we learned our way around. The apartment was at the intersection of two canals. It was fun to watch the boats from the living room windows.
The winter weather has been very strange this year. We had a bitterly cold December and a January thaw. We went from snowy and cold to rain that melted the snow and then back to snow again. The weather is just wacky crazy.
Then what a difference a day makes, snow again…….
We are expecting over an inch of rain the next two days and that should eliminate our snow cover again. Go figure.
In the mean time, nothing continues to happen in Newmarket.