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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Our new bird family

When I mentioned whoo-ing sounds in my neighborhood during daylight hours and thought they might be from non-noctural owls, Michelle and Melanie informed me that they are more likely mourning doves. I think they are correct because I do have some birds outside that look very similar to the one pictured in the Wikipedia article.

Mourning dove in back yard

The photo above was taken over a month ago. At the time I had no idea what kind of bird this was, just that it decided to visit my yard and stood still(ish) long enough for me to attempt to take a picture of it through our sliding door. Please excuse all the plant matter debris on the ground. The bird was standing underneath our huge overgrown orange tree which had been flowering(?) at the time in addition to dropping leaves and oranges. I normally sweep under there, except that during this period there was intense ginormous black (carpenter?) bee activity in my yard and around this tree, and I was deathly afraid of going out there let alone stand underneath the tree with all these buzzing bees.

Let's fast forward to this morning...

Mourning dove tail, seen through kitchen window

For some unknown reason, I was particularly aware of bird noises outside my kitchen window this morning. This is what I saw when I tilted the blinds. I think I startled them when I raised the blinds, because I saw one fly away towards the fence. However this one above remained with the nest, and presumably eggs.

Side note: A few months earlier, there had been another nest up there, and a smaller bird family had set up their home until their baby was born. I never managed photos of this family, they were smaller flighty birds, of a brownish color and one of them with a bit of red on his head and chest. The nest was already there when we bought the new house, although it was vacant at the time. Then this bird family moved in, remodeled a little bit (debris on ground), and lived comfortably there for a while. As time passed by I noticed that their nest seemed to sag a bit until one day it actually fell down. I found it when I went outside to sweep. Well that would explain why I hadn't seen them for a little while. I had wondered whether the neighborhood cat (or other creature) might have gotten to them. The location is actually pretty ideal, since they're sheltered underneath the roof overhang, and then there is the latticed section covering a small part of the area adjacent to the house. I just couldn't imagine it being very easy for a cat go up onto the roof and hang off the edge while trying to take a swipe at the birds. I do know that I have heard the cat climb up the side of our house by the fireplace, and DH has actually seen the cat do this. And the cat had often sat outside our kitchen/family room, staring up at where the nest was located. So perhaps this did happen after all. I don't know.

Twiggy debris on ground underneath nest

When I went outside this afternoon to do a little sweeping, I found some twiggy debris underneath the nest area. I know it's difficult to see the debris with the shadow of the lattice cover. This debris was not there on Sunday when I last swept that area. So they must have moved in after that. The wall on the right is where my kitchen window is located.

Mourning dove on left

I'm surprised I actually managed to get photos of these birds through the lattice. It was very sunny and bright outside, so I could not see the camera LCD well at all. I was using the force and hoping I'd get something. I know it's dark and hard to distinguish the bird, you may get a better look by clicking on the photo to enlarge it. I avoided using the flash lest I startle the birds.

Looks like the pair of them were home at the time. The photo above is the one on the left (head is in the center of photo). The photo below is the one on the right.

Mourning dove on right

They look virtually identical to me from where I was standing. How do you tell which is male and which is female?

Mourning dove tail

This is looking upwards from the back side. I was pretty much standing in the corner looking upwards. Moving away from the corner I could see that one of them was looking at me curiously, wondering what I was doing and probably wondering whether I was a threat. I said, "hello," and then, "goodbye," before returning inside.


Mom's vest, right side armband

On the knitting front, I've made a little progress on my mom's vest. I feel as though I have been knitting this vest for an eternity, it's only been 7 months (since November when I started). And this is for a simple knit/purl type pattern too!

The photo above shows the right side armband. I had to pick up 108 stitches along that edge and knit in garter stitch for one inch. Sounds simple enough. OMG, I couldn't believe it took me a half hour just to pick up those 108 stitches! I was very pleased with myself when I bound off this arm band because I remembered to leave a relatively longer tail for seaming the side seam later. I did not feel like tackling the other arm band after finishing the first one.

Are you as sick as I am at looking at this yarn color? It's called Allspice, however I'm started to associate the word "puke" with it. I know, it's awful. And that's just a boring way to describe it. I think there are some interesting color descriptions in Chinese. One I've heard my mom use many times (in Chinese) is literally translated as "duck shit green".


I do have a couple of other WIPs...

One is a cable scarf knit in Elann Luxury Merino Superwash DK yarn in a lovely purple called Viola Phlox. I haven't taken a photo of this yet. It's my TV knitting scarf because the pattern is very easy.

And I'm also slowly chipping away at my HUGe 2008 swap project. I'm working on #4 of 10. I want to tell you about all the details. Unfortunately you'll have to wait until October or November. I think I need to finish all 10 items by Sept and mail them in Oct. I have to verify the details.

I also need to finish the scarf for my mother-in-law.

And hopefully before the next Ice Age, I will type up row-by-row instructions for my Hera Cable Scarf, although the chart is already available for download (and I notice that there have been 11 downloads of the 3-cable version and 9 downloads of the 5-cable version).


A few weeks ago, Vicki suggested that I spice up my blog header by using one of my own photos instead of the default mundane banner you see above. She made this as an example:

I love the font she chose, however I think the issue I have with the background photo is that there is too much green color. I hate green. Well, I don't really. It's just not "my" color, yet I always seem to end up knitting with green more often than I would like.

I've been meaning to go through some of my old photos to find one I like better, preferably something with a little more... purple? What would be a good background for my blog banner?

Of course, I've also been meaning to sort through my old photos which date back to December. Most of them are of Miss M, which I post on another personal blog which I set up mainly for the in-laws to look at. I guess I'm less inclined to post photos there since I know they seldom visit that blog. Regardless of this, I do still need to sort them before they go into our permanent photo archive.

It takes (me) a long time to type up a blog post. There are times when it feels rewarding to blog, and other times when it feels pointless.


6 stitch(es):

MicheleLB said...

Sounds like you like birds! We do, too. We had a family of house finches make a nest in our pussy willow wreath on the front porch last year. Not an ideal place (too busy!) but they moved in when we were gone for the weekend. We all survived, but I think they were happy to have the baby birds learn to fly so they all could leave! This bird love affair was the reason we bought a bird feeder this spring, and the beginning of the squirrel wars...

Renna said...

We get alot of mourning doves in our yard. They are pleasant to hear. I'm always amazed they don't get caught by cats, as they are heavy and slow to get off the ground.

The small brown birds with red chests and heads sound like house finches. The female is drab, but the male has bright red on his chest and head.

Here's a link to google images of them.

Silver Phoenix said...

Not pointless to blog! I love your patterns, and reading about your knitting method (and what you're thinking as you go) makes the patterns make more sense--as if that made any sense. :-)

hakucho said...

Enjoy your bird family...but be careful of any cats that might be lurking. They (the birds) are so much fun to watch!!

Not much longer and you'll be finished with your mom's vest. I bet you'll be GLAD ;)

Cactusneedles said...

I, too, had a dove family build a nest by the front door for years and years. This year, the quail took it over and kicked them out. They'll probably be back next year though! That's what they've done for years! Take care! Keep on plugging on that vest! Once it's done, you'll feel soooo much better! :)

Rachel said...

Ooo, type, please type. For those few of us who do leave comments, we like reading your blog. Keep up the good work!