Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wiley vs Jay

I like to feed our scrub jays, but I try to be creative when it comes to putting the peanuts out for them. You see, we have squirrels, quite a few of them. And they have their own "feeder" where we continue to put peanuts in the shell in their container. But back in mid-January, on a Saturday morning, I actually saw a squirrel, a determined squirrel attempt to steal the peanuts I put out for the scrub jays. One of my creative places happens to be a couple of empty plant pots that are placed in a metal hanger that is connected to the wall of our shed. It's high enough that squirrels cannot jump up on the pots, yet it seems to be the perfect spot for the jays. And it's a perfect spot for me to watch the jays and get a few photos through my bedroom window.

Here is the culprit. I have named him Wiley. Would you believe this squirrel actually climbed up the wall to those pots!? These photos make him look so sweet and innocent. He succeeded too. I wish I had gotten a photo of him climbing the wall. He managed to steal at least 4 peanuts from the jays. I finally got upset enough that I went back out and retrieved the rest of the peanuts and had to put them in a platform feeder we have on a pole. That meant that I had to get the step stool out in order to put the peanuts in the feeder. The "pole feeder" is definitely squirrel proof. But I also thought those plant pots were squirrel proof. Oh well!

Maybe some day I'll be able to use those pots again for the jays' peanuts. But for now we'll have to try to stay a step ahead of Mr. Wiley.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monarchs at Pacific Grove Sanctuary

About a month ago I visited Pacific Grove's Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary on a lovely Sunday afternoon. Other family members who also attended were my husband and my daughter Red. As a matter of fact, Red posted her photos on her blog several weeks ago. If you haven't visited her blog yet, here is the link to the Monarch Butterfly post.

As we were walking around the grounds we came upon a building which caught my curiosity. Apparently, Pacific Grove had a military academy back in the 1920s. I haven't been able to locate any information on this school. But it's obvious that all or most of Monterey and Pacific Grove were owned by Del Monte.

As you can see in this photo (below), we had a beautiful blue sky that day. And I got a cool shot of the first quarter moon of January. Funny thing, though -- it looks more like half moon than quarter moon.

Now take a close look at this photo. If necessary, click on it to get a larger view. What you think you see is nothing but brown "leaves" hanging or dangling from the trees branches. But look more closely. Those are monarch butterflies. I never knew that was how they exist during the winter months here in California.
Here is a close-up of another area where the butterflies were "hanging out." You can easily see the butterflies in this photo. When the sun warms their wings they get active, and even flutter around for awhile before "settling down" again.

Here is another "distant" view where there were several "clumps" all over this tree.

And here is another close-up. Aren't these critters beautiful?


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