Sunday, June 25, 2017

Serene Scenery Sunday

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie, here with Serene Scenery Sunday.  Last weekend, Mom, Dad, Cam, and I ventured down to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge once again.  I thought I'd share the highlights with you.  Ready to look at birdies?

Here's Mom's favorite - posing for the camera:

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Snowy Plover, rocking the head-tilt!

We saw lots of birds wading around, hunting for bugs -- like this guy:

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American Avocet

Here's one of his relatives holding court with some Wilson's Phalaropes:

IMG_5281AmericanAvocetWilson'sPhalaropes
"OK, listen up, everyone!  The reason I called you all together ..."

I'm not sure what his meeting was about, but except for the Phalarope on the left, they looked mighty interested in what he was saying!

Here's another Phalarope hanging out with a Sandpiper:

IMG_5056LeastSandpiperWilson'sPhalarope
Least Sandpiper and Wilson's Phalarope

For those who may be wondering, I'm not sure if the Wilson in Wilson's Phalarope are related to the tennis ball guys.

We saw a few herons, like this one:

IMG_5130GreatBlueHeron
Great Blue Heron

But mostly, it was the Day of the Black-Necked Stilt.  Here's a trio:

IMG_5054BlackNeckedStilts
Black-Necked Stilts

They look very serene and calm, but many of them were super agitated like this one:

IMG_5146BlackNeckedStilt
Black-Necked Stilt upset about something

We learned that during breeding season, they are strongly territorial birds.  So I guess what we saw was a bunch of mini turf wars.

This guy seemed much more laid back:

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Serene Black-Necked Stilt

Much more in line with our tranquil theme!

Mom got fairly close to one of the many Egrets that we saw:

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Great Egret

She was mighty happy about that.

And just when she was about to say how she sees a lot of Eastern Kingbirds at Quivira but not Westerns, she spotted this bird:

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Western Kingbird

She should say things like that more often; maybe we'd see even more birdies!

We've shown you Ruddy Ducks before, but never with their signature blue bill!  Check him out!

IMG_5387RuddyDuck
Male Ruddy Duck 

Isn't that cool?  They only get the bright blue bills during the Summer months - and then only the males get it!

Toward the end of our trip, we saw one of Mom's (and Cammie's) favorite birds.  They are in the same family as Snowy Plovers.  A couple weeks ago, we showed you a Snowy doing some nest-guarding behavior.  Well, these guys are ACES at it!  Without further ado ... I give you, ladies and gentlemen, the Killdeer!

IMG_5407Killdeer
"Ow!  Oh, I broke a wing! Ow! Look at me, the helpless one. Pay no attention to my nest!"

They are extremely good actors - it was a very convincing display!  They go the extra mile to distract potential predators away from their nests or babies.  Mom (and Cam) find that behavior quite admirable!

To see more photos of this Academy Award-worthy performance and more birdies, please visit our FlickR album from last weekend at this link; we've also included a short film on Avocets and Stilts!  (Two page album.)

To end this post on a totally serene note, here's a picture of me in the front garden:

IMG_1265MagsGodBlessAmerica
"You do have treats, right?  Ah, yes.  Yes, you do!"

It has nothing to do with our trip or birdies, but I was feeling the serenity.  Stay cool, everybody. And keep it serene.

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Will Pose For Treats

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cam.  Yesterday, I mentioned that for my special time with my mom we walked around our gardens and I did some posing.  She is very happy with these photos, as I am looking at the camera and everything. She needs to keep in mind -- she had Zuke's Skinny Bakes in her pocket.  Lots of Zuke's!  It was awesome.  Let's take a look!

Here I am by the Russian Sage in the Bee Garden:

IMG_1224CamRussianSage
"Do you have the pumpkin-sweet potato ones?  I love those."

They are seriously tasty!  Sadly, they can be broken in half quite easily ... but I digress.

Here I am in the Friendship Garden, by the Beth Coneflowers:

IMG_1228CamConeflowers
"I think this pose warrants a whole one, Mom.  Really."

How can she say "no" to that face?

We moved on to the middle tier - and I sat down by the Lavender.

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"How's this, Mom?"

That's Mom's new favorite photo of me. And Zuke's pumpkin-sweet potato are my favorite treat. Coincidence? I think not.

By the time we made our way over to the Daisies, I was all smiles!

IMG_1240CamDaisies
"Can I tell you something?"
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"I love these daisies!  They make me smile!"

... so does getting treats.

Our Purple Emperor Sedum is already getting big, even though Mom had trimmed it way back! Check it out:

IMG_1242CamMiddleTier
"Is this a wrap?"

Mom decided rather abruptly to end our session right there -- except for that front porch pose with Mags.  Why?  Well ... you might notice I'm without my leash.  Mom had it draped over her shoulder for "just in case".  "In case of what," you might wonder.  Well, just as she snapped the photo above, Mom heard something then saw a baby bunny go flying out of the sedum right behind me.  For some reason, Mom decided to it was time for us to go.  Quickly.  I didn't even have time to give chase to the bun-puppy before she hooked me up.  Since she was still packing a few Zuke's, I was cool with that ... but I have to wonder -- whose yard is this anyway?!?

Oh, well.  Great session; great treats!

Cammie!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Porch Pose, Take 87

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  As most of you know, our mom is always trying to get us to pose while she takes photos - and quite often it's by the planters on the front porch.  This morning, Maggie had some special daddy-daughter time, so Mom and I had some special time together, too!  Some of that time was spent walking around the backyard.  There may have been some posing involved.  And that posing may have been made possible by a supply of Zuke's treats Mom had stashed in her pocket.  It was very fun!

After we had our special time in the yard, Mom thought we should get Maggie, then us girls could try to pose on the porch.  Again.  Since I was well-aware of the treat situation ...

IMG_1245MagsCamPorch
"Smile, girls!  C'mon, Mags!"
"Cam, are you SURE she still has treats?"
"Oh, I'm VERY sure!  How's this, Mom!?!?"

Maggie is a wee bit on the skeptical side!  We all know Mom is going to keep going until she gets both of us to smile for the camera.  I'm OK with that ... as long as she keeps the treats flowing!

Cammie!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Attempted Cover-Up

Hello, everyone.  It's me, Cammie.  What?  Have I seen Maggie's camouflage Wubba?

IMG_1137CamToys
"Nothing to see here!"

Now why would I want her Wubba when I'm clearly spending some quality time with Fishy?

...

OK, fine; I admit it!  I was trying to cover for her, and I took matters into my own paws.  And I took the Wubba into my own paws.  Mom seemed to know anyway, despite my attempted cover-up.

When I was done playing with Fishy, I gave Mom both of the toys. This is what the Wubba looked like:

IMG_1215Maggie'sWubba
My sister's handiwork

Mom had to sneak it into the pantry to get a shot of it.  A certain strong-toothed, strong-jawed someone wanted it back.  And she wanted it back baaaaaaaad.  

The powers are strong in Maggie. They are very strong!

Cammie!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Meant "Mom" ...

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie.  So there we were at dinner the other day, when ...

IMG_0829MagsEmptyBowl
"Excuse me, waitress.  My bowl seems to be empty ..."

Apparently, it's not one of those Endless Kibble/Bottomless Bowl deals.  Oh.  And apparently I shouldn't refer to my mom as the waitress.  Who knew?

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher 

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Importance Of Cookies

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cam.  You'd think our mom would have learned by now!  To keep this short and concise, let me just show you the lesson we repeated the other morning.

Before:

IMG_0430MagsCamPose
"Hey, girls!  Look this way!  Girls!  Mags?  Cam?"
"Not feeling it, Mom."
"I don't think so."

And after:

IMG_0433MagsCamPose
"I have cookies!"
"Why didn't you say so to begin with?!?"
"How's this, Mom?"

As I said. You'd think she would have learned by now! Cookies are vital to getting us to pose!

Cammie!