Our Bluebird Blessings

Greetings from the Deep South. I am eager to talk about our resident Bluebirds! I’ll start at the beginning.

In 2017 I placed a metal, decorative bird house near our backyard patio to add some whimsy to the yard. One early March day I observed a pair of Eastern Bluebirds checking out the ornamental box. The male brought a small twig to the hole and dropped it in. The female came to inspect, then left. Soon, I noticed both the male and female bringing nesting material to the box. Below is mama with a huge bundle. She was serious.

bluebird nest building

In mid-March three eggs were laid. On April 2, 2017 mom and dad began a flurry of back-and-forth activity. All. Day. Long. Peeking inside the hole, I was excited to see three little hatchlings with yellow mouths wide open, hungrily begging to be fed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

rayna with worm

Then on April 20, the day I left for a girls weekend trip, they fledged (flew out of the nest)! My husband got to see it, but I missed it. 😦

Shortly thereafter, the pair, which we named Deacon and Rayna after the Nashville TV show (fictional country singers who began their careers at the Bluebird Cafe), were at it again. The second clutch was a success also; however, by the time they tried for a third clutch, the oppressive heat put the kibosh on the whole operation. Rayna sat on the nest for weeks on end with no babies. I consulted many websites and they said she’d figure it out, to let nature take its course. But after too many weeks and considering the fact that the box was made of metal, I was afraid Rayna would cook herself to death. So one day while she was away, I sadly chunked the whole contraption into the trash. First I candled the eggs with a flashlight, and saw that there was nothing but yolks inside. My instincts were proven right.

After that episode, I was afraid I’d never see Deacon and Rayna again. Not letting that deter me, I went to Wild Birds Unlimited and promptly purchased a proper Bluebird house. Then I purchased a Gilbertson PVC box online and set it up under the Crape Myrtle tree. In 2018 they returned and we successfully fledged three sets of Bluebirds from the Gilbertson box, losing only one egg this time. They have never used or shown any interest in the Wild Birds Unlimited box.

We had a mild winter, so our pair never left. I can’t say with certainty it’s the same pair, but we still call them Deacon and Rayna. They are amusing to watch, and for the most part don’t mind our presence. I learned that the adults like dried mealworms, so for the price of a bag of nasty looking worms, I am afforded VIP access with my camera. They even let me inspect the eggs/babies inside the box. But if I take too long they begin flapping their wings above me, chattering all sorts of obscenities, I imagine. 🙂

Since then I’ve added two more Gilbertson boxes, but they still like the original spot under the Crape Myrtle. Here are a few pics from this year’s activity. They laid four eggs with three successful hatchlings. They are getting so big and close to fledging. As soon as they fledge, I will need to remove the unhatched egg.

2019.03.11.bluebirds.GAD_0890

2019.03.30.bluebirds.GAD_1333

2019.03.06.bluebirds.GAD_0606

Well, that’s all for now. I hope Spring has brought you some sweet blessings as well.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Confidence Builders

Before I started selling photos professionally, I’d give my work away to friends and family. Always having doubts, I just couldn’t believe anyone would want to pay for a hobby that I absolutely adored. The give-aways and the subsequent praise would slowly build my confidence, so I kept shooting, trying to improve, and find new ways to capture what I was seeing.

This kind of thing went on for years. Two businessmen in Baton Rouge have my Bridge to Tiger Town photo hanging on their office walls. My cousin’s wife made black and white canvas prints of her boys to display in their living room. Over a 7 year period my images appeared in books (one a cover), on coffee labels, magazines, and a couple of city-related brochures. All at no charge. Well, I did get some excellent coffee from Muddy Dog Roasting Co.

Still, I wasn’t convinced.

Then last year my dear neighbor, Betsy, asked to use my pelican image to make a canvas for her husband as a gift. I was tickled pink that she stopped by my house to show me the results. It was another small step towards building my confidence. Thank you, Betsy!

2014.12.10.betsyblanton

I’m excited about this new venture of selling my photos; however, it’s a little daunting. Being the Doubtful Debbie that I am, I went ahead and purchased some test prints to see with my own eyes if the quality was there, if they were sharp enough, etc. They arrived today and I must admit they looked so good I was ready to frame and hang them that very minute. I will say that the Kodak Metallic finish is truly something special. This was the print with the Kodak Metallic finish. It really pops!

Blue Shutters - NOLA-Style-2

Please see more images here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oh, Happy Day!

My daughter’s wedding in Portland, OR was the most beautiful setting for a ceremony I’ve ever witnessed. Yes, some things went wrong, but there are so many moments we’ll be laughing at later. Like the judge who was late because he was stopped for speeding; then his iPad died while he read the script my daughter had so carefully written. However, my daughter–planner extraordinaire–made two hard copies just in case.

Our connecting flight home was missed because Alaska Airlines had a mechanical malfunction in Portland. The first two days home I slept more than I’ve ever slept in my life. So here are the only two photos I’ve been able to edit. Hope you enjoy!

Jason and Autumn – 9/5/2015
Trillium Lake near Mt. Hood – 9/6/2015
A HUGE “THANK YOU” to my dear friend, Bridget for watching our precious Izzy and spoiling her rotten while we were gone. This was an image that B made up for Autumn’s wedding day, along with a blessing. Sweetest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I am so happy to have a creative and caring friend like B!
I’ll be ’round to make the rounds soon!
Posted in dogs, family, Oregon, Trillium Lake, wedding | 55 Comments

Goin’ to the Chapel…

This is my last scheduled post until I return from Oregon around the 8th of September. MY DAUGHTER IS GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God truly blessed me with Autumn. She is the perfect daughter, always carrying herself with grace and dignity. She has her father’s blue eyes and intelligence, and my mother’s gracious personality. I thought I couldn’t be prouder when she graduated Cum Laude from college in 2004. Now, I find myself marveling at her life choices and achievements, feeling incredibly proud, and happier than I could’ve imagined. She simply excels at everything she does. Jason is a warm, loving person and has fit in beautifully with our family. It’s a beautiful thing, man.

Hope you enjoy these engagement photos from the talented Haley Lovett. Location is Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens in Portland.

See you all in a few weeks with lots of Portland/wedding photos to share!
Posted in autumn, crystal springs rhododendron garden, engagement, family | 43 Comments

Rip Van Winkle Gardens

Here it is, August 16, 2015, and I’ve finally run out of scheduled posts. Looking through my archives I realized that I never posted my Mother’s Day pics. Boy, I have really been slacking on my blog and picture sharing this year. So let’s get to it!

We spent a delightful Mother’s Day at Rip Van Winkle Gardens in New Iberia, LA. Cafe Jefferson, located on the property, overlooks Lake Peigneur. We chose a table near the water and enjoyed a delicious, sinful meal. The Live Oaks, roaming Peacocks and meticulously manicured grounds made you feel as though you might run into Scarlett O’Hara at any moment. I do declare!

“Seafood Heaven”
Creamy basil sauce with jumbo shrimp, crabmeat chunks and crawfish.
OH. MY. GOODNESS!

White Chocolate Bread Pudding
served with white chocolate and raspberry sauce

In less than three weeks my daughter will be married! Next Monday will be my last scheduled post until I return. Hopefully, I’ll have plenty of photos to share of our 10 days in Portland.
Posted in birds, cactus, cafe jefferson, flowers, food, lake, lake peigneur, peacocks, rip van winkle | 35 Comments

Port Hudson

On March 21st I was traveling through St. Francisville, LA and noticed the entrance to the Port Hudson State Historic Site. Curious, I pulled in and stumbled upon the end of a Civil War reenactment. These were fun photos to shoot and edit, although I didn’t do much to them. Three presets were used in Lightroom: Sepia Chic, Sugar and Spice Sepia, and B/W Dependable. There were a couple I left in color to break up the monotony. For a few images it was necessary to crop out people in street clothes.

I don’t normally post this many photos in one post, but I didn’t want to drag it out over two posts. Hope you enjoy.

KABOOM! I caught this right as the cannon in the background went off.
Very surprised it didn’t knock me off my feet!

Posted in civil war, port hudson | 33 Comments

The Fisher Kings

Photos taken May 25, 2015 at LSU Lakes. This was a super fun afternoon sitting on the bank watching these experts at work. I was about 12-15 feet from them.

The bird with the “golden slippers” and black beak is the Snowy Egret; yellow beak and black feet is the Great Egret. The Snowy wins the prize for most fish caught.

Thanks to Anni for hosting!
Visit the link to see
more birds around the world!
Posted in birds, fishing, great egret, lsu lakes, snowy egret | 43 Comments