Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why I Love Our Backyard

We knew right from the start that this would be our apartment. Not only do we have a bird’s eye view from the 3rd floor that overlooks a nice patch of trees and a big marsh, but we also have access to that marsh via a boardwalk. When we first visited the apartment complex, the trees and lawns were just coated in little passerines. And when we moved in, the birds didn’t let us down.

View from our Apartment. Always have camera and binoculars ready!

Walking through the marsh during low tide, which is really no tide in this area.

Northern Flicker

We have seen a plethora of birds and other critters since moving to this apartment. It’s been a little quiet recently, I suppose due to the birds nesting and keeping a low profile. Most of the passerines up until the past few weeks have been Yellow-rumped Warblers. We saw butter-butt after butter-butt all winter. And as you already know, we’ve had some great looks at some nest-building Brown-headed Nuthatches. But even before that, I showed you a look at our Cedar Waxwing visitors, who have stuck around until just this past week. We would see flocks and flocks of them whizzing by.

An odd sighting we've only seen once before - Yellow-rumped Warblers gleaning off of a tree trunk

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings flying by

In the earlier part of the year, they were ravaging the juniper berries in the cypress trees right in front of our windows. I got plenty of shots of them devouring every berry in sight and of them taking siestas in the tall bare tree that is the highest post amongst the trees right outside. I didn’t mind their swooshing by and constant hissy whistling. I just didn’t like when they would disturb my poor little Bluebirds.

SOOOOO many waxwings!

Cedar Waxwing ravaging the Juniper Berries

Eastern Bluebirds tolerating the Cedar Waxwings

The Bluebirds would hold their ground pretty well, though. I had a family of a mating pair and what appeared to be a young male offspring of theirs. It always brought a smile on my face to see the three of them, especially together. Once, I even saw some strange behavior as they would flutter in front of a palm tree and chattering before swooshing into it and then back out. It was only one day that I saw them do this, and it was quite entertaining. And now that nesting season has arrived, the mating pair has stuck around, but the young male must have surely gone elsewhere to establish his own territory.

Male Eastern Bluebird in a Juniper tree

Eastern Bluebird fluttering by a palm tree

Raccoon in the marsh!

There would also be days in the late winter season where I would see and hear an incredible number of birds right outside my bedroom window. I would just take post in the mornings and note sightings of such an array of birds – from Ospreys to Wood Storks, Spotted Sandpipers to Pileated Woodpeckers. And when walking around the grounds, there are other little critters that catch my eye, such as funky moths, green and brown anoles, raccoons, and even little crabs!

What I believe to be an Honest Pero Moth

Cool angle of the Honest Pero Moth

Fiddler Crab in the marsh

Squareback Marsh Crab

Even the odd hours when most things aren’t visible can be entertaining. We’ve often heard an Eastern Screech Owl cooing in the trees at night. We also heard Chuck-will’s-widows calling its namesake call in the middle of the night for about a week. And one great early morning, we woke up when it should have been very dark outside, but instead, a full, glowing moon cast a beautiful light over the entire marsh making it appear almost like daylight.

Gorgeous full moon. Photo taken by digiscoping.

Full moon over the marsh.

Yup, we definitely picked the right place to live here in Savannah. I’m just dying to see what else will be passing through our neck of the marsh.

A Pileated Woodpecker comes over for a close visit.

Pileated Woodpecker


  1. Wow!!!! That is a NICE backyard!

  2. WooHoo! I want to come trespass in that yard! You all have a regular wildlife sanctuary at your disposal there. Great array of species, and you've got some really stellar images of Bluebirds and Waxwings too.
    And, by the law of diminishing photographic returns, which I just made up, that means your sightings of the species must have been really superb.

    The massive Waxwing flocks seem to be a common theme out east, especially in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. It's be great ti witness that some day--your photos are really enticing in that regard.

    It's funny, that second picture you provide, the one wherein Nicholas is walking into the setting sun (quite romantically I might add), made me think, "Wow, that looks a lot like the African savannah." And you all LIVE in a place called Savannah. HA Ha...ha...ok I'm done.

    1. We've definitely had some huge flocks of Waxwings here. These pictures don't even show the groups of 100's that we would sometimes see. And I like that term "law of diminishing photographic returns." I think it hits it on the head!

      And you're right, Savannah can seem like a savanna sometimes. I'm sure it definitely will in the summer!

    2. Nothin' wrong with a little Savannah (or even a big Savannah). Unfortunately, it's more like the Sahara over here. It hit 104 F today and we're still in April--gross.

      Good luck with your safaris this weekend.

    3. Eww, that is gross. Is it really better as a "dry heat"? I know here if it goes above 85 it feels yucky b/c we have so much humidity. There's no escaping the heat b/c it sticks to you!

  3. Wow. I love your backyard too! Feeling kinda jealous with my little postage-stamp yard...