In the bag

Jakway Forest Bird Blind, Buchanan County, IA

Jakway Forest Bird Blind, Buchanan County, IA




Pine Siskin, Buchanan County, IA

Pine Siskin, Buchanan County, IA


We spent the day in Buchanan County yesterday (one county north of our own). I was scheduled to volunteer at Buchanan County’s nature center in the afternoon, so we did a little birding ahead of time in Jakway Forest at the bird blind. The kids attempted to feed chickadees from their palms, but the time required for such an endeavor was too much. June enjoyed wandering in and out of the bird blind eating handfuls of snow (I do not condone this, I promise–she’s sneaky).

Coralee & I spent the afternoon at the nature center, knitting (me) & birding (both) & drawing (Coralee). Brian, Merritt, & June had errands to run. We saw a few House Finches at one set of bird feeders out the back windows of the building. Later, we thought a few female House Finches were visiting an old Gatorade bottle feeder that hung just outside one of the office windows. The feeder is within a couple feet of the window and almost hanging at eye level, so it was quite easy to examine the birds up close. Coralee noticed one of the finches had yellow on both sides near its rump. We thought it was worth investigating, perhaps we had some sort of House Finch variant? Long story short, neither of us has ever seen a Pine Siskin (that we know of) and we saw three at that Gatorade feeder. We were quite ecstatic to identify a new-to-us bird, quite accidentally as I flipped through the Finch section of the center’s bird book. Not sure we could have ID’d this species from afar & among all the other House Finches. The birding stars aligned on that one.  Bagged No. 41 on my 2015 list.

I am almost finished knitting the first draft of my pattern for Mountain Girl Yarns.  Still working on the strap.  June’s little stuffed mice friends turned up as stowaways in my purse while at the nature center.  We did not have any “real” visitors to the center, so I managed to knit quite a bit.  Visited the wild turkeys in their pen & the bison corral after locking up.

Moving on to Monday!


7 thoughts on “In the bag

  1. What a fun day you guys had!!! So glad you found a new bird to add to your list! The pics (AGAIN!) are fabulous, Ruby….you take the best pics around. Always makes me feel like I am there with you.
    Love you all, Hugs from Mom & Nana


  2. So happy you are volunteering at Fontana! It is such a great place inside and out. I always thought it would be so calming to work in the center. We are now getting Pine Siskins at the feeder too. Gary and I checked one of the eagle’s nests we monitor on the Yellow River yesterday. Both mom and dad at the nest talking very loudly to each other. We saw 23 eagles in all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is exactly how it feels at Fontana, yes, very calming! Even when there are visitors, it’s just a lovely, calm escape. I wish we had Pine Siskins at our own yard feeders, but we don’t have the right habitat to attract them nor redpolls. I can’t wait to hear more about your eagle nest! I hope they raise a chick or two!


  3. Sounds like a fun day Ruby. Love the bottle bird feeder- clever, I admire you and your family for being so passionate about birds and birding, it is very inspiring to me to see and read about your enthusiasm and your children’s. I think people get so wrapped up in video games and kindles that they forget about the real things like birds and books. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So funny to read your comment today (sorry I didn’t realize you commented until now!)–we were birding with an older gentleman who lamented the fact that his own grandchildren don’t seem to want to do much other than play video games, watch internet videos, etc…the real things are definitely worth fighting for in this incredible modern age we are raising our children in today. 🙂


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