Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bran Watching & The Odd Duck

My friend, Bran (pronounced Brawn), has been around much more lately. He must have some sort of egg-radar - he knows when the hens have started laying in earnest in the spring. If I haven't caught a mouse in one of the many traps I have in the barn, I will usually offer him a dirty or cracked egg if I happen to have one. Today, I didn't have a dirty one but I did have an extra one. As I walked back to the house I placed the egg on top of one of the 6 x 6 fence posts.
Sure enough, I didn't have to wait long for Mr. Bran to come swooping in to pick up this treasured booty. You can see him clutching the egg in this second photo - ready to make his escape off to who knows where. He's learned that if I see him trying to cache the egg in the pasture, I will walk towards him and either take the egg back or chase him off telling him I don't want eggs buried all over the field. He warily complies although I'm sure he was just thinking about convenience for him and his Mrs. I can tell he and his spouse are nesting now as she has come with him on his treat-gathering excursions. He takes food, but she takes bits of wool and shredded juniper bark for the nest.
The sheep have been "itchy"...scraping their fleece on fencing trying to dislodge the itchy wool. No worries, Girls and Boys...Penny is coming Friday to remove that wonderful fiber from your bodies. As our nights are still rather cold and I love clean fleece, as soon as she's given you all your buzz-cuts I will be putting new coats on you. I know it won't quite be the same, but they will keep the wind off of you as well as protect next years fleece from debris and sun damage.

The last photo I have for you is of an unusual visitor to our area. This is a diving duck who's not been identified yet. So far, he's the only one of his kind to visit us. We have plenty of Mallards and Cinnamon Teals right now, even Canada Geese, but this Lone Duck has been hanging around near our neighbor's little pond. Looks like someone took a wrong turn in Mexico and landed in the mountains of Arizona instead of with others of his kind. I will do more research...perhaps I'll go over to a wetland area we have nearby. There may indeed be others and this one prefers to be off on his own. Just because he's not listed in any of the western bird books is no reason to ignore him. I wish I could hold my breath as long as he does his. :)

Maybe if I move real slowly, I can finally get up close enough to get a decent photo of this little guy...that is IF I don't have six sheep sneaking up on him with me!

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Tina T-P said...

Looks like it might be a bufflehead...T.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

That's what I was going to say.... My bird book shows them in your area.

Boy, that photo of Bran with an egg in his beak sure puts his size in perspective! Or is that a banty egg?

Kathy said...

The egg Bran is holding is a Jumbo-sized egg! He's a big boy!

I wondered if it was a bufflehead, but we seldom see them in this area. I'll have to see if there are any more around.

Sharon said...

Bran is lucky - and I think my brother would have approved. Things like that make me really miss him. One day its cold, one day its hot - I'm so glad our shearer came through and caught our boys last month. He just does it if here's by here because our boys are so little.

Lauren said...

I absolutely LOVE the photo of Bran with the egg in his mouth! People thinks birds are dumb but I for one fing them very smart. Go Bran!

Redbud Lane Farm said...

I just love all your pretty pictures. Bran has to be my favorite though! What a character!

Kat said...

Wow, I had no idea how REALLY BIG Bran is! How neat that he's befriended you (and you, him!).