December 8 – Dog, Ducks, Disputes

The biggest dispute, oddly enough, was not between our new dog, Caster, and the Mallards. Until this morning Caster had not even met our ducks as I had deliberately not taken him out to the yard when the ducks were around. But this morning, the ducks were waiting to be fed out on the backyard snow when I got up, and Caster needed to go out. So, with him on a short leash, we made it down the back stairs and out to the side fence for a brief stop. The ducks, in alert mode with their heads high in the air walked toward the back of the yard but did not fly. We went back up the steps and I put food in Caster’s bowl and went back out to feed the ducks, and they came in rapidly to gobble up the food. Caster was eager to go back out into the yard, so we went back, and the ducks ignored us as we passed quite close to them to the other fence. Suddenly Caster had had enough and he made a sudden lunge on the short leash, and off went the ducks. They came back later when we were in the house and could be seen by Caster from inside the house through the porch railing.

Caster is a very nervous high-strung dog most of the time but sometimes does stop running around to investigate something and even sometimes goes to sleep, when I can finally get a few pictures.

It has been close to freezing and raining lately so everything is coasted with a light layer of ice. Mostly it has been overcast, but every now and then the sun has peaked through and lit up the mountains.

Birds other than ducks were mostly not around until late yesterday and this morning. A Downy Woodpecker and two Hairy Woodpeckers have been to the feeders after a bit of absence.

Steller’s Jays (2-3) have periodically stopped by for peanuts as usual.

Unfortunately for them, the local red squirrel that is mostly not around, has developed a love for the peanuts in the peanut jar too.

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At the peanut jar is where the most active disputes have occurred lately (you can hear the bell on Caster’s collar jingle in the video).


December 3 – Dog Daze

I’ve been a bit distracted from birds and birding the last two days, even though I have remembered to put out feed/seed, and even though it’s been weird to have a porch-Mallard lately, eating dropped bird seed.

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The reason for the distraction is our brand new dog, a part-Husky named Caster (was “Castor” at the SPCA but we’ve changed slightly to be “Caster” as short for forecaster). We adopted him yesterday. He is about 1.5 years old and very alert and friendly to us and other people, although he apparently needs help in being dog-friendly. We’ll be taking him to classes in January to help with that. Now he and we are dealing with his having just been neutered and needing to wear a big white cone-collar when we aren’t watching him to keep him from biting and licking at his stitches. Pictures and videos of our new family member follow (please note, one of his toys, not a dead rat, appears in the first video, as does my swinging camera strap at the end):

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I’m sure Caster will appear again in my mostly bird-related blog in days to come.