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Charlie Spencer

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About Charlie Spencer

  • Rank
    Two penguins walk into a bar...
  • Birthday 01/23/1959

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  • Gender
  • Location
    : Lexington, South Carolina, USA
  • Interests
    NASCAR and other forms of auto racing, gardening.

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932 profile views
  1. Pathetic Birds missing on your Yearlist

    I'm almost positive I would never admit that in public. I wouldn't report it on eBird and would even lie about reporting all the birds I saw. Then I'd sneak it in as seen in my back yard or some other local favorite. And I would never, EVER mention it again.
  2. I'm driving from Columbia, SC to Pittsburgh, PA in late March. I have about 6 hours of slack in my schedule the first day. I'm looking for recommended sites along the I-77 corridor, from Charlotte to roughly the junction with I-81. I'll be making a side trip from there to the east; is there anywhere worth stopping along US 58 between Hillsville and Martinsville? eBird doesn't show much in the way of hotspots in that area. Thanks!
  3. GBBC

    I had an okay GBBC. 13 lists in 10 locations , including two I'd never seriously birded before, over about 8 hours, although about half of those were 'Incidentals'. Only 40 species though. I completely forgot to do my own back yard, and my feeders would have easily pulled 15 to 20 more. I did get my second Hermit Thrush and third Ring-Necked Duck. It was still better than being at work!
  4. Whatbird's Young Birders!

    Am I allowed in here? The guy at the door said my birth year has to begin with '20', not '19'. I dislike restrictor plate racing. I wouldn't go to one if someone else was paying for an all-inclusive trip. On to Atlanta, a 'real' race track!
  5. Migrating geese

  6. You might be a birder...

    You might be a birder ... If you drive 10 hours one way for a business trip instead of taking the 3-hour plane, because the money saved will let you split the drive into two 5-hour days with a night in a hotel, leaving plenty of spare time in western Virginia where you've never birded. Not that birding was ever a consideration when I made the travel plans. Neither was the NASCAR race in Martinsville, VA. Nope. Just coincidence, I'm sure.
  7. Need help cleaning a nyger feeder

    Bleach is a great disinfectant but it's a lousy cleaner. In particular, it's not a grease solvent, so increasing the concentration isn't going to make a difference. Try Dawn. It's what the wildlife recovery teams use to clean animals who are caught in oil spills. It's possible the film was a leftover from the manufacturing process, requiring a one-time cleaning, and that it may not be a problem now.
  8. Gray Jay in Cambridge MA?

    I get hung up on range maps with birds I'm unfamiliar with. It sounds like you know a Gray Jay when you see and hear one. I'd go with my experience over a range map.
  9. Monopods

    I just bought a monopod last week. I've taken a half-dozen shots with it so far, mostly to get comfortable and familiar with it, and I haven't looked at them yet. I'll be using it seriously this weekend for GBBC, and I'll try to remember to post my impressions. I've never tried a monopod or tripod before. A tripod strikes me as too clunky for the way I bird, too cumbersome for fast moving birds, esp. those in the canopy. But who knows, the new monopod may turn out to be inconvenient too.
  10. feeder for nyger (thistle) seed

    The answer, my friend, To blowing in the wind, The answer ... is to drop a couple of small rocks or marbles in the bottom the next time you refill it.
  11. New yard birds from inside

    With either feeders or bath visible from most windows and the garage / 'man cave', if I'm looking out, I'm looking at birds. I've seen too many lifers that way to remember most of them. A lifer Sharp-Shinned Hawk was the result of casually glancing out the kitchen window when I was home from work on a sick day. He'd set up shop atop one of my feeder poles, and hung out in the back yard for most of an hour. Once when we had the doors open, I swore I heard a Northern Bobwhite. I live in a suburban development, although there are some mixed woods within 100 yards. Sure enough, he was perched on the fence. He wasn't visible from an open door, but he did sit still long enough for me to get some grainy photos through a dirty, screened window.
  12. feeder for nyger (thistle) seed

    I wouldn't bother sewing up holes. Socks are cheap and new ones come already filled. I usually just pick up a new one every fall. WBU offers a rain shield. It has a hook on top to hang on the pole, an 8" disk with a slight slope in the middle, and another hook on the bottom for your sock. I think it's about $15.
  13. Bringing in as much wildlife as possible?

    The top three things that attract birds to a yard are food, cover, and water. Other wildlife have similar requirements. Food is the easy one. Cover is the one that takes longest to establish. I'd put a tree on the north end of the garage, something that will eventually act as a food source and provide shade. Check with a local nursery or extension office for recommendations. Maybe another one on the east end of the house. Toss in some shrubs along the sides of the house and garage that frame the backyard area and that should get you started; the ones on the north side of the house will need to tolerate shade. (My aunt in Indianapolis has good luck with Hydrangeas, but check around.) For best long term results, hold off on planting anything large until this fall so it doesn't have to establish itself in the heat of summer. Again, check with a nursery, ext. office. or National Arbor Day Foundation for the best time to plant trees in your area. Water is the one most often overlooked. A water source will attract almost as much traffic as food. Consider a bath relatively close to the garage; that should provide some shade in the afternoon to keep the water relatively cool and reduce the evaporation rate. Alternatively, consider a location within easy reach of your faucet / hose, so it will be easy to keep it refilled. Have you seen squirrels? I dunno if you're going to get any. The surrounding fields and garage don't appear to provide a safe path or route for them to get to you. I don't know about Ohio squirrels, but SC 'tree rats' prefer to travel via tree 'highways' and to not cross large stretches of ground with no trees to escape to. Don't be disappointed if you don't get Martins. Just because there's a house there doesn't mean they've used it. I've seen plenty of well-intentioned martin houses that go ignored. Hopefully the fields will provide enough insects for them to eat, but they can be picky about air space clearance. Based on @meghann's eBird findings, I'd also go with last week of April for hummingbird feeders, maybe even the third weekend. In addition to feeders, there are plenty of annual flowering plants that will attract hummingbirds while you wait to plant your big stuff in the fall. Check the web for a local birding club or Audubon Society branch and ask their recommendations. I'd start with Salvia; you can get it at any big box retailer with a garden section and it's relatively heat and drought tolerant. Most annual plants prefer as much sunshine as possible, so you may not be able to place them where you can see them in the back. Good luck!
  14. Rails

    You got 'em! Bridge? Right where I saw the King?
  15. Sorry, not enough sleep this week.. Edited, and thanks for the correction.