Monday, February 17, 2020

Sharing Some Raptor Love

I have been lucky this late winter to spot some great raptors while driving or hiking or just looking out my back yard! These stately creatures are so dramatic looking and imperious. They know their place in the grand scheme of things.

I spotted this "fellow" in the photo above in the distance near the mouth of the river as we worked our way down a bumpy country road to a remote boat launch that hunters use. It is an immature Bald Eagle. He does look a little ratty in the close-up below.

Another day and a trip to one of the nearby state parks I saw this beauty along the roadside as we pulled into the parking lot.  He "may" be an immature Cooper's Hawk.  I could not see his front as he has his head is cranked back to see why we were stopping the car.

This final photo below was a visitor to my back yard which I think is a Red-Tailed Hawk. He was hard to capture through all the branches and I did not want to get close enough to make him fly.

These top-of-the-food-chain birds do not eat my songbirds very often.  The best one for catching songbirds is the Merlin and I very rarely see those!

Friday, February 14, 2020

More on a Theme of Botanical Love For Valentines Day

I took these tree photos on a walk last week---I took photos while walking--- for those grammar Nazis!  The sun was low in the sky as we headed back and that made for nicer photos.  I am sure you have observed that trees have both rough and smooth barks and are tall and thin or squat and fat or huge.  Some leaved trees like this beech below hang on to their leaves until spring.  Some trees like the dogwood change their bark texture as they age.

Did you know that tree size is not directly related to age? Small trees are not always young. The amount of rain, quality of soil, amount of sun; all impact site quality that may be good or bad for trees. Also genetic make-up contributes to tree size. That dogwood can be older than the larger oak tree beside it.

Competition for the canopy of sunlight is certainly a factor in both spreading of branches and tree height.

Trees don't live forever (although one wonders about those bristlecone pines estimated at 5 millennia years).  Also, there are clonal or groups of trees that are actually one tree such as the 80.000-year-old Pando aspens!

A living tree can be a home for hundreds of species of insects.  It can feed many birds.  When a tree dies it leaves behind lots of nutrients for the soil and fungus and insects and birds.  

Below are the trees in the setting sunlight of my front yard.  It is exceptionally dramatic because the light bounces off the water from the river in the backyard and reflects on the trees.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Standing or Lying Tall

The crowning jewels of the woods on my walks. It has been too cold and rainy for the last few days, so I am pulling forward photos I took a few weeks ago to share. Majesty, wisdom, loyalty, resonance...I am sure you can think of many more adjectives for these friends.

Gnarly Dude.


Does this make my butt look big??

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Have I been watching too much at the Bird uh TV!

You may have to click on the photos to read the captions.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

A Wave from the Holly Tree

(Taking my medicine and avoiding crowds and shooting photographs from windows, mostly.)

We were invaded by this ruddy breasted and noisy gang last week. I hear from my husband that they eat the fermented berries of the pepper bushes in Florida and fall drunken to the lawns this time of year---much to the excitement of the house cats? 

If I was outside, they were cautious of my presence but also loud and bold in attacking the slightly frozen holly berries.  I live in a holly wood but my holly does not seem to be making wine! The British say robins are mostly solitary, but in our spring they certainly are NOT that. In Britain they call a group of robins a "round" or a "breast." In the U.S. I am told we call them a wave although I have never heard that term. Well, I got a nice "hiya" this week while healing my ear and these photos show that.

Next post will be about robins at the watercooler!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Just Some Doves

Peaceful, coy, and even elegant. How do they capture it all?

Thursday, January 23, 2020

I Talk to the Trees

This is a follow-up to our walk in the State Park in the prior post. We skirted the marsh and could not help but be enthralled by the golden light and shadows across the waves of grass lying dormant until spring. The ground was dry in places and making it easier to find our way when the path disappeared beneath a layer of fallen leaves or in places where a tree had blocked the normal path.

Perhaps I was more in tune with it all since I had just finished reading The Overstory by Richard Powers.  I was listening for the whispers of the ancient ones and cognizant of all of their gaping scars.  Were some screaming at me in some silent horror at our killing of the planet?

Hubby was the one to notice the texture of this ancient tree along the path.  And I am embarrassed that I did not identify it in the photo.

You have to get in closer to see what hubby saw.

Some sapsucker was enjoying a gargantuan meal.  But we went on a while longer as the hike was not over.  There was a secret message left by another tree hugger along the path at our feet.

We headed back to the car and back home for some hot tea or cocoa!