Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pocket Llint

Found in the pocket of a jacket that had not been worn since the prior fall.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Warm and Cozy

The days have indeed been frosty and the finger of the river where I live has a light crisp layer of ice on its surface which has prevented the varied ducks that had intrigued me last week from visiting my neck of the woods. Yesterday was a nice clear and bright day and as the sun was setting the woodpecker in the photo above stopped on a snag just outside my back window and ate his dinner. His warm colors and the warmth of the setting sun were a wonderful contrast to the gray and cold days we had been having. It is not the best viewed in higher resolution but clicking on the photo will enlarge for a nice screen saver.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bye Bye Blackbird

(While the song was probably not written about a redwing blackbird, this came to my mind when I was capturing these visitors to the feeder.)

Pack up all my care and woe,
Here I go,
Singing low,
Bye bye blackbird,
Where somebody waits for me,
Sugar's sweet, so is she,
Bye bye

No one here can love or understand me,
Oh, what hard luck stories they all hand me,
Make my bed and light the light,
I'll be home late tonight,
Blackbird bye bye.

Make my bed and light the light,
I'll be home late tonight,
Leave you bird jet in the sky
Toodle oo!
Bye bye!

We'll take the flying little blackbird bye!

(And this little known but relevant later verse)

Blackbird, blackbird singing the blues all day
Right outside of my door.
Blackbird, blackbird why do you sit and say
There's no sunshine in store?
All through the winter you hung around.
Now I begin to feel homeward bound.
Blackbird, blackbird gotta be on my way
Where there's sunshine galore.

More on this 1926 song here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Storm of Death and Beauty

January has almost exited for 2009 and we are finally getting our first snowstorm. Another wave of ice and snow is yet to follow. These two visitors are like rare jewels against the soft white lace that is draped everywhere. All of the feathered fellows are making rough noises and sharp chatter as they compete with other species at the feeders today. When briefly satiated, they sit like puffed ornaments in the nearby holly watching others dart among spilled seeds on the snow below. At least five people have died as this storm crossed their paths and I try to stretch my mind around that drumbeat while watching these jewels flit around outside my window.

Nature is so lovely and like a rising ruby fire so destructive.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Elegance on the water

These redheaded diving ducks (now I think they are canvas backs!) are so lovely. They hurry away as I approach and do not linger near the dock even if I am not there. They are dressed like royalty. I love the burgundy hoods in contrast with the shade of gray and brown. The cold winter weather has forced them to this peninsula, but soon they will move on as the snows and icy weather approach in the coming days. I wish I could follow them down the coast. There are seven of them in the group, and they all look like males. Maybe they are brothers off to party in Florida before mating for spring?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Identity Problem

The very first photo looks like a hooded merganser to me. He is hanging out just behind the brush at the edge of the water near my dock. A small family of diving ducks...maybe pochards...have also visited the creek today. I don't know if this is the common pochard or the redhead...but it looks like the redhead to me. Photo isn't crisp enough, but these guys are somewhat shy and I was unable to get closer. And then off to inside of the creek and hanging loosely away is the fourth photo above. Too far to determine, but looks like a lone goldeneye? Any bird experts who may lurk at my blog feel free to chime in. (Clicking on the photos will enlarge.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Like a blue-white witch
She blows icy syrup
And everything is cold and brittle.
You cannot hug or even touch
Because you will break.
The quiet is all that keeps the peace.
Any noise would shatter the still moment
Into three thousand shards of shivery points.
It is a vulnerable royal fortress
Held fast only by the silent moment
Of temporary permission.
You must go
Or you will also be a blue temporary thought
Untethered by change.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Peaceful Tanka

Sunny winter morn
Two stately doves bow again
Symbols of blue peace
Suggest each day starts simple
I also can begin again

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Today Have Some Fun!

New Visitors

New visitors to the feeders. We have regularly seen this northern mockingbird in the yard throughout the year and listened to their lovely r'epertoire of songs during the summer, but the first time seen this late in winter at the water base. The Towhee below is a rare visitor indeed and only seen very briefly in the spring sometimes. Perhaps his visit is appropriate during this coldest of weeks as National Geographic says the song varies from 'Drink your tea" to "Drink tea.'

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Any Old Path Will Do

The one great thing about the natural world is that every path leads you to something just a little different, just a little more interesting than what you had recently passed. It is hard to turn around and go back even though the day is bleary cold. Although the path is the same as you took yesterday, it will pull you forward because something new happened when you were sleeping...some new color change, some new plant, new animal trail, or new birdsong will intrigue you until you realize that you have forgotten the time of day and must pull together all your strength to return.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Yes. Yes. Yesss!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Fire

My nose was deep in a pot of chicken, mushrooms, onions, rosemary and artichoke hearts in the preparation of a nice dinner casserole when I happened to glance out the window. I could have seriously broken something as I raced through the house in search of my camera and onto the deck to capture this flaming sky. I didn't even remove the deck rail in framing the shot, I was so focused on the beauty of the sky. I can never get too many of these gorgeous sunsets during the winter. They warm my soul, my heart and my mind.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Feeding Nature

We have estimated that we spend about $30 a month on sunflower seeds and we have only one sunflower feeder. The thistle seed is less popular. Oh well, there are other vices in old age.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Waiting for the Other Shoe

I have seen lovely and sometimes dangerous photos of winter across the Internet as it visits various bloggers. Yet, our fall has been long and unusually mild. It reached 54 F just this afternoon. I collected kindling from the forest floor and watched blackbirds congregate at the side of the road for seed. It is a little like waiting for a favorite relative to leave.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ice on the Water

Although the day was cool, it was not cold. Every shade of gray had fallen across the woods and we got into the car and drove to the other side of the peninsula to the park. We took a different trail this time, following the guidance of arrows as if they were demands. In no time a quick and quiet pace had been started with footfalls rhythmically buried in the layer of fallen leaves on the wide path. The damp air captured the sound of our breathing. The only other sound was the dancing across the leaves of a disturbed squirrel now and again.

Eventually the trail took a sharp turn across a boardwalk, but we followed the narrow game trail that invited us straight ahead. There was some deep knee bending beneath fallen oaks required and some large straddling over other logs when eventually we reached the opening wetlands.

The view was uncovered to the ocean in the far distance, but the way was blocked by a lake of gray black water and wheat colored marsh grass. At least one, perhaps two, beaver families had begun the harvest of a number trees in various stages of growth some in early death stood scared while others had already fallen to the forest floor. We sat on one of the larger fallen logs and a woodpecker flew screaming overhead breaking the silence. As we caught our breath the sound of the foghorn at the lighthouse on the point punctured the foggy air in answer to the woodpecker's rhythmic scolding. We sat in silence for sometime but the darkening night forced our return.

We crossed the boardwalk on the trail to our return path and crossed another hill into another marsh valley. This one noisy with mallards and geese whose sudden and panicked flight startled us as we neared.

There was ice on the waters edges but we were not cold. We were complete and comfortable.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Beginning of Winter Red

I found these little brave faces peaking at the sun in the 30 degree temperature from a pot on the deck and wanted to share.

I unpacked from the black garbage bags about a third of my amaryllis and re-potted them in pots of new soil and after soaking them in water as hot as my hands could tolerate, I placed them in the sun in my kitchen corner. Already one or two are sending up lime green shoots. I was worried because I no longer have a cold basement...these were stored in a cool but heated corner of the storage room. I worry that the last group I bring up will have mold or fungus. I will see.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Early Winter Blossoms

This is the Kaffir lime tree blossom. I have quite a few on this little tree and may have to remove some of the limes so that others can get bigger. You will have to go to my other blog in a few days to see why I think these limes are so wonderful, to say nothing of cooking with the leaves. The blossom itself, interestingly enough, is not nearly as fragrant at the Calamondin blossoms.