Friday, March 16, 2018

More birds

Our second day at the dock in the second port there was good old-fashioned rain and lots of it!  It is a rainforest, after all. These birds were fun to see as we had only seen the horizon where the ocean met the sky for days along with a rare frigate bird high in the distance. These had taken shelter in the ship's rigging and were busy eating all the bugs that had landed on the boat attracted by the lights at night.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A New Bird for Me

This bird below is a Yellow-rumped Cacique which we were able to see early (very early) one morning outside a town on the Amazon river. My camera decided to choke on the autofocus modes unless the temperature was in a very tight range on this these are not a sharp photos. (I know, what a bad time for the autofocus to opt out!)

They nest in long pods of woven grass that hang from branches of trees that are usually close to marsh or lake edges. Being social and fairly common they can breed in colonies of up to 250 nests! Females do all the nest building, feeding and rearing. The male just fights for territory. They eat both insects and fruits. The males are polygamous and can consort with up to 30 females...since they only impregnate and fight for territory.  By clustering together they also can defend themselves from predators by mobbing the enemy.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Bigger Window

Far from land, the vast horizon across the ocean gives one a better perspective on the size of human life. When you do finally see a coastline, especially a tropical coastline, it usually means weather.

But the weather may also be a very small localized bit of weather.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Following the Sun

Sunsets are lovely everywhere it seems. These were taken offshore of Miami, Florida before our recent trip through the Caribbean and further South.

That old sun is such a mugger.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

A Quick Review Before I am Off

I am leaving this weekend for a lengthy luxurious and expensive trip. I do not feel guilty and I am not bragging and you all know that. Anyway, I hope to return and take any readers that want on that trip virtually upon my processing of photos. In between times, I leave you these from my neighborhood.

Blurred as he was moving!

I hope to be back with more tropical photos and no mosquito bites.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Flocking and Grapes

In honor of the Year of the Bird...I will again post some more digital "paintings" using some impressionist filters as I have totally blown the day off in front of the computer and on the phone and feel guilty...NOT. Once again a large flock of Cedar Waxwings has flown in for a minute or two to poop all over the table and slurp up some water after gathering  in a drunken blowout in the holly tree eating berries!

Why the grapes you may ask?  These super large purple grapes (with some gigantic carbon footprint) were tough-skinned and not as sweet as hubby liked, so they are now outside next to the bird bath.  Every once in a while a squirrel will hop up on the deck and jump acrobatically to the table and steal one.  Usually, he attempts to steal two or three and ends up dropping one on the stairs on the way down because as we all know, squirrels have not a clue!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pajama Birds

While living in the tropics I used to snorkel a lot. My husband was an expert on the biota in the ocean and thus we were able to identify most tropical fish. I found the Sphaeramia nematoptera fish almost clownlike in its beauty. I called it the pajama fish and was surprised to learn later on that it was on sale as "Pajama Cardinalfish."

The photo above is taken from an aquaria sales site as I did not have a slide of this fish. I felt that the red eye only added to the hangover in pajamas look.

This leads me to another living being that I like to call the silk pajamas bird.  They are in the woodpecker family.

This is the Northern Flicker which moves in flocks down our roadsides in spring looking for grubs and worms. This winter I have had a single bachelor arrive in his silk pajamas/smoking jacket to my water dish, mostly when the snows are heavy.

I love the red sleeping cap he wears on the back of his head.

When they flock together and take off when startled the white of their rumps is a clear identifier.  

They are a large bird and can toss up a bunch of snow upon departure.

This one flew just a short distance to my side door and sat there while the snows continued to drift down.  He kept looking in asking for an open door.

Did he know something that I did not?  

Gotta love their personality.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Look Up!

Sometimes you have to look away from the birdfeeders and refocus as the day is moving on pretty rapidly. I participate in the Cornell Feeder Watch program each year and count the birds that come to my feeders two days a week. I have done this for 10 years and will continue although my eyesight is getting weaker... But I should look up more often.

The two holly trees that grow near the feeders and provide shelter have leaves covered in white splotches from the birds. Then I look up even higher.

And higher:

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Year of the Bird

2018 is the year of the bird. 

This came about with an alliance of Audubon and National Geographic and dozens of other organizations to emphasize the importance of birds in our ecosystem. 2018 is the Centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which still protects birds from wanton destruction.  Climate change and development is threatening many bird habitats. The fires in California, the following mudslides, and the hurricanes and flooding have all added to pressure on their habitats for these important animals in our web of life. So, for January I decided to post some of my Blue Birds (with a bit of painterly tweaking) to give you some Bluebird happiness.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Certain Warm Frostiness

We sit and wait. That is what old people do. We wait for the snow. It will only be an inch or at the most two. But it is a highlight of our day. Or comes in tonight. As I was waiting, I realized that I had not posted a good chunk of the photos from our last (second) snowfall. So, I will give you some weather. Make some tea or coffee and put your feet up and pull that quilt over the extremities and dream.

This photo above is what it looks like from the main road as you see my house, except it is hidden.  The cage to the right protects a hybrid of an American Chestnut that my husband is sheltering from the dear who seem to think that this seedling is perfect for removing the velvet from their antlers!

This is the idleness of the dock waiting for spring and canoeing, crabbing and if the winter is not too awful, harvesting some oysters.

I had left the house early and surprised this fox who was not sure whether I was plant or animal.  I had on my camouflage jacket and black pants, the wrong lens, but did not move as I snapped.

Then right behind came the mate, but this one was even more confused as he /she ran toward me and did not turn until the last minute to cross the road.

It was a perfect frosty morning and maybe tomorrow will bring me another. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mother Nature is Behind Schedule

All of my decorations are packed away and my tree is cleaned of lights and also boxed in the attic. I went out to the front yard this morning and found that Mother Nature was still procrastinating, but I do like the way she has kept the lights on this Japanese maple.

I know that they will probably be gone by tomorrow afternoon, but today I will enjoy.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Getting Clean and Trying to Get Warm

Eastern Bluebird
Just a day or two earlier, when the weather was a balmy 32F degrees, the birds came to the heated water dish and decided to bathe!! Then, as the snows arrived, in at least two instances, they asked to come inside and warm up! Apologies for the haze and noise in the photos as they were, of course, taken through the window.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Northern Flicker
The Flicker has the softest little squeak of a voice.  The last one, the Titmouse, has been at the window every day for a week. I thought he or she lost a mate because they are singing up a storm of spring song! I sprinkle seeds on the windowsill now, because all that energy needs to be replaced.  Believe me, each day I am tempted to open the window and let him/her inside!

Friday, January 05, 2018


The winds howled most of the night with gusts that reminded me of summer storms.  It was as if angry hands were slapping the walls of the bedroom.  I worried about my bird friends that had been at the feeders all day.

Then the storm moved out to sea and the world was crisp and cold but calm. The sun broke through and all was well with the world once again.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Unexpected Company

Visitors arrive in my woods and stay far too briefly
in all their rush and glory. 

They arrive like bandits in a flurry of feathers.

I drink in the adventure and strength of their travels
While they chatter about snow and winds to the north
And chirp about berries and fresh water to the south.
I am envious of their positive outlook on their forced transition
and envious of their camaraderie at the water dish.

They exchange stories of frozen and crisp sunsets 
and tales of immovable like-a-bad-penny owls at dusk.
The wise old ones caution the new travelers about
distractions and procrastination and long farewells
as they shove their stronger bodies closer to the rim.

Then, if I blink they are gone and onto the rest of their expedition.