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 night...it 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.