Monday, December 18, 2023

Do You Hear What I Hear?

My husband opened the door the other day to what sounded like a tin band. Lots of squeeky sounds and chattering. He explained how noisy it was and I went to the door to see what was happening. The air was filled with rusty sounds. It was a flock of Robins that had flown in just ahead of the big East Coast storm that was coming. Maybe they were staying further inland at the farms and knew the coastal areas would be warmer? They are common and not as admired as are their cousins the Blue Birds. Birdwatchers can find Robins almost anywhere in the continental U.S. depending on the seasons. There is a cliche that they bring the spring, but I see them here long before winter has gone.
If you look at their eyes you can see how they resemble the favorite Blue Bird that also visits here most of the year, but rarely comes in flocks of any significant size.  Robins are larger than the Blue Bird.  And sometimes 
 birdwatchers notice that Blue Birds sometimes look a bit angry!

The songs of Blue Birds are more like soft bells whispering gossip to me.  It would be very nice if I knew what they were gossiping about.  It is not me, as my life is not very interesting.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Some Things Still Hang On

I was reading a comment on a friend's page where she quoted scientists (botanists?) who believe that some trees hang on to their leaves to protect the spring buds that shelter there throughout the winter.
The scientists also theorize that some trees hold on to their leaves to avoid grazing by ruminants that may wander through looking for juicy twigs to aid their diet.

The beech tree in our area hangs on to its leathery golden leaves most of the winter.  Our tree is so tall that a deer would need to be an acrobat to reach the lowest branch.

The trumpet vine above is hanging on to its leaves for now.

And our many tulip trees have hung on to their seed pods which cluster like brown daisies against the blue sky.  I have seen cardinals in the later part of winter eating the seeds when the more tasty food is unavailable.

The bald cypress that was planted a decade ago waits until it is colder before shedding all of its green foliage which has now turned rusty brown.  

I guess the message is to just hang on through the winter!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Plaudits and Cheers

It is a very bold dance, 
Like a ballerina with muscled limbs 
Flinging them out into the air.
Gold, lime, red,
orange, and brown flakes
spinning around and around until
they reach the ground
and form waves or skirts
or places to hide.
And then the finale.
Round and brown limbs
Straight and poised
stand strongly in the sunshine
not having felt it for a year.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Surprisingly Lengthy

This season keeps on giving and giving and giving. I catch my breath as I look out the window on my way to my second cup of coffee. The sun is having so much fun doing its angled fall dance. The osprey nest is vacant as is the house across the river. All is quiet. No lawnmowers or blowers or dogs.
The big oak in the foreground has these blood-red leaves every autumn. They turn cinnamon brown and then without fear fling themselves from even the highest branch and dance their way to the ground to lie with their brothers and sisters. It is magical when a breeze kicks up.

The devil in me thinks "Puzzle for a Holiday gift?".

The Viburnum down by the water has seeds that change from a glowing jade color to a crimson and finally, as the cooler air moves in, they change to an inky black. Near the Viburnum are the poison ivy seeds that bring in this female kinglet for breakfast.  Watching her weight, she only eats those that have shrunk to almost nothing.

Well, my coffee is now cold and I must return to the everyday tasks awaiting me.  This was a nice morning distraction.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Red and Gold and Bronze

We had been told when up in the northern part of our state that fall would not be so glorious, perhaps, due to the drought we have had this year. So I did not get my hopes up when I headed back home. But Nature was not to be ignored and below are a few of the pictures just from the woods in my yard. I did not add color except where I had not brought down the aperture for the bright sun.

I truly hate that this lasted but two weeks.  Yesterday was cold and gray and today is not much better with a light drizzle.

Saturday, November 04, 2023

An Homage to One of My Birds

Cornell Ornithology Lab has asked those of us who participate in their citizen data collection programs to let them know how watching birds makes us feel.  Of course, their survey is a line of Emoge faces from shocked or sad to thrilled with some others in between.  Yes, this symbolism reflects how watching birds can make one feel, but I think I would like to elaborate with my limited vocabulary, and if this becomes too tedious, I will add a few photos from this year.

Birds seem small and fragile and I think that appeals to our need for being needed.  We can feed, protect from the weather, and provide food habitats for these creatures.

This small and fragile vibe can be quickly changed when you see hummingbirds dueling with their long sharp beaks or you see other birds fighting over a nesting sight.

Also, the song of birds in the emptiness of the forest can fill one with such peace and joy. The song while fragile is also lyrical and hesitant.  The drumming of the woodpeckers is also reassuring that industriousness continues in nature.  The mimicry of the Blue Jay or the Mockingbird makes us smile.

The most obvious reason birds can inspire us and make us feel better is their lovely color and light flying capabilities.  I might have wished I could do that.  Just flit about.

During the survey yesterday I did have to add one sad emoge because we found in the side yard a Sapsucker lying on the gravel.  There were no obvious windows and I find it hard to think it might have been poisoned.  No injuries on the body.  But I had just seen the two of them, the pair, checking out the trees above for bugs that day.  So Sad.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Drifting in Autumn

Come take a walk down to the dock and then back to the yard with me. If you have some lovely piano music on, as I do, all the better! Autumn is getting ready to say fairwell, so I wanted to be sure to wish her happiness on her journey as she passes winter. No talking, just walking. (As always, you can click on the photos for bigger views.)

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Close Your Eyes

Close your eyes and drift outside as the seasons are shifting. I can smell the musty death of the fallen leaves and I can hear the acorns as they kerplunk to earth hitting both the slate stones on the path to the water and the dried leaves on the lawn. They are small and not as abundant this year, perhaps due to the small drought we have had.  Their shape is intriguing with the smooth and the rough.
The Canadians have arrived with their usual harshness, arguments, and swagger.  It is a long trip and they have lost their patience.
Sadly they remind me of the politics of our country. No compromise, just arguing.

The crows compete for attention with their calling from high in the trees or as they fly overhead.  They are usually the noisiest.  They love fall because they can see the owls in the trees.  A single Blue Jay cries from above telling everyone that I am there, acting like the chief safety officer of our part of the woods.  

I walk down to the dock where the sun can warm my backside.
The saltbush has just started to throw its white parachute of seeds to the wind. It sometimes looks like the first gentle snowfall of the year when a breeze comes by.  It is a hardy native and grows along the roadsides as well as in the wet.

The seasons are reassuring in that whatever we do, the earth is more resilient than we think and that is both a revival and tranquilizing. Others nearby remind me that they are too busy to enjoy autumn's richness right now.

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

The Sounds of the Morning

The quiet of fall is deceptive. The leaves fall and do barely whisper as they hit the ground or the calm surface of the water on an early incoming tide. The noises of the blue sky and the red berries are also very quiet. I sigh with pleasure as I sit on the dock, camera in hand.

Then in just a few minutes, the wild chatter of the kingfishers peirces the air as they fly from one side of the river back and forth ignoring any pursuit of food. Perhaps it is a fall territory thing? Ours are the belted kingfishers that sit so high in the trees I can barely capture them. They are hyper and the males are very territorial. The female is the fashionable one with the rust-colored belt.
Then a new noise occurs. It is the sound of the blue heron beginning his flight from the grasses. His/her cry is a gag, loud and shocking, and one wonders if someone is being strangled. So goes the quiet of the day.
The next to disturb the quiet incoming tide and crystal morning are the crows who appear to have found an owl far over the hill. They are angry and defensive and the owl sits in the distant tree and ignores them as if they were pesky flies. The crows are smart not to get too close. The sound far away takes no time to fill the quiet. Finally, mankind interrupts my peaceful morning. The "good old boys" are building or adding to a dock at the end of the river. Their sounds are small talk and laughter and infrequent commands. But their machinery overcomes all of the peace with banging and clanging.
Time to go back inside.

Sunday, October 01, 2023

In the Beginning

If you are not a gardener or new to gardening you can be forgiven if you do not know the potential of seeds or the power of a single seed. Gardeners harvest their seeds and take care of them because they know that the future health of a plant and the harvest of that plant lie in how well we nurture those seeds.   Food for the next year or beauty for next year's table.  This is the time of the year when my house is full of small jars or envelopes of seeds.  Mostly flower seeds, but hubby sometimes saves pepper and tomato seeds.

Since I am a photographer I cannot pass up the chance to capture their beauty digitally.  Their shapes while different are a beautiful symmetry.  They are like ornaments to be dried and hung around the house or sewn to some fairy gown.