Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Happy Invasion

There was a busyness outside my windows in the early morning.   I saw shadows darting.

The sky was filled with fat-breasted red robins. They were chattering with the sound of small clinking chains as they flew from tall tree to tall tree making dark and speedy silhouettes against the winter's gray sky.  Too many to count but in the dozens, arriving with noisy fanfare.  They sounded like teenagers on spring break.  The skies, the trees, all was theirs.  It was as if they had been released from boarding school.

They flew to my holly trees that were covered in winter-ripe berries.  I was excited to maybe get a good photo or three.  I had been waiting for the arrival of the Cedar Waxwings, more exotic and rare, but the happy (delirious?) red-breasted robins would have to do.

They moved from the back yard with its shorter hollies to the front yard with the one tall 20-foot tree covered in many berries.  I decided to sneak out the door to the porch steps for clearer photos rather than those above taken from the windows.  I moved with the stealth of a stalking house cat, but in ten seconds they got very quiet.  The silence was surprising, and then within the vacuum of no sound, I heard the soft air movement from many wings flying away all in the same instant to the trees on the other side of the ravine, three seconds and they were far away.

I had startled them so I went back to my backyard windows to watch the feeder activity.  I saw this in our winter trees. HIs steely eyes on the feeders.  Maybe it wasn't me after all.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Sometimes You Get What You Want (for a moment)

We had been under a mild drought for almost two years when suddenly this fall the skies opened up and we were all caught up in less than a month.

We also have not had any real snow for maybe 6 or 7 years.  We finally got snow earlier this week.  It was about 3/4 of an inch, but we were thrilled.  And to the north of us, kids got to go sledding and build snowmen.  The temperatures were in the low 30s and high 20s Fahrenheit, and I in my elder years could not appreciate that!  I feel it deep in my bones and do not rush outside to take photos like I used to.  (Sadly for me.)  These bird photos are taken through the windows of my house over the last week or so.  The poor Bald Eagle was resting on the osprey nest during a lengthy rain.

Things are winding down as naturally they should both with my stamina and with winter cold.   The rest of the week we will be back to the 50s and 60s...climate change be damned.  But with more rain as well.  

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Mine! Mine! Mine!

If you have had young ones in your life a decade ago, the title above will be recognized from a familiar animated movie. I saw outside my window above the dining room table a dozen or so white flags swooping and diving and gliding. They were our local seagulls.

It is not unusual to see two or three flying about 20 feet or more over the river looking for food, but these numbers were noticeable, and the activity was aggressive.

I picked up the binoculars that we left nearby and realized that along with more than a dozen gulls in the gray sky above, there were just a few fewer cormorants floating just below the surface of the water with their long necks and deep blue eyes.  One or two would dive below the surface and one or two would emerge wet and wiggly.

The cormorants were stirring up the fish to the surface as they went after those that dove below.  The gulls then had a nice feast from those that cormorants missed in eating.  Our river is more shallow than the main part and the little fish can easily be pinned against the bottom.

Two days later after our "big" snowfall of one inch about 100(!) cormorants flew into our part of the river, stayed less than an hour and were followed by gulls.  Alas, I did not get that photo!