ALL CREATURES – Marilyn Armstrong

Many creatures crossed our deck today. When I first peeked out my bathroom window at around 5 in the morning, there were three squirrels hanging onto the feeders. I went back to bed.

When I got up later, there were at least half a dozen Brown-Headed Cowbirds chowing down. I turned on the coffee and looked again. A big Red-Bellied Woodpecker and a small flock of House Finches and Goldfinches were chowing down. I went to take a picture and before I turned it on, they were gone. Vanished. Poof!

House Finches and I think the bird with the blue bill is a Bluebird
House Finches

I went back to the kitchen, cut open a couple of English muffins and popped them into the toaster. More Cowbirds, miscellaneous finches and a couple of Chickadees. I went and picked up my camera. Both feeders were empty.

Cowbirds

Back to the kitchen. Garry was setting up the coffee, so I cream cheesed the English muffins. When I turned around there were half a dozen House Finches and a big Red-Bellied Woodpecker. I went and picked up the camera. They did not all fly away.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

The woodpecker played peek-a-boo with me, then abandoned ship and a squirrel took over his spot. It was the middle of the day when squirrels are not usually out and about, but this squirrel seriously needs to have a chat with an older, more mature squirrel and get a grip on the dangers of squirreldom.

And although the House Finches hung around a bit, mostly, they were out of focus, but then the Cowbirds came back … and they were in focus. Not that they are particularly interesting, but they are big and easy to shoot (with a camera).

SQUARED BIRDS AND SQUIRRELS AS MARCH DRAWS TO ITS END – Marilyn Armstrong

Squirrels on the deck

How about a dove?

Squirrel on the flat feeder
Nuthatch on feeder
Posing for a better shot?
Goldfinch
In the sunlight of spring

Spikes and pokes, sharp and pointy, we’re nearing the end. I started with birds and squirrels and it looks like I will end with them, too.

A NEW BEAK IN TOWN – Marilyn Armstrong

A NEW BEAK CAME TO TOWN A FEW DAYS AGO

I saw him at the feeder on Monday. “That’s a new kid,” I announced, but of course I didn’t get a picture because I wasn’t holding the camera. Just watching the birdies flutter about.

This morning, I heard the call. The wild call of the Carolina Wren. He has the loudest call of any bird of that size, which is smaller than a Robin, but bigger than a Finch.

You can’t miss the call. You can hear it through closed windows and doors. This time, I heard it in the living room … and the sound was coming from the backyard. I went back there, missed him, but while I was standing there with my camera in my hand, staring at the empty feeder, who should land but the aforementioned and previously heard, Carolina Wren.

The Carolina Wren and his little yellow Goldfinch pal

As I was reading up on this little wren, there was a lot of commentary on how these migratory birds have largely stopped migrating. Partly, because of climate change and alterations to their environment, but even more because of …

me.

Squared. with pointed beak — Carolina Wren

People with feeders have dramatically changed the migration of birds. Whereas they used to fly to the tropics, many just fly down to like … Maryland or New Jersey … and now, many are not bothering to migrate at all.

I read an exchange between someone in South Carolina bemoaning her lack of Carolina Wrens and was answered by someone in Michigan who said, “Well, we just got a foot of snow and they are happily eating at my feeder on the porch!”

The last of the square pictures. Some of the shots just did NOT want to be square, not without losing a piece of wing or tail …

We feeder owners are supposed to report seeing birds showing up where they should not be … and especially if they seem to be suffering from an ailment.

A FINAL SPIKY TUESDAY – Garry Armstrong

Our final spiky Tuesday

I went out to drop off a package at FedEx and took a camera. Marilyn hasn’t been getting out much unless you count visiting the doctor and tests, so I feel an obligation to always have a camera with me.

It was coincidental but has a lot to do with fences and a general pointedness that’s part early spring in New England. Everything is poking up, but no leaves are out so everything is poky, pointy, and spiky.

Marilyn, having squared my pictures, has deemed this the right pictures du jour.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – at the place where they sell boats (it isn’t a marina … no water in sight!)
Photo Garry Armstrong – Pointy in Uxbridge. What IS that pile of dirt?
Photo: Garry Armstrong – More fencing around the boat store
Photo: Garry Armstrong – Well, I think it’s pointy!

PRICKLY AS A ROSE – Marilyn Armstrong

Prickly as a Rose

Garry bought me roses and they are still looking lovely on the table in the living room. While I was poking around, I found pictures of the last of my roses from this past October.

I was looking at them today as we were coming home from shopping. I realized that the rose bushes have gone into a full wrestling match in the garden. The barbed roses have wound themselves around the rhododendrons that have grown like crazy since I cut the roses back last year.

Tame roses from the florist
Home-grown barbed roses. These are the most merciless roses in the world …

I sat there, staring at them, and seriously wondering how in the world to untangle the two bushes. These aren’t little bushes, either. Both are more than six feet high and at least that or more across. I can feel the pain of thorns already and I haven’t even picked up the pruning shears. It’s going to be pointy, poky, thorny, bloody springtime!

Not only spiky squares. Jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy whatever, but these are flowers. This time.

FOTD – 03/25/2019

SQUARE, SPIKY, POINTY NO SPECIAL REASON ROSES – Marilyn Armstrong

Square, pointy, roses bought for no special reason
FOTD – March 24, 2019

My birthday bouquet was drying up and dying and Garry thought I needed something new. Something bright and cheerful. Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out what needs doing and how to get it done.

I even dream about it. And I’m also worrying about Garry and what would happen to him if I’m not here to take care of all the stuff in which he has never taken any interest. Like how the bank account works. Or where to find the title to the house.

Sticks, no stones

So there are the “no special reason” roses that Garry brought home yesterday.

Not only spiky squares. Jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy things, too.

SQUARE AND BEAKY BIRDS RETURNING TO THE FEEDER – Marilyn Armstrong

Square bright birds back for a big feed

The feeder was almost empty. The birds hadn’t been coming. I wasn’t sure whether it was because they didn’t like the food or they had personal business to take care of.

Maybe the food had gone off?

Perhaps they were nervous about the hawk?

Were the squirrels pushing them out of the feeders?

Or they off elsewhere and busy building nests?

Birds of many colors!
Hairy Woodpecker dines alone

There were a few. They would fly in, grab a seed, and fly off. And the big Mourning Doves had been gorging on the Red Milo which none of the other birds like but they love.

A yellow finch in flight and a waiting red finch
Red and yellow finches
More bright finches

But today, it rained and suddenly, everyone developed an appetite. Garry pointed out that we had to feed them because there was practically no food left. I had simply been waiting for the rain to stop. But I had to agree — somewhere along the line, they had gotten hungry and come back to the big buffet on the deck.

Maybe the squirrels and doves had eaten the food they didn’t like, but when we put out fresh food it was like the woodland telephone lines lit up and suddenly, out of nowhere … birds flew from everywhere.

Bright yellow and red birds, showing for the first time their breeding colors.

House Finch
Two finches and a chickadee and the tail of something else

The color changes are quite remarkable. The birds that disappeared were dull buff and greenish-yellow. The returning birds are bright red and brilliant yellow. Breeding colors because it may not feel like spring, but the birds know: it’s time to nest, time to make eggs and breed babies. And there is lots of food!

Love the tail pattern!

Which should, logically, mean that this year, at least, we’ll have a lot of birdsong in our woods as well as the loud clattering of woodpeckers. And very likely, lots of bushes and sunflowers and all kind of strange bushes growing along the deck.

I have a few pictures. I have a few more pictures, so this is the start, but far from the finish!

Not only spiky squares. Jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy things and this is one.