SATURDAY’S EARLY BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

I keep seeing wonderful, exotic birds — who vanish exactly the minute I have my camera in my hand. Are they afraid of the camera? Does it look like a weapon?

It’s eerie. I walk very quietly into the dining room and put the camera on, facing away from the glass. I turn around — they the one I wanted is gone. All the rest are there, but the Cardinal or that big golden woodpecker?

Rainy morning squirrel. I do believe he’s shaking off the water!
I love when they just lay down in the seeds and won’t be moved, no matter how many birds come and try to bump them off the feeder. In this case, a nuthatch got tired of waiting while Mr. Woodpecker rolls in the food.

Flown away. Gone with the wind or at least, a feather.

A plump woodpecker. This one is a Hairy Woodpecker (pretty sure) because he’s bigger and has a long beak.
I missed the big red papa but got a nice look at lovely mom. Not as showy as her scarlet mate, she is still a very pretty bird.

That being said, the birds who are used to the feeder are hanging around long enough for me to choose my shots, which helps. I have enough pictures — including ones I have yet to process — so I can pick and choose and hopefully, get better (or at least different) photographs.

A DAY I THOUGHT I’D NEVER SEE – Marilyn Armstrong

I’m in the kitchen, periodically peeking out the window. There was a big Cardinal out there, but when I picked up my camera, he vanished. I hoped he would come back. Meanwhile, I got some nice squirrel pictures.

A morning squirrel

Meanwhile, I was slowly cooking canna-butter. Did I add too much water? I hope not. At least I got the temperature right. My new telephone arrived, though I haven’t had the energy to open the package yet. Tomorrow. I’m deep into canna-butter today.

Tufted Titmouse

They announced on the news last night that Uxbridge is getting its own pot shop, the third in the state.


Seriously.

Uxbridge.

A pot shop.

A legal pot shop.

In Uxbridge.


And here I am, brewing canna-butter and really hoping it will help with sleep and pain and if it doesn’t fix the pain and the sleep, maybe it’ll improve the quality of my English muffins with my coffee in the morning.

Nuthatch

I never imagined this day would come where I would be legally cooking pot for the legal purpose of using it medicinally. Of course, I never expected to find myself needing it medicinally either. You win some, you lose some.

A different nuthatch — or a different bird? I think maybe a different bird!

The sun came out and the birds are knocking each other off the feeder. I swear they are playing.

It’s warm out. A lot warmer than February 8th should be, but right now, I’m okay. Wondering what exactly I’m supposed to do with the canna-butter after it’s fully prepared. So far, toast is as far as I’ve gotten with it.

Chickadee — he’s outta there!

The sky is finally blue and I got some good shots of a squirrel chowing down in the flat feeder this morning. To get squirrels, I have to get up earlier. It’s the only answer. They don’t linger around much past 9 in the morning and that’s on the late side for them.

Another early squirrel

A pot shop in Uxbridge will be interesting for our one-horse, single-road, Main Street village. They will come from miles around. I’m pretty sure business will pick up. I hope so. Aside from being cool, it will be a massive inconvenience.

At least the fresh donuts will sell better — not like they don’t sell now.

What an interesting summer this is going to be!

BIRDS DU JOUR MINUS THE ONES I MISSED – Marilyn Armstrong

Owen filled the feeder yesterday and there were dozens of birds around the feeder this morning, including some I didn’t recognize.

Downy Woodpecker

I think the unseasonably warm weather is bringing the migrating birds back at least a month early. I hope the weather doesn’t suddenly change! I’ve seen it happen before where a warm spell in February brought back nesters who were frozen when winter blew back in.

Goldfinch?

But this year, we haven’t really had something I’d call winter. We’ve had some extremely cold days and a tiny bit of snow, but between the few cold days have been a lot more warm ones. I’ve got ants in the house. In February! And there have been ticks in the yard all winter. That’s not a real winter, folks. This is  … kind of like late March? Early April?

Junco on the railing

I swear to you I picked up my camera this morning and every interesting bird fled. As I see them, they see me. They don’t mind me standing and watching them, but the moment I aim the camera at them, they fly away … except for the “old-timers” who have finally figured out that I’m not going to do anything to them.

Nuthatch

I did get a few cute pictures, though, so I thought I’d show them to you. I thought I’d also share the interesting news that I can’t use my lens except at its shortest length, which would be about 200 mm (per 35 mm standard). If I extend, the pictures get blurry because the lens is too “close.” Never thought that would happen!

Downy Woodpecker

I can shoot longer when I’m shooting birds on branches in the woods, but not when they are on the deck or the feeders.

Titmouse and Goldfinch

A WILD RUSHING OF HUNGRY BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

So this morning, there were a few birds around, but since I took a lot of pictures yesterday, I decided to have some coffee and a muffin and maybe pictures later.

About an hour later, I went into the kitchen to see what I could grab to eat and there was a mad flapping around the feeder and every bird in the woods was trying to get a few seeds.

Maybe they thawed a bit since yesterday, but the birds were really, really hungry today.

Cardinal and Junco – Frozen seeds?
Flock of hungry Warblers
A landing bird and a lot of Warblers
Flying Warbler and a clinging Nuthatch
Junco landing, Chickadee in eating mode
More hungry Warblers
Junco on the Toad

And Cardinal on a branch, too!

Cardinal on a branch
Nuthatch, Junco, Warblers – Pass that seed!
And a big mourning dove to clean up anything that fell on the deck!
Yellow Warbler waiting his turn for the feeder

A NEW BIRD – Marilyn Armstrong

I knew we had another couple of other woodpeckers. We have a full red-headed one — not the big Pileated Woodpecker — but a smaller one who is as rare as the big one. Maybe more so. This woodpecker is not rare, at least in the way that birds are counted … but he doesn’t show up much, either.

Gold-Fronted Woodpecker with a Junco

This one is a Golden Fronted Woodpecker. I’ve seen him before but never had a chance to get a picture of him. The woodpeckers — collectively — are early and late eaters, not middle of the day feeders. They feed before I finish getting my coffee put together.

Bright head of the Gold-Fronted Woodpecker

This morning, the oil delivery truck showed up very early and I had to hustle the dogs inside the house. I turned on the coffee … and there he was! Not the one with the solid red-head, but a completely different one. In appearance, closer to a flicker than a woodpecker, but The Book says he is a Gold Fronted Woodpecker and he is quite lovely.

He also only eats from the flat feeder from which I have a very difficult time getting pictures. I managed to get these, however. The odd blind slat reflection is exactly what it looks like — a reflection of our living room blinds on the glass in the dining room.

It’s difficult to take pictures when it is sunny early in the day. The sun shines almost directly in through the back French doors creating a lot of refraction, reflection and odd bounces of light.

Today, I got pictures.

For your amusement and amazement, here is our Golden Fronted Woodpecker. With a black ladder-back and gold around his beak and wings, and one scarlet (almost dark orange) patch on his head. A lovely fellow!

THE WOODPECKER WHO WOULDN’T LEAVE – Marilyn Armstrong

Usually, I grab a shot of a woodpecker and he or she is promptly gone. There were no birds early in the day because we had wind so powerful, it moved the big oak trees which isn’t easy when they have no leaves. That’s what woke me this morning — the groaning of the trees. It gave me the shivers and I got up, turned on the coffee, told the dogs to go out.

Downy Woodpecker

Which they did by literally going out the door, turning around and coming directly inside. They think they are fooling me. I can see them laughing as they come in the door.

I let them believe they fooled me. It makes them happy. I also gave them a tiny bacon-flavored treat. It turns out, a tiny treat makes them just as happy as a big one.

More woodpecker

When I first came into the dining room, there wasn’t a bird to be seen. High winds and small birds? Not a good combination, but after another hour, when the winds had calmed, I looked out the dining room doors. There was a Downy Woodpecker hanging on the feeder. He was too small to be a Hairy or Red-bellied — and he didn’t have a red swatch on his head.

I grabbed the camera and took a few pictures and then, he was away. But just as I was removing the SD card and putting in a new one, he was back. When any of the smaller birds tried to come for a bite, they took one look at Mr. Downy … and left.

I took more pictures. Then, figuring I’d shot enough, I put the camera down and went into the kitchen to put away last night’s dishes. Chat with Garry as I toasted muffins and poured coffee … and I realized the little woodpecker was still on the feeder, the longest any single bird has spent on the feeder.

He must have been really hungry because he was there for at least an hour. Sometimes the warblers take up residence for long periods, but it isn’t one warbler, but it’s a small flock which keeps changing birds. One departs, another one lands.  The chickadees sometimes do the same thing.

The birds are getting possessive about the feeders. It’s interesting to watch. They used to all gather, various birds at the same time, but now, they come in groups and they have an agenda. Curious to watch how it changes. Maybe it’s the different food?

THE CHANGING SEASONS – SEPTEMBER 2018 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, September 2018


Painted falls …
Rocks at Manchaug

It’s the very end of September here in New England, so it’s the middle of our best season, Autumn.

Except it isn’t Autumn.

The stone mill

The trees are entirely green without even a hint of red. A few yellow leaves on a few trees, but none of the colors we are supposed to have. We went and we sought for fall, but we could not find it. I was not by the river, which is the first place you usually find it … nor by the dam. Nor in the woods.

The dam at Manchaug was full this year. Lots of rain this spring and summer.
Lily pads. Not Monet,. Just me.

And we went down to another part of the valley, too. It wasn’t just Manchaug!
Photo: Garry Armstrong
And me, too – Photo: Garry Armstrong
The pond at Manchaug …. right before the dam. Photo: Garry Armstrong
Softly falling water – Photo Garry Armstrong
Graphic stone and falls – Marilyn Armstrong
Roses for our anniversary

So, not a red tree to be seen. Not even a bright yellow or slightly orange tree. Nothing at all. This was how it was last year, too. We finally got ONE week of Autumn. Then, all the leaves just fell off the tree. Kerplunk. End of Autumn.

I’m sure glad the seasons aren’t changing! I’d hate to lost whole seasons — like Autumn.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, Su-Leslie can update her post with links to all of your posts.