AN ULTIMATE FINAL DAY OF BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

My ultimate spiky square- BIRDS AGAIN

I’ll have to remember to stop trying to make all my pictures square, that other shapes are okay now!

Spikes and pokes, sharp and pointy, we’re nearing the end. I started with birds and squirrels.

Tomorrow, I’ll return but not necessarily in squares with my pink Christmas Cactus. It is just about to bloom!

A small and rather petite Blue Jay

Squabbling Juncos

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Two finches and a chickadee (and the tail of something else!)

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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.

THURSDAY’S BEAKY SPIKES AND SPIKY PAWS – Marilyn Armstrong

Thursday’s beaks and paws

As I stood at the French doors in the dining room, I watched both Cardinals — male and physical come and go. I didn’t even both reaching for the camera.

They play this game with me every morning and I didn’t feel like playing today.

They flew off and I got a short visit from one of the red-bellied ladderback woodpeckers. He waited for me, but my camera didn’t feel like focusing. He got annoyed and left. Who could blame him?

Watching me, watching you …

No problem. The little squirrel popped onto the railing. He went into the flat feeder and chugged a pound or two of seeds, then came back to the rail. Where he sat and looked at me. I tapped on the glass. He ignored me. I tapped harder. He ignored me harder.

A quick snack before departure …

Duke got disgusted with me and the squirrel and went out back to do some anti-squirrel barking. Meanwhile, after one more round in the flat feeder, the young squirrel rambled off into the trees. Slowly. I think he waved at us on his way to the giant trees.

Looks like a baby Blue Jay!

Breeding colors – Goldfinch

With the squirrel gone, the birds came back. I took a few pictures. Then I went and drank coffee. The birds are wary of that big, furry, four-legged, bird!

Garry appears worried that the birds aren’t eating enough. I assured him that they appear fat and happy, so they are eating enough. You know you’re hooked when you’re worried your wild birds aren’t getting enough to eat.

Fat Nuthatch

Goldfinch and a Nuthatch

Not to worry. We have about 40-pounds of high-quality birdseed and as they get fully into breeding, they’ll also get hungry. They will eat. They always eat.

Brightest Goldfinch

I also saw a really huge hawk in the woods yesterday. It was so big, I wondered if it might be a young American Eagle. We’ve had them nest in our woods before, but usually, they like being by the river. But then again, we’re less than half a mile from the river and that’s not much for an eagle. Barely a flap of the wings, come to think about it.

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

THE SUPERSTITIONS – Marilyn Armstrong

The Superstitions: Most Jagged Mountains – 03/19/19

The Superstitions, known locally (I am told) as “The Supes” are a heap of jagged rocks. Nothing except cactus grows there. Maybe the odd bit of ironwood too. It’s pretty barren and very harsh.

Perfect for this challenge!

Not only spiky squares. Jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy things and that’s certainly one of them.

SPIKY PINK CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong

Spiky Pink Cactus – 03/16/19

It has been very springlike for the past couple of days, though it will be rather colder for the next few days. Probably because spring is actually coming and it always seems to get cold as the season technically arrives.

This is more or less normal in this part of the country. It’s usually in the low or mid-40s as we slide into spring. It’s not uncommon to get a few inches of snow in April, too.

More square pink cactus

Wet snow that feels slushy even as it falls, mind you. I need the snow to go away because I need to replace our mailbox. They will not deliver mail until we replace the box

Square cactus and it’s also rather pink

And I absolutely have to fix our chimney. It has been a seriously windy, stormy year. The chimney wasn’t in good shape before all the storms. It’s worse now and I don’t know how much worse. I have to get someone up there to see how bad it is and deal with it. A collapsed chimney is a big, expensive problem. Summer doesn’t last very long. We need to get to fixing things before we are into next winter.

I have to remember it’s not only spiky squares. I have to look for other things, like jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy things.

THE SPIKIEST MARCH WOODPECKERS YET – Marilyn Armstrong

More Spiky Birds in March – 03/15/19

They are redoing our bathroom today and we finally put the two Scotties in the crate and the flying Duke is on a lead. No dog is going anywhere we don’t want them to go.

I’m sure it will do them a world of good. Duke doesn’t mind all that much. He likes being glued to us anyhow. The crate is every dog’s favorite hangout, so that’s fine. Shortly, we’ll put them outside for a couple of hours. I just needed to let the workmen get their materials into the house before putting the pooches out.

So far, so good. Of course, the water is off so I sure hope no one has to do anything bathroom-related anytime soon!

I woke up and there was the Cardinal. I came into the dining room and he was gone — even before I got my hands on the camera. I just sighed. It’s a daily ritual.

I did take a lot of pictures the other day, mainly of our persistent woodpeckers. I keep changing my mind about which one this one is — Downy or Hairy. I think I see both and I was pretty sure this one was a Hairy, but I could be wrong.

Your guess is as good (maybe better!) than mine!

Hairy or Downy? I think he is big enough for a Hairy and that beak looks big enough, too. You think?

And remember it is not just spiky squares we are looking for, you can also be jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy.

A MORNING FOR BIRDS WITH POINTY BEAKS – Marilyn Armstrong

Spiky Squares and Pointy Beaks

Every morning I get up and peer out of my bathroom window. Every day, there is a Cardinal there, eating at the flat feeder. By the time I get to the kitchen, he is gone. Or he is there. I grab the camera. He is gone.

Junco and Nuthatch, sharing the feeder

Two birds who are NOT afraid of other birds … or each other

All the fun birds to photograph are the first to fly — except the woodpeckers. But they always eat from the back of the feeder. I know they are there from the movement of the feeder, but I can’t get pictures unless they come to the front. They do sometimes.

Downy or Hairy Woodpecker? I thought this was a Hairy, but I’m not sure. Seems bigger than the other one who I’m sure is a downy (smaller beak).

This little Downy Woodpecker is pretty funny and rather athletic! He also seems smaller than the other one …

I also think they are intentionally cute.

Earliest in the morning, it’s squirrels, emptying out the flat feeder. As soon as the squirrels left, I got the big mourning doves who are pretty good at emptying out the feeders too.

My morning squirrel

Time to go home!

They are really fat. Actually, all my birds are fat. The Juncos are particularly fat, though Garry thinks the Cardinal is the fattest bird he has seen to date.

He definitely can’t see his feet. His stomach is in the way.

SPIKY WATER LILIES IN THE BLACKSTONE RIVER – Marilyn Armstrong

Now, these are spikes!

I thought you might be tired of my cactus, so allow me to introduce the spikiest water lilies I’ve ever seen. We think of water lilies as flat, but they come in a lot of shapes and this one is very common along the shores of the Blackstone River.

Taken last November, but neglected until today.

Spiky water lilies

And remember it is not just spiky squares we are looking for, you can also be jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy.

Oh, and today is my birthday. I’m … gasp … 72. And still alive!

BIRDY, SQUIRRELLY, SNOWY, SQUARE, AND SPIKY — MARCH DAY 8 — Marilyn Armstrong

Birdy, Squirrelly, Snowy, Square, and Spiky – 8

The world? It is full of birds, squirrels, and snow.

The photographs? All square and spiky.

The month is March.

Remarkably, it will be officially Spring in a few weeks.

Hard to believe, isn’t it?

Probably a Hairy because that’s a real BEAK!

Hanging on with sharp little claws

Athletic, isn’t he? And he’s hanging on with his just two feet!

Pointed pickets in the snow – Photo Garry Armstrong

Happy spiky, jagged, pointy, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and barbed’ squares!

ORIGINAL ANGRY BIRDS: SQUARE AND SPIKY MARCH DAY 7 – Marilyn Armstrong

Original Angry Birds -7- March Spiky Squares!

Whoever created angry birds must have had his eye on woodpeckers. I was watching them today. There were probably a dozen birds, many of them Goldfinches and the rest Juncos or Nuthatches and the odd Chickadee when one of the big Red-Bellied Woodpeckers cruised to halt in the flat feeder.

Every other bird jumped off the feeder and flew into the trees. They weren’t messing with a woodpecker. Those birds are wacko.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker at feeding time. That is some beak!

I think this one could peck MY eyes out!!

You can see it in their faces. Even on the little Down Woodpeckers, they all seem to be scowling. Definitely angry birds and even the little ones have longer than average sharp beaks and thicker than normal skulls. And they have an attitude: “Beat it or I’ll peck those eyes right out of your head.”

Look at the fierce face on this one. Angry bird ahoy!

“Yes sir,” say all the other birds. They aren’t messing with those crazy woodpeckers. Just look at their faces. They are, apparently, in a permanently bad mood.

And of course, this is why the birds are so miffed. I’m a little miffed myself!

Note that our mailbox has been squashed into the snow bank – and no, this picture is NOT square. Photo: Garry Armstrong

Our house in the snow from the street – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Happy spiky, jagged, pointy, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and barbed’ squares!

POINTY BEAKED BIRDS: SQUARE AND SPIKY MARCH DAY 6 – Marilyn Armstrong

Birds with pointy beaks -6- March Spiky Squares!

Our world is still buried in snow but somehow, Garry got out on the deck and shoveled his way to the feeder. Which was good because one of our squirrels had just emptied it.

That squirrel stares me down through the windows. I KNOW he can see me but he seems to know that as long as I’m in the house, I’m no danger, so he just eats and eats and eats. I don’t mind his eating, but it would be nice if he left a little for the birds.

So after Garry put fresh food out, the birds descended in force!

Who has the pointiest beak? The woodpeckers. This is the downy, the little one, but he still has a hard head and a strong beak.

Move Downy Woodpecker

Also a very pointy pecker, the nuthatch is nearly as pointy as the woodpecker.

Happy spiky, jagged, pointy, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and barbed’ squares!

 

FLOWER OF THE DAY PLUS SQUARE AND SPIKY MARCH DAY 4 – Marilyn Armstrong

Day Four – March Spiky Squares!

More Blooming Cactus – FOTD – o3/05/2019

Snow fell overnight. Not a few inches, but 18 inches.  Which is a lot of snow, no matter how you care to measure it. For me, it’s up to my knees. We got lucky and the plow came early in the afternoon.

Garry went out and cleaned off the car, which was a lot bigger a deal than it was supposed to be, but we’ve had a lot of sleet and when that stuff flies off the top of your car and hits the windshield of the car behind you, people get killed or minimally, injured.

So no matter who you are or what you drive, you have to clean off the top, not just the windshield and windows. They have special places where trucks can go to get their tops cleaned off. Apparently, getting hit by the snow or sleet from the top of a large truck can make a big mess of your car. And you.

Meanwhile, there’s the cactus:

Warm flowering cactus

It’s a cactus. It’s pointy

Big cactus, many flowers

Happy spiky, jagged, pointy, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and barbed’ squares!

FLOWER OF THE DAY PLUS SQUARE AND SPIKY MARCH DAY 3 – Marilyn Armstrong

Day Three – March Spiky Squares!

More Blooming Cactus – FOTD – o3/04/2019

Snow falling tonight and I’m hoping we won’t get as much as promised. I guess I’ll know in the morning. Meanwhile, it’s snowing pretty heavily out there.

We might get up to a foot, but I’m hoping for less. Please.

My cactus is blooming more than I’ve ever seen it bloom before. I have to assume that after this, it’s going to want to sleep for a while!

Lots of pointy parts because … it’s a cactus.

Flowers!!

This last one isn’t square, but I wanted to show you the whole plant. I think it actually looks better “in person.”

The full flowering plant and it’s going to get better … so many buds.

Happy spiky, jagged, pointy, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and barbed’ squares!