WINTER GOLDFINCHES IN THE LIGHT OF RECENT SNOW – Marilyn Armstrong

WINTERING WITH THE GOLDFINCHES

Snow was supposedly on the way, but our forecasts have more like guesswork than science lately. I no longer trust them. But I do trust our birds. They always know when snow is coming. The day before, they had barely bothered to show up at the feeders. Today, there was a flock of Goldfinches and at least one of every bird we normally see.

Two little Goldfinches sitting on a feeder …

Two (of many) Goldfinches on their feeder

Today, again, we also had lots of birds. Whenever they did something interesting, I had my camera pointed in the other direction. Talk about Murphy’s Law!

Goldfinches all over the big feeder, too.

Close up!

This is a classic. Point your camera left and all the action is to the right. Take a picture and half a second later, they are airborne and I missed it again. Moreover, the best shots will always be exactly when my battery goes flat.

 

ONE MORE SUNSET #16 – Marilyn Armstrong

ONE MORE SUNSET

Yes, I know my numbers are out of order. That’s the price we pay for trying to work with material coming from the other side of the world. Posts show up late, sometimes a couple of days late and since I can’t control when they wind up in my “inbox,” I just do the best I can. Hope no one minds!

The west-facing road that passes our house and travels from route 146A all the way to Johnston, Rhode Island, a big area for antiques. I don’t go there because I’ll buy something. I don’t go to antique stores, book stores, or art galleries. These are places I find irresistible. Not only do I not have extra money to spend, but I need more antiques like I need a hole in my head.

Along this little road are at least three small towns, all located on a waterway. There is a lot of water around here and it all flows south towards the Atlantic Ocean and exits via Narragansett Bay. Which is, of course,  the outlet of the Blackstone River and almost every other river and stream in the Blackstone Valley.

On the road to Rhode Island

In case you didn’t know, the Blackstone Valley runs through two states. It begins at the head of the Worcester Hills in Massachusetts and continues through Rhode Island until it runs into the ocean. Along its route are more rivers most of which are tributaries of the Blackstone. Also interesting are the ponds, lakes, streams, and rivulets, often unnamed. Just more water.

Route 98 runs through inhabited areas. Lots of small farms and tiny groups of homes too small for maps to name them as a village, though most places have a name. A few have no names. They are simply a crossroads with a shop and a couple of houses. But of course, we have towns that look like that too.

BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON #17 – Marilyn Armstrong

By the light of the moon

The sky is grey with snow expected, but it might be rain. it’s supposed to get cold. January is normally our coldest month, except it has been springtime warm. I don’t have any flowers blooming, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people with better gardens are seeing very early buds. I also think the birds are breeding. Many of the ladies have a big belly in which I think there are eggs. I worry about a sudden cold snap, but I can’t do anything about the weather except to keep the feeders full.

Whatever has been predicted, you don’t know what will happen until you get up in the morning and look out the window. As far as light goes, I have long thought that ALL photography is about light. Just saying.

Given all of that, time to hit the archives!

Full Harvest Moon – Sept. 2016

Super Moon Dec. 2016

Sept. 2016 – Full Harvest Moon

It’s pretty hard to get a good shot of the sky from our property. The Super Moon was taken in a parking lot after a movie, but the others are from our deck.

 

ALL ABOUT A DOWNY WOODPECKER AND HER NUTHATCH LUNCHMATE – Marilyn Armstrong

I had a really big set of photos from last week. I’d processed maybe 10 of them, then I took some more and worked on them. But I knew there were a bunch of pictures in there with which I’d not done anything. I’d shot these pictures quickly and taken a long sequence of a lovely lady Downy Woodpecker sharing the feeder alone or with a Nuthatch.

Last night, I put a bunch of them together. This is a lady Downy because she doesn’t have a red patch on her head.

Downy and Nuthatch

Just hanging out

Seedeaters!

Very plump or full of eggs?

It’s good to keep them al so well-fed.

AUTUMN AFTERNOON AND AMBER SUNLIGHT #14 – Garry Armstrong

Day and Light

It was one of only a few golden autumn days. I had gone into town for a haircut, but I’d also taken the camera. It was a beautiful day with the sun at its most golden amber. I took a few pictures. Eventually, I took a lot of pictures. It was so lovely, I couldn’t stop.

Sunny Autumn afternoon in downtown Uxbridge

The old library in the autumn sun

Sunshine on an old church

Along a road in fall. This photo is not processed. It’s straight out of the camera.

We didn’t have much autumn, but I think I managed to catch the best of it. Maybe next year, it will be better? We can dream.

SQUARING THE LAMPLIGHT – FILM NOIR IN BOSTON #11 – Marilyn Armstrong

Squaring the Lamplight

Since Becky already named this, I thought it was a good time to use a photo I have always loved, but definitely needed a redo. This was taken under the streetlights on the sidewalk next to Boston Symphony Hall. It was December and we were there for the Christmas Concert.

The shadows and grain of the photograph made me immediately think of film noir and its dark shadowed moods. If you use your imagination, you can imagine stories about this one.

In the shadows under the streetlight in the heart of Boston

SQUARED UP ARIZONA SUNSETS #12 – Marilyn Armstrong

ON THE SQUARE – ARIZONA SUNSETS #12 – Marilyn Armstrong

I was amazed at the sunsets everywhere in Arizona. Just when I thought they couldn’t be better, the next night would be even more brilliant.

And so it went from one night to the next night, glorious sunset after sunset. In the mountains and even from city streets. Some nights, the sunset was so red it turned the mountains red, too.

Sunset – Phoenix

In the Phoenix mountains

More from the Phoenix Mountains

Sunset reflected on the Superstition Mountains

EAGLES NEST ALONG THE RIVER #11 – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Eagles nest along the river – Garry Armstrong

The same day as the fabulous sunset, I went out with Tom in his little boat. I took this picture of a bird on the channel marker in the river. I was too far away to see what it was. Marilyn instantly spotted it as an American Eagle. It’s the white chest and head, not to mention its size.

After she cropped the picture, you can see not only the eagle but his nest. That is the big pile of twigs.

Most people don’t realize that American Eagles are fishers. They need to live near water because their main diet is fish. On the Merrimack River located on the northern edge of Massachusetts, there are a lot of boating people who fish. They have gotten used to pulling out a big fish and having a huge eagle fly down and steal it. While these aren’t as big as Golden Eagles, they still have a solid 10-food wingspan and talons you don’t want to mess with. Eagles get lazy when they know all they have to do is wait and a human will provide dinner.

I know there are very large eagles in Africa who migrate to Asia and occasionally Europe in the summer. I think the American Eagle is the largest bird we have in this part of the country unless the Black Vulture is bigger. They are about the same size and rather closely related, though the eagle is a lot more handsome. You need to be a very good birder to tell the difference between them when they are up in the sky. There’s a minor difference in the feather configuration of their wings. To me, they look the same.

Eagles nest on the channel marker

We used to have a pair of eagles nesting in our woods, but they have moved on. We can still see their nest. There are quite a few of them — or were, anyway — in the valley. Lots of water and fish.

As for light, it was such a bright, clear day. Which makes the amazing sunset even more unusual. It was a very special day.

Leslie said she thought it might really be a hawk, but it isn’t a hawk. No hawk will nest on a river like that, but I think she is right that it isn’t a bald eagle. It is probably an Osprey, a slightly smaller eagle that lives almost entirely on fish. There is a similar bird, the Sea Eagle. Except they are rare and live in the Solomon Islands, so I don’t think that is one. But an Osprey? Definite possibility. A different eagle. Bald Eagles are bigger and more aggressive. They hunt for fish by diving into the river.

Osprey’s hunt with their talons, flying low over the water and grab fish with those big hooked talons. Bald Eagles attack Osprey to steal their fish. Lazy bums, those baldies.

PINK SAILS IN THE SUNSET #9 – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Pink Sails in the Sunset – Garry Armstrong

It was an amazing sunset. It wasn’t just the western side of the sky. It was the entire sky in all four directions. There was the purple and pink end and the orange and gold section and some other almost indescribable colors — red, maroon, violet, yellow. What a display!

Both Marilyn and I were taking pictures. The sky was really awesome, as in able to strike awe in all who saw it.

The purple and pink side of the sunset sky

HOMEWARD BOUND #7 – Marilyn Armstrong

HOMEWARD BOUND INTO THE SUNSET – BECKY B’S JANUARY SQUARES

It was just another day coming home from the doctor. Our house is due west from the doctor’s office. I knew this because the sun was in our eyes all the way home. I thought it would be dark when we got back, but there was absolutely no traffic and we swept home at a brisk pace.

Which meant there were a few pictures to take on the way. Not as glorious as the last ones, but still, very pretty (and entirely square) sunset pictures.

About a quarter of a mile from home, heading west

About 4:30 in the afternoon in January

This was the first time I’ve used my new Panasonic camera since I got it a couple of months ago. I’m not really used to it yet, but it does seem to do a pretty nice job especially considering it was quite dark by this time.

WINTER TREES TURN GOLD AT SUNSET #6 – Marilyn Armstrong

WHEN THE SUN TURNS THE WINTER TREES TO GOLD – Marilyn Armstrong

 

When the setting sun turns the trees to gold — in February!

I’ve never seen this before or since. It was February. The trees were bare and we were coming home from Connecticut. The sky was dark with clouds, but there was a shaft of sunlight and it lit up the trees and turned them to gold. I took pictures and I’m glad I did. I’ve never seen this happen before or since.

COMING HOME SUNSET #3 – Marilyn Armstrong

IT WAS A MAGICAL DRIVE DOWN ALDRICH STREET

It was just an ordinary day, driving home.

“Pull over!” I said.

“What?”

“Pull over! The sun is about to do something really spectacular and I have a camera!”

Sometimes, if you are in the right place at the right time and just happen to have a camera, some amazing pictures show up. This was our own street, too. We weren’t on vacation and I wasn’t looking for pictures, but I always have a camera. This is why.

Coming home … about 300 yards down the road from the house. Facing due west.

THE BONUS SQUARES – Marilyn Armstrong

BONUS SQUARES

There is actually a chip in one of my cameras, but there’s nothing much on it yet. I just inserted it. I’ve gotten into the habit of replacing a chip as soon as I remove one so that I won’t have one of those “moments” when you realized you removed the SD card, but forgot to put another one in. This way, I make sure there’s always a usable battery AND and card. Now, if only I would stop panicking every time I can’t see out of my lens and check to make sure I’ve removed the lens cap!

These are the last pictures I took on New Year’s Eve afternoon.

Squirrel on the feeder

Feeding time!

I should mention that both these squirrels were eating at the same time and two more were waiting on the wood railing.