Friday, December 31, 2010

Photohunters: Fuzzy

The fuzzy fur on the squirrel help him stay warm in the winter.
In spite of his fuzzy fur he looks like he's freezing above but below you can see he is fine.
Click for the home of Photohunters . Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nature Notes: Mostly About the Birds

Christmas day was overcast but above freezing most of the day. However, I knew it was likely to snow so I made sure to get the birds a Christmas present.
The female cardinal above is enjoying her Christmas dinner. Christmas night it started snowing and continued throughout December 26. The female cardinal below is digesting her day after Christmas treats.
I think the little guy below is a sparrow. I have so many sparrows and finches that it's not always easy to tell them apart.
The male cardinal below stands out so clearly against the snowy branches.
The carolina chickadee below blends into the snowy scene and is so small he's easy to miss.
The squirrel helps the birds in some ways. I clear the snow off part of the deck wall for feeding but when the snow is falling, I abandoned part of the wall. The squirrel will dig out part of the abandoned feeding area, exposing seeds that were covered.
From left to right, I don't know what kind of bird the little gray one is. I'm pretty sure it's a sparrow in the middle and the male cardinal on the right is unmistakable.
The red-bellied woodpecker below doesn't bother the female cardinal but the male cardinals fly up to the trees when the woodpecker arrives.
I know I've mentioned before about the major changes in how I feed the birds.
Since I have so many photographs and not so much to say I'll go over the feeding I do and, for the most part, don't do once again.
Years ago, I fed the birds year round but did more in the winter. The bird below is a rufous-sided towhee.
When I was into major feeding, there was a time when I had as many as 16 seed feeders and 3 suet cages.
Gradually I phased out the feeding. By gradually I mean over a number of years. The bird below is a brown thrasher.
My garden became increasingly wild and I grow many plants which provide seeds the birds like.
I'm not sure if that's a wren with the cardinal above. There are loads of wrens, nuthatches, and titmouse that pop in and out to eat and they are unmistakable while I watch them. However in a distant window shot they are harder to identify. I'm surprised I didn't get any good blue bird shots as there are plenty of them around.
I enjoy watching the mourning doves like the one above. Anyway back to my feeding story, over years I've gotten to where the main time I supplement the birds food is during times of severe cold and/or snow, ice, etc.
Even with the supplemental food, I see the birds in the vines where the snow blew off munching on seeds from dried berries. But since the vines were totally covered in snow, until the snow started blowing its bounty wasn't available to the birds.
The little bird above is eating the seeds which fell off the deck wall.
I didn't notice any blue jays on December 26 while it was snowing but ones like the one above joined the crowd on December 27. I'll stop with one last male cardinal below.
Click here for the home of nature notes.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Today's Flowers: Camellia buds

I bundled up this morning and went outside to see if I could find some flowers. I found some camellia buds hiding in the snow.
today flowers camelia
Camellias set their buds in the winter. If you look closely at the shot above, you can probably see the buds. The shot below is a shot of the same bush.
I hope everyone had a happy Christmas. Click here for today's flowers.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nature Notes: A bit of this and that

Starting with last Thursday and moving through the next seven days, we've definitely had a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Early Thursday morning looking out of my deck I saw we had a coating of pretty snow over night. However, by the time morning had begun in earnest it changed to freezing rain.
natnotes icedec16
Some of the birds like grapes so I put some out for them.
natnotes grapesdec16
This was not the kind of weather where it's easy to be a bird.
The next day is warmed up a little and most of the ice melted with a few exceptions.
It's been pretty cold although some of the days have been getting above freezing.
The female cardinal above was hanging out on my deck while the male cardinal below was having a conversation with a squirrel.
naturenotes cardsqdec20
It doesn't look like we'll have a white Christmas because it will be just above freezing during the day and raining. However, the temperatures are supposed to drop Christmas night and the day after Christmas the current forecast is for snow showers. I guess I'll wait and see.
naturenotes birdpinedec20
Wishing everyone a merry Christmas and for those celebrating other special days this month I hope they were/are happy ones. Click for the home of nature notes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today's Flowers: Ice Flowers

None of the shots in this post are actual flowers but I thought the ice turned the whole world into a flower.
I took all of these shots on Thursday when we went from snow to freezing rain.
It got above freezing on Friday and I wasn't sorry to see it melt because of the risk of power outages.
I'll never forget a winter when we had an ice storm followed by a snow storm and much of the city including my house lost power.
I know a lot of people, including a neighbor, who got generators after dealing with that storm.
I don't have a generator so I'm always a tad nervous when we have an ice storm.
Click here for the home of today's flowers.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Photohunters: Male

Male cardinals are very easy to spot with their fiery feathers.
Click for the home of photohunters.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nature Notes: December 8 through 15

It has been a very cold December. The last of the snow on my deck melted with a couple of warmer days before we went back into the deep freeze.
It's fairly common here for the coldest weather to be dry and then go above freezing for some rain which happened this past weekend.
I think that may be happening again although I think it may go either way.
It's been in the teens F at night the past few days with a wind chill below zero yesterday morning.
Tonight the lows are supposed to be in the 20s F with snow in the forecast and by tomorrow afternoon it is forecast to be a degree or 2 above freezing with a change from freezing rain to rain.
Sometimes our worst storms are the ones where it is supposed to get above freezing when it has been very cold but that doesn't happen and we end up with a bad ice storm.
I guess we'll see what happens. The first shot was taken on the 8th of December and then I went through seven days with the last pecan being shot today (December 15). The third shot of the bird pecking on the tree is a nuthatch. I'm not sure about the others. For the home of nature notes, please visit Rambling Woods.