Housing Starts are Up

I had never actually seen a Chickadee excavating a nest hole before.  I looked up when I noticed bits of stuff raining down from on high.  All I had was the tail view until he pulled out his head, and with a toss, spit out more sawdust.  Then back in the hole he went.  Let me tell you, he was working it hard.

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Termite Hatchout

We were all looking at a House Wren working a stump when I glanced down to see a rotten log crawling with termites.  Nice. I was hopeful that a good sized mixed flock of (preferably) warblers would come to scoop them up.

The termites milled about then one by one took off, lifting into the air, glittering in the sunlight like fairy dust.  For most, their maiden voyage was cut short when the birds came to gobble them up.  It started with the House Wren, then the White-throated Sparrows, and Robins got in the act.  A Northern Parula showed up and so did a Veery and several Hermit Thrushes.

Many logs and stumps were crawling with termites in the heat of the day.  It is the time of year, if you seen one, keep watch, the birds will come.

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A Study of Willets in First Light

I awoke before first light, threw a coat over my nightgown and headed out to the beach.  I wanted to catch that first liquid gold as it poured over the waves.  The sand was cold under my feet as I topped the dune.  As the light strengthened, I  saw birds sleeping at the surf line. I fell to my knees and crept forward.

I knee-walked across the sand, then fell flat on my belly.

The light brightened and the willets roused.

They looked around blinking sleepily in the light.  One yawned and stretched a leg and a wing. 

The freshening tide swamped the delicate feet of the Willets, bringing with it renewed energy.  The Willets now fully awake began probing the sand.

When the light turned from gold to silver, I lurched to my feet, cold, stiff and sand covered.  The Willets fluttered further down the beach. With a parting shot, I headed in with gold-dazzled eyes and the promise of coffee in the air.   

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Owling in the Kitchen

While strolling the streets of Warwick, NY with a friend a few weeks ago I happened to glance in the window of Newhard’s (one of my favorite stores).  I continued walking until what I had seen registered and I backed up.  There was an owl towel hanging in there.  My kitchen towels are a little threadbare and I had just been thinking I needed to get some new ones.

They are hand printed silkscreens  on cotton by Janet Howard-Fatta, a local artist and come in 3 colors, dark green, brown and a mustardy gold.

Now here is the question…What types of owls do you think they are?

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Wordless Wednesday

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Still in Winter’s Icy Grasp

February is the cruelest month.

Although the evening shadows lengthen slowly over field and wood,

the biting winter winds still hold sway,

tossing the long brittle grasses,

while small sparrows ride the stems,

resigned to the cold,

looking forward to spring.

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Ghostly Encounter

After dropping off my taxes with the man, I decided to drive on down to Oberly Road in Alpha, NJ.  Oberly Road is a birding hotspot for wintering raptors, Snow Buntings, Horned Larks and the much sought-after Lapland Longspur.  Of course, I was hoping for Snow Bunting and the elusive Longspur.  While I got neither, there was a flock of dozens of Horned Larks swirling around and many sparrows.  It was a male Northern Harrier, however, that stole the show.

He appeared out of nowhere, made a few preliminary passes then dove onto a small dark something but then dropped it.  He coursed back and forth over the field intent on finding a meal.  After some minutes he wheeled off to cross the road to search in another field.  I was finally able to breathe again. I do love the gray ghost. I don’t see them often enough.

Oh yeah, and the Horned Larks were nice too.

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