Category Archives: backyard

Birding at my house in Northern NJ at the NY state line

Wordless Wednesday

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GBBC day 2

4 Blue Jays, 12 Dark-eyed Juncos, 6 Tufted Titmice, 6 Black-capped Chickadees, a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers,  a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, 1 Hairy Woodpecker, 1 Crow, 2 White-breasted Nuthatches, 1 American Tree Sparrow, 2 Cardinals, 1 Carolina Wren


Filed under backyard, citizen science

Great Backyard Bird Count

Can you spare a few minutes for the next 4 days to count birds at your feeders?  No feeders?  S’okay. You don’t need feeders, you can go to the local park or wildlife refuge.  You can also include fly-overs and birds you hear if you are sure of the call.  Yes, It is time once again for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I love that this event is short, only 4 days and that I can count as much or as little as I can or have time for.  It is not a huge commitment, BUT your data combined with that of all the other participants can help give a glimpse of the bird population this winter.

Remember last year when we were awash in Pine Siskins?  This year I have nary a one.  But luckily, I do not need to have rare or unusual birds to participate in the count.  I want my lone American Tree Sparrow to be counted.  It comes very winter by itself and hangs around with the Junco crowd.  I have a Carolina Wren or maybe 2 and lots of Chickadees and Titmice and Nutchatches.

It is going to be cold this weekend, so bundle up when you go and keep me posted.

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Mystery Tracks

I stood looking down from the bedroom window at the snow.  The pristine blanket of white was broken by a trail leading from the woods down and around the top of the property.  I squinted against the blandness of white on white. The tracks followed the edge of the mountain laurel, stopping at the sandbox then making a beeline to the bird feeders before wandering off through the arborvitae hedge to the neighbors yard.  What the heck!  I threw off my robe, gathering clothes as I headed down the stairs.  I wanted to see if I could tell what they were, so I grabbed my camera as I headed out.

Well, I don’t know.  They look sort of like cat prints. But big. Maybe 2 inches across. I didn’t see any claw marks, so I don’t think they are a dog.  Have you seen bobcat prints? How big are they?  There is a Weimaraner that lives up the hill. Could it be her?


Filed under backyard, Photos

Birding in a Blizzard

I had just fed the birds and was sitting in the garage with the door open when I heard the scrape of the plow coming up the driveway. The driver waved as he inched past making a wide swath through the knee-deep snow.  The birds scattered but returned when he backed away to make another pass.  The driver was someone I had never seen.  He rolled down his window as he prepared to make the final pass and hollered above the roar of the diesel, “Are you a birdwatcher?”  I nodded happily and pointed at the busy feeders.  “I love Chickadees,” he shouted and with a smile and a promise to be back, he crawled down the steep drive onto the unplowed street.

Today’s snow birds  were: Carolina Wren, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Cardinal, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Blue Jay


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Titmouse Cuteness

What is it that makes Tufted Titmice so stinkin’ cute?  This one is eyeing a peanut on the deck.  You can almost see the wheels turning in his head.


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Out by the road, in the worst possible place in terms of  feng shui (my money corner-perhaps that explains everything) I have a brush pile.  It started because, well, partly I am lazy and partly I am cheap and well, I have the land to do it.  And heck, the birds and critters love it… so…there it is.  To be brutally honest, I have 3 brushpiles.  Top, middle and bottom of the property.  The one I see most is the one at the bottom, out by the road.

From where I sit in the family room I can see a large Forsythia bush by the back deck.  The other day, I happened to look up and noticed the leaves jumping.  Since there has been a large flock of mixed migrant buddies lurking silently in the trees for about a week.  I thought, perhaps, I could sneak out and see what was what.  I caught a glimpse of a clean eyebrow as one of the birds flitted away.  I dashed out to see them chase each other through the oaks in backyard.  As I stood there craning my neck trying to figure out if this was my regular backyard crew, a  caught a flicker of movement out by the brush pile.

Carolina Wren tail

Hey! I know you. Long time no see. How has your summer been?  How are the wife and kids?  Yeah I know the neighborhood has had a lot of hoodlum this year, but they have moved on and it’s peaceful again.  Hope you can hang out for a while.  Feeders won’t go up until the bears go down, but you know the drill.

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Secret Admirer – gift 2

Turkey feathers

My secret admirer was back.  This time I opened the front door to find 2  turkey feathers stuck in the crack between the stoop and the steps.  ‘Fess up.  Who is it?  I live in the middle of no where.  It has to be someone I know.


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I have been slowing down and taking photos of the tiny world around me.  I am really bad at identifying bugs, beetle, insects in general. Please, if you know that they are, let me know.


Here, I’m going with Widow Skimmer.

brown damselfly

Mmmm, no idea. Brown Damselfly. Ok, I just made that up.

Milkweed Bug

Some sort of milkweed bug.

Milkweed Borer

Another long-horned type of Milkweed bug, maybe a borer.

honey bee

Ooo, Ooo, I know this one. Honey Bee.  Look at me bein’ all proud.


I absolutely adore Daddy Longlegs.

What kind of buggy boos do you have?


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I Must Have a Secret Admirer

Robin's nest

The way to a girl’s heart is not usually through leaving her old bird nests.  But being a birding girl, it works fine.   I opened my front door to check if the contractor had started the work (alas, he has not) to find someone had left a Robin’s nest on my steps.  I don’t know who it was or why, but I love the gesture.

Maybe it was the contractor, the slacker.    This does not leave you off the hook, ya know.

Maybe it was the lawn guy who broke my concrete rhubarb leaf birdbath as a way of saying sorry.

Maybe I truly have a secret admirer, I love the idea.

But it was probably the neighbor girls across the street and not an admirer at all.  They do tend to leave me little gifts.

Have you ever recieved a gift from a secret admirer?


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