Friday, February 22, 2008

A Winter's Pond ...


It's the first significant snowfall of the season and what a beauty it was! It turned a drab winter garden into a white fairyland ...

Amid the deer=prints in the snow, the brightly colored plumage of the cardinals and bluejays truly brightened a gray day.

Mr. and Mrs. downy woodpecker dined on both sides of my suet feeder, while a tiny wren combed the snow at the bottom for tidbits of suet.

My butterfly bushes were filled with juncos, their dark little bodies almost looking like buds, as they waited for their turn at the feeders that were covered with black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice and red-breasted nuthatches.

My robin was back, frantically looking for a holly berry he might have missed. then it was off to my cotoneasters which still have plenty of berries ... but I guess they are not as tasty as the holly berries.

And, of course, after they filled up on corn, my crow family yelled and cawed for some table scraps. And, I obliged with some leftovers.

Monday, February 11, 2008

What a difference a day makes ...

It's 5 p.m. and bitter cold ... cold enouogh for beautiful ice formations to form on the waterfall by the pond. I surprised the turkeys when I went out to fill up the corn feeders. They didn't seem particularly bothered though ... they just moved further back into the woods. Misty was with me but they didn't seem to mind her either ... although she was the one who alerted me that they were in the woods.

My feeders have been busy all day with chickadees, tufted titmice, doves, juncos, bluejays, crows, wrens and sparrows and what is this year's favorite ... the red-breasted nuthatches. The woodpeckers enjoyed the suet and a lone robin gobbled up my holly berries.

I was enjoying watching a cardinal eating the safflower seeds I had just put out ... his red feathers so bright and beautiful on this late and cold winter afternoon ... when out of the corner of my eye I saw something move ... it was my doe who pretty much comes at this time each day ... almost always alone ... but today two of her friends have joined her. Food must be scarce. I'm glad they know there is always corn for them here.

Yesterday was so different. It was almost 40 degrees warmer. In the morning, a magical mist enveloped the pond, and, with the morning sun rising behinds the pines and oaks, it was a most mystical morning. Just exquisite!

Around 10 a.m., I was visited by a flock of migrating grackles. In all my years of watching the birds, I have never ever seen a flock so large ... 500 or more. They were all over the pond, the feeders, the trees, the grass. Everything was black. There wasn't a patch of green anywhere. They have been visiting all week. They stay perhaps 10 to 15 minutes and then they all fly up in a gigantic swirling black mass. Truly amazing ... like something out of Alfred Hitchcocks' "The Birds".

Life is sweet ...