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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Mar 28, 2013

More signs of spring

Lady bug
First of all, a warm welcome to my two new followers and a happy Easter to all.

This week has been very busy for me.  However, I did stop to smell the roses as it were.  My short visits with nature provided more proof that spring is indeed arriving, albeit slowly.

For one thing the crows and seagulls have arrived back in the city in small numbers.  Yesterday morning I spotted this ladybug in the mud near the snow melt line in my front yard.  I took a quick photo with my cell phone, before I headed down to the little forest down the street.

As you can see in the photo below, we still  have a ton of snow.

But temperatures are such, that it is melting rapidly.  So in the little forest the snow is still quite deep, but by now I have forged a nice little trail.  Here are some images of the birds I saw this past week on my outings there.

Male Pileated Woodpecker

Female Pileated
The Pileated Woodpeckers have been mysteriously absent in the forest this winter.  But now they seemed to have paired off, I was delighted to see them again.
White Breasted Nuthatch
Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker

Both the red and yellow-shafted flickers have been a constant presence this winter, and I have many new photos of them, of course another fair close-up never hurts.

Bohemian Waxwing
The Bohemian waxwings are such fun to watch, especially now that most of the fruit has been consumed and they are foraging in the pines and much lower to the ground.  They will be gone before long, when the weather gets to be too warm for them, and be replaced by Cedar waxwings.  I can't wait to see them again.


Mar 22, 2013

Winter is warring with Spring

A little more than a week ago the snow was melting nicely and the temperatures were rising. However, apparently winter isn't going to go out like a lamb this year. The result is a major dumping of light powdery snow which is accumulating steadily.

I'm sure this makes the avid skiers insanely happy, but both driving and walking has become rather tricky, as there is ice beneath the snow.  Trust me I found some.  Me and ice do not get along, since an encounter usually ends up somewhat painful for me, which is why I never learned to skate.

Bohemian Waxwing reaching for a berry
Waxwing on lookout
Another result of this war between winter and spring, is that the birds have gone mostly into hiding.  Except the Bohemian Waxwings of course.  They seem to love the nasty weather and are flying all over the neighborhood.  Here are some members of a small flock I caught in action on a very cold day just when it stopped snowing for a short while.

Grasping a tasty berry
Showing off their colors
However, what seems likely often isn't, when the weather turns nasty birds need more food to help them keep warm, which is why the Bohemians are likely more actively searching for food and berries are their preferred food source. When they fly all over the neighborhood during nasty weather, greedily consuming fruit it is very much a necessity.   The fruit trees in the immediate neighborhood have pretty much been stripped of fruit as a result.

I sincerely hope spring wins this battle of the seasons very soon.


Mar 16, 2013

One second with Nature-light and fire

                                                        Timeless Fire

I took this image last fall, I love the way the light paints the top leaf in a rainbow of  fire shades.


Mar 14, 2013

A sign that spring isn't far away

Field and forest across from the new development
I don't often see Coyotes. When I, do it is usually closer to spring, when the males are on the move in search of females, but I typically see only a brief, flash of a glimpse of this beautiful creature.  So I was delighted to get this lone coyote in the sights of my camera unexpectedly as I was sitting in a vehicle, in a new development at the edge of the city.

While I detest the thought that more land is being swallowed up by the ever expanding city, new developments sometimes provide me with the opportunity of a new location to explore nature.  I was contemplating on visiting the field and the intact forest across it as a possible new birding site and idly taking photos of the area, when the Coyote just appeared before my lens, seemingly out of nowhere.  

At first I thought it was a dog, because all I saw was a head on view.  But then he turned sideways.  My day was suddenly complete.

Cautious Coyote

He must have come up and over the mound of dirt left behind by construction and seemed uncertain and cautious.

Moving along the side of the road
Coyote just before he disappeared
I only had a couple of minutes to take these photos, as he moved along and then disappeared into a hollow in the field that offered the shelter of some trees.  I can't wait to explore the area.  Who knows what else nature will show me there.


Mar 8, 2013

Charismatic and athletic

Flock of Bohemian Waxwings
The birds have been rather uncooperative in the last little while. They are either perched at the tree tops, or doing a quick flyby, although sometimes in large flocks.  The squirrels on the other hand, are highly visible lately and much more active now that the weather is a bit warmer.

I love watching the antics of squirrels.  Squirrels are so very athletic.  They have to be, at the breakneck speeds they often manage.  They are also charismatic and fun.  If you want a real chuckle, just watch two squirrels chase each other around, and up and down the trunk of a tree for what seems like forever.  I have yet to capture that on camera, but I'm hoping I will some day soon.

Below are some photos of a squirrel running down the trunk of a 50 foot pine at break neck speed.  If you look closely at the first photo, you will see that the squirrel has only one limb in touch with the trunk. In the second photo he is leaping from one broken branch down to the next, like a trapeze artist.  When I looked at this series of photos I immediately got an uneasy sensation in the pit of my stomach.  Good grief, this tiny creature was completely defying gravity with what seemed like total ease.

one limp in contact with tree
A short hop down?
Let's just fly

I don't know why this one was racing down the tree, nor why he immediately jumped to another tree about five feet from the first.  It's possible he saw a hawk or falcon, or maybe an intruder in his territory.  Although squirrels can be aggressive and territorial, they also seem to enjoy just racing up and down a tree, just for fun.

If I walk real slow, I can often surprise these little guys when they finally take a break from their frantic racing around.  Each squirrel seems to react differently when I do.

I think I badly startled the one directly below.
 The squirrel above is uncertain, his tail is raised in alarm but he still isn't sure if I'm a threat.

I'm outa here
 This squirrel isn't going to hang around to see if I'm a threat, he is going up. While the squirrel below, seems to have decided it has teeth, that I'm in his territory and he'll defend it.

Curious but cautious
Of the last two squirrels, one was simply curious and watched me watch it, and the last just posed real pretty for several photos before he decided to leave.



Mar 1, 2013

The Beauty of winter

Downy Woodpecker

Although winter is not my favorite season, and most of the birds are gone, I have come to enjoy some of the beauty of winter.  There is so much color and contrast if you just look, and I do so love color and contrast.  I thought before the season leaves us entirely this year, it would be fun to share just some of the amazing colors of winter I have noticed this year.

Green, bronze and burgondy

Spotted bronze
Orange, green and gold
Silver tears
Bright red
A display of contrast
peach and tan
bright green, gray and brown
a mix of shades
The forest alight
Nature is grand, no matter the season.  Don't you agree?