Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Junco with injured wing in my yard

I have been looking at all of the juncos in my yard and there is one with an injured wing. I went out there with a shoe box lined with paper towels in hopes I could grab him, but he crawled away into the picker bushes.

There was a hawk here earlier and I kind of wish the hawk would have grabbed him to put him out of his misery. He was eating so I threw a bunch of bird seed under the brambles in hopes that he needs to rest it some. There is snow for him to drink, food for him to eat and enough shelter under the pickers to roost tonight.

Sadly I don't think that will make a difference and there is no way I can get him under those picker bushes.

It is very sad to see. He looks so scared and defenseless.

Robins in my yard today

We are supposed to get 8 inches of snow today and my bird station is booming. I had a whole bunch of robins in my yard on the privet tree. I am sad to report that I don't have that many berries anymore because those darn starlings have eaten most of them. I am hoping my holly gets bigger next year so the robins can eat that. I am also planning on spending a little more money this spring to get some well established berry producing shrubs into my yard for winter feeding for berry eating birds.
In the past, I always associated robins with spring. I never paid much attention to the birds but my eyes were always open for robins come March because I couldn't bear another day of winter. Now that I am more informed on bird behaviour, I know that some robins do in fact stick around Massachusetts for the winter. I just feel badly that I can't provide them with food that they will eat. They are a pleasant sight to see though. I can't get a good picture of them because the privet tree is far away from my kitchen window and I can't get close enough to them for a decent picture.
I will post more pictures this week. I took a ton of photos but want to save some for future posts.
Happy New Year all!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Coopers Hawk in my Yard

Check it out all. My first hawk photo. I can even identify it as a coopers hawk (I think). I was in my kitchen fuddling around when all of a sudden I could see my trash birds run for cover. They scattered in every direction known to man. I ran to the window and there it was. It sat very patiently for about 20 minutes waiting for a house sparrow to come out of hiding. I felt so bad for him because it was windy out and he was obviously hungry. I wished he would eat burgers or something like that because I would have gladly made him one with all of the fixings. Suddenly my red bellied woodpecker appeared and I grew sick to my stomach. I kind of tapped on the window to make him go away but he wouldn't.

I was torn at this point between the hawk and my red bellied and the red bellied won. My neighbors have been feeding birds for five years now and have never had one of these birds visit their feeders before. I feel his presence here is an honor and I couldn't see him become the hawks lunch. I went out there slowly and hissed at him and sure enough he flew away. The hawk just stared at me annoyed and I drew closer for a photo and off he flew to where the pigeons hang out.

I so wish he would have gotten a house sparrow or a starling as they are a pain in the you know what. Those trash birds are smart little buggers and hide instantly whenever a hawk arrives in my yard. I guess that is why they are so abundant and have taken over the bird world.

I had my first flock of goldfinches today. Usually I get only 2 or 3 at a time but this afternoon I had about 10. It was quite the site to see. I have a feeling I will be refilling my nyjer tomorrow morning.

Finally Squiggy sitting in the coconut feeder. I cannot get over how resourceful and well balanced he is to hang on this thing. He looked so sweet sitting there I couldn't' yell at him. I just took a couple of pictures and let him eat in peace. I am sure it's not easy being a squirrel this time of year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Backyard photos

Finally a day where I can just chill and feel all right. Between my flu and the holidays I had no time for anything. Today was basically a sit around day and I cherished every moment of it. I had all of my backyard bird friends and some foes as well. The starlings and house sparrows have seemed to have taken over my backyard. The other birds still come around, but the pest birds are here on a continuous basis. This started when I was very sick and I just didn't have the energy to shoo them away. Now I have to deal with them and I don't know how. I have a secret fantasy of a large hawk swooping in on my yard and grabbing himself a banquet of house sparrow and starling. Wishful thinking I suppose, but I don't have the heart to trap and can't think of any other way to deterring these little buggers besides quitting feeding which I will not do in the winter.

The picture above is of starlings and a crow. I have grown to really like the crow. He sits in that tree and watches for hawks and other predators while all of the other birds are eating. If he hears something he gives his alarm call and the birds flutter away. I have even resorted to buying them dog food because they seem to like it so much.

Here is Squiggy busy at work this afternoon. He has been in hiding with all of the snow we have had recently, and with all of the melting going on, he is digging out his loot. HA!

Here he is with a peanut in his mouth. I am hoping he is not burying it in the brush pile because this is where my tomato plants go in the summer.
Off to read my book now. I could get used to this not working stuff!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It feels good to get outside again!

It felt good to get outside again. I am starting to regain my energy and the outdoors was beckoning me to get out there with my binoculars and my camera. It is over 50 degrees here today so I was convinced there would be a lot of birds out there taking advantage of the good weather we are having. Sadly I was mistaken. I did see these ducks at the bike path. They are on a frozen part of the river and checking for fish. I can identify most of them as mallards, but don't know what kind of ducks the ones are with the blue wings. Does anyone know?

I went to the cemetery and saw a hawk and my first brown creeper (I couldn't get a picture of him though). I did see the golden crowned kinglets and they were busy as bees trying to get their breakfast. Sadly I couldn't get a good picture of them as I am out of practice it appears.
I have the rest of the week off and am hoping to get in more birding. I have noticed that it's harder to find the birds now that winter is upon us. My backyard has more activity than the woods and I am yearning for variety here. Of course I love my chickadees, titmice, cardinals, etc., but I want to see more. I guess it will have to wait until this spring.
Take care all.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I got my heated bird bath!

Check it out all. This is what I got from my mother for Christmas. I sent her the link and told her this was all I wanted. She was dumbfounded at first because she couldn't understand why I wouldn't want a trendy new purse or the latest and greatest perfume from Macy's.

You see it's not easy being a birder in a family whose idea of nature is having a picnic outside. I have always been the odd duck of sorts and things that normal women like, I have no desire for. I don't wear jewelry, I don't get my nails done and I don't get excited over scented candles. Give me a heated bird bath any day and I will be just as excited as if you presented me with a pair of pearls.

I can't wait to plug it in. I am hoping I get a lot more birds than I do now considering I am the only one on my street w/ a heated bird bath. I am going to charge up my neglected camera batteries and start taking pictures again. While I was sick I became very depressed because I didn't get outside at all with my camera. It made me realize how the outside has served as my therapy and has helped to keep me somewhat grounded over the past several months.

It was a good Christmas indeed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Merry Christmas all.

I feel so much better today. All of the shopping, cleaning and running around is done and I am not nearly as sick as I was before. My appetite is coming back and I can now eat again (did not eat for 3 days straight), so I am very hungry.

I woke up this morning to robins on my privet tree! Robins are a rare sight in New England this time of the year so it was wonderful. Sadly no pictures as my batteries are dead because I have been neglecting my blogging and have not charged them.

I am back now though and can't wait to catch up w/ everyone.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas. I have missed you all and have thought of you often.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Checking in. Very Sick

Hi all, it's me, Kallen!!

HA!! I have felt bad not posting here in a few days but I am very sick. I have a fever of 101 with a sore throat and sinus infection. I am on antibiotics and pain medication so have had very little energy to post.

It didn't help matters much that we received two feet of snow the past three days and the fact that I am only half way done with my Christmas shopping! I am hoping I feel better tomorrow so I can finish that. The house is a mess but that will have to wait I guess.

Despite my sinus infection I have been keeping up with feeding the birds. I have feeders that hold a lot of seed and filled those Friday night and have only had to refill once. Interesting observations. First, I saw no titmice or house finches during the snow. I had a ton of juncos, house sparrows and starlings though. I hate the house sparrows and starlings and it's bumming me out. No lie, I had approx 40 on my tree this morning. Grrr. If I wasn't so sick I would have opened my screen and yelled at them!! The starlings have not eaten much of the suet though and have started to eat the bird food I have out which I find strange.

I do have a new friend who is a song sparrow. I love this little bird and his spunk. He was down on the ground eating fresh seed I put out there for the birds and the house sparrows crowded around him and started to bully him. He flapped his wings and used his beek as a weapon to tell them all of buzz off and they did. Yesterday during the storm he was on my platform feeder with a roof and anytime a house sparrow landed he bullied them off. He is awesome!!! HA

I had four crows spend all day yesterday on one of my trees for shelter. I felt so bad for them that I put out a huge scoop of dog kibble for them and they gobbled it up. I also have a very interesting seagull story to share but I will save that for its own post because I have questions.

Sadly no pictures of any of this. I just didn't have the energy.

I have missed all of my blogging friends so much and will catch up with all of you tomorrow. I should feel better by than because of the antibiotics.

Take care all

Thursday, December 18, 2008

CBC May be Delayed

I am supposed to attend the CBC in Worcester this upcoming Saturday. As it stands right now, we are supposed to get a foot of snow in my area starting tomorrow and lasting into Friday night. It is going to be 18 degrees tops on Saturday with a lot of snow. The coordinator sent me an email saying it may be delayed until Sunday. On Sunday we are supposed to get snow, sleet and freezing rain. They will let me know when they decide. Either way I will attend, but the enthusiasm I had the beginning of the week is starting to fade a tad.

My feeding stations in my yard have been crazy with birds. Every morning I am out there before the sun shines filling them up and scraping ice off of them. I then go to work while it is still dark and stay until it is still dark. I have not seen a single bird since Monday morning when there was a flock of juncos eating the seed underneath my feeders. I know that the birds are there while I am at work because my bird seed is going a lot quicker than it has in the past.

Is it me or is anyone else out there longing for spring yet? I miss the birds, the sunlight and nature in general. I find that nature is my therapy and I get all moody when I can't be out there breathing the fresh air, feeling the warm sun against my face, and listening to the birds singing their precious songs.

Will blog more this weekend. Will catch up on every ones blogs tomorrow morning. I am working from home tomorrow so it will be slower paced than it has been this week.

Take care everyone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Time for Blogging is a Total Bummer

I just wanted to post quickly that I am out of commission until Friday. :o(

Work is insanely busy with one huge project I am responsible for that has now turned into a political mess. It looks as if I am going to have to work some on my vacation in order to meet the deadline of year end.

Anyhow, I have so much to tell, but don't have the time right now. I am just going to catch up on reading other peoples blogs and lay low for a couple of days so I can somewhat enjoy my vacation.

Cheers all and happy birding

Monday, December 15, 2008

My First Christmas Bird Count-Need Advise Please

I will be doing my first Christmas Bird Count ever this upcoming Saturday!!! At first I was going to do it at Broad Meadow Brook which is a wild life sanctuary near my house. I was then asked by the coordinator whether or not I would like to do it in a different part of the city that doesn't have as many volunteers as they need. I decided to go with the group that is lacking volunteers because that is the way I am ;o). Anyhow, the coordinator to that count contacted me and told me we would be doing it around a lake and will be counting a lot of water birds.

Now some of you may remember that I don't know much about water birds and at one point thought that all ducks were ducks and all geese were geese. I am just learning the difference now. With that said, I am scrambling here and looking at the Peterson Field Guide to try and get a crash course on water bird identification. Does anyone have any web sites that they know of that I should go to in order to learn more so I don't look like a complete newbie Saturday. HA!!
Also, the important questions relating to bird counts such as:

1. How long do they last

2. I am bringing my field guide, binoculars, camera, pen, pad of paper. Is there anything else I should take. I am assuming I should buy a backpack to look like an official birder ;o). I am also going to bring some water and a lunch?? (is a lunch too geeky????)

3. What do you actually do at a bird count. Do you sit in a bush and count birds???

HA!! Seriously, I have no idea what to expect. I am very excited about it but have a lot of questions.

Can one of you expert bird counters out there help me out please. :o)

Thanks as always.

PS: Yes I am posting really quickly here as I am in the office until 7pm tonight and wanted to make this blog entry in the 15 minutes I have before my next meeting. Christmas vacation cannot come soon enough for me!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hawk in my yard yesterday

I had a hawk greet me bright and early this morning. I was cleaning up in the kitchen and saw a large bird fly into the brush pile and perch himself there. I realized it was a hawk and ran to grab my camera, only to have him leave immediately.

I was in my yard at about 2:00 this afternoon and I could see the squirrels frantically running up trees and scores of birds flying into cover. I knew it was a hawk so I again went to grab my camera and binoculars. He was in my neighbors lilac bush and I zoomed in on him w/ my binoulars. What talons!!! I could see him trying to get lower into the branches to get to the ground where I am assuming some of the birds were. I felt bad for him and prayed he got himself one of those awful house sparrows that dominate my yard. If he couldn't get that than I would have loved to have seen him get a starling who just started coming to my yard to eat all of my suet. I was desperate to get a picture so I grabbed my camera and tiptoed to my back yard. Let me tell you that hawk must have incredible hearing because off he flew. :o(. Once he flew off the squirrels leaped wildly from tree to tree to get out of my yard and birds who were in lousy cover darted for the brush pile in search of safety.

I had heard about how wild life reacts when a predator is nearby but I was never able to experience first hand and it was crazy to see. Hawks have it rough in the winter and it was obvious yesterday.

I am still not feeling well and didn't do much yesterday besides lounge. I did get a Christmas tree and went to the cemetery briefly. The picture you see here is of ice laden branches over the Blackstone River. We are expected to get warmer temps this week so I am hoping some of this ice will go away.

Friday, December 12, 2008

No Internet Access today and Flooding here

What a lousy day today. I woke up and was able to get on the Internet for about an hour. After that the cable went out and it was out for the entire day. I shouldn't complain though because half of our town is still without electricity. I spent most of the morning pumping my cellar out from the flooding. I was able to get to the Blackstone River though to see what kind of damage was done there.

My highlight today was seeing the red bellied woodpecker in my yard again. I couldn't get a clear picture of him because our windows were so damp from all the rain.
I am going to pop some Tylenol and go lay down. My throat hurts and my body aches from all the stress I had to put up with today.
I miss catching up with all of my daily blogging stops and will do so tomorrow. I am far too tired tonight.
Take care!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Skywatch Friday

Photos taken across the street from where I live. I took these photos this past Monday morning when it was approx. 15 degrees outside. Despite the bitter cold, I was drawn to the outdoors when I saw the color of the sky.

This is the first time I have participated in Sky Watch Friday and the first time I have purposely taken pictures of the sky. One interesting thing I noticed was that the pictures came out better using flash. I usually avoid using flash when I take photos because it tends to ruin them. Not this time though. Another new thing I learned this week.

Click on photos to enlarge

Link for Skywatch Friday:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Day in Boston

I had to work in Boston yesterday so I brought my camera. The picture above is of Fanuel Hall. If you ever go to Boston, I suggest you make a stop there. They have a lot of great stores and tons of places to eat.

Statue at Post Office Square. This is a small park in Boston that is beautiful in the summer when all of the flowers and trees are in bloom.

A sky scraper right near South Station. South Station is where you go in Boston to grab buses and trains. When I was leaving Boston they were announcing departures to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virgina and other places along the East coast. I so wanted to jump on the train and go somewhere. It didn't matter where, I just crave adventure. Winter boredom is already starting to kick in and it's not even winter yet!! What you see in the reflection of the building is a crane obviously. I get so nervous around these things now after what happened in New York City this past summer.

A rose I took a photo of at a florist shop in South Station. I miss flowers so much I was tempted to buy some. My cats have a tendency to destroy them so I bought a coffee instead. ;o)

A house sparrow sitting on a park bench at Post Office Square. They were the only birds I saw that day in Boston besides gulls. They say that a lot of different birds come here in the summer so I will keep my eyes open next time I go back there. I wish it wasn't getting dark out when I left work. This picture came out a little blurry due to the lack of sunlight. I love the shadow of its tail on the bench. I wish it were a sparrow I enjoy, but beggars can't be choosers. HA

This one is for Rich, HA!! Seriously, I couldn't resist. Inside South Station they had this fabulous Christmas Train display (that was too big for me to take photos of, plus my train was leaving). I saw this and thought it was adorable. It is blurry and I couldn't get close enough to get a decent photo because they had it roped off. Plus they were calling my train to board.

I normally dread going into Boston for work, but I had fun this time. I actually love taking pictures now. This is a lot coming from me because I used to hate taking pictures. If someone would ask me to take their photo, I would break out into a light sweat claiming I wasn't any good at it. It's amazing what you can accomplish if you don't listen to that nagging inner voice inside of you that's always telling you that you can't do this or you are no good at that. Another new discovery for me for the last half of my life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Woodpecker, Water & a Chickadee

My favorite photo model, the woodpecker. I am convinced he comes to my yard once a week and stays perfectly still so I can take his picture. I would love to show him the photo I took a couple of weeks ago and compare it to these two. I believe he would think I am starting to do him justice. Just look at the brilliant red!
Love this one too. The only thing I can't figure out is if he is a hairy or downy? I am not even sure if he is the same one who comes to my yard at least 4 times a day. All that I do know is that he is a beauty.

My second chickadee photo. I really like this one. He was near my garage while I was outside. I was able to get a decent photo of him because I was so close.

A tiny little stream across the street from me. I love how you can see reflections in the water. I never noticed this until recently.

Semi frozen pond on the bike path I go to. I wanted to get a picture of it now before it is completely frozen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A day on the trail

This is an area I came across while on the bike path this weekend. At first I was mystified on what could have caused this. After some thought, I realized this could only be the work of a beaver. I was thrilled to have made this discovery as this is a first for me.

Check out the teeth markings in the wood. Is that impressive or what!!

It appears as though they were able to bring this one down. I have no idea where their dam is, but I am going to find out this weekend when I go back there.

It's amazing all of the things you can find when you become aware of your surroundings. I used to go to this bike trail a lot a couple of years ago when I was there to walk and not explore. I wanted to track the miles I could conquer not the experiences I could embrace. If I'd have seen this during that time in my life I would have looked at it with mild curiosity and then moved on for it would have slowed down my pace. Now I go to the very same trail to embrace that moment and every wonderful thing it has to offer.

My senses are now enlightened instead of dulled.

- My eyes see the frost on the leaves and the squirrel in the tree

- My ears hear the birds singing and the river running

-My nose smells decaying leaves and crisp, winter air

-My hands feel the roundness of acorns and the harshness of thorns

-My mouth tastes the rain on my tongue and sun ripened berries

Who has time to conquer when one is still. Yes I could have tracked more miles on this cold winter day, but I would rather explore. I am like a child while in the woods seeing everything for the first time. I had forgotten how good it felt to be free of worries, responsibility and everything else adulthood bestows upon us. The woods allow me to temporarily put all of that away even if only for an hour. It feels good to be free.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Six Random Things about meme.

Deborah over at The Cloud Messenger tagged me to participate in the 6 Random Things about you meme craze that has hit the blogosphere and I was more than happy to comply. So here goes!

First, I walk on my toes. This started as a toddler and concerned my mother enough to take me to various specialists but nothing worked. I don't do it as much when I have shoes on, but once they are taken off, I am on my toes. I am not aware that I am doing this, it's just the way I walk. My calves are very large due to this (muscle) that I can't wear those stylish boots that hug your calf. This is just one of many strange things about me. ;o)

Two: I am a genealogy buff. I am fascinated by the past which includes history and family roots. With the help of my second cousin (who is actually a genealogist) I was able to track down some of my family history which includes relatives of mine that arrived here via the Mayflower.

I collect vintage clothing. Not so much for wearing, but for the stories behind them. I find many of them at thrift stores and they are always the unwanted items sitting on the rack collecting dust. I think of it sitting there unwanted and it makes me sad because I think of the woman who wore it at one point. Whether it be the coat that she wore to her sons graduation or the party dress she wore to her first dance, it had some special meaning to someone at one point in their lives.

This is an example of a piece of vintage clothing that I own. It is a suit from the 1940's. When I bought it I noticed that the suit jacket was stitched funny and that the arms were uneven. I showed it to an experienced vintage clothing collector and she told me the woman most likely had it sewn this way due to the fact that she had polio and had to alter all of her clothing this way. Fascinating stuff I tell you.

Four: I was an amateur body builder at one point in my life. I couldn't keep up with the vigorous training or dieting though so it's a thing of my past.

Five:I am a sugar addict. I love sweets and could eat them all day if allowed. My favorites are chocolate and ice cream. I also don't eat red meat or pork. The only meat I eat is limited chicken and turkey. I love fish, eggs and diary though, so this helps to compensate for my lack of protein.
Six: This one makes me giggle just writing about it. I am an original member of the Soul Patrol. For those of you who follow American Idol, you will remember the Soul Patrol were those fanatical fans that followed Taylor Hicks. Mind you I never liked American Idol, but was channel surfing one evening, when I came across a gray haired man who could play the harp (harmonica) really well. I was mesmerized right then and there and became addicted to the reality show. I was even part of a marketing committee for Taylor and faithfully voted for him every Tuesday night with both my home phone and texting (at the same time). On the finale night I voted for 2 hours straight using both methods and didn't stop once. By the time I was done I was exhausted and had to use the bathroom really bad. My kids thought I was crazy and my mother thought my hormones were raging out of control. I think all were right in their assumptions but it was good fun. Without a doubt one of my weirdest fads

HA! I have not watched American Idol since but I adored Taylor. You see he was the anti pop icon for American Idol. They wanted their singers to be young, attractive and singing Brittney. Taylor was none of this (in the eyes of the Hollywood establishment) and I found it refreshing. He was an odd duck of sorts and I am drawn to odd ducks who are not afraid to be themselves. He also has some incredible music he did before his American Idol days that I love. Taylor is very bluesy and I love blues music. I am such a dork that I have kept my text phone that I bought solely for voting for him as a keepsake of sorts for memory sake.

Yes I am weird...... LOL, that was even more difficult than I thought.......... Whew, I am glad it's over with.............................. Who's next???????

On to the next stage. As required, here are the rules. (copied and pasted in its entirety from the Deborah's site), including this blurb.

The rules for Six Random Facts are pretty straightforward:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write six random things about yourself.

4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.

5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

As you can see, I am not tagging anyone. I am leaving it open to those who want to join in on the fun. If you want to participate please do so. I have been reading others meme's and it's a lot of fun to find out things about them that you didn't know before.

First Snow

Well kind of sort of. I suppose most would consider it a dusting, but it was enough to make everything look pretty. I woke up early just to get out there and take some pictures. The first picture is of the Blackstone River near the cemetery I frequent.

Here is Squiggy on the roof of my gazebo. He does this to look for food and make sure there are no other squirrels on his territory. When he sees me, he curses me for disturbing his peace and runs off.

Holly I planted this summer. It is still rather small but the berries are so pretty. I am hoping they will make a nice snack for some birds this winter. My goal is to plant other berry producing shrubs for the various wild life in my yard.

This one is for Steve. HA!! The seagulls come to my yard every morning now expecting me to bring them some bread. They got pizza crust this morning instead.

Check it out all!!! I believe this is a golden crowned kinglet (can someone confirm please). You have no idea how long it took me to get this shot. I went to the cemetery and it was lovely there. No one else had arrived yet and all you could hear was the snow falling gently amongst the leaves and the sound of bird chatter. I used my newly trained ears as a guide to find the bird I was looking for which was him. I took about 10 photos and chased him with my camera. Wherever he flew, my camera went. My hands were frozen and I couldn't feel them, but I didn't care. The only thing I wanted was this shot.

There is something so serene about the snow. As I sat there, alone in the cemetery, I had what one could call a spiritual moment. Yes there is war in this world and people are dying of hunger and disease, but there is also beauty. You can't get this beauty from an expensive face cream, or a trendy new paint color, you can find it right outside your door and it costs you nothing. It took me 40 years to discover this, but I found it just the same.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My First Chickadee Photo!!

For those of you who have been following my blog, you will know that I am new to taking photos of birds and am not that good at it. I have gotten better over the weeks, but have a hard time with certain birds, especially the chickadee. He has been hard for me to photograph because of his size and the fact that he is so hyper. I will get my camera just right, go to take the picture, and off he goes. Anyhow, I went to the bike trail today and found one all by himself in a branch. I sat there quiet as a mouse and waited for the perfect shot. He was so far away, that I couldn't tell what the photo would look like until I got home to upload it onto my computer. Check it out!! HA! Not that bad for me.

I also took a picture of some Queen Anne's Lace that I thought looked interesting.

Well I am off to do housework now. I want to get my house super clean this afternoon because we are supposed to get snow tonight into tomorrow and I want to be outside for it instead of doing my dreaded weekend chores.

Have a great Saturday everyone.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Butterfly Award!

Look at what I have. My very own award!! I had seen quite a few awards on bloggers websites but had no idea how one went about getting one. I think it's very cool that fellow bloggers can nominate someone else for recognition. I never knew how time consuming blogging could be. I enjoy every minute of it, but it's not easy, so a little recognition is aways much appreciated!!

Anyhow, the kind blogger who nominated me for this award was
Dawn. I came across Dawn's blog through her commenting on mine and was automatically drawn into her story. You see Dawn and her husband are in the midst of doing something I have always dreamed of doing which is seeing the USA via an RV. You must check out her blog to see some of the amazing things they have seen while on their adventure. Dawn has an enthusiasm for life that is contagious and it shows in her blog. Every time I visit, I leave with a smile on my face. Thanks again Dawn.

Now here comes the tough part. You are supposed to give out the award to other bloggers. You can chose as many as you want and it is advised you give up to 10. The problem with that is that there are more than 10 people I know in the blogging community that I think is worthy of an award and I don't want to leave anyone out. With that said, I decided to give an award to just one individual blogger. The blogger I chose is the one who has supported my blogging since day one and gone out of her way to make me feel part of the community. I will get into the detail futher below.

And the award goes to..........Drum Roll Please.........Yes I am getting a little carried away but I am over tired and have leg cramps and just took a Tylenol PM so there is my excuse.

Jayne at Journey Through Grace

I found Jayne's blog through Julie Zickefoose's blog and I automatically book marked it. The first thing I noticed was how pretty it was. She had tons of blue bird pictures on her blog and these birds make me feel happy so I couldn't resist.

Second, her name is Jayne. That is my middle name spelled exactly as her first. I had never met another Jayne with a spelling like that (except family) so I felt an instant connection. On a side note all of the first females on my fathers side of the family were given the same exact middle name (after a feisty great, great, great, grandmother of ours).

When I finally got up enough courage to make my first post Jayne welcomed me with open arms. Not only did she greet me, but she included my blog in one of her posts encouraging others to visit my new blog (Jayne does this with all new blogs, how nice is that). Jayne would make it a point to come to my blog daily to comment which really encouraged me to keep blogging. I like to think of her as a good will ambassador for the blogging community and that is something we newbies appreciate as we are still virgins (HA), to the whole blogging experience so it's nice to have someone like Jayne there to encourage us.

Jayne's blog is normally the first blog I go to first thing every morning. She is an early bird like me so I always know there will be a new blog entry from her at around 5:3o AM!! How she can do that is beyond me because I can't even form a complete sentence that early in the morning, but she manages just fine. Jayne posts a variety of things on her blog which makes it fun to follow. One day she will post about birds or nature in general. The next will be a post that is thought provoking and encourages thought and discussion. Then she will post what I like to call the fun stuff. This is the yearbook pictures, the product reviews or just funny comics. What ever it is, it's always entertaining and her posts. helps to start my day in a good mood.

Thanks Jayne. You have helped to make blogging a real pleasure for me and have also taught me in your own way to take things a little easier than I normally do. Journey Through Grace is a very fitting blog title for you and I am happy to be along your side in your journey.

Good night all and sweet dreams!

European starlings, house sparrows on decline

Now here is a reason to rejoice. I am a lover of nature but don't like these little buggers at all. The starlings don't bother me as much as the house sparrows, but both are a pain and bullies at the feeder.

I found this article on the right hand side bar of my blog. I am a news junkie and get an RSS feed of all popular news articles relating to birds. I wanted to bring this one to your attention as most of us have problems with these little home wreckers!!

Source: Westford Eagle-Author: Marian Harman

It seems, however, that starlings and house sparrows may now be on the decline. In their recent publication, "Winter Bird Highlights, 2007-08" , Cornell Lab of Ornithology states that reports of starlings in Canada have declined since 1990. Starlings were reported at 65 percent of feeders in 1990, but only at 58% of feeders in 2008. House sparrows were reported at 65 percent of feeders in 1990, and only at 50 percent of feeders in 2008. In the United Kingdom, there has been an even more precipitous decline of house sparrows, which have declined 62% in the last twenty-five years.

In New England, according to Cornell, starlings were reported at 70% of feeders in 1990, and only at 50 percent of feeders in 2000. The average number of starlings at each reporting feeder also declined. House sparrow reports also declined. Sixty percent of feeders reported house sparrows in 1990, while 50% of feeders reported them in 2000. No one is sure why these declines are being seen. It may be that high populations have led to disease and/or loss of habitat for these birds

Go here to read the full article:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I love this little guy. I like to watch him climb down a tree like a little wind up toy. When he eats seed he makes a complete mess because it's hard for him to get the seed with his ultra narrow beak. His call is very recognizable to me so I always know when he's around. I have yet to see a red breasted nuthatch. My neighbor who has been watching birds for years has only seen one in her yard so I am not putting my hopes up. Now that it's winter, he hangs out with the chickadees, titmice, and his mate. I always look forward to seeing him every morning.

The photo is pretty good for me. The only bird I am having a hard time getting decent photos of is my favorite, the chickadee. He is rather hyper and small so getting him centered and clear has been a challenge for me.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday''s What the heck is this thing?

That's right. Here is your opportunity to show off your nature skills and help a newbie out at the same time. It can't get much better than that.

The photo above has me stumped. I saw it while walking on the bike trail this past weekend. I felt like a complete idiot crouching down and taking the photo. I already get enough strange looks from people while I'm out in the woods with my binoculars and camera while everyone else is walking, biking, etc. Here I was, decked out in my Lands End attire, taking a photo of what probably appeared to be dog feces to them. HA! I guess I should get used to it that's all. It isn't fungus, I don't think it's nuts or berries. I was hoping it may be owl pellets but they do not match any of the google photos I have seen of pellets. Any ideas??

Second is my photo that won't go away. It is the seed on a tree in my yard that finches like to eat. I even sent it to 10000 Birds hoping they can help but have not heard back from them yet. It is driving me crazy!
Last but certainly not least is this cute little nest no larger than a puffed up sparrow. I googled this weekend and the closest nest photo I could get was a fly catchers nest. Is anyone familiar with those who could verify this is true.

Thanks all and have a great day.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yearbook Yourself


HA!! Jayne and Laura did this last week and I decided to give it a go. It's a lot of fun!! I know, I know, it's not bird related, BUT some of the hairdo's do resemble birds nests, so there is my connection.

Both men and women can do it, so give it a try if you are looking to kill some time and have fun.



1980s. HA! LOL, I remember having hair days like this




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