Sunday, April 24, 2016

Switching from birds to buds, in honor of April

post #281
       The truth is that I love all those visiting birds in the past 4 posts, but I also love our Aprils in Kentucky. This means that, by today's date, there is a lot to share. I remain very conscious of the excess rains and the driveway run off from last April, however. I feel that makes for all the more reason to celebrate this year's more normal April. If anything, this year we could use a bit more rain!
       In these photos I have concentrated on the redbuds, and then the dogwoods, ending with the beginning in the last few days of those wonderful light greens of budding trees. I was away for a week in the middle of the month, but it stayed cool then, so the main thing I missed were the trout lilies in bloom.  
       First the redbuds, using a tree we transplanted to be right near the front door and the rock steps. I am invariably fascinated by how the red buds grow directly out of the trunk or the branches!

       In the last few days, the petals have fallen and are fading into the steps, while the leaves are just beginning to show.

       Next are some wildflowers from the woods and the waterfalls. I have shown many of these in other years, so these here are just some ones I happened to catch in the right light or at the right time:

toothworts (I believe) in bloom

      These bluets reveal how much drier than usual the woods are. These ones grow on a hillside.  Bluets are sometimes called Quaker Ladies!

Now the dogwoods - I like it particularly when they seems to "float" through the woods:

     The next three dogwood photos were made along the ridge road on the way to "town".

        The most recent players on this year's April stage are the greening leaves of trees everywhere. The three photos that follow were made two days ago from one location on our driveway.  The show continues for the next week.  I can be amazed yearly how they all know how to work together in a kind of orchestrated harmony. 

      I regret these photos don't do justice to their splendor, but I hope you have some trees near you that you can notice and admire and appreciate -- and personally thank.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

BIrds who have visited me, part 4: single moments

post #280
       I am finishing this bird series with a collection of photos I have managed to make on the run, with no one bird or birds staying around very long.  All are from within the house, and most probably through a window. The light would have had to be right to make that work, however. Most of these photos I have posted before in the five years of this blog....
       Please remember: birds don't usually wait around for me to get my camera and certainly not for me to take off a screen and open the window! The one exception might be the mourning doves, which I see from the window in the bedroom upstairs. They actually enjoy  a quiet moment with their kin or is it their mate! (It's hard for me to tell which is male and which is female.)

blending in with the black walnut bark (I think this is a young sapsucker, but I am not sure. Will anyone take me on?)

a parading gathering of turkeys -- called a gang -- three weeks ago

back again two days later, foraging

mourning doves

a red-bellied woodpecker, sunflower seed in beak

several bluebirds in the same bush with berries

female cardinal

male cardinal, the Kentucky state bird

the walnut tree still again, with the bird feeder near by

two fledglings busy trying to be first for the food their dad must surely be bringing them 

        I have a two photos I can't locate at the moment that I want to include here; I plan to post them as soon as I find them. I am so honored to have the company of these birds.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Birds who have visited me, part 3: downy woodpecker family

post # 279
     Today is all about May 29, 2012, looking out the upstairs bathroom window and discovering downy woodpecker fledglings feasting and the parent working his tail feathers off!  My granddaughter was visiting from Colorado, so she and I were able to watch this event for half an hour, starting at 5:15 p.m; she was then 3 1/2 years old. The last four shots were made the following morning, around 8 a.m.  I have never been witness to such an extended feeding ritual before or since. Again, I don't have special "bird lenses", so I just used my trusty 70 - 300 lens on a Canon Rebel T3i. This series provides a story, and that's what I am so happy to be able to share here.

food prep

practicing patient waiting

wow, do I really have to learn how to do all this stuff by myself?


What fun for me to be sharing this happening with my own personal fledgling!
still feeding the next morning, around 8 a.m.

Gosh, this food stuff is SO EXCITING!

breakfast bar
thanks, and please come back soon

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Birds who have visited me, part 2: Northern Flickers

post #278
       The deck on this house is located outside the sliding doors from the kitchen, and it is designed so that the black walnut tree can continue to thrive even though it grows close to the deck. Birds seem to love this tree, with its layered bark and its late-appearing and early-falling leaves and nuts. Well, the squirrels are really the ones who like the nuts; during an abundant year it is actually risky to sit on the deck in the weeks before the first frost -- due to those falling walnuts.  
       One day during this annual period, on October 7, 2012 to be precise, two matching male northern flickers showed up, and they proceeded to follow almost a ritualized dance such as I had never seen before. They were so intent on each other that they ignored me and my camera, but I am still claiming that half hour as a visit.  They must have trusted me even if they were not eating out of my hand. Perhaps they were simply showing off, but I suppose it was more likely a posturing about territory.  Such handsome dudes!!  Honored to have met you!!

On your mark, get ready, get set

and GO!

around and around

then over and under

the return to direct neck signals....

more around and around

I don't know who comes out "on top" during the round and rounds....

but eventually one is left clinging, and then both went on their merry way.

      These are most of the photos that I made that day. I hope they convey a sense of the intensity of the encounter.  I don't have special bird lenses nor do I have any real understanding of the activity here, but I did know I had never seen this before (or since) which made it feel very special to me to be so nearby. And it's fun to be sharing it today.