A chickadee comes along and she seems all right with that as well.
Monday, March 30, 2009
A chickadee comes along and she seems all right with that as well.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
He was hard to identify because he was so wet. We have only a few red birds in Western North Carolina, so we thought he must be a Scarlet Tanager. That is not a common bird around here, but not unheard of. (Please advise if you think it's something else.)
LATE ENTRY: Science Guy, Lynne, and Robin have identified this as a Red Crossbill! I hadn't even considered that since we are SO far out of its range. Wow! Thanks, blogger buddies.
I thought this photograph showed him cracking a seed. Looking at other pictures, I'm not so sure.
The bird returned after it stopped raining. He was finally dry but still spending a very long time at the feeder. I feared he might be sick, but he appeared to be eating and not simply hanging around.
Finally, I saw the problem. Look at his crossed bill. The bird apparently was having great difficulty eating because of his bill abnormality.
Friday, March 27, 2009
It was only when they were preparing to leave that I grabbed the camera for a few shots of their gorgeous English Springer Spaniel. I have a soft place in my heart for Springers, since we had one who lived to age 17 and another who lived to age 16. This one is a beauty.
The dogs got along well. I think the Springer was tired from the traveling and he didn't seem to want to play very much. He spent most of his time right beside his mom or in her lap while we talked. The men and the Golden Girls spent much of the evening downstairs watching basketball, coming up to refresh their drinks and update us on the games.
It was such a nice visit. My friend and I had worked together for quite some time, and we spent hours talking about what had happened to some of the people since I left there. We didn't go anywhere outside the community, since they had already been traveling for more than a week.
Our house guests brought two hostess gift bags...one for us and one for the girls. Ours was full of wonderful Wisconsin cheeses, local wine and jam, and a special treat. Some maple syrup they made at their family farm in Minnesota. The farm has been placed in a land conservancy, but the two sons can continue to farm it.
This last Friday in March finds us with heavy fog and forecasts for more rain. We certainly hope we get more. We are already behind for 2009 and entering our third year of drought. We are so sorry for all you Duke fans (not) and for others whose teams have left the tourney (yes, really). We will spend another weekend hanging around the house for sure. A major bike race will bring hundreds of bicycles up and down the mountain. Not a good time to be driving.
Whatever your plans for the weekend, have a wonderful one. Stay safe from all the things that trouble you.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
One of our blogger buddies has epilepsy and still manages to bring us lovely photographs. Drop by Michele's blog "Rocky Mountain Retreat" http://chunkymountains.blogspot.com/ and show support for her and her wonderful photographs. She is definitely an inspiration to all of us.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Birdfeeders are a magnet for black bears in the mountains. Many people believe the bears want only food, but birdseed is a special treat for them. It's not enough to keep your garbage secured. Our community has been established for more than 35 years, so bear sightings are not common as they once were. On the other hand, we have a lot of green space and border a national forest, so there will always be an occasional encounter. Most of the encounters with the bears occur because a homeowner did something stupid. Like leaving dog food outside the door, or leaving leftover food on the porch, or throwing bread crumbs out for the birds, or hanging bird feeders from the ground, or leaving bird feeders up overnight.
The bears are awake and moving now as they always are in the spring. Last week, this picture was in the Asheville newspaper. There were three black bears, although the photograph shows only two of them. They climbed up to a second-story deck to feast at the bird feeders.
Monday, March 23, 2009
This is about as close as he has come to the female before she flies away. She is in the upper right corner, trying to look nonchalant.
I think he is quite handsome.
Much as I love the bird activity, there is one thing I love even better about spring. The days are getting longer by minutes rather than milliseconds. Oh, it does a body good!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
After many years of suburban flower gardens, we opted not to have daffodils, tulips, or other bulbs. We do not plant annuals, although we do have several baskets on the deck and on the porch. That said, I'm in love with camellias. Native to southeastern Asia, these plants thrive in the southern US. The flowers are absolutely gorgeous and they bloom early in the spring. When not blooming, the green plants fit in well with the native ones.
So we have several camellias in our yard. This year they were all full of very large buds. Too soon it appears, because we had a heavy frost and several days of very cold weather. I was very disappointed to see the large buds turning brown and drooping their heads in sorrow. Much to my surprise, a few of the buds continued to grow and we have a few camellia blossoms. Not many, but still enough to enjoy.
Friday, March 20, 2009
I like this picture of Lucy jumping up into the air because it appears she has been blown by the leaf blower. Not true. She has a stick in her mouth and is trying to get it positioned better.
Oops! In her attempt to get a better grip on the stick, she has lost it. You will note there is a bigger and better stick right in front of her, but that's not the stick she wants.
Lucy brought the little stick to my husband and is waiting for him to throw it for her.
When Ellie's turn comes, she is poised and ready to run in any direction.
The nearby trees are filled with golden hair. The Golden Girls are happy to share their wonderful soft hair with the birds. Almost every bird nest we find is lined with the golden hair.
We are having house guests this weekend. My husband's first response was, "Does that mean I might have to miss some of the NCAA Tournament?" Our guests will be bringing their 8-year-old male Springer Spaniel with them. The girls have never had another dog in the house before. It will be interesting to see how they interact.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This week brought some welcome rain...more than two inches of gentle rain over two days. I love to watch birds in the rain, especially birds as lovely as the Purple Finches.
A male and a female recently shared lunch in the rain.
Monday, March 16, 2009
On Monday I looked out to see a White-breasted Nuthatch coming and going at the bird house. What a surprise.
She came out of the house with her mouth totally full of nesting material.
She struggled at times to get the big globs through the opening.
She carried them to the tree trunk.
The pieces of material were placed on a branch near the tree trunk. Methodically, the two nuthatches flew from the bird house to the tree and back. The gentle wind kept blowing the material from the branches as it accumulated.
This bird stopped what she was doing and looked straight at me and the camera. Then she resumed her work.
I watched for a very long time as the nuthatch went about her job. She definitely had a plan.
To our amusement, the nuthatches worked all day long to clean out the bird house. Taking short breaks to eat or drink, they kept on working. At the end of the afternoon, the bird house looked like this:
They left lots of nesting material tucked under the eaves. Then they pulled more material to cover the opening. I've never seen such a sight. On Tuesday morning, one of the nuthatches returned and I looked forward to another fun day of watching. She removed all the material from inside the house. Then she took the stuffing from under the eaves, leaving the bird house totally clean.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
This is the edge of the woods. The branches are heavy with the snow, bending down almost to the ground.
I think Ellie is telling Lucy some little secret.
Lucy is a dog who detests having anything on her paw pads or tail feathering. Perhaps that is why she didn't care for the snow. Ellie enjoyed every minute, running and playing like a puppy.