Sunday, December 22, 2019

Solstice

What have I been doing on these long dark days before the Solstice? 
Since the compost pile is nearly full and
the garden is asleep 
my Dearly Beloved and I have been doing Chirstmas Bird Counts. On our wanderings through our assigned areas we have come upon some nice birds. I wish you could hear the cacophony of sound that a great flock of Greater White-fronted Geese make when a Bald Eagle gets them all up off their comfortable pond. You can go here to see a good photo and hear their call.
I have a few photos you might like to see of birds that come into our area only for winter. Like the Lapland Longspur pictured below. When I try to take a picture of birds they always seem to be in the wrong light or in awkward positions. I thought I would share a few of them anyway. 
These little birds are usually in a good sized flock but they blend into the background so well that they are difficult to see unless the flock gets up and moves around. 
They are in their winter plumage now but by late winter they will begin transforming into their breeding plumage before they head back North to their breeding grounds. They are quite a sight to see then.
We are lucky enough to have Whooping Cranes that winter in our area. We found a family group in our area. The bird that has the rusty looking feathering is a juvenile. If you click on the photo to enlarge you can see that they are all wearing tracking telemetry and  bands on their legs. These gorgeous birds are endangered. Just a few years ago there were only 200 of them in existence. With breeding in captivity and protection they have made somewhat of a come back. You can read about them here and here.
When we are out counting birds we find that we have many challenges such as looking through this field for sparrows and other birds that might be about. It is like watching popcorn pop. The little rascals pop up to see who/what is coming through their area and then they disappear.
Even when they are up it is difficult to see them and then to id them you have to hope they will stay up long enough to zoom in on them. As this Savannah Sparrow demonstrates, they pop up. 
They usually either have their backs toward you or...
They just won't stay still. A lot of people don't like sparrows because of this plus their plumages are often seen as similar because they rarely stay still long enough to see the differences. You can see better pictures of this sparrow here. Yes, there was more than this one species of sparrow in this field. I could go on and on.
All of the big birds get the press it seems. Most of it is well deserved. Like this Great Blue Heron. It often patiently awaits a meadow vole, mole or other unsuspecting prey to come by. 
Birds aren't the only things that catch my eye when we are out and about. I often see something like this great log with fungus growing on it.
Or this fuzzy wuzzy plant still standing after snow, rain and powerful winds. I hope to identify this so I can get a stand of this going in my garden. Wouldn't it be fun to have these fuzzy wuzzies to look upon on bleak winter days. 
I hope that if you are reading this you have taken time out in your busy holiday season to treat yourself to some calm, no stress relaxation. 
Try to keep an eye on nature. Nature always leads you to that happy place.
Enjoy the holidays and stay well and happy.







Sunday, December 8, 2019

Holiday Decor

For those of you that don't like Christmas and especially all of the hoopalah that goes with it you need not go any further because a blog friend of mine, Carol at A Shutterbug Explores, asked me a perfectly innocent question " do you celebrate the Holidays?" She went on to say "I am dragging my feet ~ Xmas spirit is non-existent at the moment ~ "  
What are friends for?  We are here to answer questions and to encourage and support our friends. So Carol this is for you... In answer to your question, yes, we celebrate the holidays. Christmas is one I used to be manic about. After you peruse the following photos you might think I am still a little sick. Yet if you had seen our place in years past you would know my amour with Christmas is slowly waning. I think when the children grow up and then the grandchildren grow up one sort of loses that drive to go all out. As you will see there is still a lot of kid in me though. I hope a little rubs off on you. You know you have to do what ever makes you happy to be happy. 
Here it all starts with the table in the corner of our living room. On goes the snowflake table topper.
Then up goes the little tree with our most treasured ornaments. 
Then we clear the regular dishes from the hutch.
In goes the Christmas dishes. This is some years only decoration. I have to get the dishes out because I love to use them. This year we did carry on...
The kitchen table got a little swag.
Then I went a little further and decorated around the fireplace. You gotta use your imagination now. ;)
Then the library got one set of bookcases decorated because you can see them when you stand in the foyer. Plus it is my room now that we moved my office in there. I must have a few of those Christmas lights this time of year for cheer.
After all this we get our stuff we usually use on the corner table back on there and clutter up the table with all the things we need and it looks more homey. 

So Carol, and anyone else reading this blather and needs a little push into the Christmas spirit, I hope it lifts you up or at least makes you smile. 
Blessings and good cheer.