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.