Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Go Home!

Look, you're as cute as can be, little Common Redpoll.  You're fearless and your twitterings are very amusing.  But, you and your extended family are eating me out of house and home.  It's not really polite to go through 10 pounds of niger seed in four days, and then to keep coming back demanding more.  I'll be out in a bit to refill the feeders, but, in the meantime, please try to keep from committing too much mayhem trying to get a seed or five.

It really is time you gave some serious thought to heading back North.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Out of My Rear Window 3/27/11

There's still snow on the ground, but, at least there is sun to go with it.

The usual cast of characters is hanging around.  There is, of course, an ever-present squirrel.
Mourning Dove
Red-winged Blackbird
Grackle, showing the yellow eye.
And, probably, the sight of the day, a Red-bellied Woodpecker pair.  This is the first time I have seen them on my new suet feeder, but, it's obviously not the first time they have been there, judging by how empty the holes are.  I have since been out and stuffed new suet in there.
Inside, the cats are enjoying the sunshine.  The three sun-worshipers are out on the porch.
While Becky prefers staying in the safety of the living room, all warm and cozy on her heated pad.
Here's hoping that you're having a very lovely Sunday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where are you Springtime?

I just got in from shoveling.  Yup, more snow.  Compare this scene from the scene just last Sunday.
That's what I mean by the prolonged battle between Winter and Spring around here.  Right now, Winter is winning.  And, the snow will be around for a while, as the temperature is supposed to not climb out of the low 30's for the rest of the week and the weekend.  Ahh, yes, I love Winter!  Sigh.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Out of My Rear Window 3/20/11

No snow!  I've gotten some of the yard raked, but, as you can see, I still have to move those great clods of earth that the plow guy left behind.  Not today, though, as the temperature right now is 23 F and they will be frozen to the ground.

The squirrels are breakfasting.
The grackles are back.
And, the redpolls are still eating me out of house and home.  As you can see by this picture, there isn't a goldfinch in sight.  I hope that they're just hiding while they're molting, and not scared away by the redpolls.
Have a happy Sunday, everyone!

Friday, March 18, 2011

For Those of You Who May be Wondering, I'm OK

First of all, I want to thank you all for the wonderful messages of support.  They were really appreciated  and I am very grateful for everyone's thoughts.  Part of the reason that I'm down in the dumps is that it is proving to be very hard to get volunteers this year for the FLTAP Trainer's Listings.  A couple of the stalwarts have, because life has gotten in the way, been forced to drop out, or seriously curtail their involvement. 

There's always some flux, but the loss of these two, and the fact that a couple of others have not responded to my email, means that we're seriously shorthanded.  So far, this year, there are only three of us.  We can function with that number, but it will be very hard.

So, please forgive me if I don't show up on your blogs for a while.  I'm OK, just kind of gob-smacked right now.  The Trainer's Listings mean a lot to me, perhaps a little too much.  It shouldn't take me too long to get back to my usual cheerful self.  I think of myself as a glass half full kind of person, though right now it is looking seriously half empty.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Down in the Dumps

I'm cranky and just a bit depressed today.  It's dark and dreary, and just kind of matches my mood.  Nothing is bad in my life, it's just that everything is kind of blah.  So, to match my mood, here are a couple of pictures of a visitor to my yard yesterday.

I think that American Crows are wonderful birds, so smart and cunning.  But, you have to admit that, shiny black feathers and all, they, physically, kind of match my mood.

Sigh, off to eat a ton of dark chocolate.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mute Swans

I went searching for migrating ducks and geese today.  Didn't find any.  But, I did find two very cooperative Mute Swans on Irondequoit Bay.  These two are obviously used to humans, because they let me get very, very close to them.  They're an invasive species, but, they sure are beautiful, dirty heads from mucking around in the junk at the bottom of the Bay or not.
Very, very pretty invaders.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I, of course, love critters.  Any kind of critters.  And, I recently rediscovered Africam, which has a series of cameras trained on water holes in Africa.  It's fascinating to watch and stunning to realize that you are seeing elephants, water buffalo, all kinds of antelope, lions and many more of the African animals, live, right before your eyes.  They're six hours ahead of us, so the best time to watch is in the morning, on the East Coast.  But, two of the cameras have night vision capability, so you can see critters come to the water hole all night long.

I have taken to keeping a window open to the Elephant Plains camera all the time, and checking back regularly.  There's sound, also, so, I have the sound of birds and insects as a background, as I use the computer.  You can find the cameras here Africam

Of course, the day I decide to blog about this is the day that the Elephant Plains camera goes down.  They're working on it.  Hopefully, it'll be up again tomorrow.  The other two cameras work fine.

If you haven't found it already, try it, I think you'll like it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Out of My Rear Window 3/13/11

It's a pewter gray day today.  We have had a couple of day of thaw, so, as you can see, a lot of the snow has melted.  Unfortunately, that hasn't left the prettiest of scenes behind.  No green grass here yet, just brown leftovers from last year.
The view out of the front window shows the great clods of sod that my plow guy has dug up.  They're all along the driveway, not just out front.  I have to get those put down again, before they dry out.  But, I don't want to do that too soon, or else he'll just dig them up again during the next snow.
Since watching those of you further South, I have been amazed at the speed and strength with which Spring comes there.  It seems like, one week, you are in Winter, and the snow is flying.  Then, a couple of weeks later, the temperatures are in the 60's and 70's, Spring has arrived and things are beginning to flower.

Here things are much different.  It's a long battle between the two seasons.  One day, you swear that Winter will never end, but, in a couple of days, it warms up enough for the snow to melt and you have hope that Spring will be coming.  Back and forth, back and forth it goes, until, finally Spring wins out.   That'll be a while yet.  The weatherman last night mentioned that the average amount of snow we get in the month of April is over five inches.

So, March, in particular, is the time of the dirty browns.  I did start the yard cleanup last week, racking up under the bird feeders and under the big Linden tree in the front yard.  But, that will be a long, slow process, carried out on the intermittent good days.

But, there was one very bright spot this morning.  The turkey ladies came to visit.  I haven't seen them since the middle of February, so I was very glad to see all five ladies again, safe and sound.  I wonder why they don't visit my feeder more often?
I really hope that's a dead leaf and not a fresh turd of some kind, by this lady's head.  It's so dark and dreary today that the beautiful iridescent colors of their feathers are extinguished.
All in all, I think I'll be joining the cats for a nice long nap this afternoon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ho Hum

It's just that kind of day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Common Redpolls and squirrels

The Redpolls are back -- in force.
There are many more females than males, but I did catch a shot of this fine fellow.
Argh!  My yard is a mess.  I can't wait until I can get out and do some cleanup.   The critters don't mind, though.  This squirrel is finding something good to eat.
While this one is doing his tree bark imitation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So, I'm not the Most Graceful of Woods Walkers

I decided yesterday that I needed to take a walk in the woods.  They were predicting rain and snow for later in the afternoon, so I decided to stay close to home and do a little exploring in the woods behind my house.  That turned out to not be the smartest of ideas.  Here's a view of the woods yesterday.
There's a deer highway running through the middle of the picture, and you can see that the ground is covered with snow.  That snow was very heavy and wet.  The woods behind my house are very hilly.  The combination made for some slipping and sliding while I was walking in, down the hills.

I did find some interesting vines.  Take a look at this grapevine.  I hung one of my treking poles on it, so you could get some idea of size.  I wonder how old that thing is?
Here's a vine, being choked by another vine.  If anyone can tell what the vine that is choking the grapevine is, I would appreciate knowing.  They're not too common in my woods, but at Whiting Road they are all over the place.  The interesting thing is that vine grown like a regular plant on the ground.  It's only when it encounters something it can climb that it starts behaving like a vine.
A poison ivy vine, grown to quite a considerable size.  They're hard to see in this picture, but the way you can tell poison ivy vines like this is by the hairy roots that grow from the underside and attach to the tree. 
All of these pictures I took when I was walking downhill.  As I turned and started to go back up the hills towards home, I discovered that heavy, wet snow, on rather steep inclines does not make for good walking.  I'd get to a certain point, the incline would increase and back I would slip, sometimes flat on my front, or my fanny.  At one point, I was no more than 10 feet from what I knew was a nice, level trail that I could take back home, but, I COULD NOT get up that last 10 feet.  I tried four or five different spots to try and get out of the woods, but could not make it.

I was soaking wet, tired and beginning to panic a bit.  I was actually thinking about calling 911, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  It would be so embarrassing for the rescue people to have to haul the old fat lady out of the woods.  So, I ended up back tracking.  I hadn't wanted to do that because it meant having to cross a stream with a steep bank on the side I had to climb out on.  I ended up having to sit on that bank, get myself up on solid ground and crawl to a tree that I could use to haul myself upright.  Here's the stream.  This picture was taken on the way into the woods, and I'm standing on the steeper bank.
You can see that the deer didn't have nearly as much trouble getting across the stream as I did.

After I got across the stream, I managed to make it home without any more trouble.  Boy did I learn a lesson.  No more walking in those woods in conditions like that.  Not unless I take a grappling hook with me!

But I did see some neat stuff.  I didn't see many tracks, except for the deer tracks, which were everywhere.  And, in one place, I did see these canid tracks.  They are a little big to be fox, so I'm betting coyote.
By the time I got back to my yard, though, the refrain running through my head was "There's no place like home.  There's no place like home.  There's no place like home."