Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Spring arrives late here because we're "up north". When it finally gets here, we are ecstatic. Even small changes excite us.
























Saturday, April 21, 2018

Spring Songsters - Saturday, April 20, 2018

The tree swallows arrived on Friday signalling yet another sign of spring - finally and much appreciated.


Less appreciated was the arrival of cowbirds - males are shiny black with a brown head, females are the same size but plain sparrow-like. They are 'parasites' like European cuckoos, they lay their eggs in the nests of others. When the young cowbird hatches, it eventually pushes and shoves the parents' biological offspring out of the nest and takes over completely.




Many perennials survive the winter above the ground and even stay green; others die back below the ground and only start to reemerge when conditions ameliorate like the narcissi in the last photo. Can you identify any of the plants below that survived intact but reduced in size? It still goes down below freezing here during the night so most of them have frost on their leaves this morning but at least they're not covered by inches of snow any longer - at least for now. Clicking on photos enlarges them. The reddish color of some plants indicate to herbivores that they may not taste good.










Rock Star

Some of the many rocks here: - -















Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Feeding the Birds

I've never fed the bird this late in the year but apparently winter is still here so the birds need food. The upside is that there has been a lot of activity for me to watch which is good because I'm rather house-bound now. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.


There's just something about tugboats, isn't there? Maybe it comes from their cute factor or maybe it's because they figure as lead characters in several childhood stories. Regardless, I love them, don't you? Normally I see them pulling large barges way out in Lake Huron. This one might be on the way to meet a client.

I've ordered vegetable seeds (green and yellow beans, peas, yellow and green zucchini, buttercup squash, a gorgeous type of hollyhock, flat leaf parsley, Swiss chard, etc.) for the garden and they should arrive soon. Planting in the snow? I hope not!! Will this be a year without summer like the year 1816?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

Purple Finch - Haemorhous purpureus

Purple Finch - Haemorhous purpureus

I think this is a purple finch but I also have redpolls here and they both frequent my feeders.. They both remind me of the red factor roller canaries I bred for many years. Although their name is "purple finch" I think the color is more like a dusty red perhaps.

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/purple-finch

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Redpoll/overview


Bear is my watchdog. Nothing escapes his notice especially furry four footed things like foxes, raccoons, rabbits, possums, woodchucks. Large birds like crows, hawks, turkey vultures also rouse his ire. Today he warned me about this pileated woodpecker. Gorgeous.

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/pileated-woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker - Hylatomus pileatus

Pileated Woodpecker - Hylatomus pileatus

Pileated Woodpecker - Hylatomus pileatus

Pileated Woodpecker - Hylatomus pileatus

Pileated woodpeckers have (had?) a much larger cousin the Ivory Billed Woodpecker but that is either rare or extinct now.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory-billed_woodpecker

Some dormant plants I ordered last winter just arrived - bare root. I cannot imagine "when" I will be able to plant them what with the snow and my temporary limited mobility. Normally at this time of year planting would not be an issue.