Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nest Box

This morning there is a pair of House Sparrows checking out the roosting box on my front porch. I rarely have House Sparrows at my feeders. Amazing that they are beginning the nesting season so early.

*this pair went on to raise 3 broods! Amazing how hard they work.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

First Turtle Out

We still have a lot of snow on the ground. Today we took the dogs for a walk. Some of the pond ice has melted, and we saw a painted turtle swimming around....a true sign that it is almost Spring! I have my vernal pool books out, and looked up all the first dates....yipee...soooo excited!

Skunk cabbage already peeking up out of the snow, and Red-Wing Blackbirds at the feeders every morning. 12 Turkeys visited the backyard today too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Great American Backyard Bird Count

Today starts the count. I always look forward to participating in this birding event. I'm off to a great start, lots of blackbirds have returned! Brown Headed Cowbirds, Grackles and several Red-Wing Blackbirds.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Turkey's are back

My much anticipated Turkeys are back at the bird feeders. They arrived 3 days ago. Most years they come here towards the end of January, to early February, unless there is little snow on the ground and lots of natural foods available. This year we have well over a foot of ice crusted snow blocking all food sources. I feel for all the wild animals trying to deal with finding enough food to keep themselves from starving. We are six weeks from Spring. My feeding could give some of these young birds a shot of living to see the earth bloom again. I will always feed the birds. I'd sooner get rid of my cell phone, cable TV and a few other luxuries then not have enough money to put out may daily bounty for my furred and feathered friends. They all help keep a smile on my face and the warmth in my heart when the winter begins to feel long.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Brown Creeper

When you feed the birds you open yourself up to daily surprises. You never know what will show up at your feeders. This morning I've had a Brown Creeper visit the apple tree that is next to my bird feeders. It is a brutally cold day, temperatures starting out in the single digits, which tends to bring out more birds looking for a free handout. Well maybe not free, as the birds gift me with their infinite beauty. The Brown Creeper is a tiny bird, about 5 inches in length, that forages for insects on trees. My apple tree has lots of rot on it, so it is exactly what a Brown Creeper would be looking for to find it's food. Despite it being winter, there are still insects and their eggs holed up under the bark and in crevices. The Creeper has a curved bill for poking and prodding to get into small spaces and stiff tail feathers that help it to spiral up a tree.

Today is a very rare day...that I will be at home alone. I truly enjoy these moments, and know that I don't want too many of them, I do get bored quickly with out the chaos of my family. I've straightened up the house, and filled my feeders. I hope to putter around and get some more cleaning out and straightening done. Still trying to purge through some of the massive amounts of stuff we have obtained over the last couple of decades, always wanting to SIMPLIFY my life so there is more time for the good nature.

This past week we had snow and then freezing rain. My world is covered with ice. The sky is a deep blue and the ice covered limbs of the trees glinting in the sun make for a winter wonderland. How people can say that they hate the winter, I'll never understand. Wasting a quarter of your life wishing for something else is crazy. Finding a way to enjoy the weather no matter what it is for the day, week or month is the only way to fully live in the moment. Winter has it's own beauty and magic. Open your eyes and heart to it, and don't miss out on what it has to offer.

Feeder list: Turkeys! Chickadee, W.B.Nuthatch, Blue Jay, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy, Hairy, Mourning Dove, Starling, Cardinal, T.Titmouse, W.T.Sparrow, Am.Tree Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Goldfinch, House Finch, Brown Creeper, Junco. Red and Gray Squirrels. Love my Squirrels.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 02, 2011 - Lily's Den - Views of the cubs!

Such an awesome gift to watch a wild bear sow and her multi age cubs hibernating. So much for sleep for mom! Gives one a true picture of the gentle nature of these amazing creatures.

Massapequa Preserve

This beautiful Park is the location of my fondest childhood memories. We called it The Woods. It is now called Massapequa Preserve. It is 423 undeveloped acres, ponds, rivers and wetlands. It is home to hundreds of species of plants and animals. I decided to become a member of the Friends of Massapequa Preserve, the group working on preserving and restoring the park for the last ten years. The preserve gave me far more then I could ever give back to it, I plan to remain a member for the rest of my life. It is the first place that birthed my undying love of nature. Spending my childhood wondering around its acreage gifted me with an unbreakable sense of wonder that has lasted past middle age and that shows no sign of waning. How fortunate was I, living in suburban Long Island surrounded by houses and shopping, to have this tiny piece of paradise only a block away? I'm not sure that my parents even considered what the woods would end up meaning to me when they purchased their first home. My dad did have a love of nature, and used to take us to the Park to walk and later to fish. At a very young age we were allowed to go out exploring alone. I think that's when I realized just how much at home I felt out in nature. I was never afraid, well except the one time we stepped on a yellow jacket hive in a tussock sedge mound. Although I didn't get stung, my two best friends did, many times. Every since then I have a good respect for bees. When I was in my woods anything was possible. I could escape from all of life and just be. What an idyllic childhood I had, Summers filled with nothing but time to be outside from morning to night. Time to just be children. I feel so blessed that this was my childhood.

*These beautiful images are not my own, I borrowed them from google images. I have not been back to the woods in 20 years, far too long.*

Winter getaway

I'm in the process of planning a nice relaxing weekend getaway up to the Catskill Mountains with my hubby. We hope to do a little snowshoeing, hike to Katterskill Falls, eat at a couple of nice restaurants and spend some much needed time together. I love the Catskills, it is nature at it's most beautiful.

Hotel Mountain Brook

Last Chance Restaurant & Tavern

Currans Restaurant

Katterskill Falls

Ground Hog Day

Not too surprising but Punxsutawney Pete did not see his shadow this morning. An old wives tale tells us that we are going to have an early Spring. We are in the middle of a two day snow/ice storm. This is our 6th storm this Winter. Here in Orange County NY we have not seen the ground since the day after Christmas. I think that Spring will arrive when it usually does....March 20th. I personally don't dislike the Winter. I enjoy each season because of the unique species that I get to observe with each. Cherish the moments, all of them including the cold, snow and ice.

Last weekend while visiting with friends in Rochester NY, we went to an Arboretum. Trees become so much more beautiful when there are no leaves to hide their bark. It snowed the entire time we were up in Rochester. No accumulation, just make it feel like a Winter wonderland.