Category Archives: birding

Do Not Disturb the Boring

Nothin’ But A Good Time
Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?



Coffee again.

Egg, fruit.

Sweating, exercising, showering.

Book reading, reading, and reading.

Salad, crackers, maybe sandwich, maybe soup.

Some combination.

Bird watching, bird feeding, bird watering.

Bird seed, hummingbird nectar.

By bird bath spying.

Flower and plant eyeballing.

Insects, squirrels acting squirrelly.

Reading, fiction or non.

Writing and inadequacies explore.

Salmon and broccoli.

Clean, wash, some home upkeep.

Read, Read.

TV, perhaps.

Resist overdose on Internet.

Resist. Reflect.



Winter Rant

Piles of snow sit five or ten feet high in parking lots around town. Three feet of snow surrounds my mailbox. I don’t own boots high enough to cover my legs from the two feet of snow sitting on my grass. I wake up to temperatures of 3 degrees and it warms up to 21 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yet the goldfinches are showing bits of yellow through their feathers. The sun has been shining nearly everyday. The sky is more often than not a beautiful shade of blue rather than gray.

I remember a dismal winter in the mid-1970s that dropped many feet of snow on the ground with not one day of thaw and not one day of sun. Old ice piled on top of new ice until a walk across a bridge became a treacherous affair. Soon the protective railing between the sidewalk and the water below the bridge offered no security. One slip and tumble could drop you into the frozen water. Dodging the street traffic was safer than walking the ice.

So I’m optimistic about this winter. I’m enjoying the snow today because I will yearn for it on those extreme hot and humid summer days. I’ve sighted robins in my yard in mid-December and I’ve seen them in early February. The robins winter in Florida less time than some snowbirds in my neighborhood. I’ll stay here.

Return of the Birds

Goldfinch in Winter

Spring is here. The goldfinches are back.

But in fact, the goldfinches never left, they stayed all winter. This is the first winter that we left the nyjer feeder sock out. A brown bird started to come to it. After doing some research, I found out that the bright yellow finches turn brownish for the winter.

With the coming of warmer weather, the goldfinches are yellowing up nicely.

All last week, it seemed like each finch was sporting more yellow feathers every day. The black and white stripes were gaining more contrast. I love the deep yellow birds with the dramatic bits of black. The winter doldrums are leaving, in with the warmer colors. Welcome back.

Goldfinch in Summer



Hope Is a Thing With Feathers

Bird outside my computer room window, I want to perch you on my hand so I can feel your weightlessness.

Are you as light as air?  Would your feathers feel soft against my hand? Or are your feathers rough, since your tiny toughness withstands harsh, icy winters while my large, heavy frame would perish besides you.

In general, you must avoid humans that could easily harm you intentionally or not.  But make an exception for me, just this once.  I’d be extraordinarily careful.  Then afterwards, fly off again and never trust us again.

The Alley on Florida’s Amelia Island

I was in paradise two days ago and came back to paradise today.

After attending a Florida wedding, my husband and I stayed on Amelia Island for a few days.  The historic district holds some interesting architecture from the mid 19th century.  During those years, only the rich had the leisure time to visit the hot and wild Florida landscape. That explains the grand, old houses on the island.

One interesting find on Amelia Island is Indigo Alley.  Two female Dobermans, along with their humans, run the place.

Indigo Alley serves beer, wine, fresh roasted coffee, light meals, and so much more.  Stop in and you may hear local musicians playing or local artists showing off their work.  You may find belly dancing, open mic night, poetry readings, movies, and classes on the French language and culture.

The two Dobermans are rescue dogs and they patrol the garden courtyard looking out for wild cats to chase off their property.  The courtyard lies in back of the building that was originally constructed in 1884.   The dogs also have an aversion to lizards on their property and chase them away (that is if they don’t eat them first).  These two girls are sleek, healthy, and sweet-tempered canines.  I’m sure a chance to visit with these dogs draws in some of the Indigo Alley clientele.

The dogs came upstairs with us to the rooftop deck seating and kept us company.   As we drank our wine, we watched dusk settle over the island and a full moon rise between the post office built in 1910 and the clock spire on the Nassau County Courthouse that was built in 1891. The old courthouse looks like it came out of a movie set with all of its ornate wood trim and long, dramatic windows.  In fact, a local resident said that courtroom movie scenes have been shot at this site.

Soon after, dozens of creatures came flying overhead with a frantic twittering and loud flapping wings.  At first, we though they were bats heading out for their nocturnal travels.  But the female human owner of the Alley set us straight and told us they were in fact chimney swifts coming home. After flying all day long, they were returning to the nearby chimneys and clock spire to spend the night. These birds fly all day long.  They eat insects as they fly through the air.  They drink water and bathe as they fly over the river surface.  They even snap off twigs for their nests as they fly by a tree.

The Indigo Alley rooftop offers a beautiful view of some of the oldest buildings in town and offers some good canine and avian companionship.

I left an 89 degree, sunny Florida day to a breezy, fall’s-a-coming kind of Michigan weather. I love it since autumn is my favorite season and Michigan has a fantastic one.  No more sunburn, sweating, humid sticky feeling all over.  Calm, cool, and comfortable is my idea of paradise.  I’m not good at traveling a long time and was ready to go home.

But I’m still thinking about Indigo Alley and feel sad that I discovered it on my second to last day on the island.  If I come back, one good reason would be to visit the Alley again and see if any new rescue dogs have joined the establishment.  I’ll know the best time to see an impressive bird show on the rooftop. Also I might check out the belly dancing classes.  I’ll give everyone fair warning on that last one.

Messing With the Squirrels

My husband is a tall, hairless squirrel that is too stupid to know how to hide his food stash.  Or at least that is what the squirrels in our yard must have thought.

He sets out corn cobs near the birdseed in plain view for the Blue Jays.  The squirrels come and eat the corn too.  We imagine that these little rodents must be laughing, in a squirrelly kind of way, at this inept large creature and his total lack of food-stashing skill.

The laughter stopped on Bed Mulch Day.  Tall Hairless bought a pile of cedar mulch and set it on the driveway.  The squirrels had no interest in this event.  That is until he began pulling weeds, moving old mulch about, and replenishing the old bark with the new.

All day long, one squirrel ran back and forth across the yard, up and down the trees during Bed Mulch Day.

When I got home, my husband said that he cleaned up the yard. And he also mentioned that a squirrel kept dashing around him all day.

I said, of course he did, you just disturbed the buried food hoard in all that old mulch.  Frequently I observed squirrels stuff corn kernels and seed into their cheeks and scurry over to bury it in an inviting bit of mulch.  Sometimes they scrounged around the chipped bark and ate the buried treasure.

Bed Mulch Day was a fiasco for the squirrel world.  They must have rued the day they first laughed at the tall, hairless one that seemed so foolish but ended up turning their hard work into a joke on them.