Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pileated Berry Breakfast

The light outside has been dim lately, the sky and land painted in various shades of gray. 
 Bright spots of red add a finishing touch to the scene, where dogwood berries, 
still clinging to the trees, serve as beacons to the wildlife. 

A pileated woodpecker came back yesterday morning for a berry breakfast.  

They are imposing birds, about the size of a crow, 
but with more color, and none of the irritating habits.  
We see them here occasionally. 
Their loud, distinctive call and undulating flight 
capture our attention as they pass by, 
but this was a rare opportunity to watch one up close.

The regal appearance this species makes is, we think, 
very fitting for the largest known surviving member of the woodpecker family.

The larger Ivory-billed Woodpecker is probably extinct, 
although if any of you have seen one lately, we hope you'll post it on your blog.
: )

Linking with Wild Bird Wednesday

One note:
Word verification keeps appearing on my comment page, even though I have it turned off.
If you'd like to comment, I believe you can ignore it and post one anyway.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Feathered Feast

Thanksgiving is behind us, and the company's gone; 
the patter of little feet and squeals of delight are only a happy memory.
Our Thanksgiving meal was a little different than the traditional feast, but not unlike what the first pilgrims ate; 
we had venison, potatoes and rhubarb pie.  
History may not record whether or not they had rhubarb pie at that first Thanksgiving, 
but if they didn't, they should have.  It's our favorite.

Yellow-shafted Flicker in Dogwood Tree

There's a belated Thanksgiving feast going on in the old dogwood tree outside our window.  
A flicker came early, dressed in his black polkadots and bow tie, 
the bright red heart on the back of his neck matching the berries he came to eat.

Yellow-shafted Flicker in Dogwood Tree

Cedar waxwings arrived in small groups, the tips of their tails freshly dipped in red and yellow wax.

Red Squirrel on an Acorn Hunt

This celebration doesn't happen every year.  
Often, the squirrels strip the berries before the birds consider them ripe enough to eat.  
But this year, there's a bumper crop of acorns, 
and the squirrels are far too occupied with their favorite nuts to dine on dogwood berries.

Pileated Woodpecker in Dogwood Tree

When the biggest bird on the block, the pileated woodpecker, dropped by, the other birds scattered.
 He didn't stay long, but picked up his carry out and flew away.

Bluebird with Dogwood Berry

Just one more bite of those sweet morsels and the bluebird flew away, too.  
I expect they'll all be back; there's plenty of berries left on the tree.

When opportunity knocks, you'd better open your beak.

Linking with Wild Bird Wednesday

Friday, November 21, 2014

Barley Loves Autumn

We were hardly ready for the cold that arrived Sunday, 
and the dusting of snow seemed strange while leaves were still on the trees.  
Monday morning, before dawn, long ribbons of geese made their way south over the distant hills.  
At night, we could hear them overhead complaining about the weather.

Despite what the thermometer says, it is still autumn, 
and I'd hate to let the season get by without Barley weighing in on it. 

Barley loves autumn.  

He loves foggy mornings when the world is quiet except for the crunch of leaves underfoot.

He loves the fresh clear air, and the late afternoon sun on his coat, 
and living in a world of orange.

He loves being a blur of motion as he races over the ground in broad circles, 
scattering bright color in his wake.

Barley loves winter, too, but he's not ready to let go of autumn just yet.  

And for that matter, neither am I.

Linking with Saturday's Critters
and Our World Tuesday