Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday notes from field and fen and freecycle

These are actual nature notes, for a change, most of my field and fen being all over the place.

The patio continues to be a hub of avian activity, not to mention squirrelian activity. I filled the feeder with a new mix, from Audubon, I think, of fruit bits, nuts and seeds, and now find that the usual suspects have been joined by a whitebreasted nuthatch, very entertaining little guy who always proceeds head down, down tree trunks, usually, in search of insects.

But he, though very unusual for a sighting here, has been showing up daily since I put the new mix out, and I noticed him rummaging through the dropped stuff on the deck to pick out the fruit bits. Evidently they're a hit with his group, because suddenly, gosh, he brought a friend to join in. So now I have them, along with a pair of regularly visiting woodpeckers, downies, and a hairy along with them, too, and a redheaded, most unusual, all noshing on the suet holder, along with the nuthatches,

valiantly teaching themselves to eat from the feeder while hanging upside down from the bottom of it, tricky stuff.

This morning I was woken up by a nuthatch outside my bedroom window running head down, down the stucco, pecking at insects, which is great. If they stick around, they'll help a lot with pests. so my birding started even before I got up this morning.

We have gangs of house finches, those stripy sparrow lookalikes, only they have red heads and chests.

Males have the more vivid coloring, as here.

Females more muted as here

Very aggressive guys, these, and the nuthatch really had to get his timid spirits up to compete at the feeder, but the fruit was even more compelling, and he did it. And the starlings tend to show up in large coach parties..if they were rare we'd exclaim at the sheer wonder of that metallic plumage.

As it is seeing them in the thousands, yelling and shouting, we tend to think oh, them again. This image is impressionistic at best, since there was changing light and a window to contend with. But you get the gist.

And our resident male cardinal

put in an appearance. Mrs. Cardinal and he rarely show up together, who knows why, but she'll probably be along later.

This shoot took place after I got back from another freecycling adventures, this time to rescue a bag full of handmade crochet items, now in the gentle cycle in the machine, and I'll show them once they're ready for their close-up. I do like people who realize that handwork is worth at least giving another chance to, and was happy to venture out in search.

One of the odd things about this state, uberpopulated, most cars per mile on the entire continong, is that there are still odd little remote pockets a stone's throw from Route One, now a six lane highway complete with road rage. This particular place I actually missed the first time, since you have to believe your instructions and slow down when they tell you. Well I did, but not enough, so I had to go around and take another try.

This time I succeeded, and found myself on a kind of farm track, completely invisible from the highway, dirt road winding through the woods, to my turn, another dirt road winding through the woods, with here and there very new large deck houses in view, probably invisible once the trees leaf out, amazingly remote and quiet well, it will be as long as they don't pave the road! and next to the place where I was to do the pickup was a wonderful moss garden, hills and slopes and steps and pathways all brilliant emerald, wonderful stuff, probably perfect for woodland gardens, and a great surprise to come upon like that.

All in all, there's more to freecycling than just giving and getting items. There's experience thrown in, too.


  1. Pretty boidies. I'm sure they are very appreciative of the food supplementation.

  2. We thoroughly enjoyed looking at your avian moochers. Quite a variety. I hope they sing for their suppers? - Jean in Cowtown

  3. We had starlings appear at our feeder today for the first time. We've had a pair of nuthatches pretty much all winter, along with a pair of woodpeckers (who seem to have disappeared at the moment), our favourite little chickadees, mourning doves and of course the squirrels who never cease to amaze us as they climb up the brick wall to our third floor balcony and then often jump to the ground from here.


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